Dear White Jews: Stop Using My Existence As A Talking Point
Show up, instead.
January 14, 2019 at 9:36 pm
Over the past several months, I’ve read article after article from white Jewish women accusing the organizers of the Women’s March of being anti-Semitic. The articles all tell the same, frankly tired, story that Tamika Mallory is anti-Semitic because she took a picture with Louis Farrakhan, and Linda Sarsour is anti-Semitic because she supports Boycotting, Divesting, and Sanctioning (BDS) Israel as a way to free Palestinians.
As the wheels of white supremacy reliably turn, these accusations have effectively fractured the Women’s March, one of the most intersectional movements of our time. Simultaneously, the voices of Jews who benefit from white privilege have been amplified in the conversations we’ve been having within the Jewish community, and voices of Jews of Color have been completely left out of the dialogue — unless it’s when a white Jew predictably says “our community is diverse” as a talking point when flinging around those accusations of anti-Semitism.
So, let me throw my voice into the ring: my Black skin and Jewish soul will be at the Women’s March in D.C. on January 19, and I am proud and humbled to march alongside Mallory, Sarsour, my LGBTQ family, my immigrant family, my Jewish family, my Palestinian family, my indigenous family and all the other marginalized communities who are ready to show up and show out because kids are still in cages, my body is my choice and ultimately, my life and our lives depend on our collective liberation.
I trust Linda Sarsour, because she protected my body by calling her Muslim community to show up and encircle my Jewish community while I grieved the loss of 11 of my siblings on the steps of the Nation’s Capitol after the Tree of Life massacre. I trust Tamika Mallory, because I know she intimately understands the violence Black communities experience every day in our country — the same violence that caused me to witness my first shooting at 10 years old.
Let me be clear, Linda and Tamika have proven time and time again to have my back, to be here to fight for my liberation: as a Jewish woman, and as a Black woman. And, despite constant criticism from white Jews, they’ve continued to show up for you, too — in meetings and actions all over the country that, not surprisingly, don’t seem to be getting any attention.
None of us win the battle against white supremacy alone, or in monolithic communities, and we do not win the battle against anti-Semitism without dismantling its catalyst: white supremacy, itself. None of us win this battle by staying at home. Staying at home is giving in to the oldest trick in the book of white supremacy — the tactic of divide and conquer. On the contrary, we all win this battle by showing up, by staying in dialogue, by working across lines of intersection. My Jewish family, I hope you’ll show up with me, my life depends on it — and your life, ultimately, depends on it, too. All of our lives depend on it.
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