The Past Didn't Go Anwhere (2007)

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Published in 2007, The Past Didn't Go Anywhere was a manual for social justice movements about how to approach the issue of antisemitism. It gained recognition for being what one reader called “shockingly inclusive": for threading the needle of a highly polarizing issue with clarity, honesty and without selling any of the involved communities short.

 

The Past became a go-to text for educators seeking to promote healthy dialogue in organizations torn apart by concerns over antisemitism, including Britain’s Labour Party and the Women’s March. It shaped the thinking of leading progressive Jewish millennials, including many of those who became prominent in Jewish resistance against the Trump administration.

Here is some of what's been said about The Past.

972 Magazine (2019):

"In that two-hour conversation, she gave [Women's March leader Tamika] Mallory a copy of 'The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere,' a widely-circulated 2007 pamphlet by Jewish American activist April Rosenblum on anti-Semitism in the left. It spawned a process over the last year that Ellman-Golan describes as 'unlearning.' 'Anti-Semitism can be unlearned and addressed; it’s not an immutable characteristic to anyone. There is a better chance of addressing that on the left when you have Jewish leftists working closely with non-Jewish leftist leaders,' Ellman-Golan says."

"Amazing, wonderful and shockingly inclusive."

"April Rosenblum's [pamphlet] is a gift to the Left – a clear and accessible analysis written with the insights of a life-long radical after years of research and interviews. In the tradition of feminists and antiracists challenging the movement to live up to our hopes and demands for the future, this pamphlet is a vital tool in the struggle to make the Left a side worth fighting on."

Ezra Berkley Nepon, 2007

author, Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue:

A History of New Jewish Agenda

"Rosenblum's pamphlet needs to be studied

and the lessons applied."

- Chris Crass, 2007

co-founder, Catalyst Project

"Funny, articulate, forthright – and really, really smart."

Jewish Currents (2021):

"THE CONTEMPORARY JEWISH LEFT’S working analysis of antisemitism can be traced back to a self-published 2007 pamphlet called The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere by the writer and organizer April Rosenblum. Noticing the destructive nature of incidents and charges of antisemitism within liberation movements, and a gap in the vocabulary for discussing them, Rosenblum sought to provide a framework for understanding Jewish positionality regarding oppression, trauma, and social change. ... The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere, which remains a fixture of left-wing Jewish activist trainings, encouraged Jews not to withdraw from liberation movements even when they experienced such instances of antisemitism, but rather to stay and educate allies about the dynamics at play. When the Black Lives Matter movement gathered momentum in the middle of the decade, many white Jews turned to Rosenblum’s analysis for language to reconcile their vulnerability to antisemitism with their racial privilege, and to reckon with the historically fraught relationship between Black activists and the Jewish communal establishment."

"Incredibly impressive if not brilliant. [Rosenblum] is a tremendous thinker, firmly grounded in left politics, who understands the ways anti-Semitic thinking scapegoats Jews as a way to deflect people from real power relations."

Read the pamphlet here.