Sunday, February 05, 2006

Anti-Semitic Words by a Cyber Columnist? NO.



Apparently, last year, Demotiki was accused of being anti-semitic for saying the protection of Israel was one motive for invading Iraq. (See Feb. 1 post below, "US Will Protect Israel from Iran)

Having that view is not necessarily anti-semitic. To be a person who holds to that view is not, necessarily, to be an anti-semitic person. In fact, the view itself, by itself, is not necessarily anti-semitic. Perhaps there are rationalizations about it that a reasonable, non-Jew-hating person could believe in. But the origins of that view, that the protection of Israeli citizens from violence is a bad thing, a view espoused by many thousands of people other than Demotiki; and the fact that its bizarre assumptions and logic have met with a broadly receptive audience across huge regions, in general, is due to a world view that has anti-semitic roots.

There is a subtle but critical distinction that has to be made here. The issue here is not the suspicion, possibly well-founded, that Israel's protection was a motive for invading Iraq. At issue is the very idea that making this point matters.

[...Continued as first comment...]

5 Thoughts:

Blogger Bspot said...

In other words, if someone objects to my telling them, "Hey! There's evidence you've been drinking milk, so don't try to deny it!" the issue for them may have nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of the statement, but the implication that the statement matters. So what? Clearly the implication by the speaker is that it's bad for the other person to be drinking milk.

The objection is: "What the hell is wrong with my drinking milk?"
And here the objection, relating to anti-semitism, is NOT that it's questionable to believe Israel's protection was a motive, but that it's questionable to cite it as if it matters in this context; i.e. "Why are you saying this as if protecting Israel from violent attack is a bad thing?"

Can any of us think of any, single, other group of people, whatsoever, on the planet, regarding whom the protection of their lives from lethal attack would be cited, accusingly, as an evil motive?!

It is fine to share the belief that a deed is evil (the invasion of Iraq, for example); and it is fine to suspect that secret, evil motives are behind the deed, and disbelieve the white-washing lies that the perpetrator uses as justification.

But since when is it normal to think -- since when is it found logical by so many receptive people -- that a motive of protecting the lives of a population of civilians is an evil motive, in and of itself?

Demotiki may protest that this is not what was said. But let's consider carefully: For a generally anti-Bush, anti-Iraq-invasion blogger to defend the view that Bush's invasion of Iraq was motivated by U.S. interest in protecting Israel .....? It's not that the view is necessarily incorrect ... but why is this being cited as an important point? What's the implication here? Does it not imply that (1) since we Cyberpol bloggers don't eagerly cite "good" motives by Bush for invading Iraq, the citing of this motive is implying that it's a bad motive (not just that it fails to justify an invasion, but that in itself it's a bad motive); and (2) since Israelis ought to be relocating out of the region (let's say this is agreed, even though it isn't), and since those who want that relocation are trying to make it happen by killing Israeli citizens, it is fine to let that killing continue ... i.e. it is not fine to protect Israel from attacks aimed at killing Israeli civilians?

What is it, really, for an anti-Bush, anti-invasion blogger to point out that Bush has used Israel's protection as a supposed motive. Everyone knows he's also tried to claim WMD elimination as a motive. And in reaction, what do we eagerly point out, and what do we not bother pointing out? We eagerly point out that Bush lied about WMDs -- that it wasn't his real motive -- and we also point out that even if that had been his true motive, there were far better ways to get WMDs eliminated than invading Iraq. Okay, now, what do we anti-Bush Cyberpol bloggers NOT BOTHER pointing out? The fact itself that Bush has used WMD elimination as justification. It's not an interesting statement to point out since no one suggests WMD elimination is a bad goal in general. In contrast, the eager out-pointing that Bush is motivated by protection of Israel implies that it's a bad motivation to have, in and of itself, in general.

This attitude, this confused logic, is not redeemable even if one believes that Israelis should relocate elsewhere so Palestinians can form a state on the entire land now called Israel. I don't agree with that, as you know, but let's say we did agree on that.

Since when do we support the civilian-killing method for achieving that end?! Since when do we support the idea that the way to accomplish such a relocation, the way to overcome Israeli resistance to relocating, is to kill Israeli civilians? That is what is being said, when the protection of Israel from violence is tacitly implied to be an evil motive. The person implying it (by making a different but related statement in direct, overt terms) may not even realize what they're implying, and when it's pointed out, they may say, wait a minute, no, that's not what I intended to imply; but the context and logic are undeniable. The interest in the topic, the motivation to raise the topic, the judgement that it's a significant point to make, all imply that protecting Israelis is bad. (Not merely that Israeli civilians ought to relocate ... but that protecting their actual lives from actual lethal violence is bad.)

Consider this. There have been disputes over land throughout history and there are still disputes about land all over the world -- rarely fought between civilians, who are busy going shopping or trying to educate their children, but often fought by opposing landowners or warlords or governments, all of which recruit soldiers to fight. In many of these, one side is unjustified in having taken some land, and the other side is justified in believing strongly that the land should be given back. It may be debated whether the weaker side, wanting to retake the land, should use political means or military means to accomplish their goal. Pacifists like Ghandi believed violence should never be the means; while others have argued reasonably that sometimes it is necessary as the only possible means.

But never, never ever, in the case of ANY other land dispute in history or anywhere on the planet, do left-leaning, liberal humanists argue that people not working as soldiers, people selling vegetables, working in travel agencies, walking down the street, playing guitar, talking to their lovers, should be killed. Never, ever is it argued that protection of such people from violent death is a motive that should be characterized as a secret, evil one, one that a U.S. president shouldn't be motivated by.

Consider the view that some people hold regarding grave injustice in Latin America, and regarding the recourse to violence that oppressed people can only resort to, when there are no political channels to achieve their liberation from oppression. The oppressed and disenfranchised have no full-blown military of their own. Such people are often faced with a regime that is held in place by a large military. Some argue that perhaps the oppressed must resort to violence, becoming guerrilla fighters, forming secret militias in hiding that sneak out to carry out bomb attacks.

But when that is argued by coddled, Western, liberal Americans or Europeans, who purport to value human lives, is it ever strongly argued that the guerrilla attacks should move beyond military targets and installations, beyond even political assassinations, to murder mothers and fathers and their children?

Even if some radical argues that it's necessary to kill middle class civilians before any change will occur ..... even that radical (if he or she is leftist but not totalitarian Communist) would consider these deaths regrettable, albeit necessary, and would recognize that, for anyone trying to defend the civilians, their motive of protecting civilian lives is not an evil motive.

Certainly it's not. Protecting civilians from brutal murder is not a bad thing, when the civilians are of Latin America. Or Africa. Or even the middle classes of Europe or America.

Only if they're Israeli Jews.

Somehow, since Jews are no longer the object of liberals' sympathy, the way they were briefly in the late 1940's, and the way other minorities and the poor people of underdeveloped countries are -- and since Jews are also not Christian Americans or Christian Europeans, the EuroAmerican non-Jewish liberals of the world can countenance terrorism against civilian Jews as an okay method for trying to correct perceived injustice. Or maybe it's not so okay -- maybe these liberals are against terrorism -- but, hey, the protection of Israeli citizens is a bad motive to have. Why is the Christian liberal's normal, instinctive reluctance to embrace any human-killing approach to a goal suddenly lessened, suddenly not acting with as much force within their ethical weighings, when the targets are Jews?

Come up with an alternative theory to the following explanation and let me know. Tell me the following is wrong but let me know then what the reason actually is. I posit that it is because Jews have been pictured as soul-less oppressors for millenia. It is a neural pathway that has been pre-burned in the minds of the participants in Christian Western Civilization long before the formation of Israel. Jewish businesses in Germany are oppressing Germans. Jews are in a secret conspiracy to control banks and media. Most Jews are oppressive Jewish slumlords and they are one of the topmost significant factors causing black Americans' suffering in urban ghettoes (this was common belief among blacks in the 70's and 80's).

Jews killed Christ. Jews had secret rituals in the Dark Ages of kidnapping Christian babies and killing them as sacrifices ... in some cases eating them. (This was a widespread belief.)

Also the perception of Jews' value as live human beings with souls is just sometimes (not always, just sometimes) slightly lowered from the perception of value of Christians (just as American news watchers will be more moved by tragedies involving the deaths of white Europeans than the deaths of thousands more Bangladeshis.

Jews are white Europeans though ....?

But who can wonder at this phenomenon, after centuries of religious instruction that Jews have no souls, Jews will not go to heaven, Jews are damned because they reject Christ. We don't have to remain religious now in the 21st century to still be subliminally influenced by the attitudes of our religious forefathers.

Again, to clarify: it is not being argued here that Demotiki is anti-semitic; and, to be very precise, it is not being argued that the internal logic he uses to support his view is anti-semitic logic. I am saying that it is flawed logic and misguided. And then, more importantly, more externally, I am saying that this view -- one that is misguided and either illogical or based on contradictory values about the deaths of innocent civilians -- this view would not gain currency, gain traction, gain acceptance among large groups of people far and wide, traveling across oceans by word of mouth and by TV broadcasts and blogs and newspaper editorials and sermons delivered in mosques ........ unless pure, bigoted, hateful anti-semitism were alive and well in many quarters.

Sunday, February 05, 2006 5:40:00 AM  
Blogger Palmer said...

so demotiki is anti-israeli, not anti-semitic?

gotta warm up the pithy sound bite engine. 2008 is only 2 years away!

Thursday, February 09, 2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Bspot said...

Yes Palmer, but I would say three things: (1) Anti-Israeli (2) Probably not anti-semitic (3) But expressing some views that, possibly without his realizing it (or agree with me), have anti-semitic roots in my opinion (attitudes, assumptions).

The sound-bite answer:
Yes, but also, maybe without realizing it, he's passing on anti-semitic attitudes.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 11:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In defense of demotiki:

1. Understanding Jewish Influence I: Background Traits for Jewish Activism
2. Understanding Jewish Influence II: Zionism and the Internal Dynamics of Judaism
3. Understanding Jewish Influence III: Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement

Friday, February 10, 2006 5:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


To your question, "Why are you saying this as if protecting Israel from violent attack is a bad thing?" I have a few answers.

The obvious: Because protecting an Israeli state means killing more Palestinian men, women and children.... But Bush could care less about protecting Arabs or Jews. It should be fairly obvious by now that Israel is a military colony of the US, and that all the billions of dollars that Washington has invested in "protecting" Israel has less to do with any pressure from Zionist groups than it does with advancing US imperialism across the Middle East. Israel, completely dependent on the US for its survival, is thus America's scapegoat; it bears the brunt of all these "mini 9 11s" so that the US can become more of a superpower than it already is. The Israeli government and the US have entered into a devil pact, and kept Israeli citizens in the dark about it, so
that many of them trust blindly in propaganda and regard the Arab as the enemy. The point is to keep Israeli citizens brainwashed, unaware of the fact that they are fighting for the US...
Morality and religion are used towards this end, to sanction the violence. Israeli men and women are trained to kill for the Zionist cause. Are they fundamentally different from the teenagers who martyr themselves in Arab nations for the Palestinian cause? Who volunteer to become suicide bombers? Both believe they are doing good through evil.

Though you claim to have sympathy for the Palestinian refugees, you do not explore the predicament they face; you seem much more interested in lambasting bloggers for what you perceive as the latent anti-semitic content of their posts. I am not denying the reality of anti-semitism in the Moslem or the Western world. But I think your defensiveness about this matter has blinded you from seeing the larger picture. This blindness to the violence that the Palestinians have endured at the hands of the Israeli police, to the way their existence as a nation has been obliterated, is not unlike a denial of the Holocaust. One of the ironies of history is that oppressed groups usually become oppressors: the
recent actiions of the so-called Zionist state, Hezbollah and Hamas are proofs of this. We have a duty to be critical of oppressive regimes, especially when they claim to represent our interests. It would be a massive victory for
both Israel and Lebanon if their citizens adopted a more critical stance towards their governments. There is nothing remotely anti-semitic about saying that land was wrongly seized from the Palestinians, any more than there is anything remotely anti-American about saying that this nation was founded on genocide. Both are historical facts.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 2:24:00 PM  

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