Rare Jew Discovered Without Sense of Humor
Come on, folks. Some jokes are offensive, especially if they involve rape, Holocaust, cancer, or other stereotypes. Other are absolutely harmless. Here's one as shared by the Daily Forward, and decide for yourself:
A Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water. The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn’t have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water. The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he’s back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: “Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant.”
Admittedly, I laughed when I read it, as did many other Jewish people in the audience who heard it. President Obama's national security adviser James Jones began a speech at the 25-year anniversary of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy with this joke. Ad a result, people are mad. They're offended. He called the Hebrew a savvy businessman! The nerve.
So now the question is whether or not it was appropriate for the situation. This implies it's fine to tell behind closed doors, I guess. But it pokes fun at the militant, not the merchant. And it's but a jaunty lampoon of the individuals; there are no religious connotations (the two are even talking to each other without blowing each other up!) or anything to demean an entire race of people.
In fact, latent within the joke is an altruism about the sole trait that separates civilization from militant terrorists: a sense of humor.
So lighten up, anti-defamation league. There are true Jew haters out there; focus your well-meaning energy on them.