I noticed a comment from a member the other day that said he had been troubled by some examples of what he perceived to be antisemitism on A|N. The examples were not supplied, but the member did equate, by means of parenthesis, antisemitism with anti-Zionism. I find this very curious but I wonder how prevalent this thinking may be. Many members, if not the majority, of the anti-Zionist movement are liberal Jews that are deeply vexed by the actions of the state of Israel. They are simply calling for an end to what many have considered to be Israeli-backed apartheid in Palestine. To be sure, the anti-Zionist movement does not speak with one unanimous voice. Does any movement?

Another common misconception that arises with criticism of the state of Israel's treatment of Palestinians is the belief that it's the same as glorifying or, at minimum, sympathizing with organizations like Hamas. There are rational voices, both Jewish and Palestinian, that decry all of the violence committed in this millenia-old conflict.

As secularists and atheists we can surely see the link between unconditional support for the state of Israel and deeply-entrenched religious beliefs about the role of Israel in "God's plan". Shedding such religious preconceptions may allow for greater clarity in approaching the conflict.

Please offer your views, no matter what they are, on this subject. With communication and openness, we can work towards peace for all of our brothers and sisters, Jewish and Palestinian.

Tags: Hamas, Israel, Palestine, Zionism, anti-Zionism, antisemitism, atheism, peace, secularism

Views: 48

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to mean "the other", "the devil."

The other is not US, the devil is not GOD, therefore US = GOD. It's crystal clear now :P
I'm afraid I've come to the same conclusion, unwillingly. The stereotyping and nastiness is worse than anything I've seen in decades, or at least since the '80s. It's not even possible to discuss Jews in any capacity without somebody dragging Israel into the discussion and unleashing the vitriol. Lately I've been researching the late 19th century Eastern European Jewish intelligentsia, who debated the future from more angles and viewpoints than one finds today, but even mentioning my interest invites a nasty backlash. And the left is as bad or worse than any other political faction.
This will take some time. I'm working on triangulating a number of political and cultural strategies that were debated in the 19th century, which all involve, from various standpoints, the very definition of the Jewish people and competing notions of what held them together and what their future should be. Religious, cultural/ethnic, linguistic, national--what standpoint to take and what direction pursue? The difficulty of pinning this question down, from a culturalist or a historical materialist standpoint, for example, can be considered the ultimate challenge of the development of a comprehensive and adequate social theory. So I began with a bibliography, which includes, for example, a lot of material on the tug-of-war between the Bolsheviks and the Jewish Labor Bund:

Marxism & the Jewish Question: Selected Bibliography
http://www.autodidactproject.org/bib/jews-marxism.html

I've got at least two related bibliographies in the works. This one alone bites off a huge chunk of the analytical/theoretical questions.
I fixed the link, but I'll repeat it here:

Marxism & the Jewish Question: Selected Bibliography
http://www.autodidactproject.org/bib/jews-marxism.html
I want there to be a difference between anti-semitism and anti-zionism, but I don't trust the non-Jewish Majority with understanding the difference, so I get suspicious of anti-zionist claims from non-Jews.

I'm not Jewish, but I have the same concerns about conflating antisemitism and antizionism. I admit, I'm not politically sophisticated and never will be. I can't keep up with current demands, let alone add more. Back to topic, it's very difficult to sort through the layers of agenda and buried meaning. For example, the first time I saw the expression "the Holocaust Industry" here on A|N, I wondered - what does that mean? It was unexplained. I still don't know for certain, but it has the feel of inuendo and doubt, and subliminal antisemitism. Here in this group, as people learn one another's background and attitudes, I think that trust also grows, and it's not as difficult to have the conversations.
"The Holocaust Industry" is the title of a controversial book by Norman Finkelstein, on the exploitation of the Holocaust for contemporary political (and financial?) purposes. I haven't read the book, so I can't comment. That there is such exploitation, I don't doubt, but the problem is that now one can't even mention the Holocaust without someone waving this book in front of your face and not even allowing the Holocaust to stand on its own without having to answer for Zionism. Granted, that the pro-Israel Jewish establishment has engaged in some dishonest tactics, but there's no excuse for the backlash I've described, esp. among the left.
Renee: I want there to be a difference between anti-semitism and anti-zionism, but I don't trust the non-Jewish Majority with understanding the difference, so I get suspicious of anti-zionist claims from non-Jews.

Daniel: I'm not Jewish, but I have the same concerns about conflating antisemitism and antizionism.

It doesn't help that ultra-zionists intentionally blur the lines by calling every anti-zionist an anti-semite. To paraphrase Renee, "I don't trust the Zionist hardliners with acknowledging the difference, so I get suspicious of anti-semite claims from Zionists".

And, by the way, I owe my family name to a Sephardi Jew.
There is a huge difference between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism. The first takes the default position that there is something inherently wrong with Jewish people, while the second is more concerned with the wrongness inherent in Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.

It's sort of like discerning between someone hating America and Americans, and someone hating American foreign policy. Another analogy I can think of is this, it's the difference between hating Islam and Muslims, and just hating what some Muslims do as they practice their religion.


Good analogies. Great definitions for anti-semitism and anti-Zionism.
Language, is, unfortunately, neither logical nor consistent. "Anti-Semitism" is a term that originates in 19th century European racism, and refers only to Jews. "Semitic" on the other hand, refers to a related group of languages including Hebrew, Arabic, Amharic and several other Ethiopian languages (and probably others I've forgotten). One can refer to peoples of that region as Semitic or Semites, presumably, but I've never known "anti-semitism" to refer to anyone other than Jews. Except of course for a few people who think they are proving something by playing word games.

In any case, i'm growing tired of this discussion and the other discussion debating the Israeli-Arab conflict. The original point of this discussion is to disaggregate rational political disputes about the Middle East and political factions worldwide from the insinuations, code words, and slogans that infect this discourse with questionable tropes about the Jews. Fortunately, this discussion has been largely free of such questionable discourse, which is amazing since I could name (but won't) name some individuals on Atheist Nexus who are guilty of said Jew-baiting insinuations.

I'm guessing that few if any of the defenders of Israel's actions on this list are themselves Israelis. Probably most are American Jews divorced from reality, who have an entirely delusional conception of American foreign policy and the purported aims of the Israeli government, conveniently editing out the underlying economics of both Israeli and American actions. As such, they are very poor defenders of the Jewish Israelis actually held hostage to war profiteers, expansionist entrepreneurs, and right-wing lunatics. I'm a firm believer in rational self-interest, but I don't see much of it here. I can't say I've ever been impressed by the other political forces in the region. Generally, nationalists are of inferior political caliber. Secular as well as religious Arab nationalism is a total disaster. Hence there is little hope. But as Israel and the USA hold the high cards at this point in history, they are the logical ones to begin straightening out the mess if they had the political will.

I understand very well the mindset of Depression-era Jews who lived through hate and discrimination here in the USA and saw the results of the Holocaust abroad. I've known many Holocaust survivors, and I've been friends with their children. Nobody is in a position to lecture me on the subject. I understand quite well what fuels their insecurity, suspicion, and blind support of Israel's every poop and fart. But this mentality has become counterproductive, and the Generation Xers and younger are made of a different cloth than previous generations, and need to wake up.

PS: "The Atheist Jew" wins the contest hands down for being the worst dumb ass in this group.
Actually, my agenda is to combat anti-Semitism, disaggregate cheap sloganeering and spectator politics both from a more serious analysis of the state system of the region and its international connections, and from a broader interest in Jewish history and history in general, as opposed to nationalist illusions of any stripe.

But I have to revise my last claim. JeffFlyingV is up there in the dumbass ranks with the Atheist Jew.
I am concerned that this discussion has gone the way of the feminist discussions. After a point of no return is reached, people are so invested in their position that it becomes impossible to discuss. As passionate as everyone is on the issues, which affect them personally and people who they care about, at a certain point nothing that's said will lead anywhere.

I think that this discussion is at that point, or close. I hope that all involved can step back, take some deep breaths, and look into other discussions for a while, where they can find some common ground.
I understand your concern, Daniel. That things get heated is not a reason to give up on discussion. I started this thread to deal specifically with the idea that anti-Zionism=anti-Semitism. I hope it's been established by this point that that's an unfair and inaccurate assumption. It's a tactic that's been used by some Zionists to shut up those that would question the state of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. It's nothing new and its use is not reserved for non-Jews.

I do not believe that on this site or on this discussion in particular we'll solve the Israel-Palestine mess. However, as freethinking individuals committed to rational discourse, we can hold ourselves to a higher level of conversational honesty, without the "I'm not going to directly call you this-or-that, but since you disagree with my position, I'll raise doubts about your "true" motivations". We should afford one another more mutual respect than that. That was the intent of this discussion. One last point that's been overlooked, if one chooses to see A|N as a community: there are Palestinian and Arab atheists that are members of this site.

If you have read a comment from myself that you perceive to be anti-Semitic or judgmental of an entire group, please bring it to my attention here or via a message, so that I may make the necessary readjustment in my thinking.

I value this group, Conversations on Race, Ethnicity, & Culture, and appreciate your efforts in creating and maintaining it.

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