Jewdas

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Jewdas
Jewdas logo.jpg
Founded18 March 2006
Focuspolitical, cultural and artistic activities; anti-Zionism
Location
  • London, United Kingdom
WebsiteOfficial website

Jewdas is a Jewish diaspora group based in London. It describes itself as "radical" and is described by The Jewish Chronicle as a "Jewish diaspora group, known for its far-left anti-Zionism".[1] It has a satirical-communal website and stages events in London and elsewhere.

History[edit]

The group has been described by Benjamin Joffe-Walt of The Guardian as a Jewish hipster organisation engaged in political, cultural and artistic activities.[2] The group initially came to attention for organising an event called "The Protocols of the Elders of Hackney" (a reference to the antisemitic hoax The Protocols of the Elders of Zion), with a flyer parodying traditional antisemitic images. Four members of the group were arrested.[3] In October 2011, Jewdas hosted ¡No Pasaran!, a party commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street.[4][5]

In May 2015, the group brought over thirty people on its inaugural Birthwrong trip to Andalusia, Spain, parodying Birthright Israel's heritage trips for young adults from the Jewish diaspora.[6] Advertised as "a trip for anyone who's sick of Israel's stranglehold on Jewish culture and wants to get away on a raucous holiday", the itinerary included: "See Maimonides! Get pissed! Do some Jewish tourism! Spend Shabbat with Andalusian Jews! Shvitz in a hammam! Visit a communist village! Get pissed!"[6][7][8] Jewdas made a short film on the trip.[9]

During the summer of 2015, Jewdas took place in two counter-protests against neo-nazi demonstrations in North London.[10]

In January 2016, Jewdas took part in a counter-protest against a far-right rally against Syrian refugees arriving in Dover.[11]

Representatives of the organisation use the collective pseudonym Geoffrey Cohen in speaking to the media.[12]

Passover Seder[edit]

At the beginning of April 2018, the United Kingdom's leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn attended a Passover Seder held by the group in his constituency. He said the visit was made in a personal, rather than official, capacity.[13] Jewdas' description of "a steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of" on its Twitter feed was criticised by Jon Lansman, founder of the pro-Corbyn organisation Momentum, who said that the organisation's comments were "not helpful to Jeremy or the cause of opposing antisemitism in the Labour Party".[14][13]

Corbyn's Seder with Jewdas was criticised as it occurred amid criticism from many within the Jewish community regarding alleged antisemitism within the Labour Party. As such, the Seder was criticised by many – including some within his own party – as symbolising Corbyn's lack of touch with mainstream Jewish opinion on issues such as antisemitism and Zionism.[13][14] This criticism was not uncontroversial however; comedian David Baddiel said making out "it's somehow anti-Semitic for [Corbyn] to spend Seder with [Jewdas] just because they're far left is balls", while writer and actor David Schneider said: "Boo! Corbyn needs to get out and meets some Jews!" (Corbyn spends Passover with some Jews at Jewdas) "Boo! Not those Jews!"[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sugarman, Daniel (23 November 2017). "Anti-Zionist to contest election for UJS leader". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  2. ^ Joffe-Walt, Benjamin (20 March 2006). "Jewish hipsters and sacred cows". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  3. ^ Elgot, Jessica (3 April 2018). "Jewdas: political activists who make fun of establishment Judaism". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  4. ^ "No Pasaran! Remembering the Battle of Cable Street". openDemocracy. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  5. ^ Elgot, Jessica (October 4, 2011). "Cable Street march remembered 75 years on". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  6. ^ a b "BirthWrong". BirthWrong 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-18.
  7. ^ "'BirthWrong' in the Cradle of Jewish Culture: Jews gather in southern Spain for tour that aims to repudiate Zionism". Retrieved 2015-09-18.
  8. ^ "Birthwrong: meet the pranksters celebrating the Jewish diaspora". openDemocracy. 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  9. ^ "Watch Our Video From Last Year's Birthwrong Trip To Southern Spain". jewdas. 2016-01-09. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  10. ^ "Jewish group criticise Hackney police after they 'facilitated' neo-Nazi march". Jewish News.
  11. ^ Jackman, Josh (January 31, 2016). "Activist group Jewdas marches against far-right anti-refugee demonstrators in Dover". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  12. ^ Rothschild, Nathalie (4 October 2006). "The police can't tell satire from seriousness". Spiked. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Elgot, Jessica (3 April 2018). "'I learned a lot': Corbyn defends taking part in radical Jewish event". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  14. ^ a b Kentish, Benjamin (3 April 2018). "Jeremy Corbyn defends decision to attend Passover dinner organised by radical Jewish group Jewdas". The Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  15. ^ Sandhu, Serina (3 April 2018). "Jewdas: Why has Jeremy Corbyn been criticised for meeting the Jewish group?". i. Retrieved 13 August 2018.

External links[edit]

  • Article in the Guardian, March 20, 2006 [1]
  • Article in Times by Ruth Gledhill, Times Religion Correspondent, 26 September 2006 [2]
  • Interview by Natalie Rothschild, 4 October 2006 [3]
  • Article in the Jerusalem Post by Jonny Paul, [4]
  • Article from Plan B magazine [5]