Monday, January 19, 2009

On the Image of Jews during the recent Israeli military assault

This past week, my friend sent me the link to Max Blumenthal’s video documenting the NYC Pro-Israel Rally on January 11th, 2009. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out; it was attended by all types of supporters, among them Senator Chuck Schumer and Governor David Paterson.

My reflections sparked me to enter into dialogue with a bunch of non-Jewish people about perception, truth, and history.

And those exchanges prompted me to start this blog, here, with you today. (How 2.0 of me.)

After watching Max Blumenthal's video, I was DEEPLY disturbed. In Philly, where I live, there are small girls dressed in blue and white, facepainted, twirling Israeli flags. They run up to the counter protesters -- who stand against the crimes being done by Israel against Palestinians -- and these little white Jewish girls dance aggressively at us while their moms and their grandmothers spit and call us ugly and tell us that Hashem (god) Does Not Love Us Today. I want to vomit.

How can any Jewish person dance in the streets of New York, Philadelphia, Tel Aviv, when 1200+ are dead in Gaza? When this level of state terrorism and violence and asymmetrical warfare is happening? Where does this frenzied support come from? And for what?

It reminds me of the old principle of Passover: May Our Singing Never Again Be Their Wailing. No one on this earth deserves to make gains on the backs of someone else's destruction -- not since the days of Exodus when, as the story goes, god crashed the waters of the Red Sea down on Pharaoh's army, killing many as a trade off for Jewish freedom. And certainly not now, from the continued assaults of the zionist plan for Palestinian extermination. This is what Judaism has taught me. And it is why (among so many other things) this imperialist project of creating a nation state for the Jews to find, what, safety(?), runs absolutely counter to Jewish teachings.

And then I look in my inbox to see my friend’s posting of this video on a list of, from my judgment after a quick look, mostly non-jewish people of color – many of whom are Arab-American, some of whom are Palestinian. And it makes me scared. Makes me have to confront, again, the worst of U.S. Jewish culture. A culture borne out of the legacy of diaspora, homelessness, genocide, trauma, the cycle of abuse. Of assimilation into whiteness (for those of us who are whiteskinned), economic ascendancy, a loss of teachings.

And I imagine all of the recipients on that email list watching these pompous, ignorant, bloodlusting, violent-seeming people, who, themselves, have been fed lies and pro-Israel propaganda for their whole lives, for generations. I wonder what this group of readers all think watching these scary, uncritical people dance and sing and say racist and violent things about Jews kicking ass and wiping out Muslims and the Palestinian cancer.

I wonder: Is this what Jewish means now? Is this another confirmation of why Jews are an acceptable target? Will this just keep fueling antisemitism? And isn't that the point?

I remember that Jews have always been scapegoats (like so many groups of people who are enough outside the dominant group to be seen as The Problem). And this is just another moment of the same:
Make Israel -- a vital piece of the profitable military industrial complex and a foothold of western/European hegemonic dominance and control in the region -- make it all about the Jews and their Arab-hating, not about the U.S.'s plans for empire nor about the legacy of British colonization. Just make it about the Jews, and let the Jews take the fall when it comes.

And it is coming.

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