Exclusive Orthodox Jewish Housing and the Opposition to It, Segregation, Elitism and Exceptionalism
UK and Elsewhere…
Experientially, to openly oppose housing that is exclusively designed for the “unique needs of orthodox Jews” is equated with being a racist, self-hating Jew, anti-Semite. Pick your poison, it likely applies or has already been said. But if each ethnic group in the US decided it wanted it’s own housing establishment to accord with its “unique needs”, the Constitutional implications would be staggering.
There is nothing unique to religious Judaism except a desire to remain secluded, with the single exception of the Eiruv – also a point of contention in many areas of the world but one that is easily rectifiable without need for segregated housing.
In the US if any other race, religion or culture demanded segregated housing one would slide down a remarkably slippery slope of institutionalized segregationist policy. Yet, somehow Jews are protected from the absurdity of it all, held above the fray. And with that, any criticism of the demands of ultra-Orthodox Jews and their unfettered and irresponsible building is frowned upon. Imprudence, misapplied zoning, payoffs, kickbacks and an imperialistic exceptionalism is oddly acceptable, if not supported by large Jewish organizations. Somehow, in the US (and apparently in the United Kingdom), the balance between a fear of being called an anti-Semite, and a notion of fairness tips in favor of fear, fairness be damned. There are no such “unique needs” of Judaism that could not be extended to every race, religion and culture. And there we are, again, sliding down that slippery slope.