Not liking co-workers and clients is something anyone who’s employed has had to deal with during their career—most of us accept that as a normal part of the job. But what about truly offensive individuals who are downright evil? Should they be represented, and if so, by whom? Consider these two cases where Jewish professionals agreed to help open and notorious anti-Semites with bad results:
Dylann Roof, who committed mass murder at a Charleston church, is trying to fire his Jewish and Indian lawyers, calling them his “biological enemies.” The lawyers are actually fighting to remain on the case.
Tanya Gersh, a Montana realtor, was viciously terrorized by a troll mob after agreeing to represent Richard Spencer’s mother as a listing agent. She and her family literally had to flee for their lives as a result.
While I have immense sympathy for anyone who is being targeted and publically harassed and humiliated, I am truly puzzled that a Jewish professional would choose to represent an anti-Semite. It is certainly not a choice that I would make.
As many of my readers know, I was a realtor before I was a blogger, so I’m familiar with how that occupation works. Realtors have a lot of flexibility; they can pick their own clients and set their own commissions. Mrs. Gersh was aware of the Spencer family’s ties to the White Nationalist agenda, and obviously that would be the polar opposite of her own ideology. Why she ever would willingly involve herself is truly beyond me. (That’s not to say she did something wrong or bad, just that it wasn’t the wisest decision.)
In the case of legal representation, I’m also familiar with how that works since I have many family members that are lawyers. Even in cases of public defenders who are assigned clients, if there’s a true ideological issue at stake, a lawyer can ask to be recused. Every client is supposed to get the best defense possible and it’s debatable if a lawyer can truly aid a client they hate. I know that within my own family, nobody would ever take on a client like Roof. Perhaps other lawyers are more accommodating, but again, why should a Jewish lawyer be put in such a difficult position when a non-Jewish lawyer could assist?
In almost every case, a Jewish professional should not participate in helping an anti-Semite. Probably the only instance where one may have to do it would involve a life-or-death situation—emergency room doctor, paramedic, police office, etc. Otherwise, I say no and I would encourage others to do the same.