Marissa Brostoff and Noah Kulwin wrote an opinion piece about the Epstein scandal in the self-described leftist outlet Jewish Currents. Entitled “The Right Kind of Continuity,” the article is a ‘who is to blame’ piece. Is Epstein’s scandal peculiarly Jewish? If so, which Jews are to blame? Not surprisingly, their analysis finds a few very rich and generally right wing Jews guilty.First the authors point to the number of Jews seemingly involved with Epstein, even noting that Woody Allen was the first name in Epstein’s little Black Book. But they dismiss the significance of the disproportionate number of Jews friendly with Epstein, concluding that since “[a]fter all, Epstein’s friends also included plenty of prominent non-Jews (Donald Trump, for instance),” Jews were not particularly to blame.
Instead, the authors find that Epstein presents a ‘Jewish’ scandal because most of the men alleged to have financed his operation are Jewish. Epstein was not, as this article and many others describe him, a ‘financier,’ a term Oxford defines as “[a] person concerned in the management of large amounts of money on behalf of [others].” As of now it is unclear if and how much money Epstein was ever authorized to invest. Epstein was a taker of money, and was long tied to billionaire Leslie Wexner and with a number of other wealthy Jews including Leon Black of Apollo Global Management and Glenn Dubion of Highbridge Capital.
Why did these wealthy men finance Epstein? Most have speculated that Epstein ran an intelligence operation or that he was blackmailing his benefactors. The authors take a different approach. They point out that Wexner, along with other Jewish billionaires such as Adelson and Bronfman (neither of whom are connected to Epstein) , have given hundreds of millions of dollars to Jewish charities that fight assimilation. Apparently these men believe that ‘Jewish continuity’ is declining among American Jews as evidenced by statistics that “synagogue membership and affinity for Israel were in decline, interfaith marriage was up, and Jewish fertility rates were down.”
This claim is dubious, The Jerusalem Post recently noted that the rate of participation in Jewish Life by American Jews has been “remarkably stable”, and that the children of intermarried couples identify as Jews at the incredible rate of 80%.
But Steven M. Cohen, academic and demographer for Jewish charities, produced countless statistical reports of assimilation for wealthy donors emphasizing that “if they wanted American Jewish life to continue, they would have to prioritize the goals of “creating more Jewish marriages and filling more Jewish baby carriages.” (Cohen was himself dismissed from Hebrew Union College last year following accusations of serial sexual harassment.)
Reproduction, the article claims, both biological and social, is at the heart of ‘Jewish continuity’ programming.
In the weirdest story to emerge from the Epstein scandal, the New York Times wrote that Epstein was desperate to replicate himself and planned to use his New Mexico compound to fulfill his desire “to seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating [large numbers of] women...” The article claims Epstein’s desire for clones was different only in degree from the ‘Jewish continuity project, finding little difference between Epstein reproducing himself and the Jewish establishment that “poured millions of dollars into [reproducing] its own image.” After all, the authors ask, “Which is the greater narcissism?”
After finding the financial backers of ‘Jewish continuity’ guilty of self love, the authors present an extraordinary argument. They claim that since Jewish continuity requires women to gestate reproductions of Jewish men, all women are reduced to reproductive units, and that “the focus on reproductive project ha[s] continued ... to enable the abuses that come along with it.” That is; all that money focused on replicating themselves had the effect of viewing women as baby making machines and that this characterization of Jewish women accounts for the sexual atrocities perpetrated by Epstein and his cohorts. This is, I think, too large a leap. How is it that the desire for more Jewish babies leads to abuse of women?
Where is the connection between fighting assimilation and having sexual encounters with underage non Jewish girls? Further, how do they explain the wealthy Jews involved with Epstein who have no connection to the Jewish continuity project ?
Why do the authors make this peculiar claim based on so little evidence? My guess is that the authors identify as Jewish, but they do not want to bear any responsibility for the behavior of some other Jews. They establish their innocense and that of most other Jews by sectioning off just a small number of very wealthy Jews and, finding them peculiarly focused on reproduction, claim they are prone to acts of sexual abuse. This makes the Epstein scandal not a Jewish problem, but a narcissistic fault in just a few Jews.
More likely, Epstein and many others operated with a sense of impunity. Some of these people were, as the article points out, enamored with reproducing themselves. The only connection I can see between Jewish continuity and Epstein is that the focus on Judaism might have contributed to the apparent belief among some Jews that non Jews are not important and that mistreatment of them is not a problem.
When I wrote this article, Epstein was alive and well in the hands of MCC. Now that Epstein committed suicide, and we have no information on whether he left behind any little Epsteins.