CRITICISM OF ISRAEL IS NOT "ANTI-SEMITISM"


moghrabi
#1
While the media is proclaiming the recently concluded European Conference a reaffirmation of the fight against anti-Semitism, the reality is that Israel has been dealt a stunning political setback.
Long used to equating criticism of Israel as an expression of hate against the Jewish people, Israeli supporters attending the conference (when they were not vandalizing artwork) tried repeatedly to define criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism, and were rebuffed at every turn. Even Colin Powell, Secretary of State to the one nation always willing to protect Israel at the United Nations, delinked criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. In the end, even the ADL's Abe Foxman had to grin and try to put the best face on it. But Israel has lost one of its oldest and most effective means to deflect criticism of its actions.

Simply put, it is NOT anti-Semitism to criticize Israelis for what they DO.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to report on Israeli spies in this country taping into police phone systems and warning Israeli drug dealers of investigations that threaten them.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to point out that Israel has defied more UN Resolutions that Iraq.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to mention that Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that actually HAS weapons of mass destruction.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to remind people that Ariel Sharon has been charged with war crimes.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to oppose the continuing sending of US tax dollars to Israel (totally four times the cost of the entire Apollo Moon Program) during times of great economy hardship in this country.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to express concern over the vast sums of money that pro-Israel lobbyists are pouring into Congressional coffers.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to be concerned about reports that the Mossad has suceeded in tapping even the White House phone system.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to point out that many of these supposed "hate crimes" Israel loves to hide behind are hoaxes.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to want the US Government to be more concerned with the American people than with Israelis.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to reject politicians who openly display their loyalty to a foreign power.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to be angered by Philip Zelikow's admission that the war in Iraq was not fought to protect the US, but to protect Israel.

It is NOT anti-Semitism to tell Israel's supporters that hiding their crimes behind the entire Jewish people by screaming "anti-Semite" at every criticism is a really good way to set those same people up as targets!

Make no mistake, Israel has been dealt a serious blow by the conference in Europe. While there is no question that Israel's supporters will go on harassing and spearing those who dare criticise the policies of Ariel Sharon, the tar won't stick. It's official. Criticism of Israel is NOT anti-Semitism.
 
Reverend Blair
#2
Oddly enough, the most outspoken people I know against Israeli policy are Jews. They don't have to worry about being politically correct, after all.

Of course they're Jewish like I'm Catholic...distance lends clarity and reason.
 
Andem
#3
It sometimes humours me to hear myself called an "anti-semite". On one hand, I hear many Jews claim to be European or white, but how can they be a semite and a saxon/european at the same time? Makes absolutely no sense... "I'm black and I come from a family history of pure Koreans."

Ok, sorry. To get back to the topic, it's always going to be bashing the white guy. It's ok for them to be racist, but it's not ok for us to be racist. Even if something is said without a racist undertone, or said with absolutely no intent (and obvious) racism.

It's alright to be called a "cracker" by a black guy, but you had better bet you'll be an outcast in society if you dare to use the word "******". It's a load of rubbish.

Seriously though, when I want to be racist, I'll use my head and come up with solid, provable and tangable facts -- even then, it's not racism. It's fact.


My bottom line: They can call us racist, they can call us what they want. I will back up my opinion with facts which support it, and if you want to call facts (and statistics) racist, then you're living in your own pathetic little world, you can stay there.
 
Reverend Blair
#4
I don't buy that for a second, Andem. I have no doubt that you'll stick with facts, but racism from a minority is just as ugly as racism from a majority and just as destructive. It needs to be spoken out against the same way.

Something that really bothers me is the way that if you speak out aginst the actions of Israel you suddenly an anti-semite, the actions of Saudi Arabia an anti-Muslim, the actions of the US an anti-American. It's this quick, knee-jerk reaction that we aren't allowed to argue with.

Sorry, but I'll argue long and hard against that because most of us speak out when we something wrong happening. I don't care whether it's Israel or Santa Claus killing Palestinians, it's wrong. I don't care if its Palestinians or the Tooth Fairies tying bombs to themselves to blow up Israelis, that's wrong too.
 
Solo712
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Reverend Blair

Sorry, but I'll argue long and hard against that because most of us speak out when we something wrong happening. I don't care whether it's Israel or Santa Claus killing Palestinians, it's wrong. I don't care if its Palestinians or the Tooth Fairies tying bombs to themselves to blow up Israelis, that's wrong too.

Both sides evidently are guilty of deplorable acts. But tell me, reverend, in your even-handed approach to the conflict, would you say that it is profoundly immaterial if the Tooth Fairies target civilians exclusively while Santa Claus takes them sometimes as collateral ? There is no 'lesser evil' here, right ?
 
Reverend Blair
#6
It is highly questionable whether Israeli actions against Palestine are aimed strictly at military and/or terrorist targets. They pretty much just toss bombs around randomly.

There are laws against collective punishment and not taking measures to protect or avoid civilians during military actions. Israel has clearly ignored those laws many times. They are acting like terrorists as surely as the people stapping bombs to themselves.
 
bevvyd
#7
Andem

You are bang on with you ascertation of how non-whites cannot be racist. My hubby, who is First Nations, had an alteracation with a neighbour. Police came, spoke with neighbour who was just by chance from the same area of the world shall we say, refused to even speak with my husband. When my hubby told him that was a racist thing he was doing he was advised that "I can be racist, I'm a person of color"

From our finest meatheads we call the RCMP.
 
Solo712
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Reverend Blair

It is highly questionable whether Israeli actions against Palestine are aimed strictly at military and/or terrorist targets. They pretty much just toss bombs around randomly.

There are laws against collective punishment and not taking measures to protect or avoid civilians during military actions. Israel has clearly ignored those laws many times. They are acting like terrorists as surely as the people stapping bombs to themselves.

Just the last week CBC aired a documentary on the false reports of a civilian massacre in Jenin - you saw it ? There were about 8 thousand jihad fighters that the IDF engaged in the city in the largest military operation on the West Bank since 1967. In the end there was not more than a hundred dead Palestinians, civilians and military, the anti-Israeli propaganda finally admitted. The IDF took a loss of nearly twenty men in clearing up houses before blowing them up.

Does this look to you like the work of fanatics who 'toss bombs around randomly' ? You honestly believe that ?
 
undergradNITZ
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Andem

It sometimes humours me to hear myself called an "anti-semite". On one hand, I hear many Jews claim to be European or white, but how can they be a semite and a saxon/european at the same time? Makes absolutely no sense... "I'm black and I come from a family history of pure Koreans."

Im 1/2 Jewish and 1/2 Irish....Jewish from my dads side....and as some people call it...i have no "jewish features" such as "a big nose" and "curley hair" like my dad.....lol my dad sorta looks like Lary David (pure jew) ..from Curb your Enthusiasum(or whatever) also LD is the creator of Sienfeld(or wutever)...

in point..i call myself white and so does everyone i know....im just a adverage white guy...
 
Rick van Opbergen
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Andem

It sometimes humours me to hear myself called an "anti-semite". On one hand, I hear many Jews claim to be European or white, but how can they be a semite and a saxon/european at the same time? Makes absolutely no sense... "I'm black and I come from a family history of pure Koreans."

Huh? For what I know, Jews did not come up with the name anti-Semitism - if I recall it correctly, it was a (Christian) German, a Jewhater, who came up with the name. It's an accepted term for hatred against Jews. Sorry to say it, but your reasoning is the thing making no sense here
 
Reverend Blair
#11
Semite or semitic generally describes a person from the Middle East, Rick. It has come to mean anti-Jewish in common usage, but it really refers to that group of people with similar physical characteristics.

Calling a Palestinian anti-semitic is wrong at its base...Palestinians are semitic people. Calling somebody anti-semitic for not liking Jews is questionable too. A lot of Jews, including many in Israel, are European. They are either converts to the religion or their semitic heritage has been diluted by generations of inter-marriage.

The problem is that we use the term semite to describe a religious group when it's a racial description. That wasn't a problem for the Nazis...they hated everybody, so being wrong wasn't an issue. The term semitic gave them a reason to murder gypsies (thought by some to have originated in Egypt) too.
 
Jillyvn
#12
Quote:

Just the last week CBC aired a documentary on the false reports of a civilian massacre in Jenin - you saw it ? There were about 8 thousand jihad fighters that the IDF engaged in the city in the largest military operation on the West Bank since 1967. In the end there was not more than a hundred dead Palestinians, civilians and military, the anti-Israeli propaganda finally admitted. The IDF took a loss of nearly twenty men in clearing up houses before blowing them up.

Does this look to you like the work of fanatics who 'toss bombs around randomly' ? You honestly believe that ?

One of the problems I've always had in understanding the conflict between Palestine and Israel is that I never can seem to trust the sources on either side. Because it is such a highly charged issue, it seems that the only standpoint in the media is "good Israel" or "bad Israel". However, the things I can see with my own eyes tell me something is seriously wrong with the way Israel is dealing with the situation...the wall for example, or the settlements.

I also don't buy the rallying call that to be against Israel is to be an anti-semite, and I found the intro post to the this thread really interesting. How many Jews out there disagree with Israeli politics? Are they automatically anti-semitic? And how can a country "be" a religion? That being said, I do think a lot of criticism of Israel is driven by anti-Semitism, and I think this is where the rally cry comes from.
 
Rick van Opbergen
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Reverend Blair

Semite or semitic generally describes a person from the Middle East, Rick. It has come to mean anti-Jewish in common usage, but it really refers to that group of people with similar physical characteristics.

I know that Reverend Blair. My point is that anti-Semitism is an accepted concept, whether or not it is still applicable in reality - that's not important. But I'm starting to get lost in this discussion: are we discussing the fact that Jews use anti-Semitism while they are no Semitic people, or are we discussing the crookedness in our language concerning anti-Semitism?

Jillyvn, I really liked the questions you asked at the end, and I wish to add one or two (if I may): is a Jew [in the diaspora] who is a supporter of Israel immediately a Zionist, and do Jews [in the diaspora] have more of an obligation to have a clear opinion about Israel than non-Jews?
 
Jillyvn
#14
Quote:

Rick van Opbergen
Jillyvn, I really liked the questions you asked at the end, and I wish to add one or two (if I may): is a Jew [in the diaspora] who is a supporter of Israel immediately a Zionist, and do Jews [in the diaspora] have more of an obligation to have a clear opinion about Israel than non-Jews?

Interesting questions. Maybe this can help us to clarify:

From http://www.wzo.org.il/en/resources/v...707&subject=28 The World Zionist Organization

Quote:

Zionism is a dynamic ideology. That is why the core definition and aims of Zionism are periodically revised and updated. Below is the text that was indorsed in the Zionist Council session that took place in June 2004 in Jerusalem.

Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.

The foundations of Zionism are:

1. The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;

2. Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli Society.

3. Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.

4. Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;

5. Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism;

6. Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.

I think that, based on this definition, support for the idea of Israel doesn't automatically make one Zionist.

As for your second question, this is particularly interesting to me. Since I was about 16, I toyed with the idea of converting to Judaism. What has always stopped me from actually taking the leap, I think, is the pro-Israel stance of most of the synagogues I've researched. It seems that in some spaces, you aren't a good Jew if you don't support Israel. Practically speaking, I know this is not true, and I know many Jewish people do not support Israel. However, I think a Jewish person might feel more pressure to understand and pick a stance in this debate more so than the average bystander.
 
Rick van Opbergen
#15
Thanks for the reply Jillyvn. It seems we are a bit alike. I have to admit that I too when I was around 16 (no joking!) was thinking about the possibility to convert to Judaism, but after I contacted a converted Dutchman (living in Canada btw) and e-mailed a rabbi in Amsterdam, I decided not too. It came clear to me that converting would not give me any satisfaction. The reason for my huge interest in Judaism was - and it is still hard to admit - guilt. Guilt for the things which happened during WW II. Guilt for the 105,000 Jewish Dutchmen who were killed. Guilt for the fact Europe has not been (and still not is) the perfect civilization I thought it to be. That our cultures are capable of hating too. I still have a great interest in Judaism, or better said: Jews, as I look at the Jewish people nowadays more with an interest for their cultural and social history and on-going development, than at the religious aspects. However, don't see me as an ignorant follower of Israel.
 
Jillyvn
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Rick van Opbergen

Thanks for the reply Jillyvn. It seems we are a bit alike. I have to admit that I too when I was around 16 (no joking!) was thinking about the possibility to convert to Judaism, but after I contacted a converted Dutchman (living in Canada btw) and e-mailed a rabbi in Amsterdam, I decided not too. It came clear to me that converting would not give me any satisfaction. The reason for my huge interest in Judaism was - and it is still hard to admit - guilt. Guilt for the things which happened during WW II. Guilt for the 105,000 Jewish Dutchmen who were killed. Guilt for the fact Europe has not been (and still not is) the perfect civilization I thought it to be. That our cultures are capable of hating too. I still have a great interest in Judaism, or better said: Jews, as I look at the Jewish people nowadays more with an interest for their cultural and social history and on-going development, than at the religious aspects. However, don't see me as an ignorant follower of Israel.

Interesting! I think I'll derail the thread a bit. I've researched conversion quite a lot. My interest started when I first picked up a book of poetry by Irving Layton. After that, I jumped to Leonard Cohen and then began reading Jewish writers voraciously. I liked what they had to say about their faith. I liked the fact that Judaism encourages questioning of the faith. However, were I to actually convert, I'd likely go reform. I can't abide the blind acceptance of Israel as the holy symbol of Jewish success, the treatment of Palestinians really bothers me and I don't really like the leaders. Nonetheless, I remain facinated on a whole with the people and their faith. When I was in university, I studied Biblical Hebrew, early Jewish history and the Holocaust. I toyed with the idea of graduate work in Holocaust Studies. It was only when I took an American Foreign Policy course and started learning about the Israel situation that my interest derailed. It clouds the academics too much now, and I think it is difficult to be objective. I wonder if there are any Jewish people on this board who care to comment on how their faith is reconciled with Israel?
 
Rick van Opbergen
#17
Interesting to hear Jillyvn! I especially agree with you when you say:
Quote: Originally Posted by Jillyvn

I can't abide the blind acceptance of Israel as the holy symbol of Jewish success, the treatment of Palestinians really bothers me and I don't really like the leaders.

Officially I'm Roman Catholic, but the point is that the Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in the world (the number of people unaffiliated to a church is around 40%, and of the number who are affiliated, the number of church/mosque/synagogue/temple go-ers is low; among Catholics it's no more than 10% or so who go on a weekly basis, and some 60% who actually never go to church), and that religion is considered to be old-fashioned, unuseful etc. Because of that, a large part of the religious people is 65+ (except in the ultra religious groups, like the extreme Reformed-Protestant groups), which isn't doing a very good job for the image of the Church. Of all of my friends, I know only one girl who visites church on regular basis (she's Reformed), some others who are affiliated to a church (especially the Catholic Church) but who aren't that active (some go to church at Christmas or Easter), and the large part not even affiliated to a church or other religious institution. What does this have to do with the discussion? Well, I wasn't completely telling the whole story in my previous post. Not that what I said wasn't true. But I also think that I was searching for something to hold on to. I don't believe in a God or anything else, but I do want to be part of something, because in nowadays society, people are on their own, and I don't like that. Now, as being Catholic it came clear to me that going to my own church wasn't what I needed (reasons stated above). Neither did any christian church. Synagogues were tempting. I have one friend who's half-Jewish, and he used to tell me a lot about the bar and bat mitzvah's he went to, the Jewish weddings and the celebrating in the synagogue. He's not religious, but he described an atmosphere I needed. Now I think about, when this friend would have been Muslim, I think I would have had a great interest in Islam too (not that I don't have that, but not as great as I have in Judaism, or better: the Jewish people).
 
Reverend Blair
#18
Quote:

I know that Reverend Blair. My point is that anti-Semitism is an accepted concept, whether or not it is still applicable in reality - that's not important. But I'm starting to get lost in this discussion: are we discussing the fact that Jews use anti-Semitism while they are no Semitic people, or are we discussing the crookedness in our language concerning anti-Semitism?

The acceptance of anti-semitism in reality is very important. First of all it does exist, whether you define it as being anti-Jewish or anti-Middle Eastern people or, in the case of many racists, part of being anti-everybody-not-like-them.

Second of all the common usage, what you rightly call "the crookedness of our language" is being used to mask and/or justify the actions of a state. In the present political climate, criticising Israel or its leaders will get you called an anti-semite. It is really no more than an attempt to discredit any points you might want to make and end any reasonable discussion, but it works. It is especially effective in the public arena and serves to muzzle politicians and influential members of the press.

Example: A First Nations person on another board I frequent was accused of being an anti-semite and reprimanded by the moderator for it. What was his transgression? Stating that the wall the Israelis put up was nothing more than a land grab and comparing it to what happened to his own people.

The thing is that the charge was out there and, taken out of context, his words could be construed as anti-semitic. I doubt the moderator read the whole thread, I know the original complaint was through a PM but I don't know what the contents of the PM were, and I know that particular board keeps the moderators hopping.

The person who made the original complaint now uses the reprimand as proof that the First Nations person is an anti-semite, but never tells people to read what was actually written in the first place.

In other words, it was a political crucifixtion based on a lie. It was successful though.
 
Rick van Opbergen
#19
I agree with you on the part that anti-Semitism is misused by the Israeli government frequently to end a discussion. When criticizing Israel equals anti-Semitism, especially Europeans will have a hard time ignoring that (with their past). However, it should be noticed that not all anti-Israeli comments are free of anti-Semitism. I've seen political cartoons from various media on the Internet, I guess it was on a pro-Israel site (which doesn't necessarily have to say anything), which do link anti-Israeli remarks or drawings with anti-Semitic remarks, like Sharon with the book The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion or something like that. However, this does not take away - as you said - that nowadays, a lot of critical notes at what Israel is doing are immediately portrayed by the Israeli government or pro-Israel lobbies as anti-Semitic.
 

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