Toward the Next Jewish Rebellion. – An article posing this question.
Extract from this article: As April Rosenblum writes in her groundbreaking pamphlet: “Attacks come in waves; but each time things calm down and Jews are able to blend in or succeed in society again, it gives the appearance that antisemitism is ‘over.’ In some of the most famous examples of anti-Jewish expulsion and mass murder (i.e., medieval Spain or modern Germany), just prior to the attacks, Jews appeared to be one of society’s most successful, comfortable, well-integrated minorities.
Two days ago, a friend brought to my attention the heated exchanges taking place around the Black Live Matter Platform – specifically a policy position on Palestine-Israel. I don’t feel it is for me to try and capture the discussion here or to tell this friend’s story. As a result of hearing their story, I will say, I went online and started reading the exchanges between Black BLM folks and Jewish BLM folks – some of whom were saying they had to step back from BLM because of the reference to Palestine-Israel (again, not for me to try and articulate their perspectives) in the platform, some of whom were critical of those who are stepping back.
In one of those articles, the author referred to the success of Jewish people in the USA (I believe it was specific to the USA) – their wealth and power. When I read that, I sat up in my seat and literally talked to my computer screen: “But, such economic integration was there at the time of the Holocaust – in fact, it fact didn’t it play a role in the narratives spun by Hitler which coaxed (if that is the word) people into playing their role in acts of genocide?”
There have been a few times since I’ve arrived in Santa Fe, when I have been with people who have made offhand remarks about Jewish people and – I vaguely recall – money or business. I remember at least once saying something like “I don’t understand how their being Jewish has anything to do with what you are talking about” (I don’t remember the specifics). I remember thinking – “Whoa. Is this anti-semitism?” I repeat: this has happened a few times. Like it is socially acceptable to make wise-cracks about Jewish people…cracks that are meant light heartedly and are rooted in stereotypes which might seem harmless in the whole scheme of things – but to me such comments are on a spectrum which has violence at one end of it.
The purpose of this post isn’t to present a position of any kind on the deliberations-exchanges going on around the BLM policy platform. As an activist, and a recovering social policy professional, I think the Movement ought to have stayed away from articulating specific policy demands – just as I thought Occupy London should have stayed away from it…but that’s fodder for another post and – frankly – my take on a tactical choice made by BLM doesn’t matter.
My point is: I invite you to read the article at the top of this page – which (and I’m making an uneducated assumption here), if you are not Jewish, you might normally not stumble across, let alone read. I invite you to read it to take in a perspective on what we – whoever we are – collectively are grappling with, summed up I think with this extract from the article:
“And this is where the lesson transcends the question of Jewishness and anti-Semitism and goes hand in hand with the most essential questions the movement must ask itself today: What do we — each and every one of us — have to do to become our most powerful selves? We had better have a good answer, because becoming our most powerful selves is the only chance we have at winning the world we all deserve.”
Though I don’t think we ‘win’ anything – we collectively create the world. We are, as we always have been, in a dance of collective creativity. Of course, yes, at times the dance feels like a never ending series of battles and an all out war…