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The Schmooze

Is #JewishPrivilege a thing? Not so much, say Jews on Twitter

Family members lost to concentration camps. Last names swapped for less conspicuously Jewish ones. Pennies thrown on the school bus.

These are a few of the anecdotes Jews shared on Twitter after the hashtag #JewishPrivilege began trending over the weekend.

While the hashtag has existed for years, far-right anti-Semitic accounts resurfaced it on Sunday with posts denying the Holocaust, accusing Jews of masterminding the slave trade, and stating that they “shape shift to white” at whim.

But by Sunday afternoon, Jewish activists and celebrities had co-opted the hashtag, using it as an ironic appendage to keenly felt stories about personal experiences with anti-Semitism. Comedian Sarah Silverman led the charge with a post that recalled being pelted with pennies by classmates.

David Simon, the writer behind “The Wire” and “The Plot Against America,” also chimed in, recalling the emotional anguish he experienced when his father was taken hostage in the 1977 Hanafi Siege.

Many others shared their families’ Holocaust history or instances of anti-Semitism they’d experienced in everyday American life.

Others made a distinction between “Jewish privilege” conspiracy theories peddled by extremist groups and the white privilege from which many Jews benefit.

Meanwhile, some users pointed out how the experiences of Jews of color complicate any attempt to label Jews as “privileged.” Since Jews are far from a monolithic bloc, it’s impossible to generalize about the privilege we enjoy in some contexts or the discrimination we experience in others.

Debate over Jewish privilege also made its way into the resignation of New York Times Opinion Columnist Bari Weiss.

_Irene Katz Connelly is an editorial fellow at the Forward. You can contact her at [email protected]_

A rabbi shared a photo of his car after an anti-Semitic attack.

A rabbi shared a photo of his car after an anti-Semitic attack. Image by screenshot/Twitter


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