As Jews we are told from a young age that our identities are intrinsically tied to the modern State of Israel.

It is taught to us in Hebrew School, in services, and is a deeply held belief by many of our parents, grandparents and family members.
It is reinforced by media and politicians who repeatedly link Jewish identity with the State of Israel.

The flip side of this message is that criticism of Israel is a negation of our identity.
Even if not explicitly anti-Semitic, the thinking goes, those who criticize Israel must be doing so because they harbor some anti-Semitic attitudes.

This conflation of religious/communal identity with a far away nation state is reinforced constantly and repeatedly.
Palestinians do not even factor into this story. When reality forces us to reckon with their existence, we are told they are terrorists—warmongers who hate the Jews and are violent by nature (this is Islamophobia btw).
The story of the Nakba—the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their ancestral land in 1948–is left out entirely. 1948 is merely the year Israel gained independence. Who knew Palestinians were part of that story?
Needless to say, the constant conflation of Jewish identity with one state’s politics is not Good for the Jews.

It reduces the personal to the political. It strips Jews of the ability to define their own relationship with their identity.
For non-Jews it signals that if you support Israeli policies, then you can’t be anti-Semitic and that if you are critical of Israeli policies you therefore hate the Jews, both of which are lies.

It can be very difficult to unlearn.
For years I understood that Netanyahu and settlers were bad actors, but my sensors would go off when I heard people talk about boycotts or divestment.

Israel may not be perfect, the thinking went, but grassroots efforts to change those policies *must be* antisemitic.
In truth, Israel is a state, like many others, founded on the displacement of others.

Its Jewish exclusivity is predicated on the exclusion of millions who continue to live on that land.
Political exclusion based on religion, by definition, leads to hatred, repression, and eventually ethnic cleansing.

Jews should know this more than anyone.
That is why it is so deeply important for Jews in the diaspora to speak out, to reject an ideology that reduces Judaism to political support for Israel—and reduces support for Israel to Jewish exclusivity.
To recognize that Israel is a state, like others, that oppresses and dispossesses the powerless.

And that the only way to end that oppression is to give those people equal rights and self-determination—just as we yearned for as Jews.
Since lots of folks are sharing this, I’ll just say there are real historical reasons for all this (centuries of pogroms, the Holocaust, the centrality of the land in our texts). And none of them justify permanent occupation and dispossession of non-Jews.
I really wish people would engage with the points I made in the thread if they disagree, rather than telling me I'm not a real Jew!

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More from @jeremyslevin

Dec 1, 2021
.@IlhanMN's remarks on anti-Muslim hate tonight here and threaded below.

Hope folks will watch and share in full!
Part 2
"Thank you all for being here. In the days following the tragic terror attacks of September 11th, a Muslim EMT with the New York Fire Department named Mohammad Salman Hamdani was reported missing.
Read 26 tweets
Oct 4, 2021
Mass media has explicitly aligned itself with capital in an effort to paint progressives and Biden as radical, and the corporate agenda as moderate and reasonable.
The Dem agenda is basically a bizarro prisoner’s dilemma—if either progressives or conservatives demand their preferred bill, everyone gets nothing. If both factions accept that the bills are a packaged deal, they can both get their preferred legislation.
Party leadership, progressives and, to be fair, most centrist Democrats, understood this from the beginning. That’s why the bills were announced, introduced and marked up in concert.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 16, 2021
I remember pitching segments on Taliban advances, major attacks on US troops, or our foundering military occupation when I was at MSNBC, only to have them spiked.

The failure in Afghanistan is also a failure of our media institutions.
For the past two decades, most Americans have barely heard about the conflict, while a minority of families have borne unspeakable costs of repeated deployments and endless war.
As good news became scarce, the government grew increasingly secretive, the press grew increasingly indifferent, and so the public did too.
Read 9 tweets
Jun 22, 2021
Democrats have the House, the Senate and the Presidency and we've spent the past week talking about critical race theory, a conservative smear of @IlhanMN and blaming Democrats for gun violence.

There is no “liberal media.”
@IlhanMN What all of these stories have in common: they originated in rightwing media, were amplified by the institutional Republican Party, are all premised on false information, and the narrative around them beared no resemblance to physical reality.
If the press were to learn anything from the Trump era it should be that they cannot simply cover political attacks without evaluating whether those attacks are true!
Read 4 tweets
May 22, 2021
There are dozens of antisemitic incidents happening around the country right now.

These should shock and frighten everyone—especially Jews.
Antisemitic violence has been on the rise for the past several years—roughly since Donald Trump became president. 2018 saw the largest mass shooting targeting Jews in history.
It is also, sadly, part of a much broader rise in hate crimes/incidents, particularly against the Muslim and Asian communities
Read 13 tweets
May 19, 2021
Despite what our opponents say, @IlhanMN is against all armed conflict, all violations of intl law, all arms sales and all civilian casualties.

She speaks out on this, regardless of country. So here is a partial list of some of the human rights violations she has condemned!
Read 38 tweets

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