Jewish Liberation in England

In June I attended a Jewish Liberation Workshop in London, England, led by Cherie Brown, the International Liberation Reference Person for Jews.

Cherie reminded us that anti-Semitism is cyclical and we are now living through a period of overt discrimination—though it is often being denied or ignored. She encouraged us to discharge on the places we don’t look.

In England, assimilated middle-class Jews are taught not to look at anti-Semitism, as to acknowledge it is to be “more Jewish.” Working-class Jews know that it’s there but don’t speak up about it.

Jews recently came into the streets to voice their concerns about anti-Semitism. It was the first time in my lifetime (I am sixty-seven) that I had seen Jews visibly and openly speaking out against anti-Semitism. The mainstream Jewish community, led mainly by owning-class Jews, keeps its head down and tries to deal with issues in isolation and behind the scenes [out of public view]. Cherie had us all scream, “You are an anti-Semite! You are a Nazi!” as we worked in pairs to contradict our silence.

The presence of Israelis and the interpretation into Hebrew were beautiful and made the workshop a Jewish home.

The early-morning group for Ashkenazis discharging on racism aimed at Mizrachis was a reminder of how little we Ashkenazis know about the racism we act out at our Jewish brothers and sisters of color. I look forward to more work on this.

I led a group on Israel. I publicised it as a group for those who love Israel, those who hate Israel, and those who are confused about Israel. I learned that discharging on Israel is no different than working on anything else.

Thank you, Cherie, for being you, for being gutsy, for being our model of a visible Jewish leader, and for expecting us to join you out front.

Louise Fox

London, England

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion listfor leaders of Jews

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00