Confronting anti-semitic discourses head on: How to avoid self-silencing

I read Darnell Moore’s response to Judith Butler with great interest.  Like many people, I have profound respect and great fondness for this brilliant man.   Darnell notes that anyone who speaks about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is entering a minefield.   Some Jewish people react with fury to criticism of Israel, and try to block Israel’s critics from jobs and public recognition by conflating attacks on Israeli policy with anti-Semitism.   How, then, can critics of Israel respond to charges of anti-Semitism and avoid the self-censorship or “ideological occupation of thought” that Darnell describes?

One simple solution is for critics of Israeli state policies to understand the history and character of anti-Semitic discourse.  The only way to engage in a fight against the occupation of Palestinian territories that is thoroughly devoid of anti-Semitism, however, is to acknowledge that anti-Semitic discourse exists and has its own specific cultural and ideological power.

I am one of Darnell’s Jewish friends who has warned him about the “trap of anti-Semitic discourse….”   I write this post because I realize that in the course of our many discussions, I never adequately articulated my concerns about this discourse.  I do not believe, as Darnell summarizes, that any “testimonies about the occupation are coded indications of one’s disdain for Jewish people….”  I do believe, however, that anti-Semitic discourse exists. It is deeply embedded in Christian culture; since the start of the twentieth century, it has had a powerful presence in the Muslim world as well.  It bears ideological similarities to homophobia, racism, and misogyny, and distorts the thinking of anyone who partakes of it. There are also factual arguments that focus on the incontestable wrongs committed by the state of Israel, highlighting the ways that their ongoing military occupation violates international law.   Pro-Palestinian activists should distinguish between the two types of arguments, so that they can repudiate the former.  This would disarm their critics and strengthen the moral legitimacy of their critiques of Israeli state policies.

Instead, as Darnell’s essay notes, most anti-occupation activists assume that anyone who raises concerns about anti-Semitism simply opposes Palestinian rights.  This assumption inverts right-wing Israelis’ insistence that anyone who challenges  Israel’s suppression of Palestinian rights is an anti-Semite. Pro-Palestinian activists thus employ the same type of over-simplification that “pro-Israel” activists have long traded in.  Both groups refuse to make a distinction between anti-Semitism and critiques of Israeli policy.   This is a view that right-wing Israelis have cynically promoted, but one that pro-Palestinian activists who hope to win a moral argument cannot afford. 

It should not be difficult to distinguish between these two camps.  Pro-Palestinian activism entails critiquing specific policies of the state of Israel.  Anti-Semitism is a 2000-year-old ideology that sees Jews as inherently corrupt and money-grubbing, as killers of the son of God and of Christian babies, and, more recently, as master manipulators who control global finance, communism, and the media. Anti-Semitic ideology views Jews as superhumanly clever people who are responsible for whatever goes wrong internationally.   It predates the modern state of Israel by two millennia and given its flexibility and long history, will certainly outlive political contestations around the Israeli state.

Yet the two concepts are routinely muddled, particularly in the Middle East.  The most common example is the claim that “Zionists” were behind the 9/11 attacks.  This assertion casts Israel, the Jewish state, as a sinister force of almost supernatural ability and unlimited capacity for evil, bent on manipulating other nations in pursuit of its twisted self-interest.  This belief is embraced by millions in the Arab world. I have met U.S. leftists who also believe this claim. 

While many nations, including our own, engage in horrific behavior against other nations and against minorities within their own borders, the fact that Israelis are Jews means that their state violence, and theirs alone, can be understood in terms of a pre-existing, centuries-old anti-Semitic language.   The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement states that it is opposed to anti-Semitism as well as all forms of racism or anti-Arab language.  While I do not doubt that most BDS activists abhor anti-Semitism, their claim to oppose anti-Semitism would have more force if they had a record of confronting allies over anti-Semitic language.  They will not amass such a record, however, if they and other anti-occupation activists assert that anti-Semitism never surfaces in their movement, or that any charges to the contrary are simply covers for anti-Palestinian feeling.  (In the one case I’m aware of in which BDS proponents soundly condemned an ally for anti-Semitism, the ally in question was himself a former Israeli Jew.) 

Here is my advice for people who want to speak out against Israeli state policies but fear being labeled as anti-Semitic if they do so:

First, thoughtful critics of Israel must not feel “policed” or “silenced” by secular, Christian, or Jewish groups that construct “the image of a respectable Israel and ruthless Palestine,” any more than activists should feel silenced by secular, Christian, or Jewish groups that traffic in any simplistic and easily refutable idea — those that construct heterosexuals as perfect and homosexuals as degenerate, the U.S. as ideal and the rest of the world as inferior, etc.  If activists were silenced by their opponents’ crude and unsophisticated arguments, there would be no activists.

Instead, good people silence themselves out of concern that they might inadvertently engage in speech that is bigoted.  To address this worry, inform yourselves about how anti-Semitic discourse operates.  Then you will recognize it as readily as you recognize and resist racist, misogynist, and homophobic discourses.  If you learn the tropes, you won’t use them yourself, and will feel confident critiquing them when you see them used by others.   While such care will mean nothing to the most ardent defenders of Israeli policies, it will ease your own conscience and enable you to speak.

Here is a concrete example of the way that pre-existing anti-Semitic discourses (and actions) complicate pro-Palestinian activism.  Some who oppose the occupation, which goes against international law, also oppose the legitimacy of the state of Israel – and no other nation.   They thereby cast the Israeli state as uniquely sinister.  First, it isn’t true.  Many states engage in violent suppression of minorities, neighboring communities, or inhabitants of distant nations.  There are many nations whose origins entailed the displacement of populations, including our own.  Second, depicting Israel as a uniquely evil state that has no right to exist aligns too neatly with the centuries-old depiction of Jews as a uniquely evil people who have no right to exist.  Pre-existing anti-Semitic discourse thus adds an ugly charge to a political critique that is logically suspect to start with.  Jews who are sensitive to the history of anti-Semitic thought note these resonances, as should anyone who engages in such discussions. 

Activists wishing to avoid charges of anti-Semitism should be knowledgeable enough to understand that some Jews will find it hard to distinguish between calls for Israel’s destruction that are violent and overtly anti-Semitic, and arguments against the legitimacy of Israel that are based on progressive credentials, anti-colonial politics, and “holding Israel to a higher moral standard.”   The longer history of viewing Jews as uniquely evil can illuminate why BDS activists’  determination to overturn what they see as Israel’s uniquely flawed ideological foundation could be read as anti-Semitic.

Some activists resist the label of anti-Semitism by highlighting Israeli malfeasance.  The idea is that if the Israeli state’s violent, illegal or racist behavior is thoroughly documented, this will prove that attacks on the state’s legitimacy are fair and not based on anti-Semitism.   This doesn’t work, since it does not address – and indeed, can aggravate – the foundational idea of anti-Semitism, which is that Jews are uniquely evil and illegitimate.   The fact that amassing evidence against Israel cannot fully free one from charges of anti-Semitism might seem unfair to activists who, for whatever reason, are concerned with oppressive acts by Israel and not with similarly oppressive acts by other states.  It remains the unfortunate ideological reality of the situation, however – one that cannot avoid being shaped by anti-Semitic ideologies that long predate the modern Israeli state.

Activists should not be silenced by false charges of anti-Semitism that have long been leveled against critics of Israel.   At the same time, activists deny 2000 years of history – and display a great deal of naiveté about the cultural power of ideology — if they assert that anti-Semitism has no influence whatsoever on perceptions of the “Jewish state.”  To craft a critique that does not inadvertently feed into anti-Semitic rhetoric takes conscious, deliberate thought.  This will never happen as long as Americans who support Palestinian rights simply assert that anti-Semitism has no influence in the world today, and hence no impact on international reactions to Israeli policies. 

One possible way out of this bind is to be consistent.  If you are opposed to theocracies, inform yourself about other state theocracies.  If Israel is immoral because it denies certain rights to minorities, learn about other nations that engage in similar behavior.  If Israel is illegitimate because of “disappearing villages/ languages, re-ordering geographies,” etc., go beyond mentioning that such activity is to be opposed “wherever these acts might occur in the world….” Instead, name and condemn the states that engage in such acts.**   Otherwise, Israel’s critics will be open to the charge that they are holding Israel to a unique standard, and calling for the state’s dissolution for reasons that are less than straight forward. If activists find that near identical acts of state violence undertaken by nations other than Israel has less of a charge, think about why.  Activists win when they know their subject inside and out.   A call for consistency is not too much to ask.

** See Stephen Zunes, “Divesting from All Occupations,” Foreign Policy in Focus, July 25, 2012. Zunes describes the near-exact parallels between Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The sufferings of the people of Western Sahara are largely invisible and have no particular charge or resonance.

About Beryl Satter

Beryl Satter is Professor of History at Rutgers University in Newark. She is the author of Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America (Metropolitan Books, 2009).
Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, US Politics

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  1. mthunlan says:

    the problem of Antizionistic theories -simply being confronted with this multitude of garbage- is that they are like “Silent Post” theories. You should kow any instable condition tends at least to one stable condition as its attractor.
    Instable weired Antizionistic theories (sorry but I don’t know any other and have reasonable doubts that something other can exist) therefore have stable Antisemtic theories as their attractor.
    If e.g. somebody argues “Zionism brought inequality to the people in Palestine because it prefers Jews over Arabs!”
    It’ll end in ” Zionism is the next Jewish scoundrel brainchild which pours its evil over the world and especially the Palestines are suffering within!”
    Silent Post -what else!

  2. J. Otto Pohl says:

    This is an absolutely ridiculous position. It completely ignores the power dynamics that have existed in the world since 1948. Anti-Arab racism is a concern because there are powerful states like Israel that practice racial discrimination along these lines. There are currently no states practicing similar forms of racial discrimination against Jews so anti-Semitism is far less of a concern. Indeed comparing Palestinian anti-Semitism to Israeli anti-Arabism is no different than being concerned about anti-white racism in apartheid South Africa. Yes, some members of South Africa’s national liberation movements expressed racist sentiments against whites. But, given the power differential between these movements and the apartheid regime there was no moral equivalency. The same thing is true in Palestine. Anti-Semitism in Palestine today is not morally equivalent to Israeli apartheid and the claim that it is in this post is ludicrous. Israel is illegitimate for the same reasons apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia were illegitimate. It was not always unique, but with the end of White minority rule in Southern Africa Israel has become unique in being the only apartheid state left in the world. The best way to deal with the charge of anti-Semitism is just to ignore it. It has finally become a meaningless term in the 21st century.

    • mthunlan says:

      Quote..Israel is illegitimate for the same reasons apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia were illegitimate…

      8=(

      Quote (Art.20 of the PLO Charter -despite any promisses of having been modified still valid until today)..Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of their own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong. …

      8-0

      • Mooser says:

        What are “promisses”? Are they like premises, only more ineffable, or even ethereal?

        • mthunlan says:

          Sorry English is not my mother tongue!
          But I can assume you have at least a rudimentary ability of abstraction.
          I hope this is not a bona fide

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        You failed to include the first sentence to Article 20 — “The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.”

        What am I saying??? Of course, you omitted that material; it gives the proper context to that Article. But I guess you believe your lie of omission is somehow relevant to anything…

    • Kathleen says:

      Agree with J Otto but going to read again

      I’m going to re read again Beryl also. Agree that many nations are illegitimate, have displaced peoples etc. But being forced to say Israel has the “right” to exist instead of Israel exists based on the 67 line recognized by the international community is absurd. Israel exists based on the 67 border and is recognized by the international community. That feels right to me.

      Beryl are you saying that the I lobby does not have an enormous amount of control over factual information about this conflict being reported in our MSM. I think you are absolutely wrong on that one. And at what point was the term anti- semitic only applied to derogatory views of Jewish individuals. I thought the word semite included many peoples in that region of the world.

    • Erasmus says:

      Re: …“The best way to deal with the charge of anti-Semitism is just to ignore it.”..
      Agreed, as much as you can at least.

      An actualized redefinition of AS is:

      “An antisemite used to be someone who hates Jews;
      nowadays an antisemite is someone Jews hate.”

      Gilad Atzmon

  3. OK,

    So before you call Israel illegitimate, you must first list every state that also is illegitimate and state exactly why.

    And before you demand a boycott against Israel, you must explain why it deserves to be boycotted, and also why other states deserve to be boycotted, and why, broken down state-by-state.

    OK, no problem.

    The BDS movement will get back to you in 20 years, after properly studying each of the world’s states and their histories. (Assuming that Palestinians will continue to have the leisure time, electricity, and computer resources to do this research).

    Funny how the civil rights movement never was asked to go through this massive research undertaking.

    But that’s OK!

    See you in 20 years, and sorry for bothering you with all that BDS talk without doing this important research first.

    • J. Otto Pohl says:

      Using this strategy there would never have been any sanctions or divestment against South Africa. Arguably the human rights situation in a number of other countries were worse than in South Africa. But, the decision to employ BDS is not based on a country being the worst or in the case of the OP “uniquely evil.” It is made on the basis that BDS can be effective and it is supported by the majority of the population. So no we do not need to boycott China over Tibet, Morocco over Western Sahara, and India over Kashmir before we can oppose Israeli apartheid and colonialism.

      • Kathleen says:

        The question of why Israel is being looked at also includes how much aid we give Israel, how Israel’s actions directly undermine U.S. national security. Many former CIA analyst have been bringing this issue up a great deal the last 10-20 years as well as being in the 9/11 commission report. So what Israel does and does not do directly effects U.S. National security.

        • NCINA says:

          The $ 3 billion “aid” are load guarantees, 70% of that goes into US high-tech defense helping it to be a the cutting edge as well as helping to directly support literally thousands of US jobs, not Israelis.

          The rest of the monies are paid back on time and in full without a single default. This can’t be said for other Arab/Muslim nations which aid is given. In fact the monies in total to Israel is a fraction in total it gives to the Muslim/Arab world.

          One would think that if you are against the loans/”aid” then be against all of the aid/loans to the Arab/Muslm world, it would at least be consistent. I forgot to add that the “aid”/loans pay dividends, the benefits exceed cost.

          Israel not only protects itself militarily but can do what no other nation in the region can do for the US. So please don’t think its out of altruism and love for Israel, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
          link to jcpa.org
          link to jpost.com
          link to bloomberg.com
          link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

        • flyod says:

          i like this thinking nc. a good business plan. let’s carry it further…since we need to stimulate the u.s economy why not offer the same terms to iran and then while were at it, how about syria? look at all the high tech jobs we just created.

        • Shingo says:

          The $ 3 billion “aid” are load guarantees,

          False. The loan guarantees are in addition to the 3 billion in aid.

          70% of that goes into US high-tech defense helping it to be a the cutting edge as well as helping to directly support literally thousands of US jobs, not Israelis.

          False again. When Israel placed the order for it’s 20 F-35′s, the cost was over 3 billion allocated for that year. Lockheed and Israel did a deal with Congress to outsource some fo the production to Israel, so that they could pay Israel. The deal was worth billions and thousands of jobs – that’s billions lost to the US and thousands fo US jobs lost to Israel.

          The rest of the monies are paid back on time and in full without a single default.

          False. In addition to loan guarantees, there are US government loans, which are frequently forgiven and not paid back.

          Israel not only protects itself militarily but can do what no other nation in the region can do for the US.

          Yes, such as become a strategic liability and incite attacks like 911.

    • mthunlan says:

      This instable thery of boycotting I on campus will lead into the stable theory of “Ich bin am Ort das größte Schwein und lass mich nur auf Juden ein!”
      Think about it if you are willing to or can!

  4. mthunlan says:

    read my post below!
    I didn’t read Moosers garbage before.
    QED!

  5. Woody Tanaka says:

    {insert thumbs-down icon here}

    We don’t need articles saying, “here’s an officially approved way for you to think and to act, so that your opponents won’t think bad thoughts about you, even though they are being irrational when they do so.” What the world needs is articles aimed at zionists and their supporters that says, in essence, “I know in a reasonable world, this wouldn’t be necessary, but just because Jews have been unfairly targeted in the past does not make present-day criticism of Israel anti-semitic, and if you think so then you are part of the problem.”

    I mean, for pete’s sakes, would have Ms. Satter said during the Cold War: “Now remember, before every statement criticizing the Soviets’ human rights record, be sure to emphasize that you’re not a stark-raving anti-Russian bigot!!!!” ???

  6. Henry Norr says:

    >Anti-Semitism is a 2000-year-old ideology that sees Jews as …
    >master manipulators who control global finance… and the media.

    So, Ms. Satter, it’s anti-semitic to describe the world as it (largely) is?

    • Krauss says:

      Global Media isn’t Jewish. Jews have an outsized influence in selected Western countries, like the U.S. and it’s media and that has a global reach but the biggest news organizations like Reuters, AP and others are controlled by non-Jews. News Corporation, the same.

      Finance is even more specious. Goldman Sachs has stopped being a Jewish-owned firm since the 1960s(even if it’s top two men are Jews). JP Morgan, Citibank, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America etc all have non-Jewish CEOs.

      Jews have an outsized say, but to claim that Jews ‘control’ all of the media in the world or even international finance is ridicolous. How many Jews control the Chinese media or the Australian banks to name an example?

      This is lazy thinking.

    • NCINA says:

      For your perusal:

      Top ten Banks as of 2011:

      1. Citibank (Citigroup); Top Stock owner FMR LLC (Fidelity Investments), 114,721,008 shares. FMR LLC founder Edward Johnson II, Key people: Edward Johnson, III (Chairman & CEO), Abigail Johnson (President, Fidelity Personal Workplace and Institutional Services), Kathleen Murphy (President, Fidelity Personal Investing). Johnson surname is not a Jewish surname, but is of Norman (English) origin, which arose in England with the Norman conquest. (sources Yahoo Finance and link to houseofnames.com)

      2. JP Morgan Chase; Top Stock owner: STATE STREET CORPORATION at 155,008,429 shares: Jay Hooley (President and CEO), of SSC. The Hooley surname is English in origin. link to houseofnames.com

      3. HBC Bank; Top stock owner: FMR LLC (Fidelity Investments) at 12,709,655 shares. See Johnson family above.

      4. Bank of America; Top stock owner: STATE STREET CORPORATION at 455,747,401 shares. See Jay Hooley above.

      5. Credit Agricole Group; French bank not listed on Yahoo Finance.

      6. Royal Bank of Scotland: “The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS) is a British banking and insurance holding company in which the UK Government (HM Treasury) holds an 84% stake.[2]” sources wiki, and “London Stock Exchange – RBS agrees key terms of Asset Protection Scheme, 3 November 2009”.

      7. Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group; Top stock owners: FISHER INVESTMENTS, INC. at 41,007,509 shares. Owner and CEO of FI is Kenneth L. Fisher. Fisher is an Old English spelling of Fischer, which has it’s roots in England after the Norman Conquest. link to houseofnames.com

      8. Mizuho Financial Group; Top stock owner: BRANDES INVESTMENT PARTNERS L.P. at 25,298,600; stock owner: Charles H. Brandes. Brandes surname is Germanic in origin. link to houseofnames.com

      9. HBOS; owned by the Lloyds Banking Group; largest stock owner of Lloyds: CITIGROUP INC. at 8,354,258 shares. See above on Citigroup.

      10. BNP Paribas; Top stock owners: Due to this French based company being a S.A. company public info on stock ownership is unavailable.

      Top Banks list, source link to therichest.org.

      So we can see that the Anglos and other people of European ancestry dominates the banking system, and certainly not the Jews or Zionists. Now lets turn our attention to the “Zionist controls the media” claim.

      1. Walt Disney; top stock owner: FMR LLC (Fidelity Investments) at 75,296,433 shares. Aha! So we find the Johnson family popping up again. Also the number 2 largest stockholder is State Street, which has Jay Hooley as CEO. See above for information on both.

      2. News Corporation; top stock owner: Capital Research Global Investors, CEO David I. Fisher, Chairman. Another Fisher surname. See above about the Fisher surname. Also, I want to point out that the claim that Rupert Murdoch is Jewish is false, and no, his mother Mrs. Greene is not Jewish…they are of Irish descent.

      3. Time Warner; top stock owner: DODGE & COX INC at 55,835,352 shares. This institution is also the second largest stock holder of News Corp. John Gunn is both Chairman and CEO of D&C. The Gunn surname has it’s origins with the Viking settlers of Scotland. link to houseofnames.com

      4. CBS Corporation; top stock owner: WADDELL & REED FINANCIAL INC. at 44,852,020 shares (JP Morgan Chase is the second largest stock owner, see above about JP). Guess who’s the top stock owner of W&RF? FMR LLC!! Back to the Johnson family yet again!

      5. Viacom; top stock owner: MFC (Manulife Financial) Global Investment Management (U.S.), LLC at 3,245,945 shares. Donald Guloien, President and Chief Executive Officer
      Gail C.A. Cook-Bennett, Chair of the Board of Directors. Don’t know of any Jews with the surname Guloien, which appear to be a variant spelling of Gullyen. Bennett: “Bennett is an English and Irish language surname derived from the medieval given name Benedict (Latin, Benedictus, “blessed”). link to en.wikipedia.org

      6. NBCUniversal; subsidiary of General Electric and Comcast; top stock owner of GE: VANGUARD GROUP, INC. at 412,335,282 shares (FMR LLC and STATE STREET are also on the list…again.). William McNabb, President, John J. Brennan, Chairman
      John C. Bogle, Founder. McNabb surname is of Scottish origin link to houseofnames.com. Brennan, is of Irish origin link to houseofnames.com. Bogle, is of German and Scottish origin link to houseofnames.com

      7. BBC; public service broadcaster, based in the UK, and led by Lord Patten of Barnes
      (Chairman, BBC Trust), Mark Thompson ,(Director-General). The Barnes surname arose in England during the Norman conquest link to houseofnames.com. The Thompson surname is Scottish in origin link to houseofnames.com.

      8. Reuters; owner: Thomson Corp. David Thomson, Shirley Thomson Chairman. The Thomas surname is also Scottish in origin. link to houseofnames.com

      So there you have it folks. People mostly of Scottish, Irish, Germanic, and English ancestry dominates ownership of the Media and Banking sectors. So the correct claim is that there are many Jewish employees in both sectors…not owners. Those who promote the myth of Jewish ownership of both sectors, really need to do their homework.

      Oh, and you can get this information at Yahoo Finance.

      • ColinWright says:

        Yeah. I just threw away my notes from when I rebutted the same charge a month or two back.

      • straightline says:

        @NCINA “So there you have it folks. People mostly of Scottish, Irish, Germanic, and English ancestry dominates ownership of the Media and Banking sectors.”

        No – the rational conclusion is: people with originally Scottish, Irish, Germanic, and English surnames have ownership of some of the key organisations in banking and media.

        What about this Thompson?

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Would you regard him as being of Scottish ancestry?

        Or these Gunn’s?

        link to gunnsbakery.com

        Or this Fisher?

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Or these Brandes?

        link to houseofnames.com

        Or this Bennett?

        link to jewisheastend.com

        This is becoming boring! All I can say NCINA is “twaddle”! You can get all of this information by going on Google!

        • NCINA says:

          Point is most share majority holders and/or owners aren’t Jewish which part of that can’t you process?

          PeaceThroughJustice – any evidence that these people are Jews running them? Even if they are all Jews is it any more relevant that say blacks, browns, muslims, sikhs or mongolians?

          Its those that are majority share holders/owners that hold the most influence. Business 101 – you’re welcome to search for all the Jewish CEO if you please and link that to their influence and control.

      • “Oh, and you can get this information at Yahoo Finance.”

        Unfortunately, it’s all completely meaningless. (Why did you got to such lengths to avoid mentioning the Chairmen and CEOs?)

        Krauss seems also to be confused. If you have an IRA at Fidelity which invests in Goldman Sachs, then it’s true you can be said to be an owner of Goldman Sachs. But the person who runs Goldman Sachs is the Chairman/CEO, who last time I looked was Lloyd Blankfein. Same for Dimon at JP Morgan. You’ll find about half of the major major Wall Street firms have Jews running them.

        (BTW, on the media side, AP is a cooperative owned by all the other big newspaper/media players. It’s leadership rotates among those owners. Not too long ago it was the Newhouse brothers, for example.)

        • tree says:

          “Oh, and you can get this information at Yahoo Finance.”

          Unfortunately, it’s all completely meaningless. (Why did you got to such lengths to avoid mentioning the Chairmen and CEOs?)

          Its more than meaningless. Its incredibly misleading and frankly downright ignorant. NCINA seems to want to imply that Fidelity Investments controls Citigroup, Disney, etc. just because she found out “at Yahoo Finance” that Fidelity is the top shareholder. Of course, what she doesn’t mention, and is possibly too ignorant to figure out, is that, while Fidelity as an institutional investor holds, respectively, 114 million shares and 75 million shares of those two companies, the total shares outstanding for Citigroup is 2.9 BILLION, and the total shares outstanding for Disney is 1.79 BILLION. Therefore, Fidelity “controls” only about 5% of the shares of Citigroup, and 4% of the shares of Disney. Then, rather than mentioning the names of the CEOs of Citigroup and Disney(only one of whom is Jewish, BTW), who clearly do control decision making at those companies, NCINA thinks its relevant, or worse, she thinks it proves her point, to mention instead the CEO of Fidelity, who clearly and obviously does NOT control decision making at either Citigroup or Disney. The rest of her entries are just as ignorant for the very same reason.

          (For anyone interested, you can compute “shares outstanding”(the total number of shares of a company in existence in the financial universe) by dividing a company’s Market Cap by the share price.)

          Poor NCINA, single-handedly lowering the reputed Jewish mean, median and average. Next time you attempt to “do our homework” for us, try understanding the topic first.

  7. YoungMassJew says:

    * Zionist Israel is illegitimate. I country with a codified constitution in a single state with equal rights for Jew, Arab, Bedouin, Druze alike called, I don’t know, Israstine, Israstein, whatever would be legitimate. When people talk about how they “hate Israel” and everything about it, without saying specifically Zionist Israel, yeah it does the movement tremendous harm, as we’ve seen with some of the main commentators who hog the stage here who otherwise have brilliant remarks. Then again, does the term Israel have a strictly biblical religious connotation, or is it meant to be secular? It’s further adds confusion I guess.

    • seafoid says:

      “Some who oppose the occupation, which goes against international law, also oppose the legitimacy of the state of Israel – and no other nation. They thereby cast the Israeli state as uniquely sinister. First, it isn’t true. Many states engage in violent suppression of minorities, neighboring communities, or inhabitants of distant nations. There are many nations whose origins entailed the displacement of populations, including our own. Second, depicting Israel as a uniquely evil state that has no right to exist aligns too neatly with the centuries-old depiction of Jews as a uniquely evil people who have no right to exist. ”

      BS.

      Jews will exist long after Israel collapses. Good luck running apartheid, Israel.
      5/1 says you can’t pull it off.

      And Jews are not uniquely anything. They are as banal as any other tribe.

      link to youtube.com

      Other nations got their ethnic cleansing in before the 20th century and weren’t stupid enough to colonise the Near East, a communications crossroads since time immemorial whose people have very strong resistance to illnesses brought in from outside, unlike the Americas of the 16th century.

      “Anti-Semitic ideology views Jews as superhumanly clever people ”

      This ideology is clearly nuts as a cursory glance at Israel’s PISA scores demonstrates.

      link to jpost.com

      • FreddyV says:

        ‘“Anti-Semitic ideology views Jews as superhumanly clever people ”

        This ideology is clearly nuts as a cursory glance at Israel’s PISA scores demonstrates.

        I’d suggest that ‘Jewish genius’ actually manifests when Jews are outside Israel, although I don’t think it’s genius. I think it’s a adaptive ability to excel brought about by circumstance. Malcolm Gladwell discusses this in his book Outliers. link to gladwell.com

        Jews in the diaspora faced challenges such as being forbidden to own land etc. As a result, they turned their skills to areas such as law, entertainment, media etc. As is with any profession and any group of people, nepotism has a large place. If Uncle Bob is in the used car business, and that’s what you want to do, you’ll have a comparatively easy way in. Add in the tribal thing, the immediate family opportunity extends to the social network. It’s simliar with Plymouth Brethren or Mormons.

        • seafoid says:

          Some Jews, mostly in the diaspora, value education and network superbly .
          But the Jewish state itself prefers indoctrination according to the needs of the military.

        • NCINA says:

          On average Jewish people rank on the mode, mean and median the most intelligent people on earth. I’m not going to speculate whether its cultural, due to discrimination (historic circumstances) or genetic. Jewish achievement in the last 100-200 years is a feat to marvel. No state has achieve what Israel has in 63 years (cue sarcastic comments) nor has a people contributed more to humanity in proportion to their population.
          link to ynetnews.com

        • manfromatlan says:

          “Jewish achievement in the last 100-200 years is a feat to marvel.”

          I dunno, the German economic recovery and its military feats (under Hitler) was also a feat to marvel at. Doesn’t excuse what they did though.

        • manfromatlan says:

          @seafoid, I would say indoctrination according to the needs of the political elites that control the military (and the economy)

          Who’d a thunk it? They have a 1% too!

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “On average Jewish people rank on the mode, mean and median the most intelligent people on earth.”

          Perhaps, but they suck at a lot of things, too. Kind of like every people on earth.

        • Cliff says:

          Jewish ‘achievement’ is a racist and Zionist concoction. There are surely Jewish cultural attributes that should be praised but to attribute it solely to said attributes and not to the respective societies/opportunities/cultural exchanges (as was the case in Islamic Al-Andalus)/etc. is patently nationalistic.

          It’s a Zionist mode of thinking and not a JEWISH mode of thinking as you suggest, to chalk all of that success up to some mysterious Jewish DNA component.

          You however, are no mystery, NCINA – just another horrible hasbarat troll with too much time on her hands. Don’t your children need your attention? I think it’s time you unlock the car doors, crazy.

    • Mooser says:

      ” I country with a codified constitution in a single state with equal rights for Jew, Arab, Bedouin, Druze alike called, I don’t know, Israstine, “

      You must have left out a word YMJ (it happens) but I think I get you. You’re stating what you would like to see in Palestine. Okay, YMJ, now tell me who or what, and how are the “equal rights for Jew, Arab, Bedouin, Druze alike” to be instituted and maintained? And how will transgressions be punished. Bear in mind YMJ, that as soon as “Israstine” becomes a country its treatment of its citizens, or subjects is entirely up to itself, and no outside agency has any right or obligation to interfere.
      Let’s say that a country is established including all those people. What prevents the by-far dominant group, Zionist Jews, from monopolising the resources, and arranging the laws to suit themselves? The disapproval of American liberals or progressives?
      The one-state solution simply gives Israelis the uncontested right to do whatever they want with the people in their state. They are the dominant group and control the money, the courts and the army. What is going to change that?

      • YoungMassJew says:

        Well, a codified constitution with a Civil Rights Act like in the U.S., although its doesn’t solve de facto discrimination certainly helps. Ideally a constitution would have various safeguards and there could be proportional representation in a legislative body based on a groups’ share of the population. Since the USA is in decline and can’t afford Zionist wars forever without going bankrupt, the automatic veto in the UN Security Council that shields the Zionistas from its crimes could be a thing of the past if China decides to not play Zionist games. It’s still going to take 10 + years for that to happen, but going along with Seafoid’s line of thinking the Hydra might just destroy itself/China decides not to let the billionaire sociopaths from setting up shop in their land. Then the weight of the ICC can rain down on the Zionist criminals to stop Zionist Jews from being the dominant group in such a state. I’m no Messiah, I’m just throwing out ideas.

      • piotr says:

        Theoretically, a state can be obliged to treat citizens decently by a treaty, preferably with an enforcement mechanism. One problem that I see is that property rights in Israel are totally messed up. Unscrabling that is no simpler than simply removing settlers from their premises.

      • NCINA says:

        It exists and is called Israel.

  8. Shmuel says:

    People support Palestine and criticise Israel for all sorts of reasons, good, bad and indifferent. It would be great if everyone approached the issue from an anti-racist, anti-colonialist perspective, but they don’t. I believe that those who approach it from a racist perspective, cause a great deal of damage.

    Having said that, I don’t believe that the over-sensitivity of some Jews should be a yardstick, that “singling Israel out” implies anything at all, or that criticism of Israel requires further study of or commitment to other causes – although consistency in general, is a good thing, for more than one reason. Being overly self-critical and self-conscious is a good way of killing a political movement and, in this case, such hyper-sensitivity to the misinformed and misguided perceptions of some Jews strikes me as rather offensive to Palestinians, in light of the very real oppression and degradation they experience every day, in Palestine and in their struggle abroad.

    See the Magnes Zionist on the subject of “Singling Israel Out for Moral Opprobrium”: link to jeremiahhaber.com

    • bintbiba says:

      Thanks Shmuel for that link.

      • Shmuel says:

        You’re welcome, bintbiba. I cite it often. The “singling Israel out” argument is one of the most spurious of a rather spurious bunch, and I think Jerry Haber succinctly puts it to rest.

        The “singling Israel out” argument also lies at the heart of “new anti-Semitism” theory, which is little more than an aggressive and hypocritical defence of Zionism in the guise of anti-racism.

  9. chinese box says:

    Second, depicting Israel as a uniquely evil state that has no right to exist aligns too neatly with the centuries-old depiction of Jews as a uniquely evil people who have no right to exist.

    Who exactly is depicting it as an “uniquely evil state that has no right to exist”? Al Quaeda?

    This is a strawman argument. The people who believe it is illegitimate believe so because it was built on top of another society, which it then proceeded to crush, not because of some innate evilness. If it were truly built on a “land without people”, had no expansionist leanings, no one would care about it.

    • sardelapasti says:

      “Who exactly is depicting it as an “uniquely evil state that has no right to exist”? Al Quaeda?”

      Well, no. Actually, that such a state has no right to exist is a perfectly reasonable opinion, considering that this is a self-proclaimed “state” constructed by “right” of conquest only, that its only UN justification is a GA proclamation (not more valuable than the hundreds ignored by Israel) automatically voided by the preemptive attack by the Zionist entity, that a racist, racial supremacist state and a theocracy (officially) cannot be acknowledged as legitimate by most humanists in our day and age….

      “Uniquely evil” is not to be disregarded out of hand either.

      • ColinWright says:

        sardelapasit says: ““Uniquely evil” is not to be disregarded out of hand either.”

        Yeah. I’d find a discussion of that interesting myself.

        It is, however, to my mind unnecessary to establish the point. Israel is the worst evil that we are responsible for.

        That’ll suffice. As I’ve said, other kids out there in Richmond may be doing all kinds of awful things (this being Richmond, they probably are). If it is my son who has taken to stealing cars, that’ll be what concerns me — not that ______ over on 9th Street just robbed a house.

        Israel could not endure without us. We pull the plug, and she’s gone. Therefore, we are responsible for her actions.

  10. Dan Crowther says:

    Beryl Satter wants others to be keenly aware of anti-semtism and so on, but thinks nothing of saying “anti-semitism (hatred of jews) is EMBEDDED in Christian Culture.”
    WOW. What an asshole.

    I’m no believer, but my parents are, and they are christians. I think they would be surprised to learn they are culturally bound to hate Jews. Fah-Q Satter.

    Anti-semtism used to mean those who hate Jews, seems to me, now it means, those who Jews hate. I can’t believe I read this nonsense at Mondoweiss. Another self appointed representative/leader of “the jews” eh, Mooser? The only anti-semite here is the author of this post.

    • “anti-semitism (hatred of jews) is EMBEDDED in Christian Culture.”

      Yeah, as another non-religious goy, I also thought that was offensive. WTF?!

      Prof. Satter must be miserable here in the USA, surrounded by so many Amelekites, with our inherently antisemitic brains (operating at a 15 IQ point deficit, natch).

    • Mooser says:

      “Another self appointed representative/leader of “the jews” eh, Mooser?”

      Huh Dan? “Self-appointed”? You know damn good and well that the big ( and I mean B-g!) guy Hisself appointed me. But not even Jehovah can make those balebatisheh yiden listen to me.

      • Dan Crowther says:

        Mooser I wasn’t talking about you, just want to make that clear. I think in the real world, you could be one of my “Jewish Friends” like Prof Satter here is to Darnell. And if I ever publish a paper or article on anything having to do with Jews, you can write a response, vouching for me, but ultimately opposing my ideas. Let me know what you think…..

    • RudyM says:

      Beryl Satter wants others to be keenly aware of anti-semtism and so on, but thinks nothing of saying “anti-semitism (hatred of jews) is EMBEDDED in Christian Culture.”

      My father was a Methodist clergyman who half the time seemed willing to give Jews (at least, fairly religious ones who attempted to live up to their moral tradition) a special dispensation to be saved without faith in Christ (not a particularly defensible position in Biblical terms, imo, as a recovering Chrisitian), but then he was pretty inconsistent in his theology over the years. Still, that’s a funny sort of allowance to make specifically for Jews if anti-semitism is so embedded in Christian culture. Granted, I don’t know to what extent my father’s position on the salvation of Jews (and what I am remembering at least as his possibly 100% positive statements about Jews in general) was a reaction to anti-Jewish things he may have heard when he was growing up. I think, for instance, that he tried to make a point of embracing Catholics in part because of anti-Catholic things he had heard in the church, as a kid. And in fact, my mother, when she realized I was probably never going to marry a Christian, given my rejection of Christianity, made it clear that she hoped in that case I would marry a nice Jewish girl, as the second best thing.

      Obviously from the more conservative end of the Christian evangelical spectrum (my father actually considered himself an evangelical, but I’m not sure most evangelicals would have accepted him as such if they new the full details of his never quite pinned down theology), there is some sort of perhaps weird love of Jews (certainly of the Jewish state), even if they don’t have a problem with you burning in hell eternally if you aren’t saved. (Anyway, join the club, since real Bible believing Christians don’t have a problem with anyone suffering eternal torment, since that’s God’s will.)

    • I don’t think anyone who has read what the Church Fathers had to say about Jews and Judaism would quibble with the assertion that anti-Semitism is embedded in the Christian tradition. However, surveying the history of Christian thought it is equally true to say that philo-Semitism (love of Jews) is embedded in that tradition. There have been repeated shifts, often sudden, from one pole to the other, as in Luther’s life or in 20th-century Catholicism. The only attitude toward Jews that it is hard for Christians to adopt is indifference. That is because Christianity is an outgrowth of Judaism and at the same time a rebellion against it.

      • W.Jones says:

        Stephen,

        Good analysis, except for the first part:

        I don’t think anyone who has read what the Church Fathers had to say about Jews and Judaism would quibble with the assertion that anti-Semitism is embedded in the Christian tradition.

        As Israel Shahak and Hajo Meyer of IJAN point out the negative writings found among those of the “Church Fathers” were actually characterized by “anti-Judaism” rather than ethnic-oriented anti-Semitism, since after all, the early Christian community was largely Jewish: Peter, Paul, and Mary… and nearly everyone else.

        I am not even sure “anti-Judaism” is the right term, because they believed strongly in the prophets and words of the Tanakh.

      • Dan Crowther says:

        Shenfield says:

        Some nonsense.

        Here’s the thing Shenfield, Satter said “culture” and not “tradition” -culture as in, it carries on to the present.
        We’re told here all the time by jewish folks: yeah, dont’ pay attention to all that horrible stuff in the Talmud, there is a rich tradition of “tikun olam” and so on. Nevermind what the Rabbi’s say about the goyim, or what Israeli’s do to churches, Jews Stand For Universal Rights and so on – isnt’ that the refrain heard around here? So, it’s a little offensive to not apply the same standard to christianity. It seems that Jews are afforded all kinds of flexibilities around here, shit, you don’t even have to believe in god to be a Jew according to some, but when it comes to christians or “christian culture” whatever the hell that is, the anti-semitism is permanent and cannot be discarded. Must be nice to be able to bash others for holding the same beliefs you do.

    • Kathleen says:

      If anti Jewish language is embedded in Christian doctrine then that is wrong. But I have read in Jewish scripture basically pure disdain and bigotry towards Non Jews. Instructions for the way you treat Jews and non Jews. Some very racist attitudes towards non Jews permeates Jewish scripture

  11. I can’t believe this article found a home at mondoweiss. Wow.

    What a giant, preachy, concern troll spew this is. Beryl Satter’s attempt at policing the intellectual space of “the war of ideas in the middle east” reeks of sanctimony. I honestly had to stop reading about two thirds of the way through, as the prissy tone was absolutely suffocating.

    “Here is my advice for people who want to speak out against Israeli state policies but fear being labeled as anti-Semitic if they do so:”

    Did anybody even ask Professor Satter for her hasbaritic ‘advice,’ or was this lecture unsolicited as well as uninformed?

    • Mooser says:

      TSU: DOn’t you remember that Phil Wiess went ohome for High Holy days and walked his father to Schul? From the way this website has been going since then, I almost think there might have been a very meaningful conversation contrasting primogeniture and ultimogeniture.

  12. Donald says:

    I started out agreeing with this post (as people who remember a rant I wrote some months back might predict), but by the time I got to the end I felt a little queasy. There are parts that need to be said, mixed in with parts that were wrongheaded.

    So yes, we should be morally consistent and avoid using any argument that really is anti-semitic and be sensitive about the issue, but for God’s sake take a long hard look at those people who can’t hear criticism of Israel because all they can hear are anti-semitic tropes. To me that sounds like the worst sort of bigotry.

    • ColinWright says:

      “…God’s sake take a long hard look at those people who can’t hear criticism of Israel because all they can hear are anti-semitic tropes.”

      All too often, they only profess to hear the ‘anti-semitism.’ When they hear criticism of Israel, their first thought is to work out how to label the criticism ‘anti-semitic.’

      That, of course, neatly eliminates the need to answer the criticism. We could prove that 2 and 2 doesn’t make 4 this way. All we need to do is to work out how to label anyone who claims it does ‘anti-semitic.’

    • Mooser says:

      “So yes, we should be morally consistent and avoid using any argument that really is anti-semitic and be sensitive about the issue”

      Anotherwords, you want the Zionists to win. Apparently Palestinians don’t even matter as much as Afghanistanian women to you.

      • Donald says:

        “Anotherwords, you want the Zionists to win. Apparently Palestinians don’t even matter as much as Afghanistanian women to you.”

        True enough mooser. Those were another’s words, but had nothing to do with mine. I think they were yours, if you want them back.

      • Mooser says:

        “We could prove that 2 and 2 doesn’t make 4 this way. All we need to do is to work out how to label anyone who claims it does ‘anti-semitic.’”

        Well, in my opinion, if you don’t believe that 1 + 0 = 8, you’re anti-Semitic.

    • Dan Crowther says:

      Cheers, Donald. Good points all.

    • Shingo says:

      I started out agreeing with this post (as people who remember a rant I wrote some months back might predict), but by the time I got to the end I felt a little queasy. There are parts that need to be said, mixed in with parts that were wrongheaded.

      I agree entirely, and moral consistency is a must, but the arguments presented here are simply dishonest. On e just has to take a look at teh accusations against NF for Holocaust denial when his own parents were survivors who pertook in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to realize that Zionist aplogists are impervious to such distinctions.

  13. ColinWright says:

    Note that this is at least in parts an essentially Zionist essay.

    “… depicting Israel as a uniquely evil state that has no right to exist aligns too neatly with the centuries-old depiction of Jews as a uniquely evil people who have no right to exist…”

    So of course it’s right out to suggest that Israel has no right to exist. Therefore, it does have a right to exist. Therefore, on pain of being an anti-semite, one has to concede the right of Israel to exist.

    This essay could be published in the Jerusalem Post.

  14. yesspam says:

    Can we please have an article on how defenders of Israel can avoid anti Palestinian racism?

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “Can we please have an article on how defenders of Israel can avoid anti Palestinian racism?”

      Why??? We all know that Palestinians are just an invented people who are really Syrians and/or generic “Arabs” who snuck in when the 19th Century Jews entered a barren wasteland and turned sand into water and made flowers and crops grow. Also Sodastream. [/sarc]

      • NCINA says:

        What “race” are Palestinians, I’ll wait. I’ve seen black, white and many in between Palestinians. They are no more a race than Jews. Its as if you’re clutching at straws and looks desperate – must be “racism.”

        • ncin, you might benefit from reading the legal definition of racism link to en.wikipedia.org

          Legal

          The UN does not define “racism”; however, it does define “racial discrimination”: According to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,

          the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.[21]

          This definition does not make any difference between discrimination based on ethnicity and race, in part because the distinction between the two remains debatable among anthropologists.[22] Similarly, in British law the phrase racial group means “any group of people who are defined by reference to their race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin”.[23]

        • NCINA says:

          Thanks for the link and the legal definition. Since you used mirriam webster (If I recall) to define something I’ll do the same regarding racism:
          “Definition of RACISM

          1
          : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

          2
          : racial prejudice or discrimination
          — rac·ist noun or adjective
          See racism defined for English-language learners »
          See racism defined for kids »
          Examples of RACISM

          the racism that was the basis of apartheid

          The recording career of the Henderson band was brief … due partly to the racism of booking agencies that didn’t take on black acts until the mid-’30s, when Henderson’s career was on the downswing. —Greg Tate, Vibe, April 1995″

          It would be helpful if the actual question of what race are Palestinian was answered though.

          link to en.wikipedia.org
          “Racism is generally defined as actions, practices, attitudes, or beliefs that reflect or support the racial worldview: the ideology that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races”. This ideology entails the belief that members of a race share a set of characteristic traits, abilities, or qualities, that traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural behavioral characteristics are inherited, and that this inheritance means that races can be ranked as innately superior or inferior to others.[1][2][3]
          The exact definition of racism is controversial both because there is little scholarly agreement about the meaning of the concept “race.”

          In my mind general baseless accusations and labels don’t help especially if they aren’t clearly defined.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “What “race” are Palestini”

          Sorry, NCIDIOT, I didn’t realize you were a pedantic douchebag who doesn’t realize that “racism” has obtained a secondary meaning of “invidious discrimination akin to racial discrimination.”

        • ncin, for practical reasons i thought you might benefit from reading the legal definition of racism as it is applied wrt racial discrimination, that’s all. that is why legally the term racism is also applied to racial discrimination based on ethnicity, like this:

          “This ideology entails the belief that members of an ethnicity share a set of characteristic traits, abilities, or qualities, that traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural behavioral characteristics are inherited, and that this inheritance means that ethnicities can be ranked as innately superior or inferior to others.”

          of course anyone can choose to ignore how the term racism is applied throughout our legal system and what it means to be a racist and what engaging in racist speech means. i am not sure what your argument is. yesspam ask: “Can we please have an article on how defenders of Israel can avoid anti Palestinian racism?”

          it seems as tho you are diverting the conversation without addressing yesspam’s point. by arguing since palestinians are not a race therefore racism isn’t applicable? is there a hierarchy in bigotry? we should fear slipping into bigotry when addressing one ethnicity and not the other? you get the point right?

    • ColinWright says:

      yesspam says: “…how defenders of Israel can avoid anti Palestinian racism?”

      Well, how could they? Shoveling the incredible amounts of B.S. to the side, to defend Israel is to implicitly endorse racism towards Palestinians.

      You might as well try to come up with a recipe for foie gras that doesn’t involve killing geese.

    • Mooser says:

      “Can we please have an article on how defenders of Israel can avoid anti Palestinian racism?”

      Well, I just heard the bell ring. We have a winner! Well done!

  15. eljay says:

    So, while everyone is busy carefully tip-toeing around to avoid offending…
    - the Zio-supremacists who used (or supported the use of) terrorism and ethnic cleasning to establish an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”, and/or
    - the Zio-supremacists who maintain (or who support the maintenance of) this “Jewish State” by means of a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder,
    …what are the Zio-supremacists expected to do to make things better?

    Or is this another one of those cases where the Zio-supremacists get to keep on doing what they’re doing while everyone else puts green yarn on the Green Line and “humanizes ‘the Other’” and makes “better wheels”?

  16. ritzl says:

    Appreciate what you seem to be trying to do here.

    This is a minefield of assumed “balance” in a field of anything but:

    Instead, as Darnell’s essay notes, most anti-occupation activists assume that anyone who raises concerns about anti-Semitism simply opposes Palestinian rights. This assumption inverts right-wing Israelis’ insistence that anyone who challenges Israel’s suppression of Palestinian rights is an anti-Semite. Pro-Palestinian activists thus employ the same type of over-simplification that “pro-Israel” activists have long traded in. Both groups refuse to make a distinction between anti-Semitism and critiques of Israeli policy. This is a view that right-wing Israelis have cynically promoted, but one that pro-Palestinian activists who hope to win a moral argument cannot afford.

    “Cannot afford,” according to whom, exactly? If the IDF kills a Gaza schoolgirl walking to class and her mother cries,” The Jews killed my daughter!”, is that antisemitic? I think it’s just a fact. Yet so many “liberal” Zionists would (have in my experience) call that antisemitic. To me that accusation is, ipso facto a denial of Palestinian rights. Their right to simply describe their reality without being told how to behave by the people (Israeli and a pretty good chunk of diaspora Jews) who dictate that horrific reality. This happens all the time. To a much lesser degree, Prof. Satter just did it here.

    So this telling people how to behave in direct contradiction to their reality is absolutely not an inversion of the RW use of antisemitism, self-hating, etc. It’s a version of it.

    And this…:

    Yet the two concepts are routinely muddled, particularly in the Middle East. The most common example is the claim that “Zionists” were behind the 9/11 attacks. [my emphasis] This assertion casts Israel, the Jewish state, as a sinister force of almost supernatural ability and unlimited capacity for evil, bent on manipulating other nations in pursuit of its twisted self-interest. This belief is embraced by millions in the Arab world. I have met U.S. leftists who also believe this claim.

    …assumes that somehow, despite much evidence to the contrary, that Israel/Jews just wouldn’t do such a thing. What self-centered arrogance. Even Netanyahu said that it was a gift to Israel, politically. If a hundred +/- scattered and hunted Al-Quaeda members can bring down the WTC, you bet an equal number of “Zionist” zealots could do the same. Did it take “supernatural ability” for AQ to do that? No. Why then proscribe motives/abilities for one (your) group of humans while allowing that it’s perfectly acceptable to attribute them to another. It just pisses most normal people off. We’re all human and capable of great evil, and great good.

    Yes real antisemitism exists. But charges of antisemitism are routinely used to quell debate about Israel, most effectively by liberal Zionists. Routinely enough that it has to be assumed that is what’s being done, pending further explanation by the accuser. Instead of trying to tidy up the conversation about Israeli/Jewish atrocities (it never works because atrocities make people angry), it’s probably better to work to stop the atrocities themselves.

    • ColinWright says:

      ritzl says: “Yes real antisemitism exists. But charges of antisemitism are routinely used to quell debate about Israel, most effectively by liberal Zionists. “

      What’s striking is how clear the difference is. I’ve noted a few examples of authentic anti-semitism in posts here over the months.

      They stand out like a red thumb. They don’t read anything at all like the anti-Zionist posts usually labelled ‘anti-semitism.’ The usual apologia suggests that the two categories shade imperceptibly into each other, and in theory, that could be the case.

      But in practice, it isn’t. People are outraged and hostile towards Israel. That has nothing to do with being outraged and hostile towards Jews. The distinction is usually readily apparent.

    • American says:

      “This is a minefield of assumed “balance” in a field of anything but:”..ritzl

      They, whoever they are, will not allow ”balance” toward Jews. And of course she leaves out entirely that American criticism is more vehelment because of the way US Jews and Israel have involved, used the US.

      Balance would be to treat Israel and todays Jews no differently today than we do anyone else and not accord the 2012 collective of Jews a exception in treatment.

      But ‘they won’t accept not being treated differently.
      They give us two choices.
      1) Either be anti semites as in hating or just as bad ‘not caring’ about Jews.
      or
      2)Have more consideration for and treat the Jews better than we treat everyone else.

      Which makes her whole appeal for “consistency ” a total farce.

  17. It is humanly understandable that a Palestinian in Gaza whose only experience of Jews is the IDF should say: “The Jews killed my daughter.” It is highly unjust to place her on the same moral plane as a European anti-Semite. She is to be pitied and not condemned.

    However, that does not mean that her perception is accurate. A Palestinian who has been fortunate enough to gain a broader view of the world, who knows more about the history of Jews and their relations with non-Jews, who has encountered Jews in other contexts is much more likely to refer to the murderers as “the Zionists.” That perception is more accurate because the soldiers who killed the woman’s daughter did not do so as a result of being Jews, but as a result of their incorporation in the power structure called the State of Israel, whose moving force is the ideology called Zionism.

    The naive anti-Semitism of the ordinary uneducated Palestinian is understandable but regrettable — above all, because it exposes them to manipulation by more sophisticated anti-Semites pursuing purposes that have nothing to do with the plight of Palestinians.

    • ritzl says:

      Stephen, I agree that “she” is naive, though I disagree that “she” is inaccurate. As you say, this is an Israeli “thing” more than a Jewish “thing,” but it is also the dilemna that Israel poses, for Jews, and the major failing of this article.

      I have made this observation in polite company and was called out as antisemitic by lib-zios. It was hurtful at the time, but now I ignore it. It seems to me that if you can’t express localized reality without it being generalized to ALL Jews and then have that repurposed to dismiss (or worse) the localized reality, there’s a big problem in the discourse.

      • Donald says:

        “It seems to me that if you can’t express localized reality without it being generalized to ALL Jews and then have that repurposed to dismiss (or worse) the localized reality, there’s a big problem in the discourse.”

        Bingo. That’s how it works. If you point out Israeli crimes and the dishonest manipulative tactics of its defenders, then someone says “What you say sounds an awful lot like the classic anti-semitic tropes.”

        Which is probably why so many people offer such toned-down criticisms of Israel if they say anything at all. And even they will be accused of anti-semitism by some. Tom Friedman is seen as anti-Israel in such circles.

        • Shmuel says:

          Which is probably why so many people offer such toned-down criticisms of Israel if they say anything at all.

          And why said critics must accompany their “harsh” words with professions of undying love for Israel, and swear on a stack of Bibles (or God and Jerusalem-filled political platforms) that they only want what’s best for Israel.

    • sardelapasti says:

      “A Palestinian who has been fortunate enough to … knows more… history of Jews and their relations.. is much more likely to refer to the murderers as “the Zionists.”

      Why should she? Statistically speaking, an overwhelming majority of people who identify themselves as “Jewish” do support the Zionist murder machine; therefore it is not inaccurate to name Jews (and Americans, because of the same statistical rule.) Of course this kind of statistical evaluation is uncomfortable for people who want to stay in the tribe without approving or participating in the Zionist crime. It has, however, the advantage of placing them in front of their responsibilities.
      As an aside, most Palestinians don’t have to be “fortunate” to know way more history than, say, your average American college graduate.

    • Shlomo says:

      “A Palestinian who has been fortunate enough to gain a broader view of the world, who knows more about the history of Jews and their relations with non-Jews, who has encountered Jews in other contexts is much more likely to refer to the murderers as ‘the Zionists.’ ”

      And that would do what: bring her child back to life?

      Jews who buy Israeli Bonds and support AIPAC and do fist-pumps for the JEWISH state prevented the mother (and her children) from freely traveling to meet “Good Jews.” Just like young Jews growing up in the Warsaw Ghetto didn’t get to see “Good Germans” (much less travel on pleasure boats down the Rhine!).

      How outrageous! We are to “pity” a mother who, forbidden exposure to the wider world by her child’s killers, failed to more precisely define them?

      When a state claiming to act/exist for all Jews demonizes/murders “the other,” yes: witnesses (and certainly grieving Arab mothers) WILL hold “Jews” collectively accountable. That the diaspora doesn’t “get” that, doesn’t see that Israel is the biggest spreader of antisemitism, makes one question the Ashkenazi Genius claim. And ask what Jews world-wide will do when the shite finally hits the fan and Israel is viewed like 1930s Germany.

      Too bad Zionists didn’t pick Antarctica for their “home.” Jews could have made the country “warm” (like they made the desert “bloom”); America wouldn’t have footed an endless-billions bill; and the Mideast would have been spared 6 decades of war…and worse.

  18. seafoid says:

    link to youtube.com

    Now that the show is over, and we have jointly exercised our constitutional rights, we would like to leave you with one very important thought. Sometime in the future, you may have the opportunity to serve as a juror in a so-called obscenity case. It would be wise to remember that the same people who would stop you from listening to Boards of Canada may be back next year to complain about a book, or even a TV program. If you can be told what you can see or read, then it follows that you can be told what to say or think. Defend your constitutionally protected rights. No one else will do it for you. Thank you.

  19. seafoid says:

    Classifying legitimate criticism of Israel’s treaty failures as antisemitism while degrading the Palestinian people is the height of Zionist hypocrisy.

    But there is a rich history of same.
    Spending German war reparations on Israeli infrastructure instead of the welfare of Shoah survivors was also in very poor taste .

  20. American says:

    Well I had a long rely to Ms Satter in mind but I’ve decided to just go with..

    Nuts.
    Not worth the effort to point out the things that no doubt everyone already sees in this.

    • W.Jones says:

      A close analogy to the article goes like this:

      Some apple farmers resist the label of “orange growers” by highlighting their latest apple harvest. This doesn’t work.

      • W.Jones says:

        The catch is: how does an apple grower prove that he is not growing oranges someplace else?

        It is like a “witch hunt”. How do you prove that you are not a witch?

        The best the apple farmer can do is say “here is my property, have a look.” But maybe there are orange seeds someplace under the ground or in a jar someplace? Or maybe he has another “hidden” property?

        Likewise, maybe the human rights activist has other “bad ideas” hidden away? Her best advice is to talk about lots of similar global conflicts. As if the more an apple farmer talks about other apple-like fruits shows that he does not grow oranges.

        • W.Jones says:

          Ironically, one of the main ways to get out of the “catch” is to do what Satter feels is not helpful. If the apple farmer emphasizes all the reasons he wants to grow apples and why they are so important, it shows he cares relatively less about whether he has oranges or not. Rambling on about pears just obscures the issue.

          If a human rights activist strongly shows the reasons he or she is involved in an issue- the magnitude of the problem, feelings of personal responsibility by paying tax dollars and being in a parliamentary system, a personal moral connection to the victims, etc., the more an unbiased observer will see the human rights’ activist’s sincerity. And the other guys? They never really cared what you believed after all.

        • American says:

          @ WJones

          The most frustrating thing to me when I first encountered the anti semitic slur in discussing Israel was anti semitism was whatever the accuser said it was….it could be the use of a certain innocuous word or phrase that you have no idea has any connection or relationship to Jews or anti semites that you use in all innocence……but you are suppose to be a ‘ mind reader’ and know about anything that could remotely be construed as anti semitic.
          That is hard to do if in fact you aren’t in the anti semite world or into everything Jewish and familiar with all the buzz words and the whole anti semitic controversy. I can’t think of one those examples right now but it is similar to when I was once called a racist for using the word “lynching”..and the rational was I was racist for using that word to describe something entirely unrelated to blacks just because blacks used to be lynched.
          Sometimes anti semitism is in the eye of the beholder.

        • W.Jones says:

          American,

          When they were looking for witches in medieval Europe, I think they sometimes looked for marks on people’s bodies. At first this might make sense, but the problem is that decent people are born deformed, just as bad ones are. Someone could have a bump in their skull, but it does not mean they are a witch.

  21. Keith says:

    BERYL SATTER- “I do believe, however, that anti-Semitic discourse exists. It is deeply embedded in Christian culture….Anti-Semitism is a 2000-year-old ideology that sees Jews as inherently corrupt and money-grubbing, as killers of the son of God and of Christian babies, and, more recently, as master manipulators who control global finance, communism, and the media…..At the same time, activists deny 2000 years of history – and display a great deal of naiveté about the cultural power of ideology — if they assert that anti-Semitism has no influence whatsoever on perceptions of the “Jewish state.”

    No doubt you do believe that “Anti-Semitism is a 2000-year-old ideology.” The question is why do you believe this to be true? I suppose all Gentiles should be grateful that you attribute our consistent and uniform irrational Jew hatred to “ideology” rather genetic impairment. I would think that as a history professor, however, you would be aware of the idiocy of claiming that for 2000 years all of us Gentiles have been united by a common ideology of Jew hatred. Actually, we haven’t been united at all, engaging in wars and killing each other, Christianity notwithstanding. Your beliefs are a convenient Jewish myth. Persecution? Over the last 2000 years, who hasn’t been? Would you like to compare Jewish suffering over the last 2000 years to that of African and American Blacks? How about the American Indians? You have no problem offering advice on how to avoid anti-Semitism, yet I doubt you would take kindly to advice from a Gentile on how you should avoid anti-Gentile chauvinism. And that is the problem. Your ‘advice’ doesn’t come from a member of an abused and beleaguered minority does it? It comes from a successful member of a privileged ethnic minority handing down acceptable modes of speech and behavior to the rest of us. So, you believe that it is anti-Semitic to claim that Jews are prominent in finance and the media? Well, you would, wouldn’t you.

  22. Mooser says:

    Fellas, it’s gonna take more than a closely-argued humanitarianism to defeat Zionism. They have guns, and they shoot first, and ponder humanitarian stances much later.
    My humanitarianism won’t put me in front of those guns, but a raw hatred, so intense it’s heedless of the consequences might work, tho.
    And you know what they say about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

  23. ColinWright says:

    “Confronting anti-semitic discourses head on: How to avoid self-silencing”

    Really, the title of this piece should be: “Capitulating to accusations of anti-semitism: How to become self-silencing”

  24. ToivoS says:

    I think Judith Butler’s article is a perfect example for how Satter envisions the discussion of Israel and Palestine should proceed. Butler was responding to some absurd charges against her that could have been easily answered in a 500 word response. Instead she spent 15,000 extremely defensive words tying herself in knots trying to prove that she has nothing but pure intentions to the Israeli state. That was it. No room to talk about injustice and oppression of Palestinians in that essay.

  25. American says:

    omg…this just hit me:

    >>>>>>>>>
    “It is deeply embedded in Christian culture; since the start of the twentieth century, it has had a powerful presence in the Muslim world as well. It bears ideological similarities to homophobia, racism, and misogyny, and distorts the thinking of anyone who partakes of it. ”

    ”To address this worry, inform yourselves about how anti-Semitic discourse operates”
    >>>>>>>>

    Er…..well she left out calling us pedophiles, but is this how the anti christian, anti gentile discourse operates for Jews?

    IOW, she just did what anti semites do in attributing any and all Israeli and Jewish criminality to the whole Jewish religion, tribe or culture.
    This woman is not bright.

    The actual guide for not being a anti semite is …
    You can’t believe all Jews are alike in any or everything.
    You can’t believe Jews are ‘intrinsically’ different from other humans by some gene or inbred trait or whatever that makes them worse than other humans.
    You can’t believe the whole Jewish tribe operates as some evil group for neferious purposes in the world. (except for the zionist that is)
    When you disagree with Jews who you think are doing stupid or wrong things you can’t want to wipe them all out, throw them all out, just because you don’t like what some of them are doing.

    I think these simple guides are good enough for avoiding anti semitism in Israel discussion.

  26. American says:

    OMG again, I’m finding more crazy stuff in this….

    “This assertion casts Israel, the Jewish state, as a sinister force of almost supernatural ability and unlimited capacity for evil, bent on manipulating other nations in pursuit of its twisted self-interest”

    Is this woman seriously trying to claim that Israel and US zio agents don’t try and do manipulate the US nation for it’s own twisted interest?????
    I resent this insult to my intelligence and observational abilities…rotflmao

  27. Mooser says:

    Ms. Satter is a woman in search of a shibboleth. Oh. it’s a beautiful, perfectly constructed shibboleth, but it’s logical coherence and avoidance of any anti-semitism won’t be enough. It better be magic to, if it’s gonna cause the Israelis to start crying before they shoot.
    What she is doing is a trick which is tried here constantly. By focusing attention on the details of the arguments, maybe we can get people to think that when you do present Zionists with the perfect argument, they will shrug their shoulders, say “Well, I never thought of it that way before. I guess you’re right”, and start dismantling settlements. I sorta don’t think they will, and what is Ms. Satter’s evidence that any moral, ethical (and jeez, these days, even practical or existential) arguments will cause Israel to deviate one iota from its plans? I would think it would just give them time to take careful aim.
    The other thing which always strikes me is how time just disappears in posts like these. We are starting to get dates, actual dates not too far away, like 2020 when Gaza will be unlivable. But there’s no urgency here, no, we just have to find the right magic words, and it’ll all crumble. And if it takes till 2040 or longer to find those magic words? Oh well. We’ve got all the time in the world.

    • “What she is doing is a trick which is tried here constantly. By focusing attention on the details of the arguments, maybe we can get people to think that when you do present Zionists with the perfect argument, they will shrug their shoulders, say “Well, I never thought of it that way before. I guess you’re right”, and start dismantling settlements.”

      ROFLMAO @ this genius observation by Brother Mooser (may His Glorious Antlers grow heavy with moss, insh’allah!)

    • ritzl says:

      Nailed it, Dr. M.

    • Kathleen says:

      Nailed it Mooser. The most important thing is to focus on the facts, International bodies have determined the settlements, parts of the wall are ILLEGAL. Israel is in violation of more UN resolutions than any other nation. Israel’s illegal actions undermines U.S. national security. Israel continue to refuse to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty while pointing the finger at others who have all ready signed. Focus on the facts

  28. MRW says:

    Smart comment, Mooser. You understand the cycle of change, and how it swings when it’s working.

  29. About this thing called “antisemitism.” It’s a bogus concept, but unfortunately it’s also incredibly seductive to ethnicists. What else could so neatly demonstrate the unique ontological status of a chosen people than a “causeless hatred” that they alone suffer from. But I should point out that if you really believe this, that Jews suffer from a hatred that is not the same prejudice that every other minority group suffers under but something fundamentally different, then there is really no basis for opposing Zionism. Because what you are really saying is that Jews and Gentiles should not live together.

    PS Neither of the links you provided actually supports your claim that millions of Arabs think ““Zionists” were behind the 9/11 attacks.” Can you point to a quotation from some major figure, or prominent journalist, or respected theologian who has made this claim? Would it be “antisemitic” to believe (as I do) that 9/11 was the direct consequence of Zionism, and in that sense Zionists (or if you prefer, “Zionists”) were directly behind the deaths of all those people? And would it be “antisemitic” to believe (as I do) that Zionists (or “Zionists”) really didn’t mind those deaths all that much?

    • manfromatlan says:

      “And would it be “antisemitic” to believe (as I do) that Zionists (or “Zionists”) really didn’t mind those (911) deaths all that much?”

      Well they might say the following: link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.ca
      “The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

      “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Ma’ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”

  30. ‘While many nations, including our own, engage in horrific behavior against other nations and against minorities within their own borders, the fact that Israelis are Jews means that their state violence, and theirs alone, can be understood in terms of a pre-existing, centuries-old anti-Semitic language’

    But was not the violence based on preexisting notions of the rights and entitlements of the Jewish people stemming directly out of 500 years old God’s mouth?
    Is not the ongoing violence again even today based on the assertion that the needs and experiences of the Jewish people are unique ?
    Is not the pervasive intransigence of Israel against peace process based on the “innate nature of Arabs” who have been described by every zionist on earth as uncouth,illiberal,uneducated,violent,power-worshiper, fervent follower of strong man,nomads,intent to kill every Jewish people and against the values of the West from Herzl to Nethanhooo?
    Dont we in the west always predicting and offering solutions for political problems with the Islamic countries employing nebulous concepts like “Suicidal regime” or “Irrational actors who cant be engaged” or” wanting to see return of Mehedi” or having plans of imposing “sharia” on every countries on the world or have Khaifate from Pakistan to US to farthest reach of the earth ? Aren;t we depicting the resistance to oppression and exploitation as manifestation of some primitive traits couching it in the phrase” Angry Arab Street”?
    Check the comments in TVs ,media.text books , and in Hollywood movies and you will see that the”pre existing fixed ideas against Islam” being produced like rabbits every day since at least 1967 to the detriment of a just solution in that part of the world. By the way those ideas have come from the Israeli centric political and social and academic environment.Any challenges have been portrayed as “appeasement” or “spread of Sharia” or “support of terrorism” or ” ingrained anti Democratic attitude of Arab culture” or “antisemitism”

  31. W.Jones says:

    Beryl Satter,

    I am glad you view the Palestinian rights movement favorably and do not want it to be anti-semitic. This movement originates in left wing egalitarianism and human rights activism and thus it is not anti-semitic in its core.

    You noted:

    Zunes describes the near-exact parallels between Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The sufferings of the people of Western Sahara are largely invisible and have no particular charge or resonance.

    The population of refugees from West Sahara is what, in the thousands? The Palestinian Refugee population is one of the world’s largest, and is in the millions. What is your point?

  32. “m that “Zionists” were behind the 9/11 attacks”

    Its not the Arabs or muslims only who believe this.There are shades of beliefs of that nature among a large section of public in US and at least in Germany. There are figures like ex president of Italy, figures like Falk and Alan Sorvosky and then there are events documented on TVs ,reported in print media like Forward and Haaretz and web like Antiwar.com and noted by FBI and NYPD and other agencies in and around 911 that have raised this issue in one or another format. Bottom line is this 911 was not investigated and anyone raising any doubt on Goverenment explanation have been called names and have been banished from public presence of political or academic or intelligent career. Neither was anthrax cases discussed openly and honestly.

    • ColinWright says:

      traintosiberia: “…Bottom line is this 911 was not investigated and anyone raising any doubt on Goverenment explanation…”

      My belief is that there were all kinds of people playing footsie with Islamic fundamentalists before 9/11 — and people playing footsie with people playing footsie, etc.

      Some of this would probably even have been defensible. However, not after 9/11. All bridges had to be burnt. There had to be no evidence that there had ever been any traffic there at all. Nope: broad, uncrossed river here…move along.

      Hence those stray wiffs of burnt wood in the air.

  33. There are states who torture and occupy and deny basic human righst to its inhabitants like Indonesia,Pakistan,Sudan,China,Iran or Iraq.
    Yes I get it. what I dont get that they somehow end up in the dog house or get attacked or sanctioned or fragmented . They don’t get to utter the word of inherent bias of some “anti ism” and carry on thawrting UN resolutions,assassinating scientist and political leaders,stealing and forging passport and along the way taking the delivery of nuclear submarines or billions of dollars of military equipment free while simultaneously denouncing the victims in the free western press and during election politics.No man has lost t his shirt for exposing the crimes committed by these countries . Quite a few charlaton doing that actually have been called heroes and been given the jobs in sacred precincts of academia and administration.

  34. straightline says:

    I stopped reading when she used the word “leftist”. ’nuff said!

  35. FreddyV says:

    I don’t even know what this is thread is doing here.

    The facts are very simple.

    It’s simply not cool to treat people bad because they don’t have the same religion as you.

    It’s also not cool to kick people out of their country to start your new one.

    It’s also not cool to blockade people into territories, making their lives impossible and stealing the water and resources from under them.

    What really isn’t cool is blackmailing the world’s only superpower and the world’s dominant religion into supporting all this other not cool stuff.

    Antisemitism? It has nothing to do with it. The simple fact is that people are angry about the I/P conflict because they realise they have been consistently lied to about the truth and are indoctrinated with lies and falsehoods to ignore basic facts on the ground that would otherwise make them want to puke as collateral damage for the supposedly ‘greater good’ of the state of Israel.

  36. FreddyV says:

    Actually, lets make it a little more simple:

    Don’t blackmail me into bringing my dog to this fight and then act all butt hurt when I find out the facts and decide my dog is going to fight for the other side.

  37. Ctwosides says:

    This subject brings up in my mind that recently I ‘bumped’ up against an obvious and proud admitted Zionist ‘greater israel’ adherent on a gay site, the site included forum topics on Foreign Policy, this fellow poster took it upon himself to label all who disagreed with him as ‘anti semite’, ‘jew hater’, and on and on. No comment that contained any criticism of Israel over its actions toward Palestinians was left standing without one of the above accusations or the added ‘you’re seeking the desctruction of Israel’. If a commenter was Palestinian or Arabic from other of Israel’s neighbors, they were attacked with the above accusations plus being called stupid, ignorant and worse derogatory put downs. Finally about a week ago I questioned this poster about being either a volunteer or a member of some Israeli propaganda group whose mission is to spread pro Israel prescribed propaganda, because of his constant following of any and all comments regarding Israel with some bit of propaganda or accusation of ‘anti semitism’. I also accused him of using those accusations as just a way to shut down any and all criticism. Apparently the site management were of the same mind because overnight after my statements to him I WAS BANNED FROM THE SITE.

    This troubles me that it seems like here in the US, that nowhere is it safe to legitimately criticize Israeli actions against Palestinians rights, without one of these ‘anti semite’ police being right there ready to shut down the criticism. There always seems to be a ‘christian fundi’ or a Zionist ‘greater Israel’ Zealot, ready to pounce on any and all who criticize Israel. How in the world did we get to this place ? People lose their jobs, their influence, political position and etc. over these ‘police’ watchdogs that pounce wherever they ‘smell’ criticism. I find this more than a little alarming.

  38. Walker says:

    Beryl Satter’s post is wrong on a number of levels. The worst thing about it is that while purporting to help critics of Israel defend themselves against generalized charges of antisemitism, it actually endorses the false basis of such charges.

    For example:
    I do believe, however, that anti-Semitic discourse exists. It is deeply embedded in Christian culture
    and:
    Anti-Semitism is a 2000-year-old ideology that sees Jews . . . as killers of the son of God and of Christian babies.

    I grew up in the 1950s and 60s in an extended family that was, to say the least, active in mainline Protestant denominations. During my childhood I can’t recall ever hearing a single negative generalization about Jews either in my family or in church. To the contrary, philosemitism was the order of the day. Jews were mainly liberal Democrats, which was good. Beyond that they had suffered terribly and there was strong empathy for that. My two cousins, sons of a UCC pastor, lived on kibbutzes during the summer.

    I personally recall experiencing just one examples of antisemitism growing up. It was during a pickup baseball game in seventh grade. There was a close play, and a fierce argument broke out. One of the players, at his wit’s end, said to his antagonist “You, you . . . Jew!”. My impression at the time was of incongruity. What did the fact that Weiss was Jewish have to do with whether he was safe at first?

    How, exactly, did my Christian upbringing contribute to “deeply embedded” antisemitism? It didn’t. There wasn’t any. Christians who support Palestinian rights come overwhelmingly from backgrounds similar to mine. Bigoted Christians are far more likely to be supporters of Israel.

    Ms Satter, if this antisemitism was in the atmosphere, where exactly was it? Where was it in popular culture? Where was it in political discourse?

    A second disturbing aspect of this post is the attempt to put strict boundaries on what may or may not be discussed. For example, this:
    Anti-Semitism . . . sees Jews as master manipulators who control global finance, communism, and the media.

    This statement preempts any investigation of a very important source of potential bias, which is the effect of Jewish ownership, management on reporting on the Middle East. For example, what might AM Rosenthal’s strong pro-Israeli opinions as a columnist suggest about his influence on the NY Times‘ reporting on the Middle East when he ran that paper? Maybe nothing. But I suspect nobody has the courage to look, because they’re assured of being blasted as antisemites, with Ms Satter’s implicit support. There are many, many other examples.

    Then there is the “double standards” argument:
    The fact that amassing evidence against Israel cannot fully free one from charges of anti-Semitism might seem unfair to activists who, for whatever reason, are concerned with oppressive acts by Israel and not with similarly oppressive acts by other states. . . .. . . A call for consistency is not too much to ask.

    Why don’t we spend the same amount of time criticizing North Korea as we do Israel? The obvious answer to that is that the US has a unique relationship with Israel. Israeli actions affect the US in a way that North Korean actions do not. One example of this that has been extremely underplayed by the media is the fact that the planners and participants of the 911 attacks were motivated in part by US support for Israel. Also, as Americans we actually are partly responsible for Israeli actions, thanks to our government’s constant support of Israel. This is a moral issue.

    In short, Beryl Satters’ advice here constitutes support for further unfounded charges of antisemitism, rather than the reverse. I hope she considers this carefully.

    • Donald says:

      “I personally recall experiencing just one examples of antisemitism growing up. ”

      I remember two. I grew up in the south in the late 60′s and 70′s and probably heard the n word used about blacks hundreds of times or more likely thousands. In fact it was more common for a white kid to use the n word than to call them “Negroes” or “black”. (I think “Negro” was the polite term then, but I’m not sure. But it wasn’t used much.) The dominant prejudice by far was white against black.

      I distinctly remember the two anti-semitic comments because they were such a novelty. I remember being shocked both times, not because this was worse than anti-black racism, but because it was so out of the ordinary.

      I’m sure there were prejudices and ignorant beliefs about Jews, but I doubt it was any more prevalent than, say, prejudice against Catholics in a largely Protestant evangelical culture. All of us Protestants thought the Catholics were a little screwed up, but we didn’t necessarily know anything about Catholicism except that Real Christianity ceased sometime in the early Christian era, until Luther revived it. The Church of Christers weren’t even sure about the other Protestants.

      • American says:

        Donald says:

        “I personally recall experiencing just one examples of antisemitism growing up. ”

        I remember two. I grew up in the south in the late 60′s and 70′s and probably heard the n word used about blacks hundreds of times or more likely thousands. In fact it was more common for a white kid to use the n word than to call them “Negroes” or “black”.>>>>>>>

        That’s odd, not that I doubt it, but I grew up in the South also but rarely heard the “n” word….in fact I remember at some age, probably at the age when I started school, being told by my parents to never, ever, ever call black or colored people “n’s” .
        I can’t remember when I was first aware of anti semitism, I think it was probably in college or shortly thereafter. Can’t remember when I first saw movies on WWII and the holocaust either..but don’t remember associating it with on going attitudes toward Jews.
        I think most people I associated with would describe the same background…but maybe we led sheltered lives in our early years by not being in the public school system and around a lot of different backgrounds, so it may have been more prevalent than I realize.

        • Donald says:

          “in fact I remember at some age, probably at the age when I started school, being told by my parents to never, ever, ever call black or colored people “n’s” .”

          Same here, and some other kids also avoided the n word but all the same, quite a few didn’t. It would pop out of the mouths of otherwise sweet girls–I do remember a specific case of that after an end of the year school swimming party when this girl and her mother while they were driving me home started talking about how busing wouldn’t work because all the “n@@@” would be fighting and nobody would be able to learn anything. Some used the n word in a sort of defiant way–they knew it was no longer used in public respectable company, but they still hated blacks. And there wasn’t any pretense back then that everybody admired Martin Luther King. White racism was pervasive, but of course not every single white person was guilty. Also, there were the more subtle types of racism–people who wouldn’t use the n word, but always found a way to argue that blacks were wholly responsible for their poverty. (Not that the issue of poverty isn’t complex, but anyone who wanted to think that black poverty in the South right after Jim Crow ended was all the fault of blacks themselves was someone who didn’t want to face reality.)

          It was growing up in that atmosphere that made me feel a sense of deja vu when I started reading about the I/P conflict (outside of my Christian Zionist comfort zone, that is) and started to notice the same sort of subtle and not so subtle condescension and contempt on display towards Palestinians. To this day I can read letters in the NYT that sound to me very much like some I used to read in the newspaper back home–only the target is different. You see, if Palestinians are suffering in any way it’s all their fault or the fault of their leaders. Exactly what many whites used to say. Dayan, the settler leader that NYT reporter Rudoren profiled a few weeks ago, even used the old saw about how settlers and Palestinians understood each other, the way white Southerners used to talk about themselves and blacks in contrast to meddlesome Yankees. If I were a follower of Jung I’d say that there’s some sort of archetype that all Western racists are channeling. More seriously, there’s probably not that many new and original ways to be a bigot.

  39. chinese box says:

    Aside from a few, isolated posters at Palestine marches, I don’t think anti-semitism even exists in the western anti-zionist discourse. I’ve never seen it on this website.

    It seems to me that Satter is “singling out” anti-semitism as a “uniquely evil” form of prejudice, when reductive stereotypes about Muslims are routinely allowed to stand in the media and the culture. If Satter is serious about ending prejudice she and others of her mindset should work on changing the attitudes in their own community towards Arabs and Muslims first before lecturing the rest of us about anti-semitism.

  40. manfromatlan says:

    I think we’ll have a more honest discourse when Zionists and their enablers admit the term “anti-semitism” has been used as a means of silencing criticism of Israeli policies. The sheer volume of the arguments used by one side, the efforts to limit free speech, all serve to increase anti-semitism, not decrease it, sorry.

    And any honest debate must include a discussion of the extent of Jewish Power and how it has been used to undermine our democratic institutions. Anything less, where we must self-censor in order to avoid offending the other, or we will be excluded from this discourse, is unacceptable.

    I will discuss this with sincere Jews, with complete respect for them. But I honestly think the term anti-semitism needs to be retired. There are people who dislike Christians, or Muslims, or Jews. Maybe, in a better world, that will change, but only when we can talk to each other, on a level playing field.

  41. LeaNder says:

    It should not be difficult to distinguish between these two camps. Pro-Palestinian activism entails critiquing specific policies of the state of Israel. Anti-Semitism is a 2000-year-old ideology that sees Jews as inherently corrupt and money-grubbing, as killers of the son of God and of Christian babies, and, more recently, as master manipulators who control global finance, communism, and the media

    It often feels it harms more than it helps to return to a purely negative 2000 year old tale of woe. It’s not that I do not agree that ideologies or myth have power, the problem I see is that it contains the inherent prediction, it will always be the same. Stated very provocatively, it means it was always and will always be an irrational notion, put religiously: God sent the Holocaust to force his people to go home and remind them that they have to stick together. They were punished since they didn’t care and fled their god-given-land, which Gog and Magog unfortunately had occupied by the time of their return.

    Yes, I am sure this may be antisemitic, but if I had much time I could twist into my tale some standard wisdom, the same way it feels, you do.

    Let me pick out one bit at random, strictly it is an important debate but, alas time …

    [Antisemitism] It is deeply embedded in Christian culture; since the start of the twentieth century, it has had a powerful presence in the Muslim world as well.

    A pure “us versus them” metaphor. 2000 years the Christian antisemitism (not the European, notice!), Hitler simplified to just another baptized Christian, and now Muslim antisemitism, not people in different countries that happen to be brought up Muslim, but a new “irrational” ultimately religious antagonism.

    I am aware of Arab antisemitism, to use a different term to your religious juxtaposition, by the way. As a German I obviously belong to ones shocked by the peculiar adoration of Hitler I encountered among Arabs. Anecdotally though, in my case all were Egypts, I never once encountered it in Palestinians, or Germans with Palestinian origin, personally.

    Yes, from my Western perspective, I find the Palestinian hero worship somehow archaic, but I am sure there also is a more sublimated Israeli equivalent –or more aligned to Western tastes –on the other side, if we take a closer look.

    From the article by David Greenberg you link to above:

    This new form of ideological anti-Semitism—seeing the Jews as an alien and inferior people amid Christian European nations—finally got its name in 1879, thanks to an Austrian journalist named Wilhelm Marr.

    Wilhelm Marr wasn’t Austrian, he was German. Hitler may have made him choose the wrong nationality. Yes, he lived in Austria, but he lived in Switzerland too. But the most curious bit about pressuring him into a typcial proponent of “Christian Europe”, is the fact that Marr wasn’t religious at all. He started out as a Communist, turned into an Anarchist and finally into a political antisemite.

    But yes, I guess from a 2.000 year perspective all these minor mistakes do not matter. After all, from that much longer and more enlightened perspective, he can also be considered a product of Christian Europe. I don’t tell you what this simplistic argument reminds me of …

    Although, I will tell you what your article left me with–and I am no anti-Zionist, maybe slightly post-Zionist, in that I consider it an idea in a specific time and place–it left me with the impression that your “normalization argument”, Israel is just another state that does nothing worse than e.g. some of “them Muslims”, like Marocco, avoids the fact that Israel considers itself part of the West and wouldn’t exist without it, and is also very aware that it has no one challenging her about land being gifted by the Lord above. …

    So next to the 2000 years of antisemitism, or the historical perspective, you need a supporting spherical perspective, if there is the whole world to compare to beyond the Western realm, it must be easy to find someone that is even worse, or did the same centuries back, or in certain regions, not in the West, does pretty much the same at the time we are speaking.

  42. piotr says:

    There is a joke among the mathematicians: how a mathematician and an engineer handle the start of a fire?

    Situation A: there is wastebasket under the desk, and the fire starts in the basket. The engineer pulls the basket out and pours coffee over the fire. The mathematician does the same.

    Situation B: the wastebasket is on the desk and the fire starts in it. The engineers pours coffee over the fire. The mathematician puts the basket under the desk.

    Explanation: rather than solving the problem de novo, it suffices to reduce it to an already solved problem.

    Similarly, the problem of dismissing the criticism of the policies of Israel and the policies toward Israel does not have to be solved de novo, it suffices to reduce it to an already solved problem, demonizing anti-Semitism.

    The other aspect is that indeed, anti-Semitism that Beryl talks about is a demonic force that is unmutable through history (I do not know why Beryl mentioned 2000 years, I even seen a remark “this anti-Semite Ishmael”, so perhaps 4000 years?) with unique tainting power. For this reason Beryl recommends “a fight against the occupation of Palestinian territories that is thoroughly devoid of anti-Semitism, ”

    One can despair: how to be sure that we are THOROUGHLY DEVOID? We are talking about proving the negative. Should we submit the passwords to all our file and all our accounts (what does piotr post under moniker “Arctic Puffin”?) and ask a reputable agency for inspection? Luckily, Beryl offers an easier solution: criticize Morocco instead.

    One may ask what apologists of Israel should be thoroughly devoid of. And perhaps it is necessary to ask that to avoid “singling out”. On my short list the first is supremacism which I understand as follow: declaring classes of people as lesser ones, and proclaiming that therefore doing [expletive to be replaced by something better] to them is commendable, perhaps even a duty. But as we rummage for demonic traits to be eliminated, we see a lot of anti-Semitism!

    There are many reasons for paleo-anti-Semites (as opposed to New anti-Semitism) to love Israel, to name a few:

    (1) It is better that they are there than here.
    (2) We hated Jews for being leftists, and Israel admirably handled the problem of leftism.
    (3) We like Semites being bashed, and who does it better than Israel?
    (4) Get brownie points from the Masters (many anti-Semites believe that Jews control USA and perhaps more, so they try to make the best out of it)

    • Great comment. I would add:

      (5) Israeli policies — starting with pre-state Zionist colonial terrorism and continuing through the present day ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and extreme belligerence against Iran and other neighboring countries — are themselves responsible for far more anti-Semitism than any “embedded” in Christianity.

      Indeed, one could argue persuasively that this is a deliberate policy, especially of rightwing Israeli governments, to maintain a fearful, besieged populous, as well as to provoke anti-Semitic attacks on Diaspora Jews, in order to cause more of them to immigrate to the “only safe haven on Earth for the Jews.”

      ————-

      BTW, now that you have revealed yourself to be the noted anti-Semite, “Arctic Puffin”… prepare to face the Wrath of my alterego, “Tropical Booby!”

      You have been warned…

      • piotr says:

        I would not put point (5). My observations were based on Poland and some anecdotal tidbits from Baltic countries etc. For example, mainstream Polish news media did not show any images of Lt. Col. Eisner bashing bicyclists, but one site that did had a lot of comments, I would say, 1/3 opposing and sardonic, 1/3 nasty and supportive and 1/3 opposing and really nasty (like, “as we see, Hitler had a point”).

        Supportive comments commended Israel for properly treating Leftist extremists.

  43. American says:

    Someone correct if I am wrong but wasn’t it the Israelis themselves that introduced the word “illegitimate” into the Israel debate. I don’t remember any big discussions about Israel being illegitimate till they started accusing people of delegitimizing Israel. There was always points made that establishing Israel was done on others land, mostly centered on the Palestines that were run out by the zionist. But most serious discussers considered Israel legitimate in the (legal or whatever) sense that it was created by UN action. I think we are being lead down the garden path on the delegitimizing complaint by Israel…..that they have deliberately morphed our criticism into being a movement to wipe out or dismantle Israel with one of the implications being that this is “just because it’s a Jewish state. IOW, another way to turn the reasons for criticizing Israel from what it does to what it is.

    There is an other thing too that I mentioned before and that is how the Arab world always refers to Israel as the Zionist state not the Jewish state. It could be because some realize it’s not either accurate or it’s not pc to condemn Jews collectivley. But also Arab states still do have Jews living within them so it could be because they are indeed cognizant of the difference.

  44. Betsy says:

    One simple solution is for critics of Israeli state policies to understand the history and character of anti-Semitic discourse. /
    I wish Beryl Satter had talked actual history — and cited real historical scholarship. It’s baffling that she doesn’t deploy her considerable gifts as a historian to answer the question she poses. She has done good scholarly work on racism against African Americans — that paints a rich historical picture of how ‘discourses’ of race arise out of — the real material conditions of the real estate market in Chicago — and considers how people like her lawyer father struggled for justice within, and against, these macrostructures (in ways that situate his Jewish identity within the complex multi-ethnic tapestry of America). She has demonstrated that she CAN look historically at the many-stranded forces (material, discursive, ethnic, etc.) — that shape racism — as they converge AND shift over time. So, what happens here? Why has she stopped thinking? Her citations & arguments are incredibly sloppy. 1) her argument is based on the idea that there are a cluster of “tropes” re/ Jewish people, that constitute a “discourse” — that was born 2000 years ago — and like a deathless vampire that can endure as an essence — that will even “will certainly outlive political contestations around the Israeli state.” Her pronouns are telling — anti-Semitism is an “it” — unchanging but flexible. She makes an ahistorical “essence” of anti-Semitism — that is, actually a sort of bizarre mirror image of the worst conspiracy theories re/ Jewish people as unchanging evil force. She’s essentially constructing a conspiracy theory — but is remarkably vague re/ the vectors for the evil she decries (ALL Christians? what carries this contaminating discourse? what is its etiology? She has no specific historical or discursive analysis of what “it” is, where “it” lives, how “it” spreads, how to stop “it”– other than to say we all need to watch our “tropes” — e.g., to practice a sort of semantic policing of our metaphors) 2) why does she stop thinking like a historian & a scholar? (even while she lectures others, in a condescending way, as if she were tutoring others in the “long history”) I find this very troubling — but suggestive — as if she’s been avoiding real thought on this topic for a long time. Her citations are mind-bogglingly sloppy — e.g., what is the actual history of anti-Semitism? was it really born 2000 years ago in Western Christianity as this tidy cluster of tropes? or did tropes & prejudices come & go in Christian Europe in connection to the wild mix of hatreds that ebbed & flowed on that continent? Didn’t “it” also go thro remarkable transformations in US? Shouldn’t there be some citation of good scholarship on this? re/ “Arab” so-called anti-Semitism — e.g., the Greenburg cite (written right after 9/11), which draws on the controversial Bernard Lewis (Armenian holocaust denier, Iraq war promoter, etc. ) is incredibly cold & heartless re/ the sufferings of Palestinian peoples during & after the Nakba. The Guardian & Pew Center citations are a bit reliable, but don’t really substantiate her arguments — they explore the diversity & CHANGE in Muslim world globally — not its unremitting attachment to “it”. Her only specificity re/ what tropes constitute “it” these days — comes re/ conspiracy theory re/ 9/11 (note that it’s an “it” not plural, not theories with diverse valences & origins & forms of circulation), which she says is anti-Semitic because “casts Israel, the Jewish state, as a sinister force of almost supernatural ability and unlimited capacity for evil, bent on manipulating other nations in pursuit of its twisted self-interest.” Actually, the people cited by Guardian on this, mention US, CIA right along w/ MOSSAD. So, is anger at US or CIA = anti-Semitic? 3) finally, the emotional tone in this, just feels odd — Darnell was so heartfelt, bringing up feelingful & moral questions — talking re/ fear of consequences in employment & friendship.

  45. Some who oppose the occupation, which goes against international law, also oppose the legitimacy of the state of Israel – and no other nation. They thereby cast the Israeli state as uniquely sinister. First, it isn’t true. Many states engage in violent suppression of minorities, neighboring communities, or inhabitants of distant nations. There are many nations whose origins entailed the displacement of populations, including our own. Second, depicting Israel as a uniquely evil state that has no right to exist aligns too neatly with the centuries-old depiction of Jews as a uniquely evil people who have no right to exist.

    Ms. Satter, is this as deep as your analysis can get? The almost servile transcription of tired Hasbara points?

    Too many fallacies in a single paragraph:

    1) We don’t oppose the legitimacy of the State of Israel. We oppose the legitimacy of the Zionist regime. The day Israel gives the vote to all the population it controls and removes legislation favoring Jews, we won’t oppose it at all.

    2) We don’t have any obligation, moral or otherwise, to oppose other regimes than Israel’s. This is not expected of critics of the Cuban or the Iranian regimes, and it shouldn’t be expected of us either.

    3) We don’t cast Israel as uniquely sinister. We criticize Israel without comparing it to other countries.

    4) Any comparison between the displacement of Native Americans and the Nakba is disingenuous, since the latter is an extant problem, and was done in the name of moral justice.

    The problem is not that we focus uniquely on Israel; the problem is that of all the people in the world who focus uniquely on a country, you focus uniquely on us.

  46. American says:

    There is another impression I have too, and I say impression because I don’t read all the long discussions going into Jewish religion, culture, genetics and on and on that some people get into here—-but if anti semitism arises or what could be construed as anti semitic that is one area where it is most likely to do so—in discussions of the why of Jewish tribalism, differentness or victimhood, whether it’s linked to religion or ethnics origins or culture or whatever. It can be interesting as research but it’s pretty much useless to the present day Israel problem. The same way it’s useless to talk about anti semitism in Christians 2000 years ago.

    The other area of anti semitic traps for critics is discussing US Jews or Zionist in the US in relation to Israel political support. Ideally to my mind we should be able to criticize or at least question the Jewish community, with the qualifier of “some” of the Jewish community as always, as we would tea baggers or liberals or conservatives or any other ideological group operating “politically.” But because of all the old canards about Jews that is a minefield. We can actually see the Zionist acting out some of old canards but because they have tied, and everything about Israel is tied to The Jews when you point out what is very observable in US zionist it automatically gets transferred to ‘the Jews’. I don’t know any solution to that except to keep saying Zionist and ‘some’ or just not point out what zionism is doing it all. ..which isn’t an option to me. This where I say as long as we are made to accept the differentness of Jews, based on victimhood or anything else, then they will continue to be different in issues like this.
    And I think we all see that zionism wants to keep that different-ness because it is beneficial to them. …it means no honest discussion between Jews and non Jews about things like US abdication of interest to Israel on their account because it will be seen as “an attack on Jews” instead of just the typical knock down drag out political fight between any other two groups who oppose each others agenda or ideology.
    Why shouldn’t I be able to rationally ask or discuss with a Jew who supports the way the US supports Israel if they realize they are harming the interest of non Jewish citizens in the US and the US and ultimately their own interest…and that they don’t have ‘a right’ to do that? Why shouldn’t I be able to have a civilized conversation with Jews about why believing the US and Israel have the same interest as a rational for their support of their ‘other homeland’ is a delusion and not applicable to the real world?
    Why can’t I say to Jews…look, you are deluding yourself and arousing resentment among non Jews with this Israel loyalty or zionism movement, you need to make a choice, snap out of it.
    If I can say that to the christian zios I should be able to say the same to Jews.
    As a matter of fact I do say these things to and about both the gentile and Jewish camps of Israel….so I guess the anti semite chips are going to have fall where ever they may for some of us because I’m not going to play into the ‘different-ness’ thing under the guise of ‘respecting’ the Jewish past suffering which is what Satter is suggesting here. You can be respectful of and sympathetic to that part of Jewish history for Jews without accepting it is a reason for continuing a forever different-ness of Jews and treating Jews that way in every category and arena in life.

  47. W.Jones says:

    “Anti-Semitism is a 2000-year-old ideology”
    Wait a minute- the Babylonians and others before 12 AD were not anti-semitic?

    What happened in 12 AD?

    What were the most common ethnicities of the “anti-Semities” in 12 AD-112 AD?

  48. PilgrimSoul says:

    The Moroccans may be doing terrible things to people in the Western Sahara, but so far the Moroccans haven’t been able to organize an American lobby strong enough to pay a majority of elected American legislators to vote the way they tell them to, or drive people from their jobs, to lobby incessantly to get the US to attack another country, or try to pass laws that outlaw free speech. If that last example seems extreme, just look at the latest attempt by the Israel Lobby to pass a law that would prevent people on California State University campuses from saying anything critical of the Israeli state.

    I became alarmed at the activities of the Israel Lobby not just because of the plight of the Palestinians, which is bad enough, but because of its malevolent attempts to limit free speech and association in American politics and culture, and to create influence by calling everybody who opposes them anti-Semites. There is a clear and present danger of a resurgence of antisemitism, to be sure, but the danger originates with the reckless activities of the Israel Lobby and its neo-con leaders, who seek to hijack Judaism in the name of religious nationalism and Likudnik aggression. They, along with their Christian evangelical allies, will not be satisfied until they have gotten us into a worldwide religious war that the US cannot afford and cannot win. That’s why Late Zionism is, and sh0uld be, of more concern to progressive and patriotic Americans than anything done in Morocco.

    • ColinWright says:

      How many billions of dollars of aid does the US give to Morocco each year? How many standing ovations did the King of Morocco get when he last addressed Congress? Where in the Democratic platform is there a call to recognize the Western Sahara as an integral part of Morocco?

      I’m concerned with our sins. When those are dealt with, we can discuss what to do about what the neighbors (or people on the other side of the planet) are up to.

  49. Marlene says:

    I so agree with Mooser who said of this article that “you can see this attempt at minimising and trivialising Israel’s sins and crimes coming a mile away.”

    It is Israel who has always represented itself to the world as unique in its democracy and comprising the most “moral” army in the world. So when one presents itself as such, it’s not unusual that others would expect much higher standards than those countries who do NOT misrepresent them to the world even though they may also be engaging in similar crimes (although I fail to see it). . So my first question to the author would be, where is that country who does make those false representations as Israel does? What country defines itself as “the only democracy in the Middle East,” or in any other continent on the face of this earth?

    Anyone who has the audacity to constantly use the Holocaust as a lesson to the world (and which was a major reason for the partition of Palestine as voted by the U.N.) had better learn the lessons themselves first. Israel, emphasizng that it is a “Jewish” state, has not done so, and has rather emulated the Nazis. I don’t need to hear about other coumtries.

    If Jews are constantly represented to the world that they have an exclusivity over sufferig than anyone else in the history of this world, that makes it even more incumbent upon any who is Jewish that they do not create suffering for anyone else, including the author of this article. The concern fcr her seems to relate more to “anti-semitism” than the horrific crimes that Israel has carried out for decades.

  50. Stogumber says:

    I understand Ms. Satter’s attempt to draw a clear line between good critique of Israel and bad antisemitism.
    But I think that’s too simplistic.
    I’d prefer the idea that the right way is a middle way between getting “over the edge” (blaming Jews indifferently and mixing different old and new grievances) and getting “under the edge” (blaming only nonpersonal conditions or only some political and military elites, implying that the Israeli electorate or the members of AIPAC or the Jewish hasbara journalists have no responsibility in that matter).

  51. manfromatlan says:

    “Anti-Semitism is a 2000-year-old ideology that sees Jews as …master manipulators who control global finance… and the media”

    Lots of people think that, but the way to counter that is not to create a new ‘thought crime’. In fact, I reject your very premise. I do not include my Jewish wife, physician, dentist or friends in that category, and would much prefer to say ‘the 1%’.

    But just as we can comment on some people behaving badly, be they Muslims, Christians or even, Buddhists :) surely we do not give a free pass to some Jews either? If we can have a reasonable discussion about the effects of crime on black communities, surely we can discuss the actions of a few Jews that lead to the very anti-semitism you decry?

    That’s how it works, I guess. No one can criticise Jewish behaviour; if they’re non-Jews, they must be anti-semitic, and if they’re Jewish, they’re self-hating. Police your own community before you police others, rejoin the human race.

  52. lyn117 says:

    I, off the top of my head, know of any other nation created since WWII was created by deliberate destruction and removal of the pre-existing, indigenous society within its claimed territory. It’s absolutely true that other nations have done worse in terms of sheer killing people, and some have also committed ethnocide, e.g., the Chinese against Tibetans. The Syrian regime may be more brutal (at least presently, compared to 1948 it’s far less brutal), but the Syrian people are essentially the same people, indigenous to that state. As far as I’m concerned, that makes Israel (the state) uniquely illegitimate. The Syrian regime is illegitimate, the state is legitimate, ditto for many regimes. Israel could acquire legitimacy only by allowing the return of all the refugees, with full equality and restitution as much as possible for their destroyed society and confiscated property.

    On top of the fact that my country (the U.S.) supports Israel’s crimes.

  53. Djinn says:

    What is this utter drivel doing here? Before opposing Apartheid you need to first tie yourself in knots to avoid upsetting the oppressor? You have to make sure your criticism doesnt echo some old prejudices (so no mention of Israel killing children, blood libel that is, never mind if it is fact). Those old prejudices are somehow inherently part of the DNA for several billion people. If someone acts injusticely you need to think of every unjust thing that may have been said about them/done to them and couch your opposition in a way that doesnt upset THEIR sensibilities WTF?

  54. Beryl does her bit for the “equivalency Hasbara“

    she sure does, and she’s probably doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. she’s also in denial

    While many nations, including our own, engage in horrific behavior against other nations and against minorities within their own borders, the fact that Israelis are Jews means that their state violence, and theirs alone, can be understood in terms of a pre-existing, centuries-old anti-Semitic language.

    not really beryl. you might as well say lots of people do horrible things but when jews do horrible things theirs alone can be understood in terms of a pre-existing, centuries-old anti-Semitic language. i for one have no problem criticizing horrible things some (or many) jews do without using anti semitic language anymore than i worry about sounding racist when i blast obama for killing innocent civilians when he approves of drone attacks on villages full of civilians.

    what if everytime someone complained about afghanistan we were accused of racism because obama was black? i mean seriously, does anyone ever worry about that? we would if all his supporters cried ‘racist’ everytime someone complained about him including him kowtowing to israel. that’s not normal. what’s normal is criticizing oppressors.

    hey let’s try this:

    While many american presidents engage in horrific behavior against other nations the fact that obama is black means that his state violence, and his alone, can be understood in terms of a pre-existing, centuries-old racist language.

    say wha? but guess what? i don’t hear his supporter (black or not) using that argument very much, in fact i rarely hear it although i have heard it. but everytime we criticize obama it’s not a mantra that constantly gets hauled out to silence critics and i think an argument can be made there’s been way more bigotry in this country’s history against african americans than against jews any day of the week!

    you know why? because americans are not programmed to fear being accused of racism the way we’re programmed to fear being accused of anti semitism.

    so why is it the number one response to criticism of israel is..antisemitism? because it is used as a crutch to avoid culpability that’s why. there’s no evidence whatsoever that more blatant lying racist accusatory, false accusation, false imprisonment, false stereotyping have been leveled against jews than black people…but if i were to say mugabe was a brutal dictator nobody says the fact that mugabe is black means that his state violence can be understood in terms of a pre-existing, centuries-old racist language. hellloooo.

    you can’t haul out ad hominem arguments against critics of crimes against humanity because in the history of jews includes false accusations.

    The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement states that it is opposed to anti-Semitism as well as all forms of racism or anti-Arab language. While I do not doubt that most BDS activists abhor anti-Semitism, their claim to oppose anti-Semitism would have more force if they had a record of confronting allies over anti-Semitic language.

    their claim doesn’t need more force. constantly diverting the conversation to anti semitism is..a diversion.

    good people silence themselves out of concern that they might inadvertently engage in speech that is bigoted.

    no they don’t don’t. they silence themselves so they won’t be accused of bigotry since accusations of anti semitism is the number one crutch of pro israel critics. it’s a main staple in their discourse/defense. good people do not inadvertently engage in speech that is bigoted. good people have been brainwashed into fearing criticizing israel and being unfairly accused. they prefer the path of cowards.

    Here is a concrete example of the way that pre-existing anti-Semitic discourses (and actions) complicate pro-Palestinian activism. Some who oppose the occupation, which goes against international law, also oppose the legitimacy of the state of Israel – and no other nation. They thereby cast the Israeli state as uniquely sinister. First, it isn’t true. Many states engage in violent suppression of minorities, neighboring communities, or inhabitants of distant nations. There are many nations whose origins entailed the displacement of populations, including our own.

    but there are not ‘many states’ who are actively displacing their populations now, in the present day..especially not ones who we support and fund. israel is uniquely sinister today and the largest recipient of US lethal arms . unless you can direct us to another apartheid state actively expanding it’s borders and ethnically cleansing the land…on our dollar. can you?

    the discussion of anti semitism of israels critics is a tool. it is a tool that is watering down the meaning of antisemitism. i am just not that concerned with anti semitism, it’s not my focus. not when there are powerful zionist jews inundating our culture with racist islamophobic hate speech and the nypd is actively targeting muslims. there’s nothing comparable going on in terms of anti semitism in this country. nothing.meanwhile there’s an election coming up and thousands of dem delegates just screamed ney. i suppose that’s anti semitic too?

    Pro-Palestinian activists should distinguish between the two types of arguments, so that they can repudiate the former. This would disarm their critics and strengthen the moral legitimacy of their critiques of Israeli state policies.

    no it wouldn’t. nothing will disarm critics who use accusations of anti semitism as a crutch. they went after judith butler for heaven’s sakes. they’ll go after anyone. i’m not afraid of anyone calling me an anti semite anymore than i am afraid of being called a thief. there’s probably at least, if not more, racist american people who do not like our president because he is black than there are anti semites who criticize israel. a lot more. so why aren’t we being inundated with lectures about how to not sound racist when we criticize the president? because he’s not a whiner and his supporters are not whiners either. do the crime, take the criticism like a person with a backbone. don’t lean on some stupid excuse about the history of racism to wash away culpability.

  55. NCINA says:

    As a general comment and I’ll take my pulse, I actually agree with most of the article. From my reading of most of the comments they are what I’d consider antisemitic but I’ve read about this site, been to a few anti-Israel meetings and expect nothing else.

    If half of the posters/articles/comments were replaced by: blacks, Muslims or ‘x’ country where Israel and Zionist appear, decent peoples toes would curl. I don’t even think that most pro-Palestinian people are genuinely for real meaningful solution just anti-Israel by any means.

    • If half of the posters/articles/comments were replaced by: blacks, Muslims or ‘x’ country where Israel and Zionist appear, decent peoples toes would curl.

      so, is it just a coincidence you were addressing my argument in reverse or is this related

      what if everytime someone complained about afghanistan we were accused of racism because obama was black? i mean seriously, does anyone ever worry about that? we would if all his supporters cried ‘racist’ everytime someone complained about him including him kowtowing to israel. that’s not normal. what’s normal is criticizing oppressors.

      hey let’s try this:

      While many american presidents engage in horrific behavior against other nations the fact that obama is black means that his state violence, and his alone, can be understood in terms of a pre-existing, centuries-old racist language.

      • NCINA says:

        Hussein Obama is not black but mixed race and no my point wasn’t the reverse of yours. This is the best links I could find to what I consider antisemtism. I’m in no doubt you will not agree.
        The 3d test:
        link to jcpa.org
        The EU working definition of antisemitism:
        link to fra.europa.eu
        According to the latter in my mind many manifestations of antisemitism appear on the comments section. I irks me a little but I have thick skin and wear even thicker makeup.

        • triple yawn, yes we have all heard about the ‘new’ antisemitism which basicallyboils down to ‘if you criticize israel you’re a bigot’ This is the best link I could find to the history of this ‘new’ antisemitism. it’s a few years old but not in the least rusty. I’m in no doubt you will not agree.

          link to counterpunch.org

    • Kathleen says:

      Honest criticism with solid points all through this thread. Comments like NCINA’s makes me question what has been referred to as “anti semitism” through out history when honest debate and comments are defined as “anti Jewish”

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “If half of the posters/articles/comments were replaced by: blacks, Muslims or ‘x’ country where Israel and Zionist appear, decent peoples toes would curl.”

      That’s a stupid statement. If you replace the object of ANY critical statement with an undifferentiated race, it would be people’s toes curl. Change “Football and hockey are too violent” to “Blacks are too violent” and you would make people’s toes curl, but it would be dumb to make that switch. Basically all you are doing is trolling to suggest that criticism of the state of israel is bigotry. It’s not. Your comment is clearly idiocy and we are all worse off for having it posted.

  56. Kathleen says:

    Avoid self silencing. Focus on the facts

  57. eGuard says:

    One simple solution is for critics of Israeli state policies to understand the history and character of anti-Semitic discourse.

    Quite the opposite, Satter. Right now you are squeezing in the “anti-Semitism” topic through every hole in the discussion. Even worse: squeezing in the very word. (Which, you did not get, was exactly the problem Darnell L. Moore and Judith Butler were facing).

    If you have any care or intelligence for the debate on Israel, you’d fight to keep the word out.

    Another example of you sneaky squeezing in the word: While I do not doubt that most BDS activists abhor anti-Semitism, their claim to oppose anti-Semitism would have more force if they had a record of confronting allies over anti-Semitic language.

    BDS is not about anti-Semitism. Nor is it about the Moskov subway system. Just keep it out will do.