Thursday, December 16, 2010

master's thesis creates a fuss in Canada

A remarkable master's thesis has been written by a Canadian who is a Jew, Jenny Peto. The title is The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education

You can get a PDF of the thesis. I read it and I recommend it to you.

Here's the abstract - boldface is mine...
This paper focuses on issues of Jewish identity, whiteness and victimhood within hegemonic Holocaust education. I argue that today, Jewish people of European descent enjoy white privilege and are among the most socio-economically advantaged groups in the West. Despite this privilege, the organized Jewish community makes claims about Jewish victimhood that are widely accepted within that community and within popular discourse in the West. I propose that these claims to victimhood are no longer based in a reality of oppression, but continue to be propagated because a victimized Jewish identity can produce certain effects that are beneficial to the organized Jewish community and the Israeli nation-state. I focus on two related Holocaust education projects – the March of the Living and the March of Remembrance and Hope – to show how Jewish victimhood is instrumentalized in ways that obscure Jewish privilege, deny Jewish racism and promote the interests of the Israeli nation-state.
The March of Remembrance and Hope (for anyone) and the March of the Living (for Jews), take teenagers to a former concentration camp in Poland and then on to Israel. It will come as no surprise that the organizers are the same folks who provide the Birthright tours of Israel (occupied territories not included) that hope to make American Jewish kids believe they are entitled to claim another people's land as their own, or at least indoctrinate them to support those who do.

Peto's analysis of the psychology involved in the tours is persuasive. Zionism has always been an activist program - whether driving Palestinians from Palestine or recruiting Jews to move to Israel, Zionists have a single goal in mind and have been successful to date. Yet the exposure of the program for what it is rather than what Zionists claim it to be is eroding support rapidly.

As you might guess, Peto's work has been denounced as anti-Semitic, a charge that becomes more like that of the boy who cried wolf every day.

That the U.S. Congress is a Zionist captive is clear from news today of the unanimous House of Representatives resolution to block any recognition of a Palestinian state even as Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay do so with others likely to follow. It's as if a blizzard is forecast and the United States puts on a bathing suit while others bundle up.

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