An NBC Medical Drama Took Televising Antisemitism to a Whole New Level

AP Photo/Richard Drew

Mainstream television is known for being awfully selective when it comes to who is and who isn’t the bad guy when using real-world examples. Republicans are always greedy, evil, and ignorant. Christians are often crazy nutjobs who have to be shown up by their more calm and rational secular peers, and poor people are always more virtuous and kind than apathetic and short-sighted rich people.

These are tropes that are so overused that they got boring, but now, thanks to NBC we’ve sailed right past boring and gone straight into bigoted and racist.

As you can see from the clip posted by Seffi Kogen, Head of Young Leadership at the American Jewish Committee, NBC’s show “Nurses” had a situation where a basketball-playing Jewish man had to have surgery on his legs in order to get better. This specific surgery requires grafting the tissue of a deceased person into the body of a living person.

The young Jewish man is accompanied by an older Jewish man (his father), and both are against the idea with the older Jewish man voicing his concern that the tissue put inside him could belong to anyone such as an “Arab or a woman.” A female Middle-Eastern nurse nearby, insulted, adds “or God forbid an Arab woman.”

They tell him that if he doesn’t do this then he’ll never play basketball again, to which the Jewish man responds that this is clearly God’s will and that he doesn’t consent.

Kogen makes it clear that in Jewish law, there is nothing that prohibits bone grafting in any way, no matter who the tissue comes from.

“The writers made it up, dressed their actors in Jew-face, and put random extremist nonsense in their mouths,” tweeted Kogen.

This is antisemitism, pure and simple.

The writers of the show clearly have zero knowledge when it comes to Jewish people and painted Jewish people as extraordinarily racist against a group that the media has historically considered a protected group. The old trope of ignorant religious people being bigoted is rearing its ugly head in order to create both drama and, more importantly, a message.

NBC effectively signed off on racism with this move, and in a world where racism against certain groups is becoming more and more accepted, we can see Jewish people are once again being targeted.