Bari Weiss: Jews Do Not Cause Anti-Semitism

The full text of Bari Weiss’s address to the “No Hate, No Fear” march

New York Times columnist Bari Weiss gave the following speech at the solidarity march today in New York. There were an estimated 25,000 people in attendance:

My name is Bari Weiss.

I am a proud American. I am a proud New Yorker. And I am a proud Jew.

I am not a Jew because people hate my religion, my people, and my civilization.

Not for a single moment does Jew-hatred, like the kind we are seeing in this city, make me a Jew.

I am a Jew because of the audacity and the iconoclasm of Abraham, the first Jew of all. The whole world was awash in idols and he stood alone to proclaim the truth: There is one God.

I am a Jew because my ancestors were slaves. And I am a Jew because the story of their Exodus from Egypt, their liberation from slavery, is a story that changed human consciousness forever.

I am a Jew because our God commands us to never oppress the stranger.

I am Jew because Ruth, the first convert to Judaism, told her mother-in-law Naomi, “your people will be my people and your god will be my god,” reminding us of the centrality of the Jewish people to Judaism.

I am a Jew because of Queen Esther, who understood that she had attained her royal position in order to save her people from destruction.

I am a Jew because the Maccabees were the original resistance. Because they modeled for us — and for all peoples — how to resist the temptation of self-erasure.

I am a Jew because when Rabbi Akiva was being tortured to death by the Romans he laughed. He laughed and he told his students that he could finally fulfill the commandment to love God with all of his being.

I am a Jew because even after the heart of Judaism and Jewish sovereignty were destroyed my people refused to accept the logic of history and disappear. And I am a Jew because some of our greatest renewals took place in exile.

I am a Jew because my people has been targeted and despised and murdered by the Nazis and Soviets.

I am a Jew because evil hates my people.

I am a Jew because because my people managed to turn destruction into redemption by returning to their land after 2,000 years.

I am a Jew because our Founders saw themselves as new Israelites.

I am a Jew because the biblical words on the liberty bell — proclaim liberty throughout the land! — rang out from the righteous mouths of this country’s abolitionists as they fought for universal freedom in this New Jerusalem.

I am a Jew because it was Emma Lazarus who etched the biblical injunction to welcome the stranger onto the consciousness of America when she wrote the words: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

I am a Jew because of the martyred of Tree of Life and Chabad of Poway and Jersey City. And I am a Jew because of the courage of those who fought back in Monsey and who then, immediately after the attack, gathered together to sing. And I am Jew because my brothers and sisters in Crown Heights and Boro Park and Williamsburg who refuse to hide their Judaism.

I am a Jew because of students across this country who refuse to be smeared and denigrated because of who they are, who are standing up against humiliation, pressure and abuse to affirm the justness of Zionism.

I am a Jew because my brothers and sisters in England and France are battling the anti-Semitism of populist thugs and the anti-Semitism of politicians in parliament.

I am a Jew because I refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. I am a Jew because I have no patience for leaders who speak boldly while failing to take the actions necessary to protect our community. Or for partisan hacks that claim anti-Semitism is the exclusive domain of their political opponents. Or for leaders who believe they can fight Jew-hatred while making political alliances with anti-Semites.

I am a Jew because I refuse to lie.

I am a Jew because Jews are of every color and class and politics and language. And I am a Jew because hatred of us has no color or class or politics or language.

I am a Jew because Jews do not cause Jew hatred. Ever.

Today, as in so many times in history, there are many forces in the world insisting that Jews must disappear or die. Some say it bluntly. Some cloak it in the language of progress.

But I am a Jew because of I know that there is force far greater than that. And that is the force of who we are and the force of our world-changing ideas.

The Jewish people were not put on Earth to be anti-anti-Semites. We were put on Earth to be Jews.

We are the people whose God never slumbers or sleeps, and so neither can we.

We are the lamp-lighters.

We are the ever-dying people that refuses to die.

The people of Israel lives now and forever.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Media’s ‘detransition’ narrative is fueling misconceptions, trans advocates say

From NBC News:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/media-s-detransition-narrative-fueling-misconceptions-trans-advocates-say-n1102686

They say the current narrative makes “transition regret” seem more common than it is and contributes to misconceptions about transgender people in general.

By Liam Knox
Dec. 19, 2019

In early October, the United Kingdom’s SkyNews ran a story about the “Detransition Advocacy Network,” a new charity founded by Charlie Evans, a former transgender man who detransitioned in 2018. Evans told SkyNews that “hundreds” of young trans people were seeking her help to return to their sex assigned at birth, and she said more resources are urgently needed for people experiencing post-transition regret.

“I’m in communication with 19- and 20-year-olds who have had full gender reassignment surgery who wish they hadn’t, and their dysphoria hasn’t been relieved, they don’t feel better for it,” Evans told SkyNews. “They don’t know what their options are now.”

Following SkyNews’ interview with Evans, news outlets across the U.K. and the United States covered the phenomenon of detransitioning. The BBC dedicated an hour to the topic on two of its flagship programs in late November, and right-wing outlets such as The Daily Wire and Breitbart covered the topic with an explicitly transphobic spin. New York magazine published a piece last month about another advocacy group for ex-trans people where one interviewee expressed concern that “many teenage women … have been convinced too quickly that the only solution is to change their sex.”

No one disputes that transition regret does exist and that there are trans people who return to the sex they were assigned at birth. However, trans advocates say some of the recent coverage around the topic portrays detransitioning as much more common than it actually is, fueling misconceptions about the gender transition process and painting trans people as just temporarily confused or suffering from a misdiagnosed psychological disorder. This misleading information, they say, can have serious real-world consequences, from misguided policy proposals to social stigma.

“I think the reason why detransition stories are popular in this given time is because it neatly fits into this idea that young people especially are being made to be trans,” Lui Asquith, a legal counselor for U.K.-based LGBTQ group Mermaids, told NBC News. “The media are conjuring up a panic about trans lives, and the first victims of that panic are the young people who are indirectly being told that they’re a phase.”

There are an estimated 1.4 million transgender adults in the U.S., according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, and the U.K.’s Government Equalities Office “tentatively” estimates there are between 200,000 and 500,000 trans people in Britain and Northern Ireland.

While the information regarding how many trans people detransition is sparse, those who work with the trans community say it is uncommon. “The actual numbers around them are significantly low,” Asquith said.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/media-s-detransition-narrative-fueling-misconceptions-trans-advocates-say-n1102686

 

U.K. Voter Reform Plans Could Prevent Trans People From Voting

From Forbes:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiewareham/2019/12/21/uk-voter-reform-plans-will-prevent-trans-people-from-voting/

Jamie Wareham
Dec 21, 2019

Boris Johnson’s electoral reform plans that will require a photo ID to vote could prevent trans people from voting, say campaigners.

The bill, first announced in the October Queen’s Speech and reintroduced this week, will make voters provide ID to get their ballot paper.

But the reform suggested and welcomed by the Electoral Commission is already facing opposition from disability, youth and trans campaigners.

Speaking to me, trans and non-binary activist Jamie Windust says:

“It’s a deterrence for many people, not just trans people, as it creates a level of hostility around our democratic right to vote.”

The reform aims to tackle voter fraud, where people impersonate others. A trial in this month’s election saw 800 people turned away from voting.

But the change could have a significant impact on trans people, unable to change their legal gender who present in the gender different from what they were assigned at birth.

“Many people, like myself, don’t have passports or ID because of the very reason that we are then forced into choosing a gender identity that isn’t correct.”

The electoral reform comes at a time of high hostility towards trans people, not least in the media.

This was highlighted this week when J.K. Rowling divided opinion again, in a now long running debate in the media about trans rights.

Rowling and was called a transphobe for siding with Maya Forstater who lost her job after an employment tribunal detailed she had shared transphobic material.

At the appeal, the judge ruled on the matter of being fired for holding anti LGBT+ opinions. Judge Tayler stated, no matter Forstater’s views, she doesn’t have the right to be transphobic.

However, Rowling’s tweet suggested the case was about whether it was OK to “force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?” Adding “#IStandWithMaya

If Forstater had won the case, it would have set a landmark ruling preventing employers from dismissing staff expressing similar views about LGBT+ rights, as the Guardian reported.

Continue reading at:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiewareham/2019/12/21/uk-voter-reform-plans-will-prevent-trans-people-from-voting/