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Queens Chronicle

LI Jews stereotyped

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Posted: Thursday, July 4, 2013 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to represent an area of Long Island that has been the location for many famous movies and TV shows, including “Citizen Kane,” “Annie Hall” and the hit television series “Boardwalk Empire.” It’s even the setting for “The Great Gatsby.” Shamefully, it’s also now the location for a show whose characters are disgraceful, misleading, and fuel anti-Semitic stereotypes: “Princesses: Long Island.”

Full disclosure: I kind of enjoy reality TV. “Storage Wars” and “Pawn Stars” are among my guilty pleasures. So the idea of watching a reality show taking place in my own backyard wasn’t so far-fetched. I knew little about “Princesses” before sitting down to watch it.

Much to my dismay, the characters on the show spewed gross generalizations about the living and dating habits of unmarried Jewish women. And the stereotyping didn’t stop there. In one episode, the characters get together for a Shabbat dinner, an important tradition in the Jewish faith and culture. As a Jew, I can say with confidence this dinner was exactly the opposite of what the sacred Sabbath dinner is supposed to be. It was shown in the worst way possible, with excessive drinking and fighting.

The characters do not shy away from any Jewish stereotypes and portray both Jews and Long Islanders in the most unflattering light possible. Yes, I know this is reality TV, but it’s still unacceptable. Jews have spent thousands of years trying to dispel stereotypes. We’ve been repeatedly persecuted based on falsities and gross generalizations. I’ve worked my whole life to combat this type of hatred. And I’m the product of grandparents who came here to escape the hate-driven pogroms of Russia.

Therefore, I will not silently tolerate a show that paints Jewish women as stereotypes — money-hungry, superficial Jewish-American princesses. The characters on the show are welcome to live their lives however they choose, but I don’t want viewers to think they are, in any way, representative of Jews or Long Islanders.

I, for one, will not be watching “Princesses: Long Island.” I hope others will join me in deciding this show is not the type of TV we should support.

Steve Israel
Huntington, LI
The writer is U.S. Congressman for the 3rd District, which includes much of northeastern Queens.

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