This week, i read a blog by a charedi Jewish woman calling those who criticise charedim, or even refer to a person as charedi when that information is not relevant to the rest of the sentence, are racist.
When one makes statements about “black people” and “Chinese” and “Hispanics” its rightly called racism and discrimination, and it’s wrong. Even when it’s not something negative per se. Just making assumptions about people because of their race, whether good or not, isn’t being fair, and is wrong. Just because one person or even many people in a group do something doesn’t mean you should assume the same about another person in that group. Even if there are reasons for the stereotypes existing in the first place. (There always are reasons why stereotypes are formed.) [...]
When all Jews are lumped together and criticized/blamed for something that is going wrong, that is called antisemitism, discrimination, and wrong. When someone isn’t hired to a job because he is a Jew, that’s illegal and religious persecution. When someone is attacked because he is a Jew, when Jews are described with disgusting words like comparing us to rats or infectious diseases, it is despicable and defamation and 100% illegal, not to mention immoral.
When it happens to Chareidim though… its seen as fair game.
It’s routine for people to get rejected from jobs, merely because they’re Chareidi. Many have told my husband, for example, that he should change his yarmulka, shave his beard, and cut off his peyos, and he’ll have more success finding a good job, because “no respectable company will hire him if he looks like that”.
If that’s not discrimination and hate crimes, what is? When someone gets attacked or accused because of his religious/communal affiliation, how would that be any different than antisemitic attacks? Or like blacks getting attacked because some other black hurt someone? Or like Arabs getting treated despicably and cursed out and attacked after 9/11?
I interrupted Naftali Bennett’s speech because I could not allow him to pass off his fully fleshed-out plan for apartheid as a seemingly benign blueprint for stability. I could not sit idly while MASA Israel hid his insidious intentions to disenfranchise millions behind the smiling apolitical façade of the end of the year event. I could not watch as the organizers of the event portrayed his colonialist, jingoistic, and racist ideology as a mainstream political position.
Then i read an article by another young american jew, saying that to put allegiance to Israel above one's allegiance to the US is to be guilty of dual loyalty.MASA Israel, without providing an alternative voice or giving context to Bennett’s role in the continuing occupation, shamelessly promoted Bennett as the event’s central speaker. His time as Director of the Yesha Council was listed on the invitation, which was sent out to thousands of diaspora Jews on gap years and study abroad programs, without any mention that the Yesha Council is the organization of settlements in the West Bank. He was introduced as leader of Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) political party without any allusion to its political orientation. MASA Israel had planned for Bennett to simply ascend to the stage as any other leader, without any mention of the nature of his political commitments.
The remorseful sentiment that Hannah describes is something that reflects a real challenge to our community, and there are perhaps many American Jews who share her feelings. But saying that her views are shared by a majority of America’s Modern Orthodox Jews provides fodder for racist accusations of dual loyalty. And frankly, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to defend against those accusations.
So where does that leave us? I think most of us are by now racist, or stuck in the stone age, or intolerant, or oppressive, or traitors to our homeland (not sure which one). Wouldn;t it be nice if we could all take a collective deep breath, wipe all those blogs clean, and start again?
Next week's assignment: a thousand words on "I love all Jews because..."