Flipping the Bigots
Here we go again: “Jews are bad.” “Jews control the banks and the media, and therefore the world.” “Jews are at the root of everything, from pandemics to slavery to your root canal last week.” “And of course rich Jews are the worst of all, their worstness getting worser as they get richer.”
These latest “revelations” come courtesy of—surprise!—white supremacists who sought to capitalize on the current social justice uprising with the creative hashtag #JewishPrivilege in an echoing spin of the popular #WhitePrivilege—the idea being that Jews receive no discrimination, being white, and are therefore free to practice their evil Jewishness, whatever that may be.
Unwitting progressives, too, joined in, buying into the canard that not only did Jews have privilege, they were also RESPONSIBLE for much of the systemic racism plaguing minorities. Predictably, #JewishPrivilege began trending on Twitter to the horror of, among others, Jewish writer Hen Mazzig, who decided to confront and handle it with a spin of his own.
Mazzig, himelf an Iraqi “Jew of color” (i.e., no “white privilege” there), posted in his Twitter feed:
#JewishPrivilege is when my grandparents were violently forced out of Iraq and Tunisia for being Jewish with only the clothes to their back. Along with 850,000 other MENA [Middle East North African] Jews they arrived to Israel with nothing, only spoke Arabic, and lived in a tent/tin shack for years.
He then invited his Jewish Twitter followers to post their own “#JewishPrivilege” stories.
Their survival stories were heartbreaking. But I went to sleep feeling empowered.
Within hours, Twitter was alight with such posts as:
#JewishPrivilege is when my father had to get the body of our Jewish relative in this photo, Ebrahim Berookhim in July 1980 who had been executed by the Khoemeni regime for no reason and they would not release his body until my father paid for the bullet used to execute him!
My #JewishPrivilege was walking my dog when I was 10 yrs old and two teenage boys stopped me and picked up my dog telling me they were going to throw him in the garbage because he was a Jewish dog.
#JewishPrivilege is when my family was denied to leave the USSR only because we are Jews, and when we left finally, they let us take only 150$ and took all the war medals of my grandmother.
Mazzig’s bold Twitter gambit was retweeted thousands of times. Jewish celebrities joined in. Comedian Sarah Silverman, actor Josh Gad, former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and other Jews in the limelight posted their #JewishPrivilege stories of hatred and bigotry perpetrated on themselves and their friends.
Mazzig commented, “Their survival stories were heartbreaking. But I went to sleep feeling empowered.”
When he awoke the following morning, #JewishPrivilege was again trending on Twitter, not because of the anti-Semites who spawned it, but because of the targets of their hatred—Jews themselves—who had been sharing their stories of discrimination and injustice.
As Mazzig points out, minority groups should work together to oust discrimination and hatred. It is that very coming together that such hate groups fear the most, hence the convenient “marriage” of white nationalist racism with the current “anti-racist” movements by using “#JewishPrivilege” in an attempt to turn ALL ideologies, progressive and white supremacist, against the “privileged” Jews.
Mazzig adds, “We need to grasp that dangerous forces are attempting to create tension between Jews and people of color. Anyone blaming Jews for systemic racism is doing the bidding of organized white supremacists, to the detriment of Jews of color like me.”
How can you help turn off the “bigot spigot?” Simply don’t buy into any invitation to hate—anybody. As Dr. Martin Luther King observed, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”