How to Criticize Israel Without Being Anti-Semitic

this-is-not-jewish:

If you’ve spent any time discussing or reading about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I guarantee you’ve heard some variation of this statement:

OMG, Jews think any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic! 

In the interests of this post, I’m going to assume that the people who express such sentiments are acting in good faith and really don’t mean to cause pain to or problems for Diaspora Jewry.  For those good-faith people, I present some guidelines for staying on the good side of that admittedly murky line, along with the reasoning why the actions I list are problematic.  (And bad-faith people, you can no longer plead ignorance if you engage in any of these no-nos.  Consider yourselves warned.)  In no particular order:

  1. Don’t use the terms “bloodthirsty,” “lust for Palestinian blood,” or similar.  Historically, Jews have been massacred in the belief that we use the blood of non-Jews (particularly of children) in our religious rituals.  This belief still persists in large portions of the Arab world (largely because white Europeans deliberately spread the belief among Arabs) and even in parts of the Western world.  Murderous, inhumane, cruel, vicious—fine.  But blood…just don’t go there.  Depicting Israel/Israelis/Israeli leaders eating children is also a no-no, for the same reason.
  2. Don’t use crucifixion imagery. Another huge, driving motivation behind anti-Semitism historically has been the belief that the Jews, rather than the Romans, crucified Jesus.  As in #1, this belief still persists.  There are plenty of other ways to depict suffering that don’t call back to ancient libels.
  3. Don’t demand that Jews publicly repudiate the actions of settlers and extremists.  People who make this demand are assuming that Jews are terrible people or undeserving of being heard out unless they “prove” themselves acceptable by non-Jews’ standards.  (It’s not okay to demand Palestinians publicly repudiate the actions of Hamas in order to be accepted/trusted, either.)
  4. Don’t say “the Jews” when you mean Israel.  I think this should be pretty clear.  The people in power in Israel are Jews, but not all Jews are Israelis (let alone Israeli leaders).
  5. Don’t say “Zionists” when you mean Israel. Zionism is no more a dirty word than feminism.  It is simply the belief that the Jews should have a country in part of their ancestral homeland where they can take refuge from the anti-Semitism and persecution they face everywhere else.  It does not mean a belief that Jews have a right to grab land from others, a belief that Jews are superior to non-Jews, or any other such tripe, any more than feminism means hating men.  Unless you believe that Israel should entirely cease to exist, you are yourself Zionist.  Furthermore, using “Zionists” in place of “Israelis” is inaccurate and harmful.  The word “Zionists” includes Diasporan Jews as well (most of whom support a two-state solution and pretty much none of whom have any influence on Israel’s policies) and is used to justify anti-Semitic attacks outside Israel (i.e., they brought it on themselves by being Zionists).  And many of the Jews IN Israel who are most violent against Palestinians are actually anti-Zionist—they believe that the modern state of Israel is an offense against God because it isn’t governed by halakha (traditional Jewish religious law).  Be careful with the labels you use.
  6. Don’t call Jews you agree with “the good Jews.”  Imposing your values on another group is not okay.  Tokenizing is not okay.  Appointing yourself the judge of what other groups can or should believe is not okay.
  7. Don’t use your Jewish friends or Jews who agree with you as shields.  (AKA, “I can’t be anti-Semitic, I have Jewish friends!” or “Well, Jew X agrees with me, so you’re wrong.”)  Again, this behavior is tokenizing and essentially amounts to you as a non-Jew appointing yourself arbiter over what Jews can/should feel or believe.  You don’t get to do that.
  8. Don’t claim that Jews are ethnically European.  Jews come in many colors—white is only one.  Besides, the fact that many of us have some genetic mixing with the peoples who tried to force us to assimilate (be they German, Indian, Ethiopian, Italian…) doesn’t change the fact that all our common ancestral roots go back to Israel.
  9. Don’t claim that Jews “aren’t the TRUE/REAL Jews.”  Enough said.
  10. Don’t claim that Jews have no real historical connection to Israel/the Temple Mount.  Archaeology and the historical record both establish that this is false.
  11. Don’t accuse Diasporan Jews of dual loyalties or treason.  This is another charge that historically has been used to justify persecution and murder of Jews.  Having a connection to our ancestral homeland is natural.  Having a connection to our co-religionists who live there is natural.  It is no more treasonous for a Jew to consider the well-being of Israel when casting a vote than for a Muslim to consider the well-being of Islamic countries when voting.  (Tangent: fuck drone strikes.  End tangent.)
  12. Don’t claim that the Jews control the media/banks/country that isn’t Israel.  Yet another historical anti-Semitic claim is that Jews as a group intend to control the world and try to achieve this aim through shadowy, sinister channels.  There are many prominent Jews in the media and in the banking industry, yes, but they aren’t engaged in any kind of organized conspiracy to take over those industries, they simply work in those industries.  The phrase “the Jews control” should never be heard in a debate/discussion of Israel.
  13. Don’t depict the Magen David (Star of David) as an equivalent to the Nazi swastika.  The Magen David represents all Jews—not just Israelis, not just people who are violent against Palestinians, ALL JEWS.  When you do this, you are painting all Jews as violent, genocidal racists.  DON’T.
  14. Don’t use the Holocaust/Nazism/Hitler as a rhetorical prop.  The Jews who were murdered didn’t set foot in what was then Palestine, let alone take part in Israeli politics or policies.  It is wrong and appropriative to try to use their deaths to score political points.  Genocide, racism, occupation, murder, extermination—go ahead and use those terms, but leave the Holocaust out of it.
  15. In visual depictions (i.e., political cartoons and such), don’t depict Israel/Israelis as Jewish stereotypes.  Don’t show them in Chassidic, black-hat garb.  Don’t show them with exaggerated noses or frizzled red hair or payus (earlocks).  Don’t show them with horns or depict them as the Devil.  Don’t show them cackling over/hoarding money.  Don’t show them drinking blood or eating children (see #1).  Don’t show them raping non-Jewish women.  The Nazis didn’t invent the tropes they used in their propaganda—all of these have been anti-Semitic tropes going back centuries.  (The red hair trope, for instance, goes back to early depictions of Judas Iscariot as a redhead, and the horns trope stems from the belief that Jews are the Devil’s children, sent to destroy the world as best we can for our “father.”)
  16. Don’t use the phrase “the chosen people” to deride or as proof of Jewish racism.  When Jews say we are the chosen people, we don’t mean that we are biologically superior to others or that God loves us more than other groups.  Judaism in fact teaches that everyone is capable of being a righteous, Godly person, that Jews have obligations to be ethical and decent to “the stranger in our midst,” and that non-Jews don’t get sent to some kind of damnation for believing in another faith.  When we say we’re the chosen people, we mean that, according to our faith, God gave us extra responsibilities and codes of behavior that other groups aren’t burdened with, in the form of the Torah.  That’s all it means.
  17. Don’t claim that anti-Semitism is eradicated or negligible.  It isn’t.  In fact, according to international watchdog groups, it’s sharply on the rise.  (Which sadly isn’t surprising—anti-Semitism historically surges during economic downturns, thanks to the belief that Jews control the banks.)  This sort of statement is extremely dismissive and accuses us of lying about our own experiences.
  18. Don’t say that since Palestinians are Semites, Jews/Israelis are anti-Semitic, too.  You do not get to redefine the oppressions of others, nor do you get to police how they refer to that oppression.  This also often ties into #8.  Don’t do it.  Anti-Semitism has exclusively meant anti-Jewish bigotry for a good century plus now.  Coin your own word for anti-Palestinian oppression, or just call it what it is: racism mixed with Islamophobia.
  19. Don’t blow off Jews telling you that what you’re saying is anti-Semitic with some variant of the statement at the top of this post.  Not all anti-Israel speech is anti-Semitic (a lot of it is valid, much-deserved criticism), but some certainly is.  Actually give the accusation your consideration and hear the accuser out.  If they fail to convince you, that’s fine.  But at least hear them out (without talking over them) before you decide that.

I’m sure this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it covers all the hard-and-fast rules I can think of.  (I welcome input for improving it.)

But wait!  Why should I care about any of this?  I’m standing up for people who are suffering!

You should care because nonsense like the above makes Jews sympathetic to the Palestinian plight wary and afraid of joining your cause.  You should care because, unfortunately, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has correlated to an uptick in anti-Semitic attacks around the world, attacks on Jews who have no say in Israeli politics, and this kind of behavior merely aggravates that, whether you intend it to or not. 

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a real minefield in that it’s a clash between oppressed people of color and an ethnoreligious group that is dominant in Israel but marginalized and brutalized elsewhere (often nowadays on the exact grounds that they share ethnoreligious ties with the people of Israel), so it’s damned hard to toe the line of being socially aware and sensitive to both groups.  I get that.  But I think it is possible to toe that line, and I hope this post helps with that.  (And if a Palestinian makes a similar list of problematic arguments they hear targeted at them, I’d be happy to reblog it, too.)

So, TL;DR version:

  1. Do go ahead and criticize Israel.
  2. Don’t use anti-Semitic stereotypes or tropes.
  3. Don’t use overly expansive language that covers Jews as a whole and not just Israel.
  4. Don’t use lies to boost your claims.
  5. Do engage Jews in conversation on the issues of Israel and of anti-Semitism, rather than simply shutting them down for disagreeing.
  6. Do try to be sensitive to the fact that, fair or not, many people take verbal or violent revenge for the actions of Israelis on Diasporan Jews, and Diasporan Jews are understandably frightened and upset by this.

May there be peace in our days.

fyqueerlatinxs:

Fuck Yeah Queer Latin@s in Books!

  1. Trauma Queen by Lovemme Corazón
  2. Chulito by Charles Rice-Gonzalez
  3. Down to the Bone by Maya Lazara Dole
  4. City of Night by John Rechy
  5. The Rain God by Arturo Islas
  6. The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
  7. The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poetica by Maya Chinchilla
  8. Their Dogs Came with Them by Helena Maria Viramontes
  9. Make Love to Rage by Morgan Robyn Colladooc

voyeurhour:

erasure of Asian people and characters is very deep rooted in American media and goes all the way back to conception—don’t let it persist!

(Source: shoorm)

processedlives:

Oral Sources and the Creation of a Social History of the Caribbean 
“The emotions, feelings, thoughts of the ‘underclass’ — such as these three men (c. 1903) are not recorded in books. But their history lives on in the memories of their grandchildren. It is through them that the oral historian ‘enters the minds and hearts of the ancestors’.”
Erna Brodber

processedlives:

Oral Sources and the Creation of a Social History of the Caribbean

“The emotions, feelings, thoughts of the ‘underclass’ — such as these three men (c. 1903) are not recorded in books. But their history lives on in the memories of their grandchildren. It is through them that the oral historian ‘enters the minds and hearts of the ancestors’.”

Erna Brodber

amoosebouche:

I’ve been itching to share this for a while now. My last project was Cinderella, and since there’s already one version of Cinderella for Far Faria, I decided to do a Filipino version version just to mix it up. 

You can download the app to read it here! 

SISSYFIT QPOC TOUR (HELP NEEDED!)

chauvinistsushi:

dykevibes:

katydidnot:

tragafuegos:

elpunkademico:

Bay Area queer punx of color SISSYFIT will be embarking on a US tour starting Friday!

Help is needed in the following areas! Please help them out with a show!

This is one of few (only one I know of really) tours with exclusively queer punx of color. The areas that need help are the following:

ATLANTA, GA

ASHEVILLE, NC

NEW YORK, NY

BLOOMINGTON, IN

YOU MAY EMAIL SISSYFITFAGCORE@GMAIL.COM ,

OR MESSAGE THIS TUMBLR.

PLEASE SIGNAL BOOST!

imageTHANX PUNX!

HELP STILL NEEDED!

wait surely i know someone in atlanta who could help

booooost!!!

!!!!!!!!!!! I WANT GO

ayiman:

indigenous peoples have been living in the Americas for anywhere between 15000 and 50000 years.

like, this is longer than people have been populating certain regions of Europe, and is longer than white skin has existed as a phenotype.

at which point can we admit that this “debate” over how long Native people have been here, where our ancestors came from, or whatever, is just a bullshit rhetorical exercise that serves only to cast aspersions on indigenous birthright?

brownroundboi:

so-treu:

dudeimjarell:

thewritershelpers:

uberwench:

skokielibrary:

teen-stuff-at-the-library:

A Great Guide on How to Cite Social Media Using Both MLA and APA styles 

You’ll probably find this useful at some point.

Man, where was this chart when I was in library school?

Reblogging because EVERYONE (ESPECIALLY COLLEGE STUDENTS) needs this in their life. -H

ha

CITE ME AND OTHER TUMBLR USERS IF YOU USE US IN YOUR SCHOOL/ACADEMIA SHIT
I’M SO FORREAL
CITE. US.

Cite people in the margins! Trans, POC, immigrant, sick and disabled, women, youth, queer, black, indigenous, two- spirit, gender non-conforming, poor—- Nothing we say can or should be borrowed or stolen. We are resources & references to our lives & global praxis! Respect this.

brownroundboi:

so-treu:

dudeimjarell:

thewritershelpers:

uberwench:

skokielibrary:

teen-stuff-at-the-library:

A Great Guide on How to Cite Social Media Using Both MLA and APA styles

You’ll probably find this useful at some point.

Man, where was this chart when I was in library school?

Reblogging because EVERYONE (ESPECIALLY COLLEGE STUDENTS) needs this in their life. -H

ha

CITE ME AND OTHER TUMBLR USERS IF YOU USE US IN YOUR SCHOOL/ACADEMIA SHIT

I’M SO FORREAL

CITE. US.

Cite people in the margins! Trans, POC, immigrant, sick and disabled, women, youth, queer, black, indigenous, two- spirit, gender non-conforming, poor—- Nothing we say can or should be borrowed or stolen. We are resources & references to our lives & global praxis! Respect this.

Store regrets shoplift shame

invisiblemoose:

anarchacannibalism:

poly—nesian:

edensmachine:

Maori are often racially profiled as hori thieves, doll-bludgers, and addicts among other things. Here’s just one case of many.

Rikki Cooper was in the store with her kids shopping for groceries when over the loud speaker she herd a security announcement saying that there was a Maori girl (in the aisle she was currently browsing) who needed to be watched. She knew the staff member was talking about her and tried to ignore it as the accusations (that could be heard by all the staff and costumers in the shop) kept up.
She was followed around by the staff who went through her belongings, tracked her kids, and even asked her to show them her pregnant tummy so that they could be sure she was actually pregnant rather then hiding stolen goods. To add insult to injury the staff even had the audacity to laugh at her and her young family as she left. She was brought to tears by the embarrassment. 

You can read more about her experience in her own words via the link.

Please share this, it’s really important that the nasty entitled, malicious and invasive attitudes harming indigenous people is brought to a stop. And we can’t do it if we’re not being heard.

this is fucking disgusting.

I used to go there. Fuck that store.

lgbtlaughs:

me everytime i accidentally reblog something here that does not belong

image

#1678

white privilege is not getting called in airport security to see if you’re carrying cocaine, marijuana, etc, due to your nationality.

White privilege is going to the States and not getting asked if “You have some drugs I can buy” or “Do you now how to make pot brownies.”

My nationality and my race don’t make me a drug exporter.

alex37k said: What's your definition of racism? If it defers from the Merriam-Webster definition, what gives you that right? If racism doesn't apply to whites, what is it called when whites are persecuted because of their skin colour?

Imagination.

lehaaz:

Tabinda Chinoy, Pakistani artist

My canvases are a mirror to the different periods one may experience to reach the safe havens of contentment, serenity and inner peace. Seeing women in states of ennui or emotional paralysis has been the impetus of my painting style: a flourish of brush strokes inured to turmoil, conflict, human poignancy and innovation. A dreamer striving for perfection through the visualization of dreams because for me, giving up is not an option. [X]
Survey on LGBTQ Latina immigrants from Latin America

A group of researchers at San Francisco State University are currently asking for support in a study dedicated to Latina Immigrant Queers. Latina/os are the biggest minority in the U.S.; there are a total of 11 million immigrants, and there is an on going debate about immigration, however, nothing has been done to fix our broken immigration system. Another present issue is LGBTQ rights, with inconsistent decisions between federal and state laws, it has created a nation wide confusion and this is taking a toll on our communities. Given these present issues we are in need of more studies dedicated to these unexplored communities.

There are no large-scale empirical studies in the mental health field that explore the lives and needs of LGBTQ Latinas who have immigrated to the U.S. from Latin America. Please help this group of researchers understand women’s experiences so that they can inform the mental health field about how to best support this important community! They are currently conducting a study that will explore Queer Latinas’ needs. The study consists of an online survey, which should take 15-20 minutes to complete and 12% of participants will be chosen (lottery) to receive a $25 debit visa card.
Links to the surveys:

English: https://sfsu.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_7U743Lgqq9CyGnX

En Español: https://sfsu.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_6LvwCDQerW5GS3j

This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at San Francisco State University. Alison Cerezo, PhD is the principal investigator. This study has been funded by a small grant from the Williams Institute.

People who go “both countries are at fault”

pax-arabica:

What they think they sound like:

“I’m so rational. The truth is somewhere in the middle, they’re both wrong. I’m so nuanced and enlightened with my views.”

What they actually sound like:

“History and context are things that do not exist to me. In whatever dimension I exist in, I believe that there is an equivalence between an advanced occupying army that is notorious for war crimes, and an occupied brutalized population.”