The following is a public post being widely shared on Facebook. It reflects my views almost exactly, so I wanted to share it here as well.
UH OH CRANKY PROGRESSIVE JEWISH LADY IS BACK WITH SOME THOUGHTS THAT SHE IS SOMEHOW CAPABLE OF HOLDING IN HER HEAD ALL AT THE SAME TIME:
1. The Islamophobic attacks on Ilhan Omar are reprehensible, disgusting, and beyond offensive. They have no place in American discourse – political or otherwise. Full stop.
2. The Right is justifying their Islamophobia/attacks on a Muslim woman of color by pretending to care about anti-Semitism (which of course, they don’t – see ongoing support of Trump, Steve King, and far too many others to name for examples of this). It is gross and offensive on all levels.
3. I promise that the vast majority of progressive Jews have a deep understanding of Point #2, and are disgusted by it. Please don’t try to “educate” us about the existence of anti-Semitism on the right, or the fact that the GOP is using us in bad faith. I promise you, WE KNOW. WE LIVE IT.
4. Jews are allowed to call out both hugely egregious, dangerous, and intentional white supremacy on the Right (a la Steve King and Trump) and ALSO call out fellow progressives for far less extreme and perhaps even unintentional language that problematically tips its hat to anti-Semitic dog whistles (a la Ilhan Omar). I promise that the majority of progressive Jews don’t actually equate these two things, so please don’t equate a tweet like “Hey, Fellow Progressive Ilhan Omar. That language kind of invokes a harmful anti-Semitic stereotype” with “ILHAN OMAR IS EQUIVALENT TO STEVE KING AND SHOULD RESIGN.” The majority of people calling for her resignation are – you guessed it! – GOP ass hats. Not Jews.
5. Different Jewish people have different sensitivities to what they find anti-Semitic or not. We’re not one giant monolith. Also, did you know that by characterizing any critique of Omar by Jewish people as “white people attacking a woman of color”, you’re erasing the very real existence of Jewish people of color? Not a good look. Similarly, it is not a good look for white American Jews not to listen to Jews of color.
6. Non-Jews don’t get to tell Jews what constitutes anti-Semitism or not, what they’re allowed to be offended by, or who they’re allowed to call out and when.
7. Jews and Muslims are not enemies.
8. If you’re repeating some sort of glib sentiment like “It would be nice if the Jews who called Omar on her anti-Semitism were standing up to Islamophobia”, I invite you to educate yourself because TONS of progressive Jews and Jewish organizations have unequivocally, loudly, and publicly condemned the disgusting attacks against Ilhan Omar. Repeating the fallacy that Jews only care about anti-Semitism and tacitly approve of Islamophobia furthers the narrative that Jews only look out for themselves, and that Muslims and Jews are enemies. IT IS ANTI-SEMITIC. It wouldn’t be if reality supported it, but if you honestly haven’t seen any Jewish organizations stand up for Omar and against Islamophobia, you haven’t been looking very hard (or at all).
9. Because people have asked: I didn’t (personally) find Omar’s initial comments particularly anti-Semitic. I DO see how it can be interpreted that way (though I didn’t), especially given the context of some of her past comments on Israel (which were anti-Semitic).
10. Most progressive Jews think the following things are shitty: AIPAC, Bibi, settlements, anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia, violations of human rights, Bibi’s open courting of right-wing zealots, and pretty much everything currently going on in Israel.
11. Most progressive Jews are Zionists (Zionism = Israel has a right to exist. Like, that’s it. The word’s been perverted to encapsulate a lot of shitty and gross things that aren’t actually inherent to its meaning (sort of like how people use the term “feminist” to mean “woman who wants to kill all men”), but it literally just refers to the belief that Israel shouldn’t be wiped off the map).
12. Despite popular belief, there is no inherent contradiction between points 10 & 11.
13. Not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.
14. A lot of people claim their anti-Semitism is simply a legitimate criticism of Israel when it’s DEFINITELY not. It’s just bigotry masquerading as political critique.
15. Most progressive Jews can tell the difference between points 13 and 14, though they might not always agree among themselves (see point 5) and no one gets to tell them how to feel (see point 4).
16. The idea that Jews are controlling policy with their money from the shadows is literal Nazi propaganda. It’s an insidious and dangerous stereotype. So if that’s what Jews hear from someone, it is valid to call it out.
17. I can believe ALL THESE THINGS AT ONCE it is VERY CRAZY!!!