Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman reacts to attack on 'alt-right' leader

Footage of the punch went viral and inspired a variety of memes and remixed videos featuring music for comic effect.

By GABE FRIEDMAN/JTA
January 23, 2017 21:45
3 minute read.
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute.

White nationalist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

It seemed like something that might possibly unite the Jews: Richard Spencer — figurehead for the infamously white nationalist “alt-right” movement — was punched in the face at an anti-Trump inauguration protest on Saturday.

While giving an interview to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Spencer was explaining the meaning of the Pepe the Frog symbol — a formerly harmless cartoon co-opted by the “alt-right” during the campaign season that the Anti-Defamation League has since entered into its hate symbol database. A masked man then appeared and punched Spencer in the side of the face before running away. Spencer didn’t press charges.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


For some tweeters, the moment was the perfect opportunity to mock the maligned movement leader. Footage of the punch went viral and inspired a variety of memes and remixed videos featuring music for comic effect.
But as The New York Times pointed out, the incident also sparked a debate on whether it is OK to punch someone, even if that person is a neo-Nazi. (Spencer has repeatedly said, as he did again on Saturday to the Times, that he is not a Nazi and that the term is outdated.)

In the midst of that debate, Spencer found an unlikely defender: liberal Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman.

Silverman tweeted that the man who punched Spencer was “wildly misguided” and lamented that the attacker would never be open to learning about non-violence.
Silverman then proceeded to respond to several tweeters who took issue with her.



On Sunday night, Silverman revealed that she wasn’t fully aware that Spencer (and not some random Trump supporter) was the one who was punched and appeared to backtrack on whether he should have been hit.


Eventually, Silverman deleted her original tweet about the “misguided” man. But by the end of the night she felt pretty exasperated from the extensive debate.

Related Content

Congress
August 16, 2018
Congressional candidate who called Israel ‘apartheid regime,’ wins primary

By RON KAMPEAS/JTA