I have spent my career working for social justice organizations, and currently work in advocacy and organizing. I attended a small liberal arts college where I protested, organized and talked Paulo Freire and Franz Fanon over fair trade coffee. I also had eggs thrown at my dorm room and was told that my entire family deserved to be murdered by terrorists. After school, I saw similar prejudice against my Jewish self when I interacted with the progressive community. I’ll never forget working at a non-profit where the head of the Anti-Oppression and Inclusivity working group proudly told me that in college he had stolen funds from a Jewish organization that sponsored Shabbat dinners and given them to a Palestinian Solidarity organization. This statement came after I declined an offer for happy hour, saying I was heading home to celebrate Shabbat. His message was clear: you are not welcome here if you talk about Jewish religious practice. I had another coworker tell me Palestinian terrorism didn’t count as real terrorism after I mentioned I had spent the weekend celebrating a Jewish holiday. I never once brought up Israel to these colleagues, but Israel was discussed at me, angrily, many times.
I have come to expect anti-Semitism from many progressive movements, but I simply cannot accept it from the anti-racism movement and anti-oppression movement any longer. The stakes are too high, both personally and nationally.
Last week Black Lives Matter re-tweeted an article about a delegation to Israel. It depicted the conflict in Israel as a struggle between white supremacist (Israeli Jews) and an oppressed dark skinned racial group (Palestinians). It hyped BDS and claimed Israeli Jews are white colonialists. It erased any historical connection of Judaism to the holy land. It completely erased Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Ethiopian Jews, or any other people of color living in Israel, Jewish or not. It declined to interview a single Israeli or a single Jew.
Here was the perfect example of an anti-racism, anti-oppression movement failing to live up to its basic foundational principles. Erasure, of history and culture, is considered completely unacceptable by anti-racist and anti-oppression movements. Failing to consult those who are affected by policy and failure to include historically marginalized and oppressed groups is also a clear wrong.No, here is the perfect example of the Marxism of our time, the Marxism of victimized identity groups, the Marxism of "anti-racists of the world unite" (or, to employ contemporary lingo, "intersect"). And revising (or erasing) history is something that Marxists--both past and present--must do.
The author of this piece seems utterly sincere and at the same time utterly clueless about the movement to which she has given so much of her life. First lesson: the Left devours its own, always has, always will. And it doesn't stop to consider your "social justice" bona fides when it's your turn to be sidelined and discarded.
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