what’s this all about?

by tobybee

We are unashamedly left-wing radical ratbags, diasporists, feminists, wanting to queery gender and sexuality, anti-racist, embracing of nuance, working within the academic and activist worlds, bringing the humour and entertaining writing, and wanting to do it all from and within our jewishnesses.

Our tagline—‘pondering jews’—points to two things: pondering and wandering. We want to embrace the idea that living in diaspora is the most significant way in which Jewishness can exist. When we’re in diaspora we’re without state power: this need not be disabling, but can be a source of empowerment and richness. As Daniel Boyarin has stated, “there is power to living on the margins”. Power here is not to be understood as ‘power over’—after Foucault we know that it is too simplistic to think of power in those terms. We’re thinking instead of power as productive of identities, languages and knowledges. In living in diaspora—living diasporist lives—we can interact with other peoples, ideas, cultures. Others need not be so other. We can learn from different peoples in open exchange. Diaspora is about movement and knowing that home is not about claiming exclusive territory, but about peoples and ideas.

Diaspora is about having opinions, but being open to change. Diaspora is about rejecting hierarchies and binaries.

Living in diaspora means, to us, being open to new ideas, to complexity, to challenges and change. We start from the position that there is never one truth—there are always many truths. Not that we agree with all of them. Diaspora does not mean eschewing history and politics. It’s about bringing the history and the politics to the fore.

It is these sentiments which we hope the blog will reflect.

Diaspora works for us because of our historical and material conditions—as left-wing Jews, descendants of Holocaust survivors, coming from traditions of movement, we embrace that tradition. We also deeply respect Indigenous peoples claims to sovereignty. The two systems can coexist. And so we acknowledge that this blog and our lives take place on stolen Indigenous land, primarily the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We take this seriously: not just the stealing of land which enabled our lives in Australia, but also the continuing colonial rule which exists in so many ways in Australia today.

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