False Equivalence

False Equivalence

The article “Silver Lining As Students Hit From Left, Right?” (March 10) captures the dilemmas facing an American Jewish establishment caught between rising anti-Semitism from [President] Trump-emboldened white nationalists and a convenient alliance with an administration committed to enabling the human rights abuses of [Israel Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s Likud Party. However, despite an apparent concern for solidarity, the framing of the article prohibits real partnerships between American Jews and frontline communities targeted by the Trump administration.

It is concerning that the article equates the threat posed to Jewish students by white supremacist vandals with the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement’s demands for Israeli compliance with international law. American Jewish groups like [the pro-Israel lobby] AIPAC and the Jewish federations are peddling the same false equivalence. Lobbying for Senate bills like the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which attempts to silence all critique of Israel by branding it anti-Semitic, does nothing to make us safer from JCC bomb threats or cemetery vandals. It does, however, derail efforts for solidarity between Jewish students and campus social justice movements that seek to challenge oppression in all forms.

The current climate makes clear how anti-Semitism fits into white nationalist ideologies that demonize black, Muslim, immigrant and indigenous communities. There are opportunities here: for solidarity, accountability and justice. But those openings slam shut when some Jews refuse to confront the way that bigotry and privilege manifest in our own communities.


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