Is Anti-Semitism Okay?

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ZeffD's picture
Is Anti-Semitism Okay?

Obviously discriminating or hostility to Jews is wrong. It is important to understand what's prompted this post of mine:
This is what Mr Ken livingstone actually said....
Quote BBC: Mr Livingstone appeared on BBC Radio London defending [MP Ms Shah] and said he had never heard anyone in the Labour Party say anything anti-Semitic.
He added: "When Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews."

Unsurprisingly, I couldn't quickly locate Ms Shah's comments in the UK media. They aren't hot on reporting, they tell "stories" for us. Her comments, broadly, were that Israel would be better relocated to the USA but no exact quote was given and no context of the remark, which is an old theme.

Anti-Semite: n.
One who discriminates against or who is hostile toward or prejudiced against Jews.
Anti-Semitic: adj
Prejudiced against or hostile to Jews.
But Semitic: adj
relating to or denoting a family of languages that includes Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic and certain ancient languages such as Phoenician and Akkadian, constituting the main subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic family.
relating to the peoples who speak Semitic languages, especially Hebrew and Arabic.

Note: Anti-Semitism has come to mean anti-Jewish which is not its literal meaning. It does NOT mean anti-Israel and it does NOT mean pro-Nazi. It does imply that one's motive is idle prejudice or ignorance.

When motivated by religion, I see circumcision as mutilating a child's genitals and a physical assault. I don't agree that religious faith is a good thing and suggest no Abrahamic religion is good. I see it as superstition best avoided. To that extent I could be seen as anti-Jewish (as I would say) or anti-Semitic as people in general would say. I am not violent and do not argue that the Jewish religion should be discriminated against or suppressed - obviously.

For various reasons, Zionism and Israel are controversial in the UK today. As regards the Ken Livingstone and Naz Shah controversies, I think suspending them is understandable and perhaps necessary given the loudness of the reaction (or how loudly the media are reporting it), but I think suspensions are probably unjustified by facts.

Many UK MPs are "Friends of Israel" but not "Friends of Palestine" and vice versa. I think there may be grounds for accusations of bias and prejudice there. Wiki stated that "80% of Tory MPs may be members of "Friends of Israel". If so, many seem to keep the fact hidden from the general public who seem not to care much anyway. Membership of "Fr of Israel" may also cause suspicion of influence using money or lobbying as that lobby is often presumed to be rich and influential in the UK.

I think people need to calm down and look at what is actually being said and communicated. Some people equate any criticism of Israel or Jews as being anti-Semitic (meaning anti-Jewish) and therefore Nazi-like. When anti-Semitism or Nazism are mentioned, listening and intelligent comment seem to stop.

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chimp3's picture
Criticizing religious ideas

Criticizing religious ideas is treading into dangerous territory. Being critical of a religion which is the cultural foundation of a long oppressed people who suffered genocide is even more problematic. I like to think of rational atheists as the Don Rickles's of the philosophical world. Rickles would insult and humiliate every single ethnic and racial group equally and they would pay big money to have him do it. Hitchen's was a bit like Don Rickles. People loved to debate him and get trounced. Believers would sit in the audience and see their ideological cornerstones smashed to bits.
I own a special privilege to attack the Jewish Bible since it is the first part of the Christian Bible which was used to try and frighten me into being an obedient little sheep.
I believe people everywhere have a right to self government . Although I feel confident enough in my belief system that I can attack any ideology that leads to theocracy or ethics which offend my liberal bias. Just as the Christian can love the sinner and hate the sin , I can love the person and ridicule their beliefs.

charvakheresy's picture
Criticism of religion,

Criticism of religion, religious dogma nations and even nationalist opinion I believe is fair game. Whatever your stance on the Israel - Palestine issue I believe it should not be termed as bigoted. Criticism of Ideas should be encouraged and a country or even its national direction are all ideas.

That would not necessarily mean that you would be disrespecting the demographic. good people can have bad ideas that can be questioned and questioning those ideas is not bigotry.

I guess you can draw the line at whether you disagree with the opinion/Idea or with the person/people in general. If it feels that your bias is against an opinion or an Idea it would be legitimate but when it transgresses in the realm of opposing people then it would classify as bigotry.

So in case of your example I believe that saying circumcision is a barbaric practice and it may be immoral to perform circumcision on children who cannot decide that for themselves (unless its for a medical reason), would imply I do not agree with the idea of religious circumcision. However if I were to say that jews and muslims are stupid for practising religious circumcision I might display prejudice.

I do understand its a fine line at times and one easily misunderstood

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