Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AsAJews in MoveOverAIPAC

Adam Holland reports that "As a Jew" protesters are "heckling" an AIPAC event. I think there are a few things worth being clear on.

Jews, even those with fairly weak Jewish identities, have every right to protest at AIPAC. In fact, it's exactly the right place for them to do so. AIPAC is a more-or-less democratic organization. Its members are Jewish organizations rather than individuals. Orthodox groups are over-represented. And it uses a flawed model of consensus which is organized around that which every member group, from the far-right ZOA to leftists like Meretz USA and Ameinu, can agree on. That consensus is then pitched in a rightward direction by the leadership, which I think is in small part because of the over-representation of Orthodox groups and (this next bit is important) in large part because that's what sells with non-Jewish, American politicians. Despite those flaws, it's still an organization that has a valid claim to represent a large portion of American Jews (and in which leftist Jews can be heard). I want Jews protesting inside AIPAC so that it better represents the American Jewish community.

However, when Jews leverage the power of the dominant, non-Jewish society rather than working inside the Jewish community, and they do so "As a Jew," then there's a problem in that it disrupts the voices of other Jews. These protests are being organized by Move Over AIPAC, which isn't a Jewish organization. That, I have a major problem with -- mainly with those gentiles who refuse to engage the whole of the Jewish community. Overall, it diminishes the power of Jews in society.

To those Jews who protest against AIPAC in good faith, I ask, "Have you tried Meretz?" (Here's their blog.) To those non-Jews protesting, my words would be less kind.


Marni Jane said...

Btw that first link is down. Could also just be blogger eating posts again though.

Matt said...

I think the problem is on Adam's end. I get a page saying the site is dangerous, which either means he's been hacked with something malicious or flagged by people uninterested in debate. I read it in Google Reader. Adam's post is merely a link here with some quotes from Jews in the article (and the title, "'As a Jew' Protesters heckle AIPAC").

Also, looking at it again, I notice how few non-Jews are up front on the webpage. Move Over AIPAC must really want to present itself as a Jewish organization, though they're not.

Marni Jane said...

I tried it again about an hour after posting that comment and it worked, so who knows. As for "move over aipac", i had no idea ot was a CODEPINK project. That kind of explains a lot. That link just..blech.

You had a couple blog posts quite a while ago now on the problem of these non-jewish groups making use of marginally held opinions from asajews that seem rather applicable to this too. Are these groups really so oblivious that the way they use jews is pretty much the same as, say, pointing out that there are gay republicans?

Matt said...

A tad bit worse than pointing out that there are gay Republicans.. kind of like sending the Log Cabin Republicans out to protest against PFLAG. At least, as things stand now, most gay (as in openly so, not the Ted Hagee, Larry Craig wing) Republicans don't oppose gay rights.

Marni Jane said...

Not an exact example, just one that would seem obviously wrong to those who use jews in such a way, no? And now i see they have up walt and mearsheimer up on the front page. That group clearly hasn't got a clue.

Marni Jane said...

And i can almost, almost sympathise with the Jews who speak asajew. Because when you're a progressive, and the people who run around calling you brother or sister are just so horrible to you based upon that identity it really sucks. And it would be so easy to just do what they want, especially when you're still thinking highly of those people. Wouldn't it be nice if the folks these jews respected most would suddenly see that jewish identity as a boon instead of a hurdle? And all they have to do is stand up and gripe about israel while loudly proclaiming their jewishness.

Sometimes i wonder if that would've been me if i didn't have the jewish support system and education i have. It's an ugly ugly thing the way these groups cynically use jews, and cast out the bad ones. All in the name of "solidarity".