Does Jewish/White Privilege Exist?

I wrote a brief reply to Yves Engler’s “Toronto’s Racist, Militarist Pro-Israeli Movement” on Dissident Voice.

I don’t know if he read it, but if he did, he didn’t agree with it. His latest article continues to fudge the issue of Jewish supremacy, by amalgamating it with ‘white privilege’.

Engler’s latest article describes a march in Toronto organized by Canada’s main Jewish organizations, who defended Israel’s recent campaign of mass murder in Gaza. They claimed they were opposing “anti-Semitism”, which they say is a variant of “racism”. Engler’s critique is to argue that, far from being against racism, the march was “little more than a group of ‘white’ people calling for the further subjugation of ‘brown’ folk.”

It’s true that Canadian Jews are pallid, and Palestinians are somewhat tanned. But Israel isn’t carrying out the genocide of the Palestinians because Jews are of lighter tint, rather because Palestinians aren’t Jewish, and happened to be located where Israel was created. If the Palestinians were blond, they could hardly expect better treatment.

Engler himself gives the evidence for this: “Approximately 93 percent of land was in the public domain, including approximately 12.5 percent owned by the NGO Jewish National Fund (JNF), whose statutes prohibit sale or lease of land to non-Jews.” (my emphasis)

From this explicit description of anti-gentile racial discrimination, he concludes “In Israel, as in Canada, Jewish/white privilege is a much greater social problem than anti-Semitism. It’s time to check that privilege.”

‘Jewish/white privilege’ is even less of a problem than anti-Semitism. Whereas the latter has almost disappeared, the former has never existed. Since white supremacy has been retreating since the battle of Gettysburg, and Jewish supremacy is as powerful as ever, the latter cannot be a subset of the former. The ADL has considerably more influence than the KKK.

If you try hard enough, you can always find white extremists expressing racialist views somewhere in North America. The supporters of Darren Wilson, the white cop who killed an unarmed black teenager in St. Louis, raised half a million dollars for his defense, some of them made offensive comments, and the anti-racist left made the most of it. Yes, there are still some prejudiced white Europeans.

But in terms of money and power, nothing comes close to Jewish supremacy. The USA sends Israel over eight million dollars per day. Every politician grovels. The secretary of state apologizes every time he mildly criticizes Israel, for example, when he said that it is in danger of becoming an apartheid state.

“Why does a demonstration of hundreds of people against ‘anti-Semitism’ in Toronto seem more like a march for white supremacy than a rally against racism?” asks Engler.

Why does it seem like that to him? Because he subscribes to the dominant trend in North American leftism – a trend which denies the importance of the Israel Lobby, which claims that support for Israel is “US imperialism”, and that white supremacy is still the most important form of racialism in the Western world. This has consequences for how we oppose it. If we defend Engler’s conception ‘Jewish/white privilege’, we imply that support for Israel benefits the white majority population of Western countries.

If, on the other hand, we believe that Jewish racial supremacy is opposed to the interests of almost everyone, we will say so. We will attempt to undermine support for Israel by arguing that it only benefits a small minority. We will not be afraid of exposing the Lobby, Jewish ownership of the media, etc.. We will argue that Palestine solidarity is not just morally right, but rational self-interest.

Which of these approaches is closer to the truth, and more likely to succeed?

Jay Knott wrote The Mass Psychology of Anti-Fascism. Read other articles by Jay.