Saturday, November 24, 2012

Akin Gump: Anti-Semitic Stereotyping

In early March 1989 Eastern Airlines pilots went on strike.  The law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where I worked as a paralegal at the time, represented Eastern in its ongoing labor disputes with its unions.

Eastern pilots picketed at Washington National Airport.  Two Akin Gump paralegals, Jesse Raben and Phil Feigen, were sent by the firm to videotape the striking pilots at Washington National.

Some time later, another legal assistant Stacey Schaar was assigned the task of reviewing the videotapes.  I shared office space with Stacey Schaar.  I remember her carting the TV to the office and watching the tapes (as well as Regis and Kathy Lee).  She referred several times to Raben and Feigen as "the two monkeys."  "Oh, look at the two monkeys.  Don't they look like a pair of monkeys."

Oddly enough, I recently learned that referring to Jews as monkeys is a traditional expression of Islamic anti-Semitism.

It has been argued that the conventional Muslim epithets for Jews, apes, and Christians, pigs derive from Quranic usage. Lewis adduces three passages in the Quran used to ground this view. The interpretation of these 'enigmatic' passages in Islamic exegetics is highly complex, dealing as they do with infractions like breaking the Sabbath. According to Goitein, the idea of Jewish Sabbath breakers turning into apes may reflect the influence of Yemeni midrashim. Firestone notes that the Qurayza tribe itself is described in Muslim sources as using the trope of being turned into apes if one breaks the Sabbath to justify not exploiting the Sabbath in order to attack Mohammad, when they were under siege.

The Quran states that wretchedness and baseness were stamped upon the Jews, and they were visited with wrath from Allah, that was because they disbelieved in Allah's revelations and slew the prophets wrongfully. And for their taking usury, which was prohibited for them, and because of their consuming people's wealth under false pretense, a painful punishment was prepared for them. The Quran requires their "abasement and poverty" in the form of the poll tax jizya. In his "wrath" God has "cursed" the Jews and will turn them into apes/monkeys and swine and idol worshipers because they are "infidels".

Two verses later we read: "And remember, Children of Israel, when We made a covenant with you and raised Mount Sinai before you saying, "Hold tightly to what We have revealed to you and keep it in mind so that you may guard against evil." But then you turned away, and if it had not been for Allah's grace and mercy, you surely would have been among the lost. And you know those among who sinned on the Sabbath. We said to them, "You will be transformed into despised apes." So we used them as a warning to their people and to the following generations, as well as a lesson for the Allah-fearing." The accusation that Jews will ultimately be transformed into apes and pigs is traditionally understood literally and is derived from such Quranic and other early Muslim sources.

American academic Bernard Lewis and others have charged that standard antisemitic themes have become commonplace in the publications of Arab Islamic movements such as Hizbullah and Hamas, in the pronouncements of various agencies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and even in the newspapers and other publications of Refah Partisi, the Turkish Islamic party whose head served as prime minister in 1996–97." Lewis has also written that the language of abuse is often quite strong, arguing that the conventional epithets for Jews and Christians are apes and pigs, respectively.

In a speech delivered by Egyptian Salafi Islamic scholar Muhammad Hussein Yacoub which aired on Al-Rahma TV on January 17, 2009, he stated:
"We must believe that our fighting with the Jews is eternal, and it will not end until the final battle...You must believe that we will fight, defeat, and annihilate them, until not a single Jew remains on the face of the Earth...As for you Jews – the curse of Allah upon you. The curse of Allah upon you, whose ancestors were apes and pigs. You Jews have sown hatred in our hearts, and we have bequeathed it to our children and grandchildren. You will not survive as long as a single one of us remains...Oh Jews, may the curse of Allah be upon you. Oh Jews... Oh Allah, bring Your wrath, punishment, and torment down upon them. Allah, we pray that you transform them again, and make the Muslims rejoice again in seeing them as apes and pigs. You pigs of the earth! You pigs of the earth! You kill the Muslims with that cold pig of yours."


Gary Freedman said...

1. Stacey Schaar referred to me several times as "a fag."

2. In early August 1989 she said to me: "We're all afraid of you. We're all afraid you're going to buy a gun, bring it in and shoot everybody."

Note the projection of both erotic and aggressive impulses.

Gary Freedman said...

About another paralegal Stacey Schaar once said:

"I spent the entire afternoon working with Gary Zanfagna. He has no personality at all. The afternoon just dragged on and on."

Gary Zanfagna was a friend of Jesse Raben's.

Apparently getting on Stacey Schaar's hit list is a good thing!!

Gary Freedman said...

Level 3 Communications ( Akin Gump 0 returning visits
Washington, District Of Columbia, United States

(No referring link)
26 Nov 10:08:52 AM — "akin gump" #11
26 Nov 10:08:53 AM

Anonymous said...

Not true!!