There is a Jewish revolution happening on Twitter. While reading my feed this weekend, I noticed one of my Twitter friends had “Judaized” his Twitter handle. I knew neo-Nazis and various bigots recently devised a method of identifying Jewish Twitter users by parenthesizing their names in triplet. So my handle would be, according to your average anti-Semite, (((@ilyses))).
Apparently, they scour Twitter looking for journalists with Jewish sounding last names, so they can harass and intimidate them. You can thank Donald Trump for the increase in aggressive, intimidating tweets that began in April with reporter Julia Ioffe’s @juliaioffe article on Melania Trump for GQ Magazine.
When I recently scrolled through my feed, I noticed a Twitter friend self-Judaize his handle, and I chuckled. Here was a fellow Tribesman identifying and owning his Jewishness proudly, and that was cool and kind of ballsy. So in the spirit of Twitter camaraderie, I complimented him for it.
He then responded back to me saying, “Vu den?” Now I don’t speak German, but I understood. What about you, Ilyse? You gonna add some parenthesis around your name and own it?
It stopped me in my tracks.
The following day, I looked at my feed and noticed some Jewish publications and Jewish journalists Judaized their names. They did this not to make it easier for the haters, but because they are proud and strong of their Jewish character and identity, just like my Twitter friend. But to me, it instinctively felt like slapping a yellow star on my shirt, and THAT makes me shudder.
The question is, do I do it? It is no secret I am Jewish and my followers know it if they have either read my Kveller articles, or read any of my posts around a Jewish holiday. I am very deliberate as to what I will and will not post to protect my privacy. But do I want to take an idea created by people who hate and self identify with their concept? Do I want to wear an ironic yellow star?
If you are on Twitter, do you wear the ironic yellow star? I’m taking an informal, non-scientific poll. You can take it here.