Friday, July 25, 2008

Where to begin?!?!

Pro-Israel advocates are Sleepless in Seattle, according to Rabbi Yonah at Jewlicious, who directs us to this news story on a divestment campaign in Seattle. Lets start here:
Kolokoff, who is Jewish, said she was not surprised by the reaction of StandWithUs Northwest and other Israel-advocacy groups to the initiative.
Of course, it's a story from the Jewish press, and they're in the habit of pointing out Jews. But the purpose here seems to be to immunize Kolokoff from accusations that he or his initiative are counter to the interests of Jews. It levels the playing field between his voice and that of the united voice of Jewish advocacy groups, which lessens the collective Jewish voice overall. The implication is that if one can find a single, contrarian Jew, then there is no need to wrestle with the fact that an overwhelming majority of Jews hold any particular opinion. Had the article simply omitted this irrelevant fact, it would be open to charges of bias for presenting a supposedly slanted, overly-Jewish view. In response it yields to gentile privilege, which demands that the collective voice of Jews need never be taken seriously, even when the audience is insignificantly gentile.
"A lot of people feel to raise any question about Israel is tantamount to a crime," she [Kolokoff] said.
The collective voice of Jews is reduced to shrill over-reaction.
Leibsohn said he feels it is important to stop the initiative from reaching the ballot not out of concern for the economic impact it could have on Israel, but because of the message Seattle’s divestment would send to the rest of the country.
"We wouldn’t want this to pass in Seattle and then spread to other communities," he said. "That’s why we think it’s important to stop it here."
It is not enough that Jews collectively oppose such measures. It is not enough that there are good arguments that the initiative is antisemitic. It's not enough that Leibsohn personally opposes the measure on various grounds.

It's never enough to stop us from being labeled shrill neurotics. Gentile privilege insists that there is something wrong in Jews fighting for Jewish interests. We have to recognize that for what it is: oppression. No, it's not the Holocaust. Or Jim Crow, or whatever. But it is offensive to compare it to these other things at all. It doesn't have to be genocide for it to be wrong.

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