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

22 May
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
19 May
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
18 May
AIPAC now running ads with @IlhanMN's face next to Hamas rockets.

If this isn't blatant Islamophobia, I don't know what is.
For the record, @IlhanMN has repeatedly called for accountability for war crimes committed by both Israel & Hamas, and criticized officials who cherrypick which human rights abuses they call out.

With this ad, AIPAC is spreading rightwing disinformation.…
This ad is *still* running, along with an ad targeting @AOC.

They target approximately a million people.
Read 4 tweets
19 Nov 20
It can’t be overstated how limited progressive media infrastructure is in this country.

It puts us at a massive electoral disadvantage.
There have been six Ilhan Omar articles on Foxnews dot com this week, and TEN about AOC.

There is nothing even remotely close on our side with that kind of reach or influence. Mainstream "objective" outlets maybe had one or two (often unfriendly).
If we want to understand why our policies are more popular than our identities, we have to start here.

The image most Americans see of the left has nothing to do with the reality of the policies we support.
Read 4 tweets
3 Aug 20
I first really met @IlhanMN the night before swearing in.

She was already negotiating the Rules Package for the 116th Congress—ensuring that she would not only be allowed on the floor in a hijab, but that we would create a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis + more.
She had already authored a bill—the PAUL Act (named after Paul Manafort)—that was included in the first bill introduced that Congress.

The government was shut down and within weeks she had a bill to provide childcare funding during the shutdown.
In addition to being an organizer, communicator and campaigner—@ilhan is above all a profoundly effective legislative strategist.

This is often ignored (or deliberately distorted)
Read 6 tweets
19 Jul 20
A brief thread on why the GOP is targeting @IlhanMN and why she is essential to beating Trump in MN
As most Minnesotans know, CD5 is the turnout engine of the Minnesota.

Thanks to @keithellison, we were able to keep Minnesota blue in 2008 and 2012 and keep turnout high during midterm elections
In 2018, Ilhan carried on that tradition, boosting turnout by over 100,000 votes—the highest voter turnout in MN and the highest of *any* new Member of Congress.

This helped usher in a majority in the MN House and a Democratic Governor.
Read 9 tweets

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