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Forwarded From: Whitney Bodman <email@example.com> My own experience is that people are commonly accused of anti-Semitism for criticizing Israeli policies. Part of this seems to stem from the idea that anti-Semitism, properly construed, applies to motives. Motives are, it seems, more often assumed or ascribed rather than actually discerned. Further, the very language of description (or ascription) tends to be hyperbolic - "Israel-bashers," and "Israel-haters." This language does not allow for the existence of more moderate views which, in my experience, are common. It is hard, for instance, to give an "Israel-basher" the benefit of the doubt if one has settled on that term as a proper description of what they are doing. A third problem is that the words of a few are applied to the whole. As you can see below, I teach at a Presbyterian Seminary. The Presbyterian Church has come in for quite a few accusations of anti-Semitism lately. I wonder if the people on this list feel that this is an accurate use of the term, and on what basis they would make such an application. Whit Bodman Whitney S. Bodman Ass't Prof. of World Religions Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 100 E. 27th St. Austin, TX 78705 512 404-4835 firstname.lastname@example.org -----Original Message----- > From: H-NET History of Antisemitism List > [mailto:H-ANTISEMITISM@H-NET.MSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Yocheved Menashe > Sent: Monday, August 22, 2005 1:24 PM > To: H-ANTISEMITISM@H-NET.MSU.EDU > Subject: H-Antisemitsm: Reply to Henry - antisemitism v anti-Zionism > > Forwarded From: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org> > > Original Message: > ----------------- > > Subject: H-Antisemitsm: B Henry replies to B Weintraub, antisemitism vs > anti-Zionism > > > Brian Henry <email@example.com> writes: > > "Moreover in my personal experience of the wider world, people are not > accused of antisemitism for criticizing a party or its policies. > Rather, > the charge of antisemitism is levelled when they demonize Israel, when > they make Israel out to be uniquely evil, figure Israelis as Nazis and > Sharon as Hitler, and say that Israel should be removed from the map." > > My reply: > > Making a moral equivalence between Sharon and Hitler-- as morally > reprehensible as that may be-- does not constitute anti-semitism, > despite > the irony. > ___________ > > > "However, when Israel-haters claim that demonizing Israel is > anti-Zionism > not antisemitism, their defence amounts to just this: Yes, they are > bigots, but they're bigoted against Israel, not against Jews. I don't > think the distinction much improves their moral standing. Also, I think > the distinction is usually counterfeit." > > My reply: > > Demonizing Israel is different, of course, than vociferous criticism of > its policies. Does it makes sense to say that a person can be bigotted > against a country? I had thought that one can be bigotted about kinds > of > people. If a person singles out Israel unfairly, then that person is a > hypocrite or applying a double standard. Both faults, but it does not > amount to anti-semitism. It seems to me that we should be loathe to > accuse someone of being anti-semitic unless the evidence unmistakable, > for > fear that such an accusation is used as a pretext to shut up legitimate > criticism. Is it not the best policy to give the Israel-bashers the > benefit of the doubt? A genuine anti-semite will not hesitate to admit > his hatred of Jews. > _________________ > > > "First, even if Israel-haters weren't otherwise guilty of antisemitism, > they'd be guilty of aiding and abetting antisemites. Most of the > Israel-hating Left may genuinely oppose old-style antisemitism in the > West, but it fully endorses Palestinian nationalism, while ignoring its > thoroughgoing antisemitism. Moreover while the Leftist intelligentsia > may > believe they can hold the line between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, > their continual attacks on Israel must certainly increase the > antisemitism > of others." > > My reply: > > In America, critics of the Bush policy in Iraq are accused of aiding and > abetting the Iraqi insurgency or otherwise demoralizing the American > troops. If this is a legitimate argument, then how can anyone EVER > criticize a government in a time of war? How does one qualify one's > criticism in order to be free from such ulterior motives? And how does > one account for the equally plausible human tendency to level unfair > accusations in order to quash dissent? Debate cannot be engendered > within > a "You are either with us or against us" mindset. Moreover, one cannot > be > held accountable for what others may make of one's legitimate criticism. > One may rightly be accused of poor timing in making one's criticism (on > account of the forseeable deleterious consequences), but such a mistake > is > a far cry from intending to aid and abet the enemy. > ________________________ > > > "Second, when Israel-haters employ classic antisemitic themes, accusing > Israel or Sharon or Jewish neo-Cons of pulling the strings in > Washington, > then this is not "just" anti-Zionism; it's antisemitism." > > My reply: > > I would agree. The fact that so-called "neo-cons" are > disproportionately > Jewish does not mean that the Jewish neocons are to blame particularly > where the majority of the neocons are not Jewish. Singling out Jewish > neocons is certainly anti-semitic while blaming "neoconservatism" would > not be. > ____________________ > > > "Third, when Israel-haters describe Israel as a Nazi state, Sharon as > Hitler, Gaza as a concentration camp, Jenin as Warsaw and so forth, this > is naked antisemitism. Even if the attack is ostensibly against Israel, > it has resonance only because it actually targets Jews. The essential > formulation is this: As the Nazis were to the Jews, the Jews are to the > Palestinians. Or more briefly: Jews are Nazis. Could any slander be > more > obviously antisemitic?" > > My reply: > > No doubt, morally equating certain Jews as Nazis is disgusting unless it > is true. I would assume that there is nothing about being Jewish that > would preclude one from comitting genocide. Such moral equivalences are > pernicious because they are not true, not because they are levelled at > Jews per se. Calling a non-Jew a Nazi is no less reprehensible. > _____________________ > > > "Fourth, when Israel-haters declare that Zionism is racism or otherwise > declare it's criminal for Jews to be a nation, this is antisemitism." > > My Reply: > > As long as the criticism is directed at CONDUCT and not IDENTITY, > accusations of anti-semitism are misplaced. Some of the most pious Jews > are rabidly anit-Zionist. Of course, criticism of conduct can be a > pretext > for criticism of identity, but there is no more reason to believe that > the > Israel-bashers are being duplicitous then it is to believe that the > Israel > defenders are not being duplicitous in trying to quash legimate dissent > by > demonizing the critics. Both sides are human and thus subject to the > same > human failings. > ____________________ > > Jeff Silberman > Timisoara, Romania > > -------------------------------------------------------------------- > mail2web - Check your email from the web at > http://mail2web.com/ . > > -- > Yocheved Menashe > List Editor, H-Antisemitism > > -- Yocheved Menashe List Editor, H-Antisemitism