Why we need to stop calling every antisemitic jerk a Nazi

(Photo courtesy of PxHere)

Late last year, the newsletter startup Substack came under fire when an article in The Atlantic boldly proclaimed the tech company “has a Nazi problem“. Nazis, it was reported, were starting newsletters on Substack and spreading their hateful propaganda. While the existence and quantity of said Nazis remained the core issue, writer Shalom Auslander was struck by something else: were these people actually Nazis?

Auslander wrote a piece for Tablet, in which he argues the word “Nazi” has all but lost its meaning, having been watered down to refer to most people with nationalist, xenophobic, extreme right-wing beliefs. He joins the show to lay out his argument for being more careful with words—especially for the People of the Book—and the danger in making the word “Nazi” synonymous with “racist asshole”.

And before that, Phoebe laments the lack of Jews in Only Murderers in the Building, the popular show on Disney+, which specifically takes place in one of the most Jewish parts of the United States.


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast’s Substack.