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Rafael Shimunov 🔥 @rafaelshimunov
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We often talk about Jewish contributions to the civil rights movement. There were many. But this rare look at the debt Jewish American success owes to the Black Power movement is fascinating and something that simply does not exist in non Black Jewish dialog.

Happy #Kwanzaa
Those examining the relationship of Jews and Women's March could gain a lot from the complex history in these pages and put into contextual history what is occurring before our eyes.
In fact, it may have not been until Black Nationalism that American Jews flipped their disinterest in helping Soviet Jews like me.

Because Black Nationalism saw self reliance as key, Jews had less place in pro Black activism and a model emerged for communal advocacy.
Interestingly Black organizers at events I've been to have increasingly been asking white activists why they are moving to and organizing in Black communities when Trump has shown us their organizing is very much needed in communities they fled.
A lot of those people are Queer and had fled for their own safety. However, it remains a powerful question and one I've seen people answer by moving back to their suburban communities to organize.
A lot of progressive Jews I know are the children of parents who participated in white flight from increasingly Black neighborhoods. Now as their kids had moved back, Black families must leave to suburban places where no public infrastructure exists.
While whites and Jews returning to the cities enjoy trains, buses, libraries, parks, public schools and walkable neighborhoods full of cultural institutions.
And it is in this narrative when many Jews with white skin become uncomfortable with being adjacent to the undue privledge that comes with it.

Often the argument is that Jewish whiteness can and has been withdrawn by whites at anytime. True. But...
As Women's March allies point out, benefiting from white supremacy while ultimatley being the victims of white supremacy can certainly coexist.
In fact, white supremacy relies on its ability to perpetuate the idea its benefits are attainable by non whites. So it must make them attainable to some degree. Which is why it has been extended to historically oppressed people anytime white demographics were threatened.
It was not long ago that right under a sign that read no blacks, it would read no Irish. It wasn't long ago Italians were considered African mixed and rejected by white purists.
And today, there are many in the conservative white community who openly advocate "bringing Latinos in", noting those with white skin, and Cuban Republicans with white skin.
In Queens, the proud boys offices were in Greenpoint. A Polish neighborhood. Poles for the longest time considered on some spectrum of subhuman by white supremacists. And many Poles today are buying in along with Italians and Irish and increasing numbers of Jews.
Oops I mean Brooklyn. It's close to Queens and I mix it up. And Polish community spans the border.
It is also fascinating to watch that, at least in my community, it is Irish, Polish and Italian friends (historically rejected as non white) who were loudest about whiteness and achievements of "white culture". As if they must earn it more than an Anglo Saxon Protestant.
I also find a resemblance emerging with Jews with white skin and even many many brown Jews who are conservative. A reverence for "white culture" and its contributions to "civilization"
Then why are so many liberal Jewish friends getting wrapped up in very conservative and therefore simplistic views of race? One where each us must not answer for the actions of powerful Netanyahu but Blacks must answer for the words of weak and failed Farrakhan.
In Brooklyn for example, we have an elected Democrat who actually makes policy who is best friends with Jewish terrorists who were convicted of bombing the US.
His wife headed an org whose sole mission was ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and fundraised for it selling shirts with Al Aqsa mosque being demolished.
He enjoys a state income, votes on our laws including laws that impact a Black community and Muslims in his district. He wore blackface.
Netanyahu himself has called Hitler not responsible for the idea to genocide Jews. Instead blamed Palestinians. I am only asked to denounce him as an American Jew by antisemites.
No doubt Farrakhan's words are not harmless. They add to the ether that harms Jews everyday. Especially Black Jews. Yet how many of the main critics leading include Black Jews? How many of them called and spoke to Black Jews?
I wish this New Year we can all proceed with each other with the care and love required to not be divided in a way that will make us unable to confront rising fascism together. Their glue is easy, it's color. Our glue is only our relationships.
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