December 7, 2022

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The only Jews with "white privilege" are the ones who hide their Jewishness. That isn’t privilege – that’s living with oppression.

I have been looking at a lot of Twitter threads about whether “white Jews” have “white privilege” or not. People are arguing back and forth but they are missing the point. They’ll say that since Jews can pass as white, they have “white privilege.”

Yet in all those threads, I didn’t see anything about Jews who are identifiably Jewish.

The closest I saw was this:

No, being forced to hide your Jewishness to make it in American or European society is not white privilege. On the contrary, it is a demand to deny your own heritage to avoid being attacked.

No one would demand that light skinned Muslims take off their headgear in order to avoid discrimination – but the maxim “Look British, think Yiddish” demands that Jews do the equivalent.
And if Jews are walking around in fear of random non-Jews treating them differently because they act or look Jewish, then there is no “white privilege” going on. 
There is not much difference between the fear that Jews wearing yarmulkas have outside Israel or heavily Jewish areas and the fear black people have walking around certain neighborhoods. And the same applies to Jews who change their names to sound less Jewish, or who hide away their Star of David jewelry in certain situations. 
If Jews are living in fear of being outed as Jews, then they aren’t privileged – they are oppressed.
Here are some stories of daily antisemitism I collected on Twitter yesterday. Anyone who claims that Jews have “white privilege” is referring only to Jews who nobody knows is Jewish.
I’ve been spit on by  Muslim shopkeepers in liberal San Francisco. And refused service when they noticed my Star of David necklace. Twice.
My cousin was denied a job in Oregon when the restaurant manager noticed that her last name was Schwartz and said “I don’t hire kikes.” In 2015. Luckily we have esteemed “experts” on antisemitism @nytimes to tell us what is and isn’t antisemitic.
PhiL Haggardy @ZealouslyQuoted
San Francisco where they love to hate Jews. Lived there for 5 years wore a Yarmulcha. I’ve been harassed and attacked, openly on the street no one gave a shit. AT SFSU a friend was attacked by a student for being a jew, the cops didn’t care the school didnt care… standard
As one of SFSU’s few graduates with a degree in Jewish studies from there (and the only one who wore a yarmulcha and tzittzit) I saw plenty. No one gave a shit. The only ally on the whole campus was the republican club.
💎 Donna 💎@DonnaAinMN
Once a tourist was in town, saw my 🇮🇱 flag in my backpack and screamed at me “free Palestine” in the store! 
On the bus they were talking about deer hunting & unclean meat. They asked me how I cooked deer. I replied “I’m #Jewish I don’t eat that meat” 
For the next 6 months total Silence as soon as I got on the bus. This gossip lady told everyone I was Jewish.
-the Jews here (in Minnesota)  hide, cut their hair, pretend they’re not Jewish because of threats even in their workplace. Most moved away after #Pittsburgh
Susan @SammdSusan
I wrote about being pulled over for “driving while Jewish” and falsely accused of talking on my cell phone because “you all do that.” My phone was in my back pocket. I am orthodox, cover my hair, clearly identifiable. Cop “let me off” after I offered to show him call logs.

ElderOfZiyon @elderofziyon
For me:
People throwing pennies at me and friends when I was a kid
Someone throwing my kipah on the ground
Campus sukkah I built was torn down
Random guy screaming “Christ-killer” as I walked to shul
Arab from Jaffa accelerating as Mrs. Elder was crossing street

(((Israel🇮🇱))) @Ashdod_
I used to go to a private Jewish school and annually, anti semites would threaten my school via bomb threats

Rachel Yadin 🔥🐑🇮🇱راشيل يادين @27kislev5719
Kids fake sneezing the words “Ah jew!”
Being followed in Frankfort Germany by a guy muttering “Juden raus.”
Having a young girl in car car opposite our bus draw her finger across her throat.
A guy doing the “Islamic finger” and shouting “Allahuachbar”.

Taylor King @89tailormade
My father legally changed his Jewish last name in his 20’s to the generic “King” to avoid being known as a Jew.
I don’t wear a Star of David necklace. My college was sued for Antisemitism.

(((Thrill Science))) @ThrillScience
Walking on shabbos In #Sunnyvale California the son of the minister at Peninsula Bible Church Cupertino pelted me with a sandwich thrown out of his car window. Police caught him.

(((Nik))) @Nickunfiltered
Having to frequently hear the phrase “Jew me down,” being called a Zionist fuck or Zionist thug on the bus and street for having an Israeli flag on my backpack. Having a first date end abruptly after I reveal I’m Jewish, etc. And I think I’ve gotten off lightly.

Olivia Gordon @OliviaGordon
Given Magen David necklace age 12 but was always too afraid to wear it. Accused at school ‘the Jews killed Jesus’. Friend posted on FB Jews had to expect hatred bc of what Israel has done, and defriended me. ‘Little’ stuff, growing up in v liberal circles in Oxford / London.

Bill Miner, the Gentleman Bandit @OrneryOnion
Fireworks being thrown at my family as we walked to shul.
One synagogue firebombed, one just vandalized (stained glass windows broken)
Having to work on Jewish holidays because I ran out of vacation
Teachers accusing me of “making up holidays”
Hearing the phrase Jewish lightning
(Jewish lightning is insurance arson)
Friends saying they were insulted because they couldn’t bring nonkosher meat into house
Cars that have been egged, scratched, and tires deflated.
Asked about horns, called “cheap”/”dirty” Jew
Had to write pro Christian essay in school (sent to principal when I refused)
Missed school to take SAT test (offered ok Saturday, took it on a Tuesday)
“Go back to where you belong” (meaning outside my home country)
I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

We could also include efforts to block Orthodox Jews from moving into areas, as we saw in Mahwah, New Jersey.

(((LPSchulman))) @LauraPSchulman
Just the other day, a woman I met in Deming, NM treated me to a diatribe about how Jews “take care of their own” by siphoning off public funds in order to, in this case, make sure that Jewish nursing homes have necessities in case of disaster.

This doesn’t sound too privileged to me.

It should be emphasized that the entire discussion of “white privilege” is based on the flawed assumption that everyone is either an oppressor or oppressed. That is obviously not true – there are Jewish racists, there are black antisemites and black racists like Louis Farrakhan, and every group has bigots even if that group is also victimized by others.  Which means that every group must grapple with its own prejudices, and not lean back and say “I’m only a victim, nothing can be expected from me.” 

The false binary of “oppressor/oppressed” is ruining the very valuable discourse of how everyone needs to notice and uproot their own biases. To put Jews in the “oppressor” category is simply a modern form of antisemitism, and just like Jews need to confront their own biases, so do those who are so keen to insist on the fiction of “white Jewish privilege.”

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