First of all, mazal tov to April Rosenblum for being listed as one of The Forward’s “Forward 50,” of American Jews who made their mark in 2007. She is someone I’ve come to know slightly from our involvement in the Facing A Challenge Within conference in Newark in 2006, for left-wing activists concerned about anti-Semitism within the left. I have a copy of her 32-page pamphlet about antisemitism on my PC’s desktop and I may write something of a critique, particularly regarding her harsh, dogmatic opposition to Zionism. But first, let me give April her due by posting The Forward’s blurb on her, from its website:
In recent years, many Jews have been alarmed by an apparently rising tide of antisemitism on the left. April Rosenblum, 27, a Philadelphia-based progressive activist, is also concerned about antisemitism. But she’s skeptical of the community’s response. While studying at Temple University, she saw fellow Jews responding to antisemitism in ways she thought were ineffective and counterproductive, circling the wagons and alienating potential allies. She spent two years doing research and facilitating focus groups with non-Jewish activists to discuss antisemitism.
This past April, on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Rosenblum published the fruits of her labor: a 32-page illustrated pamphlet titled “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere: Making Resistance to Antisemitism Part of All of Our Movements,” which can be downloaded free online (www.thepast.info). Deploying terms like “oppression,” “ruling classes” and “liberation” (alongside harsh critiques of American and Israeli policies), the pamphlet is a sustained argument about what antisemitism is and why it should be opposed — all written in a language her target audience of self-identified radicals and progressives understands. Her pamphlet has had a warm reception in left-wing circles; one activist called it “a must-read” and another said it “needs to be studied and the lessons applied.”
Next, Rosenblum plans to work with Jewish college students to develop better ways of responding to antisemitism. By day she contributes her energies to Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History, organizing programs for young adults.
Hi, Ralph! Thanks for this lovely post – I just saw it for the first time. I do think it’s interesting that you interpret me as offering “harsh, dogmatic opposition to Zionism.” While my pamphlet doesn’t actually take a position for or against Zionism, quite a number of people have read it as just the opposite – enthusiastically pro-Zionist. I think these contradictory critiques come from the fact that I am committed to pointing out the subtleties of all arguments about Zionism.