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“You People” Normalizes Farrakhan’s Views On Jews

The following movie review began with angry texts I sent to friends and colleagues yesterday, as I was watching You People, the number one movie now streaming on Netflix. It premiered on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I’ve got to hand it to them on the timing: nothing says #neveragain like #rightnow.

There are numerous spoilers below, but when a movie starts out so rotten, it is impossible to ruin it. If I had to sum up the most basic problem with You People, it wouldn’t be the abundant Holocaust jokes, like Ezra buying a small diamond for his fiancé, and deciding that he’ll lie that it’s his grandmother’s “from the Holocaust.” You know, “the Holocaust” – the get out of jail free card for every Jew.

It’s also not that the Jewish parents in the film are played by actors whose families used to be Jewish, generations ago, but then assimilated into extinction. No, the main issue with You People is that everyone in the film loves Black culture and no one in the film loves Jewish culture. In fact, they hate it.

In an age of celebrating marginalized identities, how could it be that that one identity would be lauded while the other would be highlighted for its guilt (Ezra’s grandmother in the opening Yom Kippur synagogue scene (incorrectly) tells him that he can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery due to his tattoos), its shame (Ezra refuses to wear a yarmulke during Yom Kippur services after his mother asks him to), its sexual violations (after services, Ezra’s orthodontist offers to examine his genitals, other members of the synagogue say sexually inappropriate things), its big-nosed Jews (both of the Jewish women Ezra dates have prominent noses), and its money-loving Jews (in his first date with a Jewish girl, she comments how exciting it must be that he gets to work with so much MONEY everyday!)?

Because in You People, Jews are not considered a marginalized group. Instead, they are white, rich, privileged and responsible for the suffering of marginalized people in the world. And the way they get to this reality is by continuously lying and misrepresenting the Jewish past and present. So let’s jump right into the lies and misrepresentations. There is no room to mention them all. I will mention the most glaring ones:

  1. Ezra’s mom, Shelley Cohen, is enthralled with everything about Amira, upon first meeting her – her hair, her nails, her clothes, etc. At the end, we are told that all of Shelley’s excitement comes about due to tokenism – loving the exotic nature of her son’s Black wife to be. In an interview, producer Kevin Misher explains that Shelley is a progressive racist. She’s not simply an awkward try-hard. I can’t and won’t speak to the Black experience of tokenism, but Jews are also exotic. We have our own culture, foods, music, traditions, that are not only not American, they’re quite obscure. That’s not to say that a Jew couldn’t fetishize the novelty of a Black person while also being exotic herself, but the dynamic of Shelley as “white American” to Amira’s “exotic ethnic person” whitewashes Shelley’s Jewish identity.
  2. Shelley also spends way too long discussing her Guatemalan housekeeper, Lupita. This is meant to signal to us that the Cohens are rich Jews and privileged people, who benefit off the work of the underprivileged. If this subtle messaging didn’t hit you hard enough, in a later scene, Amira’s mother accuses Jews of “coming here with the money you made off of the slave trade, like everyone else.” (More on that vicious conspiracy theory later.) Amira’s family also seems to be doing well financially, but that isn’t relevant to the story.
  3. And if you didn’t notice that Erza’s parents are rich yet, a moment later we hear that they regret not buying in a certain neighborhood, and their daughter jokingly laments that they missed out on getting to gentrify it. This reminds the viewer that Jews are the face of gentrification, a very contentious topic in urban areas, as some Jews are gentrifying neighborhoods (along with many non-Jews) and also experiencing gentrification themselves. But we don’t hear about poor Jews in You People. You People are only rich Jews.

Then there’s this subtle device used in the movie, where Ezra (or his sister) is present with Amira in nearly every instance when his parents are around, and because of this, he (or his sister) get to reinforce how weird and off they are (especially his mother). But Ezra meets Amira’s parents and/or her father alone, several times. Amira never gets to act as a counterbalance to her stern father, to tell him he’s being unreasonable. He basically rips into Ezra repeatedly, with no pushback, till the very end, when a friend tells him he’s too harsh. Then he has a change of heart.

While Ezra’s family is over-exuberant in their excitement for Amira to be part of the family, Amira’s family seriously looks down on Ezra. Akbar, Amira’s father, believes this must be some payback from his wife’s white grandfather. I’m used to Jews wanting their children to only marry Jews, for the purpose of Jewish continuity. I could understand other ethnic or religious groups feeling the same way.

But it is deeply uncomfortable to watch the Jewish side, so excited for this relationship to happen while the Black side continues to look down on them. I saw this dynamic continue on Twitter, where many Black women were commenting on how disgusting looking Ezra is, and how he could never get such a beautiful girl like Amira. Representation matters, people.

Akbar’s revulsion with Ezra comes to a head at the rehearsal dinner. Through several examples, we see that Ezra is a pathological liar. He pretends to know neighborhoods and songs he doesn’t know, he claims that he doesn’t do cocaine, but then we meet his cocaine dealer (who notes that he’s a “mensch” – is the dealer Jewish too??!). Amira establishes at the beginning of the movie that she dislikes yes-men who say the popular thing to be liked, when she dumps her Black boyfriend. Ezra is actually this exact guy (literally lying to her about the ring when he proposes) but Ezra, the perfidious Jew, is so good at his craft that Amira doesn’t see through it. But Akbar does.

We also know that Ezra has come to Vegas before and hired prostitutes. Ezra is a lying, degenerate, drug-doing Jew. Akbar actually says all these words in a speech at the rehearsal dinner, but at the last moment, he says this is NOT what Ezra is. Ezra then THANKS Akbar for not humiliating him and outing him publicly, to which Akbar responds that he spared his daughter’s humiliation, not Ezra’s.

As I watched these scenes, I was trying to imagine how the writer could have so much contempt for Jews, but then I wondered if Louis Farrakhan is actually the hero of this movie, and Jews as lying, degenerate, whoring, low-lifes is exactly how he sees them. The film is simply writer/director Kenya Barris normalizing those ideas. Here are a few quotes from Farrakhan:

“The Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out..”

“To my Jewish friends, I shouldn’t use the word ‘friends’ so lightly, you have been a great and master deceiver, but God is going to pull the covers all off of you.”

“They [the Jews] are the greatest controllers of Black minds, Black intelligence. They write the scripts — the foolish scripts on television that our people portray. They are the movie moguls that feature us in these silly, degrading, degenerate roles…”

Kenya Barris seems to be a Farrakhan fan. He has Akbar tell an emotional story of meeting Farrakhan and getting his kufi (hat) due to their deep connection. This movie is Barris’s chance to get back at the Jews and finally make them silly, degraded, and degenerate in a movie.

Farrakhan, also said that the Jews were responsible for the slave trade, the conspiracy theory Amira’s mother alludes to. When Ezra’s father asks for proof, Amira’s mother quips that she’ll just go get her slave receipts from her purse. It’s the perfect retort because it ends the conversation with a joke. The audience doesn’t actually get an answer, but it doesn’t matter.

Farrakhan is a Holocaust denier, and when the two sets of in-laws meet for dinner, the Holocaust is played down. When Amira’s parents note the relationship Black people have to boats, due to slavery, Ezra’s parents mention the relationship Jews have to trains, due to the Holocaust.

Akbar, in sheer disgust, questions how they could utter the Holocaust in the same moment slavery is being mentioned. Ezra’s parents don’t counter that both atrocities were horrific. They simply let it slide. Akbar has a grandmother who picked cotton, but as the Cohens try to defend their oppression, noting that they worked hard for what they have, we find out that Ezra doesn’t just have a father who’s a rich doctor (and I’m sure making him a podiatrist, is another subtle dig at Jews), Ezra doesn’t just have a grandfather who was a rich doctor. No, in Kenya Barris’s deranged world, the great-grandfather was ALSO a doctor. Because Jews always had everything (off the backs of slaves). That the majority of Jews came to the US with absolutely nothing, running from Cossacks, Nazis or systemic exile in the Middle East was completely irrelevant to this movie.

Akbar isn’t happy simply beating Jews on past persecutions. He notes that a man walking around in a yarmulke, minding his business, doesn’t have to worry about getting shot by a cop. And that’s true. But a man walking around in a yarmulke DOES have to worry about potentially getting assaulted by a Kenya Barris fan. Jews are currently the most attacked religious minority and most attacked (per capita) racial minority, as well. The majority of Jewish attackers, tragically, are Black men. Ezra’s parents mention none of this.

The erasure of past and current Jewish persecution, while pitting Jews against Black people is absolutely vile.

I’m almost done. Amira doesn’t get a job due to racism. In this movie, only Black people and never Jewish people face racism. What do Jews face instead? CONNECTIONS. Jewish connections. Ezra has a FAMILY FRIEND: Rick Greenwald. Rick is a JEW who is CONNECTED. He gets other Jews jobs and now he can get one for Amira. But she has too much pride. Unlike the Jews, who have always been privileged, Amira had to work for everything she has! Jews getting ahead with connections is a trope that is so embedded, it’s seen as a compliment!

And finally, Shelley and Amira have some final scenes together that took my breath away. Amira finally confronts Shelley on her tokenism issue. And this weird conversation about Black hair comes up.

Now Jewish hair, sometimes called a “Jewfro,” is not exactly like Black hair, but there are similarities. Many Jews, like Jonah Hill (who straightened and dyed his) have to deal with very kinky, curly hair. That the conversation is only about how exotic Black hair is to Shelley, with no acknowledgement or understanding that many Jews also have a version of this experience themselves, once again, erases and whitewashes the Jewish reality.

There are beautiful ways to build bridges between people of different backgrounds, who have shared experiences. This movie strove to do none of that. What Kenya Barris wanted to do was have a Black woman scream at a Jewish woman, for all she’s done wrong, then scream at her more for having the audacity to feel remorse, and “clutch her pearls.” The movie and story can only come to completion when Shelley not only apologizes on behalf of all white people but also apologizes on behalf of all Jewish people.

Kenya Barris appears to be a vile Jew-hater. Jonah Hill seems to have internalized so much self-hatred, he participated in this dumpster fire, which gives the movie cover. There are interesting and meaningful conversations that could and should occur between non-Jewish Black people and Jewish people of all colors and ethnicities. This movie set everything back. My only hope is that it will shine a light on all that is wrong so we can do the work to fix it. The JITC Hollywood Bureau is doing our part in the entertainment industry to educate about and advocate for the Jewish people. We have our work cut out for us!

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51 comments

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  • Avatar photo Shirley Moffs says on January 30, 2023

    Thank you for in-depth accurate analysis. You have identified so many problems in the movie. I cannot imagine any Jewish person NOT agreeing with you . It is so sad and concerning that this movie is being so widely viewed without a disclaimer at the start with your issues raised. And the Jewish people (of any degree of Jewishness), who participated should be ashamed of themselves. Netflix should pull this crap! Is there any way to protest this movie?

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Edward A says on February 6, 2023

      On Spotify, some of our shows on The Schmuck & Schmuck Talk Show speak to Jewish and black issues. I was born and raised in a Jewish-American household. The 1st United States Amendment is a tricky one. You People does not necessarily incite violence even though it does paint a broad stroke of Jewish cliches and never fully gets the audience to understand who and what the Jewish are. I do agree with the writer, the director-writer tilted the storyline to benefit blacks, in turn, condemn the Jewish people. But we need to understand, there are plenty ignorant blacks and other races/nationalities who will always hold the Jewish people in disdain. It’s part of being Jewish. In fact, if every person around the world liked every Jewish person around the world, I’d think something was wrong. The Jewish people are excellent at one thing: humility. Jonah Hill – I don’t think is necessarily a self-hating Jewish person – co-wrote You People, how much of a say he had in the finished product, that would be a good question to ask Mr. Hill, to hear his reaction. Who knows how many scenes or dialogue was cut out to focus the storyline to promote the black experience, this too, would be a good question for Kenya Barris. I’m not trying to make excuses for Jonah Hill, but these are possibilities as to the reason Jonah Hill appears as a self-hating Jewish person. Foremost, those who live in America, we must protect every person’s right to freedom of speech regardless of how shameful or irritating the speech is (as long as the speech does not incite violence). So even though I disagree with Kenya Barris’ storyline and dialogue, and I have a choice to watch his movie or not, I will not completely condemn Mr. Barris’ thoughts or beliefs about the Jewish people.

      Reply
    • Avatar photo JRS says on February 9, 2023

      No disrespect, but you sound sincere & very naive: you can’t imagine any Jewish person not agreeing with this spot-on critique??
      There are any number of Jews who, like the movie’s silly-Jewish-mom character Shelly Cohen, pathetically try way too hard to ingratiate themselves with black people—THOSE Jews love this movie.
      If they have any complaint, it’s that the movie “pulls its punches”—the standard liberal complaint about every woke movie: it doesn’t hammer hard enough about [anti-black] racism… ‘cuz no one ever talks about racism, right?

      You can see this dynamic on Rotten Tomatoes—the movie was widely criticized, but virtually none of those pans centered on how the movie largely gives a pass to antisemitism & anti-white racism. They just felt it was confused, erratic, unfunny, unrealistic & hokey (all true).

      Netflix will NOT pull this film, and it’s naive to think they would; if anything it paves the way for more egregiously one-sided woke nonsense to come.

      Reply
    • Avatar photo Inez Singer says on February 11, 2023

      I could not watch this crap.

      Reply
  • Avatar photo Ehud Neor says on January 31, 2023

    I predict that this will be a huge hit and that many more like it are to follow. American Jews, just come home to Israel. The situation is only going to get worse.

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Lara T says on January 31, 2023

      Thank you for putting all I felt about this movie in words. Such a shame that great actors participated in this ugliness. Do these actors and actresses even know they are being used and humiliated at the same time? It will take me a while to want to watch anything with any of them in.

      Reply
    • Avatar photo Mendy says on January 31, 2023

      This is the scariest thing I have ever read on the internet. If your.portrayal is accurate (I have only.seen a clip), this rises to a new level. ( from Hollywood’s goofy Jew to bumbling oppressor New.) It borders on Nazi propaganda

      Reply
    • Avatar photo David says on February 2, 2023

      Would like to!

      Reply
    • Avatar photo Steve says on February 11, 2023

      Running away from it isn’t going to do anything. More American Jews have left Israel than have come (think about it).

      And there is, frankly, no room. Since no American Jew will live in the Negev or Galil, let’s be honest.

      Jews need to start standing up and fighting against this. But they won’t. They never do. They were Roosevelt’s lap dogs during the Shoa and will do nothing to upset the applecart now.

      Reply
  • Avatar photo Mm says on January 31, 2023

    Have you also considering canceling Mel Brooks? /s this is a hit piece against the reform movement and if anything your attitude is why people leave Judaism. I am conservative Jewish, and my mom and I loved it. Focus on the real issues

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on January 31, 2023

      Thanks for your comment, Mm. What does Mel brooks have to do with this? What is a hit piece against the reform movement? Why does my attitude encourage Jews to leave Judaism. You have a right to your opinion. So do I.

      Reply
      • Avatar photo Amy Shapiro says on February 6, 2023

        Jèws are the richest, most powerful, most privileged Americans. They can afford to stand a little ridicule. And, in YOU PEOPLE, the Ezra character is shown to be a good hoops player, Jews are made to look good! But, instead, David Baddiel’s whiny and fallacious “Jews Don’t Count” is trotted out there.

        Reply
        • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 6, 2023

          Actually Indians are the richest Americans. Is it a privilege to live with Jewish inter-generational trauma? Is it a privilege that kosher stores, synagogues and JCC’s get attacked? Is it privilege to be the most attacked religious minority in the country ?

          Reply
        • Avatar photo Jeff G says on February 7, 2023

          This is a despicable and ignorant remark, Ms. Shapiro. Take your self-hatred elsewhere.

          Reply
    • Avatar photo Jeremy S. says on February 1, 2023

      Maybe you’re okay with Netflix perpetuating stereotypes about all Jews (Conservative, Reform, Orthodox, etc), but other people don’t have to be. Maybe your standards for comedy are low, or maybe it’s just your affiliation with fellow Jews is low – after all, you took the route of claiming “people leave Judaism” for Allison’s “attitude”. What I read, in this review, was only a hit piece on “You People” – and it sounds like it really deserved it.

      Reply
    • Avatar photo JRS says on February 9, 2023

      A hit piece against Reform… this is why people leave Judaism… what the heck are you talking about?

      The fact that your mom & you loved this movie speaks for itself—it also, ironically, shows that the movie’s Shelly Cohen character is maybe not as far-fetched as proud Jews like to think: she’s the pathetically needy, Jewishly ignorant, acculturated liberal Jew, whose Jewish identity manifests solely in reaction to blatant antisemitism, but who otherwise spends her time basically begging black people to accept her love, admiration, and apologies on behalf of white and Jews.

      The movie’s one nod to “Jewish culture” was virtually the same boring-Yom-Kippur-in-shul scene they use in every similarly “Jewish” movie—and it shows a Judaism so lame & half-@ssed, with prayer services that are to actual Judaism what muzak is to the blues…
      If that were my Judaism, I might be tempted to go to a Southern Baptist church myself.

      Trying to embrace people while they spit on you does not make you “proud” or “secure” in your Jewishness—it’s simply selling out. Not saying all Reform Jews are like that—I certainl hope not—but if the shoes fits… it’s not the fault of the proud Jews telling it like it is.

      Reply
  • Avatar photo Nathaniel Wyckoff says on January 31, 2023

    But I thought the Jews ran Hollywood.

    I pass a billboard advertising this despicable movie during my daily commute, but never gave it much thought until now. Thank you, Chana, for your eye-opening review.

    Does anybody remember Arsenio Hall? He lost his late-night talk show and career after giving Farrakhan a platform to sit and air his lunatic, racist views with no counterargument, to the justified outrage of the Jewish community.

    Why aren’t we picketing Netflix? Where’s today’s outrage at this filth?

    How does anybody even find this garbage entertaining, anyway? As Malina pointed out in her session with Chana at Sundance, the nose jokes haven’t been funny or original in about a thousand years. You’d think that a millennium would be enough time for antisemites to come up with something better than that!

    There is a positive side, though. Like the one about the Jew in Europe reading “Der Sturmer” for its good news about how the Jews control all the banks and run the world, this movie can counterbalance today’s news. If the real-life news about Jews getting shot on Shabbat in Neve Yaakov gets you down, no problem; turn on Netflix for a reminder of how wonderfully wealthy, dominant and well-connected we are.

    Bravo to Jew in the City!

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Mallory says on January 31, 2023

    This is exquisite. I was literally about to start rage writing an article and BAM you nailed it. Thank you, you have personally spared me time and rage today and you did it eloquently and so perfectly.

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Eli says on January 31, 2023

    Wow. Amazing read. Got half way through this despicable propaganda and that was an hour I sincerely wish I could get back. The only thing that makes the suffering I endured worth it is reading this article and feeling at least a little vindicated. So tired of our history and identity being written for us…

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Jerry says on February 6, 2023

      The pivotal question, emanating from this “film”, and numerous so-called comical antisemitic tropes emanating from black comics and blatant antisemitic assertions from black “celebrities”, revolves around understanding the reason why many in the black community have no reservation in spewing such animus, specifically at Jews.

      The reason is very apparent to those Jews who do not engage in denial and bury their heads with the hope that the predator will avoid devouring them. In fact, Jews are stereotypically perceived as being passive, nonviolent and to hyper-intellectualize any verbal or physical aggression against them. This stereotype, which has a basis of truth, makes Jews an easy, non-threatening target for black generalized anger towards whites. Notice that Blacks wouldn’t dare attack other white groups overtly due to their understanding that the response from such whote groups as the Irish, Italians and Germans would be swift, and hard!

      As in pecking orders in general, Jews failure to take a strong stand against this steady and deteriorating onslaught, and continued passive, understanding and educational posture to demonstrate their high moral principles, unfortunately will lead to the continuation, exacerbation of antisemitism, including verbal and physical assaults, and possibly even worse!

      Reply
      • Avatar photo JRS says on February 9, 2023

        Agree. It’s depressing how many Jews fall into this category—they kid themselves that their passivity is because they’re “secure” and “don’t see antisemitism” lurking in every corner” or they believe it’s always best to take the high road” or any such tripe that is merely justification for being a wimp who does nothing.
        It’s one thing to not react, or overreact, to every insult—it’s quite another to let people spit on you and keep insisting it’s the morning dew.

        Reply
  • Avatar photo JCB says on January 31, 2023

    You have this wrong. Black people don’t look at this and think “man we are so much better than THOSE people.” The blacks portrayed here get far worse treatment: they are actually antisemitic hard-core (one who supports Farakkan’s clear straight up racism and a progressive who doesn’t understand that they are actually racist are apples and oranges). They are superficial, small minded bigots.
    It might not be a good movie, but I think it was pretty clearly trying to skewer both families using stereotypes, but leave everyone with a message of hope because despite all of that two people coming out of those worlds found the humanity in each other and fell in love

    Reply
    • Avatar photo yobaby says on January 31, 2023

      I agree with you JCB. I think it just showed how ridiculous our biases can be and in spite of that two ppl fell in love. I mean Ezra took her family to a chicken restaurant for one! come on how oblivious could he be?

      Reply
      • Avatar photo Nachum says on February 6, 2023

        I hope you realize that when something occurs in a movie, it’s because someone wrote it into a script. If a Jew obliviously takes black people to a chicken restaurant, it’s because the scriptwriter wanted to portray an oblivious and/or bigoted Jew.

        Reply
    • Avatar photo Marlene says on February 1, 2023

      As you sit back in your comfortable chair pontificating about how hopeful this movie is…Tell that to all of the Jews who are now going to be attacked, maimed and killed because of this STUPID IGNORANT movie!!! Actions have consequences and the consequences from this piece of trash movie will be devastating. Jews are being attacked in numbers far exceeding their small numbers…and the uptick in the recent few years is beyond alarming!

      Reply
      • Avatar photo E says on February 2, 2023

        Well written, and very distressing. I appreciate the thorough breakdown, because I have no issue in giving this dreck a view to find out for myself.

        When did we all become so complacent? Why aren’t we fighting back?

        Reply
  • Avatar photo Carla says on January 31, 2023

    I completely agree with this review! I couldn’t finish watching the movie because I was too disgusted by its continued sanctioned buffooning of the “lowly” Jews. How this one sided “comedic” portrayal is acceptable is incomprehensible and quite disturbing to me.

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Ann B-D says on February 1, 2023

    Going down the line, one wonders who decided that this movie was worth bankrolling.
    I am beyond appalled.

    Reply
  • Avatar photo rickydessen@gmail.com says on February 1, 2023

    Excellent article. One point I interpreted differently is EZRA not knowing the song’s name. If this refers to the scene with EZRA and Akbar in the car, it is not that EZRA doesn’t know the song’s name. Instead, he doesn’t want to say it. The song is “ni****s in Paris,” by Jay-Z & Kanye West.

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 1, 2023

      Yes, in that conversation he was baiting him to say the N word. I believe there was another time he pretended to know a song he didn’t know but I may have misremembered.

      Reply
  • Avatar photo Terry says on February 1, 2023

    There may be some validity to what you say. The portrayal of Jews in this movie sounds stereotypical and derogatory.

    But you lost me with that gratuitous shot at the “actors whose families used to be Jewish, generations ago, but then assimilated into extinction”.
    Whatever that means. To the best of my knowledge, these fine actors are neither “assimilated” nor extinct. I don’t have time to research the extent of each actor’s Jewish practice or Jewish community involvement—and I doubt you did either—but your comment just reads as bias against Jews who (at least as far as you or I know) do not practice Judaism in what you consider the “right” (Orthodox) manner. Not that any current form of Jewish practice is identical to anything practiced 2,000 or 3,000 years ago; but every pathway in Judaism has its partisans who insist that their minhag is the only “correct” one, and that those who interpret and practice Judaism in any other way just “aren’t doing it right”—or even that they’re not “really” practicing Judaism, that their rabbis aren’t “really” rabbis, etc.

    That irrelevant bit of adversarial snark (and dare I say, possible lashon hara) struck a major sour note and distracted me from truly absorbing and processing your post. I can’t speak for anyone else, but wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few others had a similar experience.

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 1, 2023

      Thanks for your comment, Terry. It doesn’t take much effort to Google their lineage. They both have a jew, a few generations back, on their father’s side that gives them names like Dreyfus and Duchovny, as well as some genes that make them look jew-passing. And it it those genes that allow the casting directors to practice jewface – casting gentile actors to play Jewish roles, stereotypical, minstrelsy roles. Every person gets to choose how they live but a Catholic Italian recently told me she has Jewish DNA. And then she quipped, “doesn’t everyone?” And that hit me hard. We lost so many to annihilation and many more to assimilation. And we are such a small and vulnerable people. The individual should be able to choose his life, without judgment (if he’s a decent person), but as a collective whole, I feel a loss when Jews are lost from one generation to the next and I also don’t think such roles, mocking Jews should be played by gentiles.

      Reply
      • Avatar photo Trebe says on February 3, 2023

        Huh?

        As you know, David Duchovny’s father was Jewish so it is not “a few generations back” under any definition. And Julia Louis-Dreyfus is 3/8ths Jewish to be precise. I thought she was a pretty good choice for the role.

        Duchovny is as ethnically Jewish as Ben Stiller, Adam Goldberg, Jason Segel, Lea Michele (lol), etc., etc. What nonsense is this?

        Reply
        • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 4, 2023

          Julia Louis Dreyfus only has one Jewish grandfather. That’s it. That was the few generations back. David is not Jewish. He was not raised Jewish. Doesn’t consider himself Jewish. The Jewishness in his family became extinct.

          Reply
        • Avatar photo Steven Brizel says on February 5, 2023

          It is important to realize that Hollywood and especially Netflix with one exception namely Shtisel pushes the intersectional woke agenda that Jews are privileged

          Reply
    • Avatar photo Yael says on February 5, 2023

      A diamond from the Holocaust?
      That one line packs in a world of unspeakable ignorance and stupidity.
      There is no diamond from the Holocaust.
      The first thing every Jew had to do was hand in every valuable on pain of being shot.
      Any Jew who bravely held on to a diamond hidden somewhere eventually traded it in for a piece of bread (although the vast majority were later murdered anyways).
      Rabbi Gustman traded the shoes he took off his son that a Nazi bludgeoned to death while he held him in his arms for food. (He took the shoes off before he buried him.) But he said he couldn’t eat the food though he was starving. He gave it to others.
      (And the 400 Judaic items recently dug up in a backyard in Poland? Guess what? Was it returned to Israel or to the children of survivors? Nope! The local Polish government stole it for their museum!)
      So, a bit of advice:
      When looking to “stupidify” your audience with Holocaust jokes, you want to stay away from jokes about diamonds. It’s more believable.
      Just sayin.

      Reply
    • Avatar photo JRS says on February 9, 2023

      This sub-thread, bogged down in genealogical minutiae of precisely how Jewish this or that actor is, is missing the point by a mile—from both sides.
      I largely concur with Allison’s review, and broader sentiments about Jewish stereotypes in Hollywood productions…
      But the problem does not lie in, and is not determined by, a given actor’s exact parentage. Many Hollywood celebrities—and even more non-famous Jews—are 100% genetically Jewish, but are, ironically, very much like the cartoonish Jews in this movie: well-meaning but clueless, reflexively liberal Jews who never met a minority culture they didn’t immediately LOVE & ADMIRE (without necessarily knowing a darn thing about them)—except for their fellow Jews & their own Jewishness…for them, not much love & admiration. Only embarrassment. These are some—(but only some; there are other “types” outside the scope of this rant)—of the same people who, in the real world, always have to laugh loudest & hardest at any non-Jewish comedian making even the lamest or most vile jokes about Jews.

      I’m pretty thick-skinned, and I appreciate good, barbed wit—incl. some fairly insensitive stuff.
      But I know the difference between “laughing at ourselves” when something’s legit funny, and laughing at unfunny things, just to prove how “confident” we are: “Look! We Jews even laugh at idiotic, mindless, dated anti-Jewish humor! But it’s fine for every other minority to get in an uproar at every imagined micro-aggression, and we (liberal Jews) will totally back them up on that! Only Jewish sensitivities don’t count.”
      Not cool, and really not confident at all—such behavior reeks of desperation: the nerdy kid pathetically trying to fit in with the cool kids, by being a doormat if that’s what it takes.

      …and these Jews will argue vociferously against any Jew who calls out such a film for its cartoonish stereotyping of Jews, & it’s one-sided portrayal of this alleged “culture-clash” in which black characters are allowed to spew racist/antisemitic remarks and there’s no pushback, the script just moves on…
      …but the sincere-but-clueless Jewish characters all get a verb lashing for their passive-aggressive racism, their micro-agressions, and their alleged privilege. Not one Jewish character in the movie has the pride, gumption or Jewish knowledge to respond to any of this—and that, too is disturbingly true-to-life: those characters are exactly like the Jews defending this film—that’s why they get so enraged at the criticism because no one likes seeing themselves on the big screen in all their buffoonery.

      Indeed, it all culminates in a sincere Apology, from one liberal Jew to Black People—on behalf of all white people &/or Jews. This might have been taken as satirical, but there’s no hint of irony, and anyway, the movie is not operating at that level of subtlety. Besides, all those Lefty Jews in the audience were cheering & rolling in the aisles!

      Reply
  • Avatar photo Sharon says on February 2, 2023

    Hey, thanks so much for this very detailed review. I am sure I would have just ignored this movie otherwise. I’ve posted about it now on my FB page and hope that might have some effect among my friends and family.

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Jim says on February 4, 2023

    I think you are being extremely unfair toward Kenya Barris, and I hope you’re open-minded enough to hear me out about why.
    1. Barris’s previous film credit was as co-writer of “Cheaper By the Dozen”, which also involved a marriage between a Black woman and a Jewish man. You see Zach Braff’s character step on a glass at his wedding, but beyond that there is nothing about him that portrays overt Jewishness. His only tropes or stereotypes were those of a dorky, middle-aged white guy. So it is my educated guess that in “You People”, Barris wrote the Black characters and Jonah Hill wrote the Jewish characters. You write what you know.
    2. You seem to misunderstand the whole scene referencing Louis Farrakhan. Akhbar’s spiel about Farrakhan was clearly (at least to most viewers) serving comedic purposes: a. the awkwardness of one character thoughtlessly praising an anti-Semite in front of a Jewish family, b. illustrating how far Ezra will go to suck up to Akhbar to win his approval, and c. a set up for the burning of Farrakhan’s kufi, which serves as a form of poetic justice. There is zero evidence that Barris endorses either Farrakhan or Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism.

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 5, 2023

      Barris is obsessed with Jews being white and literally whitewashing our history, ethnicity and current plight. He has done the same thing in Black AF. Barris is close with London, who expressed in an interview how safe she feels working with him. London’s late boyfriend, longtime partner and the father of her child had Farrakhan as the main eulogizer at his funeral a few years ago. It’s not such a long road to get here.

      Reply
    • Avatar photo Nachum says on February 6, 2023

      When you say that praise of Farrakhan is meant to portray those making it in a negative light, you’re taking a very white, Jewish view of matters. Think of how a black person may see it. Don’t make any assumptions.

      Reply
  • Avatar photo DF says on February 4, 2023

    I respectfully disagree with the the review. I watched this movie. Although the movie was mediocre, I was not offended by the things that appear to have distressed and offended Ms. Josephs. I wholeheartedly agree with JCB, who posted on 1/31/23 that this movie skewers the families of Amira and Ezra but fundamentally is based on the notion that people from different cultures can find genuine love.

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Steven Brizel says on February 5, 2023

    Unfortunately too many of our Jews brothers and sisters who have no appreciation of their heritage snd values and have been brainwashed with intersectional ideas about Jews and white privilege will agree with the themes of this terribly anti Semitic fil produced by Netflix

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Simone Shapiro says on February 5, 2023

    Well done. both Cuomo and Gold seemed to have overlooked the point that words lead to actions, and demonizing Jews (making Jews into villains/vermin/less fully nuanced, less human and worthy of respect) leads to/justifies/ encourages physical attacks.
    I am reminded of the famous photos of the Nazi cutting off the beard of an elderly Chasid and the by-standers laughing about it, the other one of the Nazi making the elderly Jew clean the street, and again the by-standers laughing.
    It’s what the racists did with blacks in the Jim crow era.
    It gives these actions a cover (they deserve it, it a funny thing to do, we can all laugh at it) and a justification.
    It may be a poorly written, stupid,movie, but hundreds of thousands of people (who don’t know better) are learning about Jews or having their existing prejudices reinforced and elevated by it.
    Disgusting, offensive and very worrisome.
    Excellent job Allison!!!

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Jon Robson says on February 5, 2023

    I’m (white) Jewish and my wife is African-American. We watched You People with obvious interest yesterday. It is a very bad movie with typical Hollywood stereotypes but we didn’t see anything overtly antisemitic or racist in it. If anything the Jewish/black stuff was secondary to typical parents’ personality paranoia we also see often in this type of movie.

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Hadassah says on February 7, 2023

    THANK YOU, Allison, for speaking the truth.

    Do not be silenced. Our past and current traumas are being dismissed. Unfortunately, most of us just want to stick our heads in the sand.

    I am reminded of the potential consequences of unchecked antisemitic stereotypes every Sunday when I leave my child in Hebrew School – which now needs police protection.

    The white and privileged stereotype disgusts me the most. My father sold beef hotdogs out of a truck for a living and his Ashkenazi father was called a dirty Jew AND the “n” word for having a “Jewfro”.

    Where are the other voices? Why are more people not taking a stand against stereotyping of the community that faced attempted annihilation just two generations ago– for NOT being of the “white race”?

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Hadassah says on February 7, 2023

      Please remember that it is not just the Orthodox community feeling this. Pittsburgh and Colleyville were Conservative and Reform synagogues.

      We need to come together as Jews to fight antisemitism.

      Thank you again for your work!

      Reply
      • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 7, 2023

        Of course! This is a problem for all Jews. But since Orthodox Jews always get it first, it’s easy for less visible Jews to ignore for longer.

        Reply
  • Avatar photo Zev says on February 10, 2023

    The sad part is only Jews can see how it is stereotypical, shallow and harmful. On the surface it actually seems fairly harmless because this is how most non-jewish westerners perceive secular Jews , so its only reaffirming their stereotypes. And this is why I take issue with the Jonah Hill character especially. I think he is representative of a lot of young Jewish people in America today who just happen to be Jewish but couldn’t give two shits about it. I myself am a hip secular Jew who married out of faith but being Jewish is HUGE part of my identity . For these Californian Jews, their Jewishness is nothing more than an interesting quirk to make fun of in a self deprecating way so hip woke gentiles will like them. They’re the token Jewish friend every Anti-Israel person likes to brag about to prove that their Anti- Zionism is not Anti-semitism. The same kind of Jew like Jonah Hill himself who would write this simplistic depiction of Jews without seeing how it could be damaging to the people they’re representing by putting their Jewish surname on the script

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Diane Shalom says on February 13, 2023

    Agree, I felt like i was sucker punched when Akbar’s ignorant rants at the dinner table in the Jewish home were not challenged. I cringed when the lit candle sticks were moved to accommodate Akbar. I did not want a pissing contest about whose sorrows were worse. I only would have liked to see proud Jews stick up for themselves, their people, and history. Akbar highjacked the conversation with his prejudice, ignorance and insults. On another subject: Big noses are beautiful anyway! And I thought the Jewish women Erzra dated were quite beautiful too. They were smart enough to recognize a messed up guy when they saw him. Jonah Hill’s character is probably semi-autobiographical anyway. I hope that Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy accept better roles next time. I would love to see Jonah Hill grow as a person and expand his repertoire and not continue to be type cast as the perpetual screw-up and degenerate loser. He is a very gifted actor. I pray that he will explore his own heritage and learn to see the beauty, depth, meaningful traditions, and wisdom that it offers.

    Reply
    • Avatar photo Allison Josephs says on February 13, 2023

      I agree that a woman with a big nose can be beautiful but since the whole movie was full of digs and stereotypes at Jews, it felt like it was coming from there.

      Reply

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