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Anti-Zionist protest at LGBTQ conference was smeared as anti-Semitic

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The press is awash with (mostly) terrible articles about a demonstration at the LGBTQ conference in Chicago, January 20-24, called Creating Change. At that conference, hundreds of anti-Zionists demonstrated against an appearance by A Wider Bridge, an Israel lobby group. Under pressure, conference organizers canceled a reception by A Wider Bridge. Then pressure came from the other direction and the reception was reinstated. Many accounts of the demonstration and the conference have characterized the incident as evidence of anti-Semitism. Slate has led a campaign against the demonstrators. On the other hand, this piece by Mordechai Levovitz, a Zionist, in Haaretz says that the events leading to the cancellation and reinstatement of the reception have been misrepresented by the press. No Jewish or Israeli speaker at the conference was prevented from speaking; and the pushback by pro-Israel groups itself serves an anti-Semitic storyline. Levovitz notes the issue won’t go away, not because of anti-Semitism, but because “there are a significant number of young conference participants who sincerely and ferociously disagree with the existence of any Jewish ethnocratic state that treats Jews differently than its other inhabitants.” Dorgham Abusalim also covered the incident. He gave us permission to publish this article, which first appeared in the Washington Blade. –Editor.

In late January, the National LGBTQ Task Force held its annual Creating Change conference in Chicago. The Task Force, established in 1973, set out to build a future where everyone is free “to be themselves in every aspect of their lives,” across a variety of issues including employment, healthcare, and basic human rights.

According to the conference program, Rea Carey, executive director of the Task Force, welcomed participants with these words: “That’s why we are here this week: to tear down ALL the barriers we face between us and true liberation — and to support and lift-up one another in spirit, camaraderie and love.” (Emphasis their own).

However, one particular event on Jan. 22 put these noble words to the test. A session with A Wider Bridge, a pro-Israeli LGBT organization, was challenged by protesters and cancelled over the organization’s cooperation with the Israeli government, whose policies violate the human rights of Palestinians living under occupation. The cancellation of the event raised eyebrows, prompting a barrage of angry reactions and accusations of anti-Semitism against the protesters and conference organizers. For instance, Slate Magazine’s LGBTQ blogger ran the headline “The LGBTQ Left Has an Anti-Semitism Problem,” an OUT magazine headline characterizes the protests as “pure anti-Semitism,” and 90 LGBTQ activists signed a statement to Carey describing the protests as “anti-Semitic” and “dangerous,” posing the following question: “where do we as a progressive social movement go from here?” A cursory search of news stories surrounding the event brings up 80+ articles of similar views. For her part, Carey released a “crystal clear” statement: “the National LGBTQ Task Force wholeheartedly condemns anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic statements made at any Task Force event including our Creating Change Conference,” promising a review of the event and improvements to cope with “the challenges of a growing attendance.”

The Blade’s own Mr. Kevin Naff shared his opinion in an account of his own experience with A Wider Bridge, Israel, and Palestine. Yet, despite his coolheaded appeal to ensure that all voices should be heard, including critical ones, Mr. Naff reaches a similar conclusion: the protests were offensive and anti-Semitic.

Were they?

I do not believe so. Instead, I believe the repeated deployment of the anti-Semitism charges against those who criticize Israel and the wide army of organizations it works with is both unsophisticated and demeaning. In fact, the charge of anti-Semitism is merely an iteration of a larger force that has dominated the Israeli-Palestinian conversation in the U.S. It’s the kind of force that unleashes itself almost by default at any hint of strongly grounded criticism of Israel. It’s called civility. As Steven Salaita puts it in his work, Uncivil Rites, civility is a regime that always has difficulty accommodating systematic critiques, let alone expression of those critiques in unfashionable manners. Of course, the protesters were disruptive, uncomfortable perhaps; but so is every bit of the goals the Task Force seeks to accomplish, or any “progressive” civil rights movement for that matter.

Change, at least the effective kind, does not come with comfort. If that were case, then the history we know about many civil rights movements in this country and around the world would be a lie.

Perhaps one particular chant at the protests drove such strong disapproval, to the tune of challenging a deeply rooted and accomplished organization: “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.” A superficial reading would invariably cause anyone who hears it to believe it means the destruction of Israel. Yet, most of the reactions fail to understand that the chant is equally applicable to an increasingly embraced idea: the one state solution, where freedom for all should indeed reign from the river to the see. Alternatively, as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel put it, we are left with a single state with two standards of adherence to the rule of law, one favorable to Israelis and one unfavorable to Palestinians.

Not only is the charge of anti-Semitism unsophisticated and incapable of grappling with the realities of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, it also does far greater harm than good. Nearly all the writers offering opinions assumed their views with the understanding that the session with A Wider Bridge should have been permitted to take place. I do too. But, unlike those opinions, mine is a view that does not find it necessary or appropriate to say that silencing the session is anti-Semitic. Rather, permitting it to take place would only be a commitment to the principles and ideals of the Task Force and Creating Change – something that is neither Semitic nor anti-Semitic.

The irony is that opinions containing the anti-Semitism charge practically commit the same mistake: silencing and discrediting the protesters. In doing so, the harm is twofold. The other side is almost instantly excluded from the conversation, marked as undesirable or uninvited, and therefore it also stifles the conversation. For instance, in an exchange on Facebook, one friend commented on Mr. Naff’s opinion, “I stopped [reading] at the description of the protest as anti-Semitic and of “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea” as a “genocidal chant [that] is an overt call for the destruction of Israel.”

Finally, consider the statement from one illegal American-Israeli settler about prejudice: “there’s still anti-Semitism in America.” He was speaking about country clubs and neighborhoods in Chicago that exclude Jews. One rarely hears about this sort of bigotry. It seems as though nowadays anti-Semitism only dominates the headlines in the Israeli-Palestinian context, especially when Israeli policies are criticized.

As the progressive movement works to recover from this episode, it would be wise to understand that scapegoating people on the basis of a tremendously painful past, one where anti-Semitism wreaked havoc and unspeakable horrors, would only reinforce the idea that all voices should be heard as long as they conform to the rules of civility. The issue is not about the Task Force’s ability to handle growing attendance; rather it’s about what it, and the progressive movement at large, will do when challenged by an increasingly knowledgeable audience about Israel’s human rights violations.

After all, nearly a quarter-century of peace negotiations grounded in civility has nothing to show but stagnation or regressive change at best, surely not a change genuinely committed to the human rights of all.

Dorgham Abusalim

Dorgham Abusalim recently graduated with a Master in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland. You can follow him on Twitter @dabusalim.

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42 Responses

  1. pabelmont on February 7, 2016, 1:02 pm

    I know who cannot accept “any Jewish ethnocratic state”. I’ll tell you below, because it’s a surprise.

    The article above refers to folks who “ferociously disagree with the existence of any Jewish ethnocratic state [‘JES’] that treats Jews differently than its other inhabitants”. Well, a lot of people disagree with that and, yes, ferociously!

    Yes, there are such folks, sure. But the word that makes this so questionable a description is “any”. How about a JES located in Germany? located in Nevada? Or how about a JES about 10% of Palestine rather than 55% (UNGA 181) or 78% (post-1948) or 100% (not counting Golan) (post 1967)?

    Couldn’t some of us anti-Zionists find it in our hearts to accept a JES on 10% of Palestine. I think I could!

    But the people who REALLY cannot accept “any” JES are the Zionists themselves, who demand 100% of Palestine. (Well, they don’t call it Palestine. But a rose is a rose is a rose.)

  2. MHughes976 on February 7, 2016, 4:28 pm

    ‘Somewhere between the river and the sea
    A bit of Palestine should be free’. There now – moderate, conciliatory, morally sound, building so many wide bridges you can hardly see the waterway or the abyss. And it rhymes. I waive copyright for the good of the cause.

    • genesto on February 8, 2016, 11:51 am

      Really? And what bit should be free and what bit not? And how much of a bit are you talking about?

      Better to either object to the phrase completely or embrace it. There is no in between that makes any sense.

      • MHughes976 on February 8, 2016, 1:05 pm

        A deliberately pathetic rhyme, though I’m not saying that I’m capable of better poetry. I meant to indicate that there is no moral integrity in making the demand for freedom, which so clearly should extend universally, into something so cravenly restricted, seemingly to reassure the very people who are doing the oppression, which is what those who hate the ‘river to sea’ are calling for, I think.

  3. Herchel on February 7, 2016, 4:29 pm

    Israel should really try to be as progressive as it’s Arab neighbors when it comes to gay rights.

    • eljay on February 8, 2016, 7:25 am

      || Herchel: Israel should really try to be as progressive as it’s Arab neighbors when it comes to gay rights. ||

      Israel is a “moral beacon” and “light unto the nations”…except when it’s not as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali and African “hell-holes”.

      • Herchel on February 9, 2016, 7:59 pm

        But there are no Jews in those other countries so let’s not talk about them.

    • zaid on February 8, 2016, 10:35 am

      wahatabouterry does not work Hersh, it definitely didnot work with those amazing young kids in the video.

    • Talkback on February 8, 2016, 5:37 pm

      Hey Herchel, should gays, you know, because of the history of their persecution be as progressive as Zionists and expell the majority of heterosexuals to establish a homosexual and democratic state?

    • Albert Westpy on February 8, 2016, 10:37 pm

      Herchel, as a member of the LGBTQ community, I don’t give Israel a free pass to do as they wish to the Palestinians, because of it’s “progressive gay rights”.

      “No one is free until we are all free”. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      “Spiritual life is superior to physical life. But the physical life of another is an obligation of my spiritual life”. Rabbi Yisroel Salanter.

  4. Atlantaiconoclast on February 7, 2016, 11:46 pm

    Too many Gays think that Israel should be favored, simply because it is more tolerant of homosexuality. I have never understood that logic, even though I am Gay. Being somewhat tolerant or even pro-Gay does not excuse a nation from its crimes against another people.

    • diasp0ra on February 8, 2016, 12:12 am

      Their tagline should be “Israel: We’re nice to the Gays we don’t oppress.”

  5. Sibiriak on February 7, 2016, 11:53 pm

    Not only is the charge of anti-Semitism unsophisticated…

    ———————–

    “Unsophisticated”?? How about totally false vile calumny; malicious hateful slander…

    “Unsophisticated” hardly describes the highly calculated, highly orchestrated campaign against Israel’s critics.

    • MHughes976 on February 8, 2016, 5:40 am

      Those who wield the accusations of anti-Semitism might take ‘unsophisticated’ as a compliment. Do we not see that it is the starkness of the term, the avoidance of definition and the sneer with which it is inflected that make it so powerful even when used and re-used, recycled and reinvented a thousand times? Lengthy defensive rhetoric -.’Of course I’m not! Let me tell you…’ is a weak response always seeming to validate the right of the other side to sit in judgement. Meanwhile it seems we are easily made ashamed and come over all defensive when we so much as say that we want all Palestine to be free.

      • MHughes976 on February 8, 2016, 5:57 am

        The way in which ‘Anti-Semite!’ is used makes it distinctly uncivil, of course.

      • Sibiriak on February 8, 2016, 9:11 am

        MHughes976: …it seems we are easily made ashamed and come over all defensive when we so much as say that we want all Palestine to be free.
        ——————–

        Palestine is a recognized state, alongside Israel. Its declared borders are the pre-1967 borders– recognized by some 193 states. Israel is an internationally recognized state as well, needless to say.

        It’s great to say all of Palestine should be free. But what of Israel? Should Israel not be free as well? Especially and including its non-Jewish citizens?

        Are you at all defensive in saying BOTH Palestine AND Israel should be free?

        The people will be free from the river to the sea” is one thing.

        Palestine will be free from the river to the sea” is, however, quite another. Palestine no longer exists “from the river to the sea”.

        For Palestine to extend to the sea, Israel would have to cease to exist. But Israelis don’t want Israel to cease to exist. And Israelis have the right of self-determination within the territory of Israel just as Palestinians have the right of self-determination within the territory of Palestine. One can’t affirm the Palestinian right without affirming the Israeli right as well. (Not that you yourself would affirm such rights.)
        ————————

        MHughes976: …it seems we are easily made ashamed and come over all defensive…

        It’s not about being ashamed or defensive, it’s about not being politically tone-deaf.

        One of the reasons BDS has been so successful is its politically shrewd “rights-based approach.” It deliberately avoids rhetoric which could be interpreted, honestly or maliciously, as calling for the end of Israel. Smart move.

  6. Sibiriak on February 8, 2016, 12:24 am

    Perhaps one particular chant at the protests drove such strong disapproval, to the tune of challenging a deeply rooted and accomplished organization: “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.” A superficial reading would invariably cause anyone who hears it to believe it means the destruction of Israel… [emphasis added]

    ————————–

    A chant or slogan better well function clearly and directly! What’s the point of a slogan that requires some deep analysis and explanation to get out its real meaning which supposedly contradicts its straightforward surface meaning? If the surface meaning invariably suggests the end of Israel, then that meaning should be openly and unabashedly embraced. Or change the slogan.

    Of course, anyone has the right to chant for the liberation of Palestine and the end of Israel. It should be pointed out, though, that that contradicts the position of the BDS movement which deliberately and explicitly (and arguably, very wisely) takes no stand on one-state vs. two-states.

    BDS takes a “rights-based approach” based on international law , and international law only recognizes territory captured in June 1967 as “Occupied Palestinian Territory”. Thus, the first BDS goal calls only for Israel to end the occupation of Arab lands occupied in 1967. The realization of equal rights within Israel is treated as a separate, distinct goal. Ending the occupation, obtaining equal rights within Israel, and realizing the rights of Palestinian refugees–all these BDS goals are compatible with a two-state outcome.

    See See Abunimah’s article, “Why do Zionists falsely claim BDS movement opposes two-state solution?

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-do-zionists-falsely-claim-bds-movement-opposes-two-state-solution

    • echinococcus on February 8, 2016, 2:36 am

      It should be pointed out, though, that that contradicts the position of the BDS movement which deliberately and explicitly (and arguably, very wisely) takes no stand on one-state vs. two-states

      The principle, for the BDS direction, is indeed wise.
      Reading this principle, which applies to the official administration of BDS actions, as imposing a restriction or censorship on people who boycott the Zionist entity is, however, a typically Zionist reading.
      Zionists encouraging some of the boycott movement of course are limiting themselves to boycotting the post-1967 “settlements”, or even a more restricted scope –and obviously their aim is to save their Zionist state.

      Why should anti-Zionists give a damn? People who participate in the boycott as a tool for the ultimate destruction of the Zionist entity and rightful Palestinian sovereignty on all Palestine do not “contradict” the position of some official BDS administration: the official boycott appeal necessarily lays down the absolute minimum platform in order to invite a maximum number of participants. It was Mustapha Barghouti, I think, who said something like ‘if you feel like boycotting an egg only, we want you to boycott that egg’. That doesn’t mean stop at that egg!
      Abunimah’s title is correct. The BDS movement does not oppose a two-state solution; it cannot oppose any other action as long as it does not go diametrically against Palestinian rights.

      • Sibiriak on February 8, 2016, 4:11 am

        echinococcus” : Reading this principle, which applies to the official administration of BDS actions, as imposing a restriction or censorship on people who boycott the Zionist entity is, however, a typically Zionist reading.
        ———–

        I absolutely agree that there should be no restriction or censorship (apart from on overt racism etc.)

        The BDS movement does not oppose a two-state solution; it cannot oppose any other action as long as it does not go diametrically against Palestinian rights.

        Or the rights of Israeli citizens as well. I certainly agree with that.

        And I commend you for your logical consistency. You openly call for the end of Israel by means of a “regional conflagration”, and you openly claim the right of Palestinian Arabs, if they ever get power, to revoke the citizenship of any or all Zionist Jewish invaders and their descendants and have them expelled from Palestine.

        You reject two states as envisioned in the “international consensus”; AND you reject the idea of 1S1P1V wherein the current population of Israelis have equal rights with all other citizens.

        I would never suggest your advocacy of those positions be in anyway restricted, however counterproductive they may be.

        One thing is for sure–no committed Zionist would ever want you to shut up.

      • echinococcus on February 10, 2016, 1:33 am

        Sibiriak,

        Two (minor) corrections:
        I certainly don’t “call for” a regional or more extended war, which has been made inevitable by US and Zionist entity policy, the gathering opposition to it, and the absolute impossibility of any substantial change of policy by the Zionist leadership. I wish to be wrong, i.e. that the owners of the US were not the same as those of the Zionist entity and that the Zionists on the field were able of any last-minute change à la South Africa as dreamed by our liberals –there is no evidence to suggest it.

        The other point is citizenship; no one but the full owners of the sovereignty have the right to define it and currently jus solis is not the necessary single solution. My personal preference (or yours, or that of any well-meaning non-Palestinian, i.e. citizenship to all established illegal immigrants and issue) doesn’t count. It has to be decided in fair and free conditions by the Palestinians and could well end up being an Algerian-type solution. Until such time, even the realization (fat chance!) of our most just one state dreams is not justice; the resistance has shown that it will not stop short of justice.

        If the ongoing genocide cannot achieve success before that, of course.

        Finally, re your “counterproductive” or “One thing is for sure–no committed Zionist would ever want you to shut up”, it’s never a good idea to conduct political action by stealth, hiding the stark facts or pandering to people’s best wishes and daydreams. I’ll skip the usual Lenin quote, as many here are hypersensitive.

        Your post was not an answer on the point in discussion, by the way: BDS goals are the absolute minimal platform for gathering diverse forces, not a dictatorial restriction to liberal-Zionist aims.

  7. MHughes976 on February 8, 2016, 5:28 am

    Surely the 2 staters consider that the 2ss is their preferred way of creating freedom across the geographical area which has been called Palestine for so long?
    It has come to something when the call for freedom is, absolutely in itself, with no question of the use of unjust means, treated as offensive. It has come to something worse when this treatment is taken seriously within a group of people who have their own reasons to reflect on civil liberties.
    We have got nearly nowhere in neutralising the accusation of anti-Semitism if it does this much work, setting this conference at sixes and sevens, so well and even now.
    I’m all in favour of civility, meaning permitting the other side its say and avoiding offensive terms when expressing moral disagreement as far as maybe without disguising the fact that moral disagreement is expressed. Moral condemnation is not uncivil, nor is a degree of dissociation – ‘we can’t accept funding or hospitality from a source which we consider compromised, even it says it’s on our side’. Mr. Abusalim, far from being uncivil himself, is rather too accommodating to those for whom disagreement is incivility.

    • Sibiriak on February 8, 2016, 9:26 am

      MHughes976 : Surely the 2 staters consider that the 2ss is their preferred way of creating freedom across the geographical area which has been called Palestine for so long?
      ——————-

      But that geographical area hasn’t been called “Palestine” in some 67 years. Israel is on the map now, like it or not. And Palestine exists alongside Israel. It’s under illegal occupation though.

      For Palestine to extend “from the river to the sea” now, today, Israel would have to disappear from the map.

      There is nothing “offensive” or anti-Semitic in calling for Israel to disappear from the map.

      I’m not sure how politically astute it is though.

      • MHughes976 on February 9, 2016, 11:43 am

        There is state of Pakestine, sadly, but Palestine remains surely a viable geographical term for those who choose to use it. Everyone across the political spectrum knows the area of this planet to which the name refers.

      • MHughes976 on February 9, 2016, 12:23 pm

        ‘There is no state of Palestine,,,(sorry)

  8. Ossinev on February 8, 2016, 11:22 am

    At the risk of being accused of being Anti – Semitic IMHO the civilised rational world outside the Ziobubble have long ago crashed through the boredom threshold with regard to the use of the terms ” Anti -Semitism or Anti-Semitic” and the yawn here we go again factor has kicked in big time. Surprising that the Hasbara workshops have not cottoned on to this and come up with alternative strategies for victimhood marketing. Then again I suspect that it is so entrenched in the Zionest mindset it has become an addiction and just like a drug addict they need regular “fixes” in using the terms to get through their days.

    BTW I have capitalised the A and the S. No particular inference intended and apologies if this causes any further Zionist trauma.

  9. biggerjake on February 8, 2016, 2:24 pm

    It’s amazingly easy to get tagged as an anti-Semite.

    All you have to do is question a wild claim by one of the Holocaust Industry faithful… and even Mondoweiss won’t print your comment.

    It would seem that some subjects are considered untouchable even by those who claim to represent the most open and uncensored voices….as if it’s not possible to question history and not be a hater at the same time….

  10. Dan From Away on February 8, 2016, 8:07 pm

    MHughes976 made the critical observation about the term antisemitism: that there is an “avoidance of definition”.

    Zionism’s refusal to define the term “antisemitism” is no oversight: rather it is an investment in strategic ambiguity without which it could not survive. It behooves the contributors to MW to legitimate/champion a clear, common sense definition of antisemitism and meme it into universal acceptance in American culture.

    Why? Because the claim made by Slate Magazine’s LGBTQ blogger, OUT magazine and the ninety LGBTQ activists who signed a statement describing the protests as “anti-Semitic” … are “correct” in a sense. The protests WERE antisemitic … but only in the Zionist context. The charge is accepted in the American discourse as “correct” because the term “antisemitic” is not defined anywhere in the article nor is there any demand that those leveling the charge define their terms. The discourse is brittle, shallow and vapid because no demand is made that the term be defined as a pre-condition for its deployment.

    There are so many aspects of this tactic – labeling something/someone antisemitic as a way of either stigmatizing them or putting them on the defensive – that it is impossible to address them all here in a comments section but we can make a start. We can post a clear definition of the term antisemitism at the beginning of any text that deals with the subject to show how we define the term. We can also ask who gets to level the charge? What are the qualifications for those leveling the charge and can anyone play? We can demand a clear demarcation between anti-Zionism and antisemitism and put those who use the term tactically/cynically on the defensive. We must also define political Zionism continuously, publicly and unself-consciously.

    Herzl concluded that antisemitism was universal and that fighting it was “futile”. That futility is an enormous insult to American culture and it has empowered political Zionists for over one hundred with a magic bullet of sorts: whether or not the person/institution labeled antisemitic is actually engaged in anti-Jewish behavior makes no difference to Zionists because there is no penalty for its use/abuse/overuse … and no known preventative or curative for those accused.

    Change this dynamic and we change everything.

    • annie on February 8, 2016, 8:54 pm

      when you say “The charge is accepted in the American discourse as “correct”” who are you referencing? because clearly everyone doesn’t accept it as correct.

    • Sibiriak on February 8, 2016, 11:18 pm

      Dan Walsh: Zionism’s refusal to define the term “antisemitism”….
      ———————-

      I don’t think the problem is one of definition, but of misapplication and abuse.

      “Anti-” simply means “against” or “opposed to”. What follows refers to some group or belief-system associated with a group.

      If we accept that the term “semitic” in this context refers to Jews and Jewishness, the meaning of the term is not difficult or complex.

      You yourself wrote:

      whether or not the person/institution labeled antisemitic is actually engaged in anti-Jewish behavior [emphasis added].

      And there you have it. Being anti-Semitic means being anti-Jewish.

      Of course, there can be various formulations and wordings. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a key component of the Zionist Lobby, defines anti-Semitism as:

      The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish.

      http://archive.adl.org/hate-patrol/antisemitism.html#.VrlfGuYrDaI

      “Belief”, “behavior” and “hostile” are pretty clear terms. “Just because they are Jewish” can be formulated in different ways.

      Merriam -Webster defines anti-Semitism as:

      hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.

      You could substitute “Muslims”, “Blacks”, “Gays” (sexual orientation group) or whatever and get definitions of other forms of “anti-group hostility”.

      So, if someone says that “anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism“, the charge is that anti-Zionism is a form of hostility toward Jews as a group.

      And the problem with that charge is that it is false, logically and empirically, not that the meaning of the tern “anti-Semitism” can’t be understood.

      • echinococcus on February 9, 2016, 1:52 am

        Sibiriak,

        And there you have it. Being anti-Semitic means being anti-Jewish.
        Of course, there can be various formulations and wordings.

        Including, as the Webster and the ADL do, every facet of “Jewish” into the definition of “Antisemitism” (by essentially not defining it further) may in part legitimize Antisemitism: hostility to a group of people for characteristics not necessarily acquired by birth, like religion, has nothing to do with racism; it is perfectly kosher for a lot of people.

        Same applies to your mentioning “Muslims” or, according to some people, “sexual orientation”, too. The acceptability fault line based on birth characteristics gets a wide consensus, while any acquired characters are free targets according to your convictions. In fact, religious intolerance seems to be a majority trait in some places.

      • MHughes976 on February 9, 2016, 11:31 am

        No one owns words and there is no obligation to follow the usage of any dictionary, only to try to make what we mean as clear as possible, and for this purpose dictionaries may indeed be helpful. However, the existence of dictionary definitions does not mean that rhetoric and spin will stick consistently to any one of them.
        If we take the ADL definition it should surely be clear that no amount of objection to Zionism or to Israeli behaviour would in itself be anti-Semitic on that showing, since it is absolutely not (this is plain and obvious) an objection ‘just for being Jewish’, unless it is definitive of being Jewish that one should be a Zionist: at which the ADL definition in itself does not even hint.
        The trick of ill-definition is to keep the air of absurdity which hangs over ‘just because Jewish’ – how can there be a sensible objection to someone because of what her grandmother thought about God? – unchanged when the definition has been extended so that Jewishness includes Zionism, to which considerations much more substantial and serious than those concerning ancestors’ ideas apply. The trick is used to make substantial arguments seem ridiculous without listening to them. And it is a very important and successful forn of rhetorical trickery.

    • Mooser on February 9, 2016, 11:13 am

      “Change this dynamic and we change everything.

      Too late, too late. The Zionists have already irrevocably “changed that dynamic”. And bet on that changed dynamic. Antisemitism has become merely political speech.

  11. JLewisDickerson on February 8, 2016, 9:22 pm

    RE: “The press is awash with (mostly) terrible articles about a demonstration at the LGBTQ conference in Chicago, January 20-24, called Creating Change. At that conference, hundreds of anti-Zionists demonstrated against an appearance by A Wider Bridge, an Israel lobby group. Under pressure, conference organizers canceled a reception by A Wider Bridge. Then pressure came from the other direction and the reception was reinstated. Many accounts of the demonstration and the conference have characterized the incident as evidence of anti-Semitism.” – Editor

    MY RUMINATION: I can’t help but wonder what “BIG GAY” [i.e., The Human Rights Campaign (HRC)] will have to say about all of this. Ever the cynic, I certainly have my suspicions.*

    * SEE: “Controversy over HRC’s international push” | by Staff reports | WashingtonBlade.com | November 6, 2013

    [EXCERPTS] WASHINGTON—The Human Rights Campaign on Nov. 3 announced a new initiative designed to support pro-LGBT efforts around the world.

    The Paul E. Singer Foundation and the Daniel S. Loeb Family Foundation will give at least $3 million in grants to the HRC Foundation over the next three years in support of various objectives. These include providing fellowships to LGBT activists outside the U.S. and highlighting American groups that support homophobic and transphobic initiatives in other countries.

    “Every day around the world, LGBT individuals face arrest, imprisonment, torture and even execution just for being who they are,” said Singer, a Republican who has donated more than $10 million to same-sex marriage efforts in Maryland and other states. “Some of the worst offenders in this area also happen to be the same regimes that have dedicated themselves to harming the United States and its democratic allies across the globe.”. . .

    . . . Some LGBT rights advocates questioned the new initiative and in particular Singer’s funding of it.

    “HRC is receiving its money for gay rights in the Third World from the man who ‘virtually invented vulture funds’: a form of speculation that’s one of the worst contributors to Third World poverty ever,” Scott Long, who is the former executive director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT program, wrote on his blog.

    P.S.
    • The Human Rights Campaign and Paul Singer: Dancing With The Devil In The Pale Moonlight – http://www.back2stonewall.com/2014/08/the-human-rights-campaign-and-paul-singer-dancing-with-the-devil-in-the-pale-moonlight.html
    • HRC and the vulture fund: Making Third World poverty pay for LGBT rights – http://paper-bird.net/2013/11/04/hrc-and-the-vulture-fund-making-third-world-poverty-pay-for-lgbt-rights/
    • Republican billionaires to fund HRC international LGBT advocacy program – http://dot429.com/articles/3380-republican-billionaires-to-fund-hrc-international-lgbt-advocacy-program
    • HRC’s International Expansion Funded By The Worst Humans – http://www.autostraddle.com/hrcs-international-expansion-funded-by-the-worst-humans-is-the-worst-203622/

  12. Dan From Away on February 8, 2016, 10:03 pm

    @Annie

    I put the term “correct” in quotes to show that it is in question…Zionists consider the actions of the anti-Zionists to be antisemitic…you and I don’t. Ergo the quotes. My whole point is to highlight the fact that there is contention over the meaning of this key term and we do ourselves no favors by leaving it as is. Zionists see their use of the term to intimidate or silence their critics as a “correct” application of the term. We need to challenge that. Do come back at me if I am not making myself clear…I love you Annie!

    • annie on February 8, 2016, 10:29 pm

      thank you dan, i understand your meaning better now. i wasn’t quite understanding the quotemarks

      My whole point is to highlight the fact that there is contention over the meaning of this key term and we do ourselves no favors by leaving it as is.

      it’s been a few years since we’ve flushed out this fake “new anti semitism”. the best article i have read on the brainwashing campaign is by jonathan cook, circa 2006 -The ‘New Anti-Semitism’ and Nuclear War
      http://antiwar.com/orig/cook.php?articleid=9745

      In Beyond Chutzpah, Norman Finkelstein documents the advent of claims about a new anti-Semitism to Israel’s lackluster performance in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. On that occasion, it was hoped, the charge of anti-Semitism could be deployed against critics to reduce pressure on Israel to return Sinai to Egypt and negotiate with the Palestinians.

      Israel alerted the world to another wave of anti-Semitism in the early 1980s, just as it came under unprecedented criticism for its invasion and occupation of Lebanon. What distinguished the new anti-Semitism from traditional anti-Jewish racism of the kind that led to Germany’s death camps, said its promoters, was that this time it embraced the progressive Left rather than the far Right.

      The latest claims about anti-Semitism began life in the spring of 2002, with the English-language Web site of Israel’s respected liberal daily newspaper, Ha’aretz, flagging for many months a special online supplement of articles on the “New Anti-Semitism,” warning that the “age-old hatred” was being revived in Europe and America. The refrain was soon taken up the Jerusalem Post, a right-wing English-language newspaper regularly used by the Israeli establishment to shore up support for its policies among Diaspora Jews.

      Like its precursors, argued Israel’s apologists, the latest wave of anti-Semitism was the responsibility of progressive Western movements – though with a fresh twist. An ever present but largely latent Western anti-Semitism was being stoked into frenzy by the growing political and intellectual influence of extremist Muslim immigrants. The implication was that an unholy alliance had been spawned between the Left and militant Islam.

      Such views were first aired by senior members of Sharon’s cabinet. In an interview in the Jerusalem Post in November 2002, for example, Benjamin Netanyahu warned that latent anti-Semitism was again becoming active:

      “In my view, there are many in Europe who oppose anti-Semitism, and many governments and leaders who oppose anti-Semitism, but the strain exists there. It is ignoring reality to say that it is not present. It has now been wedded to and stimulated by the more potent and more overt force of anti-Semitism, which is Islamic anti-Semitism coming from some of the Islamic minorities in European countries. This is often disguised as anti-Zionism.”

      Netanyahu proposed “lancing the boil” by beginning an aggressive public relations campaign of “self-defense.” A month later Israel’s president, Moshe Katsav, picked on the softest target of all, warning during a state visit that the fight against anti-Semitism must begin in Germany, where “voices of anti-Semitism can be heard.”

      But, as ever, the main target of the new anti-Semitism campaign were audiences in the U.S., Israel’s generous patron. There, members of the Israel lobby were turning into a chorus of doom.

      In the early stages of the campaign, the lobby’s real motivation was not concealed: it wanted to smother a fledgling debate by American civil society, particularly the churches and universities, to divest – withdraw their substantial investments – from Israel in response to Operation Defensive Shield.

      In October 2002, after Israel had effectively reoccupied the West Bank, the ever reliable Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, lumped in critics who were calling for divestment from Israel with the new anti-Semites.

      there’s a lot more at the link. so conflating anti zionism w/anti semitism is an old worn out routine.

      meanwhile, the definition of anti semitism has not really changed, for some reason hasbarists and tink tanks have just determined the tried and true good ol’ ad hominem is the best way to defend israel.

      and thanks for your sweet comment ;)

  13. K Renner on February 9, 2016, 11:34 am

    “Anti-Semitism” once again proves itself to be a completely meaningless term as can be seen in this instance.

    I wouldn’t worry too much– but then again, I wouldn’t put too much stock in the “LGBTQ” establishment in general. They seem to hold a person’s worth based around whether or not they’re receptive to the gay pride parade and a homosexual or transsexual being aggressively and obnoxiously “out” when it comes to their identity or sexuality.

    I’ve seen “LBGTQ” types saying that Syria, for example, doesn’t matter because the Syrians in general don’t host gay pride parades. A sickening lack of morality when it comes to that crisis, in other words– you could expect the same vapid and stupid thinking from some of them because there’s no gay pride in Ramallah or Jenin or Nablus.

    Legit pinkwashers will of course ignore that outside of the most cosmopolitan parts of Israel, Israeli Jews aren’t exactly in favour of gay pride parades in general, though.

    • annie on February 10, 2016, 11:52 am

      I’ve seen “LBGTQ” types saying that Syria, for example, doesn’t matter because the Syrians in general don’t host gay pride parades. A sickening lack of morality when it comes to that crisis

      this seems like an extremely gross generalization to me k renner.

      I wouldn’t put too much stock in the “LGBTQ” establishment in general. They seem to hold a person’s worth based around whether or not they’re receptive ….

      where do you come up w/this stuff?

      • K Renner on February 11, 2016, 6:38 pm

        ” this seems like an extremely gross generalization to me k renner. ”

        No, it’s only sort of a generalization. I didn’t say that they all do that sort of thing; just that I’ve seen people active in that movement do that sort of thing.

        “where do you come up w/this stuff?”

        Lived experiences. That is to a large degree how it seems to be when it comes to the “we’re here we’re queer” crowd.

  14. Scott on February 12, 2016, 12:57 pm

    What does “Q” stand for, that isn’t covered by L,G,B, or T?

    • Mooser on February 12, 2016, 1:17 pm

      “What does “Q” stand for, that isn’t covered by L,G,B, or T?”

      You poor gallimaufrynik!
      “Scott”, if you gotta ask, you ain’t never gonna know.

    • annie on February 12, 2016, 2:27 pm

      scott, are you familiar with the site google? because if you ask that same question in their search engine you might find the result illuminating. let me know if you’re not familiar with google, i can provide the link.

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