Tag Archives | Anti-Semitism

Wrongfully Treating Academic Debate as Anti-Semitism

Shannon Kringen (CC BY 2.0)

Shannon Kringen (CC BY 2.0)

Saree Makdisi writes at the Los Angeles Times:

The principle of academic freedom at our universities is under attack by those seeking to shield Israel from criticism by silencing dissent, shutting down discussion and imposing a stifling atmosphere of intimidation at the University of California, in particular.

A coordinated set of petitions, including a letter signed by 57 rabbis, asks UC administrators to adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as a means to “accurately identify” and “publicly condemn” it in campus debate, protest and discussion. That problematic definition conflates principled criticism of Israeli policies with genuine anti-Semitism; if the university accedes to this demand, such criticism — and academic freedom — could be suppressed by administrative fiat.

The State Department definition explicitly draws on a formulation provisionally adopted by a European Union body but long since discarded. It stretches the concept of anti-Semitism to include “demonizing” Israel, comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and “denying Israel the right to exist.”

Such emotionally charged language attempts to preempt criticism of Israeli policies.

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In Solidarity With a Free Press: Some More Blasphemous Cartoons

Glenn Greenwald writes at the Intercept:

Central to free speech activism has always been the distinction between defending the right to disseminate Idea X and agreeing with Idea X, one which only the most simple-minded among us are incapable of comprehending. One defends the right to express repellent ideas while being able to condemn the idea itself. There is no remote contradiction in that: the ACLU vigorously defends the right of neo-Nazis to march through a community filled with Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Illinois, but does not join the march; they instead vocally condemn the targeted ideas as grotesque while defending the right to express them.

Some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo were not just offensive but bigoted, such as the one mocking the African sex slaves of Boko Haram as welfare queens (left). Others went far beyond maligning violence by extremists acting in the name of Islam, or even merely depicting Mohammed with degrading imagery (above, right), and instead contained a stream of mockery toward Muslims generally, who in France are not remotely powerful but are largely a marginalized and targeted immigrant population.
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‘Gas the Jews!': European Anti-Semitism During the Gaza Crisis

Isn’t this the kind of bullshit that fertilized Israel’s birth in the first place?

Protest against the Israeli attack on the Palestinians of Gaza held at the State Library 4 January 2009. Taken on January 4, 2009. Photo by Takver via Flickr.

Protest against the Israeli attack on the Palestinians of Gaza held at the State Library 4 January 2009. Taken on January 4, 2009. Photo by Takver via Flickr.

 

Zack Beauchamp writes at Vox:

Since the outbreak of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, there’s been a wave of street-level demonstrations rallying against the war. These protestors are generally highly critical of Israel and blame it for the current round of violence, but the vast majority want an end to the violence and are demanding it peacefully.

But the peaceful demonstrators are not alone in turning out to the streets over the Israel-Gaza conflict. A small-but-disturbing fraction of the international anger over the war has escalated into outright anti-Semitism: shouting “gas the Jews!” during protests in Germany, attacking synagogues in France, and beating a rabbi in Morocco.

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On anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Europe

PIC: Beny Slevich (CC)

PIC: Beny Slevich (CC)

Sara R. Farris writes at Al Jazeera English:

In 1844, Karl Marx published a short but dense text entitled “On the Jewish Question”. It was a critical review of two essays by the-then famous philosopher Bruno Bauer, who had argued against equal rights for Jews if granted on religious grounds. If Jews wanted to be considered full citizens – Bauer maintained echoing the widespread opinion of the time – Jews would have to abandon their religion and embrace Enlightenment. According to this logic, there was no room for religious demands in a secular society.

As Bauer’s position suggests, anti-Jewish racism in Germany and elsewhere in Europe in the first half of the 19th century, was justified mainly on cultural and religious grounds. Jews were discriminated and regarded with suspicion because they were considered an alien “nation within the nation”. In fact, it was not until the second half of the 19th century and the rise of “social Darwinism” that “racial anti-Semitism”, framed in biological terms, appeared on the political scene and Jews were openly discriminated against on the basis of their alleged genetic inferiority.

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Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Fires Back At Accusations of Anti-Semitism Following Criticism of Israel

PIC: Jethro (CC)

PIC: Jethro (CC)

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

Confronting recent criticism of his support for Palestinian rights and the BDS movement in two furious, personal, open letters, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters rips the “crude pattern” of equating his and others’ criticisms of “the policies of this government of Israel” with anti-Semitism, viewing it as perhaps “a reaction to the fact that BDS is gaining ground, day by day and year by year, all over the world.” Arguing that dehumanization of the other is “the root of all injustice and oppression” and that “the tree of fear and bigotry bears only bitter fruit,” Waters cites the death of his father fighting the Nazis in Italy to chide critics – especially those penning poisonous pieces about Waters’ “anti-Semitic stench” – with, “Do not presume to preach to me, my father’s son, about anti-Semitism or human rights.”

“Look to your own house and the human rights abuses and racism of the Israeli government you defend.

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Media Hit Job Of The Year: Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas. Photo: rachaelvoorhees (CC)

Helen Thomas. Photo: rachaelvoorhees (CC)

Our Media Experienced A Few Highs and Many Lows in 2010;

None As Disgraceful As The Vitriol Against Helen Thomas

In 1960, I co-founded a student magazine at Cornell University called Dialogue. I was a wannabe journalist, fixated on emulating the courageous media personalities of the times, from Edward R. Murrow to a distinctive figure I came to admire at presidential press conferences, a wire service reporter named Helen Thomas.

In recent years, my faith in the power of dialogue in politics has been severely tested—as, no doubt has hers—in an age where diatribes and calculated demonization chills debate and exchanges of opposing views.

Once you are labeled and stereotyped, especially if you are denounced as an anti-Semite, you are relegated to the fringes, pronounced a hater beyond redemption, even beyond explanation.

You have been assigned a scarlet letter as visible as the Star of David the Nazis made Jews wear.… Read the rest

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The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the UK Election

Election-leafletIt’s election season in Britain and it’s shaping up to be one of the most interesting in decades. Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg is seriously shaking up the status quo in a way that could turn the traditional two choices of political party into a tripartite race, with the usual ragbag of independents to spice things up. In the past that has meant candidates from the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and others, but this year we have an independent candidate whose election platform combines lines from notorious antisemitic document the Protocols of the Elders of Zion with Europhobia, anti-environmentalism and attack on the “needless spoiling of the firework trade,” as reported in the Guardian:

OK, this is an odd one – a candidate running in Sevenoaks on a platform quoting liberally from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – the notorious Russian forgery claiming a worldwide Jewish conspiracy that served as a key text for 20th century European antisemitism.

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