We all engage in activities we really enjoy but feel ashamed about. For me, this activity is reading Gizmodo.com, a popular gadget blog run by Gawker media. I have been reading this website regularly for about 10 years, beginning when I was a computer science major in College. The writing isn’t great, the flagrant self-promotion annoys me, but their coverage of gadgets, technological trends and embrace of environmental tech keep me coming back even when I declare I’m giving it up for good.
I now find myself in a relationship with a blog, each morning and afternoon browsing the posts and reading a few at length ensuring that I am kept up to date on the tech world. I am a computer scientist after all. Yet after a recent incident, I don’t feel comfortable typing “giz” into the search bar and watching “gizmodo.com” auto-fill, or clicking the button seated in the “most visited website” tile on my Chrome home page.
Last week, Gizmodo appropriately posted a story on the bust of a very sophisticated Russian-Israeli counterfeiting ring. I enjoyed the article but couldn’t help feeling shame that Israelis were involved because Jews are a people and linked to one another. Nonetheless I kept scrolling to learn how they may have counterfeited 75 million dollars. Unfortunately I waded into the comment section, knowing what I would find though hoping I wouldn’t. The very first comment, most popular comment at the time:
A nauseous feeling crept up on me as I processed this “joke.” “Human Almighty” crossed a line from anti-Zionist or anti-Israeli into anti-Semitisn. I assume “Human Almighty” didn’t mean any harm and was just trying to be funny, but as I thought of the recent attack on synagogues in Paris, or of the chants of “Jews to the gas” in Germany, or of my own family perishing in the Holocaust, I felt compelled to reply:
Then I waited for the response. Nine people starred my comment meaning that they agreed with me and a few people even commented directly to him that they did not appreciate his comment. But some did:
And Human Almighty’s cynical response to me:It makes me very sad that people not only confuse anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, but that somehow their distaste for Israel’s actions in the most recent war make it acceptable to engage in anti-Semitism. Someone in the middle of the comments asked about the difference (sorry it’s not PG):
It could have been Anti-Zionist, which means that the comments state or imply that the State of Israel either shouldn’t exist or shouldn’t be a Jewish state. Anti-Semitic comments are those which defame or attempt humor at the expense of the Jewish people. One is about a country; the other is about a religion. Human Almighty shifted from saying something about Israel to a comment about the entire Jewish people.
I’m not going to wait for another response as this post is long buried. However since this incident I have been having trouble going back to Gizmodo, knowing that they could have removed the comment, and therefore by allowing these comments that Gawker Media condones them, especially given their recent incidents and changes in commenting due to trolling.
When I look around I see an unacceptable growing acceptance of anti-Semitism in our society. Israel is not and should not be the cause for anti-Semitism. I watch the genocides and mass murders of ISIS and hope that their reign ends swiftly, but I still harbor love for my fellow Muslims friends. I don’t agree with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine yet I wouldn’t equate the Russian government to the Orthodox Christians, who make up 75% of Russia, the same percentage of Jews in Israel.
I assume that, like every other time I have tried to quit, I will return to Gizmodo. Yet when we see hate speech, no matter the intention, we must speak up. We must not let language of hate go unchecked. Yes, Human Almighty, we must inject our world with more peace and acceptance.