When Republican Congresswoman Majorie Taylor Greene blamed the Californian wildfires on a secret Jewish Space Laser, the internet went wild with memes.
Mel Brooks’ ‘Jews in Space’ featuring Star-of David-shaped spaceships, flown by haredim, singing of the glories of ‘defending the Hebrew race’ was particularly popular.
As was the Death Star of David.
There were also humorous references to Laser on the Roof, a play on the homophonous Jewish name Lazar or Lazer.
Greene clearly knows nothing about the curious relationship between Jews and outer space in popular culture.
Typically, where Jews appear in outer space, they are hidden. Think of Mr Spock and James T. Kirk in Star Trek. Or Yoda, Han Solo and Princess Leia in Star Wars all of whom are voiced or played by Jews.
Jews in Independence Day (1996) didn’t have lasers but they did use computer viruses to save the Earth from Alien annihilation.
In his 2016 novel, Moon Glow, Michael Chabon imagines ‘Jews on the Moon’. If he gave us the Frozen Chosen in his 2007 novel The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, now we have lunar landsmen.
‘They’re putting a lot of muscle and money and brainpower into a next-level system, Jericho 2. Lunar orbiters and landers. To build a Jewish settlement on the Moon’, he writes.
Would such a kibbutz have lasers to defend it?
In real-life, Israel launched the satellite Beresheet in February 2019 and there has been a fairly long list of Jewish astronauts.
So, if the Strategic Defense Initiative is ever resurrected, maybe a Jewish Space Laser isn’t so far-fetched after all.