For a growing number of progressives, anti-Semitism has become an ideological obligation as central to their political identity as the Universal Basic Income, Green New Deal, a 70-percent marginal tax rate, and free higher education.
the phrase “white Jews” quickly passed into common usage among those on the left eager to exculpate Mallory, Perez, and Sarsour.
Echoing Mallory’s charge that Jews, as a group, are implicated in the oppression of nonwhites, contributors to a recent online symposium asserted that “white Jews benefit from and participate in white supremacy”
Charlottesville, Trump, the alt-right … all of it ought to have demonstrated the folly of this type of thinking, and brought the Jewish community and the progressive rainbow coalition together. After all, Jews and people of color are the unambiguous top targets of white supremacist hate. Instead, there has opened up a rift, as the incessant harping about “white Jews” testifies. Rank, vile, open, gutter-level anti-Semitism is apparently a pleasure that the progressive left is unwilling or unable to abstain from. Why?
The campaign against “white Jews” on the progressive left is not an accident but a determined effort with several concrete ideological purposes. The first is to codify the position of Jews at the bottom of the social justice victim pyramid, as just another category of “whites.” This move is intended to downgrade or even erase anti-Semitism—a sin of which Farrakhanites, radical Islamists, and other important progressive allies are all guilty. “White Jews” erases that sin by stipulating that “Jews,” insofar as they are “white,” cannot actually be victims of hate–because they aren’t, functionally speaking, Jews at all. They are white people, and therefore, by definition, the oppressor and not the oppressed.
“White Jews” is therefore, first and foremost, an epithet—an attempt to make “Jews” synonymous with “white supremacy.”
But the larger point of marking Jews as “white” is to render them political treif—unassimilable into the left’s virtuous coalition of the oppressed, which includes plenty of Third-Worldist groups and alignments that are rooted in a political discourse in which conspiratorial anti-Semitism is normal. The solution that progressives have apparently alighted on is not to educate their allies out of bigotry and ignorance, but to trim “Jewishness” of any traits that might set off wild, conspiratorial fulminations by the people they wish to position as innocent victims.
Notice how it is only Jews who are endowed with a racial descriptor; no one on the left is busy fingering “white Muslims.” This assault on reason and history puts Jews, or “White Jews,” in their place as inherently oppressive and vile, while gifting their valuable history of oppression to its “true” inheritors—namely progressives and their handpicked allies.
Of course the article neglects to mention that Jews have always been “white”, in the sense of being unaffected by segregation policies:
So no, it’s not that we are making it up as we go along, but merely that we are accurately recalling what Jews would rather we did not.