Yesterday, two separate people texted me asking if I'd see the D.C. Councilman, Trayon White Sr., who blamed the Rothschild's for manipulating the weather in Washington and causing recent snowstorms. And I'm like -- dammit, I just wanted to enjoy my weekend. But alas:
“Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” he says. “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”Okay, first of all, as a long-time resident of the DC metro area, I can attest that I don't care one bit about snowfall -- the weather pattern that's worth developing a conspiracy over is our 95 degree/9000% humidity summers. That's hell on earth. Second, I don't think we've had a weather-related entry in this series since Jews created the tsunami that hit the Fukushima reactor in Japan, so way to give us a throw-back!
Anyway, because I'm old and slow and can't respond to things how I used to, I wasn't able to blog on this until after Councilman White issued his apology.
I actually really like this one. Let me explain why.
The first reason I like it is based on something perhaps not evident in the four corners of the apology itself, but which I've confirmed from other sources: White took it upon himself to reach out to Jews United for Justice (a DC-area Jewish group) to ask them what he had done wrong and how he should make amends. Now, just to be clear, this is not an "I-have-Jewish-friends" defense (that's bad). It wasn't even "after Jews reached out to me, I realized I was wrong" (better). It's "after realizing I hurt them, I took it upon myself to take the initiative and reach out to Jews to figure out what I should do better" (best).
But the bigger reason I like it is that it commits to the idea that White needs to learn. Yes, we can roll our eyes at the prospect that someone is utterly unaware of how "Rothschild" stands in for antisemitic conspiracies. But even if they somehow managed to be ignorant on the subject, that's no excuse unless it's coupled with a recognition that one clearly needs to learn more if one is to be a good ally to Jews. And that's what this apology does quite well. It speaks of how JUFJ is "helping me to understand," and that he is "committed to figuring out ways [to] continue to be allies with them." It doesn't claim that he's already exemplary on the subject, and that the video was some inexplicable blurt that shouldn't sully an otherwise perfect record. The contrast to, say, the Harvard Law Student who gave a decent apology for allegedly inadvertent antisemitism but didn't indicate that he thought he had more to learn on the subject is striking, and cuts strongly in White's favor.
One thing that it is often hard to remember for for those of us committed to fighting antisemitism is that our end-goal isn't to fight antisemitism, it's to beat it. And one corollary of that goal, then, is that any campaign against antisemitism worth its salt has to account for -- indeed, actively desire -- the possibility that some people who said or believe genuinely antisemitic things will, at some later date, change their minds. Put another way, we have to have strategies through which, when encountering antisemitism, we actually change minds. Naz Shah is a great example of how much power can emerge when this works.
I'm not saying that Councilor White has earned his stripes yet. That remains to be seen based on what he does going forward; one apology (even a genuine one) issued in the moment will not and should not suffice.
But it's a start. And as a start, it's a pretty good.