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Trump’s interference in Israeli election backfired, leaving Netanyahu and ‘Deal of Century’ at risk

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The news from Israel is that Netanyahu’s victory celebration of one week ago was premature. The indicted prime minister is as far from a governing majority as any time in the three Israeli elections, at 58 seats out of 120.

Netanyahu’s relentless racebaiting only helped the big winners of the election, the Palestinian Joint List, which now has 15 seats compared to 10 a year ago, and whose power has amazed everyone.

So today the action in Israel is the effort by Netanyahu’s chief rival, Blue-White, to do just what Netanyahu warned that Blue-White would do: and make an alliance with the Joint List so as to form a “minority” government of 47 or so Jewish Zionist Knesset seats, but with the 15 outside votes of the Palestinian legislators (one of whom is a Communist Jew, btw).

To make such a government, and forestall a fourth election, Blue-White would have to abandon a position it took late in the campaign, to support the Trump “deal of the century.” That stance in favor of Trump appears to have hurt Blue-White in the recent election, in which it lost four seats; and driven the Joint List’s new power.

Who gained and lost seats in March election (23d Knesset, following September’s 22d Knesset election). Chart by Flourish Data and published at Israel Policy Forum site.

So here are three takeaways from the Israeli election:

–Trump released his “peace plan” in part to help Netanyahu. Trump failed, Netanyahu still can’t form a government. Netanyahu’s race-baiting– the constant warnings about Arabs gaining political power– also failed. So far. Though his allies continue to smear Palestinians as “terrorists in suits.”

–The Israeli Jewish left is powerless. A liberal bloc of three parties got only 7 seats, and at least one of them is a rightwinger. Of the seven seats, Labor has three– the party that founded Israel (to reflect Eli Kowaz’s insight).

–There is today only one address for a liberal left hopeful vision of Israeli society. The Joint List. Not a Jewish party, not a Zionist party. Furthermore, the Joint List is the only party that is enjoying the stasis in Israeli politics and might want a fourth election because its numbers could increase to 18 seats, as an Israeli politician told J Street!

Today the Joint List may be the real kingmaker of this election, Avigdor Lieberman having played that role in previous elections. Let’s go to the news.

The Israeli press is today filled with reports of the horsetrading between Benny Gantz’s Blue-White and the Joint List. The Joint List is demanding that Gantz walk back support for the Trump deal and Gantz is said to be doing just that. That in itself is big news. Trump’s deal seems to have backfired. During the campaign, Gantz had no political choice but to support the deal of the century, so as to win “soft-right” votes among Jews, Ksenia Svetlova told J Street. And Gantz’s partners Moshe Ya’alon and Yair Lapid both essentially endorsed the terms of the deal.

But Trump’s deal includes “transfer” of Palestinian citizens from Israeli territory to Palestinian territory. And the marvel here is that Gantz has had to eat his words not because of anything a Jewish politician said: but because of the power of Palestinians!

The liberal Zionists commenting on the election are all amazed at the Palestinian turnout and the results. “Their power is only increasing,” says Michael Koplow of Israel Policy Forum. He says the Palestinians are sitting pretty with Gantz because they actually have an interest in going to a fourth election: they can do better yet.

“What we should understand fully is that There is no life, no existence for the Israel left and even center without the partnership with the Israeli Arabs. That is becoming quite clear after a year and a half,” Svetlova told J Street. She says the Jewish “left in Israel is almost non-existent today.”

Which makes Netanyahu’s race baiting — leaving out the 15 seats of the Palestinians as non-factors in a recent chalktalk in which he only counted the 105 Jewish parliamentarians as factors — the more repulsive.

Benjamin Netanyahu shows the number of votes cast for Jewish Zionist parties, in saying that Palestinians are not part of the equation in Israel. Screenshot from his twitter feed.

Of course it will not be easy for Gantz to build his minority government. He needs at least 12 seats from the Joint List, it is said; plus the 7 rightwingers of settler/politician Avigdor Lieberman’s party. Gantz must also hold his 33 Blue-White seats; but two rightwingers in Gantz’s list are refusing to go along.

The fascinating thing about the horsetrading is that Gantz’s own right-centrist team, men like Moshe Ya’alon and Yair Lapid, are trying to build the coalition and threatening to throw out the two rightwing parliamentarians, so that Israel doesn’t have a fourth election. They are also taking on Netanyahu’s racebaiting, with soft racebaiting of their own. “Contrary to the lies that Bibi [Netanyahu] is spreading, the Joint List would not be part of this government,” Lapid wrote Tuesday, per the Times of Israel. “They will vote once from the outside [to back the government], and there it will end.”

The big theme on the center left in Israel now is, We need to get past Netanyahu for Israel to move forward, we have the numbers narrowly. But that means working with the newly powerful Joint List. As Ofer Shelah of Blue-White said last week, It is the “state of Israel against the state of Netanyahu.”

“Netanyahu’s statement yesterday that he won the election because the Joint Arab List doesn’t count is his official declaration of war on the Jewish and democratic state of Israel,” Shelach interpreted.

Even the Washington Post writes (per Jewish Insider) of “the curdling of Mr. Netanyahu’s ‘victory’” in last week’s election. While J Street is warning that Netanyahu’s statement alienates Americans, including Jews. Dylan Williams writes:

It’s hard to overstate the damage this kind of racist rhetoric has on perceptions of Israel among a huge range of Americans, especially young people, minority communities and the great majority of US Jews from all backgrounds whose values are diametrically opposed to such bigotry

Ayman Odeh of the Joint List challenges Netanyahu’s racist statements against Palestinian citizens of Israel in a video released on twitter March 4. Screenshot.

The rise of the Joint List is great news for liberal Zionists. Many have been celebrating the Joint List’s get-out-the-vote campaign and its unprecedented strength as signs of the health of Israel’s supposed democracy. Tal Schneider at Israel Policy Forum says that the Joint List’s success has reminded some of the outsider Mizrahi Jews breaking down the LaborAshkenazi political elites in the 1970s, under the leadership of Menachem Begin’s Herut/Likud party. Michael Koplow and Yossi Alpher have saluted Joint List leader Ayman Odeh’s great political skills in building his party (though both echo Netanyahu themes in characterizing elements of the Joint List as supporters of “terrorists”).

The theme of the liberal Zionists is that, Israeli politics are fluid. Labor is down to 3 seats after leading the nation not so long ago. So some day the Joint List could actually be part of an Israeli government… Or if Blue-White’s power play fails, and there is ultimately a “unity” government of Blue-White and Likud, Joint list leader Ayman Odeh could be the face of the opposition in an Israeli Knesset– as a Muslim.

The question I have is what effect this will have on liberal Zionism. The only hopeful trend in Israeli society is the power of Palestinians, who are non-Zionist or anti-Zionist. It seems obvious to me that American liberal Zionists should adopt more of the Joint List’s liberal program and abandon Jewish nationalism.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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63 Responses

  1. bcg on March 10, 2020, 3:20 pm

    On Trump’s deal of the century, the Tablet, a reliably Zionist website, has now published TWO articles on the one state reality, one written by a Jew and the other by a Palestinian- have we reached a turning point where everyone is realizing the impossibility if the “two state solution”?:

    https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/299324/two-state-solution
    https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/299871/the-one-state-reality

    As already said, the country’s borders will have been set. But they will have been set in such a way as to define a homeland for all as much as to mark a foreign territory. Within these borders, two intertwined peoples will already have begun to pave new political ways for themselves. The deconstruction of the empire will not be sudden, nor will one people eventually come out on top. Indeed, an altogether new citizen might be born, attached to the country as a homeland, and to a new version of political identity, perhaps configured constitutionally in any number of different ways, but which in the end reflects a just distribution of rights. Ceteris paribus, such would be the rise and fall of the Jewish empire.

    • Mooser on March 10, 2020, 9:22 pm

      “has reminded some of the outsider Mizrahi Jews breaking down the LaborAshkenazi political elites in the 1970s, under the leadership of Menachem Begin’s Herut/Likud party..”

      Rather odd comparison, considering. You expecting the Joint List to eventually become right-wing Zionists?

    • echinococcus on March 10, 2020, 9:47 pm

      Downright poetic start:

      “Within these borders, two intertwined peoples will already have begun to pave new political ways for themselves. ”

      Right. For themselves, i.e. unassisted and in modest and equal terms; no worldwide dominant colonial organizations or empires behind one of them, perish the thought!
      then

      “The deconstruction of the empire will not be sudden, nor will one people eventually come out on top.”

      How could one come on top, anyway? With this strict equality of means, worldwide organizations, financial means, armaments, accumulation of connections and knowledge, in fact, ehm, strict equality no one comes on top. Yerright, boss.

      “Indeed, an altogether new citizen might be born, attached to the country as a homeland”

      regardless if one is the as yet unauthorized invading colonial invader or unauthorized offspring of one sitting on stolen property, including the desecrated graves of the other’s parents, which other happens to be the sole owner of said homeland, who has not yet authorized any of these doings and celebrations.

      “… and to a new version of political identity, perhaps configured constitutionally in any number of different ways, but which in the end reflects a just distribution of rights.”

      Right! Political identity “forged”, as the term wants, by a hundred years of nonstop cradle-to-grave racist supremacism, against people who have been a hundred years of every detail of everyday life reminding them that some people have stolen their land, life and basic rights. Now this is a perfect foundation for constitutional configuring, and everyone is sure it will work like a charm.

      Configure it in any way, only not repeat not owners and invaders!
      “Ceteris paribus, such would be the rise and fall of the Jewish empire.”

      All caetera may well be pares, why not… the darlings and now majority owners of the most powerful empire in world history and their abject slaves, who are being made on signing off their most basic right, are just the same. It’s enough to write a constitution, and there you are!
      End of the Jewish empire… no more control of the US and its European poodles and their combined clout; the Jewish empire falls and everything is hunky-dory.

      The major crime of Zionism was to ignore self-determination of the owners. The same crime is being committed now by the “one state with equal rights, by hook or by crook” “non-Zionist” crowd.

  2. Misterioso on March 10, 2020, 7:25 pm

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200224-irelands-fm-slams-israel-settlements-in-occupied-palestinian-territories/#.XlRCbXun4CM.twitter

    “Ireland’s FM slams Israel settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories”
    Middle East Monitor, Feb. 24/2020

    “Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney yesterday criticised the Israeli government’s plans to build thousands of new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem.

    “Coveney, who also serves as Ireland’s deputy prime minister, stressed in a statement that ‘all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories are clearly illegal under international law’, adding that the construction of more settlements in occupied East Jerusalem would further undermine the viability and territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state.

    “The Irish minister urged the Israeli government to refrain from taking any further steps regarding these specific illegal settlement plans and stop settlement construction.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last Thursday plans to construct thousands of new settlement units in East Jerusalem.”

  3. Elizabeth Block on March 11, 2020, 9:20 am

    Well, Israel does claim to be a democracy. One of these days – maybe very soon – it’s going to have to justify that claim.

  4. snaidamast on March 11, 2020, 9:52 am

    From everything I have read, Benny Gantz appears to be a more pragmatic person than Netanyahu.

    I am happy to hear that the Palestinian Joint List is starting to obtain more political power.

    The trends in the world are definitely going against the hard-core Israeli Right and many Americans are coming around to these new perspectives, which means that in the long term all the smear campaigns by right-wing Jewish organizations and Holocaust indoctrination will hopefully be coming to an end.

    I have written many times that Israel is in the same position as the ancient Spartans were with the oppressed, surrounding Helots. Keeping the Helots, a fierce warrior-farming people cost the Spartans plenty and between this oppression and the 2 Peloponnesian Wars, the Spartan society eventually doomed itself…

    • echinococcus on March 11, 2020, 1:01 pm

      “I have written many times that Israel is in the same position as the ancient Spartans were with the oppressed, surrounding Helots.”

      And that was a very apt comparison.
      But now you falter: holding for the Eurypontide king against the Agiade king made no difference for the Helots, who continued to be invaded, robbed, oppressed and periodically massacred.

      Just as “going against the hard-core Israeli Right” will not in any way or wise help the Palestinian Hêlots, who will continue to be invaded, robbed, oppressed and periodically massacred by the opposite “Israeli” faction. In fact, changing the king to an “Israeli left” one will bring Tweedledee the international recognition and the pretext the Western supporters of Zionists need to continue their full support!

      So many years of this comedy should have been enough to understand: anything Zionist or “Israeli” is equally toxic. The parties in the Joint List are maneuvering to increase the internal contradictions of Zionism but we cannot afford to fall for favoring any Zionist over another. That is destructive of international solidarity.

  5. Misterioso on March 11, 2020, 9:56 am

    http://www.dci.plo.ps/en/article/14721/Dr-Ashrawi-Israeli-annexation-pace-is-escalating-and-state-sanctioned-settler-terrorism-on-the-rise–

    The Palestine Liberation Organization, Press Release, March 11/2020

    “Dr. Ashrawi: ‘Israeli annexation pace is escalating and state-sanctioned settler terrorism on the rise.”

    “‘As the international community seeks to cooperate in combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Israel is exploiting the situation to expedite de facto annexation of Palestinian land while providing protection and cover to armed Israeli settlers in their terror attacks against defenseless Palestinian communities across the occupied West Bank.

    “As part of its escalating plans to enforce the notorious E1 settlement project, Israel has further announced the construction of a new apartheid road near the illegal settlement of ‘Maale Adumim,’ despite international warnings that this project will annex large areas around occupied Jerusalem and would destroy the territorial contiguity of Palestine.

    “Concurrently, Israeli settlers have sharply increased their terrorist attacks throughout the occupied West Bank under the protection of Israeli occupation forces. Most recently, Israeli settlers have repeatedly raided Mount Al-‘Orma near Nablus in an attempt to take over the area with the active participation of the Israeli army. The Palestinians of Beita-Nablus have faced repeated assaults with courage and determination despite the great cost and suffering they have endured. The latest victim of this escalation is 15-year-old Mohammed Hamayel who was shot and killed by Israeli live fire. Additionally, scores of injuries and cases of suffocation were reported, caused by Israeli army and settler attacks.

    “Furthermore, the closed-off Bethlehem area, which is the epicenter of Palestine’s COVID-19 outbreak and under strict measures of quarantine, has been targeted by Israeli settlers who uprooted at least 1,200 olive and vine trees as part of their ongoing environmental terrorism. At the same time, the Israeli army stepped up the expansion of the massive settlement bloc of ‘Gush Etzion’ to complete the siege and isolation of occupied Jerusalem.

    “While the world is preoccupied with combating the dangerous spread of the lethal virus, one must not ignore the toxic Israeli campaign seeking to destroy Palestinian statehood and the chances of peace.”

  6. echinococcus on March 11, 2020, 1:29 pm

    “It seems obvious to me that American liberal Zionists should adopt more of the Joint List’s liberal program and abandon Jewish nationalism.”

    What seems obvious reading you is that you are asking “liberal” (albeit rabid) Zionists to do what you adamantly refuse to do, viz “abandon Jewish nationalism”. Your own example, and that of all other tribal anti-Zionists, clearly shows that rejecting Zionism is a first step while Jewish nationalism survives as long as one keeps sticking to a recognition of pan-“Jewish” identity outside of religious belief and practice.

    Also, what’s “liberal” about the Joint List program? As a political movement trying to fight within the “legal” margin of the illegal Zionist entity , they are demanding their rights as owners of the country, at least that sliver that the racial-fascist structure of the Zionist state allows them to demand.

    • wondering jew on March 11, 2020, 3:23 pm

      The inability of certain antiZionists to accept the possibility of the existence of Jewish identity outside of religious belief and practice is proof that for certain antiZionists Jew hatred and antiZionism are twins.

      (They hide this by their use of the word or suffix pan, because those with Jewish identity are not willing to call their identity Ashkenazi Jewish identity, but instead leave off the Ashkenazi, that this is the source of the problem, rather than any identity with a Jewish past, present or future whether it is rooted in a specific Ashkenazi ethnic origin.)

      In fact there has definitely been those with (ashkenazi) jewish identity in the past, specifically the Bund, but others as well. That was totally divorced from religious belief and practice. But nonetheless for whatever reasons, sentimental or politically coherent, considered their grouping together with other Jews (Ashkenazi) as relevant to their self identity.

      That such grouping was relevant in the late 19th century of Russia and eastern Europe when a great impulse for such identity was the hatred of the external society (totally divorced from Jewish religious beliefs and practices), is a salient historical point. It offers the possible explanation, that only when rejected by nonJewish society is the Jewish identity (not based on religion) relevant. But in fact, whether out of an echo of the past, a vestige of the past, that will recede in time, in the present there are many who identify as Jews despite their religious atheism and to condemn this as neoZionism or tribalism is just a way of rejecting Jews qua Jews, if they don’t fit into your prejudiced view of how others should react to their accidental identities of birth. Yes, some reject all such identity. But some do not. And to condemn those who do not reject it, is Jew hatred in a mask of universalism. It is totalitarian and dogmatic and rejectionist and anti human. Not all people fit into your preconception of how a human being should react to the circumstances of their birth and upbringing.

      As far as the demands that people make on the basis of their identities, that is a separate question.

      • bcg on March 11, 2020, 5:02 pm

        But what does any of this identity stuff have to do with the situation at hand? There’s only one country between Jordan and the sea, everything of consequence in this area is controlled by that country, the chance that there will be any other countries in that area is approximately zero. You win!

        It just happens to be a country in which different classes of people have different sets of rights and different laws governing them.

      • eljay on March 11, 2020, 6:07 pm

        || wondering jew: The inability of certain antiZionists to accept the possibility of the existence of Jewish identity outside of religious belief and practice is proof that for certain antiZionists Jew hatred and antiZionism are twins. … ||

        I have no doubt that Jewish identity exists outside of religious belief and practice, but that doesn’t change the fact that Jewish is a religion-based identity that can only be acquired by:
        – undergoing a religious conversion to Judaism; or
        – being descended from someone who underwent a religious conversion to Judaism.

        It also doesn’t change the fact that this religion-based identity does not grant to those who choose to embrace it the “right”…
        – to be supremacists;
        – to have as large as possible a supremacist state; or
        – to do “necessary evil” unto others.

        The inability of Zionists to comprehend these facts is proof that every Zionist is at the very least a supremacist hypocrite (who may also be slightly mad).

      • catalan on March 11, 2020, 8:29 pm

        The term religious based identity implies that the basis is religion but there is also something else (the facade perhaps). Otherwise one could just say religious identity or simply religion (“Jewish is a religion”). Also, identity is not “acquired” but rather experienced. Humans have a choice how to identify themselves. Some Jews for instance identify as ethnic so-and-so with a different religion or origin. Other Jews may view it differently. Finally, the claim that one can descend into a religious based identity is contradictory. If it is based on descent, then religion has nothing to do with it.

      • eljay on March 11, 2020, 9:04 pm

        || catalan: The term religious based identity implies that the basis is religion … ||

        Correct. Religion is the basis for the identity of Jewish. As far as I know, it cannot be acquired by:
        – being born in or living in “Judea and Samaria” / “Land of Israel” / “Jewish State” / Israel / geographic Palestine;
        – reading and/or speaking Hebrew; and/or
        – partaking of Jewish culture or cuisine.

        || … Also, identity is not “acquired” but rather experienced. … ||

        It can be acquired or experienced or both acquired and experienced.

        || … Humans have a choice how to identify themselves. … ||

        No sh*t, Sherlock.

        || … Some Jews for instance identify as ethnic so-and-so with a different religion or origin. Other Jews may view it differently. … ||

        None of which changes the fact that Jewish is a religion-based identity.

        || … Finally, the claim that one can descend into a religious based identity is contradictory. … ||

        Such a claim might be contradictory, but I did not make such a claim.

      • catalan on March 12, 2020, 12:11 am

        “Religion is the basis for the identity of Jewish.”
        Let’s say that it is so. So besides the basis, is there anything else to being Jewish or the basis is all of it?

      • eljay on March 12, 2020, 8:28 am

        || Catalan: “Religion is the basis for the identity of Jewish.”
        Let’s say that it is so. … ||

        It is, so let’s.

        || … So besides the basis, is there anything else to being Jewish or the basis is all of it? ||

        I’m sure there are many different elements to “being Jewish” – some of them common, some of them not. (I imagine that your atheist New Mexican “being Jewish” is markedly different from that of an Israeli ultra-Orthodox rabbi.)

      • catalan on March 12, 2020, 10:47 am

        “(I imagine that your atheist New Mexican “being Jewish” is markedly different from that of an Israeli ultra-Orthodox rabbi.”
        Actually I am not an atheist. I am a spite Jew. As long as there are people like you, (assorted Islamists, Nazis etc) it gives me great joy to be Jewish. Just cause it upsets you.

      • eljay on March 12, 2020, 11:26 am

        || catalan: … Actually I am not an atheist. I am a spite Jew. … ||

        I stand corrected. You are a “spite Jew”.

        || … As long as there are people like you … ||

        …people who believe in the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality, yes. Please continue.

        || … it gives me great joy to be Jewish. … ||

        I’m happy that you’re happy to be Jewish.  :-)

        || … Just cause it upsets you. ||

        That seems like a very misguided reason to choose to embrace the Jewish identity. But that’s your issue to deal with, not mine. Sorry to disappoint you.  :-(

      • catalan on March 12, 2020, 2:37 pm

        “But that’s your issue to deal with, not mine. Sorry to disappoint you. :-(“
        Please don’t worry about me. I am doing pretty great as are most Jews. It’s the Palestinians that are having their knees blown up. Keep that boycott going;)!

      • eljay on March 12, 2020, 3:00 pm

        || catalan: .. Please don’t worry about me. … ||

        Don’t worry – I don’t worry about you.

        || … It’s the Palestinians that are having their knees blown up. Keep that boycott going;)! ||

        It is truly disturbing that you take pleasure in the acts of evil your fellow Zionists deliberately commit against Palestinians.

      • Mooser on March 12, 2020, 3:57 pm

        ” I am doing pretty great as are most Jews. “

        Gee, I am Jewish, and I’m doing terrible. For example, I loaded (that’s my business) 16 tons last year, and what did I get? Another day older and deeper in debt! I wanted to hold a fish-fry for my friends, but I owe my sole to the company store!
        Do you think it would help if I got into Zionism?

      • Mooser on March 14, 2020, 1:44 pm

        “I’m sure there are many different elements to “being Jewish”

        Many, oh, such a many. But there are two main ingredients: the mishegos and the mashpocha. If we’ve got that, the rest is (to use a Yiddish term) lagniappe.

    • Ernie on March 11, 2020, 7:37 pm

      @echinococcus

      It’s true in a sense that Jewish identity is ultimately related to religious practice. But the way racism works is that descendants inherit the race of their forebears even if they’ve jettisoned the practices that originally defined their ancestors as a race. Since race is not a biological category of use in describing human populations, racism is not a response to racial difference. On the contrary, races are an artifact of racism and it’s the racist who has the privilege of defining races and identifying race membership. Accordingly, it was the Nazis who formally codified the existing concept of Jewishness in the September 1935 Nuremberg Laws, which the official Zionist paper *Judische Rundschau* immediately welcomed and unsurprisingly embraced. Indeed, the seminal Israeli *Law of return* defines Jews in similar terms. Antisemitism nowadays does not target Jews because of their heterodox religious practices, but because of their perceived descent, and that’s why Jewishness, the ethnicity, exists independently of Judaism, the religion. Accepting Jewish identity is simply a recognition that racists who aim to do Jews harm don’t distinguish the pious from the secular and need not have anything to do with Jewish nationalism.

      • RoHa on March 12, 2020, 2:26 am

        ” Since race is not a biological category of use in describing human populations, ”

        I think this has been explained to me before, but it just didn’t gel.

        It is blatantly obvious that there are black people, white people, yellow people, red people, and brown people. Are they not races? Would not a description of human beings be incomplete without some reference to this?

        “racism is not a response to racial difference. ”

        So is racism a response to anything?

        If so, to what?

        If not, what causes it?

      • Mooser on March 12, 2020, 7:49 pm

        . “Are they not races?”

        No, they are not. Human beings have different skin colors and other features of appearance. There are no different races of human beings.

        But why is it so important to you that there are ‘races’? (I’m sure I could never guess)

      • echinococcus on March 12, 2020, 8:15 pm

        RoHa,

        Looks as if we’re having two separate, independent issues: one, the ludicrous switcheroo whereby a slight change from the general consensus meaning for the word “race” (which used to denote the superficial marks of the red, black, yellow, pink etc. people within the human race) is enough to erase it “scientifically”, and, two, the other ludicrous categorical affirmation that “racism is not a response to a racial difference”. Wait a minute! it is not always a response to a racial difference (as it was not in the case of Nazi racism against Jews or Croat racism against Serbs etc.) but many times it is, as in America.

        And there we get to the switcheroo by Ernie:

        “Antisemitism nowadays does not target Jews because of their heterodox religious practices, but because of their perceived descent, and that’s why Jewishness, the ethnicity…”

        Wait a cotton’pickin’ minute. Who the hell ever spoke of “ethnicity”? This was about racism; who is introducing any “ethnicity” here? When did Polono-Russians and Iberians and Ethiopians and Kurds and Turkomans and Byzantines have anything “ethnic” in common apart from some liturgy?

        That “antisemitism”, now a museum rarity like the coelacanthus, targets “Jews” because of descent, we know. No problem there. So why don’t you call it plain racism, like any racism? Who invented the need to use some special, fancy word? Besides, the describers and hunters of “antisemitism” are not bothered by discrimination due to ancestry! They are always screaming bloody murder because religion is being disrespected, or the statistically overwhelming support for Zionism. Both perfectly justified and protected by the First.

      • RoHa on March 12, 2020, 9:49 pm

        “Are they not races?”

        No, they are not.

        What is a race then, if not that?

        But why is it so important to you that there are ‘races’?

        It isn’t important to me. I just don’t understand this denial of the obvious.

      • Mooser on March 13, 2020, 11:57 am

        “It isn’t important to me.”

        Yes, your many comments on this subject show that you are not invested in the idea of “races” at all.

      • echinococcus on March 13, 2020, 10:24 pm

        Mooser,

        “No, they are not”

        You’re perfectly right if you’re speaking within a given school of thought related to some anthropological concepts, or discussing fine points of classification with geneticists, etc. Scientifically you may claim to be right — within narrow limits.

        “Human beings have different skin colors and other features of appearance.”
        And, guess what, the language consensus in very many different languages about the usage of “race” has been for very many years, and continues to be, that “race” refers precisely to these “different skin colors and other features of appearance” within the human race.

        Terribly unscientific, these common people. Can’t even understand the difference between genus, strain, what will you. Their usage stinks — but then they are the only ones who establish language usage. Almost always based on grossly wrong concepts at origin.

        “There are no different races of human beings.”
        Continue to use that with your graduate students, Perfessor. Mr. Common Mortal knows better.

      • wondering jew on March 14, 2020, 11:43 am

        Echo- “that “antisemitism”, now a museum rarity like the coelacanthus…” This is such unutterable bullshit. Do you feel that the crowd in Charlottesville in 2017 was antisemitic? The murderers in Jersey City and the assailant in Monsey in December 2019? Do you feel that Farrakhan is antisemitic? Because you hate Zionism you feel that it is permissible to utter bullshit regarding antisemitism? I do not read the daily stormer, so I don’t know what their comment section is like…

      • Mooser on March 14, 2020, 12:43 pm

        “Do you feel that the crowd in Charlottesville in 2017 was antisemitic?”

        Yup, lot’s of people may not like Jews. How much do you think we can get from them for that?
        Think about it, “wj”, the more people don’t like Jews, the more we can point out to them that they are anti-Semitic, and then they will have to give us something (money, policy towards Israel) in return.
        We can make our fortune out of Jewish identity politics!

      • wondering jew on March 14, 2020, 2:34 pm

        mooser- echo was spouting bull manure and i called him on it.
        What are the ramifications of the existence of this problem? There are many possible ways to deal with it. Yours is to hate the Jewish organizations who capitalize (literally) on this problem. Fine. I’m not an organization man nor a hater of Jewish organization man. I think Zionism is a major issue and as long as the direction is as current, it is a major problem that I do not have an answer for. But to keep attacking me whenever I raise the topic, because I’m trying to squeeze something out of somebody, is just barking up the wrong tree. The first step is clarity and the next step is action. I’m just trying to clarify that echo was wrong. If you want to discuss the next step of action, I’d welcome it, except that you do not believe in discussing.

      • echinococcus on March 14, 2020, 2:53 pm

        ““that “antisemitism”, now a museum rarity like the coelacanthus…” This is such unutterable bullshit. Do you feel that the crowd in Charlottesville in 2017…”

        Ah, the eternal Democrat Fredman — mirror image of the corresponding “non-Zionist” Democrat bunch.

        Certainly “antisemitism” is a museum piece, just as all the liberal boogaboos of Charlottesvilles, church shooters, daily Stürmers, KKK hoods and Skokie marchers and redneck Second Amendment incorruptibles. I said coelacanthus, because there are some surviving examples with museum value. Not the dodo yet.

        It’s not a couple nostalgic crazies that are the problem. Who cares about that kind of powerless remnants when the problem is your Mammon, i.e. the warmaking imperialist monopoly capital?

        Repeat, the big elephant is the Empire and its wars, which you, Demolicans and Repucrats alike, support and feed (all of you, Zionist and sometimes “non-Zionist” Demolicans being the main administrative organ of Empire and now the CIA Party.)

        With the help of Empire propagandists, like all the “non-Zionist” tribals, the Morris Deeses, the ID politicians, etc. you guys keep screaming “Nazis!” pointing at a little powerless mouse, so that we forget to look at the unbreakable, monolithic fascism of your Single Party (pretending to be two), the worst of fascism in history. And its Zionist-entity variety that represents pure, unadulterated Nazism.

        Keep pointing at an outmoded, submerged, ridiculous and ridiculed, impotent minority that you guys are desperately trying to keep alive, for fear of remaining without a convenient scarecrow. Keep voting for the Empire parties to protect us from a few powerless zombies, while stealing all our resources for the Pentagon war against mankind, fascist “law” “enforcement” and the Zionist massacre.

        Besides, any reactions against people who call themselves “Jewish”, without their being religious in the least, will find some justification in the statistics of their support to Zionists. I know it from direct experience, as I carry an old-fashioned, very Jewish last name from Granada; I fully understand the reactions I get at first encounter here and there. That reaction, which I share, has nothing to do with “antisemitism”; it’s all about the Zionist abomination. Why should anyone trust me sight unseen, when the overwhelming majority of people with “Jewish” ancestry materially support the Zionist theft and genocide? Statistics matter a huge lot.

      • Ernie on March 15, 2020, 1:19 am

        @RoHa
        Racism is discrimination. Racist ideolgy is a lame attempt to justify the discrimination.

        @echinococcus
        Sorry. I should have been more careful to define my terms. In my usage, ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ are virtually interchangeable. I tend to use ‘race’ for a population defined by their oppressor and ‘ethnicity’ for a population defined by itself. So the Nuremberg Laws defined a race, and the Law of return, an ethnicity, although the populations are close to congruent.

        I am happy to call antisemitism plain racism. It was the antisemite Wilhelm Marr who coined the term because he thought it sounded more ‘scientific’ than ‘Jew hatred’. In the late 19th Century few doubted that there was a genuine science of race. It might not be coincidental that three of his four wives were of Jewish ancestry?

        One of the reasons the distinction persists is that actual, material discrimination against Jews is nearly defunct where there are significant Jewish populations, so it’s not really quite the same thing as the racism meted out to, say, Blacks or Muslims. Note that the notoriously antisemitic British Labour Party does not exclude Jews from membership, official positions within the party, or candidature for any public elected office. Similarly the crisis of antisemitism at US universities hasn’t actually prevented Jews from attending or teaching at them… Most of the ‘antisemitic incidents’ recorded by outfits like the Anti Defamation League and the Community Security Trust relate to forms of expression that you would otherwise expect to be protected.

      • echinococcus on March 15, 2020, 11:44 am

        Ernie,

        You sound like the best maker of applesauce in this room.

        “It’s true in a sense that Jewish identity is ultimately related to religious practice.”

        Not “ultimately”. Only! Whoever is not practicing the religion (or sincerely believing it) is not Jewish, same as Catholicism. Once dropped religious practice, there is nothing to show for “Jewish” identity.

        “But the way racism works is that descendants inherit the race of their forebears even if they’ve jettisoned the practices that originally defined their ancestors as a race.”

        Right… the Ethiopian Falashas and the Khazars of Ashkenaz and the Ibero-Berbers of Spain are just the same race, from mother to daughter, aren’t they? One glance, one listen is enough to prove it, I say.

        “Since race is not a biological category of use in describing human populations…”

        Well, it is the only thing that is fully measurable and describable, with easily formulated statistical principles, as a biological category. Skin color, epicanthal fold, calcanear length, you name it. It is a biological category and not much else.

        Now you’ll tell me that these observable differences do not exist. Yes, we have no skin color (or other inheritable differences) within the human race.

        “racism is not a response to racial difference.”

        Or, how to sew a correct phrase on to a palpably unreal statement. Of course racism does not need racial differences. Like Nazis against Jewish Germans, Serbs against Muslim Serbs calling themselves Bosnian, Anatolian ex-Greek Turks against Greeks… where the race is the same.

        The fact is that biological race is observable and quantifiable, while racism does not need any biological markers. Sometimes racism uses biological markers of race, as in the typically American racism, most of the time, though, it is directed at cultural, linguistic, religious, liturgical etc. differences (i.e. what Americans see as “ethnicity”)

        “On the contrary, races are an artifact of racism”
        Orright! As every object you see out in the street being an artifact of your thought? Nice to meet you, Bishop Berkeley.

        If you had contended yourself with saying that discrimination against any persons for belonging to a group defined by a given characteristic which is acquired by birth is racism and it is despicable, instead of giving us this nonsense that observable biological differences do not exist, you would have made sense. But it seems that we are veering into madness instead:

        “Jewishness, the ethnicity”
        There is no such animal on earth (as opposed to skin color or eye color differences.)
        Are we saying that Ethiopian Falashas, Khazarian Yiddish-speakers, Ibero-Berber Spaniards, Maghrebin and Mashreki Arabs, etc. all share a common language, a common culture or a common anything outside some liturgical-religious commonality, which later stops the very moment the individual in question is not religious. Just as for the Catholics, Protestants and Muslims

        So bring one single measurable common anything that objectively determines “ethnicity”.

        You guys are really ludicrous with the “subjective ethnicity” nonsense. I desire to be a Martian, hence I am a Martian and you have to respect that… And the idea of biologic markers being created by racist thought is the tops. Superior mountebankery, the way you cobble your argument together for the sake of justifying the “Jewish Ethnos” nonsense.

      • Ernie on March 16, 2020, 6:00 pm

        Echinococcus

        ‘Once dropped religious practice, there is nothing to show for “Jewish” identity.’ Except, of course, for racism against (or for) Jews, which does not stop to interrogate anyone’s religious beliefs or practices. Zionism confuses the issue by regarding converts as Jews, but the fundamental definition of Jews in the _Law of return_ is through descent. It’s worth noting that those who have in the last couple of years actually set out to cause Jews physical harm have targeted synagogues and kosher establishments. I suspect that this is partially because the perpetrators are themselves confused about the distinction between the religion and the ethnicity, and partly because it’s difficult to identify Jews in the absence of some religious token, even though it’s not the religious practice that incenses them. As you say, Jewish ethnicity derives from the religious practice of forebears. In the case of the Tree of Life synagogue, the shooter had a specific gripe about the congregation’s support for immigration, which *may* have motivated his behaviour more than antisemitism per se.

        ‘the Ethiopian Falashas and the Khazars of Ashkenaz and the Ibero-Berbers of Spain are just the same race, from mother to daughter, aren’t they? One glance, one listen is enough to prove it, I say.’ A glance will prove racial differences only if you believe that race is a useful biological category and that racism is a response to apparent physical traits.

        When I wrote, ‘racism is not a response to racial difference’, I probably should have enclosed ‘racial difference’ in inverted commas. The point I was trying to make is that ‘racial difference’ is only a thing in the mind of the racist, not some objective fact that there can be a response to.

        ‘Of course racism does not need racial differences’ is not what I’m saying. On the contrary, racism – again, in the sense of racial discrimination – creates ‘races’ precisely because it *does* need them.

        When you write of racism ‘Like Nazis against Jewish Germans…where the race is the same’, you appear to be acknowledging that such things as ‘skin color, epicanthal fold, calcanear length…’ are not, after all, the actual indicators of ‘race’. And yet you fall back on a biological concept of race being ‘the same’, as if the Nazis had not in fact confected a race of Jews, or Serbs, a race of Muslims. Indeed, you are quite explicit in agreeing that, ‘racism does not need any biological markers’. The point is not that physiological markers don’t exist. It is, for one thing, that those markers do not define human populations in a meaningful way. And for another, that they are only partially relevant to identifying races. Tasmanian Aborigines, for example, suffer no less discrimination in housing, employment, etc. than Aborigines on the Australian mainland, even though few display the physical markers you might associate with being ‘Black’. Blond hair and blue eyes notwithstanding, the racists can spot them by their surnames or addresses.

        ‘an artifact of your thought’ – Actually, it seems it’s you who are introducing the idealistic fallacy here. As I think I’ve made clear enough already, racist attitudes are derivative from concrete, material racial discrimination, which is what I call ‘racism’.

        What creates a Jewish *ethnicity* is the conceit among Jews that it exists, partially exacerbated by Zionism, which relies on that very conceit. So yes, it *is* subjective. You are right to suggest that it doesn’t matter whether you or your ancestors really come from Mars to identify as Martian any more than it matters whether my ancestors really come from Palestine to identify as Jewish. But you are wrong to think that your claim to Martian ethnicity creates such an ethnicity in the absence of a community who make that claim, and, significantly, accept your claim to be among them.

        ‘Discrimination against any persons for belonging to a group defined by a given characteristic which is acquired by birth’ is not a bad attempt at a definition of racism. But I think it’s important to emphasise that the acquisition of characteristics by birth is the belief of the racist. So, I’d define it as, ‘Discrimination based on the perception of inherited characteristics of a population’ or something like that. What created a Jewish *race* was discrimination against Jews. But philosemitism is no less racist than antisemitism. The reason it still exists is largely the Zionist insistence on discriminating *in favour of* Jews, along with some relic antisemitic attitudes. I hasten to add that in the context of Palestine, the principal cause for concern is Zionist anti-Arab racism, which is related to, but not the same thing as, Zionist pro-Jewish racism.

      • echinococcus on March 16, 2020, 9:54 pm

        Ernie,

        That’s more of the same oversweetened applesauce.
        Put it to the test of objective proof — the only one common mortals like yours truly accept:

        -There is no objectively provable “Jewish ethnicity” — not a single cultural common element.

        – There are of course Ashkenazis and Sefardis and Mizrahis, and such with ethnic cultures, that’s an objective fact, but no relationship to each other at all (as of the start of the illegitimate Zionist entity, which will be probably corrected in the future.) So “Jewish” is like “Catholic”, no more no less. Whoever is religious is religious and whoever is not — does not belong. Period.

        – Racial differences, (yes skin-deep, and yes, which it is of course despicable to consider when judging humans in groups), are objectively there, like skin color, hair structure and epicanthal folds. Your thought processes creating races is pure idealistic bullshit.

        – Whatever racists think does not create a reality but neither your thought does so.

        From your “Jewish ethnicity” nonsense to tribal quasi-Zionist organizations and from there to Zionism is just one half-step.

      • Ernie on March 17, 2020, 12:50 am

        echinococcus

        It’s a shame you can’t accept anything without what you’re pleased to call ‘objective proof’. You’ll experience a lot of difficulty finding such proof of any social construct whatsoever. Where is the ‘objective proof’ of the existence of Judaism or any religion? Of Ashkenazi or any culture? Of Israel or any state? None of these things has any form of existence outside what people believe. And yet they have real effects on our objective behaviour.

        As you’ve already acknowledged that ‘racism does not need any biological markers’, I’m not at all sure what you’re arguing about or why you’ve gone all vituperative. If you have anything of substance to add to this discussion, please allow me to suggest you express it in a civil manner to enhance the appearance of rationality.

      • echinococcus on March 17, 2020, 9:07 am

        Ernie again,

        “what you’re pleased to call ‘objective proof’ ”
        “What I’m pleased to”, Bishop Berkeley? There are no facts, eh?

        “You’ll experience a lot of difficulty finding such proof of any social construct whatsoever.”

        The social construct is racism; the objective reality is biological markers and languages; the statistical treatment of observations of fact is cultures, ethnies and the like.

        “Where is the ‘objective proof’ of the existence of Judaism or any religion?”
        In religious practice or personal statements.

        “Of Ashkenazi or any culture?”
        In language, ancestry – civil registry, place of origin.

        “Of Israel or any state?”
        When one of them jails you, or beats you black and blue, or taxes you, you’ll know: in the shape you’re in now, you don’t look as if you would know that anything exists before it jumps up and bites you.

        “As you’ve already acknowledged that ‘racism does not need any biological markers’ ”
        Of course it doesn’t. Read the detailed explanation I gave.
        [“…biological race is observable and quantifiable, while racism does not need any biological markers. Sometimes racism uses biological markers of race, as in the typically American racism, most of the time, though, it is directed at cultural, linguistic, religious, liturgical etc. differences (i.e. what Americans see as “ethnicity”)]

        “I’m not at all sure what you’re arguing about”
        That you aren’t, or less charitably, you’re pretending to, is kind of obvious.

        “… or why you’ve gone all vituperative. ”
        Vituperation is in the eye of the beholder — a social construct, you’d say. I’m civil by my standards.

        The why, though, is obvious: you are introducing the latest method for sneaking in the invention of a non-existent “Jewish ethnos”, to justify the tribal abomination (Zionist and “non-Zionist”) Note that anything posterior to the Zionist invasion of Palestine, i.e. the Zionist entity reality, is not taken in consideration here.

      • Ernie on March 17, 2020, 3:45 pm

        @Tapeworm

        What part of ‘real effects on our objective behaviour’ didn’t you understand? As a matter of fact, I’ve been jailed in four countries, including Israel, so I’m well aware of the real effects these social constructs can mete out. It’s a pity that you can’t get your head around their utter reliance on our belief in them to be able to oppress us. And no, you can’t just wish them out of existence by proclaiming your disbelief – they are social constructs.

        The ‘objective reality’ you mention has long since been comprehensively debunked. Welcome to the 21st Century!

        If you imagine that anything I have written in the last couple of decades suggests the slightest tolerance, much less justification, of Zionism, you really need to work on your reading comprehension skills. If you imagine I’m going to continue to intersect with you when you spew unintelligible gibberish like ‘Note that anything posterior to the Zionist invasion of Palestine, i.e. the Zionist entity reality, is not taken in consideration here’, and cast aspersions on my antiracism, you’re pretty seriously deluded.

      • eljay on March 17, 2020, 5:38 pm

        || Ernie: … If you imagine that anything I have written in the last couple of decades suggests the slightest tolerance, much less justification, of Zionism, you really need to work on your reading comprehension skills. … ||

        echi has this nasty habit of slandering as Zionists anyone who:
        – disagrees with his view that the majority of Jews in geographic Palestine should be driven from the region; and, instead,
        – advocates a resolution to I-P comprising justice, accountability and equality (incl. the reformation of Israel into a secular and democratic state of and for all its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally; repatriation and/or reparations; and respect for human rights and international laws).

        He also has this pathetic habit of whining like a victim when people call him out on it.

      • echinococcus on March 18, 2020, 12:54 am

        Anyone who advocates a rearrangement of the Palestinian territory against the express desires of the Palestinian people, including all the Palesitnian diaspora and refugees since 1897, and excluding the invaders and invader offspring, is helping Zionism, that in its minimal expression can be reduced to unwanted colonial occupation of Palestine by invaders of Palestine.

        Advocating “equal rights” between invaders and invaded, as if they were of equal power, clamoring for one’s own phantasms like “democratic, secular, etc.” systems, without even a by-your-leave to the Palestinian people, is more help to Zionists than openly Zionist propagandists. If Eljay could not understand the damage he is causing, he has been warned. Repeatedly.

        As long as Western busybodies like Eljay use the catastrophe befalling people to Palestinian people to satisfy their own velleities, they side with the enemy. You guys are in fact trying to mess with the sovereign rights and the internal affairs of an entire people in favor of the Zionist invader — never mind the feelgood stuff with women chained inn basements etc.

      • echinococcus on March 18, 2020, 1:00 am

        You aren’t reading, Ernie. There are no aspersions on your antiracism. Racism is, as I already wrote twice, of course a social construct. Biological markers, language, culture ie ethnicity markers, are also objective.

        And again, if there are any aspersions they are the strong objection to your imaginary, and damaging, “Jewish” ethnos.

  7. bcg on March 12, 2020, 1:37 pm

    Race: one of my college roommates became an anthropologist. When he got tenure I visited him in his college town and as we walked around we saw a sculpture whose theme was the “unity of all races” , brown, black, yellow, white, red. We looked at the sculpture for awhile, and then he gave me The Lecture: for the most part – there are exceptions – anthropologists and biologists do not generally believe in the concept of “race”, it’s a b.s. construct – all the atuff about hair texture and skin color and the other things people usually think indicate “race” are superficial. The most we can say is that there are gene clusters for certain traits that correlate to some extent with geographic areas.

    Both “race” and “identity” are just mental constructs. Human rights, however, are not. Torture is a real phenomenon. Home demolitions are real.

    • RoHa on March 12, 2020, 9:46 pm

      Are not all classification systems mental constructs?

      We can classify human beings as belonging to “guilt cultures” and “shame cultures”. (Alleged to be a difference between European and East Asian societies.)
      As “trouser wearers” and “non-trouser wearers”. (Alleged to show, in Asia at least, the limits of Mongol influence.)
      We can classify plants by species, genus, family, etc.
      We can classify them as tropical, desert, temperate, etc.

      All these classifications are based on real features. The classification of human beings by skin colour, eye shape, and so forth is also based on real features.

      Yes, they are superficial features. Why does that matter?

      “The most we can say is that there are gene clusters for certain traits that correlate to some extent with geographic areas.”

      But such a gene cluster is exactly what a race is! To affirm such gene clusters and deny races seems self-contradictory.

      • bcg on March 13, 2020, 11:53 am

        That’s exactly the point: we should not classify people on superficial features. Why not classify people based on the bumps on their heads (phrenology)? Bumps on your head are very real, aren’t they?

      • Mooser on March 13, 2020, 12:53 pm

        ” we should not classify people on superficial features. “

        Oh, I do pretty good classifying people who think we should classify people on superficial features.

        But I’m sure “RoHa” can, in all good faith and sincerity tell us about the more significant traits linked to ‘race’. And which features and skin color are normative?
        And in today’s world, after a good thousand years of international travel and migration, where one ‘race’ ends and another begins.

      • RoHa on March 14, 2020, 12:57 am

        “we should not classify people on superficial features.”

        That’s a very different claim from that of saying that the gene clusters that give rise to those features do not exist.

        I am really trying to understand this. Is there some belief that, if we deny the existence of races, racism will cease to exist?

      • RoHa on March 14, 2020, 12:59 am

        Mooser, do I spot a continuum fallacy lurking in the undergrowth?

      • echinococcus on March 14, 2020, 11:44 am

        RoHa,

        The continuum fallacy here seems to play the same role as logical argument for the existence of God in Christian thought, i.e. it’s only there as a pretence of reason for an article of faith. The liberal Democrat faith, mainstay of which is that problems are solved by denying them — and imposing general censorship by social shaming (or more.)

      • Mooser on March 14, 2020, 12:38 pm

        “Mooser, do I spot a continuum fallacy lurking in the undergrowth?” “RoHa”

        No, I don’t think you do, and I don’t think you would if it bit you on the ass.

      • Mooser on March 14, 2020, 6:04 pm

        “Is there some belief that, if we deny the existence of races, racism will cease to exist?”

        ROTFLMSJAO! What a good race’splainer you are “RoHa”. You bet, “RoHa” nothing but death, destruction and barbarity can accrue from in any way lessening the validity of “race”. Why, without “race”, how would we know who was what?

      • Mooser on March 14, 2020, 6:07 pm

        “that the gene clusters that give rise to those features…”

        …are, of course, inextricably linked to the genes and sequences which ‘give rise’ to lots of very important features, too. You betcha.

      • RoHa on March 14, 2020, 9:53 pm

        “No, I don’t think you do, ”

        So you weren’t going to argue that, because there are no hard and fast “borders” between the gene clusters, there are no gene clusters?

        That’s good.

      • RoHa on March 14, 2020, 9:57 pm

        “…nothing but death, destruction…” “…inextricably linked to the genes and sequences which …”

        Those poor straw men! You are certainly giving them a drubbing.

        I’m beginning to suspect that you really do think that, if we deny the existence of races, racism will disappear.

        (Aside from the racist assaults on members of the straw race.)

      • Ernie on March 15, 2020, 1:36 am

        @RoHa

        You still have it inverted. You can’t abolish racism by denying the existence of races because the races are themselves artifacts of racism. If we can eradicate racism, on the other hand, then races will definitely disappear, because they only exist because of the discrimination racists impose on them.

      • RoHa on March 16, 2020, 1:32 am

        Ernie,

        I am using the term “race” in the standard way. I am referring to the gene clusters that give rise to the physical traits of skin colour, eye shape, and so forth. These clusters are a biological reality. So, when you say “because the races are themselves artifacts of racism ”, I cannot believe you mean that racism caused or created that biological reality.

        And “ If we can eradicate racism, on the other hand, then races will definitely disappear,” suggests that if people change their attitudes then the gene clusters will disappear.*

        Again, I cannot believe you seriously mean that.

        The polite explanation for these bizarre claims is that you are using the term “race” in some strange sense that does not overlap with the standard meaning, but you have forgotten to warn us of this.

        (*The gene clusters will disappear if there is massive interbreeding between the races, but not simply by a change in attitude. )

      • Ernie on March 16, 2020, 3:41 pm

        RoHa

        Sorry you’re not finding it clear.

        Racism is not just, or primarily, about attitudes. Racist attitudes are an artifact of racist discrimination. When we eliminate the discrimination, the attitudes will go with it, as will the identification of populations as ‘races’.

        You are mistaken to think that there is some standard definition of *race* that is based exclusively on heritable physiological traits. Racists can racialise any population they like, using any criteria they like to identify them as such. That’s how the Irish, for instance, became a race, or Jews, for that matter.

      • RoHa on March 17, 2020, 9:52 am

        “You are mistaken to think that there is some standard definition of *race* that is based exclusively on heritable physiological traits.”

        And yet…
        Go to https://www.lexico.com/definition/race
        and scroll down to “race 2”.

        “Each of the major groupings into which humankind is considered (in various theories or contexts) to be divided on the basis of physical characteristics or shared ancestry.”

        You will notice that there is no mention of discrimination.

        You, on the other hand, seem to be using a definition similar to this: “a group which is discriminated against by another group, when the discrimination is based on the perception of inherited characteristics of the first group.”

        On my definition, race is an objective and obvious biological fact.  Races would exist even if there were no discrimination.

        On your definition, it is the fact of discrimination that cause races to exist.

        I would say, on the basis of biology, that the Japanese and the Koreans belong to the same race. On your definition, it looks as though Japanese discrimination would make the Koreans a distinct race.

        Perhaps now you can see why it seems it seems incomprehensible when people deny that races exist, or claim that they are just a social contruct.

        And I do not understand why anyone would deny the biological reality.

      • Ernie on March 17, 2020, 3:07 pm

        @RoHa

        Don’t believe everything you read in the dictionary! Of course, as the principal function of a dictionary is to document actual usage, and clearly there are those who still insist on using the term in this archaic sense, it is crucial to include definition 1, which you quote. But it should really be more explicit about the ‘theories’, ‘Each of the major groupings into which humankind is considered (in various discredited 19th Century theories or contexts) to be divided on the basis of physical characteristics or the perception of shared ancestry.’ Indeed, if you scroll down a bit further, the dictionary mentions this.

        ‘On your definition, it is the fact of discrimination that cause races to exist.’ Yes. That’s correct.
        ‘I would say, on the basis of biology, that the Japanese and the Koreans belong to the same race. On your definition, it looks as though Japanese discrimination would make the Koreans a distinct race.’ Also correct. So, if Japanese and Koreans are of the ‘same race’, is there some term that you reckon captures the form of discrimination Koreans experience from the Japanese? Perhaps more importantly, if Jews and Arabs are of the ‘same race’, as many allege, what do we call Zionist discrimination against Palestinians?

        The ‘objective and obvious biological fact’ has been comprehensively rejected by the scientific community: ‘Genetic studies in the late 20th century refuted the existence of biogenetically distinct races, and scholars now argue that “races” are cultural interventions reflecting specific attitudes and beliefs that were imposed on different populations in the wake of western European conquests beginning in the 15th century.’

        ‘And I do not understand why anyone would deny the biological reality.’ Couldn’t agree more!

      • RoHa on March 20, 2020, 1:39 am

        Thanks for the link to that rather badly written article. From it I glean that the geneticists have refuted a number of claims about races, but they have not refuted the obivous fact that most people in East Asia are yellow, most in sub-Saharan Africa are black, and most in Europe are white.

        And that is what most people think of when they think of race, and why the primary OED definition is based on that. The archaic sense is still the one in general use.

        Scholars* who are busy trying to replace discredited 19th Century theories with their own theories (soon to be discredited, I expect) may want to use the term differently, but when they talk to the rest of us they should always make it clear that they are using the word in a different sense.

        Otherwise, when they make claims of the “race is just a social construct”, or “races don’t exist” type, they just look like crackpots.

        (It might also be helpful for them to explain why they wish to fright the word out of its right sense, rather than coining new terms for their concepts.)

        “is there some term that you reckon captures the form of discrimination Koreans experience from the Japanese?”

        I don’t feel the need for such a term, but if I were writing a pompous academic paper on the topic I might coin “quasi-racism”. I would then be able to use that to refer to the discrimination against the Burakumin as well. I doubt that it would contribute anything to understanding, but it could help me towards tenure.

        (*I’m sure scholars are OK in their way, but would you want your daughter to marry one?)

      • Ernie on March 21, 2020, 4:20 pm

        RoHa,

        You wanted to talk about ‘biological reality’. Well, I’m all for that. So why don’t you just catch up and do so?

        I don’t recall assrting that race is ‘just a social construct’. It is a social construct, tout court, and I have been quite explicit that such social constructs have real, tangible effects – there’s no ‘just’ about it.

        One of those effects is precisely that bogus classifications like the ‘caucasoid/mongoloid/negroid’ one you seem to favour is what ‘most people think of when they think of race’. Indeed, the illusion that these categories are biological facts is a significant aspect of racist ideology.

    • RoHa on March 22, 2020, 12:48 am

      “You wanted to talk about ‘biological reality’. … So why don’t you just catch up and do so? “

      I’d like to, but you don’t seem prepared to address the question of biological fact. What is it that I need to catch up with?

      “Indeed, the illusion that these categories are biological facts is a significant aspect of racist ideology.”

      I don’t know about racist ideology. I do know about Europe and East Asia. I have spent a great deal of time in both, and I have seen that most people in Europe are white and most people in East Asia are yellow. This is not an illusion. And it is not a social construct.

      Recognition of the common traits is pre-theoretical. From a very early age, my son spent a lot of time in Japan with his Japanese grandparents. When he was about six, we were visited in Australia by a Korean couple. He automatically started speaking to them in Japanese, since he immediately assumed, on the basis of their appearance, that they were Japanese. (And he was most surprised to find that he had to use his father’s language when speaking to them.)

      Incidentally, I meant “just” as “nothing but”, not as “not important”.

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