In defense of Jackie Mason

By Joseph Farah

Let’s be honest.

If you criticize Barack Obama today, you run the risk of being labeled a racist.

That’s what comedian and pundit Jackie Mason is facing.

There is no harsher label anyone can possibly endure in 2009 – unless it’s “homophobe.”

I’ve never been called a “racist.”

With good reason.

There is not a racist bone in my body.

But I certainly have been labeled a “homophobe,” because I believe homosexual behavior is immoral – a sin. And I say it. I write it. I publish it.

Jackie Mason is being accused of racism because he referred to Barack Obama as a “schwartza” – a Yiddish word for “black.”

If Barack Obama is not black, I’d really like to know how he is the first black president. I’d like to know why his election Nov. 4 was so historic. I’d like to know why anyone who criticizes him – like Jackie Mason – runs the risk of being labeled “racist.”

For using that Yiddish term, Jackie Mason is being marginalized, stereotyped, demonized.

Jackie Mason has endured this kind of blacklisting before.

He survived it then, and he will survive it in the future.

In 1964, I watched him do his shtick on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Jackie Mason was blacklisted by Ed Sullivan, then the most important man in the entertainment industry, when he performed one of the funniest, ad lib routines I have ever seen.

Signaled by the producers of the most important TV show in the country that he was running short of time for his routine with hand signals, Mason said: “They’re giving me the finger. Well, I’ve got some fingers for you – and you,” he said.

Mason held up various digits on his hand – never holding up the offensive middle single digit finger so many find offensive.

Nevertheless, Ed Sullivan took it personally.

He assumed, from his vantage point, that Jackie Mason had flipped him the bird.

It never happened.

But that was it, for the time being, for Jackie Mason’s comedy career – at least insofar as network television went.

He was blacklisted.

He never appeared on the biggest “shew” on television again, as far as I recall.

It was a tough break for me. Jackie Mason was one of my favorite comedians – right up there with the late Richard Pryor.

Now the blacklisters are at it, again.

They’re trying to silence Jackie Mason.

They’re trying to ostracize him.

They’re trying to paint him as some kind of fringe character.

They’re trying to suggest he is a racist.

I don’t buy it.

Jackie Mason doesn’t like Barack Obama because of his politics – not because of his skin color.

I know this as an Arab-American.

Jackie Mason is a Jew.

He loves Israel.

He doesn’t hate Arabs.

He despises Arabs who want to kill Jews.

He likes me, because I don’t want to kill Jews.

And he likes black people who don’t want to destroy the foundations of American liberty.

It’s just too bad Barack Obama is not a part of that club.

I don’t like Barack Obama, either.

It has nothing to do with his skin color.

It has to do with how he is leading this country – what he wants to do.

Being anti-Obama does not translate to being a racist.

This is a simple fact his proponents are going to have to understand.

This is America.

In America, we have the right – even the duty – to criticize our leaders when they are wrong.

Obama is wrong.

He is following a course that is taking America far, far from its heritage of individual freedom and limited government.

I will oppose him with every fiber of my being for this.

It has nothing to do with the color of his skin.

And I know Jackie Mason feels the same way.

It’s time for the Obama Palace Guard to lighten up – to get a sense of humor.

Jackie Mason is a funny man – someone whose humor relies on spontaneity. Once we eliminate humor from the American culture, we eliminate freedom of expression. Do we really want to live in a country where we all have to watch what we say? Do we want to live in a country where even comedians have to be on guard? Do we want to be a nation that has lost its sense of humor? Do we want to be a nation where political correctness stifles personal freedom?

As Mason says: “(I’m not going to answer) these stupid questions because you’re trying to multiply me into a racist. I’ve called (people) a lot worse – the Jews and the Italians – I don’t worry about what I call people, and if it bothers you you’re a moron. Everybody knows I’m a comedian and I don’t dislike anybody.”

As a friend of Jackie Mason, I will attest to that fact.

The man doesn’t have a hateful bone in his body.

But some people – and I include Barack Obama’s inner circle in this group – want to end dissent in this country. They want people who disapprove of his policies to be very, very careful about every word they utter. They want to keep the American people on the defensive – to express themselves within the strict confines of “political correctness.”

Isn’t that convenient for those in power?

Jackie Mason has lived on this planet for 77 years without being labeled a racist.

He is not a racist.

He is a comedian.

Maybe it’s time for Obama, the most powerful man in America, and his Palace Guard to lighten up – and get a sense of humor.

I stand with Jackie Mason.

Who will stand with me?