From the pages of Crank
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How About That Anti-Semitism in Star Trek?
By Don Frew
I began wondering what happened to the Jews in Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future. First, I dismissed the question–after all, plenty of cultures and religions are noticeably absent from Star Trek. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Jews are present in Star Trek in the form of the Ferengi, everyone’s favorite greedy schemesters. And I was shocked to realize that the Ferengi fulfill just about every stereotype attributed to the Jews by Nazis.
Key points about the Ferengi:
iShort, swarthy, and shifty-eyed
iNoted for their oversized facial features
iWalk with a bent-over, loping gait
iWidely known as crafty and cunning, rather than intelligent
iAll males wear distinctive headgear
iA wandering group of people
iGreedy and untrustworthy, obsessed with the accumulation of mercantile profit
iMerchants, moneylenders, and tavern keepers
iFollow an explicit, multipoint plan for the advancement of their group, generally at the expense of others
iMales lust after “human” women
iRepeatedly attempt to ingratiate themselves into “human” society through flattery and bribes
iSuspected of cannibalism
iThey are portrayed as a threat to “our” society, but this threat is not very credible and used primarily as an excuse to oppress and discriminate against them
iThe Ferengi are governed by a council of elders which is headed by “the Nagus.” In Jewish history, the head of a clan or tribe, the head of the Sanhedrin, and the president of the current state of Israel have all been referred to as “the Nasi.”
iThe producers have almost exclusively cast Jewish actors as Ferengi.
iThe Ferengi are outsiders in Federation space. They are distrusted and, in many instances, hated. Jews, for their part, have endured much of the same treatment, especially at the hands of Arabs. The Arabic word for “foreigner” is “Al-ferengi.”
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