Wednesday, January 20, 2021

  • Wednesday, January 20, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Jewish Voice for Peace writes on their Facebook page:
“Most Jews, including an estimated half-million Israelis, continue to choose to live in diaspora. Yet there is no name for the ideology that backs up the political choice to do so” — or at least there wasn’t, until Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz coined the term “diasporism.” 
Kaye/Kantrowitz’s “diasporism” challenges two key Zionist assumptions: “first, that living in diaspora is an unfortunate lapse, unchosen and without value;” and “second, that true home and safety are to be found in the nation state.”
Instead of conceiving of the Jewish diaspora as “a problem to be solved by indoctrinating the next generation about their REAL home,” the ideology of “diasporism” celebrates our multi-rootedness and our ethnic and cultural diversity. It affirms our “right to be, and to fight for justice, wherever we are,” opening up opportunities to join with other diasporic peoples who oppose reactionary nationalism and “see borders as lines to cross.”
For Kaye/Kantrowitz, if there is a problem with Jewish life in the US, it’s not our estrangement from Israel, but “the narrowly prescribed options… for expressing and nurturing Jewish identity,” i.e. Zionism, antisemitism, and the Holocaust. If you’re looking for a diasporic home to express and nurture a Jewish identity beyond these options, JVP might be a great community for you!
You can see the appeal to the idea of "Diasporism" to anti-Zionists like JVP. It justifies their loathing for Jewish Zionists and Israel. It attempts to create a divide between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. It is an attempt to normalize their hate.

While I cannot speak to the original thinking of Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, as I have not read her book on the subject, JVP's formulation of "diasporism" is not a philosophy. It is a justification for the unjustifiable disguised as philosophy. 

After all, Zionism doesn't preclude Jews living outside Israel. It doesn't say that Jews shouldn't work within their own communities for equality for all, or to fight against antisemitism. In fact, Israel gives resources to help Jewish communities worldwide. 

The only real difference between Zionism and "diasporism" is that Zionism seeks unity among all Jews - the half of Jews who live in Israel and the half who do not - while diasporism seeks division between the two groups. 

There is one simple way to show that diasporism is not a true liberal philosophy and is just hate hiding behind noble sounding words. 

If diasporism is the ideal for Jews, then it must be the ideal for all groups who are outside the lands of their ancestors. If the ideal for Jews is to integrate into the nations they live in, then shouldn't Palestinians have that same right?

Where are the Leftist Jews who are agitating for Palestinians to have the right to live as equal citizens in Arab countries? Certainly most Palestinians themselves want that. The few times that Egypt and Lebanon allowed some to become citizens, Palestinians eagerly took advantage of the offer. But the standard Leftist opinion is that the Palestinians must remain outsiders in the lands in which they were born until they are allowed to "return," and that "return" is a human right that is more essential than equality. 

Does anyone (outside Palestinians themselves) actually advocate "diasporism" for Palestinians?

Similarly, where were these "diasporists" when Jews were being expelled from Egypt and Syria and, even last year, Yemen? Does it only apply to Jews who are already comfortable in liberal western countries and not to Jews who actually have been under attack as Jews?

If the idea of disaporism isn't universal - if it applies only to Jews and only in the West - then it isn't a moral philosophy. It is nothing but an excuse for hate and division. 


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