[Marxism] Forget Pinkwashing - it's Brownwashing time: self-Orientalizing on the US campus

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 29 07:21:59 MST 2017

Suggesting, as the posters do, that Jews have been driven out of their land
(like indigenous people) and have finally returned to Israel–a trajectory
that all indigenous people should unite behind–is a crude and cynical
manipulation of (Jewish) history and a vulgar fabrication that not only
makes no sense, but is also offensive in its use and abuse of indigenous
peoples’ histories of oppression.

Why does an organization like SSI feel the need to “celebrate Semitism” and
parade Ethiopians, Yemenites, and Druze in order to make historical claims
of belonging and ownership? And why the sudden need to create the pretense
of a coalition with the indigenous people in North America?

The answers are to be found in the logic of political tactic and not in the
realm of a real existential identity transformation. In other words,
Orientalism–which here functions also as self-Orientalism–is meant to do
political work, masking settler colonialism with the language and images of
nativism. But what is the political work of self-Orientalizing? What is
gained by associating Zionism with the struggles of Native peoples and
people of color? Correctly identifying past and present trends of the
liberal and the radical left (the focus of indigenous rights,
multiculturalism, and siding with the colonized and the oppressed) SSI
disdainfully adopts these characteristics in order to unarm leftist
critique. Indeed, if Israelis are indigenous people returning to their
colonized lands, their political struggle must be considered valid and

SSI’s Semitic campaign is based on a simple but dangerous manipulation of
historical facts. It abuses the historically ambivalent position of the Jew
in the West as not-white-not-quite and the Orientalized modern biblical
iconography of the Israelites as prototypical Orientals and Semites to
create a narrative of a present-day political hallucination, according to
which Jews are the colonized natives fighting for their land. If only this
fantasy wasn’t so cynical, offensive and well-funded, we might have had a
good laugh.


More information about the Marxism mailing list