By Zaid Jilani – Alternet.org
It is sadly common to see grassroots conservatives engage in Islamophobia – it’s one of the most acceptable types of hate for the modern Republican Party. One way of spreading this hate is to mock Muslims with pigs or pork.
Here’s one example, posted on the day of the Paris attacks, highlighted by Bloomberg’s Dave Weigel:
And here’s another, this one posted by far-right radio personality and GOP activist Erick Erickson:
What these individuals don’t seem to know is that they’re trafficking in what actually began as an ancient anti-semitic trope. Muslims don’t consume pork for the same reason many religious Jews don’t – they follow a version of kosher rules.
For centuries, these kosher rules were used by anti-semitic movements to compare Jews to pigs or to taunt Jews with pork.
In the book Anti-Semitic Stereotypes: A Paradigm of Otherness in English Popular Culture, 1660-1830, the author notes that English schoolboys would taunt Jews with a chant, “Get a bit of pork/Stick it on a fork/And give it to a Jew boy, a Jew.” In German culture, there was a popular concept of the “Judensau,” depicting Jews suckling from a pig; the bigoted imagery was so common it was even placed on churches to keep Jews away. Pope Leo VII called Jews “pigs,” and during the Inquisition, the Spanish Jews were actually called “marrano” referring to a one-year old pig.
It is bad enough that some American conservatives are okay with trafficking in anti-Muslim hate, but they appear to be unknowingly dredging up an ancient anti-semitic trope as well, and are too ignorant to even realize that.