February 22, 2020

London Jewish Museum Extends Jewish Stereotypes Exhibition

Photo of the "Jews, Money, Myth" Exhibit in London. Photo from the Jewish Museum London.

The ‘Jews, Money, Myth’ exhibition at the Jewish Museum in London only intended to run until July 7, but “due to popular demand,” it’s being extended to October 17, according to the museum. 

Museum Director Abigail Morris reaffirmed it’s been “a huge success. The feedback and comments have been mostly glowing — except for one visitor who wrote ‘you Jews are all rich.’” 

The museum’s aim is to “debunk a lot of the myths that still circulate today, such as Jews exerting a kind of sinister influence on world events, Jews financing disastrous wars around the world for profit, Jews being naturally drawn to money making,” Exhibition Curator Joanne Rosenthal said. The exhibit encourages visitors to look in a “calm and levelheaded way at the historical realities,” she added.

The display explores the association between Jews and money over the course of 2,000 years — from the Biblical era to the 21st century. The exhibit highlights many of the museum’s own collection of British historical objects, as well as objects from other European countries. “It opens with an entry from the 1933 Oxford English Dictionary that lists one of the definitions of the word ‘Jew’ as a verb meaning ‘to cheat,’” according to an article in The New York Times. 

The exhibit also showcases ancient drawings, sculptures, ceremonial objects, art, film, literature and cartoons that display myths and typical anti-Semitic stereotypes, such as Jews as beggars, peddlers and greedy bankers with large noses. It also shows posters blaming Jews for the Russian Revolution, as well as World War II propaganda. 

“[The exhibit] shows how certain dangerous, even deadly, interpretations emerged and still proliferate around the world,” Morris said. “We are more aware than ever of the importance of providing a safe space to consider and challenge such stereotypes if we are to combat hatred and challenge ignorance.”

The “Jews, Money, Myth” exhibition was created by the Jewish Museum in partnership with the Pears Institute for the study of Anti-Semitism at Birkbeck, University of London. Times of Israel reports Jewish museums in Brussels, Amsterdam, New York, Krakow, Warsaw and Sydney are interested in displaying the exhibit.