While I’m still dealing with influenza (I always forget just how horrible it makes you feel (and to see why you do feel horrible see here)) , I thought I’d do a post about the current religious nonsense here in the US.
We have conservative Christians having a tizzy that a US representative criticizes the country of Israel. They lie, of course, and try to claim being anti-Israel is being anti-Semitic. That the government of Israel continues to flirt with acting exactly like their historical persecutors, makes it a target for just criticism. When these same conservatives have no problem with worshipping a orange nitwit who says that wannabee nazis are “fine people” and the vice president is of a strain of Christianity that desperately wants the events in Revelation to come true and needs the state of Israel to be on the stage to be destroyed, this concern about anti-Semitism is nothing but poorly hidden hypocrisy.
Then we have Trump signing bibles for conservative Christians. It’s rather silly to see them acting like teens at a rock concert wanting some bit of trash signed by someone they idolize. Other presidents have signed bibles, at the request of families for a certain purpose, but it does seem to be an unusual practice, noted by a Christian professor from near where I live. This article notes the Washington Post article, which in turn notes that Trump does love to quote bible verses when convenient, and that “two Corinthians” verse is quite an interesting one, especially in context:
“7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses’ face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside, 8 how much more will the ministry of the Spirit come in glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, much more does the ministry of justification abound in glory! 10 Indeed, what once had glory has lost its glory because of the greater glory; 11 for if what was set aside came through glory, much more has the permanent come in glory!
12 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that[c] was being set aside. 14 But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. 15 Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Except for the Book of Hebrews itself, one can’t find much more of an anti-Jewish screed in the bible. Paul is still the persecutor, he just changed his colors and his horse. And that is what these ever so concerned Christians want to have Trump sign and cite. What I discovered that I didn’t know before is that some Muslims find that Paul to be a corruptor of JC’s word too. What a mess of imaginary claims, who hates who for what reason and all of it nonsense.
Of course, it’s these conservative Christians who insist that it was a “miracle” they *personally* weren’t killed (evidently 23 deaths were their god’s will) and how it’s just great that they get special attention from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for help but who cheered when that jackass Trump threatened the help received by people they don’t agree with in California.
What a foul tangle human invention makes to validate ignorance and selfish nonsense.
30 thoughts on “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Anti-Israel isn’t anti-Semitic”
The ‘tizzy’ is the very least that should happen.
When US representatives say things that are antisemitic and then refuse to correct or apologize, when the same cohort of misguided democrats refuses to condemn blatant antisemitism in their ranks, when people justify their antisemitism by exercising a double standard that vilifies Jews on the one hand while excusing their ‘victims’ for actions that would intolerable in any Western country, then perhaps a tizzy is the least of a response we should expect. Of course any nation should be criticized for human rights abuses but to isolate Israel and place it in a special category for condemnation is itself clearly antisemitic. So I think criticizing those who cause a tizzy is completely and utterly misguided. Antisemitism is on the rise because of the misguided vilification of Israel and the willingness to tolerate antisemitism when the ‘right’ people do it is well deserving of at least a ‘tizzy’.
But pretending antisemitism is justifiable on behalf of all those Muslim victims generally and Palestinians specifically, of course, is the Party line. But it’s still antisemitic.
Antisemitism is on the rise, first and foremost, in a push made by the classical anti-semites like David Duke. The “Jews Will Not Replace Us” chants happened on American soil, just last year and all the faces chanting were white.
Israel is not a dictatorship. It sits at the table with first tier developed countries and that’s why many people, especially inside Israel, believe Netanyahu’s policies are discriminatory and destructive – and deserve criticism. Palestinians do live in appalling conditions. There’s no getting around that. How that criticism is made necessitates special attention, but it can and should be made.
I agree. Discrimination deserves criticism. I just don’t think human rights are advanced by creating and maintaining two standards because human rights is a single standard and not a double as so many privileged people in the West are advocating on behalf of ‘victim’ groups. There’s a term for that… something along the lines of bigotry of lower expectations? Anyway, what some of these Democrats are advocating on behalf of victim groups like the Palestinians is and should be roundly criticized as antisemitic… just as much as the white supremacists should be criticized for racial bigotry.
What are they advocating? You can’t possibly believe there’s an equivalency between the actions of an elected state and a haphazard mass of people which includes everything from civilian to terrorist? Of course Israel *must* respect the standards expected of a civilised state.
The tizzy is aimed at a House resolution introduced to condemn antisemitism growing within the Democratic party that has since warped into a pablum condemnation of bigotry. This watered down version was to placate those who were too uncomfortable criticizing the strong antisemitism expressed by Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Rallying to their support are people like Linda Sarsour of the WM who actively uses the goons led by Louis Farrakhan for ‘protection’ for the Women’s Movement leaders.
So when you ask what is being embraced, the answer is the warm welcome and Democratic party defense offered to these antisemetic darlings of the Left.
Of course there’s an equivalency between public policies that intentionally discriminate no matter which government is doing the discriminating. That’s how you compare apples with apples. I find it reprehensible that most critics of Israel turn to a blind eye to the bounty offered by the Palestinian Authority for killing Jews, for the celebration of mass murder of Jews, for the children’s television programs aimed at indoctrinating children to think of Jews as a different species worthy of contempt and eradication. Surely these are worthy of few words of pointed criticism beyond some general handwaving about condemning discrimination. But nope… we need a different standard so that these atrocities can be safely ignored by all while the UN condemns Israel for the umpteenth thousandth time. There comes a point where the lopsided double standard indicates a dedication to vilify one specific group for reasons other than ‘discrimination’. It’s called antisemitism because it aimed only at the Jews.
The problem with this narrative is that it’s misleading.
You’ve personally made exceptionally denigrating comments about Muslims. Much worse than anything the women you mention have said.
So before we can go on with this discussion, I highly recommend you read this: https://www.wired.com/story/sam-harris-and-the-myth-of-perfectly-rational-thought/
I know you’re as much of a fan of mathematical thinking as I am, so even if you don’t initially agree I think you’ll see how the equations line up perfectly by the end.
Up to your usual tactics, I see.
The tactics of asking you to read an article which specifically talks about the interpretation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but if you’re more interested in affirming allegiance to an ideological field instead of placing all the information on a grid to see how it compares, then your concern is tribal affirmation and not the standards themselves. Read the article and then we can discuss the substance of the standards applied to each group.
The issue you are trying to raise as if it were a legitimate response to my comments is crap, pretending that the failure to denounce antisemitism isn’t really about the rise of acceptable antisemitism from the Left but the tribalism of those who dare to criticize the Left for failing to denounce antisemitism when it rears its ugly head – commonly as in this case under the guise of criticizing Israel.
As I have said, Israel deserves criticism when it carries out actions that discriminate. But so too do those people who only criticize Israel and conveniently remove the Palestinian Authority from being held equally responsible doing if not the same level of discrimination then also actions far, far in excess of Israel… like offering bounty money to families who have members kill Jews.
You want a double standard. That can be a related issue for discussion. In this regard I think those who accept a double standard are actually part of the ongoing problem and contribute to the antisemitic demand to eliminate Israel completely like the three House Representatives causing this ‘tizzy’ support. That’s a genocide waiting to happen and I think deserves significant criticism and condemnation from their party. This isn’t happening.
Look, Pink, this is what you always do: realign some issue expressed in the comments regarding the OP and then demand the ‘discussion’ be altered to be about something other than what it’s about (in this case about tribalism rather than antisemitism), that failing to follow your demands is somehow an admission of using a fallacy or submitting to a faulty ideology in the original comment. That’s why this tactic of yours is crap, as tedious and droll as it is chauvinistic because you first presume and then apply your assumption of bigotry as the cause for the original comment of others rather than the substance of the comment itself which, as you may regretfully recall, generally aligns with your own original comment. That’s how you should recognize that you are intentionally twisting things in order to change the topic.
I want the opposite of a double standard. In fact, I want the standard, or bar, to be so clear, that it makes it obvious for people to see how equations pan out. That way manipulation plays no role.
I’ll give you an interesting example. A while back people used the Rotherham child exploitation scandal as an example of how dangerous Muslims were. The implication being the religion created some form of pre-disposition to abuse. But the Catholic scandals which far outnumber the Muslim ones (that we know of) would imply, if we used that equation, that Catholics are considerably more dangerous to children than any other religion.
I’m looking up the comments you mention to read the transcripts but I’m finding mostly commentary. Does anyone here have the exact quotes. I found the allegiance comment, which could be applied to a biased relationship between any two countries (i.e. the support of Saudi Arabia after the Kashoggi killing) so I presume that’s not what you’re referring to as antisemitic.
claims of isolating Israel and placing it in a “special category for condemnation” are questionable. I don’t see them getting any more condemnation than anyone else. To insist that any condemnation of Israel is anti-semitic is silly, and to say that vilification of Israel is “misguided” is an intentional attempt to ignore their actions which are not humane in many cases. Unfortunately, IMO, the conservative Jews who are Israelis abuse their positions and the idea of anti-semitism when they try to guilt anyone who dares speak against them as if they were speaking about *all* Jews, many of which do not agree with them. They take a true concern and cynically use it for their own ends.
Questionable? Well in just 2018 there were 21 resolutions by the UN against Israel and 6 regarding the rest of the world. Immune were countries like China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, as well as about 180 other countries! At least Iran earned one, as did North Korea and the United States.
Seriously. These are the facts.
Do you seriously think for one second that Israel is 21 times worse than, say, Syria or Russia regarding human rights? Come on, clubschadenfreude. Israel is in its own special category that has standards unique to this Jewish State. Why is that? The only other ‘unique’ aspect is the fact that it is Jewish (Palestine, for example, is far and above more ‘apartheid’ in official policies than Israel but hey, nobody from the Left would dare to suggest a resolution against poor little Palestine), because its discriminatory polices and actions are by no means 21 times worse than the worst global offenders. In fact, if you had to choose where to live are you seriously telling me that you feel North Korea or Iran or Syria has greater respect than Israel for your human rights? Seriously?
What I’m saying is this complete lack of objectivity combined with this eagerness to go along to vilify Israel while granting almost a blanket forgiveness to all other countries in comparison is a sign of antisemitism. And the reason for that is because if the standard supposedly being applied to all countries that reveals Israel to be the worst of the worst were actually about human rights violations, the facts would bear this out. But the facts do not bear this out. Gross human rights violations far, far in excess of Israel’s official actions occur and yet do not receive anywhere near this ongoing blanket level of condemnation.
Furthermore, that there is a special consideration for Israel alone that has nothing whatsoever to do with human rights violations (but uses this excuse that almost no one questions) reveals something else going on here. And that ‘something else’ reveals a call – whether Westerners who so willing and habitually merrily go along with condemning Israel grasp this danger or not – that carries with it the very real threat of another genocide when you hear the mantra “From the mountains to the sea, Palestine will be free’. Free of what, Club? The obvious answer is Jews. That’s why these never ending condemnations of Israel are really code for acceptable antisemitism.
who were bringing these resolutions? 2018 will be fine.
So I presume you don’t think I have a point worth considering when you won’t address any of the substantive reasons I’ve raised. I’ll take the hint and leave you to it.
I asked you for information, tildeb. That you won’t answer tells me enough. I’m more than happy to discuss things, and I’ve already indicated that I think UN resolutions are largely nonsense. I’d rather deal with ground realities rather than tit for tat politics around a table that are more about oil than anything else. .
This kind of stuff happens all the time to the deafening criticism of… absolute silence. Different standards, you see.
Criticizing the Pope is not anti-Catholic, criticizing Bebe is not anti Israel or anti-Jew. Criticizing Willie Nelson is not anti-Texan. The right to free speech remains, even when we do not agree with it. Israel does WTF it wants, no matter what the US says or does. They always have and will continue to do so. When we see wrong, we should say so, no matter the religion, country, or ethnicity of the perpetrator. Criticism is not necessary hate speech. And why is it wrong to advocate for victim groups?
Why is wrong to advocate for victims groups? Because groups aren’t real things; people are. Individuals. That’s what each of us actually is in real life: individuals.
It is people – individuals – who suffer, people – individuals – who become subject to the group identities, and it is GROUPS and the identities applied to its membership that is the necessary foundation for the exercise of group bigotry. Without groups, you can’t have such group-based bigotry. If you wish to dis-empower group-based bigotry then the first step is that you have to stop thinking about people identifying this way and going along with the charade. ‘They’ are always individuals, just like you. That’s the basis for empathy and compassion, that you and ‘they’ share the identical individuality. You are not a group; you’re a person and should be treated not as an extension of some artificial group but by the quality of your character rather than, say, the colour of your skin. Sound familiar? Individual vs group.
By all means, advocate for real victims but you shoot yourself in the foot when you then switch that legitimate concern for individuals to be a concern for the welfare of artificially constructed groups into which you are slotting victimization as a whole. That is a guaranteed way to maintain bigotry. You are in effect turning a 3D real world problem – victimization any of us as individuals can understand and share – into a 2D facsimile of competing hierarchical groups with winner and losers, victims and victimizers, privileged and underprivileged. There can never, ever be equality using this framing unless absolute parity is enforced. That produces equity rather than equality and it eliminates diversity. It is a totalitarian ideology that will always produce victims – starting with dismantling your individuality and making the quality of your character some tertiary concern at best.
That’s why going along with the 2D facsimile that creates the framing that real people are just extensions of some hierarchical group with assigned characteristics for membership and power imbalance is itself the first step necessary for differences between individuals to be presented as some group-based bigotry. And that’s what we see going on especially in the Left these days. It is GroupThink in action under the virtue signalling guise of being concerned about ‘victims’.
So the declaration on anti-Semitism, is it about an individual or a group?
Well, there is no declaration on antisemitism meant to address this growing problem in the Democratic party. That’s what the ‘tizzy’ is all about. There’s now a watered down version condemning bigotry generally. Whoopty do. That fails to address the problem entirely while pretending to do something.
Antisemitism to be identified as such requires the group label; that’s how antisemitism works, assigning to a group called ‘The Jews’ a set of selected elements and applied to all members.
I agree in part. I think every community which is routinely targeted should have been mentioned.
I don’t know if you saw it in the news but last month a lawmaker in West Virginia compared gays to a terrorists and the KKK. In my opinion that’s tremendously offensive, and that says to me that certain standards need to be set in America across the board to stop this sort of thing happening.
I think a step in the right direction is to change how we think about the ‘Other’ to be seen as another version of ‘Me’ equally deserving of the same consideration and respect we hold for ourselves. This brings about a common ground in spite of many differences.
Separating people into groups and framing the world this way is step away from seeing one’s self in the Other by emphasizing the differences and inserting this artificially important group identifier as a boundary between people. This creates the necessary framework for discrimination. You cannot have discrimination unless you identity the Other as fundamentally different from one’s self, fundamentally deserving different consideration and different respect than what one expects for’s own tribe because of these group-based and emphasizes differences to create the memberships. Like religious belief that divides people into groups, this framing separates people into the assigned group and then creates a hierarchy between them… a hierarchy that must have two levels to exist as a hierarchy. It is a self propelled framing that will always produce discrimination, always produce victims and victimizers, always produce inequality of consideration and respect.
Change the framing, change the world. Identify the framing, identify the root cause of discrimination. That’s what must be challenged and criticized no matter who supports the framing.
Who does the framing? You might find this neuroscience article interesting: This Is Your Brain on Nationalism, The Biology of Us and Them: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-02-12/your-brain-nationalism
That last article might not be available in full – in which case this one is: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_biology_of_the_modern_political_divide
This is what I think education is about: learning how to think in different ways. That’s why it’s so challenging. One doesn’t have to rewire the brain to do this but one does need to make new connections and then have the discipline to use them rather than give in to expressing the primal circuitry.
In this commentary example, one has to learn by practice – not theory – to see others as individuals first, individuals who share the same considerations and need for respect as we do, which makes others part of the ‘Us’ in our neurology be the operating system we use regardless of the many differences that also exist between people. The greatest difficulty impeding this disciplined approach of how we view others is to unthinkingly categorize others into groups based on imported and framed considerations. For the racist, they see racial differences first and assign different values to the members of these different groups. For the sexist, they see sex-based differences first and assign different values to the members of these different groups. And so on. Group-based thinking is primal but that doesn’t mean we are well served by using it as our go-to approach. Grouping and categorizing people into groups is itself the first dehumanizing step we take – a mental shortcut – into which we can then slot our own grouping into a hierarchy (having much to do with utilizing our reptilian brain as social animals in order to feel more comfortable in the herd knowing where we fit).
In the same way we disciple ourselves to express our sexuality appropriately, even though the sexual urge is primal in the sense it is hardwired into our brain and always active, so too must we teach people to suppress our urge to create group-based social hierarchies appropriately and replace it with seeing individuals first. This is what I mean by ‘framing’. This was the call, for example, by Martin Luther King, to allow the quality of character to supersede the colour of the skin. This call to see the individual first is the core of Western civilization based on this Enlightenment principle of elevating the individual in law, a call that has slowly brought about the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, by framing people as individuals in law first… regardless of these other group affiliations. By ‘framing’ others as individuals who share exactly the same rights and freedoms, the same considerations and calls for respect that we ourselves desire, we have moved the social dial away from emphasizing differences and instituting hierarchies based on these characteristics to a more egalitarian social setting based on what all individuals share.
How this framing is done has reams of research showing that personal experience with individuals from the ‘outgroup’ breaks down the artificial group-based framing we will use that dehumanizes people into group membership and replaces it with knowledge that humanizes others who also have differences from ourselves. Those differences are real but they have to be framed as secondary to our shared humanity. This can be taught. (This is the real gem of a public education that includes individuals from across the group-based spectrum.) This can be implemented. We do not have to give in to our primal urges and group people into our discriminatory framework. And this is why today’s threat against individuality eroded in law and public policies is such a pernicious framing and a regressive step backwards from social advancement and progress we have made towards the better angels of our nature.
In case you want a copy of the article from Foreign Affairs I can email it to you.
What the author suggests, which seems highly plausible is that we’re wired to identify and exclude. We see that happening in highly educated circles, so education doesn’t really fix that basic hardware function.
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Thanks, Pink, but don’t sweat a single article. I read neurology and child psych journals all the time. Keeping abreast of best practices, donchaknow.
Don’t confuse university programs and graduation rates with education. They are not synonymous although universities offering such fluff courses as Asian Cooking, Film Studies, and Sociology would have you believe differently (yes, I get in trouble with those who think sociology is a real subject all the time). I have found there is a doubling down of single/acceptable framing – most notably in the Social Sciences – sweeping universities and the quality of the thinking ability by graduates – approaching subjects in a variety of ways and informed perspectives – has been on a steep decline for well over two decades now. I also find a correlation with the decline in enrollment both in the Arts and Humanities. I don’t think this is a coincidence. Apparently, universities are now supposed to be job training mills. Thinking well, thinking critically, thinking creatively, making connections between faculty subjects, is only what ‘elites’ care about, I guess. The rest of us will be told what to think. That’s what passes for education these days.
So although we are products of evolution and carry the brain functioning to categorize the world in easy-to-use groupings, that doesn’t mean we have to… any more than being subject to sexual appetite and capability to do great violence doesn’t mean we have some biological imperative to rape and pillage and then try to justify our deplorable actions this way. We have an excellent model to use over and above the baser impulses and this model is described by enlightenment values; what we lack is the cognitive discipline to put aside our baser thought patterns and substitute this higher functioning. KIt’s not surprising that the bulk of people who discriminate the most easily are the ones least ‘educated’. Over time and with practice, this more advanced enlightenment model becomes the default in the same way the mathematical algorithms you have been taught to use on a daily basis replace the baser One-Two-Many model we come equipped with. We need to fight our tendency to use GroupThink and always refer back to individuals, to put aside our baser thought pattern and replace it with a higher functioning one.
So what do you think is the viability of what you propose? Because I think the European model simply substituted micro nationalism for macro nationalism. Not Catalan, but Spanish, not Spanish but European. It’s all still about group membership.
I’ll have to say, tildeb, you certainly come off as a twit who thinks that only those things he is interested in are worthwhile. You don’t want groups, but then you want people to be treated as groups as long as that group is a group you approve of and that you think needs defended. You claim that the stupidity that the Palestinians do isn’t called out so hpw dare we contemplate what Israel does until there is absolute parity. First, just who doesn’t call it out, and I’m not talking bout political nonsense by a handful of people at the UN which fails at most things it does because of the failure at the Security Council. And second, you seem to think that no one can call out failure unless it is a tit for tat so no one gets offended.
I’d personally like to glass over that entire region, where idiots fight over whose imaginary friend is more important, and whose claim to shitty land is more important.