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How to define antisemitism

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Steve3007
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How to define antisemitism

Post by Steve3007 » July 18th, 2018, 6:26 am

There seems to have been a long-running argument within the British Labour Party as to whether some factions within that party can be considered to be antisemitic. The current leadership of that party has been very strongly criticised by others in the party and elsewhere for not fully accepting the Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. For example, the Labour Party National Executive Committee (NEC) has taken the view that some examples of antisemitism given by the IHRA should be removed because they stifle the possibility of freely criticising the actions of the Israeli government. The examples removed from the IHRA definition include: accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel than their own nations, claiming that the existence of the state of Israel is inherently racist and comparing Israeli actions with those of the Nazis.

The furore created by all this seems quite intense. It's certainly not an academic argument over the definitions of words. It's deeply personal. For example, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who had relatives who died in the Holocaust, reportedly angrily told the party leader: "You're a f****** anti-semite and racist".

What do you think? Is it antisemitic to compare actions carried out by representatives of the State of Israel to actions of the Nazis? Is it difficult to distinguish between antisemitism and criticisms of Israeli government policy? Could the current Labour Party leadership really be described as antisemitic?

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Felix
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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Felix » July 18th, 2018, 5:26 pm

What do you think? Is it antisemitic to compare actions carried out by representatives of the State of Israel to actions of the Nazis?
Of course not, jews can be fascists too.
Is it difficult to distinguish between antisemitism and criticisms of Israeli government policy?
It shouldn't be, I wouldn't expect a jewish fascist to admit that he is one.

We have a similar problem here in the U.S. - anyone critical of the Israeli Defense League is accused of being antisemitic. That's the political card they always play but it's transparent.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Felix
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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Felix » July 18th, 2018, 5:28 pm

Correction: Israeli Defense League should be Jewish Defense League
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by ThomasHobbes » July 18th, 2018, 6:01 pm

I'm getting fed up with been woken up every morning by my clock radio with news reports that keep using the words "problem", "antisemitism", and "Jeremy Corbyn".

The continual banging on and on and on, is yet another attempt by the media to hope that **** sticks.

The Labour party has around 400,000 members. There have been 70 complains about careless comments on social media arguments, which are mostly about criticisms concerning the human rights abuses of Palestinians by Israel.

The right wing have turned this into a media circus as they have very little of substance with which to criticise JC and his popular anti-austerity, anti-inequality movement which the establishment are **** scared of.

1) The Labour party have NO racist policies.
2) The Labour party have no antisemitic policies.
3) Many in Labour, including Jews, think that Israel is abusing human rights in Palestine.
4) Some in Labour would rather bring false accusations than allow JC and Momentum from getting power.

So where is the substance?
There is no doubt that amongst its 400k membership some can be defined as having antisemitic views.
This is only a 'problem' because the media want it to be.

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by ThomasHobbes » July 18th, 2018, 6:23 pm

I think there is a very significant problem when anyone feels they have to identify with one race or another.
When white people do it the inherent racism in having say a "white members club', or a "white person's literary prize".
How would you react if there was a prize for science that is restricted wholly to "whites only"?

Yet, Jews have all these things, but insist that such organisations are not racist.

The human "race" simply cannot afford the luxury of racism; positive or negative. When you reserve privileges to certain 'ethnic' groups, you are denying those to others.
When you decide to self identify with such groups, be they "white" or "black" "asian" or "jewish" you immediately tend to favour other members of that group. That is prejudice.

Jews seem to want all the honours and favours of their select group but are angry that they get excluded by others. This is how, once you believe that 'race' is a valid category, you reify the category and attract the suspicion of others who do the same from "other" races.
Some Jews might want to preserve whatever arbitrary differences that they think being a Jews entitles them to. Do they also want other races to ignore the fact that people like Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernancke, Paul Wolfowitz, the Koch brothers, George Soros - (those that have profited from austerity,) are Jews? Is it any surprise that people seeing the world's financial institutions being run by people of Jewish decent think that these people might help each other out? Might tend to favour other members of their group to the disadvantage of others.
There is NO DOUBT that "white" institutions demonstrate racism against black people.

And this is the point at which Labour members find themselves silenced. Labour members fear to mention basic facts about the operation of positive racism.
None of the above observations can be expressed by Labour members.
When Iain McNichol was chairman, several people (many of them Jews) were suspended without a hearing for thinking about these issues.
With him gone, people have been seeking justice for against the 'thought police', and that is now taken as a stick to hit JC with.
The above is a minefield of sensitive viewpoints.

But the main bone of contention is that there are thousands of people in the party - thought police that will also take exception to ANY criticism of Israel and accuse people of antisemitism. And the right wing of the party have pushed to extend the definition of antisemitism to include criticisms of Israel.

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Alias » July 18th, 2018, 9:39 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
July 18th, 2018, 6:26 am
Is it antisemitic to compare actions carried out by representatives of the State of Israel to actions of the Nazis?
Not necessarily, but it's not necessary, either. Why drag out the old nazi comparison all the time? It's not the only-ever example of persecuting minorities or killing civilians. The UK does it; the US does it; Russia does it... pretty normal, really. But still bad.
Is it difficult to distinguish between antisemitism and criticisms of Israeli government policy?
Not for me, and not for Jews who disagree with that policy.
But it can be difficult for someone who does agree with the policy and is sensitive to criticism.
Could the current Labour Party leadership really be described as antisemitic?
I don't know them personally, so I suppose it's possible, but I doubt it.

There are several different issues here.
One is equating any opinion, approving or dissenting, with an "ism"; assuming that all opinion must be motivated by one's political allegiance, or tribal attitude - as if there were no other basis for judging other people's actions. In fact, I'm quite capable of recognizing a person's value and virtues, or a government's competency in other areas, and still disagree with, even condemn, some of their decisions.

Another, is taking all criticism personally - even by people who had no say in making the policy or taking the actions that are criticized. There is a tendency for members of some ethnic groups, as well as some vested interests and political factions, to take personally every comment regarding any member of their group - as if they were a single unit.

The most important in this context is deflection and misdirection. Leveling charges of prejudice against any and all detractors is a well-known stratagem used by both persons and factions who know they are in the wrong and intend to carry on acting badly. You can always disarm opposition by accusing it of being racist: a racist motivation invalidates everything they say and write, without any consideration whether it's true.

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Greta » July 18th, 2018, 10:05 pm

Perhaps a touch of antidisestablishmentarianism in the air with a new Labour party growing out of the old? (always wanted to use that word!). The conservatives probably need to split too - the Religious Armageddonists and Socially Progressive Capitalists.

Having a problem with criticism of military aggression by any nation, Israel or otherwise, is obviously not bigotry. Amazing the dumb manipulative BS these people sprout while paid by the taxes of workers. Much of foment is pushed along by the likes of the Koch and Murdoch parasites.

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Alias » July 18th, 2018, 11:06 pm

Long as it works, they will not only keep doing it, but keep escalating.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Steve3007 » July 19th, 2018, 3:43 am

If this really were all about the right wing press concocting a story to unfairly discredit Jeremy Corbyn then it wouldn't be particularly interesting to me. It would be business as usual. But there seems to be some genuine anger within the Labour Party towards the leadership which isn't just invented. People like Margaret Hodge appear to be genuinely angry. Curious.

I agree with some previous comments that, on the face of it, comparing the actions of the State of Israel to the actions of the Nazis is not antisemitic. Whether or not it's accurate is a different question.

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Alias » July 19th, 2018, 10:29 am

Steve3007 wrote:
July 19th, 2018, 3:43 am
...But there seems to be some genuine anger within the Labour Party towards the leadership which isn't just invented. People like Margaret Hodge appear to be genuinely angry. Curious.
I don't know anything about your country's internal workings. But I would caution you to examine more closely this "genuine" anger. Anger is the political currency of the moment: like bitcoin, it's costly, destructive and deceptive. A lot of the genuine anger - of the working class, of the right, of the white, of the middle class, of the rural folk, of the nationalists, of the men - is cultivated and manipulated.
Ask how many of the angry comments come from Russian sock-puppet Twitter accounts.
Ask how the polls are taken.
Ask, most urgently: Cui bono?
I agree with some previous comments that, on the face of it, comparing the actions of the State of Israel to the actions of the Nazis is not antisemitic. Whether or not it's accurate is a different question.
No, the nazis should never come into any discussion, ever. It's a smoke-bomb. That reference instantly skews all arguments, distorts all facts, sabotages all reasoned consideration of present facts.
All extreme action is extreme; all dictators dictate; all bullies bully - in this, the comparison of any example with any other is accurate and valid.
In the particulars, they are all different. If you want to criticize an action, do so on its own particulars.

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Greta » July 19th, 2018, 6:54 pm

Alias wrote:
July 19th, 2018, 10:29 am
Steve3007 wrote:
July 19th, 2018, 3:43 am
...But there seems to be some genuine anger within the Labour Party towards the leadership which isn't just invented. People like Margaret Hodge appear to be genuinely angry. Curious.
I don't know anything about your country's internal workings. But I would caution you to examine more closely this "genuine" anger. Anger is the political currency of the moment: like bitcoin, it's costly, destructive and deceptive. A lot of the genuine anger - of the working class, of the right, of the white, of the middle class, of the rural folk, of the nationalists, of the men - is cultivated and manipulated.
I love it when people put their finger right on the button. Yes, this game of outrage is rife.

Steve, all you need do is think of those angry MPs as engaging in the political equivalent of a Neymar dive and then all becomes more clear :). People are becoming better actors, less worried about being caught lying because there is no longer a social sanction for it. It's considered a fair tactic to achieve an end today while in the past it was treated as unforgivable.

As I always say, hominids developed big brains precisely for the purpose of deception, to gain advantages over the unaware, and this is just one more example.

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by LuckyR » July 20th, 2018, 1:27 am

Ho hum. This stuff isn't about races or racism or religion. It is tribalism when you scrape away the verbiage. Basically folks like to: 1. join groups and 2. act in their own self interest, and 3. like to play the victim.

Thus if I am an American jew, I tend to look favorably on the Israeli state and I use the antisemitic card against real and perceived criticism. If I am not Jewish, perhaps I dislike the actions of the Israeli government so I vocalise this. I can expect to be called antisemitic, my retort is to call my critics Nazi-like. In addition if I read about black Americans getting a different treatment in hiring, I cry reverse discrimination. I am then called a racist.

No one wants to feel like they are getting an unfairly substandard deal... especially those who have historically gotten unfairly excellent deals.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Steve3007 » July 20th, 2018, 5:29 am

Alias wrote:...But I would caution you to examine more closely this "genuine" anger. Anger is the political currency of the moment:...
Greta wrote:Steve, all you need do is think of those angry MPs as engaging in the political equivalent of a Neymar dive and then all becomes more clear :). People are becoming better actors, less worried about being caught lying because there is no longer a social sanction for it. It's considered a fair tactic to achieve an end today while in the past it was treated as unforgivable.
I do take both of your points and can see this process of what might be called "outrage hyper-inflation" in action. But in this particular case, in the case of at least some of these Labour MPs on this subject, I don't think those points apply. When an MP who has close relatives who died in the Holocaust accuses the Labour leader of antisemitism she may be wrong but I don't think it's a cynical political tactic. The feelings appear to me to be entirely genuine. I guess it just goes to show that this is still a very emotive issue, despite the fact that numerous other atrocities have been perpetrated by various groups against various other groups in the last 70 years.

I will watch the development of this particular News-thread with interest.

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Alias » July 20th, 2018, 10:10 am

LuckyR wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 1:27 am
Basically folks like to: 1. join groups and 2. act in their own self interest, and 3. like to play the victim.
I go along with the other stuff, but take some exception to 3.
First, it's not always clear when someone is "playing" the victim and when they speak up against being victimized. An outsider doesn't always know who has done what to whom behind closed doors; whether an actual victim is under- or over-stating their own suffering, and to what end. For example, many abused women and nearly all abused men actively help their abuser to hide the real state of affairs. Siblings, parents and friends who are systematically taken advantage-of quite often make excuses and cover for the user. It does also happen that the user or abuser presents him or herself as the perennial victim. That's what makes situations difficult to judge.
I don't think most people like to play the victim; I think they would rather be seen as heroic, or at least competent.
What's unique about Israel is that the European Jews really were victimized (over a much longer time than just the Hitler era). Part of the reason was that their god segregated them, out of jealousy, just the same way an abusive husband cuts his wife off from friends and family, and keeps her for himself alone, (This isn't my opinion; it's in that famous book.) and they stayed apart, even when they were no longer an independent nation. Good way to preserve cultural identity; very bad survival strategy. But they're stuck with it now, and it was the key to getting a country again. Who wouldn't use that opportunity in the circumstances?
And who - which ambitious individual, which corporation, which interest bloc, which political party, which nation doesn't use whatever line of woo, whatever psychological advantage is in their possession to further their agenda? Israel would be stupid to waste the Victim card.
It's up to everyone else to recognize this and devise an appropriate response - instead of a knee-jerk one.

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Re: How to define antisemitism

Post by Greta » July 20th, 2018, 6:00 pm

Then again, my family had some people gassed in WWII but we are not still feeling wildly aggrieved about it. My father's family was forced out of Austria by the Nazis, leaving everything they owned behind, and started again with nothing in Australia. I appreciate that some people hold grudges for longer than others but I do think the victim card is being played when it comes to politicians. Very, very few of them will miss opportunities for ethical reasons as far as I can tell.

It's like workers comp (which I worked in for a couple of years, worse luck). Almost all injuries seem to be genuine, but plenty of them are overplayed. Still, Jews must surely be getting jumpy now because genuine anti-Semitism is probably more widespread than any time for many decades.

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