Friday, February 11, 2005

Hard to be a leftist Jew these days

Responding to this Guardian article, Keith writes:
"As a Jew and lifelong Guardian reader who has to continually defend the paper against accusations of anti-semitism by fellow Jews, I was dismayed to note the Jewish community's virtual invisibility in the special G2 section celebrating London's extraordinary cosmpopolitanism.
The decision to class Jews as simply a religion left one of London's oldest and most distinctive communities quite literally off the map (with the bizarre exception of South African Jews). Yet Judaism, like Islam, is in fact a complex mixture of ethnicity, religion and nationhood.
You also missed London's substantial Israeli population - parts of Golders Green today are a mini Tel Aviv. Perhaps you are ambivalent about Israel, but you can't deny the significance of the Israeli diaspora.
Do you understand how treating Jews as simply a subset of the 'white' population denies our distinctiveness and exacerbates our already strained relations with other communities?
Do you have any idea how hard it is to be a leftist Jew who celebrates diversity and cosmopolitanism these days? Your thoughtlessness has only made things harder."
My thoughts exactly!

Recent debates in the UK on 'incitment to religious hatred' obscure the fact that Sikhs and Jews, for example, are not simply faith groups, but ethnic communities. For Jews, the effacement means pretending that Jews are now just other white folks. This might please some Jews, but ultimatly is politically dangerous.

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