There is a worrying trend in the West to treat Jews as ‘whites’ and not members of an ethnic minority. As a result, they can never be seen as victims, especially when their oppressors are ‘people of colour’, Lyn Julius argues in Jewish News/ The Times of Israel.
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: ‘Jews pass into whiteness’
As people the world over recoil in horror at the Pittsburgh
massacre of Jews praying in a synagogue, it is as well to recall a
disturbing trend among US academics. Some have been saying that attacks
against Jews cannot be termed racist because Jews are white. Black lives
matter; they infer that Jewish lives don’t.
As an example the self-described ‘queer, agender’ astrophysicist
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, who identifies as black (despite having a
Jewish father), has tweeted this:
Jews also need to reckon with how they used colorism to their
advantage, passing into whiteness in many ways. On the street. In the
board room. With property ownership.
other words, Jews are ‘privileged’, affluent and powerful. They cannot
be oppressed. The ‘intersectionality’ movement recognises that people
can harbour anti-white prejudice. But never anti-white racism. Inherent
in anti-black racism, however, is the element of oppression built
into being white.
Jews, therefore, do not qualify as victims, even if their attackers are people of colour.
The idea that ‘people of colour’ cannot be racist against whites is
part and parcel of the vogue for ‘intersectionality’. This is the notion
that oppressed minorities must stand up for each other.
But nobody stands up for the Jews.
After several generations of sacrifice and hard work, many Jews have
achieved success. But it can hardly be denied that Jews in America were
compelled to reach its welcoming shores because their ancestors were
fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, Russian pogroms or persecution in
Hitler’s Germany. By any reckoning Jews have never been other than an
oppressed minority, throughout their history.
the end of WW2 the ghosts of Edward Said, Michel Foucault and Franz
Fanon have haunted western universities. These teach the
Postcolonialist dogma that only the West, with its history of colonial
exploitation, can be racist against ‘Third World’ peoples.
The fact that 90 percent of Jews in the US fall in the category of
‘white Ashkenazi’ obscures the fact that Jews in general originate from
the Middle East. Jews are from Judea. Ultimately, Jews are people of
Over 50 percent of Israeli Jews never left the Middle East and North
Africa. They are in fact the indigenous population, both in Palestine
and in the ‘Arab world’.
Yet it is Israel that is perceived as a white country and the
Palestinians are perceived as non-white, even though, in fact, many
Palestinians have lighter skin than some Israelis. The theory that
Israel is a colonialist and imperialist interloper only works if vital
information is suppressed – that Israel is a de facto Middle Eastern nation; that indigenous Jews were colonised and ultimately victimised by Arab and Muslim racism.
You will hardly find any Jews left in the Arab and Muslim world
today, because they were driven out of it, along with other ethnic and
religious groups. The Arabs and Muslims established vast empires full
of subject peoples. They have a long history of racism and
pseudo-colonial exploitation of Jews and non-Muslims. In the pecking
order in Muslim society, Jews were only one notch above slaves. In some
cases, they were actual slaves.
‘Third Worldism’ makes people in the West inclined to overlook the
misdeeds of Arab and Muslim states or to indulge in apologetics for
them. To give a flagrant example, the Taubira law memorialising slavery
(adopted in France in 2001) mentioned the 11 million victims of the
transatlantic slave trade, while ignoring the 17 million slaves
trafficked by Arabs and Muslims.
The sooner we ditch simplistic categories born of western guilt and a stubborn obsession with identity politics, the better.