Wednesday, 23 January 2019

In Black And White

Privileged teenage pricks versus No Fool Like An Old Fool? Has it really come to this? I remember the Culture War when it was worth fighting. And why were the March for Life and the Indigenous Peoples March on the same day, as if they were rival events? Again, has it really come to this?

As for the Black Hebrew Israelites, they are of a family. The Black Jews are more-or-less Christians, but with a heavy Jewish element to their doctrine and practice. The Black Hebrews are more traditionally Jewish in those terms. And the Black Israelites are also more Black Nationalist, to put it mildly.

But none of them is in any way related to Woody Allen. Anyone would think that there were no such race as the "the Jews". At some point, most or all of the ancestors of today's Jews were converts, except where, as in the case of Ivanka Trump, today's Jews are themselves converts. It is also possible to convert out of Judaism, classically by becoming a Christian.

Jews, then, are not a "race", any more than Christians are a race, or any more than Muslims are a race. That is to say, not at all. Hostility to Christians or to Muslims can be bound up with forms of racism, but in itself it is not one. The same is true of hostility to Jews. You cannot convert to being black, and you cannot convert out of being black.

Moreover, the foundation of racism is the desire to pay the politically black group little or nothing for its labour. That leads to systematic exclusion from education, culture, political participation, the means of communication, and so on. From the foundation up, none of that is remotely true of Jews. If anything, quite the reverse, and good luck to them.

Anti-Semitism, perfectly adequately defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "hostility to or prejudice against Jews", is many terrible things. But it is not a form of racism. Do nolt take my word for that. Ask the Black Hebrew Israelites.

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