Facile accusations of antisemitism on the left have real consequences for people’s lives, and feed into dangerous, reactionary attacks that harm our movements for justice.
Voting for the 38th World Zionist Congress begins today, and progressive Zionist organizations in the US are encouraging American Jews to vote for their slate. Donna Nevel says the elections themselves illustrate the racism and inequity of Zionism: “Participating in the World Zionist Congress elections under the banner of progressive values effectively whitewashes Zionism’s impact on Palestinians. These elections don’t begin to tackle Israel’s unjust, apartheid system and its underlying Zionist ideology, but, rather, feeds that system and ideology and gives them more roots.”
Some have praised the New York Times editorial on the Trump executive order attacking the BDS movement for its defense of free speech. But like so much else in what the Times says about Israel and Palestine, it gives with one hand what it takes away with the other.
Donna Nevel says she frequently hears the sentiment articulated in some progressive Jewish spaces that the left needs to be more concerned about anti-Semitism. But she wonders what exactly is being referred to, and why is anti-Semitism being singled out as a particular problem when other injustices aren’t? “I believe those of us within Jewish social justice spaces who are concerned about anti-Semitism on the left would benefit from deep reflection about what it is we are centering and why,” Nevel writes.
Donna Nevel and Alan Levine draw upon the theme of tashlich — a Jewish new year ritual in which Jews throw crumbs or pebbles into moving water to symbolically cast away transgressions — to urge our communities to reflect upon what keeps us from being full-hearted partners to the Palestinian movement for justice.
Writer, scholar, and activist Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz died last month, on July 10, after a long battle with Parkinson’s. Throughout her career she played a pivotal role in the women’s movement, and the movements for LGBT rights, against racism and anti-Semitism, and for Palestinian rights.
I have learned so much from reading Mondoweiss. We can count on Mondoweiss to cover critical issues related to Palestine, with depth and with soul. The site always brings forth critical voices and perspectives from Palestine as well as from the US, with analyses rooted in a commitment to truth and to justice. That’s why I support Mondoweiss financially and in any other way I can—and why I urge you today to join me.
In an article criticizing the intersectional left at the Forward, Batya Ungar-Sargon continuously reinforces the false and dangerous notion that to oppose Zionism is to be against Jews: “Jews feel that when they do show up, there’s always something wrong with them.” Zionism is an ideology, Donna Nevel asserts; and even if Jews adhere to it, it is not “anti-Jewish” to oppose it.
A special issue, “Moving Forward,” highlights the role of the Jewish National Fund in the destruction of Palestinian lands and the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes.
Donna Nevel provides an overview of speakers and panels at the Jewish Voice for Peace National Membership Meeting in Chicago last weekend, “Presenters spoke movingly and, at times, quite painfully, about the brutal realities and challenges Palestinians and many other communities are facing at this moment and also located the current moment in the context of a long history of injustice and struggle.”