Christian nationalist Andrew Torba is putting a new spin on the Jews despoiling Christmas trope. Torba, the founder of Gab and an ultraconservative web commentator, has discovered something akin to Columbus discovering America … Jews are responsible for some of the greatest, most revered and enduring Christmas songs ever written. And that pisses him off!
Blaming Jews for destroying Christmas is not a new phenomena amongst nativists and conservative Christians. Early in the last century, in a publication titled The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem,Henry Ford wrote: “Last Christmas most people had a hard time finding Christmas cards that indicated in any way that Christmas commemorated Someone's Birth.” Ford’s musings were part of a widely distributed set of anti-Semitic articles published in the automobile magnate’s newsweekly during the 1920s. “People sometimes ask why 3,000,000 Jews can control the affairs of 100,000,000 Americans. In the same way that ten Jewish students can abolish the mention of Christmas and Easter out of schools containing 3,000 Christian pupils.”
According to Religion News Service’s Bob Smietana, In a Nov. 21 episode of his ‘Parallel Christian Society Podcast,’ Torba, co-author of Christian Nationalism: A Biblical Guide For Taking Dominion and Discipling Nations, “expressed his dismay at learning that many popular Christmas songs were written by American Jews.”
On his show, Torba theorized that “Christmas songs written by Jewish songwriters [w]as a means to secularize and de-Christianize the holiday, while simultaneously expressing pride in Jewish identity.”
Smietana pointed out that (https://religionnews.com/2023/12/07/rudolph-and-the-plot-to-ruin-christmas-and-america-too/)
“Drawing mainly from a review of ‘A Kosher Christmas’ in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz dating to 2012, Torba recounted how many of the season’s most popular songs [including] “White Christmas” [by Irving Berlin], “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas [by Johnny Marks], and “Let it Snow” [by Sammy Cahn and July Styne] were written by Jews.”
As Kveller’s Maddy Albert noted in her December 2020 piece titled “11 Iconic Christmas Songs That Were Written By Jews,” (https://www.kveller.com/11-iconic-christmas-songs-that-were-written-by-jews/) the four songs mentioned above are the tip of the Holiday iceberg.
For the record, here are a few more Christmas/Holiday flavored songs discussed by Albert:
- “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” by pop-jazz singer Mel Torme;
- “Santa Baby” by Joan Javits and Phil Springer, two composers;
- “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by George Wyle and Eddie Pola, two writers and musicians;
- “Silver Bells” by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, musical partners that met in college;
- In addition to Rudolph, Marks also wrote “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Silver and Gold”;
- “Walkin’ In a Winter Wonderland” by Felix Bernard, a Jewish composer and conductor, along with his non-Jewish colleague, Richard B. Smith.
Andrew Torba’s contended that these songs are aimed at kicking Christ out of Christmas, and turning the celebration of the birth of Jesus (not so coincidentally a Jew) into a winter holiday.. “Knowing this, how could you allow your household to be filled with this music?” Torba asked his listeners.
Torba also fulminated against Hanukkah, wondering why American presidents celebrate it. “Wow, incredible, incredible, how this happened,” he said. “In a Christian nation, it takes this relatively minor Jewish holiday and turns it into this prominent holiday that is celebrated in our White House. Isn’t that something?”
For those unfamiliar with Hanukkah, it is a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BCE.
So what’s up with all these holiday songs written by Jews?
Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, told RNS’ Smietana that these songs “are more in the tradition of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ than in the tradition of ‘Silent Night,’” he said.
Smietana noted that “Jonathan Karp, who teaches history and Jewish studies at Binghamton University, said there’s no conspiracy involved with the success of Jewish writers of Christmas carols. Jewish songsmiths such as Irving Berlin wrote Christmas songs thinking Americans’ popular performers wanted them.
“Karp said many Jews worked in Tin Pan Alley, the collection of songwriters and publishers that flourished in midtown Manhattan from the late 1800s to the mid-1990s, as well as in the theaters and venues where live music was performed.”
If Torba has a problem with Jews composing Christmas songs and Christians avidly listening to them, what will he say when he learns that it was a Jewish man, Albert Sadacca, “whose Jewish family emigrated from Turkey,” and “helped develop electric Christmas lights and helped found one of the largest Christmas light manufacturers in America,” according to David Naar, associate professor of Jewish studies at the University of Washington in Seattle (https://www.bunkhistory.org/resources/perspective-christmas-lights-brought-to-you-by-a-jew-from-the-muslim-world).
Will Torba suggest that in addition to denuding your Christmas/Holiday playlist of any songs written by Jews, you should shut down any lighting displays?