Leftist Jews, Part II: White Privilege
In Part I of this two-part series, I discussed how leftist Jews, who often act in ways that are detrimental to Israel, are more like Uncle Toms than self-hating Jews or the kapos to which they have sometimes been compared. Uncle Tomism means that you put yourself down and obsequiously behave as you feel the elite majority wants you to behave.
Were the situation simply a matter of Uncle Tomism it may have been easier to contend with than it is. The issue is made more complex when we consider how Ashkenazi Jews confuse themselves with whites and see themselves as having white privilege. I say Ashkenazi Jews because I do believe that political leftism afflicts them more than their Mizrachi fellows, at least in Israel, about which I know more than about the USA. In this post I am going to focus on the leftist Jews in the United States and Israel alone. I do not know enough about other countries to say anything about them.
Leftist Jews and White Privilege
In a blog post, Sarah Tuttle-Singer describes an exercise conducted in a university class on multicultural conflict resolution, the purpose of which was to show how everyone comes into the world with advantages and disadvantages. The experience led her to understand that:
In some ways I am privileged. In some ways I am not. . . . here’s what I learned: We each come from a different world, and each of our worlds is based on so many things — some within our control, and some… not.
I would have thought that would be something most people have already understood before finishing high school – some kids have the brains, some are musically talented, some strong and good in sports. Some have supportive parents and some dysfunctional parents. True, we never put our personal talents or circumstances in terms of “privilege” but I imagine these kinds of qualities were included in the college exercise Tuttle-Singer wrote about. Did we, in my day, regard the rich kids as “privileged” or just “lucky”? I remember “as just lucky”.
So how is it that racial and ethnic group membership came to be spoken of in terms of “privilege” as if that is a dirty word? As if it was something that was embarrassing to acknowledge, as Tuttle-Singer discovered.
And I’ll tell you the truth – it was hard taking those steps forward. It was hard owning my own privilege. [emphasis added]
White-skinned leftist Jews likely see themselves as white and privileged. Being white means being associated with those who have power, with colonialists, with those trampling the rights of the underprivileged. And believing oneself to be associated with the privileged induces guilt in some. But for Jews, this sense of being white — because white used to mean WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) — is a new phenomenon.
American Jews have long been participants in the fight for civil rights and equality for black people in the USA simply because that is part of Jewish values. This newly developed association with white privilege, with those who massacred the American Indians who kept black slaves, and who discriminated against blacks, is intolerable. Yet at the same time, the white non-Jewish world is split on whether or not Jews belong among the white privileged.
Yair Rosenberg reminds us of this in his recent article in Tablet:
Duke’s outburst underscores again the fact that while many so-called anti-racists on the left dismiss Jews as white and privileged, the racists never did get the memo. To Duke and his ilk, Jews are foreign contaminants in the white gene pool as much as blacks or Mexicans.
And in an article in Tablet Carly Pildis, who is well aware of certain advantages of having white skin, describes the inability of the anti-racist to accept the Jew as a legitimate minority with a history of oppression.
If those who have experienced oppression should never be doubted in their experience, then stop saying I am a not a real minority, or that anti-Semitism isn’t real. If anti-oppression work must be intersectional, then that intersectionality can no longer end when the word Jewish is uttered.
Remember, it was not so long ago that Jews were not allowed into country clubs or onto beaches in North America. The Jews fighting for the civil rights of the blacks were, themselves, openly discriminated against at the same time and most definitely NOT part of the white majority culture.
@JasonWhitely In Toronto there use to be signs on the beach that said “NO DOGS OR JEWS”. That was in the mid 50’s. Hard to believe..
— WE ARE ALL MILO (@HelenAn29146628) May 29, 2016
@Zeinobia my dad had to go down to South Carolina in the 50s lots a sign saying no dogs blacks or Jews
— (((bebird))) (@bebird) July 12, 2016
So are white-skinned Jews like me privileged? I would say that being white-skinned and Jewish creates a disharmony in the non-Jewish environment whether those non-Jews are white or not. You cannot always tell a Jew by his or her name; not all of us wear Jewish symbols on our clothing or jewelry. People like to catalogue those around them; it makes them feel secure. So when they suddenly find out someone they thought was just like them is not just like them, it is upsetting to at least some degree. You can feel the change in the air.
Israel and White Privilege
There is discrimination in Israel as there is anywhere else in the world. And I suppose that my white skin and my Anglo-Saxon accent automatically gets me labeled differently than my darker skin peers without my accent, and perhaps that affords me some advantages in some situations. Is that white privilege?
What kind of privilege is it, then, when affirmative action means that some Israelis from disadvantaged communities, who might otherwise not have been accepted to universities studies, are admitted in order to give them a chance to improve their potential for achieving a satisfying career? When that means that others who satisfied the admission criteria are bumped to make room for them, is that not a kind of privilege?
The point is that life is not fair. There are Arabs and Jews and whites and blacks and smart people and unintelligent people and the able-bodied and the physically challenged and tall people and short people and beautiful people and plain people and male people and female people . . . and some of these characteristics give one an advantage over others when looking for jobs and lovers and friends. It’s just the way life is.
But white privilege seems to be the one that takes the cake. The one that makes one feel guilty and for which one should do penance. And isn’t that a form of racism in itself? Mike Dice seems to think so.
Jews, Israel, Arabs, and White Privilege
Palestinian Arabs, and many Israeli Arabs, view Ashkenazi Jews as European implants into the Middle East. In other words, as members of the white world and not as “real Jews”. It is a convenient ruse and it seems that many Ashkenazim have not yet got that we are not white and not European.