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Anti-Oppression: Anti-Judeomisia

Image: "We must always take sides. Neutrality always helps the oppressor, never the oppressed. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." Elie Wiesel

Background

What does Judeomisia look like? 

Support Resources for Jewish Folks

Informational Resources for Allies

Wondering about the use of "Judeomisia" instead of "Judeophobia?" Check out information about the change HERE.

A note on the scope of this guide:

This guide is intended to provide general information about anti-oppression, diversity, and inclusion as well as information and resources for the social justice issues key to current dialogues within the Simmons Community. This guide is by no means an exhaustive list of anti-oppressive initiatives nor does it capture all of the many facets of the larger conversations about the issues listed here. This guide serves as an introduction to these issues and as a starting place for finding information from a variety of sources.


 

Background

Judeomisia (also called Judeophobia and Anti-Semitism) is prejudice plus power; anyone with any religious beliefs can have/exhibit religion-based prejudice, but in North America (and throughout much of the western world), people who follow Christianity have the institutional power, therefore Judeomisia or anti-semitism is a systematized discrimination or antagonism directed against Jewish people due to their religion, or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity associated with Judaism. Like Islamomisia, Judeomisia/anti-semitism describes mentalities and actions that demean an entire class of people.

Note: Criticism of Judaism should not be automatically conflated with bigotry against Jewish people. Judeomisia is not the rational, respectful interrogation and/or criticism of Judaism based on factual evidence, just as criticism of the tenets of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions does not necessarily indicate bigotry or prejudice. Judeomisia is the irrational fear of, discrimination against, and antagonism toward Jewish people simply for being Jewish.


Anti-Judeomisia is strategies, theories, actions, and practices that challenge and counter Judeomisia/anti-semitism, inequalities, prejudices, and discrimination against Judaism and/or Jewish people.

What does Judeomisia look like?

Judeomisic Microaggressions are commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults in relation to religion, religious practices, and/or Jewish identity. They are structurally based and invoke oppressive systems of a religious (Christian) hierarchy. Judeomisic or anti-semitic MicroinvalidationsMicroinsultsMicroassaults are specific types of microaggressions.

Note: The prefix “micro” is used because these are invocations of religious hierarchy at the individual level (person to person), where as the "macro" level refers to aggressions committed by structures as a whole (e.g. an organizational policy). "Micro" in no way minimalizes or otherwise evaluates the impact or seriousness of the aggressions.

Further Reading:

Religious Oppression is the "systematic subordination of those who are [not Christian] by the dominant Christian milieu in the United States. This subordination is a product of power and the unequal power relationships among religious groups within American society; it is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms and values, institutional structures, and societal practices." (Khyati Joshi)

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Support Resources for Jewish Folks

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Informational Resources for Allies

Religious/Christian Privilege

In the United States and many other Western nations, Christianity and its various denominations and religious practices hold institutional and cultural power. Christian privilege is the unearned benefits that Christians in the US receive that members of other faiths (or non-religious people) do not. Some examples are below:

  • • You can expect to have time off work to celebrate religious holidays.
  • • Holidays celebrating your faith are so widely supported you can often forget they are limited to your faith (e.g. wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” without considering their faith).
  • • You can worship freely, without fear of violence or threats.
  • • When swearing an oath, you will place your hand on a religious scripture pertaining to your faith.
  • • Politicians can make decisions citing your faith without being labeled as heretics or extremists.

Religious/Christian Fragility

Religious or Christian fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of religious stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as tears, argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate Christian or dominant religious equilibrium. (adapted from "White Fragility")

Christianity's religious dominance in the U.S. allows most American Christians to live in social environments that insulate them from challenging encounters with beliefs or people who differ from themselves. Within this dominant social environment, Christians come to expect social comfort and a sense of belonging and superiority. When this comfort is disrupted, Christians are often at a loss because they have not had to build skills for constructive engagement with difference. They may become defensive, positioning themselves as victims of anti-Judeomisic work and co-opting the rhetoric of violence to describe their experiences of being challenged on religious privilege. (adapted from "Christian Fragility")

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Disclaimer

In an effort at full disclosure, it should be noted that the collaborators on this guide occupy some of the oppressed identities outlined here, but not all of them. We have attempted to bring together quality, relevant resources for the anti-oppression issues in this guide, but we are not immune from the limits and hidden biases of our own privileges and perspectives as allies.

We welcome and greatly appreciate any feedback and suggestions for the guide, particularly from the perspectives and experiences of the marginalized groups listed and not listed here.