I am not Jewish (not one of the Frozen Chosen)
OK, seriously, neither my mother nor my father (or any grandparents or great-grandparents) has, to my knowledge, any Jewish blood or religious heritage. If we do, it must be a very small percentage. I was raised Lutheran and, after annoying family members and former pastors, have since become a typical Ph.D. philosopher agnostic who, having taught philosophy of religion and been exposed to philosophers like Alvin Plantinga and William Alston, to say nothing of Catholic theologians, respects the possibility of being a rational believer. Ethnically I know our family has substantial amounts of English, German, and French blood. Our line of Sangers seems to have come from the New York Sangers, which spawned Margaret Sanger, but I have no known relation to her.
I have nothing whatsoever against Jewish folks. I laughed when someone recently asked me, “Are you one of the Frozen Chosen?” “Huh?” I asked. “You know, Jews from Alaska.” But, for what it’s worth, I have liked virtually every Jewish person I can recall knowing, and for the record, I support the right of the modern state of Israel to exist. Moreover, anti-Semitism has long struck me as weird, but recently I think I’ve come to understand it a little better and now my attitude toward it is that it is completely indefensible.
Nevertheless, as part of the obsession, among some, with finding Jewish conspiracies everywhere, I have apparently been made an honorary Hebrew by idiotic anti-Semites because I helped get Wikipedia started.
If you type the name “Larry Sanger” into Google, the search engine will helpfully suggest the following:
larry sanger net worth [bwa-ha-ha-ha!!!]
larry sanger jewish
larry sanger twitter [how about that? I’m not at all big on Twitter]
larry sanger jew
jimmy wales larry sanger [no comment]
Apparently, people who search for my name often wonder if I am a rich Jew, or they suspect that I am. So let’s see what happens when we search Google for “larry sanger jewish,” shall we?
You’ll no doubt get the idea that, yep, Sanger really must be Jewish. The first result is an article from RadioIslam.org, titled “The Jewish hand behind Internet [sic]” and authored by “Freedom Research.” If you scroll down, you’ll see a picture of me looking awfully Jewish, and the text says, “Larry Sanger, one of the two recognized cofounders, is openly Jewish.” Really? How did they figure that? “In their rabblings of what different famous Jews are doing The Jewish Chronicle mentions Sanger in an article ‘Larry Sanger… creates a new Wikipedia’, The Jewish Chronicle, 26 October 2006, p. 10.” Well, of course, since I was interviewed by a Jewish newspaper, I must be Jewish — openly Jewish. (Not a closet Jew, I guess.) Also, if Jimmy Wales is Jewish, that’s news to me. I’m pretty sure he isn’t, but I’m sure there’s a lot about Jimmy Wales I don’t know. Once I tried to contact RadioIslam.org to tell them to remove my name from the piece. I received no reply. I did notice that they added the following near the beginning of their screed:
WARNING: Please note that the contents of some of the sites with revealing Jewish material we have linked to below, may be altered by the Jews in the future. Perhaps even information contrary to this document and Radio Islam will replace the original material we had linked to. This has happened before and for our part just illustrates the level of Jewish dishonesty.
Anyway, citing this clearly unimpeachable source, a number of other sources have said that I am Jewish. There is even a Facebook page, “Wikipedia run by Jewish Zionists” (text from the RadioIslam.org article), among various forum comments that proclaim my Jewishness, with zero actual evidence.
Now, I would ignore all this stupidity, as any sensible person would, but I find it quite funny, and–I admit it–I like proving people wrong. If I can deflate and mock some anti-Semites, by golly, what fun!
If I were a little more clever, I might add something profound to say about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, but what really would be the point? Anti-Semites are banal and stupid, so there’s not much to say, as far as I’m concerned. Of course they’re going to say that there is a “Jewish hand” behind the Internet. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly.
By the way–Happy New Year!
About the author
I call myself an "Internet Knowledge Organizer." I started Wikipedia.org, Citizendium.org, WatchKnowLearn.org, ReadingBear.org, and Infobitt. I write about education and the Internet from a broadly philosophical point of view.