Monday, June 26, 2017

When the Oppressed Become The Oppressors

I had a very different blog already written for this week, but you won't see it. Instead, I want to take a moment to remind my readers that Jews remain on the bottom of the shit heap in this country. It doesn't matter if the first daughter has signed on to the blue-and-white bandwagon, Jews are still Jews and they remain the most reviled subset in this nation. 

And here you thought it was the Muslims. Silly you.

And silly me. 

A couple of things happened this weekend, just as I was getting ready to go see Wonder Woman. On the surface they may not appear related, but in fact, they really are. 

While Jewish rainbow flags were carried without incident at the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago, that was not the case at the Dyke March held on Saturday in Little Village. There, Jewish marchers were told the rainbow flag with a Star of David in the middle made some other participants feel "unsafe."   
JTA: Chicago lesbian march bans ‘Jewish Pride’ flag as offensive:
Organizers of the 21st annual Chicago Dyke March told the women that the rainbow flags with a white Star of David in the center would be a “trigger,” or traumatic stimulus, for people who found them offensive.
A Dyke March collective member told the Windy City Times that the women were told to leave because the flags “made people feel unsafe,” and that the march was “anti-Zionist” and “pro-Palestinian."                                                                                               
The flag was a rainbow flag, not an Israeli flag. Can anyone tell me how a rainbow flag with a Jewish star makes anyone feel unsafe...except the Jews marching beneath the banner?

At around the same time I was reading about the Dyke March, a friend sent me a link to an opinion piece in ESSENCE magazine: OPINION: Why Supporting 'Wonder Woman' Is Dangerous For My Black Feminism And Liberation. I read the article several times, and I understand most of what she is saying, and can understand why she is saying it, except for the personal attack on Gal Gadot:
When I first saw these iconic Black women express their laudations of Gal Gadot, who is pro-Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and a former combat trainer with direct ties to the oppression of Palestinian people, I thought of the longstanding and tacit requisite of upward mobility that requires Black people to distance themselves or abandon those of us without social influence, political clout, or financial security. I think about how we are left to scurry for scraps as we survive in a White supremacist world that sees us as disposable while our faves engage in behaviors that are antithetical to our Liberation.
Which is scarier? Wonder Woman...
...or Jewish woman?
This wasn't about the color of her skin or her talents as an actor, this screed was about her being Israeli and doing her compulsory military service. This was about Gal Gadot, the Israeli, not the actor. I know there is much discussion these days about cultural appropriation, but this is not that. The writer's issue is with Ms Gadot's nationality. I am equally certain if Ms Gadot was serving in Pakistan's armed forces, or China's, or the United Arab Emirate's armed forces, all nations with human rights issues....she would not be making the same argument.

But all is not well in the State of Israel, either. We have our own class of Jew-haters with which to contend.

In his latest move to insure the destruction of the State of Israel, Netanyahu told the Jews of the Diaspora to basically drop dead. In a less-than-astounding move, the prime minister of Sinat Chinam caved in and surrendered conversion recognition to the haredi, instead of recognizing pluralism in Judaism as he had seemingly promised.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted on Sunday to advance a bill that would bar government agencies from recognizing conversions to Judaism performed in Israel outside the Orthodox-sanctioned state system.                Ha'aretz - June25th, 2017

Now, if you're not Jewish, and have no Jewish converts in your family, this is meaningless to you. But, if you are a Jew-by-choice (as opposed to a Jew-by birth) this is a big frickin' deal. Just as Jessica Fishman, the incredibly strong woman who wrote CHUTZPA AND HIGH HEELS describes. No one tells the story better than Jessica, and for reasons I both understand and cannot fathom, she remains in Israel in spite of this never-ending stream of humiliation dished out by that hateful coalition behind Netanyahu. Of course, that coalition is made up of people who do not fight in the IDF, work, or contribute to the national economy. They are not so dissimilar to the mullahs who enforce Sharia in Muslim countries. In fact, they have more in common with them than they do with most of the world's Jewish population. 

And speaking of mullahs, the Iranians unveiled a little display in Teheran: a countdown clock beginning at 8,411 days.... the number of days before which they say Israel will be destroyed. Apparently, this is based on comments made by Ayatolla Aki Khamenei in 2015 when he predicted there would be nothing left of Israel by 2040. Y'know they may not have to wait that long. If Netanyahu continues the trajectory he is on, Israel will do itself in. 

As I write this, Jews are being increasingly singled out for hatred by other groups who consider themselves oppressed. When a LGBT function tells Jews to go home because they are identifying as Jews, I want to ask why is hatred of us okay? Where is their complaint about Muslims countries where LGBT people are tossed off rooftops, thrown into prisons, or decapitated because they are whatever. When I read the paragraph included in the Invest/Divest section of the Movement For Black LIves platform questioning Israel's right to exist in safety, I want to ask why aren't they going after Somalia or Central African Republic or any other country where militias are actively performing acts of genocide? I want to know if they noticed Israel has free speech, a free press, and a society where all religions (except Judaism) are practiced without impediment? 

Why us? What have we, this teeny-tiny fraction of world population, done to them?

It's much too easy to hate; Jew-hating is always in season. Yeah, we have moments when we can relax, but that time is rapidly disappearing again. We're getting it from all sides. Those who consider themselves oppressed find it easy to blame someone further down the rankings than they are. And we, my dear readers, are currently at the bottom.

Maybe it wouldn't feel so isolating if we had Israel as a place to go. Right now, however, I'm thinking that might not be the best place for a Diaspora Jew. 

Maybe now is the time to ask, What is Plan-B?

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you are part of We, the People,
you have a civic obligation to actively care about what happens here. 


  1. Don't even know what to say. I'll just say I enjoy how you write, and love that we are friends. EG

  2. Astounding revelations, Susan. Thank you for brigning them to my attention :(

  3. This is the first of your postings that I feel is lacking the scope of thought that you usually present. No judgement, just an opinion. What I do question is your challenge to the march organizers and BLM. "Why don't they go after ..." seems to me far from your point (unless your point is to simply say they are anti Semitic). I want to know why they adopted this opposition. Is supporting Palestinians or rejecting the State of Israel inherently hatred of Jews?

    1. When one group is taken to task again and again, yet other, more heinous actors do the same thing and remain unchallenged, I wonder why. Why is only Israel condemned for protecting its own population, regardless of color or creed, when BLM says nothing about Syria or Central African Republic where ethnic cleansing means killing them all? Do you think for a moment that Jews would not be ethnically cleansed from what is now Israel if Israel did not exist? If you think that, you need to read the Palestinian Charter which calls for the death of all Jews between the Jordan and the sea.

      After 1967, Israel tried to return the West Bank to Jordan, and they declined to take it. Egypt took back Sinai, but refused to take back Gaza. Why aren't people asking about that rational?

      This kind of anti-Israel or anti-Zionist sentiment is really just a red herring. If it weren't, the BLM platform would have listed all nations who treat the "other" as disposable, something Israel does not. Citizens of Israel vote, hold public office, have health coverage, access to education, and can be openly LGBT or whatever. Can you say the same for other countries? Yet those countries are never mentioned in the platform. There can only be one reason.

      It really is easier to hate than to look for the truth, and even easier to blame. I'm just not going to accept that at face value any more. If the leaders of BLM can talk about why only Israel, I am more than ready to listen.

    2. You sent me off in search of the BLM Charter. I had never heard of it. What I think you were referring to is the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) Platform. It is very hard to articulate all of my personal responses to your reply, but at the point of issuance of the platform and the resulting criticism last Fall, there was an Atlantic article which pretty much said all that I feel.

    3. I believe M4BL used to be referred to as BLM in its original incarnation...and there was a name change at some point. My apologies for not making the change, I should've caught it.

      Here is the link and the specific paragraph:

      And here is the paragraph to which I refer:
      [You have to scroll down to the explanations, and you'll find it:]

      "The US military accounts for over 50 percent of discretionary federal spending, a total of 598.5 Billion dollars spent annually, as compared to 70 billion spent on education, 66 billion spent on healthcare, $63.2 billion spent on housing and 29.1 billion spent on social security and unemployment. In addition, approximately 3 billion dollars in US aid is allocated to Israel, a state that practices systematic discrimination and has maintained a military occupation of Palestine for decades. Together with aid to Egypt — Israel’s most important regional ally — this figure represents nearly 75 percent of all US aid dollars. As these figures demonstrate, resources and funds needed for reparations and for building a just and equitable society domestically are instead used to wage war against a majority of the world’s communities."

      The specificity here coupled with the generalities below it make me wonder why they go after Israel and Egypt without mentioning other nations that actively practice genocide. When suicide bombers blow up university cafeterias and restaurants, and thousands of missiles are lobbed at schoolyards, I think we get to fight back. Why is defending Israel's population against military attack a crime? Why is terrorism okay in Israel while the rest of the world is all up in arms while being Charlie Hebdo or London?

      I read The Atlantic article (again ) as I was writing the blog on Sunday. I really don't disagree with what she said. But I don't think it answers the question about "why Israel?"adequately. It merely dances around it.

      I just don't want to be singled out as evil because I believe we are indigenous to the region, we have a right to live in our homeland where we have lived since before Christianity and Islam were even concepts, and where we currently have an open democracy complete with freedom of the press and a citizenry in all colors, creeds, and sexual orientation that votes. I guess that makes me a Zionist and I'm okay with that. I still don't have to support/like/defend Netanyahu and his government just like I don't have to support the one here, either.

      I'm still waiting for the M4BL to call out Central African Republic or Syria for occupation and discrimination.

      In the end, it really isn't about aid to Israel or helping Palestinians.

    4. Thank you for this. I feel that I have gained new insights. I disagree that "it" is not about aid to Israel or helping Palestinians. I think it is very much about that. I have posed your question about calling out Central Africa Republic (among other Africa nations, as well) and Syria). I don't yet have the M4BL position. Personally, if the cited figures are correct, I feel that foreign aid line items are very much what "it" is about.

      Jews and Blacks are extremely sensitive to being presented negatively, and rightfully so. The challenge is in finding ways to communicate without demanding that our own perspectives take center stage.

    5. Do let me know if you get any response from M4BL on the issue.

      I agree that foreign aid is a huge issue that has never adequately been addressed. But I also think it's an issue that has been used in the past as a beard to hide antisemitic rhetoric.

      Oh, how I wish people would actually learn something about the country that is Israel before they go off saying some of the things they say. There are lots of not Jewish people who live there and cherish the freedoms Israel provides all its citizen. Good luck finding those same ones in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Dubai. Yet they all get a free pass for subjugation of women. At least in Israel, the women fight back openly and without fear of being locked away. (Check out WOW - Women of the Wall - and the fight about the prayer at the Western Wall.)

      You are spot on about finding ways to better communicate. I am tired of being shouted at, verbally abused, and told to leave just because I believe Israel has a right to exist.


  4. Shlomo was on the New York Subway reading a KKK newspaper, when his friend David walks in to the train.

    David is shocked and says, "Shlomo, why on earth are you reading a KKK newspaper?"

    So Shlomo responds, "When I read the Jewish papers, all I find is Jews under attack, synagogues under attack, Israel under attack, assimilation rates, Jewish engagement is going down and a whole lot more. But when I read the KKK papers, I read about how Jews control the media, Jews control the government, Jews rule Hollywood, Jews Control the Banks, Jewish Communities are gaining in strength and a whole lot more. So David, which newspaper would you read?!"

  5. Politics is this country are getting way to weird. I find the extreme Right and Left far too undemocratic and intolerant for me to suffer their foolishness.

  6. And yes, I agree with you, more people hate the Jews than just about any other ethnic group in America.