The Unspoken Contempt For Our Survivors

The Unspoken Contempt For Our Survivors

Bunny Morgan-Brown

This essay was originally posted to Instagram (@thatgalbunnybrown) on 11 November 2023 / 27 Cheshvan 5784, and re-uploaded to Ghost on 1 February 2024 / 22 Shevat 5784


One day we will talk about the deep-seated and unspoken resentment and contempt American and Israeli Jews, especially, have for Shoah survivors, even though they don't think they do.

But they absolutely do. Everybody does.

One day we will talk about the deep-seated and unspoken resentment and contempt American and Israeli Jews, especially, have for Shoah survivors, even though they don't think they do. But they absolutely do. Everybody does. Please go sit in on non-Jewish folks of color talking about the Holocaust: the anti-Semitism is almost always a very subtle undercurrent, but it's definitely there due to the social engineering and purposeful alienation of conditional whiteness. If you get upset at me saying that: tough shit, eat this bitter pill of compassion if you want to help be a part of liberating your Palestinian siblings.

We as a Jewish community, though, objectified, silenced, and minimized our own relatives and their suffering to make it palatable for us to process and reckon with (or not), and denied them space and resources to engage in the deep healing they required after being victimized before, during, and after the war. Non-Jews continue to minimize and dismiss the historical materiality of Jewish persecution and slaughter as an intergenerational inheritance, dislocating the role of various civilizations - as well as political institutions of Christian and Islamicate affiliation, motivated on religious grounds, which makes sense because they'd have to bring that into a discussion of their own identities in a deconstructing kinda way - into a void of Shoah minimization at and/or outright denialism, for the real shitbird + intentional anti-Semitic MFers in the dialogue. It is also absolutely, 1000% true, to say that non-Jewish leftists deprioritize and do not seek out dialogue with Jewish communities when it comes to intersectional analysis (say it with me now: because of the alienation of the veil of conditional whiteness, as well as unconscious anti-Semitism, made worse by the nationalist violence of Israel obfuscating the latter.)

The whole of Europe - alongside Israel and the United States - forced Shoah survivors into silence about the violence that happened to them for decades after the war. Part of why there was such an "aggressive" push to teach about the Holocaust was because of this systemic suppression and censorship. It makes me very angry when non-Jewish people speak flippantly about the pervasiveness of Holocaust education when the reality is that it - like the histories of other violently oppressed people - has only fairly recently taken on any sort of serious public regard and importance. Israel also actively suppressed the speaking and printing of Yiddish language, which was the first language of most (80-85%!) of the Jewish people brought to and murdered in the camps, as part of the project to solidify a Jewish Israeli national identity.

We have opted for showboating of their memories and experiences, rendering them consumables and their experiences to be turned into folkloric trauma p0rn for Jews and non-Jews alike, while allowing a sizable number of these survivors to end up in poverty and to fall into cycles of misplaced pain and trauma, which have harmed their children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren. That legacy produced several generations of people who now wholeheartedly also believe that theocratic or secular ethnonationalism coupled with an explicitly named, racialized bigotry towards + violent oppression of an Other in that society – the thing that threatened the very lives of their elders! – is the thing that would've saved them, and now stands between the safety of the Jewish people and the anti-Semitism of the world.

Anti-Zionist Jews exist and advocate for Palestinian liberation because some of our grandparents, our great grandparents - I use these titles collectively - knew that our future lay in Doikayt: vigorous and proud assertion of our Jewishness wherever we are, in service of the land and the people who belong to Her, because all of it is made in Gd's image.

A sizable number of these survivors to end up in poverty and to fall into cycles of misplaced pain and trauma, which have harmed their children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren. That legacy produced several generations of people who now wholeheartedly also believe that theocratic or secular ethnonationalism coupled with an explicitly named, racialized bigotry towards + violent oppression of an Other in that society – the thing that threatened the very lives of their elders! – is the thing that would've saved them, and now stands between the safety of the Jewish people and the anti-Semitism of the world.

Anti-Zionist Jews exist and advocate for Palestinian liberation because some of our grandparents, our great grandparents - I use these titles collectively - knew that our future lay in Doikayt: vigorous and proud assertion of our Jewishness wherever we are, in service of the land and the people who belong to Her, because all of it is made in Gd's image.


Subscribe + Support for more content!

Using the sign-up form below, you can join my list as a free reader and receive my posts straight to your inbox, so you never have to worry about missing a thing.

Or, if you'd like to take your support to the next level + receive a bunch of great benefits, you can become a patron starting at $9 USD/month to get access to the ability to leave comments, inclusion in community ceremonies, and more.

You can use the green bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen (or below), or you can visit my Become A Patron page for more information.

Comments