AmyTuteurMD

AmyTuteurMD
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Dr. Amy Tuteur is an obstetrician-gynecologist. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College and her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Tuteur is a former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School.

FEBRUARY 15, 2009 12:16PM

My Jewish problem

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pennies

Like any Jewish child, I learned about anti-Semitism when I was small. It wasn’t that hard to recognize it, since anti-Semites were generally quite open about their feeling. Swastikas scrawled on synagogues, prejudice against Soviet Jews, efforts to annihilate the Jews of Israel were very obvious signs that even a child could understand. Therefore, I was not prepared for what happened in our town a few years ago.

Our town is unusual in being predominantly Jewish, and, of course, competes in athletic events with surrounding towns that are not. That had not been a problem for many years. Overt expressions of anti-Semitism are rare, fortunately, limited to the occasional defacing of a synagogue.

Earlier in the decade, a neighboring town came to play baseball against our high school team. As they walked onto the field, they threw pennies. At first, our team did not understand what was going on, but then members of the opposing team helpfully called to each other to watch for the money-grubbing Jews to rush onto the field to scoop up the pennies.

The opposing team was ultimately reprimanded for their penny tossing behavior, but such behavior is inevitably inspired and shaped by adult behavior. The opposing team had learned well. In the 21st century, anti-Semitism is no longer crude and obvious. Instead it relies on coded words and coded tropes to spread its vile message.

Why have anti-Semites resorted to coded words and tropes? One reason is that overt prejudice is no longer considered socially acceptable, particularly on the American Left. Anti-Semitism, and racism have not disappeared from American society. The periodic appearance of nooses in schools and workplaces provides eloquent testimony to that sordid fact.

Second, and equally important, coded words and tropes offer plausible deniability. As could have been expected, the penny throwing baseball team insisted that they “hadn’t meant anything,” by tossing pennies; it was just a joke. Fortunately, no one believed them and they were disciplined.

The obnoxious actions of a high school baseball team can be dismissed as juvenile behavior, but the coded words and tropes of the American Left are much harder to dismiss. That’s especially true when you consider that the use of coded words and tropes is followed by denial. The perpetrators inevitably respond to accusations of anti-Semitism by piously disavowing any intent, and brazenly asserting that they are victims of pervasive attempts to silence any criticism of Jews. We are supposed to believe that they “hadn’t meant anything” by the use of coded words or tropes, just like the baseball team “hadn’t meant anything” by their penny tossing escapades.

What are these coded words and tropes? They include thing like:

Anti-Zionist

Neocon

Claiming that Zionism is racism

Denying the right of Jews to their own homeland

Holding Israel to different standards than all other countries

Accusing Jews of controlling the media

Accusing Jews of controlling banks

Comparing Israelis to Nazis

Denying the reality of the Holocaust

Claiming that accounts of the Holocaust are exaggerated

Claiming that the Holocaust gets too much attention (especially from “Hollywood,” a code word for Jews)

My Jewish problem now is not anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism has always existed, and it has often been far worse than it is today. My Jewish problem is how to combat the use of coded anti-Semitic words and tropes that are used precisely to allow for plausible deniability, and are inevitably followed by claims of denial.

As the great Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said: “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” We cannot, and should not remain silent when anti-Semitic code words and tropes are used. We should allow the sunlight to shine on them by pointing them out for all to see. We should not accept denials, since the entire purpose of the coded words and tropes is to spread anti-Semitism while simultaneously denying that one is anti-Semitic. And most emphatically we should not fall for the outraged bleats of victimization by the anti-Semites caught using anti-Semitic code words and tropes.

Over the centuries Jews have been accused of many things, but we have never been accused of being dumb. We know anti-Semitism when we see it and we will continue to point it out wherever we find it.

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Rated. My cousin started railing about the Zionists and I couldn't believe my ears. His posits that if the "Zionists" weren't in Israel, the world would be at peace. I just don't talk to him anymore. I hear anti-semitism and it's code words a lot, either written or spoken during world news reports. Well said. Let the sun shine.
Quick question for clarification. You wrote "coded words and tropes of the American Left are much harder to dismiss." I don't find that holocaust denial, for one thing, is prevalent position on the left.
Mer8tor:

"I don't find that holocaust denial, for one thing, is prevalent position on the left."

That's right. The Left uses more subtle tropes such as arguing that too much attention is paid to the Holocaust, or that the Israelis are no different than the Nazis.
I haven't seen/heard anyone on the left say that too much attention is paid to the holocaust. Of course that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, just that I haven't seen that personally. Is this just in conversation, or magazine/newspaper articles? Who's saying that?

I have definitely seen/heard the israel/nazi thing and I think that's inexcusable. I don't care how much you disagreed with what went down recently, that's completely uncalled for.
Maybe I'm not as left as I thought, then, as I believe myself to be quite a liberal but have never held any of the positions you list. In fact, I have known some pretty hard-core righties who make some of the claims that you refer to, including that the banks and the media are all controlled by Jews and that Hollywood--bunch of liberal bastards--make too much of the Holocaust. These folks were Republicans and staunch Bush supporters who hated Arabs more than Jews. Sickening way to make judgements. Maybe the left/right divide is a bit muddy on this issue? As for Holocaust deniers, or "reducers" as the case may be, I certainly don't agree with them. I do think that the Holocaust should be remembered and that the genocides in other place--Cambodia and Africa for example--should be strongly condemned as well.
hollycomesalive:

"I haven't seen/heard anyone on the left say that too much attention is paid to the holocaust."

There was a post specifically on this topic last night. My post was written partly in response.
Great post, Dr. Amy. Rated.

(Do I always agree with everything the Israeli military/government does? No. Do I believe Israel has a right to exist? Yes. Do I have the slightest clue as to how to fix a 60+ year mess and make the birthplace of my faith a safe place to live, no matter which religion you peacefully follow? Nope.)
Merc8tor:

"Maybe I'm not as left as I thought, then, as I believe myself to be quite a liberal but have never held any of the positions you list."

No, no, no, I am not saying that everyone on the Left is an anti-Semite. I am saying that anti-Semites on the Left are not as crude as those on the Right. The Leftist anti-Semites use code words and then whine "Who me?" when called on it.
"Anti-Semitism, and racism have not disappeared from American society. The periodic appearance of nooses in schools and workplaces provides eloquent testimony to that sordid fact."


I do want to comment on this. My step-mom is black and I have a half-brother who is biracial. While my experience is nothing compared to others, I have definitely seen first hand that racism is very much alive, at least in the rural South. Some people won't say it to your face, but others will.

My dad and stepmom have been refused service in restaurants, my step-mom has been called a n----- (in church of all places), and my brother and I have definitely had "friends" confront us: "I like you, but I don't agree with *that*." Even more subtly, though, were friends of mine who I really otherwise respected say things like "Yeah, but your step-mom isn't really black. I mean, she doesn't act black." (I guess meaning she doesn't gang it up on the street corners dealing coke?) What's that supposed to mean? No, STFU.

Nooses definitely make the news, but it doesn't take a noose to realize, at least where I grew up, that racism is still everywhere- it's just a little quieter than it used to be, which is I guess the point of your post.
hollycomesalive:

"I haven't seen/heard anyone on the left say that too much attention is paid to the holocaust."

There was a post specifically on this topic last night. My post was written partly in response.




Oh, I see. I didn't catch that, thanks.
Leeandra Nolting:

"Do I always agree with everything the Israeli military/government does? No. Do I believe Israel has a right to exist? Yes. Do I have the slightest clue as to how to fix a 60+ year mess and make the birthplace of my faith a safe place to live, no matter which religion you peacefully follow? Nope."

Excellent, succinct summary of how most of Israel's supporters feel!
hollycomesalive:

"Nooses definitely make the news, but it doesn't take a noose to realize, at least where I grew up, that racism is still everywhere- it's just a little quieter than it used to be"

How do your step-mom and brother cope with racism when it is subtle?
I understand most of this, and agree that coded anti-Semitic messages deserve condemnation. But one item struck me. Are you saying that condemnation of neocons is anti-Semitic? Neoconservative policy positions are a definable set of general principals; neoconservatives (neocons) who have held those positions either in the Bush Administration or in positions of power in Washington are an identifiable group. Many of those who advocated neocon positions are Jewish. Condemning neocon positions and the people who have advocated policies that are consistent with neocon theories, however, is not the same as somehow attacking Jews generally and therefore not anti-Semitic.
Eric Root:

"Are you saying that condemnation of neocons is anti-Semitic?"

No, not at all. I'm saying that neocon can be used as a code word for Jews.
I agree with most of your "tropes" except for the first few. I find you confuse opposition to Israel's policies with anti-Semitism. They CAN be the same, but they can also be quite different. Joining them at the hip dilutes both terms.
Answer me this: if Jews have a right to their homeland, then how much of North America do you think should be given back to the Native Americans? 30%? 50? 100? Native populations were decimated displaced; their way of life was forever changed and their future ruined. Are you willing to give back NYC? San Francisco? Your home? If you don't, should I consider you to be anti-Native American or just a hypocrite? Or is your worldview just different than mine?
For the record, I believe in the Two-State solution, but I have dwindling hope that it can ever be achieved...
Another fine contribution, that is, sadly, always timely.

Before anyone goes way off here: consider how many of us would agree that coded anti-semitism does exist, even if some us think 90% of the time, and others say only 10%?

It is significant that we share even 10% agreement, and that we agree that it s wrong

In the spirit of honest debate about that intermediate 40%, then:

Anti-Zionist

Not necessarily and not always permanently. There was some knee-jerk Anti-Zionism by the left during 67 and 73, because of general anti-war feelings and because philosophy was very simple during the late 60s.

And there are some credible arguments against Zionism. Principled stands, by people who are consistent in their beliefs that ALL nation-states and patriotism are nationalism and are wrong for it. Not practical or realistic, but coherent and principled.

Neocon

As an epithet hurled, this is way too broad to merit as anti-semitism, per se. In some contexts, yes, it could utterly mask all kinds of anti-semitism. Example?

Claiming that Zionism is racism.

Almost always it is used by people who make worse admissions. And said without explanation, it usually is.

But perforce, it is not. To say it is simply anti-semitism is to pretend there is not a racial consciousness to some Jewish belief, thought, and writing, of being an elevated in-group, whether religious, chosen, or due to adaptations to adversity.

But it is not normative Judaism, nor the polled feeling of most Israelis, that our race is our principle advantage, and thus justifies all. To say it is true always is as if to say David Duke feels how all white people feel. Some Zionists are racists, and use Judaism to justify it. The schmucks.

This is in particular an Arab prejudice.

Denying the right of Jews to their own homeland

Anti-semitism. But horribly complicated.

Holding Israel to different standards than all other countries

Anti-semitism. And to throw out "chosen" as justification, while ignoring the special pleading for elevated status present in ALL national and religio-cultural groups. No defense for systematic media bias in this respect, and in Europe the press anti-semitism is scarcely coded even. BBC: feh.

Accusing Jews of controlling the media

Not a bit anti-semitic to say anything like these variants: they are pervasive, they influence, they run this or that specific studio or agency. It is just plain true. And you can't let 99% of Jewish comedians tell the truth on this and then pretend it isn't true.

What isn't true though is that this is a monolithic thing: Jews are an over-represented minority in Hollywood. Also not true that they dictate in any sense what we watch, like, must go see. Also not true that this is a bad thing, any more than lots of blacks in the NBA represents a black sports entertainment conspiracy.

Accusing Jews of controlling banks

Classic anti-semitism, not coded at all. "The Protocols..." simply played on an extant resentment.

Jews are prevalent in finance for easy to understand historical reasons. Jews tend to be well-uducated and smart, so they are well represented in many, even most, professions. But to cite this is to participate in anti-semitism, period, just as mentioning how much some kid likes his watermelon, in a public park, to a black family, is to ask for toxic encounter.

A lot of Jews are worried about the meltdown, about being blamed, about that ptui-may-he-drop-dead-Thursday Madoff. And rightly so: the world has consistently not singled out the McIntyres, Angellinis, and Johnsons when banks go wrong. We get blamed.

Lotta Jewish deli owners too. I suppose we control the Pastrami Trade too.

Comparing Israelis to Nazis

Anti-semitism. Even if you are caught up in a holy crusade for the Palestinians, if you let yourself ignore the so very many differences for all and their roles, you are either intellectually or morally bankrupt.

Denying the reality of the Holocaust

Anti-semitism.

Claiming that accounts of the Holocaust are exaggerated

Anti-semitism. But some historical questioning is inevitable. Science allows it. But nonetheless: Anti-semitism.

Claiming that the Holocaust gets too much attention (especially from “Hollywood,” a code word for Jews)

Maybe anti-semitism, could just be curmudgeonly bullshit. Stupid, without a doubt. And yes Hollywood is code for Jews to some, but obviously not per se.
t t:

"They CAN be the same, but they can also be quite different."

Definitely. That's why I always ask people who criticize Israel in ways that seem anti-Semitic if they can explain the principle that they are using and to what other countries they have applied this principle. I have NEVER seen anyone able to come up with even one other country to which they apply that principle.
How do they cope? Well, my biracial brother is only 4, so he's pretty young. My step-mom, though, she's a pretty non-confrontational person. She doesn't call people out on it. The things our peers said to my brother and I, we never told her about those. It would have just made her embarrassed and probably apologetic, and she shouldn't have been the one apologizing. She deals with a lot quietly. For instance, the place where she works, she's definitely in the minority racially. But she's worked hard to get where she is and they needed the money. So around the election, there were a lot of conservatives in her office that said some horrible things about Obama- circulated emails, jokes, etc. She vented to me about it on the phone, but in the office she didn't say anything. My Dad has had friends say before that she "sounds white"- like when they've heard her speak on the phone and then met her in real life- and apparently that really makes her angry, but she doesn't say anything in the situation, she just tells my Dad about it after the fact. She copes privately, I suppose. That's the answer to your question.
If anyone had any doubt that anti-Zionism was merely a genteel excuse for anti-Semitism, all such doubts were removed by the recent anti-Israel demonstrations around the world. Most of the demonstrators railed against Jews in general and completely forgot that the official reason for their demonstration was to take a stand against the Zionist Entity!

Throughout history the Jews from the earliest days have been persecuted by superior powers. The Kingdom of Israel disappeared, with ten of twelve Jewish tribes disappearing from the radar of history. The remaining two tribes and half the tribe of Levi were successively conquered by the Babylonians, the greeks, the Persians, the Romans until they too were scattered through every known land.

Every major empire, every major power that ever wanted to destroy, that ever conquered the Jews, has been relegated to the dung heaps of history, with little more than a few impressive ruins, some art, some philosophy and some literature to show for their once impressive past. The current crop of haters, we too shall survive!
Amy, you say, "Like any Jewish child, I learned about anti-Semitism when I was small." An educated guess tells me you are younger than I, probably grew up in the 70's. If that's true, you're projecting if you think most American (or even Israeli) Jewish children learn about anti-Semitism young.

I'm from the 50's the 60's and never heard the phrase until I was in high school. I wrote about it during beta; you didn't comment so perhaps we didn't 'know' each other then. It might interest you now: My High School Education, Lessons in Anti-Semitism.

Here's my (sorry, long-winded) point. You are such a passionate voice for Jews and Israel. In this post you make some important, valid points about insidious code for anti-Semitic attitudes. But your zeal often leads (yes, I know, it's from frustration) to hyperbole, which turns people away from the genuine truths you have to offer.

A very small example here, but since it's a less incendiary conversation, I chose it as my forum to urge more restraint for greater convincing. Just my two pennies.
Chaim S:

"Most of the demonstrators railed against Jews in general and completely forgot that the official reason for their demonstration was to take a stand against the Zionist Entity!"

And don't forget about the attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in Europe. So much for being anti-Zionist and not anti-Semitic.
Sally Swift:

"An educated guess tells me you are younger than I, probably grew up in the 70's."

Actually, I'm about the same age you are.

"I chose it as my forum to urge more restraint for greater convincing."

I don't think that the anti-Semites can be convinced by any argument, restrained or not. Theirs is an unreasoning and unreasonable hatred that has learned to clothe itself is more socially acceptable terms. I write to alert those who are open minded to what is going on.

I'm not exactly sure how one constructs restrained yet convincing arguments against anti-Semitism, or racism or misogyny, for that matter, but I'd certainly be happy to learn. Do you have any examples that you particularly admire?
Amy, when people refuse to see the suffering they themselves are causing here and now, and at the same time wrap themselves in the memory of the holocaust - yeah, that grates, even on me, and I lost kin in the camps.

What's happening to Palestinians isn't even close to the holocaust, but it's hell none the less, and it's happening here and now. Where are the lessons of the holocaust in Gaza? Hmmm?
RickyB:

"Where are the lessons of the holocaust in Gaza? Hmmm?"

That's an easy question to answer:

The Germans hated the Jews and killed them whenever they could, and the Arabs hate the Jews and kill them whenever they can. The lesson is that we no longer go willingly to the slaughter. I suspect that Hamas got that message loud and clear.
"Denying the right of Jews to their own homeland"

Exactly how is that anti-semitism? To say that Jews had a "right" to a homeland is also to say that they in effect had a right to expel the non-Jewish people already living there and seize their property, and the property of those who simply fled, or had the right to put those people under the control of a Jewish government. The flip side of that right is that the people who would be expelled or placed under the control of that government had no right to refuse that. This seems like an odd distribution of "rights" to me.

I'm sure that ending up with a homeland was a very nice thing for the Jews. I hardly see how that constituted a "right."

If the Jews had a right to a homeland, then under what principle of law or morality did that happen? Does every persecuted ethnic or religious group have a right to a homeland, regardless of what other people might happen to live there? Do Iraqi Christians have a right to a piece of Iraq for their homeland? Do American Indians have a right to most of the continental United States?
"I have NEVER seen anyone able to come up with even one other country to which they apply that principle."
That statement is quite categorical.
Perhaps you cannot find similar examples because the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is rather unique and would have unique interpretations. I'm sorry to say that both sides have behaved in less than exemplary manner and the topic is polarizing.

Perhaps you need to speak to people who have less of a vested interest in the topic. You seem rather polarized yourself.
mishima666:

"To say that Jews had a "right" to a homeland is also to say that they in effect had a right to expel the non-Jewish people already living there and seize their property"

Not at all, although that is the way that the Left construes the meaning of "right" when in involves Jews.

Notice that I did not say that Jews had the right to that particular piece of land as their homeland. I just said that Jews had a right to a homeland just as all other people have a right to a homeland. This is a critical point. Anti-Semites deny that Jews have the right to ANY homeland; they claim that merely wanting their own homeland is "racist."

The argument used to be about whether Israelis had the right to hold that particular piece of land. However, by all the rules of international relations, they certainly do have that right. It was given to them by the UN just as lots of other places received their land or mandate from the international community in the wake of WWI or WWII. Then they fought to keep it from the 5 other countries who wanted to take it from them by defeating those countries.

Since it is clear, by all the rules of international relations, that the Israelis have a right to that particular piece of land, the argument has shifted to the notion that Jews have no right to any land, because a Jewish state is "racist."

Anti-Semitism has existed in an unbroken stream for the past 2500 years. And in every single one of those years, Jews were denied the right to ANY land, most professions, and even life itself. Now we're supposed to believe that suddenly everyone is deeply concerned about the needs of the Palestinians? As I said above, no one has ever accused us of being stupid and we're not stupid now.
t t:

"Perhaps you cannot find similar examples because the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is rather unique and would have unique interpretations."

Oh, it's unique all right! It's unique because the only possible explanation for the stance of the Left is anti-Semitism. Without that factor, the reaction of the Left is incomprehensible.
Dr. Amy writes: "However, by all the rules of international relations, they certainly do have that right. It was given to them by the UN . . . "

Well, we're talking about "right" in different ways. You're talking about a right to land granted by the UN. In that sense the UN could have given the land to the Palestinians, Zoroastrians, or Rastafarians, and those folks would have had enjoyed the same "right."

I guess they're lucky they didn't get Antarctica.
mishima666:

"Well, we're talking about "right" in different ways."

I'm talking about "right" in two different ways. The Israelis have the ethical right to have a homeland and the Israelis have the right to have that particular piece of land as their homeland by the rules of international relations.

What type of "right" are you referring to?
Dr. Amy writes: "I'm talking about "right" in two different ways. The Israelis have the ethical right to have a homeland and the Israelis have the right to have that particular piece of land as their homeland by the rules of international relations."

Let's talk about the ethical right. Did Jews have a right to a homeland over and above the right granted by the UN -- in other words, some kind of intrinsic right to a homeland?

If so, where did that right come from, and if the Jews had that right, do all other persecuted ethinic and religious minorities also have such a right?
mishima666:

"If so, where did that right come from"

It came from the EXACT same place as the right that any people in any existing country has to their country. In the wake of WWII approximately 10 million people were displaced and the lines of many countries were completely redrawn. Yet no one seems to have a problem with the idea that all the Balkan countries were created arbitrarily or that all the mideast countries were created arbitrarily. Why is that?
Greg Correll:

"No defense for systematic media bias in this respect, and in Europe the press anti-semitism is scarcely coded even. BBC: feh."

Did you see that the BBC commissioned a report to demonstrate its neutrality and the report found that the BBC is biased against Israel? Now the BBC is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds attempting to block release of the report.
Mishima666,

The Jews have been in that sliver of land called Israel, uninterruptedly since biblical times. In 1929 in Hebron at the instigation of Arafat's mother's uncle - The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hitler's bosom buddy (check it out, it's well documented... if history as it really happened makes any difference to you!) , every member of the 3,000 year old Jewish community (men, women and children) was ruthlessly murdered. Going over the international press of the day there is barely a mention. I can't say I'm surprised, after all the victims were merely despised Jews.

If you care to read Winston Churchill's writings you'll find that the majority of the "Palestinians" (they didn't use the name until 1967, check it out, it's well documented... if history as it really happened makes any difference to you!) didn't arrive until the 1920s. Most were attracted by the fact that European Jewish philantropists were investing in the Holy Land and many jobs were available.

Others were sent by the brand new Arab countries because some of the leaders feared the Jews may also become an independent nation, and their leaders' hatred couldn't allow such an affront to Arab pride (check it out, it's well documented... if history as it really happened makes any difference to you!).

So you see, Mishima666, it isn't a question of who, where, what, gave the Jews the right to their homeland, perhaps you should ask the other side, what superior mandate gave THEM the right to murder?

The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Israelis were ready to live side by side with the Arabs in the fledgling State of Israel. David ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister begged them not leave in emotional radio broadcasts (check it out, it's well documented... if history as it really happened makes any difference to you!). He begged them to work side by side with the Jews and build the country together. In fact in 1947, Ben Gurion and Israel's first President to be - Chaim Weitzman - supported the idea of two sovereign states. The Arabs would not accept a Joo state in their midst and within hours of Israel becoming an independent nation they attacked it (check it out, it's well documented... if history as it really happened makes any difference to you!)
Chaim S,

Thanks for providing the historical facts.
Amy, you reply "I'm not exactly sure how one constructs restrained yet convincing arguments against anti-Semitism, or racism or misogyny, for that matter, but I'd certainly be happy to learn. Do you have any examples that you particularly admire?"

I was not suggesting trying to change bigoted minds, it can't be done. But there are so many people, Jews and gentiles, who don't have the information or the incentive to join the fight against anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny. All oppressed segments of society need the active support of fellow human beings to join in rendering the bigoted less impactful, more impotent.

How one reaches out for that support is what I was talking about. Strident and implacable pronouncements of the "I am right, get on board!" variety make people defensive. Delivering the message to get results is an art.

Examples of people I admire who got results with reality-based knowledge on how to reach out and the courage to do so with intellect, humor and grace: Dr. King. JFK. David Ben Gurion. Golda Meir.

A few random quotes...

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King, Jr.

"We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon - no alternative." Golda Meir

"In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles." David Ben Gurion

"One who condones evil is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it." Martin Luther King Jr.

"Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself." Golda Meir

"So let us begin anew - remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
The antiZionist movement gets a lot of mileage by fuzzing up the concept of theft; they conflate theft of individual property, specifically some poor Arab family getting chased out of town so that a Jewish family could take over their house, and theft of a country, as though there were some sort of guarantee that some specific characteristics of a government would remain unchanged through time, like being a province of a distant empire, or feudalism, or Sharia. for instance:

"To say that Jews had a "right" to a homeland is also to say that they in effect had a right to expel the non-Jewish people already living there and seize their property, and the property of those who simply fled, or had the right to put those people under the control of a Jewish government. "

Now, nobody is saying tha theft of individual property is ethical; and in fact, Israel has a Bureau of Abandoned Property which has over time compensated some thousands of Palestinians for their lost property; that has become rather moribund lately, as accepting such compensation has become prima facie evidence of treason to the cause, punishable by summary execution. The other limit on the process was the requirement for some sort of legal documentation of ownership, which a little thought should prove to be an indispensable requirement. In many cases, families may not have known that the land on which they lived had been since the Ottoman Period owned by wealthy Turkish landlords who had never deigned to do anything with the property, until it was sold to Israelis. In any event, Jews of a certain age living in America will remember raising vast sums in order to purchase said property. In short, the accusation of building the country by widespread theft of private property is basically untrue.

The other idea, that somehow a modern pluralistic democracy with freedom of religion, albeit a majority population of Jews, is somehow theft of the former residents' rights to live in a rather backwards, underdeveloped Third World province where Jews where tolerated as a powerless second class citizens. This would seem to be less than ethically axiomatic.

Of course, in the interests of completeness, it is necessary to raise the now cliched issue of the dispossession and ethnic cleaning of the native Jewish population of the West Bank and Gaza, after thousands of years of continous residence, without even the promise of any compensation, even today, on the one hand; and the "theft" of the Palestinians' country by Jordan and Egypt in 1947, neither of which crimes seem to raise the ire of ethical guardians to the same degree as the hypothetical crimes of Israel along these lines.
Sally's right. When you say Neocon and Hollywood are code words for Jews, you've completely lost my sympathy. Holding Israel to different standards from other countries is also a matter that is entirely subject to opinion.

There's a line between calling someone on real anti-semitism and enforcing a bunch of PC rules to stifle opinions that you don't agree with. Making sure you're on the right side of that line would make you a much more effective voice for your cause.
Chaim writes: "The Jews have been in that sliver of land called Israel, uninterruptedly since biblical times."

Fair enough. Native Americans lived in the northern hemisphere uninterruptedly since prehistoric times, perhaps for as long as 25,000 years. They had their own religions, cultures, and languages. They also were subject to persecution and in some cases virtual extermination. Question: do Native Americans have a right to their own homeland somewhere in North America?

Iraqi Christians have lived uninterruptedly in Iraq for 2,000 years. In recent years they have been victims of murder, persecution, and kidnapping. Many of their churches have been destroyed, and many have been force to flee the country or have been turned into internal refugees. Question: do Iraqi Christians have a right to a homeland somewhere in Iraq?

What I 'm trying to understand are the circumstances under which you think a particular ethnic or religious group has a right to a homeland -- in particular, whether that is a right had only by the Jews due to certain unique historical circumstances, or whether it is a right due to certain general principles that might also apply to other groups.

By the way, if you leave off the snarky " . . . if history as it really happened makes any difference to you!" comments I won't object. I don't find them helpful.
I was surprised by how many "Jewish" references were brought up in the main stream media around the Madoff case. The stories about networks of rich Jews struck me as being anti-Semitic. Reading the comments on those stories they certainly brought the anti-Semites out of the woodwork.
"The Germans hated the Jews and killed them whenever they could, and the Arabs hate the Jews and kill them whenever they can. The lesson is that we no longer go willingly to the slaughter. I suspect that Hamas got that message loud and clear."

Yeah, but the Germans were way stronger than us, and we didn't kill them 100:1 (more than that if you discount friendly fire). You and people like you are exactly like rape victims who grow up to be rapists themselves. If you can't see that Hamas is not a threat to Israel's existence, or that the way we're dealing with them is like shooting cockroaches with a .45, then you are truly a victim. I, on the other hand, have resolved not to be. I think my stance is both more moral and more honorable.

And btw - the guy who opposes shooting roaches with a .45 is not "pro-roach" or anti-people. I would have hoped an MD would have enough subtlety to see that.

Chaim - so what if we've been here "uninterrupted"? So have others, and the fact they changed the names they go by doesn't negate that. Now, either we learn to share the land, or we'll have another "destruction of the house". So what's it gonna be?
Would like to discuss my Jewish problem, going back to the loss of my sixties innocence, but let's just try a couple of historical facts in an attempt to cut through some of this muddle. First, the term "anti-semite" is itself an unsubtle trope used to negate any criticism and is inaccurate to boot: take a decent world lit course [which i taught] and learn that Arabs are also Semites. Second, read Deuteronomy and Joshua with an open mind and see how the Hebrews recorded in loving detail the slaughter of Canaanites, including livestock and even trees: names, places, times. One might say that they invented holocaust.

One thing, among several, i learned in the sixties: the root cause of anti-semitism is semitism
RickyB:
"Yeah, but the Germans were way stronger than us, and we didn't kill them 100:1"

Are you saying that the jewish response to german persecution and genocide should be a model for Israel, or anyone?

"You and people like you are exactly like rape victims who grow up to be rapists themselves. If you can't see that Hamas is not a threat to Israel's existence, or that the way we're dealing with them is like shooting cockroaches with a .45..."

Um, maybe you should read the Hamas Charter; it explicitly calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, propagates antisemitic canards, and calls for the killing of Jews as Jews. While Hamas is not presently capable of destroying Israel, it is in league with other terror groups on Israel's borders and is supported by Iran, a major oil-exporting country currently developing large ballistic missiles and nuclear capabilities.

Re: shooting cockroaches with a .45, if you are referring to Israel's Operation Cast Lead, the facts prove that Israel took great care to target terrorists.
The quote about sunshine comes originally from Holmes:

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and the electric light the best policeman.”

— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes
"My cousin started railing about the Zionists and I couldn't believe my ears. His posits that if the "Zionists" weren't in Israel, the world would be at peace."

That must be the first anti-semitic comment that made me laugh.

I personally don't 'look' Jewish (one of those stealth-Semites) and I have heard a lot of the new code words for Jews. It is sometimes fun to let someone go on with their rant and then have them find out later that I'm Jewish.

I think I'll get writing about it now.
Very interesting article, and pretty timely for my life. I'm black and my boyfriend is white . I haven't had to deal with overt racism from his friends, but have definitely had to deal with the subtle comments and remarks that are just as bad. Just last week my boyfriend had to call out his friend of many years for strongly implying (in an e-mail to me, no less!) that my last name means "monkey from the jungle". This isn't the first thing this guy has said about me being black, but it's all been couched in sort of an amused teasing about our interracial relationship. The guy apologized to him and to me but not before denying any intent, saying that he only meant it as a joke and stating that he didn't get why that was offensive etc etc.

All of this wasn't a surprise to me but it certainly was to my boyfriend who has assumed up until now that racism is pretty much over and that racism only appears in overt forms. It is my theory that racism is still extremely prevalent, the only thing that has changed is how it is presented.
The hundreds of children slaughtered recently in Gaza weren't trying to kill anyone. If yout lesson from the holocaust is merely "let's kill anyone who may be a threat and feel no compunction about it", that's not the right lesson.
"Are you saying that the jewish response to german persecution and genocide should be a model for Israel, or anyone?"

Nope. Neither, though, is the diametrically opposite response towards any perceived threat.

I have read the hamas charter. Again: Saying hamas is being dealt with stupidly, and with callous disregard toward innocent lives, says nothing - and nothing good - about hamas. If this distinction is to subtle for you, I'm afraid you may be unsuited to a constructive discussion of the problem, or possible solutions to it.

"the facts prove that Israel took great care to target terrorists. "

Really? Wow, imagine what the civilian-terrorist rate would've been if no care had been taken, because as it is, it was about 50-50 EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE THE IDF SPOKESMAN. If you tend to think his numbers are somewhat rosy, you're looking at least at 3 innocents to every terrorist - and all, innocent and terrorists alike, killed to absolutely no point. Wow, we got Nizar Rihan. Guess the Negev can sleep well now. Oops. Boom.
RickyB:
"imagine what the civilian-terrorist rate would've been if no care had been taken, because as it is, it was about 50-50 EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE THE IDF SPOKESMAN."

The IDF has documented that about one quarter of the killed were noncombatants. But I'll indulge you and "imagine what the civilian-terrorist rate would've been if no care had been taken": the proportion should then have been similar to the proportion of terrorists in the general population. There were about 13,000 Hamas combatants out of a general population of about 1,500,000, or about 1%.

So, RickyB, the math is simple. If Israel had taken no care, we could expect 1% of the 1,300 killed to be combatants. Is that what you're now claiming, RickyB, that only 13 of the killed were combatants?

I'll wait for your answer, which will undoubtedly be something along the lines of, "even one innocent killed is too much."

Or, you can just be honorable and admit you were wrong.
Anonymous:

"The antiZionist movement gets a lot of mileage by fuzzing up the concept of theft; they conflate theft of individual property, specifically some poor Arab family getting chased out of town so that a Jewish family could take over their house, and theft of a country, as though there were some sort of guarantee that some specific characteristics of a government would remain unchanged through time, like being a province of a distant empire, or feudalism, or Sharia."

Exactly! That's what I mean when I say that a separate standard is used for Israel.
RickyB:

"You and people like you are exactly like rape victims who grow up to be rapists themselves."

Get a grip.

You and people like you are incredibly marginalized in Israel (and everywhere else) because of your near hysterical and inane claims and your entirely self-serving self-righteousness. If you are so moved by the plight of the Gazans, why not go there and help them? Oh, wait, you can't; they'd kill you.

"Yeah, but the Germans were way stronger than us, and we didn't kill them 100:1"

What is wrong with killing them 100:1, if that's what it takes to get them to stop killing Israelis? You act like this is some sort of sporting event and it is unsportsmanlike to have a really lopsided score.

You know and I know that if the Palestinians (and other Arabs) put down their weapons and asked for peace, they'd have a state so fast their head would spin. On the other hand, if the Israelis put down their weapons, their dead bodies would be floating in the Mediterranean and the sea would run red with their blood inside of a month.
mishima666:

"do Native Americans have a right to their own homeland somewhere in North America?"

All we expect is consistency. If you believe that the Israelis have no "right" to the land that they fled to when facing death, made productive, were granted by the UN in keeping with a promise made by the British government in 1917, and defended with their lives when attacked, then you must necessarily believe that Americans have no right to land that they currently live on. Furthermore, you should have given back your land to your local Native Americans long ago.

You don't really believe that, though, do you? That's just a special rule for Israel, and you couldn't think of even one other country that you would apply it to, isn't that true? That's what I mean by creating a standard for Israel that applies to no one else.
DaveInTokyo:

"I was surprised by how many "Jewish" references were brought up in the main stream media around the Madoff case. The stories about networks of rich Jews struck me as being anti-Semitic. Reading the comments on those stories they certainly brought the anti-Semites out of the woodwork."

That's right. It's all the more amazing when you consider that Bush and Cheney perpetrated an massively larger economic fraud on the entire country and no one was making anti-Christian statements.
Con Chapman:

"The quote about sunshine comes originally from Holmes"

Thank you, but no, it is from Brandeis. It can be found in his (amazingly timely) book Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It.
miguelobrien:

"First, the term "anti-semite" is itself an unsubtle trope used to negate any criticism and is inaccurate to boot: take a decent world lit course [which i taught] and learn that Arabs are also Semites."

Everyone knows that.

You quote this as if you think it means something. Look in any dictionary or encyclopedia and you will see that anti-Semitism is recognized to mean anti-Jewish.

"Second, read Deuteronomy and Joshua with an open mind and see how the Hebrews recorded in loving detail the slaughter of Canaanites, including livestock and even trees:"

No, really? Wow, they must have been the only people of the time who took over territory by war. No doubt you think that the French should give back the land conquered by the Franks, the Germans should give back the land conquered by the Allemani, the British should give back the land conquered by the Normans, etc. etc.
Sally Swift:

"How one reaches out for that support is what I was talking about."

I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on this point. I have a great deal of respect for your opinion in general, and what you are saying now, but I think it is critical that anti-Semitic code words and tropes be exposed for what we know they are.
What's that I hear?
Crickets chirping??
C'mon, RickyB, where's your "subtle" response to my unsubtle math?
Alicia Arana:

"It is my theory that racism is still extremely prevalent, the only thing that has changed is how it is presented."

I wish that I could disagree, but, unfortunately, you are right. I suppose that it is a form of "progress" that overt racism is out of bounds in polite society, but it does not seem like nearly enough progress.
RickyB:

"The hundreds of children slaughtered recently in Gaza weren't trying to kill anyone."

And, how exactly, is that different from any non-combatants in any war?

I'll tell you one way that it is very different from the Palestinian tactics. The Palestinians DELIBERATELY aim to kill civilians (suicide bombings), while the Israelis try to avoid them.

"If your lesson from the holocaust is merely "let's kill anyone who may be a threat and feel no compunction about it", that's not the right lesson."

That's not what I said the lesson was. The lesson is that we will no longer go willingly to the slaughter. If they could, there is no doubt that the Palestinians (and other Arabs) would kills just as many Jews as the Germans managed to do. Israel retaliates with force precisely to prevent the Palestinians from copying the Germans.
In a long page of worthy comments and cross-talk, where even the saddest hate-edged comments are in some sense useful, this comment is the one that matters most to me:
"You know and I know that if the Palestinians (and other Arabs) put down their weapons and asked for peace, they'd have a state so fast their head would spin. On the other hand, if the Israelis put down their weapons, their dead bodies would be floating in the Mediterranean and the sea would run red with their blood inside of a month."

All else is details. And I just don't understand how people can drift from this. It should inform and shape everything we think about the mideast. It is one of the most sobering facts of life for everyone over there.

Your sweeping statements about the Left is understandable but wrong, Amy. There are a LOT of people on the Left (of all kinds) who see fighting injustice as the defining aspect of their leftism, of their progressivism, and who are not fooled by the BBC or armchair knowitalls or garden variety Jew "dislikers" or professional anti-semitic intellectuals.

The Arab street is raised on anti-semitism. The Arab media sustains it. Arab leaders run autocratic fiefdoms, and fiefdoms are sustained by misdirecting internal strife toward "Evil Others". These are observational truths, not universal but nearly so, for all Islamic countries.

But the left and progressivism holds out far more hope for Israel, in the long run, than the pastiche of Christian fundamentalism, bluster, greed, wishful thinking and anti-intellectual non-philosophy called NeoCon.

Once there was no hope for American Indians, for Northern Ireland, for South Africa, for Bosnia, for Europe in 41. In each case it was Democrats, progressives, social liberals, pragmatic centrist politicians who brought us to joy, to stability, to resolution, however imperfect, that allowed breathing room for change.

I see no one on the Right with a plan. I see no one among the Republicans who knows restraint or shrewdness. Whatever we think of "peace processes" for Israel, I prefer them to continue, as attempts, fizzles, half-starts, for a hundred years if necessary; far better that than rash "WIN!" militarism by the Right. It doesn't work.

You and I agree, Amy that military responses, and actions, are necessary, because of the quote i placed at the top; necessary, but not Good.

And the Left must pursue Peace -- flawed, advocated by childish people, rife with self-righteous and Stockholm-syndrome radicals, but steered by more sober diplomats -- because that is, it MUST be, the Main Thing.
I don't know if you meant this by your post, but in many Jewish communities I have been in contact with, it is considered "self-hatred" or "antisemetic" to criticize Israel's behavior in the land struggle with Palestine. If that is in your definition of "coded antisemitism", then I disagree with you heartily.
Risa Denenberg:

"in many Jewish communities I have been in contact with, it is considered "self-hatred" or "antisemetic" to criticize Israel's behavior in the land struggle with Palestine."

If that were the case, the entire country of Israel would have to be considered "anti-Semitic" since everyone is criticizing the policy all the time.

Criticism is not anti-Semitic. Applying a special standard to Israel that is never applied to any other nation is anti-Semitic.
Dr. Amy writes: "If you believe that the Israelis have no "right" to the land that they fled to when facing death, made productive, were granted by the UN in keeping with a promise made by the British government in 1917, and defended with their lives when attacked, then you must necessarily believe that Americans have no right to land that they currently live on."

You keep wanting to turn the argument back on me, that if I don't believe thus-and such, etc.

Let me put it this way: the person making the positive claim has the burden of defending and explaining the claim. You're the one who asserted that Jews had a right to their own homeland, and that anyone who "denys" that is anti-Semitie.

First, I don't even know what it means to "deny" that right. Does it mean actively to work against it? Does it mean that person would want Israelis driven into the ocean? Or does it simply mean that someone is skeptical that such a right existed?

And what about the right? Did that right always exist? Did it come into existence at a certain point? Is it an inherent right or a right that came about through specific historical circumstances? Is it a right that other ethnic and religious groups have, and if so, under what circumstances?

Again, you are the one who made the positive claim, and it's up to you to explain what you mean by it. It's up to you to say whether the same principle that established a right to a Jewish homeland also applies to Native Americans and Iraqi Christians and other similar groups. It's not up to me to explain it, because I'm not the one making the claim.
mishima666:

"You keep wanting to turn the argument back on me, that if I don't believe thus-and such, etc."

Yes, because I am trying to make the point that you are inconsistent. You are applying a special standard to Israel that you do not apply to any other country.
i think that your conflation of statements that are critical of israel and statements that are anti-semitic is extremely dangerous and unproductive either for israel or for jews. israel doesn't equal jews. there are many jews like me who do not support what israel does and who think that a theocratic jewish state is anti-democratic. it's obscene that i've seen blog posts calling a protest against the gaza offensive described as an "anti-semitic mob rally." but this conflation doesn't just happen out there in the world, it happens between individuals when (for example) my mother calls me a "traitor to our people" when i criticize israel. who does this conflation benefit? what cause does it advance?

in comments you clarify that you don't mean that every uttering of "neocon" is coded anti-semitism, but if you don't mean that, then why include it in your list of definitive anti-semitic code words? in addition, you fundamentally misunderstand what anti-zionism is. it is at its heart a word that is separate from anti-semitism - the only reason the word exists is to draw a distinction between jews and support for israel.

to summarize, here are several reasons why your conflation is a problem:

- it's factually incorrect. i'm an anti-zionist jew. do i hate myself, my family, and all jews worldwide? no.
- it trivializes very serious and real moments of anti-semitism. calling a protest against the highly controversial gaza offensive anti-semitic cheapens the anti-semitism inherent in an attack on a synagogue by neo-nazis in eastern germany.
- by literally equating israel with the jews of the world you both give credence to the idea that jews of the world should get positive marks when israel does something laudable, but also that they are somehow tied in when israel does something reprehensible (like conduct a 40 year long occupation). so whenever someone says "oh, since jews = israel, i hate what israel does so i hate jews" (a truly antisemitic statement in my opinion) you'd be fine with it since you think that zionism = judaism. if you can't see how dangerous this is then i don't think we have much to talk about.

(btw, i'm on team one-state-solution. i look forward to your blog post about the paranoia among many zionists regarding the "threat" of "arab overpopulation" and the disgusting in-depth discussions of "teeming hordes of rapidly reproducing arabs" that threaten to "overrun" israel and destroy its 'jewish character.'" i've seen level-headed zionists casually suggest that any possible future one-state solution involve one-child limits for palestinians. so tell me again about how inclusive and tolerant israel is and the total non-starter of palestinian right of return. remind me again what's at the root of that fear.)
by the way, here's a helpful article about the conflation of zionism and judaism by presumably another self-hating jew: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/apr/12/anattackonfreespeech
montcalm:

"your conflation of statements that are critical of israel and statements that are anti-semitic is extremely dangerous and unproductive"

I have been quite explicit in stating that criticism of Israel is not in itself anti-Semitic. However, much of what is supposedly criticism of Israel is really anti-Semitism.

For example, I challenge you to enunciate the principles that you believe justify criticism of Israel, and show how you and others apply those criticisms to other countries.

I'm willing to bet that you cannot identify any principle used to criticize Israel that has ever been used to criticize anyone else.
No, Jonathan, I was not wrong, and your math is silly. I didn't say we just bombed with absolutely no regard to who got hit, or that we didn't have targets but we massacred lots civilians we didn't need to. IDF spkesman claims 700 dead altogether, of whom 350 militants. You do the math.

Hear about Dr. Abu al-Ayash? Taking out a house where there are known to be children because someone thought they may have seen a shadow that might be a spotter for snipers - that's not taking care not to hit civilians. That's just one example among dozens. But perhaps you identify more with that horrible woman who interrupted his press conference after the slaughter of his family?

If at least there was some benefit from this exercise, but as you can see daily, there isn't (Boom!).

Oh, and a word of advice - you need to chill with the "chirping" nonsense. I'm glad you're so excited about having discovered OS (welcome, btw), but not all of us have the luxury of carrying on our arguments here at all times, so someone not having responded for a few hours does not necessarily mean (chuckle) that said someone is afraid of your powers of logic or something.
amy, how is it that you put anti-zionism as the very first code word and yet now you claim that you don't conflate the two? this doesn't compute.

my criticisms of israel are pretty standard and all stem from the 40 year long illegal occupation and denial of statehood to palestinians (i oppose all illegal occupations including the occupation of iraq by the US). i include in here all attendant shameful acts such as multiple-day-long curfews, roadblocks, the separation wall, separate roads for israelis that are not available for use by palestinians, the enclosure of gaza, the blockade of gaza, and the settlements.

my support for a one-state non-theocratic and fully democratic state (meaning that it doesn't have an "ethnic character") stems from the likely failure of a two-state (read: apartheid) model and the belief that a truly democratic state where jews and palestinians can live side by side with an equal stake in their country (without one side being clear on whose country it "really" is, as many israeli muslims feel today) is the best hope for that part of the world. since israel claims to speak for us jews, i feel like i should be pretty clear that the kinds of things that i would like it to do on my behalf is to not have a state that actively works to keep one ethnicity in the majority while undermining other ethnicities who live there (shutting down the palestinian party in knesset? i say wtf to that). you're certainly free to advocate for the "jewish character" of israel and we will have to agree to disagree on that. i'm an american and if maintaining the white character of the US and constant worry about the "rapidly ballooning" minority populations was considered within the realm of acceptable political discussion, i'd be disgusted too. thankfully that kind of thing is pretty limited to fringe right-wing anti-immigrant publications.

i'm not particularly interested in getting into a fight with you about whether i oppose other occupations around the world (i do) or whether i think that dominant-ethnicity-preserving states around the world are fucked up (i think they are - france and many other european countries are some of the worst offenders in this regard). i admit that i have quite a radical perspective on ethnicity and ethnic dominance in states - i look forward to the no-race-is-a-majority american future and we will probably have to agree to disagree about this one because i have a feeling that you're into nations working hard to make sure that the majority ethnicity stays in control. my point was about conflating zionism with judaism and i believe i have made myself clear. thanks for the discussion.
Dr. Amy writes: "Yes, because I am trying to make the point that you are inconsistent. You are applying a special standard to Israel that you do not apply to any other country."

Ok, ok, let's just say that I'm inconsistent and have done with it.

Now -- having settled that -- could you please explain in what sense the Jews had a right to a homeland, addressing in particular the following:

Did that right always exist? Did it come into existence at a certain point? Is it an inherent right or a right that came about through specific historical circumstances? Is it a right that other ethnic and religious groups have, and if so, under what circumstances?

If you are unable to unwilling to answer the questions, that's fine. Just let me know and I won't bother you with them any more.

But if you don't answer -- then I don't understand how someone could be anti-Semitic for denying that right if you are unable or unwilling to explain what exactly that right is.
RickyB:
Your argument is easily and decisively trashed so you call simple math (percentages!) "silly". Ohkaaaaaaay.
We might just have a new companion to Godwin's Law...
You described the problem perfectly. It's espceially frightening right now. Historically, when financial hardships arose, as you well know, the Jews have been blamed. I guess we confront the slur when we experience it and learn, to never apologize for who we are and what we believe in. When we refuse to join in a conspiracy of silence we, at least, keep the problem out in the open and, hopefully, prevent the horror that was the Holocaust from raising it's head once again.
"The Germans hated the Jews and killed them whenever they could, and the Arabs hate the Jews and kill them whenever they can. The lesson is that we no longer go willingly to the slaughter. I suspect that Hamas got that message loud and clear."

When the Israelis kill 100 Palestinians for every Israeli killed, it appears the Israelis have become the slaughterers.
just to clarify, i guess i am what you might call a civic nationalist as opposed to an ethnic nationalist and i think that ethnic nationalism can be very harmful in lots of contexts (besides the most obvious and horrifying example of nazi germany). for example, in turkey, kurdish culture (even language) has long been suppressed due to the feeeling that everyone in turkey should participate in an abstract turkish identity. turkey is an incredibly diverse and multicultural country with a lot of equality and freedom for minorities, but the official policy towards the kurds shows the limitations of ethnic nationalism.

other examples abound: france's insistence on french words for everything (including no usage of the english word "e-mail" allowed) and other discriminatory practices, automatic citizenship for people born in other countries who have irish descent in ireland (even though ireland is also a very multicultural country and is much more attentive to the needs of minorities within its borders than america is - and that despite having a much smaller percentage of minorities compared to the US), the vicious discrimination that citizens of the former soviet republics currently experience in russia (including roving gangs who regularly kill laborers from the southern republics in moscow) and the former soviet policy of sending russians to colonize the republics and banning of local languages, and the list goes on and on.

the point is, while there can be many great countries that preserve ethnic dominance, in my opinion, there's something fundamentally unjust about this setup.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_nationalism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civic_nationalism
"I suspect that Hamas got that message loud and clear."

So what message, exactly, was sent? That Israel killed a lot of Palestinians so the Palestinians should stop killing Israelis? Has that EVER worked in human history? Usually it just adds to the cycle of bloodshed.
http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/world/2009/02/16/D96CSC000_ml_israel_palestinians/index.html

"Feb 16th, 2009 | EFRAT, West Bank -- Plans to expand a West Bank settlement by up to 2,500 homes drew Palestinian condemnation Monday and presented an early test for President Barack Obama, whose Mideast envoy is well known for opposing such construction.

Israel opened the way for possible expansion of the Efrat settlement by taking control of a nearby West Bank hill of 423 acres. The rocky plot was recently designated state land and is part of a master plan that envisions the settlement growing from 9,000 to 30,000 residents, Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi said."

I'm an American, and it bothers that every year we give the government of Israel a multi-billion dollar blank check to do with whatever they want, and they allow and/or encourage these illegal settlements.
I'd say a bigot living safely in America who rants constantly about Palestinas as an evil "They", a problem to be slaughtered untill it is no longer a problem, hasn't got any problems at all related to being Jewish.

I'd say all of her problems stem exclusively from being a racist peice of shit.
First, rated, great post and great discussion. For the most part, I agree with many of your observations. That said, I think you get a bit sweepingly broad with this statement:

"I'm willing to bet that you cannot identify any principle used to criticize Israel that has ever been used to criticize anyone else."

But there are so many examples. I criticize Israel's injudicious use of force with regards to the recent Gaza offensive. I think that it is more harmful to a potential resolution than helpful and helps perpetuate a violent cycle rather than helping mitigate it. Similarly, I criticize the U.S. for many of it's unilateral, military-based responses to terrorism - especially its injudicious use of force in Iraq and its often clumsy use of force in Afghanistan. I think that it helps perpetuate a cycle of violence rather than mitigate it.

Now, those are just my opinions. You can differ with them, and likely do, which is fine. You write well about your views and I respect that. But my criticisms are consistent, and I'm not "singling out" Israel (and thus, do not reasonably conclude that there's anything anti-Semitic about my views).
montcalm:

"my criticisms of israel are pretty standard"

I see that. However, you didn't answer my question. To what other countries have your standards been applied. As far as I can tell, no one has applied them to ANY other countries, and that's what makes it anti-Semitism. Special standards for Jews are de facto anti-Semitism regardless of who insists on those special standards. There's no reason why a Jew can't be an anti-Semite.
mishima666:

"Ok, ok, let's just say that I'm inconsistent and have done with it."

And that's de facto anti-Semitism. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, special standards for Jews is anti-Semitism.
Ruth G:

"When we refuse to join in a conspiracy of silence we, at least, keep the problem out in the open and, hopefully, prevent the horror that was the Holocaust from raising it's head once again."

I fervently hope so.
LogIn:

"When the Israelis kill 100 Palestinians for every Israeli killed, it appears the Israelis have become the slaughterers."

Really? Is that how self-defense works?

Please tell me the ratios for conflicts that you feel are justified. Let me guess. You have absolutely no idea what the ratios are for any other conflict, right? This is just a convenient excuse to criticize the Jews.
LoginID:

"Has that EVER worked in human history?"

As a matter of fact, it has worked quite often. Let's see it ended slavery, genocide, Fascism and Nazism. You can't possibly think that those institutions could have been ended any other way.
Marc Abian:

"I'd say all of her problems stem exclusively from being a racist peice of shit."

Well of course you would. You're an anti-Semite. Thanks for proving my point.
Sammis:

"I criticize Israel's injudicious use of force with regards to the recent Gaza offensive. "

As I have tried to emphasize, specific criticisms of specific actions are not anti-Semitism. It is one thing to say that the Israelis should have used less force; it is another altogether to claim that Israelis should have used no force.
"Really? Is that how self-defense works?"

Yup. For a legal defense of self defense to be found valid, it MUST withstand the test of proportionate response. If your neighbor is firing a BB gun at you from his window, it is not considered reasonable to storm his house and shoot everyone in sight including the kids, grandma and dog - especially when it turns out you didn't even stop the shooting by doing so.

You (the part of my people who think like you) are still reacting like a frightened little boy, even after having grown to quite a strapping lad. It's pathetic.

No, 100:1 is NOT self defense. It's the hysterical lashing out of an insecure behemoth.

As for your comment about the left here being marginalized - yeah, we're back to about where we were 20 years ago. Since then many of our fundamental positions, back then considered anathema to most, have been accepted as mainstream (like, um, a two-state solution). So I'm not worried about that.
"It is one thing to say that the Israelis should have used less force; it is another altogether to claim that Israelis should have used no force."

Which indeed very, very few people have done. There was massive support for the first couple of days of bombing, because Hamas deserved it. They were being stupid and needed to be slapped. When a punk needs to be slapped, you slap him. You don't over react. And you don't go in with ground forces without being willing to actually do something with them besides kill, demolish and create excuses for killing and demolishing because you have to protect the ground forces you - and you alone - decided to employ. The ground incursion got Israel zero. Before that even Egypt and Jordan were on board.

When you willfully create conditions in which civilians will get hurt, the onus is on you to prove it was absolutely necessary to accomplish a strategic objective and end the fighting. Otherwise you are in an actionable position regarding war crimes. That's how international law works, and Israel is not exempt.
Ricky B:

"it MUST withstand the test of proportionate response."

You need to read a bit about just war and proportionate response. Proportionate response does NOT mean that the casualties much be proportional on both sides. It means that the casualties must be proportionate to the threat. If it takes a lot of casualties to neutralize the threat, than the high casualty rate is morally justified.

Professor Michael Walzer, consider the dean of just war theory, has written extensively on this topic. Furthermore, Walzer, in an recent article entitled On Proportionality in the New Republic, explains:

"Let's talk about proportionality--or, more important, about its negative form. "Disproportionate" is the favorite critical term in current discussions of the morality of war. But most of the people who use it don't know what it means in international law or in just war theory…"

Walzer is emphatic that just war does not mean that the body count must be even, or that an uneven body count demonstrates that a response is disproportionate:

"Proportionality doesn't mean "tit for tat," as in the family feud. The Hatfields kill three McCoys, so the McCoys must kill three Hatfields. More than three, and they are breaking the rules of the feud, where proportionality means symmetry. The use of the term is different with regard to war, because war isn't an act of retribution; it isn't a backward-looking activity, and the law of even-Steven doesn't apply."

Proportionate response is a philosophic term:

"Like it or not, war is always purposive in character; it has a goal, an end-in-view. The end is often misconceived, but not always: to defeat the Nazis, to stop the dominos from falling, to rescue Kuwait, to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Proportionality implies a measure, and the measure here is the value of the end-in-view. How many civilian deaths are "not disproportionate to" the value of defeating the Nazis? …

In other words, proportional response can only be evaluated in reference to goal of the conflict. We could not determine in advance of WWII how many German or Japanese deaths would constitute a proportional response to Nazi Germany or Hirohito’s Japan, because we had no idea of how many deaths they would tolerate before they would cease fighting. The proportionate response to Nazi Germany or Hirohito’s Japan was the minimum number required to end the conflict.

Walzer asserts that critics of Israel have ignored the real definition of proportionate response, and simply substituted their own person definition, tailored to the outcome they desire:

"Because proportionality arguments are forward-looking, and because we don't have positive, but only speculative, knowledge about the future, we need to be very cautious in using this justification. The commentators and critics using it today, however, are not being cautious at all; they are not making any kind of measured judgment, not even a speculative kind. "Disproportionate" violence for them is simply violence they don't like, or it is violence committed by people they don't like.

So Israel's Gaza war was called "disproportionate" on day one, before anyone knew very much about how many people had been killed or who they were."

What would an honest philosophical assessment of proportional response in Gaza look like?

"…The standard proportionality argument, looking ahead as these arguments rightly do, would come from the other side. Before the six months of cease-fire (when the fire never ceased), Hamas had only primitive and home-made rockets that could hit nearby small towns in Israel. By the end of the six months, they had far more advanced rockets, no longer home-made, that can hit cities 30 or 40 kilometers away. Another six months of the same kind of cease-fire, which is what many nations at the UN demanded, and Hamas would have rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv. And this is an organization explicitly committed to the destruction of Israel. How many civilian casualties are "not disproportionate to" the value of avoiding the rocketing of Tel Aviv? How many civilian casualties would America's leaders think were "not disproportionate to" the value of avoiding the rocketing of New York?"

That does not mean that any response, regardless of magnitude, is justified. How do we determine whether a response is, indeed, proportional? Answering the question requires assessing three factors:

"First, before the war begins: Are there other ways of achieving the end-in-view? … What is the right way to stop the rocket attacks? How do you guarantee that Hamas won't acquire more and more advanced rocketry?

Second, once the fighting begins, who is responsible for putting civilians in the line of fire? It is worth recalling that in the Lebanon war of 2006, Kofi Annan … criticized Hezbollah--not just for firing rockets at civilians, but also for firing them from heavily populated civilian areas, so that any response would inevitably kill or injure civilians… Hamas, but Hamas clearly has a similar policy.

The third question: Is the attacking army acting in concrete ways to minimize the risks they impose on civilians? Are they taking risks themselves for that purpose? Armies choose tactics that are more or less protective of the civilian population, and we judge them by their choices. "

So, RickyB, you have entirely misunderstood and misapplied the definition of "proportionate response." Care to try again using the real definition?
RickyB:
"When you willfully create conditions in which civilians will get hurt, the onus is on you to prove it was absolutely necessary to accomplish a strategic objective and end the fighting. Otherwise you are in an actionable position regarding war crimes. That's how international law works, and Israel is not exempt."

And neither is Hamas. They created those conditions (by making war within a civilian population). And yes, they should be prosecuted - or shot on sight.

Anyhow, besides the relatively high proportion of combatans killed during the operation, the rocket attacks continue even after Operation Cast Lead (something which RickyB delights in pointing out). Therefore, by RickyB's own logic, Operation Cast Lead was stopped too early.
I wrote: "Ok, ok, let's just say that I'm inconsistent and have done with it."

Dr. Amy writes: "And that's de facto anti-Semitism. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, special standards for Jews is anti-Semitism."

No, it's called an attempt at saying something -- anything -- to get you to move on and answer the brief questions that I've asked not once, but twice, questions written in clear English sentences.

You write stuff like this post, making sweeping pronouncements on who is and is not anti-Semitic, with you as judge, jury, and executioner. And then when someone asks you to clarify your position, you refuse. Yeah, real high-class. Nice talking to you.
Doc Amy,
you wrote: "I have NEVER seen anyone able to come up with even one other country to which they apply that principle."

When we got into it over the travesties occurring in Gaza, you insisted that I held Israel to a higher standard. This is not true. In your zeal, you mistake a high standard for a "higher standard." My arguing that every country abide by the Geneva Conventions and that every country participate in the World Criminal Court in the Hague is not holding any country to a higher standard than any other. Of course, there are some countries that refuse to participate: most notable the U.S., China and yes, Israel. Those three (and the others that refuse to participate) do not deserve this special exceptionalism.

Other than that (which has more to do with your misinterpretation of points I made earlier than your actual point with this post) I agree with what you have laid out here. I also found Booknut's post somewhat Antisemitic last night (and commented as such).

The Antisemites say "Zionism is racism"
The non-bigots (myself included) say that Avigdor Lieberman is a racist.
Jonathan InTelAviv:

"Therefore, by RickyB's own logic, Operation Cast Lead was stopped too early. "

Yes, by his logic, it was!
mishima666:

"You write stuff like this post, making sweeping pronouncements on who is and is not anti-Semitic, with you as judge, jury, and executioner."

My claim is that people who hold Israel to a different standard than all other countries are displaying anti-Semitism. Do you disagree with that? If so, how can you justify holding one group of people to a special standard?
Edgar Alverson:

"My arguing that every country abide by the Geneva Conventions and that every country participate in the World Criminal Court in the Hague is not holding any country to a higher standard"

The problem is that no one "holds" any other country to those standards. Where are the rallies and protests about China and its policy of torturing its own people? Where are the rallies proclaiming that China has no right to exist? Where are the rallies declaring that China is a racist country because it is almost exclusively Chinese? There are none.
mishima666:

"Is it an inherent right or a right that came about through specific historical circumstances?"

Both. It's what intelligent, honest people recognize as "self-evident," due to many historical circumstances. Note that the right was recognized in the UN's Partition Plan.

The reason some people recoil at arguing this point is that it is only raised in connection with Israel. Nobody asks what "right" the Czechs have to Czechoslovakia, or what "right" the Turks have to Turkey, or what "right" the Spanish have to Spain. If you ask these questions, people will look at you funny, and they're right. In the loaded atmosphere of today's world, and knowing what we do about history, the reaction you got from Amy was justified.
Doc Amy:
You wrote:
"The problem is that no one "holds" any other country to those standards. Where are the rallies and protests about China and its policy of torturing its own people? Where are the rallies proclaiming that China has no right to exist? Where are the rallies declaring that China is a racist country because it is almost exclusively Chinese? There are none."

That was an asinine response. I went to protests in Atlanta against the Israeli invasion of Gaza just like I went to protests in Atlanta when Russia occupied Georgia this summer. I submitted an editorial to my local paper this summer about the Chinese crackdown on protests at the Olympic games.

Only the activists hold these countries to universal standards. Calling the U.S. or China or Israel to task when they opt out of international treaties accepted by almost all other nations is by no stretch of the imagination Antisemitic.

When you blame non-bigoted Gaza activists (like myself, or say, RickeyB--who has made some great points here on this thread) for the smaller crowds at protests against the Chinese government, it's like blaming Booknut's "Holocaust industry" that built the U.S. Holocaust museum for the lack of a Slavery or Armenian genocide museum on the U.S. national mall.
Edgar Alverson:

"That was an asinine response."

No one questions the legitimacy of the US or China, do they? Yet their violations of human rights are arguably much greater. Why the difference.

You gave another excellent example of special standards for Israel. You said:

"Avigdor Lieberman is a racist."

That seems to you to be an incredibly important point. However, you completely ignore the fact that EVERY politician in EVERY Arab country is an avowed anti-Semite. Obviously a far right politician in Israel in on the far right. Yet mainstream politicians in Arab countries are ALL anti-Semites and you don't even think it is worth mentioning at the same time that you criticize Leiberman. Why the special standard for Israel?
Jonathan, first, thanks for the response. I believe this is our first OS "interaction." I look forward to your first OS post.

Jonathan writes: "Nobody asks what "right" the Czechs have to Czechoslovakia, or what "right" the Turks have to Turkey, or what "right" the Spanish have to Spain."

I think nobody asks that because the answers are obvious. It seems to me that the situation with Israel is very different. First, there hadn't been a Jewish governance of Israel since -- when? 400 bce, or something like that? Most of the population figures I've seen indicate that in 1948 Jews were somewhat a minority in Palestine (though with substantial immigration the previous decades). The great majority of Jews lived outside of Palestine in 1948, and for most of them their families had not lived there for hundreds of years.

It's also unusual to have a nation created specifically for members of a particular religion. (Though apparently not all Jews are automatically welcome -- in particular converts from Reform, Conservative, Jewish Renewal, etc., rabbis, and Jews who convert to other religions.)

So it seems to me that Spain, etc., are not appropriate analogues to Israel. It's not a matter of "holding Israel to different standards than all other countries" but simply noting that Israel is very different from other countries.

Please note that I'm NOT saying that the creation of Israel was a bad thing. In fact I think it was a good thing, though perhaps there were a lot of actions on both sides that were unfortunate.

But to say that the creation of the state of Israel was a good thing does not entail that Jews had an innate "right" to that state. At this point I have not heard a compelling argument for that. There may be such an argument, but I haven't heard it. In the absence of such an argument I cannot affirm that Jews had a "right to their own homeland." But I don't believe that that makes me anti-Semitic. Or if I am anti-Semitic that will come as a surprise to my Jewish friends. My best guess is that I'm not anti-Semitic, and that Dr. Amy's view of antisemitism is incorrect.
If you're correct about the term "neocon", it is in the position of being both a code word denoting anti-Semitism, and an excuse to call anyone who uses the term, even correctly and without bias, an anti-Semite. Meanwhile, destructive policies can't be debated and judged on their (lack of) merits, and the world goes to hell. This one's bad for all of us, regardless of religion.

But I have to hijack your thread to tell my favorite alleged anti-Semitism story. David Icke, for anyone who doesn't know, was once a moderately well-respected broadcaster in Britain, and is now a very vocal insane person who believes in a panoply of bizarre conspiracy theories. Several years ago he was rambling on about "reptoids", some sort of reptilian-human hybrids who secretly run the world through the banks and the media, interbreed with real humans, drink infants' blood etc. The ADL noticed that all of this sounded very familiar, and immediately called him out for using anti-Semitic code words. But sadly, they were wrong. None of this had anything to do with the Jews, and he does, in fact, believe that reptile-like creatures exist and our quietly deciding our destiny. The only time ever that the ADL (or anbody) calling someone anti-Semetic actually gave that person the benefit of the doubt. Apparently unjustly.
The end.
Hi mishima, nice to "meet" you too. Let me try to address the points you raised.

"there hadn't been a Jewish governance of Israel since -- when?"

A long time. But there were always thousands of jews living in the area. And no other local group governed the area since the end of jewish governance, it was always governed by empires.

"Most of the population figures I've seen indicate that in 1948 Jews were somewhat a minority in Palestine (though with substantial immigration the previous decades)."

True, which is why we were given (in the UN Partition Plan) a small part of the land held by the British under mandate of the League of Nations.

"It's also unusual to have a nation created specifically for members of a particular religion."

Actually, that's not true. There are dozens of countries with an official state religion. And Israel officially recognizes other religions besides Judaism. So,

"It's not a matter of "holding Israel to different standards than all other countries" but simply noting that Israel is very different from other countries."

is wrong.

But I understand that Americans, who grow up in a secular state, aren't familiar with this type of thing which is so prevalent in the world.

"At this point I have not heard a compelling argument for that [Jews had an innate "right" to that state.]"

What would be a compelling argument in your eyes?
"True, which is why we were given (in the UN Partition Plan) a small part of the land held by the British under mandate of the League of Nations."

We were 1/3 the population and got 55% of the land, which cannot really be described as "a small part", being the majority of the territory and all.

Also, there are countries with a state religion, but I can't think offhand of another one where conversion to that religion is a path to naturalization.

Mishima - the compelling argument is called the holocaust, and we frankly don't care if you accept our basic right to a homeland. WE do. And we'll fight for it. Dispute my basic right to A homeland, and you'll find me fighting you alongside Jonathan here. However, the Palestinians deserve one every bit as much. That is the crux of the matter here.
RickyB:

"True, which is why we were given (in the UN Partition Plan) a small part of the land held by the British under mandate of the League of Nations."

We were 1/3 the population and got 55% of the land, which cannot really be described as "a small part", being the majority of the territory and all.
--------------------------------------------

Wrong. The British lopped off about 4/5 of the land and that's how Jordan came to be. Is this news to you?
RickyB:

Oops, forgot about you and "mathy" things. So:

Mandatory Palestine was originally 118,000 square kilometers.

Israel was designated to be 19,750 square kilometers.

In percentages (that's where we divide one number by another and multiply by 100), Israel got 16.6%.

Lesson over.
Yeah, because we really have historical claim to anywhere beyond the Jordan...

At the time of the partition transjordan had not been a part of the equation for almost 30 years. It is disingenuous in the extreme to include transjordan in any calculations. The British also gave Iraq to Hussein's clan. Why not complain about that?

Why don't you measure by the borders of sky daddy's promise to Abraham? It'll come out to an even smaller percentage.
RickyB:

"At the time of the partition transjordan had not been a part of the equation for almost 30 years."

You're hopelessly confused about basic facts. 30 years before the partition (1947) was the Balfour Declaration (1917), and no, Trans-Jordan was very much a part of the mandatory area. Also, areas west of the jordan are mentioned explicitly in the bible as Israelite territory.
Do some reading, huh?

I'm not saying all this because I think Israel has any realistic claims to Jordan, I'm saying it because the claim that a minority of jews got a majority of the land is bogus. Arabs could, and did, move all over the region, mostly *into* what later became Israel. The British did nothing to stop that, even though they harshly restricted jewish immigration, even during the Holocaust. And when the Partition Plan was approved, there were hundreds of thousands of jews in displaced persons camps in Europe with nowhere to go. Most ended up in Israel, and those numbers need to be considered also.
"Also, areas west of the jordan are mentioned explicitly in the bible as Israelite territory."

Oops, that should read "areas east of the Jordan River"
You need to read. That's why it says almost.

If you have no claim to east of the Jordan, why are you counting it? Don't.

The land actually being disputed in 1947 - we were 1/3 of the population (and at no point in time since the advent of Zionism, or of course before for centurie, were we recorded as more than that in the area under discussion). We got 55% of the area under dispute. Those are the facts. The rest is sophistry of a low order.
"Also, areas west of the jordan are mentioned explicitly in the bible as Israelite territory."

Again, if you go by the bible, it's from the Euphrates to the Nile in one citation. Invading Syria any time soon? Don't hand me the bible as argument about current day borders.
mishima666:

"though apparently not all Jews are automatically welcome -- in particular converts from Reform, Conservative, Jewish Renewal, etc., rabbis, and Jews who convert to other religions."

No, that is entirely false, and it indicates that you are opposing Israel for reasons that don't exist.

ALL Jews are automatically welcome, including people that have never considered themselves Jewish but are descended from Jews (e.g. people fleeing the old Soviet Union).

Ultra-orthodox rabbis will not recognize conversions that are done by non-orthodox rabbis. Unfortunately, because of the parliamentary system, religious parties wield outsize power as coalition makers. That has allowed them to run religious matters in Israel. It isn't very different than fundamentalist religious leaders holding outsize power in the US, even though we have a secular government.

It may surprise you to learn that many Israelis are not religious. They strongly resent the influence of the fundamentalist rabbis and are actively working against it.

"It's also unusual to have a nation created specifically for members of a particular religion."

That is flat out false, and flies in the face of almost all recorded history. Most Christian nations were created expressively for Christians. Indeed, many enforced particular subdivisions, some countries were and are explicitly Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Sunni or Shia.

The ONLY thing different about Israel, in this regard, is that it is Jewish.

Can't you see what I mean about a double standard?
Liz Larocca:

"Several years ago he was rambling on about "reptoids", some sort of reptilian-human hybrids who secretly run the world through the banks and the media, interbreed with real humans, drink infants' blood etc."

Great story; I hadn't hear that before.
""though apparently not all Jews are automatically welcome -- in particular converts from Reform, Conservative, Jewish Renewal, etc., rabbis, and Jews who convert to other religions."

No, that is entirely false, and it indicates that you are opposing Israel for reasons that don't exist."

No, you are misinformed, Amy. Neither reform nor conservative conversions are accepted for purposes of naturalization. Not only that, there is currently a huge brouhaha going on with one ultra-orthodox branch trying to outlaw the conversions of the other.
"It isn't very different than fundamentalist religious leaders holding outsize power in the US, even though we have a secular government."

When religion impacts ones civilian status one bit in the US, you let me know. Yes, religious fundamentalists wield too much influence and political power by proxy, but nothing like what we have. I can't marry in Israel unless by religious ceremony.
""It's also unusual to have a nation created specifically for members of a particular religion."

That is flat out false, and flies in the face of almost all recorded history. Most Christian nations were created expressively for Christians. Indeed, many enforced particular subdivisions, some countries were and are explicitly Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Sunni or Shia."

Back in the day, sure. That would be like justifying a country that has feudalism because it was once prevalent.
Actually, you're both half right. The conversions are accepted if done outside Israel, but not if done in Israel.
RickyB:

"I can't marry in Israel unless by religious ceremony."

But you can marry in Cyprus or anywhere else, like many Israelis do, and it will be recognized just as if you were married in Israel.

Moreover, that is no different than any country that has an official religion.

"Back in the day, sure."

No, TODAY, in 2009.

According to Wikipedia:

"Currently, the following religions are recognized as state religions in some countries: some form of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.

Christian countries

The following states recognize some form of Christianity as their state or official religion (by denomination):

Roman Catholic

Jurisdictions which recognize Roman Catholicism as their state or official religion:

* Argentina
* Costa Rica
* Liechtenstein
* Malta
* Monaco
* Some cantons of Switzerland

Eastern Orthodox

Jurisdictions which recognize one of the Eastern Orthodox Churches as their state religion:

* Greece (Church of Greece)
* Finland: Finnish Orthodox Church has a special relationship with the Finnish state theology...

Lutheran

Jurisdictions which recognize a Lutheran church as their state religion:

* Denmark (Church of Denmark)
* Iceland (Church of Iceland)
* Norway (Church of Norway)
* Finland: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has a special relationship with the Finnish state ...

Anglican

Jurisdictions that recognise an Anglican church as their state religion:

* England (Church of England)

Reformed

Jurisdictions which recognize a Reformed church as their state religion:

* Some cantons of Switzerland (Swiss Reformed Church):

* Scotland – the Church of Scotland is the national church ...

Islamic countries

Countries which recognize Islam as their official religion. Although the separation of church and state is a concept that originated in a western context, there is the notion of toleration for people of the book in Islam.

* Afghanistan (Islamic state)
* Algeria
* Bahrain
* Bangladesh
* Brunei
* Comoros
* Egypt
* Indonesia (recognizes Islam as one of the six recognized religions, along with Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism). Indonesia uses Islamic jurisprudence in private law.
* Iran (Islamic state)
* Iraq
* Jordan
* Kuwait
* Libya
* Malaysia
* Maldives
* Mauritania
* Morocco
* Oman
* Pakistan (Islamic state)
* Qatar
* Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
* Saudi Arabia (Islamic kingdom)
* Somalia
* Somaliland
* Tunisia
* United Arab Emirates
* Yemen (Islamic state)

Sunni Islam

* Algeria
* Comoros
* Malaysia
* Maldives
* Mauritania
* Pakistan (as national-sanctioned religion)
* Saudi Arabia (as state-sanctioned religion)
* Somalia
* Jordan

Shi'a Islam

* Iran (as state-sanctioned religion)

Buddhism as state religion

Governments which recognize Buddhism, either a specific form of, or the whole, as their official religion:

* Bhutan
* Cambodia
* Kalmykia, a republic within the Russian Federation
* Sri Lanka
* Thailand
* Tibet Government in Exile"

So there are 57 countries that have official religions, including 37 countries in which Islam is the official religion. Yet people choose to criticize only one, Israel. Why is that?
RickyB:

"Back in the day, sure. That would be like justifying a country that has feudalism because it was once prevalent"

Israel was established 60 years ago. Even today there are dozens of countries with official religions. And in the past few years several Moslem countries have adopted sharia as the law of the land.

Again, reading should come before writing Ricky.
My bad. I have always heard that quote attributed to Holmes, and a search turned up several citations to him. Since he and Brandeis were contemporaries, I suppose it's understandable.
Jonathan writes: "There are dozens of countries with an official state religion. And Israel officially recognizes other religions besides Judaism."

Yes, that's correct. What I meant is that in modern times it is unusual to have a new nation created primarily for people of a particular religion.

I wrote: "At this point I have not heard a compelling argument for that [Jews had an innate "right" to that state.]"

Jonathan responds: "What would be a compelling argument in your eyes?"

I think what I have always looked for is for someone to articulate a set of general principles or criteria for determining who has a right to a homeland. It would be a set of principles that doesn't reference any particular situation or people, but could potentially be applied to any situation or people.

So we would take our hypothetical set of criteria and apply it to various peoples, and say for example "the Jews meet 7 out of the 10 criteria so they should get their own homeland, but the Basque people only meet 3 out of the 10 criteria so they don't get their own homeland," or however that would work.

Surely such principles or criteria would be imperfect, but they would at least give us way of talking about the issue, a way of articulating why the Jews get a homeland but Iraqi Christians don't, or whatever, using criteria that were relatively neutral and objective.

The "right to a homeland" is similar to the "right to self-determination." In the case of the latter there is a large body of international law and political theory. So it might be possible to utilize certain principles from that in determining who has a right to a homeland.

But even in the case of the right to self-determination, there are some who disagree that such a right exists. For example, Karl Popper wrote "I am alluding to the so-called Principle of National Self- Determination, a principle that had acquired an almost absolute moral authority in the West (and it has not lost this authority even now) - although just a very little thought should have told us all that this "Principle" is totally inapplicable in Europe, where even islands like Great Britain, Ireland and Cyprus are each populated by several so-called nationalities with political leaders claiming National Self-Determination. . . . I think that all lovers of peace and a civilized life should work to enlighten the world about the impracticability and inhumanity of that famous - or shall I say it notorious? - Principle of National Self-Determination, which now has degenerated into that ultimate horror, ethnic terrorism."

Others have pointed out the difficulties inherent in the concept:

"The principle of national self-determination has no authoritative exegesis. There has been a lack of clarity as to which ‘peoples’ or ‘nations’ are its bearers and supposed beneficiaries. Peoples are simply not arranged conveniently on the map in a way that makes their formation into states possible without disasters. Some of the most deplorable features of twentieth-century history – including the pursuit of irredentist claims, the emergence of dictatorships in post-colonial states, and the cruel treatment of minorities – can in part be attributed to the principle and its defects. Problems relating to the principle were involved, directly or indirectly, in the causation of the overwhelming majority of conflicts in the twentieth century, including two world wars. The principle has always been contested, and not only by the European colonial powers. At best it is only one principle among many, and needs to be balanced against other values and tempered by other considerations."
["National Self-Determination," Adam Roberts -- http://www.tamilnation.org/selfdetermination/03roberts.pdf]

I see the whole issue of self-determination, homelands, rights, etc., as very complicated and problematic. When someone such as Dr. Amy glibly pronounces that Israel has a right to a homeland and anybody who doesn't think that is anti-Semitic, well, to me that's just absurd.
I don't care if you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian, or worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- if you go somewhere and tell the current residents "God gave us this land, we're taking it", that's not a good recipe for a stable nation nowadays. And spare me the UN Resolution this UN Resolution that forming the state of Israel. You quote the UN when it's convenient and ignore it when you don't like what it says, as when it condemns the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Lucky for us in the U.S., God gave us the land back when genocide was socially acceptable, even encouraged, and we wiped out the problem population very handily. No more problems. So... does Israel have the guts to keep up that 100:1 Palestinian to Israeli kill ratio long enough to create Israel's Final Solution to the Palestinian Question?

if not, you will be fighting them until *everyone* dies, or until the demographic time bomb explodes and you find yourself a minority in your own country, a la the apartheid situation in South Africa. Good luck with that.

Anti-semitism exists in the world and it's very sad, but the long term prospects seem to indicate that giving the Jews their own country was the wrong solution.
mishima666:

"Yes, that's correct. What I meant is that in modern times it is unusual to have a new nation created primarily for people of a particular religion."

Actually, it happens a lot in modern times (see Amy's list above). Pakistan announced it is imposing sharia (Islamic religious law) on certain areas of its territory - today!

As for the problematic aspects of self-determination, I agree with you that not every neighborhood needs to be a state, but I don't know where to draw the line.
LoginID:

You're just a moron.
Login ID:

"if you go somewhere and tell the current residents "God gave us this land, we're taking it",

But, of course, that is not what Israelis say. It is what religious fundamentalists say (both Jewish and Christian).

Please address the actual arguments that I laid out, not the caricatured argument that is ever so much easier to address.
"The conversions are accepted if done outside Israel, but not if done in Israel."

You wanna source that? There was a supreme court ruling to that effect. In practice, implementation thereof is blocked. Most people who try to naturalize based on a reform or conservative conversion get turned down. Especially reform.

Amy, having a state religion is not the point, and that's where you get confused. It's the bearing of belonging to a particular religion on citizenship and civil rights. The only countries that do that today, except for Israel, are ones no sane person wants to live in.

In any case, religious law, while odious, is not in itself the biggest problem. That would be - oh yeah, still - the occupation.
RickyB:

"You wanna source that?"

OK, sport. How about:
http://judaism.about.com/od/conversi2/f/conv_ref_israel.htm
BTW, I found it using called Google (keywords israel conversion reform), something which, by your ignorant posts, hasn't been taught in your grade school yet.

"In any case, religious law, while odious, is not in itself the biggest problem. That would be - oh yeah, still - the occupation."

Wise choice there, Ricky. Retreat while you can.
Want me to find you a website says the earth is flat? Again: The dry letter of the law (the legal ruling, rather) says it's ok. In practice, most wishing to make use of this run into massive bureaucratic walls that do not exist for those converted by an orthodox rabbi. The number of such approved each year is negligible. Reform and Conservative Jews are blocked from sitting on municipal religious councils, which are the ones that decide which congregation gets a synagogue or mosque or what have you. Those are the facts, and I retreat from nothing in this instance.

You attempts at aggressive debate are about as impressive as an ant humping the leg of an elephant promising to be gentle.
I'm backing slowly away from this one. Too many fanatics here. Yes, anti-Semitism exists. What bothers me is when it is used as a bludgeon to discourage anyone from criticizing America's blind support of the Israeli government's actions.

All anti-Semites are probably critics of the Israeli government, but not all critics of the Israeli government are anti-Semites. Got it?

As far as I'm concerned, Israel is a sixty-year-long experiment in nation building that may or may not end up being successful. I can understand and appreciate that people living there or supporting it will want to do whatever they can to ensure it survives. However, I'm an American. I want to make sure America survives, and blindly supporting whatever Israel does is not, in my opinion, the best thing for America. Hopefully you can understand and appreciate that too, and not automatically label it "anti-Semitic".
Login ID:

"However, I'm an American. I want to make sure America survives, and blindly supporting whatever Israel does is not, in my opinion, the best thing for America. Hopefully you can understand and appreciate that too, and not automatically label it "anti-Semitic".

I'm also an American, every bit as much as you are.

Supporting Israel has absolutely no negative effect on US survival. There's a reason why Islamic fundamentalists refer to America as the "Great Satan" and Israel as the Little Satan. They hate us because of who we are and what we believe. It has nothing to do with Israel at all.
"Supporting Israel has absolutely no negative effect on US survival."

OK, maybe "survival" is too strong... let's talk American interests. We are known in part by the company we keep, and if the company we keep does unsavory things, that reflects on us. Israel has done some unsavory things. It's not the *only* nation to do unsavory things, of course, but it's the only one we give billions of dollars of no-strings-attached support to every year.

And regarding blind support of other nations, here's a quote for you: “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”

Frankly, if the U.S. government gives billions of dollars to Israel every year, there should be some strings attached. You don't want the conditions? Then don't take the money.
Login ID:

"It's not the *only* nation to do unsavory things, of course, but it's the only one we give billions of dollars of no-strings-attached support to every year."

What are you talking about? Do you know which country is second in the amount of American foreign aid support after Israel? It is Egypt, hardly a paragon of human rights. We give them more that $1 billion a year in military aid alone, and they are not at war with anyone.

We support Egypt for the same reason we support Israel. It is in OUR strategic interest to have allies in that part of the world.

Israel could disappear tomorrow, or it could never have appeared in the first place, and nothing would be any different for the US.
Amy, yes, we have many allies in the world. But one of the main differences is that people aren't accused of being anti-Muslim if they criticized the government of Egypt, but they *are* accused of being anti-Semitic if they criticize the government of Israel. Israel is treated like a sacred cow, and I don't like that.

Would Israel even *exist* if not for the billions of dollars the U.S. gives it every year?
There you go again, Doc Amy, quoting Wikipedia. It almost seems like satire when you do that. You remind me of a local Atlanta radio host who is so off the wall ridiculous in some of his opinions that I have trouble believing that its not all just some satirically cruel joke on his audience.

Of course I agree with what you say most of the time. I agree with most of your original post here. My trouble arises when you confuse holding any country to a high standard with holding Israel to a different higher standard.

Again, (because I've been thinking about it for a day and I know I'm right here): blaming a non-bigoted anti-war protestor like myself for the disparity in size between a Israel-Gaza peace rally and a Russo-Georgian peace rally (and let's remember, I went to both) is like blaming the Jews for the lack of a Slavery Museum on the National Square.

It is possible to hold all governments to a higher standard through protest and activism. Opposing the Israeli government's actions in Gaza alone does not constitute holding Israel to a higher standard. As you said before, you're not dumb. You know this to be true.
One more try. Amy, you want to get your critical message out. That won't happen if you can't find a way for people to listen, believe, understand and agree. Do you think you've been successful here?

I would respectfully say no... people here are talking about the issue--well, many are ranting-- AT each other and you, but not one mind appears to have been changed. Surely that's not helpful to the cause of garnering enlightened, committed support.
LoginID:

"Would Israel even *exist* if not for the billions of dollars the U.S. gives it every year?"

You mean the half-percent of our GDP the US gives us, most of which is used to buy US weapons? Um, yeah.
Login ID:

"But one of the main differences is that people aren't accused of being anti-Muslim if they criticized the government of Egypt"

What are you talking about? The US is constantly being accused by Muslims of being anti-Muslim.
Edgar Alverson:

"There you go again, Doc Amy, quoting Wikipedia."

Sorry, don't try to divert attention from the issue at hand. If you think the quote was inaccurate, point out the inaccuracies.

Several people claimed the Israel is the only country with a state religion. That, of course, was a convenient figment of their imaginations, as is much of the criticism of Israel.
Sally Swift:

"Do you think you've been successful here?"

I know I have.

I have received private e-mails of support from OS members who are afraid to post publicly. The piece is also being discussed in other forums.
' "But one of the main differences is that people aren't accused of being anti-Muslim if they criticized the government of Egypt"

What are you talking about? The US is constantly being accused by Muslims of being anti-Muslim. '

I didn't think I needed to make it clear that I'm talking about politics in AMERICA. There is no Muslim equivalent of the huge and well-connected Israeli lobbying machine in America. When an American (especially an American politician) criticizes the Israeli government, cries of "anti-Semitism" are raised to a much larger extent than any other country.

People in America aren't accused of being anti-Finnish Orthodox Church if they criticize the government of Finland.

People in America aren't accused of being anti-Lutheran if they criticize the government of Denmark.

But people in America are accused of being anti-Semitic if they criticize the government of Israel.


And regarding your long list of "coded words and tropes": You don't get to define for all the rest of us what is and isn't "anti-Semitic". For example, I use the term "neocon" to describe a particular strain of nasty right-wing politician who has distorted the original principles of the old Republican party into a screw-the-poor, fatten-the-rich, appeal-to-prejudices-to-win-elections political party. There's no religious component to it in my mind.

And if I don't happen to think religious homelands are a good idea, regardless of the religion, that doesn't make my anti-Zionism anti-Semitism. It makes me anti-religious-homeland for ANY religion. Get it?

There are plenty of anti-Semites out there, but when you apply the label to reasonable people who happen to have different political and philosophical values from you, you harm your own cause.
Login ID:

"And if I don't happen to think religious homelands are a good idea, regardless of the religion, that doesn't make my anti-Zionism anti-Semitism. It makes me anti-religious-homeland for ANY religion. Get it?"

No. It makes you both uninformed and a hypocrite.
All anti-Semites are probably critics of the Israeli government

+++++++++++

Nope, some of Israel's most loyal Christian fundamentalist supporters are virulent antisemites who would like to see all Jews relocate to Israel so that the rapture can commence.
"No. It makes you both uninformed and a hypocrite. "

Excuse me? I'm trying to have a discussion here and I work to put some thought into what I write, and all you can come up with is a flippant non-sequitur? Care to explain how rejecting religious homelands makes one an uninformed hypocrite?

Judith -- I forgot about those people. They are some pretty noxious hypcrites.
Does anyone know of any other country on earth where a foreign national related to citizen A can get immediate citizenship, but foreign national from the same country and with the exact same credentials, related to citizen B, cannot ever get citizneship?

That is the crux of the matter, and not "state religion". (and btw - I personally can live with it. But to point it out and wonder why is not anti-semitism, hypocrisy or anything of the sort.)
Judith Green:

"Nope, some of Israel's most loyal Christian fundamentalist supporters are virulent antisemites who would like to see all Jews relocate to Israel so that the rapture can commence."

That's absolutely right. I am extremely skeptical of support from fundamentalists.
Login ID:Let's review the reasons that you are critical of Israel and compare them to the truth.

First you said:

"I'm an American, and it bothers that every year we give the government of Israel a multi-billion dollar blank check to do with whatever they want, and they allow and/or encourage these illegal settlements."

But you didn't know that we give other countries multi-million dollar blank checks and when informed, you apparently don't care.

Then you said:

"I want to make sure America survives, and blindly supporting whatever Israel does is not, in my opinion, the best thing for America."

But, of course, support of Israel does not threaten the survival of America.

Then you said:

"Israel has done some unsavory things. It's not the *only* nation to do unsavory things, of course, but it's the only one we give billions of dollars of no-strings-attached support to every year."

That, as we have seen, is flat out false.

Then you said:

"I don't care if you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian, or worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- if you go somewhere and tell the current residents "God gave us this land, we're taking it", that's not a good recipe for a stable nation nowadays."


But you didn't realize that that is just Palestinian propaganda. Sure the far right wing says that, but the far right wing in any country is wacky. The official position of the Israeli government is firmly grounded in international law and precendent.

Then you said:

"people aren't accused of being anti-Muslim if they criticized the government of Egypt, but they *are* accused of being anti-Semitic if they criticize the government of Israel."

But that's not true, either. The US is constantly being accused of being anti-Muslim.

Then you said:

"Would Israel even *exist* if not for the billions of dollars the U.S. gives it every year?"

And JonathaninTelAviv informed you that aid, while deeply appreciated, represents only one half-percent of our GDP the US gives us, most of which is used to buy US weapons

I see a pattern here. Virtually every reason you have given for criticizing Israel is not even true. That makes you ill informed, at a minimum. Yet when you learn that new things (for example, that Israel is not the only nation with a state religion) you declare that you are against all nations with a state religion. That's just hypocrisy. I haven't noticed you suggesting that the Muslim countries have no right to exist.

You have fallen for Palestinian propaganda hook, line and sinker.
RickyB:

"Does anyone know of any other country on earth where a foreign national related to citizen A can get immediate citizenship, but foreign national from the same country and with the exact same credentials, related to citizen B, cannot ever get citizneship?"

Yes, the USA.
Amy, you're obviously a very smart and clever person. And you're a very clever propagandist. You're very good with disingenuous statements. You've ignored my counterpoints to your points, ignored whatever points I've made that you have no answers to, ignored the points I've clarified, repeated what you've said without answering my questions about it, pretended that I said things I didn't say, and on and on.

And then had the nerve to tell me I've fallen for someone *else's* propaganda. That made me smile. You've got chutzpah, that's for sure. :) And the mighty Palestinian propaganda machine... I got a chuckle out of that too. Heh.

I could go back and reiterate all my points, re-ask the questions you avoided, re-point out your inconsistencies, correct your misrepresentations of what I said, et cetera, et cetera, but that would be a waste of my time.

Your arrogant smugness on this topic is just a little bit creepy too.
""Does anyone know of any other country on earth where a foreign national related to citizen A can get immediate citizenship, but foreign national from the same country and with the exact same credentials, related to citizen B, cannot ever get citizneship?"

Yes, the USA. ""

Really now? How so? Who exactl7y gets automatic naturalization in America? And how is it connected, pray tell, to religion?
That's absolutely right. I am extremely skeptical of support from fundamentalists.

++++++++++++

Darned right, I'm absolutely right.

Yet the in-your-face as-not-at-all-coded antisemitism from extreme pro-zionist Christian fundies is given a free pass by AIPAC and the like. From this I conclude that opposing and eradicating antisemitism is rather low on their list of priorities. Indeed it seems that antisemitism is an evil to be seen everywhere and denounced, except when it comes from obvious Jew-haters who back Israel to the hilt.
LoginID:
"People in America aren't accused of being anti-Finnish Orthodox Church if they criticize the government of Finland.
People in America aren't accused of being anti-Lutheran if they criticize the government of Denmark."

Show us *one* example of criticism of those governments.
Not to mention somebody questioning their right to exist.
You know what? I'll save you the trouble, since you don't seem able to do even simple research on the net: you can't.
RickyB:

"Does anyone know of any other country on earth where a foreign national related to citizen A can get immediate citizenship, but foreign national from the same country and with the exact same credentials, related to citizen B, cannot ever get citizneship?

That is the crux of the matter, and not "state religion". (and btw - I personally can live with it. But to point it out and wonder why is not anti-semitism, hypocrisy or anything of the sort.) "

Again, Ricky, you're retreating - wisely - from a point you tried - and failed - to make. And yes, unless you whine on about the many other states with official religions as you did with Israel, you are indeed a hypocrite.

Now, with regard to your new point, in the form of a question, let me ask you, do you know the answer? Or are you just wasting our time again?
Judith Green:

"Yet the in-your-face as-not-at-all-coded antisemitism from extreme pro-zionist Christian fundies is given a free pass by AIPAC and the like. From this I conclude that opposing and eradicating antisemitism is rather low on their list of priorities."

Judith, you're confused about simple things. I suggest you start to learn about the point *you* raised by simply going to AIPAC's web site (www.aipac.org) and reading what their organizational goals are. Then, if you're still confused, we can discuss the point.

"Indeed it seems that antisemitism is an evil to be seen everywhere and denounced, except when it comes from obvious Jew-haters who back Israel to the hilt. "

Here again, the web is your friend. Go to the ADL's Religious Freedom web page (http://www.adl.org/main_Religious_Freedom/default.htm) and see what they have to say about the issue.

Then come back and admit you were wrong on both points.
Judith Green:

"Yet the in-your-face as-not-at-all-coded antisemitism from extreme pro-zionist Christian fundies is given a free pass by AIPAC and the like."

Hardly. I don't know what it's like in Britain, but here in the US Jewish community it is a cause of deep concern. The majority recognize that it is an alliance of convenience for the fundamentalists and that the fundamentalists can and will turn on the Jews at some point.

The Israelis aren't idiots, either. They understand what is going on. Yet with the Left so willing to condone and promote anti-Semitism, the Israelis must accept friendship where they find it. Unless and until the Left gets its own anti-Semitism under control (and Jewish Leftist stop parroting and apologizing for anti-Semitism), the Israelis have no other choice.

Ordinarily, you would not find the American or international Left supporting thugocracies that are racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and profoundly misogynistic, but the Left is so blinded by its hatred of Jews that it is willing to support anyone and anything. Ordinarily, you would not find the American or international Left supporting regimes that torture and kill their own people, steal their food, and set them up to be killed accidentally, murder women for "honor" and treat daughters like possessions to be bought and sold, but I guess all things can be forgiven for those who hate Jews.
People disagree with the Christian fundamentalist agenda can take comfort that all the monies and energies expended for Israel's benefit are that much less available for the agenda in the US.
Wow, Amy, you're really disturbed. Both the Left (that monolithic entity where everyone thinks the same) and the Right (that other monolithic entity where everyone thinks the same) are BLINDED by their hatred of Jews. Is that it? All of them? So that's basically the vast majority of people in America. Wow. If you really believe that, no wonder you're so pissy -- living among so many blindly anti-Semitic haters. How do you make it thru the day?

Now, I'm normally a pretty even-keeled guy, but since you've just insulted me and the majority of people in my country, I don't feel so bad in saying: If we're all such nasty nasty people, so evil, so hateful, why are you here? Why do you stay in America if Americans are such haters? Do you enjoy living in a hostile environment telling people that they're scumbags? Do you really think that's going to do any good? Let me say this in the nicest way possible: fuck off.

God, what an idiot you are. There isn't enough anti-Semitism in the world, you have to give them more ammunition with your idiotic and hateful sweeping generalizations.

You want to see blind hatred? Look in the mirror. And then consult any good philosophy book on the perils of hating the haters.
JonathanInTelAviv.

I have looked at the AIPAC website, and find nothing critical of John Hagee and CUFI, and indeed quite a lot of positive relations with them.

I have looked at the ADL website and find a fairly friendly exchange of letters between Foxton and Hagee. Foxton even writes "We [the ADL] wholeheartedly support your efforts to eradicate anti-Semitism, including its historic antecedents in the Christian community." This represents a total failure of nerve on the part of the ADL in the face of the explicit antisemitism of Hagee and CUFI. In fact, it would seem that the ADL is hampered in its goal of eradication of antisemitism by its desire to make alliances with antisemites in defense of Israel.

Come back and admit you were wrong on both points.
Login ID:

"Both the Left (that monolithic entity where everyone thinks the same) and the Right (that other monolithic entity where everyone thinks the same) are BLINDED by their hatred of Jews."

No. I'm not sure why you keep trying to caricature my claims, except that it is much easier to do so than to address them.

At NO point have I ever claimed that everyone on the Left and Right are anti-Semitic. My claim is that the anti-Semitism of the Left is expressed very differently than the anti-Semitism of the Right. The Right tends to be much cruder; the Left relies on code words and tropes.

Thus far, you have provided NOTHING to show that I am wrong. Virtually every claim you have made is factually false. Since I doubt you made up those claims yourself, you have almost certainly fallen prey to propaganda.
Wow, Amy. Do you not even read what you have written?

"Ordinarily, you would not find the American or international Left supporting thugocracies that are racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and profoundly misogynistic, but the Left is so blinded by its hatred of Jews that it is willing to support anyone and anything."

Not "some people on the left."

Not "a few anti-Semites on the left."

Not "a few bigots among mostly good people."

No, just "the Left." Actually, the American and international Left.

"The Left is so blinded by its hatred of Jews that it is willing to support anyone and anything." Gee, stereotype much? How different is that from "All Jews are cheap"?

Your sweeping generalizations aren't that different from what you profess to abhor. Physician, heal thyself. You could start by telling us exactly what percentage of "the Left" you think is anti-Semitic, and if it's less than 100%, apologizing to the rest of us for unjustly accusing us.
You know Amy, on second thought, never mind. I really don't care to converse with you any more. From what you've written I've concluded you're an insincere and intellectually dishonest propagandist. It's just going to be a waste of my time.

I've met people like you -- they seem normal enough until you get them on their one issue, and then whoa... they become fanatics. All righty then... back slowly away. I'm out of here.
The following paragraphs are copied from this thread in chronological order. The first two paragraphs are from your post and the rest of the paragraphs are from your replies to comments.

Why have anti-Semites resorted to coded words and tropes? One reason is that overt prejudice is no longer considered socially acceptable, particularly on the American Left. (Not SOME on the American Left) Anti-Semitism, and racism have not disappeared from American society. The periodic appearance of nooses in schools and workplaces provides eloquent testimony to that sordid fact.
The obnoxious actions of a high school baseball team can be dismissed as juvenile behavior, but the coded words and tropes of the American Left (Not SOME on the American Left) are much harder to dismiss.
That's right. The Left (Not Some on the American Left) uses more subtle tropes such as arguing that too much attention is paid to the Holocaust, or that the Israelis are no different than the Nazis. (
No, no, no, I am not saying that everyone on the Left is an anti-Semite. I am saying that anti-Semites on the Left are not as crude as those on the Right. The Leftist anti-Semites use code words and then whine "Who me?" when called on it. (Your FIRST statement that not all on the left are anti-Semites, which contradicts your earlier remarks)
Oh, it's unique all right! It's unique because the only possible explanation for the stance of the Left is anti-Semitism. Without that factor, the reaction of the Left is incomprehensible. (You’re back to including all of the left)
The Israelis aren't idiots, either. They understand what is going on. Yet with the Left so willing to condone and promote anti-Semitism, the Israelis must accept friendship where they find it. Unless and until the Left gets its own anti-Semitism under control (and Jewish Leftist stop parroting and apologizing for anti-Semitism), the Israelis have no other choice. (My eyes must be failing in my old age but that paragraph seems to include all of the left, not some)

Ordinarily, you would not find the American or international Left supporting thugocracies that are racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and profoundly misogynistic, but the Left is so blinded by its hatred of Jews that it is willing to support anyone and anything. Ordinarily, you would not find the American or international Left supporting regimes that torture and kill their own people, steal their food, and set them up to be killed accidentally, murder women for "honor" and treat daughters like possessions to be bought and sold, but I guess all things can be forgiven for those who hate Jews.(This is a particularly hateful condemnation of not some, but all on the left. The left is so blinded by it’s hatred of Jews???)
At NO point have I ever claimed that everyone on the Left and Right are anti-Semitic. My claim is that the anti-Semitism of the Left is expressed very differently than the anti-Semitism of the Right. The Right tends to be much cruder; the Left relies on code words and tropes.

Your final statement, up to this point in the thread, is that at no point have you every claimed that everyone on the left is anti-Semitic. That is not true. I believe that you believe that not all on the left are anti-Semites, but you make sweeping statements that include all of us on the left, then try to deny that you ever said it.
"Show us *one* example of criticism of those governments.
Not to mention somebody questioning their right to exist.
You know what? I'll save you the trouble, since you don't seem able to do even simple research on the net: you can't. "

JonathoninTelaviv....I'm sure I'm jumping in where I shouldn't...but why does questioning the acts of some politicians and parties in any government equate with questioning that country's right to exist? I don't deny Israel's right to exist, but I'm sorry that the current right wing government is choosing to act in a strong-arming way that is potentially alienating allies (just like the U.S. alienated a lot of world opinion by strong-arming in Iraq). I believe that it is only a matter of time before Iran and other nations in that part of the world develop nuclear weapons...the strong-arming tactics can only work short-term. Long term, just like in Ireland or in any other part of the world in turmoil....the sides must come to terms diplomatically sooner or later....military muscle simply doesn't work long term. That I believe is true in Denmark, the U.S. and Israel too.

Lincoln Chaffee, a Republican senator has written a book that disturbs me as well about the role our government under Bush played in the current conflict...Hamas rose to power specifically as a result of the failed policies of Bush's intervention in that part of the world. I don't think that it had to happen that way. Bush's dishonesty on his "roadmap to peace" in the middle east played a decisive role in creating the climate for Hamas to rise to power. I'm disgusted by this fact. (and i recommend chafee's book particularly the chapters about Bush and the middle east...chaffee served on the committees involved in the conflict and describes behind the scenes discussions among American religious right leaning politicians better than I can describe).
Judith Green:

Obviously the whole idea of looking at AIPAC's organizational goals went over your head. Their organizational purpose is *not* to fight antisemitism, but rather to support Israel. And *nobody* (including AIPAC's many detractors) feels they do anything less than a great job at that. But you know better, right?

As for the ADL, I'll go with their 96 (!) year reputation as the premier, undisputed leaders in fighting antisemitism over - yours.
If being anti-zionist is antisemitic (as in the blog post), then you would think that being pro-Israel and zionist would be its opposite. And yet it turns out that it is entirely consistent to be pro-Israel, pro-zionist and also a raving antisemite. That was my point.

And if someone who is pro-Israel and pro-zionist can also be a raving antisemite, then it is surely possible for someone to be anti-Zionist and a consistent and active opponent of antisemitism.
Judith Green:

"then it is surely possible for someone to be anti-Zionist and a consistent and active opponent of antisemitism."

Of course, and it is also possible for a person to be anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic or possible for a person to be anti-Zionist because he is anti-Semitic.

How do you tell the difference? Those who are not anti-Semites are consistent, and they don't have special standards for Jews.

I completely understand the standards that you apply to Israel, Judith. I've just never seen you present evidence that you apply those standards to any other country.

I don't doubt that you mean well, and you, yourself, would not personally harm anyone, nor encourage anyone to be overtly anti-Semitic. However, you are consistently an apologist for both anti-Semites and terrorists.
Judith, I just read your recent post giving a glowing account of the "hoax email announcing the cancellation of a pro-Israel rally in London" by the Jewdas group (what an appropriate name). Whatever one's position on these issues, any attempt to sabotage a people's demonstration, any demonstration, is a dishonest "dirty trick" if there ever was one. Your admiration for that dirty trick makes it impossible to take your writings about the alliances needed to insure Israel's security, or anything else for that matter, as honest.
Three more words and then I'm done with you, Judith:

Shame. On. You.
you are consistently an apologist for both anti-Semites and terrorists.

++++++++++

That is a blatant and malicious lie. Motzi shem ra even.
JonathanInTelAviv, You should come along to the next Jewdas Rootless Cosmopolitan Yeshiva - you might learn something.
doloresflores_d, you express views that, whether or not I agree with them, seem entirely legitimate to me. But many others advocate views, and on Salon they are often couched in progressive terms, because they don't agree with the very existence of Israel as a state for the Jews. It's just dishonest to use important human principles as nothing more than a baseball with which to bash Israel.
doloresflores_d, regarding Bush's actions and Hamas's rise to power, I think it might be a factor, but not a very important one. And, as much as I detest Hamas, I find it a bit patronizing to suggest that Palestinians chose them primarily due to a US president.

Interviews I saw with Gazans all pointed to the disillusionment with Fatah, due to their unbelievable ineptitude and corruption (for example, why were people still living in refugee camps, years after Arafat arrived in Gaza, while he stole over a billion dollars in aid money?) as the overriding factor.

Also, groups like Hamas are gaining power all over the Moslem world. It would not be realistic to expect that not to happen with the Palestinians also.
Oops!

"It's just dishonest to use important human principles as nothing more than a baseball with which to bash Israel."

baseball --> baseball bat
jonathan in telaviv,

to be clear, chaffee doesn't suggest that is the only reason the palestinians elected Hamas, but he does cite the important fact that a more moderate leader was in power, and in part due to non-action and "big talk" from the Bush administration (big speeches about "two states" that stirred people's hopes and yet that had no actual foreign policy diplomacy or work behind them) that seriously undermined the authority of the more moderate leadership. I don't think the US is the only reason for Hamas' rise to power--but I don't think that it's insignificant that it happened under Bush's watch. And in fact just the sort of fundamentalist muslim movement you are discussing is in other parts of the globe as well not un- influenced by Bush's particular brand of leadership either. The very fact that he let the U.S. "war on terror" have situations like abu graib and gitmo...allowed it to seem to many people around the world as if the entire endeavor was 1) racial 2) religious--particularly fundamentalist christian...which of course played right into the hands of fundamentalists like bin laden.

So yes, I believe bush indirectly lended great support to Hamas, and I think he should be given full credit for this support. And I know it may be naive, but I voted for obama in part because his middle name is Hussein...and because I thought that he could be a positive example to those who are, in the muslim world (and to those who have the potential to be) moderate. I hope that whatever leadership he provides on the issue stands in great contrast with his predecessor.
doloresflores_d:

"And I know it may be naive, but I voted for obama in part because his middle name is Hussein...and because I thought that he could be a positive example to those who are, in the muslim world (and to those who have the potential to be) moderate. I hope that whatever leadership he provides on the issue stands in great contrast with his predecessor."

I hope he succeeds too.