I will not apologize for surviving. I will not humble myself to the point of nonexistence. I am not sorry that my ability to keep breathing, striving, surviving makes some people uncomfortable and others down right hateful and mad. The recent antizionist movement has sparked arguments with some claiming that antizionism is not antisemitism… they are wrong. Antizionism is the belief that a nation of people does not deserve to exist. Period. Antizionism is not an argument against a particular politician or against a specific policy. Those who were against President Obama did not proudly wear the banner claiming to be anti-American, Americans who did not and do not support Trump are not making ridiculous claims that they are against the United States simply because they disagree with the policies of the Trump Administration. I do not hear voices constantly ringing out with “what-about-ism” when discussing Obama or Trump policies that they disagree with. There are not claims of “what about the Native Americans” when discussing The Green New Deal and how its visions of high-speed rail will be built on stolen lands. I do not see mass protests against income inequality where hard questions are asked about how some people were able to build generational wealth because of a rigged system and now those of us who have reclaimed our freedom from such systems of injustice finally have an opportunity to build something for our communities’ future generations, but are once again being asked to sacrifice those dreams for the “good” of others. My issue is not just the recent rise in antisemitism—I expect nothing less. Just like antiBlackness has not gone away and the ideas of a post racial society are ridiculous and encourage beliefs like color-blindness and tolerance (I’ll save that for a later discussion). However, my issues are with the hypocrisy of the left and the self-inflicted ignorance of the bigotry on the right.

If people keep buying into the idea that one side is more aligned with Jewish values because of progressive thoughts on social justice issues (except for the Jewish right to self-determination) or that one side is better for Jews because of a few seemingly pro-Israel bones thrown to satisfy the masses then we are heading towards destruction. If we keep buying into the idea that we have to justify our existence with proof of Jewish indigeneity to the Middle East –it is a known fact that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel; or melt away all Jewish cultural uniqueness so that Jews are not viewed as “too foreign” then it will come at the cost of erasure. As a Black American I am all too familiar with attempts to be viewed as nonthreatening. It doesn’t work. In a world where Zionism is equated with Nazi-ism from the “left” and chants of “the Jews will not replace us” are spoken on the “right,” it’s about time this nation of people decide to not participate as the “political football”.

I have told my four children over and over again that they will be the world’s most hated because of who and what they are. They are Black Russian Jews, and should never be ashamed of their heritage… and more importantly they should never apologize for their ancestry or the rights of their people to self-determination.

I am not sorry for surviving… and you shouldn’t be either.

About the Author
Brandy Shufutinsky is a social worker, with a MSW from the University of Southern California and a MA in International Relations from the University of San Diego. She hopes to utilize her advocacy in social justice on a global level, working towards making education more accessible to immigrant populations. She has previously been published in The Forward. Brandy is working on a doctoral degree at the University of San Francisco in International Multicultural Education.
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