How Jews Became "Too White, Too Powerful" for U.S. Progressive Activism

(Ha'aretz) Dr. Sara Yael Hirschhorn - In recent years, progressive Jewish Zionists in the U.S. have been effectively removed - either through deliberately exclusionary language, verbal violence or physical unrest - from progressive activism. Now, the progressive camp has aimed increasingly forceful attacks against American Jews who identify as non-Zionist and even as anti-Zionist. The target now seems to be Jews as a people - with no reference to an individual's specific positions on questions of Jewish nationalism or Israel. In particular, Ashkenazi Jewish activists have been categorized as "white Jews," attacked by Women's March co-chair Tamika Mallory for "uphold[ing] white supremacy," and accused of playing an ahistorically dominant role in the slave trade and mass incarceration in the U.S. Further, anti-Semitism is no longer allowed to remain a distinct form of discrimination, but rather a lesser branch on the tree of general bigotries. Jews are seen as too institutionally integrated, too successful a minority (itself a favorite anti-Semitic trope), or, in other words, too white (and therefore too much the beneficiaries of "white privilege") for anti-Semitism to be taken seriously. Yet, how inclusive and welcoming coalitions are towards Jews have always been the canary in the mine of liberal democracies. The writer is visiting assistant professor of Israel Studies at Northwestern University.

2019-01-18 00:00:00

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