What about Jewish Privilege? An Open Letter to Tim Wise

February 23, 2015

Double Standard
Double Standard

Is there a double standard in your application of privilege theory?

Dear Timothy Jacob Wise,

You’re scheduled to make a grand visit here at the Indiana University at Bloomington, and the Traditionalist Youth Network has plans to picket you. Already, this has caused an uproar on the University, with our flyers being torn down, and I am curious to see what the reaction will be when we show up to protest. Already, on the Jordan Bridge, our messages have been covered up with “IU welcomes Tim Wise!” There has been a significant reaction to the fact that one of our flyers has a classical “Jewish” stereotype with a mask on, saying this is “anti-Semitic.”

I personally didn’t have a role in spreading these flyers, nor have any particular interest in spreading them. I do however; wish to ask you a simple question. Why, if you are ideologically consistent, not renounce, or even discuss the notion of “Jewish Privilege?” When you and other academics argue against so-called “white privilege,” “cisnormativity,” “straight privilege” and the like, there is never a discussion of “Jewish privilege.” Jewish privilege, in it’s quantitative (in terms of raw statistics which demonstrate Jewish influence) and qualitative (in terms of the contradictory reactions to various actions when committed by Jews vs Non-Jews) form is never discussed. If it is discussed, it is always to be scoffed at and dismissed.

Just as those who rail against “patriarchy” “white privilege” “racism” “cisnormativity” “body shaming” and “Kyriarchy” claim to not hate all men, white people, cisgendered, or thin individuals, yet only to be against the “social structures” which allow for their ability to subjugate and oppress minorities. I am not, in discussing the issue of “Jewish privilege,” attempting to smear or defile the Jews as a whole, rather as a religion or an ethnic group.

I wouldn’t dare criticize the ultra-orthodox Jews like Samtar and the Nutrea Karta, who have continued to faithfully uphold Judaism’s commitments to withdrawing and abstaining from political life until the appearance of their messiah. Nor is this addressed to secular Jews like Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Gilad Atzmon, and many laudable individuals who have contributed to the international struggle for Palestinian rights, and deconstructing Jewish privilege. Gilad Atzmon deserves all the credit that is due for exposing the reality of Jewish privilege to the world. If Atzmon is ever given the opportunity to speak to the Indiana University, the Traditionalist Youth Network will serve as his personal entourage as the apostles of “free speech” attempt to block his both.

Not everybody in TradYouth is a “White Nationalist”. I’m not. I support the project’s work to promote Traditionalism. I clarify my position in my previous article, “Is My Race My Nation? Doubts Concerning White Nationalism.” I’m not all that interested in “White interests”, but I am interested in your application of privilege theory, and whether you’re being consistent. For understanding, the issue of quantitative White privilege: on your own website, you publish an article about “quantifying white privilege” where you list as an example of said privilege, the numbers of whites and the number of African-Americans arrested for the same year for drug violations. You note that the statistics of arrests juxtaposed with the quantity of black and white drug users do not add up, and that we should be expecting a greater number of whites on arrests and a few number of blacks on arrests:

“Imagine how different life would be in America if 160,000 more whites and 160,000 fewer blacks were being arrested each year for drugs: a shift of 320,000 persons in all in terms of who would be brought under the control of the justice system and who wouldn’t. Imagine what it would mean over the course of a decade: at least 1.5 million more whites with drug arrest records than the numbers of whites who actually have such records now; and likewise, 1.5 million fewer blacks with drug arrest records when compared to those who have such records now or will in the next ten years … So it is no exaggeration to say that but for white privilege in the enforcement of drug laws, the war on drugs and all of its destructive impacts on neighborhoods, families and the country as a whole would have been avoided.”

Yourself and others also argue that White Privilege is demonstrated by the achievement gap in education and employment. Besides the aforementioned statistic, there are some frightening statistics regarding high school drop out rights. From an early age, it has been demonstrated that on average, African-Americans and Hispanics have lower test scores then their Caucasian counterparts. In 2001, over 20% of African Americans and Latino Americans have dropped out of school. On the collegiate level, a greater number of Whites than Blacks enter university and of those who enter, a greater percentage of blacks and Hispanics do not end up finishing.

You claim on your FAQ, that while you do not focus of sexism, you are sympathetic to the cause of dismantling “patriarchy.” Leading feminist Laci Green, in her explanation of Feminism, claims a defining example of patriarchy is the overrepresentation of men in the government, the arts, business, and that “women die” in “wars started by men” Specifically, the senate, representing a country that is 50% and 50% female has an over-representation of men in government. For example, as of 2014, less the 20% of the congress, both the senate and the house were women. This discrepancy is argued by some, to account for the fact that there are scores of bills of “regulate women’s bodies” in some form or another, but no bills “regulating men’s bodies.”

Now, if we take these statistics to represent institutionalized racism. What about the statistics that demonstrate a Jewish privilege? Specifically, according to Stephen Steinlight, the former head of the American Jewish Committee, Jews constitute the “most privileged and powerful of white Americans.” Due the fact that Jewish individuals, in comparison to the rest of the population, have a greater annual income, more than this, they are overwhelmingly represented in our government. If it is “patriarchy” for an 80% male senate in a country that is only 50% male, then what in the world is a senate that is 13% Jewish, in a country that has a population of only 1.7% Jewish? Jews are over represented in our higher legislative body by a statistic of 13 to 1.

Furthermore, in terms of foreign policy, does not the “unbreakable” pact between Israel and America, together with a foreign aid budget of 80% demonstrate a Jewish privilege? I know that you are critical of Zionism and the state of Israel, and you are to be lauded for that. However, I would like to know if you consider these aforementioned raw statistics to be an indication of a “unique Jewish privilege?”

Mr. Wise, my question to you is this. Do the raw statistics imply a Jewish privilege? If you say no, then why do the previous statistics you yourself use to justify white privilege necessarily mean white privilege?

The next question involves Jewish attitudes. I referenced before a “qualitative” nature to any form of privilege. For example, for yourself and others who complain about white privilege, a “qualitative” example of white privilege would be that a white woman does not feel that her skin color and/or natural hair is naturally ugly, and has to remedied with skin whiteners and/or hair straightners. Or the fact that, as Buzzfeed, points out, African-Americans and other minorities are treated as “spokespeople” for their race.

If an internalized inferiority complex is to be taken as an example of “white privilege.” Then what do you make of the internalized self-hatred of many evangelical Christians? The aforementioned Steinlight freely admits that Jews get a “free pass” because of the Holocaust, and the “Christian guilt” has been an effective tool in creating a duality of consciousness, a self-hate if you will. The context in which Steinlight brings this up is the issue of immigration to the United States from Muslim and Latin American countries. His thesis is, in no uncertain terms, that Mexican immigrants and Muslim immigrants will not emulate America’s traditional approach to Jews because they approach Jews in a different theological sense then the majority of American Christians, both Protestant and Catholic. To quote exactly what he says in the sub-section of his paper “posing the sphinx question”:

“Does it matter that most Latino immigrants have encountered Jews in their formative years principally or only as Christ killers in the context of a religious education in which the changed teachings of Vatican II penetrated barely or not at all? Does it matter that the politics of ethnic succession — colorblind, I recognize — has already resulted in the loss of key Jewish legislators (the brilliant Stephen Solarz of Brooklyn was one of the first of these) and that once Jewish “safe seats” in Congress now are held by Latino representatives?”

Later, in discussing the threat of the Islamic community in the United States to Jewish interests, he says:

Powerful strains of religious triumphalism and religious supercessionism are central tenets of Islam. Such dangerous spiritual arrogance has been abandoned by many Christian denominations, largely as a product of Vatican II and years of interfaith dialogue and soul-searching encounters. Christian believers, from Roman Catholics to members of such liberal Protestant denominations as the Congregationalists and the United Church of Christ, have for example, adopted the view that God’s covenantal relationship with the Jewish people remains unbroken and that the advent of Christianity neither erased nor cancelled it. (In the United States, the Southern Baptist Convention forms a sad exception to this changed perspective, as do the traditional attitudes of several Orthodox Christian national churches.) No parallel spiritual generosity exists in Islam. While Muslims are prepared to offer the passing genuflection to Jesus or prominent figures in the Hebrew bible, the tone is one of enormous condescension.

What Steinlight has said here, quite openly, is that most Christians are easier to manipulate and control than Muslims. If it is “white privilege” for African-Americans and Latin-Americans to feel that their body types, skin-colors, and natural hair is “unhealthy” or “unnatural” and that they have to be appease white people to fit in, then what do you call it when Christians are supposed to hold an inferiority complex to Jews?

One last example of Jewish privilege I would like to discuss is representation in the media. Imagine for a second, if there was a movie in which a group of stereotypical Jewish Rabbis put a death curse on a young bank teller. For days a demon stalks her, and at the end, she is dragged into hell. Meanwhile, distorted and disgusting stereotypes of Jews are displayed, in an omnipresent role as vile antagonists. This hypothetical movie would have been denounced as “anti-Semitic” by the same Jewish organizations who denounced the “Passion of the Christ” with such vigor would have followed suit.

Now, replace “Jews” with “Gypsies/Roma” people and we have the offensive and despicable portrayal of “Drag Me to Hell.” Which did not attract any criticism from the ADL or the SPLC. Furthermore, Wikipedia’s article on the film does not mention the racism of this film in the slightest, only that it grossed a 92% approval rating. Compare that with the fact that Wikipedia’s article on both Jesus Christ Superstar and Passion of the Christ document the alleged anti-Semitism of the film.

So my question Mr. Wise is this. Does this not exhibit a form of distinct “Jewish privilege” where movies labeled anti-Semitic are widely condemned while movies which fully exploit age old hateful stereotypes, including ones which were used to justify hundreds of thousands of deaths, including during the Holocaust, gross millions without controversy?

One last question to point out regarding the issue of Jewish privilege regards the freedom to offend. Given that it was only a little over a month ago that the tragedy of the bombing in France occurred, there is no need to explain it. Because this note has gone on too long already, I would like to ask Tim Wise a simple question. Why are the masses concerned with the outcry against Muslim offenses on Free Speech, when there is little any word to the Jewish backed movements to suppress free speech? For example, why was there a United nations organized “Victims of Jihad” conference for the so-called “victims” of Islamic extremism like Ayaan Hirsi, Ibn Warraq, and Wafa Sultan, however no conference dedicated to the “victims of Zionism” such as David Irving and Mahmoud Ahmandinijad? Why is insulting the Prophet Muhammad acceptable in Western Europe, yet blasphemy against the Holocaust, specifically, the Jewish Holocaust victims, not acceptable in western civilization?

To some this all up, Mr. Wise, how are we to take the notion of “white privilege” seriously in our society. Do you not concede that, with the same methodology you reject your so-called “white privilege” that there is a separate and more exalted form of “Jewish privilege?” If the statistics of income disparity, incarceration, employment and the like indicate a privilege for the European-American, then what does it say when one distinct ethnicity constitutes a disproportionate amount of contributions to political campaigns, as well as dominate a our media, academic, and financial institutions? If white privilege is to be seen in a more subtle way, that being internalized conceptions of superiority or inferiority, then what say you regarding the phenomena of self-hate among over 60% of America’s Christians today? If white privilege is to be understood in terms of double standards in America’s justice system, then what say you regarding double standards in terms of media representation, and even the freedom of speech; supposedly the west’s most sacred right?

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