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On charges of anti-Semitism and Palestinian solidarity activism

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
on 86 Comments

I am deeply indebted to my friend, Beryl Satter, for taking the time to compose a response to my letter to Judith Butler. Dialogue is necessary. And debate, even the type that might easily move some toward outrage, does not require insufferable contempt. Given that, I would like to respond by noting that even while I am writing to clarify some aspects of my initial argument and to articulate a set of disagreements, I love and respect Beryl as a friend, colleague, and mentor and while I understand that much of what was written may have prompted contention, I am deeply offended, quite honestly, by some of the comments written in response to her piece.

satter1
Dr. Beryl Satter. (Photo: Rutgers)

That being said, let me begin where Beryl ends. She asks of the reader to not make Israel a “unique standard” in regards to its violations of international law. Yet, the Palestinian quest for self-determination and anti-occupation work requires one to specifically name the State of Israel as an occupying force. Assuming that one’s critique of the State of Israel, as it relates to the State’s violation of international law and the occupation of Palestinian land, is always already laced with anti-Semitic ideology is a problematic postulation. And, as poignantly noted by my friend and fellow Palestinian solidarity activist Sa’ed Adel Atshan, the assumption of guilt rather than innocence when it comes to charges of anti-Semitism is equally questionable. Sa’ed also contends that it is “problematic to establish a litmus test for Palestine activists just so they can receive some arbitrary ‘non-anti-Semitic’ stamp of approval.” I agree. But Beryl’s response has instigated my own thoughts about the ethics that foreground my own Palestinian solidarity work.

Moore
Darnell Moore. (Photo: Pretty Queer)

I am writing this response from within the borders of a settler colonial state. I am a citizen of the United States and am, therefore, complicit in the ongoing occupation of the land of First Nation peoples. That I am able to levy an anti-colonial critique of the U.S. (and implicate myself in the criticism) instantiates the possibility that one can interrogate the practices and policies of a state without maintaining deleterious bias against state subjects. To put it another way, one can offer a strong critique of government (even one’s own) without abhorrence directed towards the body politic. And even in the cases that one might find reason to hold responsible a citizenry for, say, the widespread support of injurious practices or policies does not mean that one’s criticism is hatred masked. If I am able to criticize the U.S. without having to stave off reproach (though, in many cases criticisms of the U.S. state by American citizens is easily read as unpatriotic) or am not required to understand the history and character of anti-American discourse as a requisite act for my disapproval of U.S. policies and practices (though, some might require such action), then why must criticism of Israeli state policies be contingent upon one’s move to “understand the history and character of anti-Semitic discourse” (though, that work is important too)?

Such understanding is what Beryl names a “simple solution.” The suggestion, however, traffics in a type of exceptionalism that overly animates the Jewishness of the State of Israel. My concern is that some might easily read that excessive focus on the Jewishness of Israel (as opposed to Israel’s position in the world as nation-state) as anti-Semitic. I do agree, however, that developing and maintaining an awareness of anti-Semitic ideology quite possibly lodged within some strains of anti-Israel (i.e. arguments regarding the move to not acknowledge Israel’s statehood, et cetera) discourse is vital.

Furthermore, Beryl goes on to state, “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.” This assertion trivializes the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and, again, centralizes anti-Semitism and, therefore, Jewishness, within anti-occupation discourse and advocacy. But more importantly, Palestinians (and Israelis, for that matter), regardless of whether charges of anti-Semitism are true are not, have every right to resist occupation and demand the State of Israel to cease its neo-colonial practices and policies. And one must ask: What if? What if there are Palestinians who are anti-Semitic, is the decision to cease the occupation validated or not by charges of anti-Semitism on the part of occupied people? No.

I am not attempting to provide an apology for anti-Semitism and its odiousness, but rather posit that the question of anti-Semitism is not the central problem around which anti-occupation and pro-Palestine work ought to be conceived. The centralizing focus must be that of Palestinian rights and Israel’s lack of compliance with international law. And there is no “moral argument” to win, actually. There is only the question of rights and the violation of law.

I am in no position to tutor Palestinian people regarding the ways in which they resist occupation and demand an end to the violation of international law. I am clear about the deleterious nature of anti-Semitism and its affects and am, like many, “conscious” and “deliberate” when crafting a critique regarding the State of Israel’s illicit occupation. I am also clear about the deleterious nature of the occupation and its affects and have no desire to win an argument regarding that fact.

Beryl closes by reminding U.S. that “Activists win when they know their subject inside and out.” And, I agree. Palestinian activists know their subject positions within occupied territory inside and out. We would do well to know the same.

Darnell L. Moore
About Darnell L. Moore

Darnell L. Moore is a fellow is a Visiting Scholar with the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University. His is an Editorial Collective member of The Feminist Wire and blogs at Huffington Post. He has also written for Lambda Literary, Mary: A Literary Quarterly, and Hyacide Magazine. He lives in Bedstuy, Brooklyn.

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86 Responses

  1. Shmuel
    Shmuel
    September 11, 2012, 9:47 am

    An excellent response. Thank you.

    I’m not sure what you mean by the following:
    The centralizing focus must be that of Palestinian rights and Israel’s lack of compliance with international law. And there is no “moral argument” to win, actually. There is only the question of rights and the violation of law.

    Isn’t the question of rights and law also, essentially a “moral argument”? Furthermore, Dr. Satter wasn’t really making a moral argument, but rather “building fences” around a fundamentally sound moral argument (that does not, in itself, conflict with the struggle for Palestinian rights – quite the contrary); in effect demanding extreme sensitivity toward Jews (even where such sensitivity is exaggerated or even unjustified and unfair) at the risk of showing callousness toward the very real and current suffering of Palestinians. The end result is in fact an immoral argument that favours the oppressor over the oppressed.

  2. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    September 11, 2012, 10:27 am

    So, Beryl’s offended, Darnell’s offended, I’m offended, Mooser’s offended, everybody’s offended. So, Beryl wins. I have to think her point in all of this is to get people to throw up their hands and say, “Ah, screw it, I tried, but this nut just can’t be cracked.”

    Darnell has to too much class to say it, but I don’t, so I will: The imaging here alone makes me want to throw up. It’s a total reverse of reality, with a white woman playing the victim of racism, and a black man trying to assuage her anxieties. WOW. How unseemly is this?

    Darnell is so generous to Beryl, he basically puts himself on the Mayflower and indicts himself in the genocide of the first people’s. He goes out of his way to acknowledge any suffering he might be complicit in, and what do we get from Satter? Be Careful of Anti-Semitism. With friends like these, eh?

    The rest of the world didn’t write the law of return, it didn’t make Israel the “state of the Jewish people” and the rest of the world didn’t put the star of david on the flag, tanks, airplanes and bombs – no, Jews did that, on their own. There is no avoiding implicit generalizations about Jews when there is a state that says it speaks for all of them. And what a magical trick that is. Israeli’s are Israeli’s until Israel gets criticized, then all of a sudden they all become Jews. The same can be said for many, many american academics, apparently. Darnell Moore owes this woman no apologies and frankly, Prof Satter should be ashamed of herself.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      September 11, 2012, 12:36 pm

      Darnell is so generous to Beryl, he basically puts himself on the Mayflower and indicts himself in the genocide of the first people’s.

      not to jump on the ‘i’m offended’ band wagon, but that’s a bit offensive, innit?

      • iamuglow
        iamuglow
        September 11, 2012, 5:09 pm

        “that’s a bit offensive, innit?”

        How so?

        What is the point of saying

        “I am a citizen of the United States and am, therefore, complicit in the ongoing occupation of the land of First Nation peoples.”

        Complicit? Really? It seems meaningless to me to claim you are complicit for things people did before you were born. But Moore is just falling into the same type of thinking that Satte lays out. He is going to pretend to be guilty for colonization of America and she is going to pretend she’s suffered thru two thousand years of anti-Semitism.

      • Dan Crowther
        Dan Crowther
        September 11, 2012, 6:59 pm

        marc,

        sorry if i offended, but i think this is a misreading on your part

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        September 11, 2012, 7:36 pm

        iamu, maybe it’s the tone, the implication that i find offensive. or maybe i’m too sensitive, but it sounds suspiciously similar to the house N libel, identifying too closely with massa. but, again, i could be wrong. it’s happened before.

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        September 12, 2012, 8:12 am

        sorry if i offended

        that’s OK, dan. i see my jungian analyst wednesday afternoons. we’ll work through it.

      • Dan Crowther
        Dan Crowther
        September 12, 2012, 9:56 am

        marc, i was just trying to highlight the gymnastics moore was willing to go through in order to prove to satter he’s aware of any people’s past suffering. Far from calling him names, I’m amazed by his generosity and compassion. I was trying to draw a comparison between him and satter, here he is taking the blame for crimes he had nothing to do with, and here she is, making sure darnell and the rest of us are aware of our crimes. her stance seems rather distasteful, at least to me

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        September 12, 2012, 10:09 am

        @ iamuglow:
        “It seems meaningless to me to claim you are complicit for things people did before you were born. But Moore is just falling into the same type of thinking that Satte lays out. He is going to pretend to be guilty for colonization of America and she is going to pretend she’s suffered thru two thousand years of anti-Semitism.”
        I agree.

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        September 12, 2012, 10:15 am

        her stance seems rather distasteful, at least to me

        amen.

      • lobewyper
        lobewyper
        September 13, 2012, 12:51 am

        Your analyst must be extremely good if s/he can analyse clients working only once a week with them…

    • American
      American
      September 11, 2012, 1:47 pm

      “The rest of the world didn’t write the law of return, it didn’t make Israel the “state of the Jewish people” and the rest of the world didn’t put the star of david on the flag, tanks, airplanes and bombs – no, Jews did that, on their own. There is no avoiding implicit generalizations about Jews when there is a state that says it speaks for all of them. And what a magical trick that is. Israeli’s are Israeli’s until Israel gets criticized, then all of a sudden they all become Jews. “…Dan

      In a nutshell.

      What Satter and other anti semitism lecturers are doing is basically telling the world it must put ‘concerns’ about any ‘whiff of anti semitism’ ahead of any other’s human rights or interest.

      The message is —Put the Jewish connection to Israel and Jewish feelings and the Jewish past history ‘first’ and ‘tailor’ everything you say to those considerations when you criticize Israel or the I-First phenomenon in the US or you’re going to stir anti-semitism and create another holocaust.

      Exactly what is it anyway that the Satters don’t want us to say when talking about Israel? Exactly what is it we and the world are saying about Israel that is anti semitic?
      That what Israel ,the Jewish State by their own definition, is doing is wrong and immoral and illegal?
      That what Jewish (or any) supporters of Israel are doing are wrong and immoral?
      That the US should not support Israel?
      That we, Americans, in particular want all Israeli influences and agents of Israel out of our government and politics?
      That Israel is de-legitimizing itself by it’s own actions?
      Is this her idea of anti semitic talk?

      Let me tell you what all this concentration on and emphasizing Jews and anti semitism in the Israel issue is going to lead to……it’s going to put in people’s minds that they have ‘to choose’ between the Jews and their own interest, morals and principles.

      That is exactly how they have set it up. Make us choose.

    • Bruce Wolman
      Bruce Wolman
      September 11, 2012, 5:22 pm

      @Dan

      Agree completely with you.

      But I am not offended, so Beryl doesn’t completely win. Hers is a typical Liberal Zionist defense. You have to accept a long list of postulates before they will even deign to discuss with you.

      Darnell was deeply offended by some of the comments here. (Been there, done that.) I wonder which ones?

    • annie
      annie
      September 11, 2012, 11:24 pm

      the other day when i read Satter’s article i googled her and listened to a presentation about her father. she’s a smart thoughtful woman. moore explains she is a dear friend. i think between friends and family is sometimes the most difficult challenge to communicate but ultimately we do learn more from our friends, or may be more susceptible to growth or flexibility. not always, but in this regard i think moore is commendable in his efforts. and after all he did say

      This assertion trivializes the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and, again, centralizes anti-Semitism and, therefore, Jewishness, within anti-occupation discourse and advocacy. But more importantly, Palestinians (and Israelis, for that matter), regardless of whether charges of anti-Semitism are true are not, have every right to resist occupation and demand the State of Israel to cease its neo-colonial practices and policies. And one must ask: What if? What if there are Palestinians who are anti-Semitic, is the decision to cease the occupation validated or not by charges of anti-Semitism on the part of occupied people? No.

      • FreddyV
        FreddyV
        September 12, 2012, 6:37 am

        I must admit, I needed to read the comments to understand what Darnell was saying and it wasn’t dissimilar with Beryl’s post.

        What did this tell me? Both (and particularly Darnell) haven’t engaged their target audience. There’s some great thinkers out there and with enough verbiage and pilpul, people can make a sense of complete nonsense, but it’s only going to be the .001% of other thinkers and academics who are going to respond in a manner you desire. Personally, both posts gave me a migraine. I knew intuitively they were against my opinions and values, but I couldn’t get past the language. Speak to us, not at us with articulations and language we’re never going to understand.

        The other thing that Dan so concisely summerised is that Israel isn’t disliked because it’s full of Jews and there’s some unhinged antisemitism thing going on here. It’s simply because it (please note I’m referring to the nation and not Jews and not Israelis) does shitty things to people who have no voice or choice other than emigration, which is precisely what Israel’s aim is.

        The real kicker in Israel’s behaviour is not that it’s just ignored by many nations, it’s that it’s bankrolled by the world’s only superpower and supported by American Zionists and Christian Zionists. This situation has reached a stage where America’s future government is being influenced by Zionist money and power and this has reached new and unashamed levels in this election run up. That is unacceptable.

        So, a message to Israel – No. I’m not prepared to consider the plight of the Tibetans or the North Koreans before I condemn Israel and I don’t care what you call me. As I said in the comments section of Beryl’s post, if you blackmail me into bringing my dog to your fight, don’t be surprised if I turn it on you when I discover the odious lies and manipulations you used to coerce me into supporting you.

        Fight your own battles.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      September 12, 2012, 10:03 am

      @ Dan Crowther:

      “The rest of the world didn’t write the law of return, it didn’t make Israel the “state of the Jewish people” and the rest of the world didn’t put the star of david on the flag, tanks, airplanes and bombs – no, Jews did that, on their own. There is no avoiding implicit generalizations about Jews when there is a state that says it speaks for all of them.”
      I agree. If there is any anti-Jewish sentiment in this world, then the Jews can thank the self-declared “Jewish State” for that, because the “Jewish State” commits human rights violations in their name.

      “And what a magical trick that is. Israelis are Israelis until Israel gets criticized, then all of a sudden they all become Jews.”
      Yeah, I’ve noticed that, too.
      When you say that citizenship must not be based on ethnicity and that a Jew-only state is as wrong as a Jew-free state (i.e. Nazi Germany), then Zionists reply that 20% of Israel’s population are “Arabs”. However, when you negatively criticise Israel in any other way, then Zionists start equating “Israelis” with Jews and accuse you of anti-Semitism.

  3. Steve Macklevore
    Steve Macklevore
    September 11, 2012, 10:28 am

    I suspect large numbers of French resistance fighters held virulently anti-German views during the Nazi occupation of France from 1940-45.

    Such views were surely inevitable under a brutal military occupation that included biased courts and summary justice deployed against the indigenous population.

    Postwar, both France and Germany were transformed and made huge and sincere efforts at forgiveness, understanding and conciliation. There is no reason why Israelis and Palestinians couldn’t make the same sincere and good-willed efforts once a just and equitable solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict has been found.

    Until that solution is found, some degree of anti-Semitism among Palestinians is (sadly) inevitable, as is a degree of racism in Israel which many observers find horrifying.

    But demanding that anti-Semitism is stamped out in a population brutally occupied and oppressed by a state that wants to be known as Jewish is simply unacceptable.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      September 11, 2012, 11:28 pm

      Steve Macklevore says: “… There is no reason why Israelis and Palestinians couldn’t make the same sincere and good-willed efforts once a just and equitable solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict has been found…”

      One could argue this is an oxymoron. Israelis and Palestinians can only make the ‘same sincere and good-willed effort’ if there is still an Israel for the Israelis to be from — and how could an Israel still exist if a ‘ just and equitable solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict’ had been realized?

      A ‘just and equitable solution’ implies the dismantling of Israel. The Zionists can only justify possession of between 5% and 7% of Palestine — none of the rest would remain in their hands if a ‘just and equitable’ solution were imposed.

  4. clenchner
    clenchner
    September 11, 2012, 10:33 am

    “My concern is that some might easily read that excessive focus on the Jewishness of Israel (as opposed to Israel’s position in the world as nation-state) as anti-Semitic.”

    Bingo. And every time it happens, supporters of the occupation are pleased, because they use it to demonstrate that the fight isn’t about Palestinian rights but about Jewish concerns over safety and well being all over the world.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      September 11, 2012, 7:32 pm

      Bingo. And every time it happens, supporters of the occupation are pleased, because they use it to demonstrate that the fight isn’t about Palestinian rights but about Jewish concerns over safety and well being all over the world.

      Yawn,

      Supporters of the occupation will twist any outcome to buttress heir argument. If the settlements are criticized, they argue the critics are anti Jewish. If there is no criticism, they interpret this to mean the world is OK with settlements.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      September 12, 2012, 10:31 am

      “My concern is that some might easily read that excessive focus on the Jewishness of Israel (as opposed to Israel’s position in the world as nation-state) as anti-Semitic.”

      It’s the Zionists themselves who constantly focus on the Jewishness of Israel by denying the Palestinian refugees their right of return and by allowing any Jew from anywhere to become a citizen of Israel.

      • clenchner
        clenchner
        September 12, 2012, 12:40 pm

        And you wish to support them in this? My preference is to oppose it.

  5. Blaine Coleman
    Blaine Coleman
    September 11, 2012, 10:57 am

    Thanks, Dr. Moore.

    Sorry you’ve been compelled to spell out the obvious in such exhaustive detail, for those who still pretend not to get the point.

    The point is: the violent, racist apartheid state: “Israel”.

    Everyone who’s harmed by that racist state ought to demand a complete cutting of all ties with it. A total boycott. A total end of all aid, trade, and diplomatic ties. Simple. That was a major help in abolishing the apartheid state of South Africa.

    Everyone who expects some benefits from racism will de-emphasize the crimes of that apartheid state, and will instead criminalize its victims. Those who look to Zionists for legitimacy are hardly going to demand any rejection of the Israeli state.

    Those who want to sit with Zionists at “dialogues” and symposia, complete with water pitchers and printed programs, are never going to reject the Zionist state.

    Thus two little words, “Boycott Israel”, are barred from so much discourse, even in the so-called Palestine solidarity movement.

    ——————————————————

    The only U.S. human rights activists who consistently rejected the apartheid state of “Israel” were the Black Power movement from the summer of 1967 until that movement was crushed in the early 1970’s.

    See, for example, “An appeal by Black Americans against United States support of the Zionist government of Israel”, http://tinyurl.com/8r4dkb6 , in the New York Times, November 1, 1970.

    You see how Israel’s racist violence was so clear, even two generations ago, in the most important newspaper on the continent?

    You see how the solution was equally clear, in 1970 and today?

    The solution is ending all U.S. support to the racist state of Israel.

    What a shame that so many words are required to say the obvious, after it has remained so obvious for over 40 years.

    • American
      American
      September 11, 2012, 11:18 pm

      @ Blaine

      That’s very interesting article at NYT…never seen that before.
      But you know looking back in news archives, criticism of Israel was very prevalent in much of the press , much more so than now.

  6. annie
    annie
    September 11, 2012, 11:20 am

    i also wrote a post on charges of anti-Semitism and Palestinian solidarity activism because it’s really an important topic. vital actually. it’s sitting on top of yesterdays news because it was published late last night so i doubt many people will even notice it. but it’s a vital conversation, because the number one tool used by pro israel activists is the ad hominem crutch of accusations of anti semitism.

    thanks for your contributions Darnell.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      September 11, 2012, 2:49 pm

      “the number one tool used by pro israel activists is the ad hominem crutch of accusations of anti semitism.”

      That’s the equivalent of saying the number one tool of anti-Israel activists is the ad hominem crutch of Islamophobia. Neither is true.

      Maybe the reason your adherents remain on the fringe politically because you’re too arrogant to admit that there are actually valid arguments on the opposing side.

      • chinese box
        chinese box
        September 11, 2012, 5:48 pm

        Neither is true.

        And just because you say something doesn’t make it true either. Why don’t you try using facts and logic instead of dismissing other posters’ arguments in a high-handed way.

      • tear-stained uzi
        tear-stained uzi
        September 11, 2012, 6:56 pm

        “Maybe the reason your adherents remain on the fringe politically because [sic] you’re too arrogant to admit that there are actually valid arguments on the opposing side.”

        I just checked, and to date you’ve posted 3,921 comments at this site. I think it’s fair to ask: when are you planning on employing one of those “valid arguments?”

      • annie
        annie
        September 11, 2012, 8:39 pm

        That’s the equivalent of saying the number one tool of anti-Israel activists is the ad hominem crutch of Islamophobia.

        yawn, and that’s called using a false equivalence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_equivalence

        anyway, we’ve already argued this: ://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/the-toulouse-killings-and-the-false-specter-of-european-anti-semitism.html/comment-page-1#comment-438755

        team israel came up with one name no one had ever heard of.

        cliff, so far they have mentioned one guy whom i have never heard of til this thread. it’s hard to imagine how the Palestinian struggle is tainted and hamstrung the in the eyes of the world by a bunch of characters nobody’s ever heard of. whatever.

        it’s not like any ol day of the week we’ve got characters supporting palestine saying stuff like the Head of Bill Kristol’s lobby group. link to mondoweiss.net
        there’s no real equivalence to the Emergency Committee for Israel on our team. basically i think what we have here is a point scoring technique via what the hasbara handbook calls false equivalency, but i’d have to check my notes on that. basically it’s a ‘both sides’ argument, when any bystander can see one side is ethnic cleansers the other side the oppressed. whole other ballgame really.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 11, 2012, 11:38 pm

        hophmi says: “Maybe the reason your adherents remain on the fringe politically because you’re too arrogant to admit that there are actually valid arguments on the opposing side.”

        What are the valid arguments for the Zionist position? I’ve yet to hear one.

        It’s really remarkable. I can readily think of valid arguments for just about every position that differs from mine in other areas. Really — I just think the long-term consequences of global warming outweigh the immediate economic costs of doing something about it, etc.

        But that’s not so when it comes to Israel. I have yet to hear one valid argument for it. If you’ve got one, please present it.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 4:39 pm

        I say “…But that’s not so when it comes to Israel. I have yet to hear one valid argument for it. If you’ve got one, please present it.”

        Silence. As always. Sigh…

  7. joecatron
    joecatron
    September 11, 2012, 11:31 am

    This doesn’t drive home every point as strongly as I might have liked (and what ever could?), but is a valuable response to Satter’s apartheid-denial silliness. I’ll only expand briefly on one point, which is absolutely correct and very well-put but deserves elaboration:

    “And one must ask: What if? What if there are Palestinians who are anti-Semitic, is the decision to cease the occupation validated or not by charges of anti-Semitism on the part of occupied people? No.”

    I’m not even sure what “anti-Semitism” would mean here (specifically Gaza). When colonial aggressors launching violent incursions into Palestinian farmlands and waterways introduce themselves over loudspeakers as the “Yehud,” between bursts of machine-gun fire, tank shells, and water cannons, whose fault is it if some of those hearing them, year after bloody year, take them at their word? Of course I don’t consider the Zionists’ claims that their crimes represent the world’s Jews legitimate, but I won’t make it my business to go around correcting them, either.

    Those with concerns, real or feigned, over “anti-Semitism” by Palestinians or their supporters would be well-advised to direct their energy at the the only substantial propagandist for anti-Semitism in Palestine: the State of Israel. And those claiming to oppose anti-Semitism, while defending or minimizing the crimes of Zionism, are either fooling themselves or lying to the rest of us. Zionism is the perfect manifestation of classical anti-Semitism; you can embrace the noxious 19th-century doctrines at its core in practice, or oppose them in theory, but there’s really no coherent way to do both.

  8. PeaceThroughJustice
    PeaceThroughJustice
    September 11, 2012, 12:07 pm

    By the way, has Beryl Satter ever written anything (an article, letter to the editor, e-mail message to a friend) on the subject of I/P, prior to her piece here at Mondoweiss? So far my searches have come up empty.

  9. marc b.
    marc b.
    September 11, 2012, 12:23 pm

    i didn’t write a response to satter’s commentary, because i frankly don’t believe that her arguments differ significantly from the more open apologists for israeli conduct. (i appreciate intellectually that moore has drafted a response, and understand his emotional stake in doing so as well.) not to regurgitate what he has already written, but there seems to be an inherent contradiction in satter’s argument against treating israel as a unique case (if that were indeed true) while simultaneously arguing that discourse must be antiseptically free of anti-semitic content. this is an impossible standard to meet (and which would probably disqualify most commentary in the MSM if it were also applied to criticism of islamic regimes), and more importantly, it’s impossible in the first instance to even define such a standard. (from what i have seen of the practical application of the ‘new’ definition of anti-semitism, criticism of israel is apparently synonymous with anti-semitism.) does satter expect that every press release, every public comment, every debate about every platform be submitted for anti-semetic-free certification? it’s ludicrous. in essence what she is proposing is that no debate take place until every advocacy group for palestine be purged of potential anti-semites. and her nonsensical requirement that every comment detailing an injustice committed by israel be placed in the ‘context’ of similar atrocities being carried out elsewhere is equally chilling in its stalinist sentiment. again, this proposal is standard hasbara practice, the hoped-for result being that ‘objective’ critics will be educated to the fact that israel’s alleged crimes pale in comparison with this or that outrage in the sudan, syria, etc., which, naturally, leads to allegations of anti-semitism against those who choose not to move on to more ‘pressing’ issues.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      September 11, 2012, 12:33 pm

      ope, i cut a bit off. and another thing, i don’t find it at all troubling that israel might be treated as a unique case in some respects. israel was born out of the genocidal conduct of WWII, through an international legal and political consensus, and it should view its treatment of its own minorities through that legal and historical lens. what’s more, israel is a ‘unique’ beneficiary of US support. there really isn’t any debate about its special treatment in this regard. so why wouldn’t americans, in particular, feel a special obligation to hold israel accountable for its conduct?

      i presume that most of my comment was already expressed in the numerous original responses to satter’s post, but what the hell. why not pile on?

  10. iamuglow
    iamuglow
    September 11, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Whatever the point of the article, I found it torturous to read.

    Also getting tired of “academics” calling foul when they get critiqued in an open forum.

    “I am deeply offended, quite honestly, by some of the comments written in response to her piece.”

    Pshaw.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      September 11, 2012, 4:45 pm

      Also getting tired of “academics” calling foul when they get critiqued in an open forum.

      “I am deeply offended, quite honestly, by some of the comments written in response to her piece.”

      thanks for pointing that out. along with ‘journalists’, ‘academics’ must be bred for their especially thin skin. i assume that part of moore’s defense of satter is emotional, and that i would probably react similarly if a stranger were criticizing a friend, but, really, too bad for satter. she published an article in a forum that expressly includes an avenue for public responses (its ‘interactive’ feature), and although i haven’t read all of the comments to her piece, if they are of similar nature to the criticism of her in this thread, it’s some pretty tame stuff given the superficiality of her ‘analysis’. (frankly, it’s so shallow and transparent as to be insulting.) as i already said, satter’s commentary is nearly indistinguishable from the crude hasbara talking-points policy for response to criticism of israel. perhaps she’s a little more well spoken, but that doesn’t change the essence of her argument. (and i thought that someone with a doctorate would have been trained to vigorously defend her or his thesis in the face of pointed critiques, not whinge on about being disrespected when readers don’t pull at their chins in awe of her rhetorical brilliance.)

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 12:35 am

        marc b.: “…“I am deeply offended, quite honestly, by some of the comments written in response to her piece.”

        thanks for pointing that out. along with ‘journalists’, ‘academics’ must be bred for their especially thin skin…”

        Announcing you’re ‘offended’ is often a way of avoiding dealing with whatever the substantial point is.

  11. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    September 11, 2012, 2:10 pm

    whether non-jewish or jewish those opposed to israeli apartheid are no more antisemitic or self-hating than those opposed to south african apartheid were anti-white or self-hating whites. besides, antisemites within the movement are often identifiable by their repeated insistance that all jews are this or that. such generalizations, be these about any religious, ethnic, etc. group are fairly reliable indicators that the individual uttering them is either stupid or some sort of hatemonger. why do some zionists so readily resort to ad hominum attacks on those who oppose israeli apartheid and its other crimes against humanity? the answer is they do this in an attempt to divert attention from israel’s crimes against humanity and to keep anti-zionists on the defensive.

  12. hophmi
    hophmi
    September 11, 2012, 2:51 pm

    “I am in no position to tutor Palestinian people regarding the ways in which they resist occupation and demand an end to the violation of international law”

    Even if those ways blatantly violate international law themselves? Do you condone the murder and targeting of Israeli civilians, or do you think you’re in no position to tutor the Palestinian people on valid responses to occupation.

    Am I in a position to tutor the Israeli people regarding the ways in which they defend themselves from terrorism to avoid having their civilians killed?

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      September 11, 2012, 4:41 pm

      “Even if those ways blatantly violate international law themselves?”

      If the zionists were interesting in having international law followed, rather than using it as a weapon against those who they have under their jackboots, they, themselves, would follow international law. As it is now, they’ve gotten back 1/1,000 what they’ve inflicted. When they get their deathsquads out of West Bank, Gaza, Arab East Jerusalem and stop the terror attacks on the Palestinian people then they might have some basis to complain about defensive actions. Until then, the zios are seeding the wind; it’s their own fault if they reap the whirlwind.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      September 11, 2012, 4:52 pm

      Am I in a position to tutor the Israeli people regarding the ways in which they defend themselves from terrorism to avoid having their civilians killed?

      no. you aren’t. because you’re incapable of critical thought and objectivity. so it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself until you develop those skills.

    • September 11, 2012, 6:12 pm

      Hoppmi: “Even if those ways blatantly violate international law themselves? Do you condone the murder and targeting of Israeli civilians…”

      Wrong again. No matter one’s interpretation of border recognitions, settlers outside the 1967 armistice are (by anyone’s, including the US position) occupying forces, i.e. definitely not “civilians”. Refer to UN charter The occupied people have the full right to resistance against occupation. By any means. Also, even behind the armistice line (which is not recognized by everybody) civilian identity is more than a little murky. And finally, we know the Zionist defense for the murder of thousands of Palestinian civilians: “Collateral damage”. Two can play that game.

      Refer also to the history of the Anti-Nazi resistance: At least the Nazi occupiers did not add the cowardly use of civilian “settlers” to their offences (even though it theoretically was all about Lebensraum.) Perhaps because they valued the life of their own civilians (which the Zionists obviously consider as no better than live bait.) However, attempts on “civilian” occupation authorities and even spouses of occupying German officials, have been part and parcel of the acts of the Resistance and recognized as legitimate. Not by the Nazis, of course, for whom any resistant was a “Terrorist”, just as we hear it now from the Zionists.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      September 12, 2012, 4:43 pm

      The distinction would be that it is the Zionists who, in their creation of a Jewish-supremacist state and their insistence on maintaining it, created this situation.

      No doubt the Polish Home Army did many awful things to poor German settlers in 1940-44. However, it was the Germans who, by invading Poland and attempting to settle in it, created the situation.

      No one blames the Polish Home Army for what happened. They blame the Germans. Ditto for the Palestinians and the Zionists.

  13. American
    American
    September 11, 2012, 3:25 pm

    Well I went back and read Satter’s post for the third time and now am even more convinced she is just another zionist.

    Her examples of anti semitic discourse are:

    1) Any time you criticize Israel you must always include and name all other bad states or it’s anti semitic and singling out Israel. So we can’t have a conversation limited to just the Israel issue.

    2) If you don’t include criticism of all the other evil states whenever you criticize Israel, well then, you are linking Israel as uniquely evil to centuries old depictions of Jews as uniquely evil.

    So the real Satter rule on anti semitic discourse is ……Anti semitism is Whatever the Jews or any Jew says or thinks it is because of or by virtue of their past history.

    Sorry, but we are not the Jews nannies or psychologist. They are not retarded or handicapped children who can’t grasp the real issue. And moreover, exactly because of their past history and old accusations they, moreso than anyone, should be even more in tune to exactly how zionism fits those centuries old canards. Any Jews who can’t distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and actual anti semitism don’t do so simply because they don’t want to, or in the case of the Satters, because it doesn’t serve their agenda.

    • iamuglow
      iamuglow
      September 11, 2012, 5:23 pm

      “They are not retarded or handicapped children who can’t grasp the real issue.”

      For reals. NF once said something along the lines…even if you concede that Israels critics are antiSemitic…so what. Its not as though Israel has a border. Its not as if there arent thousands of armed settlers taking more and ever more land with the support of the goverment. The occupation, the nakba, the nukes, the lobby, none of it goes away because of antisemitism.

    • tear-stained uzi
      tear-stained uzi
      September 11, 2012, 7:47 pm

      “Well I went back and read Satter’s post for the third time…”

      Masochist.

      Mondoweiss has fast become one of my favorite websites. Reading Dr. Satter’s naive and ethnocentric essay here was like finding the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. I guess that’s rude to say — offensive, even — but I won’t apologize. Those that witness Israel’s obscene behavior and, instead of being outraged, immediately proceed to obfuscate, equivocate and justify, are themselves offensive, IMHO.

      (BTW, I don’t think Beryl Satter is a bad person, but her post makes it clear that she needs to dial down her defenses a bit and let more of the ugly reality of the situation in. It will be painful, but as they say, “the truth shall set you free.”)

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        September 11, 2012, 9:35 pm

        Beautifully said tear-stained uzi

      • American
        American
        September 11, 2012, 11:59 pm

        ” I don’t think Beryl Satter is a bad person,”…..tear-stained uzi

        Really she probably isn’t a bad person. If I could have a personal conversation with her about this, even if we couldn’t agree, I would probably come away thinking she’s just blinded by the Jewish element of Israel, not that she’s bad…just blinded.
        But still she needs to be called on it…for the sake of trying to break thru her and others blindness if nothing else.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 11:42 pm

        “Really she probably isn’t a bad person. “

        Very few people are really bad people. That’s part of what so horrible about it all. There are just situations — like Israel — that generate evil.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      September 11, 2012, 9:34 pm

      Sorry, but we are not the Jews nannies or psychologist. They are not retarded or handicapped children who can’t grasp the real issue. And

      Exactly. This is so juvenile, it barely warrants a response. There is no dispute that what Israel is doign is morally and legally repugnant, but therse Zionists never insist the bahvious should stop – they want to police how discussion of this behaviour should take place and enforce their set of rules.

  14. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    September 11, 2012, 3:59 pm

    Sigh. I’ve just been called a “Jew-hater” again, on a German queer news website. The accuser also alleged that it is the goal of Mondoweiss (and 972mag) to annihilate Israel and to expel/murder 6 million people. In my response, I explained to him the difference between regime, state, and people. However, I am doubtful that he’s bright enough to understand it.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      September 12, 2012, 12:38 am

      German Lefty: ‘…However, I am doubtful that he’s bright enough to understand it.’

      What’s that aphorism about how it is very hard to get someone to understand something if his livelihood depends on not understanding it?

      You would seem to have uncovered an analogous situation here. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s been noticed before. Of course arguments against Israel have to be transmogrified into anti-semitism. That’s how one avoids dealing with the argument.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        September 12, 2012, 11:21 am

        @ ColinWright:

        The guy asserted that a one-state solution amounts to genocide of the Jews. (“Deine Einstaatenlösung läuft im Endergebnis auf Judenmord hinaus. “) And as I am a supporter of this one-state solution, I must be a Jew-hater. I can only shake my head at such Zionist “logic”. Equal rights = extinction of Jews. Huh?

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 4:31 pm

        Since the Jews would presumably leave as easily as they came, ‘genocide’ is hardly likely.

        On the other hand, I’m perfectly willing to grant that ‘equal rights = extinction of Israel.’ However, I see that as an argument against Israel, not against equal rights.

  15. American
    American
    September 11, 2012, 6:25 pm

    I would just like to add one more thing that really ticks me off about the Satters.

    And that is.. God knows how many millions of times we on here, and in truth in most people who criticize Israel anywhere I have seen in general, repeat over and over and over that Israel does not represent ALL Jews or Jews as whole…no matter how much we do that….a Satter or a zionist will come along and tell the world ….’.when you criticize Israel you are ‘implicating’ all Jews……i.e….the message that Israel ‘is’ the Jews.

    And another thing is…just like zionist won’t be caught dead actually debating the facts on Israel with non zionist ….when they issue these cautions and examples on anti semitism in Israel criticism…they never hang around to defend their edicts or for questioning on their guidence lectures.

    I might not be so dismissive of Satter’s lecturing if she had included some actual ‘real’ examples anti semitism in the discourse…but she didn’t, it was just don’t talk about Israel except in some world wide universal terms that includes every other Dick in the world.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 11, 2012, 9:15 pm

      “I might not be so dismissive of Satter’s lecturing if she had included some actual ‘real’ examples anti semitism in the discourse…but she didn’t”

      Indeed. When I see

      “to acknowledge that anti-Semitic discourse exists and has its own specific cultural and ideological power.”

      I ask myself why, in sixty-six years of knocking about various parts of the world, I have seen and heard a lot of talk and writing about (and condemnation of) anti-Semitism, and yet hardly any actual anti-Semitism.

      • eljay
        eljay
        September 12, 2012, 9:15 pm

        >> I ask myself why, in sixty-six years of knocking about various parts of the world, I have seen … hardly any actual anti-Semitism.

        My guess is that you were distracted by improper grammar, spelling and turns of phrase. :-)

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 12, 2012, 10:19 pm

        Quite possible. It is easy to overlook the lesser evil when faced with the greater.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      September 12, 2012, 11:33 am

      most people who criticize Israel anywhere I have seen in general, repeat over and over and over that Israel does not represent ALL Jews or Jews as whole…no matter how much we do that….a Satter or a zionist will come along and tell the world ….’.when you criticize Israel you are ‘implicating’ all Jews……i.e….the message that Israel ‘is’ the Jews.

      I agree. Whenever I have a discussion with Zionists, I make sure that most of the sources I cite are Jewish, e.g. Mondoweiss, Max Blumenthal, Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Breaking the Silence, Israeli Democracy Index. But yet, I get accused of anti-Semitism. And all the anti-Zionist Jews are full of self-hatred and secretly cooperate with the enemy.

  16. American
    American
    September 11, 2012, 6:42 pm

    Seriously, can this get any more nuts…?

    We just had a thread here about the Forward editor telling Jews how secure ,happy and loved they are now in the US so they can ‘confidently’ go forward in their politicking for the benefit of the foreign nation of Israel.

    Then we have the nuts like Satter saying we mustn’t be too harsh on Israel… because the Jews will blamed …because the Jews are Israel.

    Agghhhh….I am getting dizzy from the dog chasing it’s tail.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      September 12, 2012, 12:45 am

      American says: ‘…We just had a thread here about the Forward editor telling Jews how secure ,happy and loved they are now in the US so they can ‘confidently’ go forward in their politicking for the benefit of the foreign nation of Israel…’

      …but she didn’t say that. People were claiming she had, but she hadn’t. It would be more accurate to say…

      ‘…We just had a thread here about the Forward editor telling Jews how secure ,happy and loved they are now in the US so they…should accept the moral responsibilities of such a position…’

      • American
        American
        September 12, 2012, 3:28 am

        @ Colin

        Well I beg your pardon she DID say that (in seperate places)…..after she went on about about their ‘moral obligations’…. go back and read her closing.

        Or are you being snarky in equating their moral responsibilites with politicking for Israel?

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 5:03 am

        American says: “Well I beg your pardon she DID say that…”

        She certainly doesn’t say it anywhere in the text in the Mondoweiss article. If I’ve somehow missed it, please quote the passage.

      • American
        American
        September 12, 2012, 3:58 am

        @ colin

        Here.

        “”So as you chart the future of pro Israel advocacy, I urge you to do that in the context of this new reality.””

        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/forward-editor-eisner-challenges-us-jews-to-acknowledge-extraordinary-wealth-status-and-political-power.html

        Now you can take that however you please. Eisner did fine telling the Jews how secure they are now….but then turning around she mentioned charting the future of their pro Israel advocacy.
        Maybe I read her wrong, maybe she was telling them to quit with the Pro Israel lobbying or quit being so screeching about it because they were so secure now. Email her and ask her.
        But it appeared to me that she was saying go do your Pro Israel thing but use your power while doing wisely.
        Well it isn’t wise for Jews to continue to lobby for Israel…period.
        If she says that’s what she meant, fine by me….I will stand corrected and happy to be so.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 5:10 am

        American says: “@ colin

        Here.

        “”So as you chart the future of pro Israel advocacy, I urge you to do that in the context of this new reality.””…”

        I take it that’s somewhere in the video — it’s certainly not a passage from the quoted text. In any case, even it’s there, it’s not a call for pro-Israel advocacy so much as a demand that this advocacy be exercised with some morality — which may not be precisely what I would like her to say, but is certainly hard to object to.

        At worst it’s a bit like if the enemy says ‘we should really stop shooting our prisoners.’ That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

        My point is that as far as I can see, nowhere in this passage is she actually advocating the innumerable things people were accusing her of. She more or less implies the existence of a monolithic and privileged Jewish elite. She doesn’t say it’s a good thing: she merely calls on it to exercise its power ethically.

        Well, that’s fine. If she’s right, and that elite exists, one can hardly insist it should exercise its power unethically. If she’s wrong, and it doesn’t exist, then she can hardly do much harm if she calls on her fantasy to be a good fantasy. I just don’t see the problem.

        What she seemed to be objecting to — and what I think is a perfectly valid point — is Jews clinging to a convenient notion of themselves as oppressed and marginalized, and hence entitled to get away with whatever they can. She was saying, you’re not poor anymore, and you should pay the rent.

        Without getting into the actual state of Jews in America or the extent to which they are a community, given her premise, she’s entirely correct.

      • American
        American
        September 12, 2012, 1:01 pm

        @ Colin

        Last time….Click on the link and READ the article…it is in the text…I copied and pasted it exactly from the text.

        And you are evidently missing the point I was making…which is since Jews are secure in the US they don’t need Israel (and never did in reality) therefore continuing to advocate for Israel is now truly just their ”national peoplehood” —- AND therefore saying use your power wisely, to me anyway, makes no damn difference if they are still operating on the old canard as a “nation within a nation” for Israel.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 3:59 pm

        American says: “…Last time….Click on the link and READ the article…it is in the text…”

        By George! You are right and I was wrong! (you may want to save and cherish that):

        “…We Jews are for the most part the comfortable in 21st century America, and we need to recognize that, to absorb that, to allow it to shape our public behavior, our religious expression, and our pro Israel advocacy….”

        However, I will insist that she is not advocating such a stance, but advocating that any such stance be maintained with some morality — and that, per se, is a good thing.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 4:03 pm

        American says: “…—- AND therefore saying use your power wisely, to me anyway, makes no damn difference if they are still operating on the old canard as a “nation within a nation” for Israel…”

        She did not say to use the power wisely, but to use it morally. There’s quite a distinction.

        Secondly, you now appear to be objecting to the whole ‘nation within a nation’ that Eisner takes for granted. That would be a somewhat different issue. I never said that I agreed with Eisner’s outlook lock stock and barrel. I merely objected to people putting words in her mouth.

        ‘…so they can ‘confidently’ go forward in their politicking for the benefit of the foreign nation of Israel…’ That completely misconstrues Eisner’s point.

  17. eljay
    eljay
    September 11, 2012, 7:36 pm

    IMO, the problem remains “Jewish State”. If this were about an “Israeli State” – a secular, democratic and egalitarian nation state of and for all Israelis, equally – the discourse would be different.

    But Zio-supremacists never fail to make it painfully clear that Israel is a “Jewish State”, which means that “Jews” – every member of the “collective”, wherever they may be – are responsible for all the hateful and immoral actions that their “Jewish State” of Israel undertakes.

    It’s a shame that good people will get tarnished by the same brush that paints Zio-supremacist Jews (Israeli or otherwise). But Arabs / Muslims know what that’s like…

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      September 12, 2012, 12:42 am

      eljay: “…IMO, the problem remains “Jewish State”. If this were about an “Israeli State” – a secular, democratic and egalitarian nation state of and for all Israelis, equally – the discourse would be different…”

      But why would such a state be called ‘Israel’? If one has a secular state treating all its inhabitants equally located in Palestine, the obvious name for it would be…Palestine.

      Mind, if it makes people happy to label it ‘Israel’ for a bit, I won’t object, but I doubt if the name will stick.

      • eljay
        eljay
        September 12, 2012, 7:38 am

        >> But why would such a state be called ‘Israel’? If one has a secular state treating all its inhabitants equally located in Palestine, the obvious name for it would be…Palestine.

        I don’t see one state, I see two: Israel (which currently exists) and Palestine (which has yet to come into existence). Two secular, democratic and egalitarian states of and for their respective people. One is “culturally Jewish”; the other, “culturally Palestinian”.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        September 12, 2012, 11:58 am

        @ eljay:

        IMO, the problem remains “Jewish State”. If this were about an “Israeli State” – a secular, democratic and egalitarian nation state of and for all Israelis, equally – the discourse would be different.
        I agree.

        I don’t see one state, I see two: Israel and Palestine. Two secular, democratic and egalitarian states of and for their respective people. One is “culturally Jewish”; the other, “culturally Palestinian”.
        But don’t you think that if there were a Palestinian state and Israel’s expansion stopped, the Israeli Jews would try to freeze the Israeli Arabs out of Israel in order to make room for more Jews? Further ethnic cleansing.
        Also, what about the refugees? Most of them fled from the area that now belongs to Israel. And that’s where they must be allowed to return. Otherwise, it’s not a return. Besides, the population density in the West Bank and Gaza is much higher than in Israel. So, it makes sense to send the refugees to Israel, not to a (future) Palestinian state. However, then Israel isn’t culturally Jewish anymore. And in this case, there’s no point in having two separate states, because both states are predominantly Palestinian.

      • eljay
        eljay
        September 12, 2012, 1:30 pm

        >> But don’t you think that if there were a Palestinian state and Israel’s expansion stopped, the Israeli Jews would try to freeze the Israeli Arabs out of Israel in order to make room for more Jews? Further ethnic cleansing.

        As things currently stand, yes, I believe some (many?) Israeli Jews might try to push non-Jewish Israelis out.

        But my vision – unrealistic though it may be – sees things not standing as they currently do. If Israel were to develop as an egalitarian Israeli state with a “Jewish culture”, next door to a Palestinian state with a “Palestinian culture”, choice – not force – would move people around.

        >> Also, what about the refugees? Most of them fled from the area that now belongs to Israel. And that’s where they must be allowed to return. Otherwise, it’s not a return.

        I think the Palestinian RoR should be limited to original inhabitants and perhaps one generation, with payment in lieu for any of the – and for all remaining refugees – who choose not to return to Israel.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 4:12 pm

        But how can this state remain ‘culturally Jewish’ if it is genuinely secular, democratic, and egalitarian? Will it, for example, recognize valid Palestinian land titles? Will it permit its armed forces –and its officer corps — to consist of Arabs proportional to their representation in the population? Will it have a ‘color-blind’ immigration policy? Will fund be distributed equally to Jewish and Arab schools and other social services? Will a Jew be as likely to be tried and sentenced by an Arab judge as an Arab is to be tried and sentenced by a Jewish judge?

        You can go for this if you like. You can think it will lead to an enduring Jewish state in Palestine. If you’re right, I’ll just live with it…worse things have happened.

        But I don’t think you’re right. I think any such reforms spell an end to ‘Israel’ in any meaningful sense.

        …as they should. ‘Israel’ is an intrinsically evil concept. It necessarily implies an absence of ‘secularism, democracy, and egalitarianism.’ It and those concepts are necessarily mutually exclusive.

        But prove me wrong. Put into place your secular, democratic, and egalitarian state. We’ll see what happens.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 4:15 pm

        Eljay says: “…If Israel were to develop as an egalitarian Israeli state with a “Jewish culture”, next door to a Palestinian state with a “Palestinian culture”, choice – not force – would move people around…”

        Yes. For example, if a Palestinian was able to show he was the legal heir to some property his father had been forcibly driven from in 1948, I imagine that in the state you envision, he could exercise his legal rights and choose to reclaim it. ‘Choice — not force’ — would indeed move people around.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 12, 2012, 8:47 pm

        “But prove me wrong. Put into place your secular, democratic, and egalitarian state. We’ll see what happens.”

        Whether it turns out your way or his way, that secular, democratic, and egalitarian state would be an improvement, so I think it would be a good idea for you and eljay to work together on this experiment. E-mail each other, and find a weekend when you are both free.

      • eljay
        eljay
        September 12, 2012, 8:58 pm

        >> But how can this state remain ‘culturally Jewish’ if it is genuinely secular, democratic, and egalitarian?

        If Israelis feel that Israel’s Jewish culture, properly nourished, has value, Israel can remain “culturally Jewish”. Else, it could morph into “culturally Israeli” or something else.

        >> But I don’t think you’re right.

        Yeah, well, it wouldn’t be the first time.

        >> I think any such reforms spell an end to ‘Israel’ in any meaningful sense.

        Perhaps they would. And perhaps they wouldn’t. I don’t see why Israel as a secular, democratic and egalitarian Israeli state that is “culturally Jewish” has no “meaningful sense”.

        >> But prove me wrong.

        I’m not interested in proving you wrong. But feel free t prove me wrong. Or don’t. I don’t really care.

  18. piotr
    piotr
    September 11, 2012, 11:29 pm

    It is important to have some sense of perspective and proportion.

    Critiques of Israel and related propaganda do attract anti-Semites. For example, I once stumbled on a Nazi website (some organization continuing the traditions of Halychyna Division, a.k.a. SS Galizien) and they did cite and link Norman Finkelstein. And this website did attract attention of clear anti-Semites, and some moderation principles were introduced to deal with that. But if you look around, whatever direction a discourse takes, some extremists will show up. For example, you can criticize Stalinism and Communism and some fascists will show up, including supporters of genocide for a “good cause” like keeping Commie guerillas in Central America down. Accidentally, some of those fascists are Zionist neocons. This does not invalidate criticism of Communism — but it shows that critiques of Communism (or Israel) may also be linked to very creepy agendas.

    And the same rule holds for criticism of anti-Semitism which attracts people with very creepy agendas, so critics of anti-Semitism have to spend some effort to prove that do not have such agendas. For example, spelling out which abuses of Israel (in deed) and supporters (verbal supremacism of several kinds) they condemn, and what do they recommend to improve the situation. Using Golden rule, I would not require to go through an elaborate checklist.

    I really do not require Beryl Satter to be thoroughly devoid of Jewish (or imperialist) supremacist ideas, but her friendly advise would be received better if it avoided trickster suggestion for being “thoroughly devoid”, and if she explained why she is not a supremacist.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      September 12, 2012, 1:42 pm

      @ piotr:

      And the same rule holds for criticism of anti-Semitism which attracts people with very creepy agendas, […]
      I agree.

      […] so critics of anti-Semitism have to spend some effort to prove that do not have such agendas.
      I disagree. What happened to the idea of “innocent until proven guilty”? The person who accuses me of anti-Semitism is the one who has to prove that I am anti-Semitic. I do NOT have to preemptively prove that I am NOT anti-Semitic.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 12, 2012, 4:21 pm

        German Lefty says: “…I do NOT have to preemptively prove that I am NOT anti-Semitic…”

        I’d say it’s incumbent upon your accuser to first show that his accusation could potentially invalidate your assertion.

        If you say ‘2+2=4,’ it’s not sufficient for me to announce that you’re only saying that because you’re German. I first have to show how the fact is subject to interpretation at all, and how your being German could conceivably have anything to do with the truth or falsity of your statement.

        Motives behind statements are of interest, but ultimately, the statements have a validity or lack thereof that is independent of motive. I can announce that Pakistanis marrying their first cousins is genetically harmful, and I may well say that because I hate Pakistanis, but it nevertheless remains true — repeatedly marrying first cousins is genetically a bad idea.

        Ditto for attacks on Israel. Whatever the motives of the attacks, the content of those attacks remains valid. The anti-semitism or lack thereof of the accuser is an inherently secondary issue — and to make it the primary one is simply to evade responding to the accusation.

      • piotr
        piotr
        September 13, 2012, 4:08 am

        Double negation problem. Critics of Israel do need some effort to separate themselves from anti-Semitic ranters (as it is done in Mondoweiss, to give an example), and critics of anti-Semitism also need some effort to separate themselves from supremacists and other extremists.

        Given the start of this discussion, I have no idea what are the views of Beryl Satter, and few elements in her post I found quite disturbing. If she were more careful with sweeping generalizations, and add some actual critique of Israel (to give examples that she is not outright any critique , she could connect with some people here, but she did not. This

  19. eGuard
    eGuard
    September 12, 2012, 3:58 am

    Beryl Satter was smearing and tearing BDS into the anti-Semitism discussion. Which is exactly none of their business. Satter could have written in the JPost, say as the smarter version of attacking & silencing by inserting the word anti-Semitism.

    Really, if the discussion involves such personal aspects (“friend”, “I love”, “colleague”), one should refrain from the public discourse. I note that Satter did not disclose the essentials (“colleague” nor “mentor”).

  20. Donald
    Donald
    September 12, 2012, 4:41 pm

    “I do agree, however, that developing and maintaining an awareness of anti-Semitic ideology quite possibly lodged within some strains of anti-Israel (i.e. arguments regarding the move to not acknowledge Israel’s statehood, et cetera) discourse is vital.”

    There’s a confusion here. Acknowledging Israel’s right to exist as a state is one thing–acknowledging its right to exist as a Jewish state is something else. The question of anti-semitism doesn’t even enter into it unless the Jewish angle is brought up, but it’s not anti-semitic to deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, because Israel could only exist as a Jewish state by first driving out and keeping out a sufficiently large number of Palestinians. (And that’s apart from the whole issue of having an ethnic or religious state anyway. I’m not crazy about the idea of a Christian or Muslim or Jewish state, unless it’s a basically meaningless notion with only small real world consequences, such as which holidays the government observes. And even then the minority should be able to take its own sacred holidays off.)

    One of the things that makes me question whether a fair solution is possible is precisely the tendency to invoke anti-semitism to rule certain lines of criticism of Israel out-of-bounds. Israel is a settler colonial state. One might argue for a 2SS on pragmatic grounds, claiming, for instance, that a 1SS would invariably lead to civil war or some other terrible thing, and one can see the logic whether or not one accepts it. But to say that Israel has the right to be Jewish is basically telling Palestinians that they had no right to stay in their homes. It’s bigotry–it’s telling Palestinians they lack the very most basic rights if they conflict with the Zionist dream, but because it’s defined as “self-determination” and opposition to it is called “anti-semitism” it is bigotry in disguise.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 12, 2012, 8:50 pm

      “But to say that Israel has the right to be Jewish is basically telling Palestinians that they had no right to stay in their homes. It’s bigotry–it’s telling Palestinians they lack the very most basic rights if they conflict with the Zionist dream, but because it’s defined as “self-determination” and opposition to it is called “anti-semitism” it is bigotry in disguise.”

      That one is a keeper. I’m putting it right next to Saleema’s “We matter and you don’t”.

  21. Ruth Tenne
    Ruth Tenne
    September 24, 2012, 1:15 pm

    As an Israeli human rights activist , I fully support Darnell Moore’s incisive submission on Charges of Anti-Semitism and Palestinian Solidarity Activism. In particular I endorse Moore’s insightful argument : “I am not attempting to provide an apology for anti-Semitism and its odiousness, but rather posit that the question of anti-Semitism is not the central problem around which anti-occupation and pro-Palestine work ought to be conceived. The centralizing focus must be that of Palestinian rights and Israel’s lack of compliance with international law. And there is no “moral argument” to win, actually. There is only the question of rights and the violation of law “.

    Unfortunately, in January 2012 the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has yielded to constant pressures by both Zionists and Jewish anti-zionist members of PSC by adopting a motion which avowed to combat anti-semitism and (alleged) holocaust deniers . As a result, committed members of PSC were “purged ” out , or forced down of their official post in a PSC’s branch .http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/opinion/1314-psc-crusading-against-holocaust-denier-a-step-too-far .
    For some curious reasons aforesaid notorious PSC Executive’s motion had been supported by some of the “leading lights” the boycotting Israel movement (BDS/BNC)

    I fully agree with Darnell Moore’s assertion that “the centralizing focus must be that of Palestinian rights and Israel’s lack of compliance with international law”. In my recent article on the website of Palestine News Network (PNN) http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/opinion/2462-palestine-solidarity-movement-the-way-ahead I highlighted the main aims/strategies/practices which should be undertaken by the Palestine Solidarity Movement. Those ought to involve the Arab world and activism of grassroots Palestinians. (e.g. boycott from within) I am convinced that without a full collaboration between Hamas and the PA authority (under the umbrella of PLO), with a full backing of the Arab world, Israel would continue its brutal occupation with impunity and the Palestinian yearning for self-determination and independent state would be no more than a remote dream.

    Ruth Tenne

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