Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What's with all the anti-semitism on the (radical) Left?

I'm not talking about people who oppose the Israeli governments policies and actions here. I'm talking about anti-semites!

Ever visit Raw Story? It's a leftist news aggregator. Check out the comments in any story on Israel, and you will, I swear, be shocked at what you see.

I often read, "F*** Israel" (which is not really an impartial condemnation of the Israel government, in my book), and "F*** the Jews" and the like.

Last week there was a story on encouragment to kill gays during a Pride Parade in Jerusalem - and one response said, "As long as they're Jews, fine with me".

What happened?

If you want to speak out against government policy, that's fair enough. But when did so many activist Leftists start to confuse "Israel government" with "Jews"?

I've written to Raw Story and asked them why there can't be a moderator to remove any kind of anti-semitic comment so that their comments boards can improve, but have yet to hear back from them. That was two weeks ago.

I know free speech is great and all, but...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if they are antisemites then they must be from the left?

Great Thinking!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 6:58:00 PM  
Anonymous jacobin said...

hey green

what about all those arab haters on conservative blogs that say stuff like

"nuke the fucking rag heads and turn them into a parking lot"

can't wait for to write to one of those sites, but you won't

better yet, create a thread

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Joanne, I'm talking about a particularly leftist site.

I get my news off left and right news sites - the right one doesn't have a Comments Section, though I'd be curious to see what sort of comparable comments might be there.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 9:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cherniak_WTF said...

I think there is an extreme frustration at the Israeli position and actions towards it's neighbours - there is much oppression by Israel and even after denouncing these abuse, not much progress.

The is a certain amount of portraying themselves as victims in all of this. This maybe true, but it's hard to play that card when you are considered the bully of the region.

Israel being a Jewish state (I know, I'm pointing out the obvious) some associate this with Jews. The frustration at Israel becomes anti-Semitic.
Even critiquing Israel and its policies, a knee-jerk reaction is to get that nasty labelling.

Does this mean that Israel is beyond criticism, lest we become accused of being anti-Semitic?
No, but there is debate within the Jewish community. Some of it is shaped (how can it not be) by the events and history around the Holocaust.

So what is anti-Semitims?
It can be rather absolute and extreme to some:
Per Ahlmark:
While Israelis and Jews try to define the hostility toward Israel as anti-Semitism, the issue of what exactly is anti-Semitism becomes even more important. At what stage does political and moral criticism of Israel, even vehement criticism, become anti-Semitic? Nearly all those involved in the issue, including rightists like Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert, emphasize that not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. But Olmert and Melchior agree that anti-Semitism can be hidden behind yet another aphorism: "criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic."
So where's the boundary? Says Ahlmark: "Political criticism, even bitter criticism of Israel, is certainly not anti-Semitic... The line is crossed when people begin to use anti-Semitic terminology to describe Israel's actions.
So comparing Israel's actions to Nazis is wrong.

Per Ahlmark:
But when there is incessant criticism of Israel that does not include criticism of other regimes in the region and human rights abuses in those countries, the question must be asked if Israel is not being judged separately, with different criteria than any other state in the world. And that [is] already close to the anti-Semitic red line."
So basically, if you complain about Israel, make sure you add Jordan, the US and Iran... Okay maybe not the US. But I find this childish, the equivalent of a diplomatic "I know you are, but what I am".

Now, Michael Neumann or Trent University has this to say - please note that some find it offensive - and please excuse my laziness from getting this from wiki
We should almost never take antisemitism seriously, and maybe we should have some fun with it. I think it is particularly unimportant to the Israel-Palestine conflict, except perhaps as a diversion from the real issues." He then states that Israel's goal is the extinction of the Palestinian people, adding "True, Israel has enough PR-savvy to eliminate them with an American rather than a Hitlerian level of violence. This is a kinder, gentler genocide that portrays its perpetrators as victims." Thus Neumann views Arab antisemitism as trivial in the larger context of the Israel-Palestine conflict: "Undoubtedly there is genuine antisemitism in the Arab world: the distribution of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the myths about stealing the blood of gentile babies. This is utterly inexcusable. So was your failure to answer Aunt Bee's last letter." He brings his argument to a conclusion as follows: "In short, the real scandal today is not antisemitism but the importance it is given. Israel has committed war crimes. It has implicated Jews generally in these crimes, and Jews generally have hastened to implicate themselves. This has provoked hatred against Jews. Why not? Some of this hatred is racist, some isn't, but who cares?"
In the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Neumann opines [4] that it is dangerous to label as anti-Semitic the conclusion that "Jews, generally, had some responsibility for war crimes and human rights violations." He writes: "The best way to reserve "anti-Semitism" as a term of condemnation is to define it as hatred of Jews, not for what they do but for what they are. It is to hate them just because they belong to a certain ethnic group. Foxman is right to suggest that you can be an anti-Semite without expressing any racist sentiments: Many anti-Semites confine themselves to expounding false claims about Jewish control. But you can also, without harboring anti-Semitic hate, criticize Israel and even the Jewish community for its failures."

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:48:00 PM  
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