jewishhistory

A Note on Jewish History re: Baltimore

Just saw a Jewish person on social media shame the rioters in Baltimore by saying, basically, “the Jews never rioted, and look where we are now.”

[long pause]

So lets break down this fuckery real quick.

1. Yes, Jews never rioted. But if rioting in Nazi Germany before the Holocaust would have saved ONE Jewish life, it would have been justified. I imagine if Jews had sent the message earlier that we would fight back, it would have saved a lot more. (and lets be clear - I’m not questioning the wisdom of my ancestors, because many Jews did not know what was happening to them until it was too late)

2. Yes, Jews never rioted. And today anti-semitism is still alive and well. No amount of “good behavior” and assimilation into other societies has yet definitively protected us from vitriol and violence. We’ve tried changing ourselves, but we were never the problem. Oppression is the problem.

3. Yes, Jews never rioted. But we have always resisted. See: Old Testament.

4. Yes, Jews never rioted. And as a people we’ve been enslaved, marginalized, slaughtered, gassed, starved, experimented upon, euthanized, ridiculed… the list goes on. We boast a history of nearly 6,000 years and many Jews are still not safe. Nobody should have to wait to be free. We’ve waited and many Jews are still not free. Those of us who are free (or who feel free) have paid in too much blood, too much suffering, too much forgetting of our culture. So, I’m not sure what our history has to offer people in Baltimore in terms of “advice,” other than “we haven’t figured it out yet either, so we’re here with you.”

5. Yes, Jews never rio– actually, no, we did riot. We rioted a lot. We rioted in European ghettos under Nazi control, we rioted in concentration camps. Only in retrospect history now refers to them as “uprisings” (they’d probably be called “riots” if the Nazis had won). Nobody ever questioned the validity of it because we were under attack. Here’s a famous quotation from Nobody Ever: “Why would they destroy their own ghettos? Why would they destroy their own concentration camps?”

So, Jewish person on social media, how close to genocide do we have to get before we can justify these riots?