Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Nation? No Thank You.

With all due respect, and honestly, I don't believe I will ever have any respect for the president or his family, I would like to be left out of any schemes to force people to respect Jews or Israel. I have been a victim of antisemitism and all of its hateful, noxious ignorance, but the last thing I ever want to be is part of any law that identifies Judaism as a nationality. It will open the door to even worse, as this article illustrates.

I have spent the better part of my educational career teaching students that Judaism is a religion with beliefs and rituals that are tied to the monotheistic God of the Torah, and not an "other" or separate nation or culture that is different from the countries in which Jews live. The historical record is full of rulers and nations who took great care in isolating and targeting Jews as a means of propping up their rule and blaming Jews for every misfortune suffered by the ruling or cultural majority.

Naturally, this designation would appeal to an ignorant nationalist who wants to score political points and make antisemitic remarks while hiding behind the fact that his daughter and son-in-law are Jewish. The president has made it clear that he believes that the right wing hate groups who are notoriously antisemitic are equal to other groups who are fighting for civil rights and equal treatment. And of course this is the man who said that Jews who vote Democratic are being disloyal.

I don't want to be a separate nation. I don't want to be associated with either the right wing nationalists here or in Netanyahu's Likud Party. I don't want to be a protected minority in Donald Trump's America. I've seen how that works out.

They way to defeat antisemitism and BDS and anti-Israel sentiment is to actually have a foreign policy that respects Palestinian demands for its own state. Otherwise, there will be no peace, only  suppression and denial of rights, such as the right to speak out against issues in the press, on college campuses, and in capital cities around the world. Like everyone else, I would like to live in a world where people respect each others views and can speak to others intelligently, but I know that this is not reality. The best way to fight speech is with speech, not denigration and denial of justice.

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