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Anti-Semitism: Hiring a Jewish Lawyer?


Check out this story, about an ex-NBA player getting suspended for saying he hired a Jewish lawyer because they are crafty and shrewd,

I’ve got big-time lawyers,” Richardson said, according to the Times Union. “I’ve got big-time Jew lawyers.”

When told by the reporters that the comment could be offensive to people because it plays to the stereotype that Jews are crafty and shrewd, he responded with, “Are you kidding me? They are. They’ve got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They’re real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they’ve got to be crafty.”

And he continued, “They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean?” he said. “Which I think is great. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they’re run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they’re run by Jewish. It’s not a knock, but they are some crafty people.”

What are everyone’s thoughts on this? Clearly, it doesn’t seem like he had any intent to make a derogatory statement, but it came across that way. People say much worse things about Muslims but its not even anywhere in the neighborhood of being considered offensive. Maybe its a sign of our lack of craftiness ;)

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Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters and Qalam Institute. He teaches Islamic seminars across the US including Khateeb Workshop and Fiqh of Social Media. He has served in varying administrative capacities for multiple national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow his work at



  1. AnonyMouse

    March 29, 2007 at 5:14 PM

    Man, I wish people would say that about Muslims!!!!!

  2. Amad

    March 29, 2007 at 5:23 PM

    I don’t know…. crafty and shrewd aren’t the most endearing adjectives. These words do involve some stereotyping so I can see why it would be offensive to Jews.

    It’s funny though that many Muslims would gladly accept these insults (that have positive connotations of smartness) in lieu of the terrorism, misogyny and other grander stereotyping of Muslims occurring on a daily basis. Not surprising… we are just way behind, and much more expendable… but at least we have Islam on our side :)

  3. anonymous

    March 29, 2007 at 11:35 PM

    LOL, I can’t believe some people actually go on record with idiotic stuff like that. And the reporters even gave him a chance to try to explain it away. Some people just never learn :)

  4. anonymous

    March 29, 2007 at 11:35 PM

    I like the new layout by the way. Nice :D

  5. Ruth Nasrullah

    March 30, 2007 at 12:46 PM

    Oy vey…wait a minute, Michael Richardson? Any relation to Michael Richards? Just kidding.

    I think his comments were derogatory. Crafty and shrewd implies sneaky and manipulative.

    Even if you say things about people that you think are true, if you use stereotypes and generalize them to a group, it’s bigotry. That’s especially true if it’s stereotypes that are negative – like saying blacks like watermelon and fried chicken and then protesting that gosh, it’s true, I see them eating it all the time, I don’t mean to be offensive – if you use a negative stereotype, it is derogatory. Even if you think it’s factual, there’s nothing to be gained by saying it publicly.

  6. Miako

    May 12, 2008 at 4:47 PM

    Yeah… that’s not what you want to be saying. as in NO, Do Not Say That.

    It’s clear he wasn’t trying to be offensive.

    And yes, there are worse things to have said, many of which get used against Muslims.

  7. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 12, 2008 at 8:12 PM

    I think it’s simply a matter of the words used – he used crafty, which kind of makes me think of deception, but had he said, “They’re intelligent and business-savvy, and it shows”, it would have fit the positive message he was trying to say. Words like shrewd, crafty, sneaky, and so forth imply an intelligence in deception to achieve one’s ends.


  8. Armani

    January 6, 2009 at 2:34 PM


  9. Wasiq

    September 28, 2009 at 5:53 PM

    Miako wrote: “And yes, there are worse things to have said, many of which get used against Muslims.”

    Well, some of us live up to our stereotypes whether Jew, Christian or Muslim. That’s why religion is a stupid tool that evil people use to divide and conquer us. Why is there no Muslim who gets angry and speaks out against other people being bombed and killed whether they are Jew, Christian or Muslim??? It’s crazy when we as Muslims do not speak out against this abomination! Therefore, there is only one conclusion people can take from that — Islam is a political movement and NOT a religion. Why are we so shocked people say such derogatory things against Muslims when supposedly good Muslims do nothing to change the negative perception??

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