Erasing Victimization of Jews

The reappearance of the Nazi notion of the Jews as “racial oppressors” who are “racially alien to the land” where they live made its comeback through Postcolonialism and has of course already for decades been part of the curriculum at schools of journalism. What we see in the media is almost complete erasure of victimization of Jews. Jews are being interpreted as responsible for Anti-Semitic violence, not only in Israel but victimization of Jews in the Diaspora is increasingly erased by the media. It is no longer politically correct to acknowledge Jews as victims of structural oppression. The myth that Palestinians are an oppressed group (counter-terrorism is not oppression) has become so pervasive that Jewish victimization is being increasingly erased. The Nazi notion that Jews are “guilty” for being successful (erasing the existence of vast numbers of poor Jews) is returning to public discourse. If Jews have successfully integrated into society, then they are “no longer” victims. If Jews win wars intended to destroy the Jews, then they can no longer be considered victims. If many Jews are affluent, then Jews generally are no longer victims. If Israel is economically successful, then Jews can no longer be victims. If Jews have successfully overcome racialization of Jews as “Orientals” then racialization of Jews as “Occidentals” must be performed instead. It does not matter that over 60% of Israeli Jews are descended from Muslim lands, reality has to be fit into the renewed Nazi idea of Jews as oppressors. If Ashkenazi Jews tend to be more successful than others then is this once more “evidence” of Jews being “racial oppressors.”

The erasure of Anti-Semitism from international news coverage of the Coleyville synagogue hostage taking is indicative of how far this process has gone and it is set to get worse. Since the terrorist was Muslim and the hostages Jewish was it deemed “necessary” to suppress the structural Anti-Semitism inherent in the event. We should next expect a concerted attempt to rewrite the history of the Holocaust to decenter the Jewish experience of victimization and instead rewrite the Holocaust as “gentile history” (excluding the Jews) with the new focus on the murder of gentiles. Soon we will hear that Holocaust remembrance with focus on the murder of six million Jews constitutes “Naziwashing” meant to disguise the ostensible Jewish oppression of Palestinians (referring to Israeli counter-terrorism). There are already many academic efforts to rewrite Jewish history as gentile history. The Jews must start fighting back in the discourses where this Anti-Semitism emanates from, namely critical theory. For too long have Jews turned the other cheek to this growing discursive violence and Anti-Jewish structural oppression within critical theory. The Jews did not substantially fight back in the 1920s and 1930s and now we are once more seeing the disturbing tendency of Jews turning the other cheek to efforts to discriminate against the Jews in discourses. This is as in the 1930s only a prelude to planned genocide. Critiquing the increasing erasure of Jewish victims as reinforced structural oppression will be an important task for Jewish critical theory.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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