There, Where We Live
Ezra Levinson
A critical reimagination of a 1917 Jewish Bund election poster from Kiev, this graphic is intended to provoke thoughts and begin conversations about the relationship between Jewish people and the places we live. The warped text in the middle is Yiddish drawn from the original poster, and reads darten, vau mir leben, dart iz unzer land, usually translated as "there, where we live, there is our homeland/country".

That same slogan, created by anti-Zionist Jews (Jews who opposed the movement to create a Jewish state in what is now Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories) in Europe in the early 1900s, is often used by anti-Zionist Jews in America in the present day. It is the same thing now as it was then – a defiant refusal to be a part of the mainstream Jewish consensus that Israel is the Jewish homeland. But it doesn't account for the reality of being Jewish in America, or in Hawaii, for that matter. What does it mean for Jews, usually white and of European descent, to claim Hawaii or Los Angeles or New York City as our "homeland" when these places are built on the ongoing subjugation of their indigenous people? And does it make us hypocrites to do this while we speak out in support of Palestinians who are being oppressed in a very similar way?

Full of questions, the intent of this graphic is not to provide answers, but simply to ask. While speaking directly to an audience of Jewish people in America, it invites every viewer to consider their relationship to land, the way they have navigated that relationship in the past, and the way they want to do so in the future.

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Created in 2021 by Ezra Levinson for American Studies: Race and the American Experience at Punahou School.

The content above the first dividing line in this page, including both text and graphics, is released into the public domain under the terms of the Creative Commons Zero license.