Does Your Progressivism Include Jews?
Mirah Curzer

I understand your motivation for writing that piece but you seem to stick too much with identity politics, that for the most part are the issue you seem to want to combat.

You argue that the left has no problem with criticizing ISIS without dehumanizing Muslims, that on its surface, the argument has merit but in reality, you miss important factors:

  1. Criticizing ISIS was never an issue. All rational people disagree and try to distance themselves from openly-terrorist organizations (unless Israel is involved, of course, in which case they are freedom fighters).
  2. People distance themselves from criticizing the motivation for ISIS. There is an effort to show them as anti-Islam organizations, ignoring the root of their ideology and no, it does not mean that Islam is evil or that the people who follow that doctrine are immoral. Only that it’s important to point this out. The same as any other group from any other nationality.
  3. After an event, when a terrorist started shooting or blew himself up, it’s more important to show solidarity with the victims and their family rather than with the group that the terrorist claimed to represent. Yes, it’s important to make the distinction between the extremist and the moderates but it’s important to say you want to combat the bad ideas.
  4. Now, in the spirit of fairness, let’s talk about Israel’s problem. In 1994, Baruch Goldstein entered the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and started shooting the Muslim prayers. He killed 29 and injured 125. This was a terrorist attack based on Meir Kahane ideology and the bad ideas propagated by the Jewish bible. It happened because the bad ideas were not combated from within the group that created the extremist. It happened because too many people thought of his actions as acceptable and if you criticize the Jewish faith problems, you will be considered anti-Semitic.

We should fight bad ideas no matter if the groups or individuals propagating them are on the right, left, center, or ideologically similar to our own. Putting emphasis on offense or marginalization is also counter-productive and validates bad ideas.

Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, are the prime examples of identity groups escaping criticism for ideas and actions. Those labels have no place in any discourse that seeks to actually accomplish anything.

I remember when The Passion of the Christ was released and too many Jewish groups jumped on the bandwagon of political correctness and being offended. It was not a footnote or releasing a statement trying to correct some inaccuracies that may or may not be true but to be offended for an entire demographic and throwing the anti-Semitic accusation when such a thing was not really merited.

Consider that other religious groups don’t have the protection that Muslim or Jews have. Should Buddhists or Christians sit silently while their identity being attacked? Should we add an anti-Buddhist or Christianphobe? Can’t we just criticize anyone and defend anyone from unfair criticism without using those group labels?

Along with the (very welcome) renewed discussion about anti-Semitism on the right

What anti-Semitism? This is a serious question, I have yet to actually encounter any, unless you factor-in the alt-right, in which case, they are not politically right but mainly anti-left. Similarly to how groups like Antifa are not really on the left but rather an Anarcho-Communist movement that has very little to do with the political left. It’s the Horseshoe Theory in practice.

Listen to Jews when they tell you about anti-Semitism. Don’t talk over Jews trying to point out that something is anti-Semitic. Dismissing claims of anti-Semitism as “not that bad” or refusing to classify Jews as a discriminated-against minority is unacceptable.

As I noted before, this is intersectionality that seeks to marginalize anyone who is not part of the group. It gives the people of a certain group a higher importance and privilege. This is equality of outcome, rather than equality of opportunity. You give some people more important than others, taking away others right to express themselves.

This also limits one perspective. One of the problems in the Middle-East is that most of the people there were never exposed to opposite ideas, opposite religions, or even their own ideology being contested. They exist in their own bubble, letting bad ideas flourish, while there are laws being written based on those ideas. No one contesting the status-quo.

The same goes for any group. One of the greatest thing about a platform like Medium is its ability to showcase a multitude of ideas and perspective from across the world, exposing people to a myriad of thought patterns and ideologies.

My grandmother was born on the road from Russia, escaping their totalitarian regime. Reading perspective from people who actually lived through Communism, a point of view I don’t have, but relate to my ‘experience’ is not something to disregard and writers like Svetlana Voreskova, actually give me allot of context I didn’t have on the topic. In that, her and others understanding of my experience is greater than my own.

Don’t even think of accusing Jews of using anti-Semitism as a false flag to undermine efforts to oppose Israeli policy, or of “playing the anti-Semitism card.”

What if they do use anti-Semitism to escape criticism. It does happen and it is an issue when you can’t refute bad intention and ideas to protect some people of a group.

As we saw in Charlottesville, anti-Semitism of the sort our grandparents fled Europe to escape is very much alive and well, and our President made a spectacular display of failing to protect us

You should read about how the Jews fared under Communism. The world is not as simple as Nazis vs. good people. The people opposing the Nazis are just as vile as the Nazis themselves. Trump’s only mistake is claiming that there were “good people” on both sides. That does not conform to reality.

The enemy of your enemy is not your friend. Not in this instance, anyway.

When dictators and totalitarians come to power, they almost always go after the Jews, and no Jew ever forgets that.

No. When a totalitarian comes into power, he needs to find an “evil” to rally people against. In many cases, those are the Jews but not always. Sometimes it’s the semblance Westernization, a minority religious group, or any other ideology that contradicts the ideology of the dictator.

On a side note, I would suggest stopping using Hebrew words to explain simple ideas that could be written in English. It only serves to alienate your readers.