The dictionary defines antisemitism to mean “hostility to or prejudice against Jewish people.” The Anti-Defamation League defines antisemitism as “The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews.”
Sometimes antisemitism is an obviously display of hatred seen when players where swastikas during a game against Jewish students while fans and players yell, “k!ke.” (Best Law Read: Discrimination Should Not Be Tolerated Just Because It’s Against The Jews; Where Does Discrimination Come From?). Sometimes antisemitism is stereotyping by call all Jews cheap or using stereotyped concepts such as “are you trying to Jew me down?” when negotiating. Our religious discrimination attorneys have seen employers refuse to hire or promote Jews while expressly justifying it on historically inaccurate charge the Jews killed Jesus Christ (It was actually the Roman authorities who ordered and carried out the crucifixion of Christ).
Today, I read an article about a 700-year-old statue in Wittenberg, Germany. The statue is called “Judensau,” which translated means “Jew pig.” It is actually illegal in German to call someone Judensau. But it remains cast in stone for everyone to see.
The name is an accurate description as the statue depicts several clearly identifiable Jews suckling the teats of a pig while a rabbi lifts the animal’s tail to look directly into the animal anus. A Jewish slur in inscribed below.
Why is this statue coming up now? For the last two years a German Jewish man has waged a legal battle to have the statue moved from public view into a nearby Martin Luthor museum. The lower court ruled that the statue was not offensive and could remain. In 2020, a German court of appeals in Naumburg held that “in its current context” the sculpture is not of “slanderous character.”
On May 30, 2022, a German federal Court heard oral arguments on this issue. The Presiding Judge Stephan Seiters commented at the hearing that, viewed individually, the statue is “antisemitism chiseled into stone.” However, the question will be considered as whether it can be viewed individually or must be viewed in context of a nearby holocaust memorial.
Respectfully, the small four paver holocaust memorial on the nearby ground is the equivalent of someone starting a conversation, “I don’t hate Jews, but let me tell you…”
In the United States, governments have removed any link to discriminatory history – confederate statues and flags (that don’t even specifically reference race) have been removed – and properly so. The names of slaveholders have been removed from school names. Professional sports franchises have changed their names and mascots. Yet, it in Germany, which initiated the systematic murder of 6 million Jews, they are still debating whether a statue entitled “Jew Pig” should simply be moved – not destroyed – but moved. How is this even a debate?
The Smithsonian Magazine calls this “hatred in plain sight” and it reports that there are over 20 like statues displayed throughout Germany. How can you move forward with respect for all people if the hatred carved in stone stands before you every day?
If there is no excuse for allowing 700-year-old statues, there is no reason for employers to allow the display of any discriminatory pictures, signs, cartoons, caricatures, or other tropes in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers to create or tolerate religious discrimination of any form. Displays of antisemitism will create a hostile working environment. (Best Law Read: What Qualifies A Hostile Work Environment Under Title VII?; What Is A Hostile Work Environment?; Are You Experiencing A Hostile Work Environment?). If an employee reports feeling offended by posted material, employers should not debate how it makes the employee feel or why he or she should not feel that way. Remove the offending material and create a workplace where respect of all employees is expected.
How do I sue for religious discrimination at work:
Best Employment Lawyer Answer: If you feel that you are being discriminated or harassed based on your religion or religious beliefs or that you were wrongfully terminated because of you are Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu or any other religion, the best course of action you can take is to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, you will meet with a religious discrimination attorney, who will be able to tell you what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Call our top attorneys in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo and Raleigh.
The religious discrimination materials available at the top of this employees’ rights blog and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you need information or legal advice regarding your specific claims, contact an employment attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular religious discrimination or other employment law issue or problem. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.