January 07, 2006

Anti–Americanism = Racism

Well having made a controversial statement and put a mathematical symbol in the title to attract those reading the maths blogs I suppose I ought to clarify just exactly what I mean. A few days ago a friend of mine who had just read To Kill a Mockingbird said to me “it amazes me how many great moral books come from such a morally bankrupt society”. I’m not sure if I responded at the time but it niggled at me. To suggest that the US is significantly more morally bankrupt than Britain is quite a bold assertion anyway, but to express surprise that there are moral people in America is just ridiculous.

But this is just one example of how acceptable anti-americanism has become. Britain doesn’t score at all well on the obesity rankings but we Brits take great pleasure in observing how obesity is even more of a problem in America. I have friends on the hard left who, rather than fighting for workers rights everywhere, gleefully welcome news that the poverty gap in America is widening as ammunition they can use against her.

I observed anti-semitism for the first time when on Jailbreak, a couple of people in the queue for tickets turned to a Jew and said to him “it’s a fuckin’ disgrace what you’re doing the Palestinians” before pushing in front of him.

However annoyed we get at Bush’s policies, if we direct our anger indiscriminately towards the American people we will be no better than those racists in the queue at the airport. I think Bush’s election victory was partly because Americans think the world hates them and feel they need a strong leader, if we continue to make them believe this then we will have to settle with presidents like Bush forever.


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  1. fred

    It's not really racism though, because there is no single American race.

    07 Jan 2006, 23:39

  2. Even so, if you're rude to someone just because they speak with an American accent, it amounts to the same thing.

    08 Jan 2006, 00:08

  3. Yeah I never get round to writing up my blogs quite as well as they go in my head, and you're right that technically it's not racism, but my points still stand.

    08 Jan 2006, 11:41

  4. Ethnocentrism?

    It sounds a bit odd that someone would randomly approach another person, correctly identify him as Jewish and then criticise him for the actions of Israel…

    09 Jan 2006, 01:09

  5. And having just reread the post, I think you're slightly confused as to whether it was at a club event or at an airport… it would be interesting if you could elaborate.

    09 Jan 2006, 01:10

  6. I'm not sure if the tone of your reply is suggesting i'm making this up but i'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I was on the Jailbrak event (see the entry 'Jailbreak' on the next page if you don't know what this is) and was trying to buy tickets to get home from Prague airport when a couple of random strangers were racist to another in the queue.

    The point of the example was that people blame the actions of the state on individual members of the state. You may find this 'odd' but statistics show that anti-semitism is hugely on the rise and the Israel-Palestine issue is often used as an excuse for anti-semitism.

    09 Jan 2006, 11:03

  7. .bq and was trying to buy tickets to get home from Prague airport when a couple of random strangers were racist to another in the queue.

    All I'm saying is that if I approach someone with white skin and blue eyes he could be Jewish or he might not… similarly he could have brown skin and dark eyes with an afro and be Jewish, or Arab, or both… It's not like approaching someone who looks Arab in Paris and thinking to yourself "why that fellow is probably of Moroccan decent!". I'd imagine it's very difficult in the West for someone to randomly attack a Jew for being Jewish unless he's wearing his Yarmulke or any other cultural/religious symbol.

    The point of the example was that people blame the actions of the state on individual members of the state.

    Sure. And you're right. Not sure that that qualifies as racism.

    You may find this 'odd' but statistics show that anti-semitism is hugely on the rise and the Israel-Palestine issue is often used as an excuse for anti-semitism.

    Well, with regards to Europe, I'm not sure if that's really true outside of France and outside the "New Antisemitism" books you've possibly been reading. But any attacks against any ethnic or religious minority should be highlighted and fought against.

    09 Jan 2006, 12:15

  8. Whether or not the man was actually Jewish is irrelevant. The point is, they used anti-semitic language against someone whom they thought was Jewish. The anti-semitism is there.

    It's like saying it doesn't matter if someone accuses a Sikh of being a terrorist suspect because they've confused him with a Muslim. Whether the man is a Muslim or not is irrelevant; somebody has made a judgement based on prejudice and hatred, and that is wrong.

    09 Jan 2006, 12:36

  9. Hamid, just on the issue of anti-semitism, I claim that it is on the rise because of an article i heard on radio 4 a month or so ago.

    As for whether criticism of the state of Israel is ever used as cover for anti-semitism, i have not read any "New Antisemitism" books, I have only two personal experiences of my own. The first is what we've been discussing, where two people judged a man based on his being Jewish at the queue in the airport. The second was at NUS conference last year, where a General Union of Palestinian Students leaflet that was attempting to criticise Israel quoted 'The protocols of the Elder of Zion'. Now i'm neither a politics student nor a history student and so my knowledge about this is slightly shaky but as I understand The Protocols was a document suggesting that the Jewish race should attempt to take over the world that was a forgery used to justify purges against Jews in Russia and Germany. In short the GUPS leaflet was using criticism of Israel as a cover to quote a racist forgery.

    09 Jan 2006, 13:30

  10. Edward

    Whether or not the man was actually Jewish is irrelevant. The point is, they used anti-semitic language against someone whom they thought was Jewish. The anti-semitism is there. It's like saying it doesn't matter if someone accuses a Sikh of being a terrorist suspect because they've confused him with a Muslim. Whether the man is a Muslim or not is irrelevant; somebody has made a judgement based on prejudice and hatred, and that is wrong.

    Not quite. If I approached a South African 20 years ago and said "It's fucking disgraceful what you're doing to black people" it wouldn't be racist but could certainly be construed as anti-South African.

    If, however, I saw he was white and then I said "You people are fucking disgraceful" simply because he was white, then that would be racism.

    With regards to the remark, it seems to me that (bearing in mind, just from the description here) that it was an Anti-Israeli comment rather than anti-Semitic. But of course, that's just my interpretation of the circumstances.

    09 Jan 2006, 13:47

  11. Thomas

    Hamid, just on the issue of anti-semitism, I claim that it is on the rise because of an article i heard on radio 4 a month or so ago.

    Yeah, that'll be Chief Rabbi Sacks. He's interesting in that's he's not too far a proponent of the "New Antisemitism" (in the that the authors will generally have you believe that Auschwitz is on the verge of being reinstated) but he does tend to exaggerate the problem: "A tsunami of anti-Semitism" which he ties in with criticism of Israel. But what sets him apart from the proponents of the "New Antisemitism" is that he says that most anti-Semitic attacks happen in France, that Britain is not an anti-Semitic country etc.

    bq.
    As for whether criticism of the state of Israel is ever used as cover for anti-semitism, i have not read any "New Antisemitism" books

    Well you might be interested in reading a couple of the proponents (such as Phyllis Chesler ) and opponents (such as Finkelstein) . It's worth getting stuck into if you have the time or if you're interested in the overarching debate. But uni work is work, so time is a bitch :(.

    The second was at NUS conference last year, where a General Union of Palestinian Students leaflet that was attempting to criticise Israel quoted 'The protocols of the Elder of Zion'. … In short the GUPS leaflet was using criticism of Israel as a cover to quote a racist forgery.

    I'm not sure that it actually was a GUPS leaflet (leaving the content of the leaflet aside – The Protocols is a disgusting work of racist forgery, much as From Time Immemorial is) but on rather on the table.

    The Guardian

    "The General Union of Palestine Students (Gups) said it disassociated itself from the leaflet on Zionism on its stall and that it did not represent its views in any way. "Once Gups became aware of the existence of the leaflet, it was removed from the stall," said a statement last week."

    If the leaflet was printed by them, it was totally uncalled for and they should have known better than to print such racist nonsense when there are a thousand Jewish Israeli sources from Amira Haas to Israel Shahak who comment directly on the Palestinian cause.

    But yeah, as you said you don't have to be a historian to know that Protocols is filth.

    09 Jan 2006, 14:25

  12. interesting standpoint, but I believe it is more a point of the misinterpretation of when people express distaste for America, not americans. And being a proud and patriotic people (or so I am led to believe) some probably feel personally insulted when distaste is paid towards some of americas foreign policies, especially how they assert themselves in order to protect and retain their own freedom. As for the comment your friend made, they need to be a bit more open minded and consider people as singular rather than part of some evil conglomerate that simply wishes to smush all the animals, trees and arabs of the world in order to produce more oil…......too far?
    and as a sidenote, i like Bush he provides comic relief :)

    09 Jan 2006, 15:48

  13. America as the world's only superpower, dictates world policy.It's companies are at the forefront of world globalisation and its troops in the most sensitive regions of the world.
    It is thus a highly visible and easy target for people to vent their anger at- rightly, or wrongly.

    There is anti-americanism and anti-semitism in the world, of that we have no doubt. But what interests me is how in your article, you have decided the couple the two separate entities together.

    09 Jan 2006, 17:51

  14. Yeah the whole point of putting the anti-semitism in the article was that all but the most deranged would admit that anti-semitism is disgusting, I wanted to question whether anti-americanism of the type in the article is so much different. I'm sure that were I to express surprise that Jews were capable of morality my views would be rightly interpreted as vile and idiotic, although Americans don't define as a race it is still just as wrong to lump them all together.

    Antagonism towards Americans has not yet reached the seriousness that other racism has in our society in that it is rarely violent, but it is vital that we tackle xenophobia however mildly and politely it is expressed.

    09 Jan 2006, 19:14

  15. Christopher Rossdale

    Anti-semitism is of course abhorent, as is any form of discrimination – but we need to be careful that the phrase is not abused. Some American dictionaries see no problem with defining anti-semitism as 'support for the opponents of Israel', and anyone condemning the occupation of Palestine is treading very dangerously when it comes to the issue.

    Fact of the matter is it's no worse than any other form of discrimination, but after a century where Jews have undergone the horrors of the holocaust, their cause tends to be treated more sympathetically. Perfectly understandable, but it's important not to allow a swing in the other direction.

    George Orwell's essay on anti-semitism in Britain is an interesting, if slightly dated, look at the subject.

    09 Jan 2006, 19:43

  16. "I observed anti-semitism for the first time when on Jailbreak, a couple of people in the queue for tickets turned to a Jew and said to him “it’s a fuckin’ disgrace what you’re doing the Palestinians” before pushing in front of him."

    Hamid touched on this already. You need to be careful when calling things "racist" or "anti-semetic". You've used words incorrectly there. The example you used was not really relevant.
    If you want to start up a new thread on "anti-Isreali-foreign-policy" then go ahead.
    On the Isreali issue, it is hard to get the terms right, made worse by the fact that Isreal explicitly styles itself as the Jewish nation. Even if I accept that, it makes it a very short and convenient leap for all kinds of people to accuse certain people of "anti-semetism" if they make comments on "Isreal" (usually on the Palestine issue). There is no coincidence in that situation.
    This reminds me of a piece in the New Statesman which almost made me write in to complain about the author's ridiculous ignorance. He claimed that it was "bigotry" that made a Catholic priest say that the Protestant elite treated Catholics like Hitler treated the Jews. This is misuse of the term. Bigotry or racsim would be him saying that protestants are inherantly bad BY VIRTUE of them being protestant. He said nothing of the sort. His (admittedly overstated) claim was simply that in the past the protestants ruling the north of Ireland treated people differently based on religion, which is a fact. Nothing said about them being Protestants as an active part of the sentance. Now let me bring my analogy back home. Your anecdote could work perfectly well without the "jewish" addition. The statement was simply that someone did not like something someone else was doing. The religion of any actors was immaterial because it was not part of the action. The statement was not that all Jews should be killed or treated badly or differently BY VIRTUE of them being difference. In fact, as you told it, religion was not actually mentioned.
    As I say, this issue is clouded by the fact that Isreal makes sure that they are the Jewish State, which makes it very easy to throw "anti-semitism" about. You would also do well to look into the meaning of Semite, and find that it has nothing to do with Judaism. This is another one of those entirley constructed terms that prove very useful for many powerful people. Add to this that there is consensus among the elite in the West that Isreal is inherantly preferable to any Arab people, and has rightful claim on all of Jerusalem and at least to the 1967 lines, and it becomes increasingly difficult to put oneself forward as anti-Zionist and not be accused of "anti-semitism" by some moron or other.

    09 Jan 2006, 20:44

  17. But you are correct on the American thing. See many people in this fair land and elsewhere have very small brain and do not realise that the USA is a very, very large place, with many many people, and that is essentially 50–50 Democrat-Republican. Looking at a red-blue map of the USA does no good because the east and west coast states are far more populous and important to the US economy than the sparsely populated red states in the Mid-West. What many trendy wankers who style themselves as "left" or "liberal" do not realise is that there are several distinct, powerful and large subsects in the very big country, the culture varies greatly. There are many (too!) Liberal counties and states to be sure. What is distorting is that the voting system in the USA is not fully understood by many of the people you are berating in your entry. Thus there is undue focus on the President, forgetting that the number of people who may not have voted for the man, whoever he may be, will be larger than the total electorate in the UK.
    Could say more, but I've got work to do.
    Basically we have enough racists, neo-liberals, neo-conservatives, and all-round idiots to contend with back home. The idea that the British are inherantly more intelligent or informed than Americans. That's prejudice, if it's said as a blanket statement. So you'd be right there.

    09 Jan 2006, 21:04

  18. Me and my housemate attempted to set up the North American Sports society last year, but were met by a lot of hostility from both students and the students union, so much so that I felt it worthy of a letter to the Boar:

    link

    Although maybe a little OTT, I think the letter gets over the point that a lot of students and a mjority of the SU are in fact anti-American and would not let us give them a chace to show them some of the great thing that have come out of the US.. like baseball… and cookies.

    10 Jan 2006, 11:22

  19. Charton Heston

    …since when were "cookies" a North American sport? You're just another one of those Brits who loves to poke fun at their obesity problem aren't you? You outrageous cad.

    10 Jan 2006, 13:41

  20. Charlton Heston

    Ignore him, he can't even spell my name right.

    10 Jan 2006, 13:42

  21. Dude… I thought the American Sports Society was still around.

    10 Jan 2006, 16:14

  22. Oh, it is – they'll never defeat us. However, I'm no longer part of it as I've finished uni.

    10 Jan 2006, 16:22

  23. Good entry. It's not just Americans of course – prejudice/discrimination against minorities is frowned upon, yet when the target is larger, people seem to think it's more acceptable.

    I think it may be a bit easier to take though if you are in a more dominating position globally (or culturally) – that doesn't make it acceptable if course. I've had racist remarks flung at me because I'm white but it has always seemed just funny. If I had not been surrounded by white people at the time I probably would have felt a lot more persecuted.

    10 Jan 2006, 17:41

  24. well what has criticisng obesity in the United States got to do with racism. In addition to argue that the United States is morally bankrupt is not racism either. It's just a critique of the eating habits of that particular country, one which may or maynot be correct.

    On a more obscure note how did your friend come to the conclusion that "To Kill a Mockingbird" is one of the great moral books?

    11 Jan 2006, 17:54

  25. James

    Because mockingbirds deserve to die.

    11 Jan 2006, 21:37

  26. Bah

    Two points.
    1) Kempton: Aren't we been overly PC. What happened to a little banter between countries.

    Some of your examples are of your experiences from Warwick- a bubble filled with angry guardian reading liberials, this place isn't reflective of the entire country.

    2) Carroll-Battaglino: Friends in the states say the place is rather insular (because it so big). But the coasts are liberal

    Sadly its the "sparsely populated" heartland (thats the red states) that holds the power (elections aren't based on no. of people).

    11 Jan 2006, 22:09

  27. Mohammed, I think that was my point!

    11 Jan 2006, 22:25

  28. I totally agree with Mohammad Malik's comment. Yet I am still going to say why the uk is better than the u.s. and why we can make statements like the one your friend made.

    Britain is as messed up as America yet my problem with America is that they use religion to run a country. Okay so British laws are based on xianity but we are a welcoming nation on a whole, some say too welcoming. We do not try to dictate to our people if they can marry a same sex partner, have an abortion, put into play the death penalty. Yes we have issues such as our involvement in the gun trade and repression of LEDCs but thats politics not religion. We attempt to help our own people by things like the NHS that may be poor but atleast it exists unlike the states. Its a tad harsh to say that they are morally bankrupt yet it is surprising that such a significant member of the global community is mentioned more in Amnesty International than us. Why? Because they are commiting acts against human liberties more frequently than us proportionally. Proportonally we also raised more money for the tsunami than them. And do you think we would have reacted against our own people in the same way they did during the aftermath of the hurricane? I'm not saying that we our saints by any stretch of the imagination. As a nation we have freer press than the states and this is why we can draw appropraite conclusions about what is right or wrong (we are also biast)

    11 Jan 2006, 22:31

  29. TW

    Let's be clear – to attack a person over Israeli policy towards the Palestinians (however good or bad those policies may be) simply because they perceive the person to be Jewish (whether or not they are Jewish) is racist. To attack a person over Israeli policy towards the Palestinians because they perceive the person to be Israeli is not actually racist, although it may not be right.

    The original blog implies it was because he was a Jew – not because he was an Israeli (don't know if he was Israeli or not). Therefore it is racist.
    It's no less racist than turning to a black person and attacking them because of Mugabe's actions

    12 Jan 2006, 08:55

  30. Yeah well i've accepted that the title of this blog is perhaps a bit misleading, but the point of it was that, from my experience, many of the liberal guardian reading middle class (of which I am a member) proudly stand up against discrimination on most fronts but seem perfectly happy to regard americans as a homeogeneous mass of overweight bush-voting environment-wrecking fundamentalist NRA members who's hobbies include shooting people and invading middle-eastern countries. To assert that all americans are immoral is just as bad as asserting that all members of a particular ethnic group are immoral, it is blanketly labelling people.

    Vincent you raise a good point in that the line between considering something anti-semitic or legitimate criticism of the state of israel is sometimes misplaced, but the example I gave was of people bullying a man in a queue and pushing in front of him because he was Jewish. Had they said "It's a fuckin disgrace what Israel is doing to the Palestinians" while directing their aggression solely towards the Israeli state it would have been a legitimate political point. They directed blame and anger towards the man solely because he was Jewish (I do not know what nationality he was but he was flying to London and spoke very good English). This is racism.

    Natasha, you correctly identify many problems I have with current laws in America, my point was that to identify every single American as a supporter of these laws is wrong. You assert that "we don't try to dictate to our people whether they can marry a same sex partner", and this statement pretty much sums up my point. Currently the laws in Britain allow civil partnership while the laws in America do not, but there are plenty of Britains who would passionately argue that civil parterships are evil and plenty of Americans who believe they are right. Just because an action is taken by a state, even if it is supported by the majority of citizens in that state, it does not mean we can label every individual from the state as supporting that action. This is technically not racism as it deals with place of citizenship rather than ethnic background, but morally it is no more acceptable than racism.

    12 Jan 2006, 10:40

  31. JW

    The original blog implies it was because he was a Jew – not because he was an Israeli (don't know if he was Israeli or not). Therefore it is racist.
    It's no less racist than turning to a black person and attacking them because of Mugabe's actions

    The original blog doesn't imply this. It says it. However, the action described by the blogger do not imply this. Here:

    I observed anti-semitism for the first time when on Jailbreak, a couple of people in the queue for tickets turned to a Jew and said to him “it’s a fuckin’ disgrace what you’re doing the Palestinians”

    Now it appears that the blogger knows he's Jewish or, if he doesn't know him is presuming he is Jewish through inference (ie an Israeli being criticised for mistreating Palestinians will most likely be Jewish). However, nothng from the statement implies that it was said because he was Jewish. In fact it seems to be deliberately constructed as to be a comment directed against an Israeli.

    The man did not say "You Jews are disgusting." In the case described a more appropriate analogy would be a man approaching someone who was quite clearly American ie, through accent – and I am guessing that this is how the man assumed the person was Israeli, because of spoken Hebrew and no, that in itself is not racist either because Modern Israeli Hebrew is rather different from the Hebrew taught in the Yeshiva. – and then saying "it's disgusting what you people are doing in Iraq".

    Now, reiterating what you said, the validity of what he said is not at question but whether or not it was a racist comment. The way the blogger describes it, it would appear that the man was not being racist, despite the blogger (if the blogger did not know the person) coming to the conclusion that the victim was Jewish and therefore must have been verbally attacked because he was Jewish.

    12 Jan 2006, 13:39

  32. They directed blame and anger towards the man solely because he was Jewish (I do not know what nationality he was but he was flying to London and spoke very good English). This is racism.

    What drives you to come to this assumption? Was there a distinguishing racial trait you picked up on? Was he performing a Mitzvah at the time? Was he wearing his Kipah? As I said previously, it is very hard to racially categorise someone who is Jewish (as opposed, say, to someone who has black skin). I am guessing you wouldn't be able to tell a sephardi apart from an Iraqi (through sight of course), or an Ashkenazi from a Pole (not to mention the Kaifeng Youtairen and the Khabashim).

    Now, my guess is that the man would have been speaking modern collequial Hebrew, in which case he would be easily identifiable as an Israeli (there aren't many non-Israeli modern Hebrew-speakers, except, ironically, the Palestinians).

    12 Jan 2006, 13:50

  33. Natasha, your post was quite off. You seedm to be talking about a particular administration.

    "Britain is as messed up as America yet my problem with America is that they use religion to run a country."

    Simply wrong.

    "Proportonally we also raised more money for the tsunami than them. And do you think we would have reacted against our own people in the same way they did during the aftermath of the hurricane?"

    The first point has nothing to do witht the discussion. On the second point, no, because poor black people are Labour's voters, and are not the Republicans' voters.

    TW:
    "Let's be clear – to attack a person over Israeli policy towards the Palestinians (however good or bad those policies may be) simply because they perceive the person to be Jewish (whether or not they are Jewish) is racist. The original blog implies it was because he was a Jew – not because he was an Israeli (don't know if he was Israeli or not). Therefore it is racist. It's no less racist than turning to a black person and attacking them because of Mugabe's actions"

    Look, I'm fucking sick of this. Judaism is a Religion. "Black" is the colour of someone's skin. This is viz your crazy Mugabe analogy. Get it right please. Plus, see my point about Isreal being THE Jewish State. Did no one read that or something?
    And as to your "let's be clear about this…" point, well, actually no, it's not clear at all why that is racist. (see part about Ireal being THE Jewish State.)
    Again?

    Kempton, as with "TW", see the part about Isreal being THE Jewish State. If you make yourself THE Jewish State, then people are going to talk about Isreal to Jews. Whereas, altough I am of a certain religion, people do not associate me with the Phillipines. If there were several distinct nation-states who were each majority Jewish and each had their own character and policies, or if Isreal was not created for the exact purpose of being THE Jewish State, we would find this less of a problem. Don't be blinded by simple terminology. It's exactly the same as turning to someone from Pakistan and saying, "hey, military dictatorship, what's up with that, man?", just that Pakistan is not the only Islamic country, so there is not that issue to contend with.

    12 Jan 2006, 21:35

  34. Dom

    I am sorry to just but in and not read or provide useful comments to the other messages, but (i dont have that time now)

    I wanted to quickly comment on the original post.
    I am a Canadian who went to Nottingham last year for University and despite having anti-american tendencies myself (certainly anti-american government administration) but I did notice it was rife.
    Particularly around the election, when everyone asked how americans could be so stupid or all assholes. But I think we really need to stop pretending that the 'american people' voted for bush.
    Because even if elections are not rigged we could only account for a considerable minority of people voting for bush. For one, voter turnout is usually something like 40% (its like that in canada). So even if Bush got 100% of the votes, he still would not have a majority. And of course the votes are split, so he had more like half of that, which in turn is less than a quarter of elidgeable voters. We could easily account for this in rich conservatives from business backgrounds and elite classes. There is no reason to think that 'the american people' voted for bush. Ok but I know that this is comparable to Canada and UK. And yes I dont believe we voted for Paul Martin and you Tony Blair. We can only attribute that to the interests of the dominant classes. Maybe we can judge them, or blame the media or whatever, but it is not a representative sample of the population. Of course i know many great Americans. And Brits for that matter.
    However I encountered a lot of racism and xenophobia in the UK. I dont believe it is everyone but certain people who control certain interests.

    So I dont see anything wrong with critizing the Americans or whoever who are doing bad things, but never make the mistake of generalizing that to the entire population.

    12 Jan 2006, 23:54

  35. Ok guys i think i'm gonna make this my last comment cause between addictions to alcohol, Civilization IV and mathematics I don't have that much free time at the moment. I believe there to be consensus about the point of the article, that it is hypocritical to stand up against many forms of discrimination and hatred while simultaneously labelling Americans as all the same.

    As for the example I included about anti-semitism, it was only meant to be put in as an example of something which is clearly abhorrent with which to compare the anti-americanism. I guess I should have known that mentioning something that can be linked to Israel Palestine was bound to cause a bit of controversy. I honestly don't know whether the man was Israeli or not, he spoke very good english and was flying to London. I had assumed that this anger was directed towards him because he was Jewish, I cannot remember whether he was wearing religious headgear (I had slept very little for the past 40 hours). Hamid I would have been surprised if the two Irish lads thought he was Israeli because of the form of Hebrew he may have spoken, I saw him speak only english and he was travelling alone in Prague. I thought the anger was directed towards him because he was jewish becuase i saw no evidence of him being Israeli, but I'm not sure we'll ever be 100% certain.

    Finally to comment on Vincent's last post, you write "Judaism is a religion, 'black' is the colour of someone's skin". I may be wrong on this but I remember hearing in a radio 4 (in a debate on the religious hatred bill)that the current racial hatred law covered the Jewish race. Secondly, you write "if you make Israel THE Jewish State then people are going to talk about Israel to Jews". My point is simple, the man in the queue at the airport did not make Israel the Jewish state. He did not build a wall between Israel and Palestine. He is not responsible for any attrocities that may have been committed by Israel. The fact that he is Jewish does not mean he's done any "fuckin disgraceful" things to the palestinians, and it does not legitimise someone making nasty comments to him or pushing in front of him.

    Anyway, that's all i'm going to comment on this entry, if its within my technical capabilities i'm going to find a button that stops anyone else commenting cause i don't think any new points are going to be made, but if i can't do this I'm just gonna ask everyone to stop commenting. Good debate guys but I've got other stuff to do and don't have time to monitor this topic anymore.

    13 Jan 2006, 11:58

  36. You're right with regards to racial hatred laws. Jews and Sikhs are designated races according to the law (at least from what I know).

    13 Jan 2006, 12:40

  37. I am fully aware that Jews consider themselves, and are considered by most, to be a race. My point was that it was that the situation described was in no way analogous to blaming a black person for Mugabe's actions, for the reasons stated. The point still stands, the analogy was a bad one.

    Basically Kempton, there will always be people who attack people of a certain nationality for their country's record/politics. That's unavoidable. In addition, everyone develops prejudices from their experiences. I don't particulalry thing this is bad thing. I know many people that are wary of Poland because of its record of anti-semitism in the war. This is not to say they are racist however. There's just no reason to suggest that. I can't think of many nations that I feel this way about, (Serbia, Isreal possibly). Yes, if I meet an Isreali, the first thing I ask them is going to be their politics. But my favourite player at the moment is Benayoun. I'm not racist, I'm just strongly anti-Zionist. With me its more about how people carry themselves than their nationality. If I meet a toff, you goddam right he's gonna have to do a little more than real people to make me think he's an ok guy. But the same goes for people acting like rudeboys. They must do something extra to prove themselves. I don't think this is wrong, because unlike most of this country, I havn't just read something in the tabloids and then formed an opinion.

    13 Jan 2006, 13:37

  38. i apologie for my previous post I was really fully of hate that day.

    13 Jan 2006, 20:51

  39. Hero

    Being anti what someone who is a jew does is NOT anti semitism, but many jews confuse the two.

    17 Jan 2006, 10:09

  40. Keith

    I'm sorry but I don't see anti-semitism as abhorrent in mild forms, just as I dont see criticising conservatives, hunt supporters, the working class, all men, all women, people who push in in queues and 'those people who…' of all sorts.

    The problem is that anti-anti-semites are psychotically driven to think that brushing past someone agressivelty is OK if the brusher is a jew and the brushee something else, but if the brusher is a non-jew and the brushee a jew then it should be classified as an act of anti-semitism.

    Thus understandable criticism is blocked out and disregarded by many jews using the excuse 'anti-semitism' as if this is a disorder.

    A good example of this type of thinking is when I worked for a boss who was unaware that I had more experience than he had in the environment he was being asked to construct. When I gave him advice, he dismissed it as being me 'being difficult' or 'challenging his authority' he failed in his task, and after six months of failure, was instructed to implement my suggestions. He had his excuse ready and therefore did not address a valid criticism or listen to valid advice.

    Often jewish leaders in Israel are criticised for their actions, and jews in america ally without question with Israel, against the 'anti-semetic' attack, when actually it is an anti-occupation/illegal aggression argument. They then act surprised when they are linked with the actions of israel!

    We would be foolish to say that if a person criticised blair who was a catholic that that person was 'just anti-protestant' and therefore discount any argument put forward, but that is what Jews thrive on.

    17 Jan 2006, 10:38

  41. Bert

    would it be wrong of me to say that when I have anti-american feelings it is because I can feel part of me turning American, but not a proper one, and I am jealous of proper ones.

    Also when people think of americans they think of rednecks, dumb blue collar types or Friends. I hate the first two, and am jealous of the third. Not a good way to feel, yet I quite like sonic youth and bikini kill.

    Go figure.

    17 Jan 2006, 10:42

  42. Keith's right, pretty much.

    17 Jan 2006, 12:53

  43. Dear 'Hero', 'Keith' and 'Bert'. May I firstly congratulate you on the fine selection of names you have chosen for yourself, and further this by expressing my awe at how you conceived such a genius plan as to reply to your own posts. Had I not a modicum of intelligence I would doubtlessly have failed to find suspicious the fact that three non logged in users reply agreeing with each other within an hour on a topic that has otherwise been dead for four days. To address your point head on 'Keith', when I see a foxhunter I know he likes foxhunting, when I see a conservative party member I know he probablly has sympathy with some parts of some of the conservative manifestoes of the last twenty years. When I see a Jew I cannot make such an assumption, because being a Jew does not lump you into a group with certain political opinions or hobbies, it merely tells you what race that person is.

    Vincent i'll address your comment in a bit but I have to go to Rev now.

    17 Jan 2006, 19:05

  44. Just to pick up on another two of your points 'Keith'.

    "Often jewish leaders in Israel are criticised for their actions, and jews in america ally without question with Israel, against the 'anti-semetic' attack, when actually it is an anti-occupation/illegal aggression argument."

    You assert that Jews in america ally without question with Israel. This is absolutely ridiculous. I'm sure there are some Israelis who's fervent nationalism prevents them questioning the actions of Israel, there are certainly some Brits who's over-hyped nationalism gene makes them not question the actions of Britain, but this quite blatantly aren't at all related to race.

    "They then act surprised when they are linked with the actions of israel!". The man who was racially abused that I saw at Prague airport should be judged solely on his actions and not on the actions of other Jews. You imply that he has brought this abuse on himself, yet you know nothing of his political or moral background. This is ridiculous

    17 Jan 2006, 19:12

  45. Dave Sparrow

    There's a very important political point to be made from the fact that poverty is very high in America though Thomas. If rampant free market capitalism of the American was so great for everyone in a society then the massive poverty gap in America wouldn't exist. It's basic evidence that allowing corporations to do whatever they like, to not provide basic health and welfare at an adequate level and to have very lax labour laws are bad things.

    Being anti-American with regards to the people who live there is obviously stupid, it's the structure of the society that's the problem and obviously the only people who can change things are the Americans themselves, which brings me to Bush. You say they elected Bush for a strong leader because they are hated around the world, but while that's a factor it's not all there is to it. The democrats are a massive problem here too, particularly with the bright idea of standing Kerry, who was frankly appaling.
    Now Bush has the lowest approval rating since Nixon, Americans are unhappy with him, particularly over Iraq, but also over many other things, so to view it in terms of the world hating america leading to Bush types in future, that's just beyond simplistic.

    19 Jan 2006, 14:53

  46. Dave correct first paragraph.

    19 Jan 2006, 22:26

  47. yet I quite like sonic youth and bikini kill.

    Awesome.

    Yeah, that's my contribution to the debate.

    20 Jan 2006, 02:03

  48. Jessica

    I don't understand why people seem to have problems separating Israel from Judaism. One is a state, the other is a religion. Not all Jews are Israeli. Not all Jews have necessarily even been to Israel. And certainly not all Jews agree with Israeli foreign policy. Yes, Israel is the Jewish state. I will never deny Israel's right to exist as such. Jews have suffered persecution all over the world. This is why you do not see a variety of nation states with a majority Jewish population. This is why the state of Israel is so important – it offers them a place where (supposedly) they can escape persecution.

    However, acceptance and support of Israel's right to exist does not go hand in hand with acceptance and support of its foreign policy. I willingly criticise Israel's foreign policy. This is not anti-semitism. I will not take away Israel's right to exist though (I suppose a little bit like 'I disagree with what you say but I defend to the death your right to say it'!). Criticising Israeli foreign policy is not anti-semitism. Equating Jews and Israel is. A Jewish person should never be attacked for the actions of a government of a nation-state. This is ridiculous and misguided. In case I haven't driven my point home enough: Jewish people and Israel are not one and the same. And Jewish people and Israeli foreign policy are even further removed! To imply anything to the contrary is offensive, racist and anti-semitic and I am fed up of it.

    Essentially, what I am – albeit not brilliantly clearly – expressing is that criticising a country's foreign policy, government, or political culture (be that country Israel, America or wherever) is not something that should be deemed 'racist' or 'xenophobic' in the first instance. It is necessary. It is what democracy thrives on. Israel is far from perfect. America likewise (one only need look to the massive poverty and inequality in the deep South made all too evident in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina). There is nothing wrong with expressing these opinions, but there is something deeply wrong with lumping all the citizens of that country together and personally attacking them. But you need to distinguish between these two: saying America is a morally bankrupt society is not saying that all Americans are morally bankrupt. The former is a criticism of a far-from-perfect political system and resulting society, the latter a xenophobic sweeping statement. The former encourages freedom of thought, expression and to critically analyse what is in front of you, the latter encourages racism and intolerance. Criticising the former is part of an overly paranoid PC trend. Criticising the latter is necessary to live in a society free from bigotry, xenophobia, racism, and anti-semitism.

    20 Jan 2006, 17:40

  49. "Yes, Israel is the Jewish state. I will never deny Israel's right to exist as such. Jews have suffered persecution all over the world. This is why you do not see a variety of nation states with a majority Jewish population. This is why the state of Israel is so important – it offers them a place where (supposedly) they can escape persecution."

    um, run that genius point by me agian please?

    "Criticising Israeli foreign policy is not anti-semitism. Equating Jews and Israel is."

    No, it's not, because it doesn't imply that you think that Jews should be trated poorly by virtue of their religion.

    "America likewise (one only need look to the massive poverty and inequality in the deep South made all too evident in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina)"

    No offence, but those of us who know more than what we see on Channel 4 News when something big happens, knew this already. I don't need a natural disaster to make apparent to me the actions of certain people.

    21 Jan 2006, 21:25

  50. "I don't understand why people seem to have problems separating Israel from Judaism."

    As I said, the connection was contructed for this purpose. Some people just aren't knowledgaeble to discern the difference when those in power imply there isn't one.

    Oh, and I typo-ed "again" in the last point.

    21 Jan 2006, 21:27

  51. Jews have suffered persecution all over the world. This is why you do not see a variety of nation states with a majority Jewish population.

    Persecution is a contributory factor… what might also contribute is the fact that Judaism is restrictive when it comes to breeding and conversion and leads to endogamy. In other words, Malaysia would not have been a predominantly Muslim country without Islam being open to any human. If Islam was restricted only to Arabs, or at least those within the Arabian peninsula, it is highly unlikely it would have spread beyond the Arabian peninsula.

    I don't understand why people seem to have problems separating Israel from Judaism.

    Precisely because many Jews/Israelis can't seem to separate the two. While the difference is there and quite plain, it becomes somewhat obfuscated beneath the "Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism|" and "If you don't support Israel, you must be Anti-Semitic" nonsense.

    However, acceptance and support of Israel's right to exist does not go hand in hand with acceptance and support of its foreign policy.

    Accepting that it exists is not the same as accepting the validity of its birth. Accepting the right of its birth, as opposed to accepting that it exists and will continue to exist isis more or less in keeping with accepting a large part of its "Foreign" policy, in that you support the displacement (read "ethnic cleansing") of the indigene in favour of a racially-defined group of people.

    Equating Jews and Israel is.

    But questioning the right for Israel to exist is also Anti-Semitic?

    And Jewish people and Israeli foreign policy are even further removed! To imply anything to the contrary is offensive, racist and anti-semitic and I am fed up of it.

    Israel is a theocracy, an ethnocracy – call it what you like. Jewish people are the only racial group allowed the unlimited right of immigration for a reason. Now, that is not to say that all Jews are Israelis etc. But when you have prominent Jews (Rabbi Sacks, Dershowitz etc.) combining Israel's fundamentally racist policies (and you cannot call them anything other than that, for a state which defines itself to the exclusion of other races) with international Jewry, it becomes less easy for the casual eye to distinguish between Jews and Israel. Therefore it becomes the responsibility not just for those who equate Jews and Israel to rid themselves of this belief, but also for Israel and it's Hasbarah agencies to explain that Jews =/ Israel.

    Criticising the former is part of an overly paranoid PC trend. Criticising the latter is necessary to live in a society free from bigotry, xenophobia, racism, and anti-semitism.

    Well herein lies the flaw in your logic. America does not identify itself as "XRace State". Therefore, to be anti-American in the irrational sense is not to be racist, though certainly intolerant. However, when one defines Israel not as a State but as the Jewish State (as you have done), the same form of intolerance towards Israel is extended (because an attack on the Jewish state is self-characterised as an attack on all Jews) to all Jews.

    Alright. Not a great situation. But you condemn both types of intolerances. So fair enough. However the real kernel comes when you try to question the legitimacy of Israel's founding. It is then supposed that because you are question the "rights" of the "Jewish State" that you must be questioning the rights of Jews to a State which is then labelled as Anti-Semitism, but which is, in essence, the same as questioning whether or not white Europeans were justified in sailing to America and giving natives smallpox-infested blankets as a form of proto-biological warfare. You yourself seem to intimate that questioning such is Anti-Semitic. Surely then, in requiring that Israel be the Jewish state and not questioned for being absolutely the Jewish state, you yourself are being racist?

    22 Jan 2006, 07:15

  52. " Precisely because many Jews/Israelis can't seem to separate the two. While the difference is there and quite plain, it becomes somewhat obfuscated beneath the "Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism|" and "If you don't support Israel, you must be Anti-Semitic" nonsense. "

    Thank you Hamid. I feel like we've made this quite obvious point several times and it's just not getting through.

    22 Jan 2006, 18:55

  53. Right, this will be the last comment on this post, further comments will be deleted, I don't have time to respond to stuff anymore.

    I think the argument we're now having is basically, Is it fair to direct anger about Israeli foreign policy towards Jewish people, and on seeing a Jewish person about whom you know nothing is it fair to criticise them and direct anger towards them personally because of the actions of Israel.

    To my mind the question of the legitimacy of the state of Israel is irrelevant to this, as are distinctions people have made about the technical meaning of anti-semitism. I do not deny that there are probably Jews who blame their failures on anti-semitism, just as there are white middle class straight males who blame their failures on political correctness gone mad, but this again is irrelevant to the argument.

    Finally people have made the argument that since Israel defines itself as the Jewish nation then Jews are responsible for the actions of Israel. This argument simply does not work, if the BNP define themselves as the party of white british people that does not make me responsible for their idiocy, and however Israel chooses to define itself it does not make the man in the queue at the airport responsible for Israels actions. Whatever your views on Israeli foreign policy, to take them out on ordinary Jewish people about whom you know nothing is racism.

    27 Jan 2006, 23:22

  54. Mark Rosenkranz

    The book "White Male Privilege" could really help people fight against the evils of racism. Amazon.co.uk has a synopsis.

    09 Jun 2006, 07:54


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