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    ‘Mediocre Word Play’: ‘Jewtropolis’ Map Hackers Trolled by New Yorkers

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    An online vandal used their hacker skills to rename Manhattan to “Jewtropolis” on mapping software used by multiple popular smartphone apps. Perhaps as one might expect, people of the tribe debated the humor of the hack (or lack thereof) on social media.

    Software by MapBox, the company that was hacked, is used by applications and companies such as Snapchat, CitiBike, StreetEasy, Zillow, Pinterest, Lonely Planet, the Weather Channel, CNN and the New York Times.

    When Twitter users began sharing images of their newly renamed city, Jews all over did what they do best — they made jokes. After all, they're famous for it, boasting a roster of comedians including Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers, Lenny Bruce, Jon Stewart, Larry David, Groucho Marx, Rodney Dangerfield, Gene Wilder, Sacha Baron Cohen, Lewis Black, Adam Sandler (whom we prefer not to talk about) and many more.

    Jewish humor often employs wordplay and self-deprecation, so the prospect of the New York City boroughs' renaming was an opportunity too good to pass up. While anti-Semitism is no joking matter, New York Jews who are accustomed to physical acts of anti-Semitic vandalism like swastika graffiti in their neighborhoods couldn't help but make a few wisecracks.

    For example, if you ask Rabbi Mordechai Lightstone of the Chabad, "Jewtropolis" is actually in Brooklyn, not Manhattan.

    But back in November 2016, when a swastika was spray painted "in the heart of Jewish Crown Heights," in Brooklyn, it was no laughing matter to the rabbi. That was until one Twitter user @AngryMarxistJew replied to him on the platform with a video of himself crossing the hateful sign out with the comment "Nazi scum be afraid, NYC Antifa has everyone's back." The rabbi liked it so much he turned it into a GIF.

    Twitter user The Volatile Mermaid, a self-described "Jewish American Disney Princess," noted that "there's definitely a Goytham City somewhere in the South," playing on the term Jewish term for a non-Jew, "goy," and the fictional center of the Batman universe Gotham City. "People are just jealous because Jewtropolis is bright and vibrant and Goytham City is dark and seedy. Plus everyone knows Jewperman can beat Batmantisemite," she said.

    Jewish author and Brooklyn denizen Laura Silverman summarized the collective response of New York's Jewry: "wow this is bad and a bit scary but also seriously you had JEW YORK right there and went with mediocre word play Jewtropolis instead?"

    A writer on HBO's "Last Week Tonight" tweeted, "As a Jew, I'm slightly offended someone did this. As a comedy writer, I'm extremely offended they left ‘Jewtopia' on the table. It was right there!"

    New York City councilman Kalman Yeger tweeted that he is "grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Jewtropolis City Council." In his district is "the capital of Jewish America, our little Village of Borough Park," he wrote.

    Not all Jews saw humor in spite of the hate. Resistance Twitter leader Amy Siskind bemoaned the "latest example of every week anti-Semitism."

    The Anti-Defamation League asked MapBox whether they had "taken down this anti-Semitic vandalism yet?" just a few hours after Twitter user Brian Klein tried to alert the organization to the hack.

    "Hate-speech has been removed from the map. We apologize that you were exposed to this disgusting attack," MapBox replied to Klien.

    "This defacement is deeply offensive and entirely contrary to our values, and we want to apologize to any members of our community who saw it," Snap, the company behind Snapchat, said in a statement.

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    Tags:
    funny, hack, New York City, Anti-Semitic, anti-Semitism
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