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Jewish Idenitity K Aff

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So I was idly considering writing a Jewish Identity K Aff, about anti-semitism inherent in Western Culture, portrayals of the Jew as corrupter and parasite and the consistent "Christianizing" of identity nowadays, and was wondering what the consensus was about that here. Do you think there is any basis for me writing that? And if so, any recommendations for some literature to read? Any random thoughts/suggestions at all?

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In all seriousness tho...

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Bible/Weekly_Torah_Portion/shlah_ajws.shtml

Also maybe check out "Afro-Jew Encounters from Timbuktu to the Indian Ocean and Beyond" by William F. Miles

 

PM me if you want to look for more.  I just found these with a cursory search but I'd be willing to help you out if you want.

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You don't always need evidence to write an argument. I would definitely look in to a lit basis around your identity. 
First Ask yourself a few questions:
Why do you think its important to put your identity in the debate space?

How has western culture perpetuated violence towards you?

Can you solve the problem?

What are you planning on doing about it?

Are you comfortable discussing your identity in the context of a debate round? 

 

Its really important before you really start going into the literature on your jewish oppression to analyze violence that jewish people face and how Christianity has perpetuated this violence. I think the best way to learn about the problems and solutions by producing your own organic knowledge.

Try exposing yourself to many bodies of jewish critical literature and from that you should pick the one most representative of your beliefs.  

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be careful, strategically, because there's a solid literature base on judaism being both a white and whitened identity with access to race(d) privilege. if you can't find substantial defenses against Black scholars who criticize claims of jewish oppression, then you should reconsider the strategic risks of reading this type of aff

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be careful, strategically, because there's a solid literature base on judaism being both a white and whitened identity with access to race(d) privilege. if you can't find substantial defenses against Black scholars who criticize claims of jewish oppression, then you should reconsider the strategic risks of reading this type of aff

Wilderson, for example, compares the grammar of suffering that the Jewish experienced in the concentration camp (the Jew was reduced to bare life within the Concentration Camp, as per Agambens analysis) to the Blacks ontological grammar of suffering - here's a direct quote from Red, White, and Black: "Jews went into Auschwitz and came out as Jews. Africans went into the ships and came out as Blacks. The former is a Human holocaust; the latter is a Human and a metaphysical holocaust. That is why it makes little sense to attempt analogy: the Jews have the Dead (the Muselmenn) among them; the Dead have the Blacks among them."

 

He explains prior, or maybe after, that quote that the Holocaust is what happens when blackness is injected to whiteness, they were massacred because of their proximity to blackness - he quotes Fanon when Fanon writes that the Holocaust was "little family quarrels" since the slaves grammar of suffering, which is ontological, stands in antagonistic, rather than conflictual relations to one another - means that the Jews are capable of fighting back against their  oppressors since it's only a conflict, whereas the slave cannot since it stands at the juncture between subjective and objective vertigo

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the Holocaust was "little family quarrels" 

This, of course, is an example of grounds for the proper counter kritik by the affirmative - that the kritik reduces and reshapes the suffering of others to fit the particular narrative it wishes to advance. The Holocaust as "family quarrels" is an accurate description of Fanon's writing - and is disgusting. 

 

There was at least a contingent ontological distinction between Jewish people and non-Jews in the Holocaust (any response to which necessarily involves at least conceding that ontological distinctions are always already contingent, which takes out the link in the first place).

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This, of course, is an example of grounds for the proper counter kritik by the affirmative - that the kritik reduces and reshapes the suffering of others to fit the particular narrative it wishes to advance. The Holocaust as "family quarrels" is an accurate description of Fanon's writing - and is disgusting. 

 

There was at least a contingent ontological distinction between Jewish people and non-Jews in the Holocaust (any response to which necessarily involves at least conceding that ontological distinctions are always already contingent, which takes out the link in the first place).

Wilderson was responding to Agambens claim, which is found in Red, White, and Black as the following:

 

"The Jewish Holocaust as 'natural' metaphor continues to anchor many of today’s meta-commentaries. Giorgio Agamben’s meditations on the Muselmann, for example, allow him to claim Auschwitz as:

omething so unprecedented that one tries to make it comprehensible by bringing it back to categories that are both extreme and absolutely familiar: life and death, dignity and indignity. Among these categories, the rue cipher of Auschwitz-the Muselmann, the ‘core of the camp,’ he whom ‘no one wants to see,’ and who is inscribed in every testimony as lacuna— wavers without finding a definite position. (Remnants of Auschwitz 81) 

 

Agamben is not wrong, so much as he is late. Auschwitz is not “so unprecedented” to one whose frame of reference is the Middle Passage, followed by Native American genocide. In this way, Auschwitz would rank third or fourth in a normative, as opposed to 'unprecedented,' pattern. Agamben goes on to sketch out the ensemble of questions that Churchill and Spillers have asked, but he does so by deploying the Jewish Muselmann as the template of such questions, instead of the Red “Savage,” or the Black Slave:

 

In one case, [the Muselmann] appears as the non-living, as the being whose life is not truly life; in the other, as he whose death cannot be called death, but only the production of a corpse—as the inscription of life in a dead area and, in death, of a living area. In both cases, what is called into question is the very humanity of man, since man observes the fragmentation of his privileged tie to what constitutes him as human, that is, the sacredness of death and life. The Muselmann is the non-human who obstinately appears as human; he is the human that cannot be told apart from the inhuman. (82)

 

In the historiography of intellectual thought, Agamben’s widely cited template of the Muselmann is an elaboration of Sartre’s work. As philosophers, they work both to fortify and extend the interlocutory life of widely accepted political common sense which positions the German/Jewish relation as the sin-qua-non of a structural antagonism, thus allowing political philosophy to attribute ontological—and not just social—significance to the Jewish Holocaust. Fanon has no truck with all of this. He dismisses the presumed antagonism between Germans and Jews by calling the Holocaust “little family quarrels” (115), recasting with this single stroke the German/Jew encounter as a conflict rather than an antagonism. Fanon returns the Jew to his/her rightful position—a position within civil society animated by an ensemble of Human discontents. The Muselmann, then, can be seen as a provisional moment within existential Whiteness, when Jews were subjected to Blackness and Redness—and the explanatory power of the Muselmann can find its way back to sociology, history, or political science where it more rightfully belongs."

 

He's responding to the Jewish (ontological) experience within the Concentration Camp, as described by Satre and Agamben and how their form of suffering was based off of their proximity to blackness. I believe Willderson would acknowledge that there were other groups within the Concentration Camp, whether or not he would say their suffering was also contingent upon their proximity to blackness, I do not know.

Edited by Theparanoiacmachine

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He's responding to the Jewish (ontological) experience within the Concentration Camp, as described by Satre and Agamben and how their form of suffering was based off of their proximity to blackness. I believe Willderson would acknowledge that there were other groups within the Concentration Camp, whether or not he would say their suffering was also contingent upon their proximity to blackness, I do not know.

I'm curious how that argument is articulated - how does he assert Jewish ontological constitution was founded on proximity to Blackness? Sounds really interesting

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I'm curious how that argument is articulated - how does he assert Jewish ontological constitution was founded on proximity to Blackness? Sounds really interesting

The following paragraph from Red, White, and Black specifically: 

 

"In the historiography of intellectual thought, Agamben’s widely cited template of the Muselmann is an elaboration of Sartre’s work. As philosophers, they work both to fortify and extend the interlocutory life of widely accepted political common sense which positions the German/Jewish relation as the sin-qua-non of a structural antagonism, thus allowing political philosophy to attribute ontological—and not just social—significance to the Jewish Holocaust. Fanon has no truck with all of this. He dismisses the presumed antagonism between Germans and Jews by calling the Holocaust “little family quarrels” (115), recasting with this single stroke the German/Jew encounter as a conflict rather than an antagonism. Fanon returns the Jew to his/her rightful position—a position within civil society animated by an ensemble of Human discontents. The Muselmann, then, can be seen as a provisional moment within existential Whiteness, when Jews were subjected to Blackness and Redness—and the explanatory power of the Muselmann can find its way back to sociology, history, or political science where it more rightfully belongs."

 

It seems to be more along the lines of both Blackness and Redness - I may be understanding his texts, if that's what you're getting at - I do not have a college education, as you do, nor have I had the luxury to discuss Wildersons texts with anybody other than myself, I apologize in advance if there is a misunderstanding on my part.

Edited by Theparanoiacmachine
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The Muselmann, then, can be seen as a provisional moment within existential Whiteness, when Jews were subjected to Blackness and Redness—and the explanatory power of the Muselmann can find its way back to sociology, history, or political science where it more rightfully belongs."

 

It seems to be more along the lines of both Blackness and Redness - I may be understanding his texts, if that's what you're getting at - I do not have a college education, as you do, nor have I had the luxury to discuss Wildersons texts with anybody other than myself, I apologize in advance if there is a misunderstanding on my part.

No worries at all! Thanks for posting the quote and keeping the discussion going. 

 

I'm more asking for the warrant behind that assertion, if any - he asserts that Fanon doesn't see the German/Jew relationship the same way traditional existentialists do, but I'm not sure why Fanon might be more correct (e.g. why he thinks the Jewish ontological position in the Holocaust was a product of a relationship to Blackness). 

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No worries at all! Thanks for posting the quote and keeping the discussion going. 

 

I'm more asking for the warrant behind that assertion, if any - he asserts that Fanon doesn't see the German/Jew relationship the same way traditional existentialists do, but I'm not sure why Fanon might be more correct (e.g. why he thinks the Jewish ontological position in the Holocaust was a product of a relationship to Blackness). 

Cool, glad I could have an intellectual discussion. 

 

I believe Wilderson is using Fanon to respond to Agambens claim that the Jewish were reduced to bare life within the Concentration Camp, and that ontological transformation resulted in their social death. Afro-pessimisms meta-argument is that the black body, or the slave, is socially dead (via Orlando Pattersons texts), which is what the Jews experienced within the concentration camp. He seems to be saying that it was not Sovereign power that reduced the Jews to a position of social death, rather, since blackness is the condition of social death, it was their proximity to blackness that results in their social death. He makes this claim when he talks about the grammar of suffering of the "Savage" and how they are an example of the Jewish experience within the concentration camp, their massacre that is, because Redness is a branch of Blackness, just with a subject-position. 

 

I know that the warrant is somewhere within the first 60 pages of Red, White, and Black - I can look for it if you want. 

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A possibility, similar to middle passage affs, is the Jewish refugees before WW2 who traveled by boat across the atlantic but were turned away by the U.S. A poem/narrative/other type of performance representing this could help it relate to the topic. 

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Firstly, if I am understanding correctly it seems that Wilderson is claiming that the holocaust is an example of the Semitic body being exposed to structural violence that causes social death, colloquially referred to as Blackness or Redness. He never makes the claim that they are still under this structure of violence, at least as far as I am aware.

 

I would suggest looking into literature that would argue that the Semitic body went into the Holocaust as a certain kind of people, but are now the 'Semitic' body.

 

Also, in response I would most likely read that Semitism is a form of either anti-blackness, or of anti-brownness. Or, read that this is simply the newest form of the Semitic/white colonial movement.

(As far as I am aware, whiteness is not always equivalent to anti-blackness)

 

But Secondly, I would run it probably very differently than most.

I would argue that I must, as a Jew, endorse blackness through a clip from Never Let Me Down by Kanye West, as the ultimate expression of 1) Jews and Semites beig non-members of white society and 2) a scream or rejection of stereotypes that hinder progress. I would consider arguing that the Role of the ballot is to reject oppression through the rejection of stereotypes and endorsing the performance.

Edited by EndlessFacepalm

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Very interesting, the easiest way to respond to Antiblackness and Wilderson is that WE SHOULD NOT HAVE AN OPPRESSION OLYMPICS! Antiblackness was founded on Eurocentric/Christian thought. There are Jewish scholars who probably say they counter Eurocentric/Christian thought which is the root cause of indigenous genocide and antiblackness.

Aff idea (part of Bcc's aff) - the 1AC should just be a bunch of Yiddish prayers in which they affirm a relationality to water and/or the ocean. That allows you to access offense based on a majority of indigneous scholars who say relationality to the water/ocean good(spatial politics good)  - that means that you access a structural cause to all ocean/water related problems on this planet + spatial politics(Goeman)

That lets you access reasons for why your methodology/performance combats colonial forms of thought or coloniality - that means the permutation to Wilderson solves because combating coloniality combats antiblackness in the United States which has a spillover effect because the United States has spread antiblackness overseas via their colonial domination of the world - the affirmative combats that which solves. Andrea Smith is really good about how combating coloniality combats antiblackness because she says that in order to make antiblackness work, Africa must always already seem colonized when it isn't, just like how for indigneous genocide to occur, indigneous people must always already seem to be citizens of the nation-state.

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Very interesting, the easiest way to respond to Antiblackness and Wilderson is that WE SHOULD NOT HAVE AN OPPRESSION OLYMPICS! Antiblackness was founded on Eurocentric/Christian thought. There are Jewish scholars who probably say they counter Eurocentric/Christian thought which is the root cause of indigenous genocide and antiblackness.

Aff idea (part of Bcc's aff) - the 1AC should just be a bunch of Yiddish prayers in which they affirm a relationality to water and/or the ocean. That allows you to access offense based on a majority of indigneous scholars who say relationality to the water/ocean good(spatial politics good)  - that means that you access a structural cause to all ocean/water related problems on this planet + spatial politics(Goeman)

That lets you access reasons for why your methodology/performance combats colonial forms of thought or coloniality - that means the permutation to Wilderson solves because combating coloniality combats antiblackness in the United States which has a spillover effect because the United States has spread antiblackness overseas via their colonial domination of the world - the affirmative combats that which solves. Andrea Smith is really good about how combating coloniality combats antiblackness because she says that in order to make antiblackness work, Africa must always already seem colonized when it isn't, just like how for indigneous genocide to occur, indigneous people must always already seem to be citizens of the nation-state.

Thats colorblind and racist

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CORNEL WEST:
I think that the, I mean the history of Jewish brothers and sisters and black brothers and sisters in the United States is a complicated one. There's no doubt about it. I mean, you got the age of Europe, 1492 to 1945, where Jews actually are the degraded others. They are the internal exiles. They are the subjugated ones. 1492: expulsion of Jews from Spain. 1945: indescribable concentration camps in Germany, Poland, and other places. Meaning what? Meaning that you had this history of a hated people, a despised people, a subjugated people, an oppressed people.

Well, in the United States, black people constitute the symbol of the internal exile, of the degraded other. So you then, in the States, have the coming together of these two deeply despised, hated, and oppressed people, with their own paranoias, you know, with their own insecurities, but also with their own rich heritages. And you have to keep in mind, see, for black people that we, ourselves, in some way, make ourselves into modern American peoples, beneath American democracy by appropriating Hebrew scripture.

So that the understanding of what it means to be an oppressed people in an Egypt, making a covenant with a grand power that tells us to be kind to the weak, the vulnerable, and so forth, that you get this deeply Jewish dimension in black identity. In the very making of modern black peoples, there is a profound Jewish element.

But then you've got the actual interaction between Jews and black people on the ground in America. On the one sense, it's magnificent, of course, because you've got significant number of progressive Jews who talk about southern lynching as pogroms, who are in deep solidarity. And, of course, we don't have enough time to go into the unbelievable contributions of young Jews in the 1960s, who put their bodies on the line, not just time and energy, but their bodies on the line in terms of fighting American apartheid and white supremacy in the South, and so forth. On the other hand, of course, you have America as the place for unbelievable opportunity, possibility, unbelievable upward social mobility. And as you get a more bourgeois-ossified Jewry in America, as they begin to move from underdogs to middle dogs and upper middle dogs, and even a few top dogs at the top of American capitalist civilization, you begin to get more and more friction and tension. And it's understandable.

Part of the bourgeois-ossification of American Jewry has to do with the whitening of Jews in the eyes of those on the outside of the mainstream. There's no doubt about that. But I think on the other hand, even if some Jews do believe that they're white, I think that they're duped. I think that antisemitism has proven itself to be a powerful force in nearly every post of Western civilization where Christianity has a presence. And so even as a Christian, I say continually to my Jewish brothers and sisters: don't believe the hype about your full scale assimilation and integration into a mainstream. It only takes an event or two for a certain kind of anti-Jewish, antisemitic sensibility to surface in places that you would be surprised. But I'm just thoroughly convinced that America is not the promised land for Jewish brothers and sisters. A lot of Jewish brothers say, "No, that’s not true. We finally—yeah—they said that in Alexandria. You said that in Weimar Germany."

America is not the promised land. I do not believe there is a promised land for Jewish brothers and sisters given the history of antisemitism for the last 2000 years. There are better places. America is one of the best places, but the antisemitism is just beneath the surface. You see what I mean? And therefore those who are really vigilant, those like myself who are fundamentally committed to defending the humanity of Jewish brothers and sisters, no matter how popular or unpopular it is, that I am not going to believe the hype, even when I see Jews highly assimilated sometimes at high levels in American civilization believing they've been fully accepted by the Goyim. I just don't believe it.

Prejudices are always already there. You're never going to wipe them clean. If the criteria of progress is eradicating all prejudice, eradicating all racism, homophobia, antisemitism, and so forth, then we all may just give up and go to the crack house, because it’s just not going to happen. That's not the point. We can be better, much better.

I mean, with [samuel] Beckett here, you know, you try again, fail again, fail better. And we know, we have examples of persons who are better. But we say to the pessimist, don’t just start with failure. Fail better. See the effort goes on. Agency is still at work. Intention is still at work. Possibility of progress. No paradise, progress still at work. So we need pessimists around. Don't get me wrong. I think pessimists are always quite useful. The problem is that they cannot constitute the last word. They’re the brook of fire through which we all must pass, but they can’t be the conclusion. Our conclusion must be actions, not a proposition, it’s action, which is a praxis, a way of life that recognizes the pessimist challenge, but also recognizes that for the sake of our own precious children of all colors, we can attempt to be better.

http://www.ushmm.org/confront-antisemitism/antisemitism-podcast/cornel-west/

 

Black/Jew coalitions are key

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Moses parting the Red Sea is definitely a weak excuse to run a Jewish Identity aff. If you have to look this hard for a link to the topic it's probably not a good argument to make.

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Moses parting the Red Sea is definitely a weak excuse to run a Jewish Identity aff. If you have to look this hard for a link to the topic it's probably not a good argument to make.

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