Is Obscenity Jewish?

As much as I'd like to say no, anti-Semites and academics agree on this, that yes, a large number of Jews are prominently associated with obscenity in several ways.

Openly anti-Semitic web sites (such as this one "Sex Plague: The Normalization of Deviance and Depravity" and this one: "Secret Sex Life of the Jews") delight in chronicling the associations of Jews with obscenity, pornography, prostitution and the like. I don't recommend that you visit or read those vile sites, even the ones that represent some modicum of fact and journalism. These sites are run by people who hate Jews for people who hate Jews. Most of us agree that anti-Semitism in and of itself is a terribly obscene activity in any society.

And contrary to the constant stream of conspiratorial accusations of the anti-Semites, it's not a secret that Jews have been and are prominent in sex businesses. They are businesses whose barriers to entry were not high. The sex sector historically attracted Jewish businessmen when Jews were barred by anti-Semites from other industries.

There is significant open and credible academic discussion of this subject in new scholarly publications.

Religion Dispatches writes about one book that deals systematically with the issue of Jews and obscenity, "Jews and Obscenity: Is it a Thing?" in their Sexuality/Gender category.

Rachel Gordon reviews there Josh Lambert’s "Unclean Lips: Jews, Obscenity, and American Culture (Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History)."

She says it, "... is part of a growing body of scholarship on American Jews that’s willing to look where others have politely averted the scholarly gaze." Further she writes,
...In his study, Lambert, a professor of English, provides new angles on the connection of Jews and obscenity, as well as that connection's surprising relationship to eternal questions about Jewish difference: does it exist? what is it? and wherefore?

Unclean Lips covers two aspects of Jewish involvement in obscenity in America: First, the active role of Jews in the promulgation of what may be considered obscene—but secular and impersonal—material. This is not a role that Jews have, historically, cherished. It’s not like, say, the role of Jews in medicine or civil rights or even in Hollywood. Famously Jewish modern purveyors such as Sarah Silverman, Lenny Bruce, Philip Roth, and Larry David amuse the world, but probably embarrass their grandmothers, if not their mothers, as they demonstrate one kind of Jew-obscenity connection. And yet, the test of whether a Jewish mother would take pride in the activity is likely not the standard one wants applied to subjects of academic study.

Second (and here it’s not going out on a limb to suspect that we’re looking at another incarnation of an old anti-Semitic canard), is the gratuitous attribution to Jews, personally, of obscene behavior, notably as the hypersexual figure running through late 19th century literature. Not satisfied with merely amusing their readers or confirming the prejudices of those readers by making the victim of this Jewish satyr's aggression not another Jew, but a Christian, crude fiction became inflammatory propaganda. Here the particular fictional Jew was the villain, but the real victims were all Jews (as if the blood libel weren’t enough)....
One more observation. Jews who want to publish sexually explicit material have been getting this stuff past the censors - well, since biblical times.

I imagine a conversation of two scribes of Israel 2000 years ago about the explicit love poems in Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs:
Scribe Sol: "If we want people to read this, we need to get it into the canon of the Tanakh."

Scribe Irving: "But you know the rabbinic censors will never approve of that."

Scribe Sol: "We'll tell them that Song of Songs is not talking about real women's breasts. Let's tell them those are metaphors for the Sages of Israel, etc.."

Scribe Irving: "Brilliant. Sol, You are a genius."

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