Bye Bye Joan?

March 2, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
Read on for article

Internationally-renowned Jewish comedienne Joan Rivers may have distanced herself permanently from her Jewish fan base after using a line referring to Germans “pushing Jews into the ovens”.


Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers

The comment came during an episode of her own TV show “Fashion Police” when she remarked on a dress worn by German supermodel Heidi Klum.

Her full comment was “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens”.

Peter Wertheim, executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, told J-Wire: “Joan Rivers should retract her comments and issue an apology immediately.  Her pathetic attempt on live television to make light of the Holocaust and her subsequent statement that her “joke” was a way of educating people about the Holocaust were ignorant, shallow and tasteless.  She was neither funny nor educational.  Such statements are utterly offensive, especially to  Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and reflect very poorly upon anyone who makes them.”

Anna Berger, president of the The Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors & Descendants added: “Joan Rivers has outdone herself. In one short sentence, she has managed to cause maximum offence. Trivialising the industrialised murder of millions of Jews should not be the stuff of comedy. It isn’t funny. Nor is it OK just because Joan Rivers is herself a Jew. It is hurtful to Holocaust survivors and their families and offensive to all decent people. She really should have the guts to admit that she misjudged, that she was wrong and to apologise.”

Media reports state that Rivers’ co-hosts on the program were “doubled over with laughter” after she cracked the ‘joke’.

Rivers told The Hollywood Reporter that “my husband lost the majority of his family at Auschwitz and I can assure you that I have always made it a point to remind people of the Holocaust through humor.”



20 Responses to “Bye Bye Joan?”
  1. Michael says:

    I now one think Joan Rivers all ways drunk few years ago came to Australia for the loges she cull not speak Yes she should apologies

  2. Paul Winter says:

    I think that I may once have heard of Joan Rivers. She was a nobody as far as I was concerned and now she is much less than that. Her comments were stupid, insensitive, grossly offensive in their tastlessness, extremely disrespectful and vastly obscene. I doubt if the Hungarians who beat my uncle to a pulp, hospitalised him and then set fire to the hospital looked hot. Nor do I think that the Arrow Cross who told those of us who could not be moved due to age or illness, that they would return to shoot us, were “hot” either. My late mother often repeated a saying among Hungarian Jews: When Jews are stupid, they are really stupid.

    The calls for an apology by the ECAJ and the Holocaust Survivors and Descendents are comprehensive, dignified and a waste of breath. People as pathetically and pathologically stupid and sadistic – and trivialising agony while glorifying the perpetrators of horrors is sadistic – as Rivers must be castigated and ostracised. Sure, if she recants, after a few years of reversing the harm and hurt she caused, she could be granted conditional forgiveness. Our leaders’ softly, softly approach has failed. The proof of that is the decreasing status and security of our community and of Israel.

    If our leaders cannot understand that the ghetto no longer exists and the only “proteksia” comes from our own strength, the best service that they can do for Judaism is to get out of the way of people possessing the three Bs: brains, backbone and “balls” (and I am not referring to men only). In short, in the US, in other parts of the Diaspora and in Israel, leaders must stand up for Judaism or stand aside. They cannot stand up for Jewry while talking big while making themselves (and us) small. They should not hang on to their positions when they only stand up to Jews who point out their failings.

  3. Liat Nagar says:

    Gil Solomon,
    Speaking of solidarity of Jews on fundamental issues, perhaps we should also be aware of the likes of Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University, who recently launched his second book at a London venue, during which he said that Israel is the most racist society in the world; he has been fighting Jewish racism all his life; and anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in the world today, hasn’t since 1950. He also said that Israel is a ‘shitty nation” (borrowed from elsewhere, actually),and that he considers Hamas more real and proper descendants from the ancient people of the land, than he himself as a Jew. His second book is entitled, “The Invention of the Land of Israel”, and his first “The Invention of the Jewish People” , amongst other things, says that there was no expulsion of the Jews from the Holy Land all those years ago. More than breathtaking, hey!

    I do realise he’s free to say all this stuff within our democratic scenario, and it’s actually so extreme that it might have the opposite effect to what he would like or intend, however … should this man be teaching (if that’s what he’s doing as a Professor) students History at Tel Aviv University? I know it’s away from the Joan Rivers’ question, however, when you combine the two it’s pretty poisonous medicine for international audiences to swallow, willingly or unwillingly.

  4. LIZZIE says:

    My G-d. Are we ready for this? I think not! What was she thinking of? Maybe behind the plastic surgery, she is actually a leetle bit neurologically challenged? It can happen to any of us. What a shock! She should maybe just …gracefully retire…? Someone please tell me!

  5. Gil Solomon says:

    This woman trivialises one of the greatest tragedies in our history, the attempt to systematically slaughter the Jewish people from the face of the earth and people respond that Rivers just told a “good joke”. Another called for Jews to give up German manufactured products, as if this has any relevance to the disgust felt by the majority of world Jewry to anyone making jokes about this very sensitive issue. Do all you liberals regard the comment “pushing Jews into the ovens” one of your funny moments?

    Try as they might, there is no way one can rationalise or accept these obscene comments and the fact that this intellectual pygmy was born Jewish just adds insult to injury.
    If Jews especially are divided on this issue, this is the green light to all comedians or anti-semites to open the flood gates on holocaust jokes.

    With anti-semitism on the rise all over the world it is high time that Jews wake up out of our coma and show some solidarity on fundamental issues of concern to all of us.

  6. Cody Flecker says:

    We all laughed with Mel Books when we saw The Producers starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. Nothing can be funnier than showing two rather corrupt finagelers trying to stage a play about Adolf Hitler. It was done in good fun wasn’t it? Not really if you went through the Holocaust or had your family go through that terrible time in history.

    We cannot select our hatred based on whether we like the fellow or not. Hatred is hatred no matter where it comes from Joan Rivers is in the same category as Brillo is in Italy. Brillo is forming a Government based on anti semitism and anti western themes. While we may dislike Brillo and the new Italian fascists, we can still like to eat Pizza and Pasta without thinking of Mr. Brillo.

  7. alwyn says:

    The joke was good and educational too. It didn’t do any harm to anyone the only insult was to Germans who might take offence but certainly not to Jews or holocaust victims or survivors.

  8. Cody Flecker says:

    I assume that every Jew in Australia and New Zealand will give up their Mercedes Benz and BMW auto as these two companies used slave labour Jews to work in their munitions and armaments factories. Likewise, no more lift rides on the Thyssen Krupp Elevators anywhere in the world. Foget about flying on Lufthansa, even though Lufthansa was founded by a Jew among others. Listening to German and Austrian music is also forbidden after all both countries were ruled by Nazis and anti semites.

    Just look in the mirror and see how foolish you all look. Joan Rivers should never be taken serious for anything she utters. She is making fun of a sore topic. Big Deal.

    • Paul Winter says:

      Cody, your observations are almost as brainless as Joan Rivers’. The companies you name are not now using Jewish slave labourers the Germans have shown shown a most correct (not necessarily heartfelt) sense of remorse and offered compensation and the events of the Shoah occurred seven decades ago. Rivers is spitting on the graves of our dead and on the survivors who still bear the scars of their experiences. The only big deal, the really big one is your inablility to see the difference.

    • Shirlee says:

      Cody, are you for real?

      **She is making fun of a sore topic. Big Deal.**

      I am totally floored by such a comment.

      BIG DEAL.?

      You call the slaughtering of 12 million people a sore topic? Are you for real?

      12 million people killed for being Jews, Gays, Dwarfs, cripples and more a BIG DEAL ?

      You should be ashamed of yourself. I am beyond appalled.

  9. Marianne says:

    Yes, Joan Rivers “humor” was HORRIBLE. But, my son is a night-time comedian and I know for a fact that comedians use “close to the edge” humor to get a laugh. “It’s Better To Laugh Than To Cry” I think that Joan made a Big Mistake. but she is clearly NOT against her people. My son examines and reviews ALL his material. She just must have Not seriously thought about it. Oy Vey.

  10. Rami says:

    Her comment was obscene for us Jews and also for that poor model, Heidi Klum, I bet she wasn’t happy about it either.

  11. Gil Solomon says:

    So Peter Wertheim , the lawyer he always is, calls on Joan Rivers to retract her comments and apologise immediately. Big deal Peter.
    For once where is the outrage?
    I am sick and tired of the pathetic and mild approach taken by the ECAJ and other leading Jewish persons and organisations on issues like this. Even with the Mel Gibson drunken diatribe against Jews some years back, the Jewish community can always be relied upon to say “just apologise and all is forgiven”. We appear to have plastic spines. A better approach would have been to tell this woman in no uncertain terms that if she ever dared to show her face in Sydney she would not be welcome and in fact the Jewish community would do everything in our power to have all venues cancelled. We should have told this woman there is no forgive and forget here nor will there be “business as usual” come tomorrow, apology or no apology. I don’t want her apology only wish for her to get off the world stage and out of my sight.

    • Shirlee says:


      Welcome to the growing throng of people with like mind.

      It’s a shame the above mentioned people/organisations don’t listen & don’t read the comments here. They also need to reply to emails sent to them on the issue. That’s why people won’t involve themselves with these groups.

      I have just done a guest post on an overseas Blog, which is well frequented by Aussies, on this very issue and am hearing the same from the UK. Fortunately they have ousted groups like the AJDS from their Communal groups. We need to do that

      One person after another is complaining abut the JCCV having the AJDS as an affiliate and in turn the JCCV being an affiliate of the ECAJ

      This one was a beauty.

  12. George says:

    Joan Rivers humor is no more funny. It is touching on being insensitive to the survivors escaping ovens. Joan Rivers is not likely to recover from this blunder. It is about time she should vanish from the public eyes. Yes, I agree “Bye Bye Joan”.

  13. Marianne says:

    My son is a comedian also.”It is Better to Laugh than To Cry” is what I always tell him. But honestly, That is a little Over The Top. I still like Joan, but she needs to think a bit more about her material. My son is Always concerned about the Impact of his material. Alot of jokes are “Close to the Edge”

  14. Gordon says:

    Yes, the damage is done, Joan, defending it is not damage control, on the contrary, it’s worse. An apology would be the right thing to do. Bye Bye, Joan.

  15. Liat Nagar says:

    Who can know what really prompted Joan Rivers’ ‘Holocaust joke’. She’s used to shooting her mouth off, and as a comedienne lives in a world that isn’t reality, but rather deflects reality by feeding off it. Precisely what she’s done with this hideous joke. Perhaps she even likes to shock. She’s Jewish, but that doesn’t mean she’s developed into a worthy human being. What’s the point of asking a person like this for an apology?

  16. Lynne Newington says:

    She should retract her comments absolutely and I’m just in the frame of mind to tell her off myself.
    I was forwarded an article from the New York Times, The Holocaust just got more shocking written by Eric lightblau, she needs to be reminded of her own legacy.
    I hope there is a total uproar.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

    Rules on posting comments