I couldn't stand by and watch these losers spew hate ... so I did something about it.
There's not a lot of love for us Jews these days. Whether we're one percent Jewish or one hundred, nasty remarks about being Jewish abound all over the internet. Many regard Lena Dunham's essay, "Dog Or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz" for The New Yorker's humor section to be not so humorous; it's actually quite anti-semitic despite the actress and writer's Jewish roots.
Daily Show host Trevor Noah was also called out for some of his off-color tweets about Jews. I kind of thought that since it's 2015, anti-semitism would be out of fashion. Apparently, it's become more in taste to bash Jews.
Yes, Jews are known for our self-deprecation and dark humor, so (to be fair) when it comes to funny, it's hard to say what behavior is simply dark humor, self-hating Jewishness, or simple anti-semitism.
But when sentiments are clearly anti-semitic, it is wicked.
As a writer of divorce, I expect people to sometimes be thrilled and sometimes be angered by my essays. I wrote a piece for The New York Times about how difficult it has been for my four-year-old to adjust to the divorce. The response was highly emotional, but eventually turned into cyberbullying.
Many people supported me in their comments and questions, yet a few others made drastically huge assumptions based on their vivid imaginations and own angry experience with divorce, whether they were children of divorce or divorced individuals.
Folks suggested my kid didn't see her dad enough, although they are totally ignorant to the fact that we parent her on a 50/50 custody schedule. Others suggested my ex and I just gave up and threw in the towel on marriage, not knowing we attempted marriage counseling more than three times in our marriage.
I brushed these comments off because you can't please everyone as a writer and also, divorce is an emotional experience. I understood many comments were made from people's own heartaches or curiosities of my situation, comparing my experience to theirs with no intention of making things personal.
What I could not brush aside, however, was one man who wrote a blog about me. But it was no mere blog; it was a hate paragraph, complete with a Venn diagram, expounding on how I'm an awful writer, terrible feminist, and despicable human being for writing about divorce and profiting from it.
Apparently, all of us evil feminists are out to destroy marriage and men, one marriage at a time.
See, I didn't get this memo, didn't marry or divorce for money, and my house isn't in foreclosure. If I had known the master plan of feminists and women today is to destroy the institution of marriage and earn lots of money, I would have married wealthy (kidding).
The blog, made by a very-angry-nobody-special — though he apparently doesn't realize this sad fact — was really just a blip on the radar. But out of curiosity, I scrolled through the comments under the posts, which were plenty and came upon a little cult of anti-Semites and women-haters.
"Jewish women are the worst in divorce!"
The Jewess-hating began. And in the process, the very educated commenters started to mock and laugh at my last name, Lifshitz.
"Is that even a real last name?" asked one winner.
I felt as if I had walked into an Internet version of awkward, angry pubescent boys in a middle school cafeteria. I could smell the testosterone and insecure penis complexes by the ton.
Freud would have diagnosed these men with mother issues right off the bat.
The anti-Jewish comments steamed me. If you don't like my writing, say something interesting, educated, and critical about my work rather than just, "Uh, duh, bad writing ... scratches head ... feminists are ruining marriage." Don't start to slam the fact that one half of my family is entirely (to my knowledge) Jewish.
The anti-feminism comments disgusted me at a whole other level. To blame the women's movement for divorce is not only too easy and completely problematic, but it also erases male blame and the male voice!
Women don't have all the power. If we did, we would get paid the same as men, am I right? Besides, since when did people buy into the "black widow spider" trope?
All this women-bashing accomplished on this little hate rant was to conclude that there are a bunch of angry men hanging out together on this planet, hating women and feeling sorry for themselves.
Is that transformative? Does that "save" marriage if it indeed needs to be saved? Does that help create real dialogue between men and women about gender roles and marriage?
Then, when the men got bored of their anger, they decided it would be appropriate to trash my appearance by stalking me on my Facebook page; after all, they're legitimate beings and "writers."
All moral human beings trash others. It's very Christian-like, right? Nope. They enumerated on the multiple plastic surgery needs I had (apparently my eyes could use some work!) and claimed that my "forced poses" and smiles made me look empty inside because women are hollow creatures desperate for angry idiots with little boy complexes to fill us up and make us "whole" again.
It's funny how even if you're a talented and smart female, there will always be someone bringing the conversation back to your looks, as if that's all we are here to do.
(Just smile and look pretty, ladies. Don't worry about your character.)
Bottom line? The issues and "destruction" reside within my Internet bullies, not me.
I had enough reading and decided to write an article condemning these boys for their hate trail. I know I will never change these delusional folks for the good, and in the real world they are about as important to me as a piece of my lint on my rug.
But no group of men — no group of anyone — has the right to slander or produce hate statements against any groups of people, whether it's women, Jews, people of color, LGBT individuals, Christians, Muslims, etc.
There is a difference between freedom of speech and destruction of character.
Simply put, if you can't add anything compelling and respectful to the conversation, zip it and keep it to your own little group.
If I didn't say anything at all and simply turned a blind eye to these acts of hate, wouldn't I just be like every other person who witnesses a crime but refuses to call the police?
This wasn't going to be me, so I spoke out. Did I change their minds? No, but I confirmed mine and let my liberal, feminist, half-Jewish, all humanist voice be heard ... and that's what counts.