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Do Jews still have a place in American society?

“Top Story” with Jonathan Tobin and guest Jeffrey Gurock, Ep. 124

In this week’s episode of “Top Story,” JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin discusses the way woke ideologies have mainstreamed antisemitism.

More than that, the racial and ethnic quotas that are the inevitable result of diversity, equity and inclusion mandates are the opposite of equal opportunity. They are a throwback to early 20th-century antisemitic quotas that were instituted at elite universities.

That is part of the context for a discussion about a new book about Marty Glickman, an American Jewish sports hero of the 1930s, and later, a famed broadcaster who was subjected to discrimination in his career, especially at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Tobin is joined by historian Jeffrey Gurock of Yeshiva University, whose new book, Marty Glickman: The Life of an American Jewish Sports Legend, discusses the obstacles faced by Jews in that era.

According to Gurock, acceptance of Jews in sports is a barometer for their inclusion in American society. He says that after the Oct. 7 Hamas atrocities in Israel and subsequent surge in antisemitism, the question of Jewish acceptance and the memory of historical Jew-hatred is more important than ever.

Gurock also points out a clear connection to the antisemitism that Glickman faced in the Hitler-run 1936 Berlin games and the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Avery Brundage, the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1936, deprived Glickman and another Jewish sprinter, Sam Stoller, of their opportunity to win almost certain gold medals. Later, it was Brundage who dismissed the massacre of Israelis as insufficient to stop the summer games in 1972 or to honor the victims’ memories appropriately.

While Gurock acknowledged the dire state of affairs with antisemitism on the rise, he believes that the sports world, where outcomes are objectively rather than subjectively determined by equity, demonstrates that Jews have far more allies in 2023 than they did in 1936. That can be seen, he said, in the way professional teams have expressed solidarity with Israel. That is a bright spot in an otherwise dark time.

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