All are welcome in this discussion but this is really more focused on local users of literature.cafe, I’ll leave this post up and pin it for a few days just to get some feedback. Insight from others on other instances are welcome, but please realize that this is a discussion focused on users who use literature.cafe
Our community may be small, but I do want to know peoples thoughts before anything.
For those who do not already know, hexbear is on our defederation list.
With that being said there’s another thing that some might not already know. I am a practicing reform Jew. I am by no means a perfectly observant Jewish man but I am quite a lot more religious than most I think. I wear a kippah, try my best to keep kosher, and participate in the religious rites of Judaism as well as participate in prayers and community events. It is primarily why I started this instance as reading and books are a core cultural aspect in being Jewish. Knowledge is power, and we aren’t called the people of the book for nothing. As well, I am extremely involved in the Jewish community and know many Jewish leaders across the country and the world due to my stints of working as a “Jewish professional.”
Being a practicing Jew in a culture with rapidly rising antisemitism is extremely exhausting both in real life and online, and unfortunately that exhaustion was maximized on Reddit at times in regards to interacting with specific communities. One such community that I had pretty bad experiences with the specific subreddit that hexbear spawned from. Right now I’m pretty reserved about talking about Judaism and my faith as there isn’t a Jewish focused community on here, but when (not if) one comes I will very much be active there.
And this leads into the elephant in the room that always is brought whenever I bring my Jewishness up: I am not Israeli, nor have I ever been to Israel but I have worked with Israelis and am friends with quite a few Israeli Jews. I rarely if ever discuss the topic of Israel & Palestine even within my own community because of how charged it tends to be, but especially online it is a topic I actively avoid due to the stress and antisemitism I have faced over it. My ideals and opinions in regards to that can pretty much summed up “fuck fascists” and “I pray for peace.”
I have more opinions on the matter, specifically on my very direct hatred of Netanyahu as well as more detailed knowledge of just how completely fucked the Knesset is and how bad things really are there. I speak a bit of a Hebrew, and know some of the political stuff that goes on there. Things are bad, and are likely only going to get worse there not just for Palestinians but for that entire region as a whole due to the war mongering nature of the new government there.
Criticizing Israel and it’s current fucked up fascist government is not antisemitic, but holding all Jews accountable for the crimes of the Israeli state absolutely is. Immediately asking a random Jewish person about their feelings on Israel isn’t inherently antisemitic but it feels extremely hostile and often contributes to an environment of generally feeling unsafe as a Jewish person especially in left leaning spaces. It feels as if you’re trying to pin down whether or not we’re a “good jew” or a “bad jew.”
When the community hexbear spawned from existed on reddit, the antisemitism I witnessed during brigades were some of the most egregious on the site outside of r/conspiracy. That is why I blocked that instance per-emptively, as I felt the antisemitism I directly experienced in that community would follow here if federation was enabled.
I had a pretty productive discussion with an admin from hexbear in a matrix chat, and to be quite honest it made me realize my bias towards the entire community wasn’t probably the most fair. The team is different there than the subreddit, and the admin made it clear antisemitism is not tolerated.
I know the community is controversial across the lemmyverse, but I am willing to attempt federation. The admin offered to add our instance to their allowlist and refederate, and if there’s issues that arise we can just reblock.
I’m curious of peoples thoughts on the matter. Overall this instance isn’t politically focused, but books in large part do have a political nature to them. It’s hard to deny that authoritarianism and the free consumption of literature is fundamentally incompatible.