There is a new way to smear Zionism – opinion – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on May 8, 2021

Jewish academic critics of Israel have come up with a new smear tactic: falsely portraying Jewish nationalism as being intimately tied to the evils of 19th-century white-settler colonialism.That was the theme of a May 4 online program called Baja California Dreaming: How US Settler Colonialism Shapes Jewish Nationalism, hosted by the University of California at Davis. The featured speaker was Maxwell Greenberg, a doctoral candidate at UCLA, and the respondent was Sarah Imhoff, a professor at UC-Davis.Greenbergs remarks focused on a handful of American Jewish philanthropists in San Francisco who in the 1890s were looking for a way to save Russias Jews from the pogroms: the systemic, violent anti-Jewish riots of the time. These US Jews came up with the idea of purchasing some land in the Baja section of Mexico where Russian Jewish refugees could live and work.But the plan never advanced past the point of a few discussions and a pamphlet or two. They didnt purchase any land and they didnt bring in any refugees. So why should anybody care about it today? Why did UC-Davis choose to feature the topic in its prestigious New Directions in Jewish Studies series, choosing Greenbergs proposal from among 70 scholarly submissions?Apparently because bashing nationalism is very desirable in academic circles these days, and bashing Jewish nationalism and the Zionist movement is especially popular.Greenbergs entire thesis is based on playing games with the word nationalism. Rabbi Jacob Voorsanger, the leader of the San Francisco philanthropic circle that was thinking about Baja, was not a Jewish nationalist. He was an ultra-assimilationist, and one of the few Reform rabbis those days who performed intermarriages. He was a vehement opponent of Zionism. There was nothing nationalistic about wanting to find a refuge in Mexico for some pogrom victims. But by slapping the nationalism label on the Voorsanger group, Greenberg and Imhoff had their target.According to Greenberg, the Baja plan shows the influence of US settler colonialism on movements for Jewish nationalism. How so? Well, around the same time as those Russian pogroms, privileged white settlers from America were carrying out land theft, genocide and enslavement against Mexicans, so that means Voorsanger and his friends must have been preparing to turn those Russian Jewish refugees into useful white settlers who would promote the goals of white American imperialism and colonialism.

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There is a new way to smear Zionism - opinion - The Jerusalem Post

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