Understanding Antisemitism: An Offering To Our Movement

Jews For Racial & Economic Justice is proud to announce the publication of a new resource, Understanding Antisemitism, (click to open, control-click to download) for our community and our movement partners.

Since even before the election, it has been clear to us that many on the left (including Jews ourselves) don’t always have a clear analysis of what antisemitism is, how it works, and why it matters. In recent decades, the political Jewish right and its Christian allies (particularly Christian Zionists) have consistently spoken loudly against what they describe as antisemitism. In reaction to the manipulations of the right, many on the left have hesitated to address antisemitism at all.

And yet, today we have antisemites in the White House and neo-Nazis marching through Charlottesville, advancing a right-wing, white nationalist agenda. As we say in Understanding Antisemitism, “Antisemitism is real. It is antithetical to collective liberation, and it hurts Jews but not only Jews — it undermines, weakens and derails all of our movements for social justice and collective liberation.”

It is long past time for the left as a whole to sharpen its understanding of anti-Jewish ideology, and for Jews to engage more deeply in the collective fight against white supremacy. This paper is designed to help us develop that understanding and strengthen those commitments to one another.

Download and read Understanding Antisemitism, share it with your friends and colleagues, and don’t forget to join us for a follow-up online webinar on Monday, November 20th at 1pm featuring authors Dove Kent and Leo Ferguson, JFREJ Executive Director Audrey Sasson and social justice leaders Rama Issa-Ibrahim and Lisa Anderson.

Changing the conversation about antisemitism requires listening to new voices, which is why this resource was authored by a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, intergenerational team including Black, Mizrahi and white Ashkenazi Jews, with editorial review and support by Jews with ethnic and national identities from many countries including Puerto Rico, India, Iraq, Syria, as well as non-Jewish allies from many racial and ethnic backgrounds.

We are excited to be able to offer new perspectives and analysis to our many communities as we all navigate the shifting, treacherous terrain of white supremacy, nationalism and state violence. We make this offering with humility. It is only one piece of a larger conversation, and one step in the transformation of our movements. But if we re-examine our histories, learn from each other, and ask hard questions while refusing to be pitted against each other, we may discover that the path to freedom, resilience, and shared safety is far wider, kinder, stronger and clearer than we might have imagined.