Monday, November 22, 2021

Jews, "White Privilege," and Antisemitism

Jews are often not properly acknowledged as a persecuted minority but rather accused of being beneficiaries of "white privilege." The reality is that white supremacists do not classify Jews as white people, and they hate Jews just as much as they hate people of color. 

In Rare Einstein Letter Shows ‘Extreme Anti-Semitism’ in 1930s America, quotes from a letter that Albert Einstein wrote during the 1930s demonstrate how precarious the position of Jewish people was in the United States at that time: "A tremendous degree of anti-Semitism exists here, especially in academia (though also in industry and banking). Mind you, it never takes the form of brutal speech or action, but simmers all the more intensely under the surface. It is, so to speak, an omnipresent enemy, one that is impossible to see, and whose presence you only perceive."

The significant rise in antisemitic violence recently both in the United States and around the world refutes the notion that Jews enjoy some kind of special and protected position; indeed, the truth is that the Jews are a small and vulnerable minority, consisting of less than three percent of the United States' population and a much, much smaller percentage of the world's population. 

It is often stated that the success of individual people of color does not prove that racism is dead, and if you buy that premise then the same premise is also true regarding the success of individual Jews not proving that antisemitism is dead. 

Why do these facts and distinctions matter? They matter because the same people who wrongly assert that Jews benefit from "white privilege" also create and disseminate false narratives about Israel.

Why has it become so prevalent for self-proclaimed "progressives" to label Jews not as a persecuted minority but rather as beneficiaries of "white privilege"? The simplest explanation is the best and most accurate: antisemitism is not only widespread among self-proclaimed "progressives" but in many ways it is inextricably connected to their ideological goals. Why else do marches organized by self-proclaimed "progressives" that have nothing to do with Jews or Israel inevitably feature antisemitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric? 

The success of the Jewish people in quickly transforming their desolate homeland into a regional economic and technological powerhouse induces a lot of fear and shame among groups and nations that have not been similarly successful. It is far easier to accuse Jews and Israel of being beneficiaries of "white privilege" than to recognize the evils that have been committed against Jews and to acknowledge Israel's remarkable triumphs against incredible odds. Israel has the same climate and fewer natural resources (most notably oil) than her neighbors, yet Israel is a thriving democracy with a strong economy while her neighbors are mired in autocracy and economic stagnation. It is absurd to assert that Israel is a product of "white privilege," but other explanations for Israel's success do not fit the preferred narratives of self-proclaimed "progressives." It is worth noting that Asian-Americans face similar targeting by self-proclaimed "progressives" who seek special privileges for certain groups while insisting that Asian-Americans should be treated as if they are members of the white majority.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All contents Copyright (c) 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 David Friedman. All rights reserved.