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To think being anti Israel isn't the same as being anti semetic

(178 Posts)
JazzAnnNonMouse Sun 27-Jul-14 10:10:13

Just like being anti extremist terrorist isn't the same as being anti Muslims.

FairPhyllis Tue 29-Jul-14 14:42:30

Just jumping in here to answer some things I was asked directly:

Fraidy You are conflating nationalism and nation states. The former is a political movement which asserts a nation state identity. I was very careful to make the distinction in what I said. The fact that there isn't an Uighur state (yet) doesn't mean that there isn't an Uighur nationalism and that Uighurs don't have the moral right to political self-determination up to and including possibly forming their own state one day. Whether such a thing is politically achievable given the politics of China and its military power is another matter. But do I think they have the moral right to try and achieve it? Yes.

I mean I assume we all generally support the right to political self-determination. Otherwise there wouldn't be a Scottish independence referendum happening this September, would there? So why shouldn't Jews in the ME also be able to assert their nationhood if they want to? And the Palestinians as well, as I said above.

BerryBerryXmas Judaism isn't directly comparable to say Catholicism because it is both a religion and (for the most part) an ethnicity with a well-documented historical homeland. That is why it has a nationalist component to it which other religions don't tend to have. Jewish people are overwhelmingly Jewish by descent from a historical Middle Eastern population. Even a non-observant Jew might still call themselves Jewish ethnically. Conversions to Judaism are relatively rare and for the most part discouraged.

runes Sinn Fein got more or less an effectively permanent slice of power under the power-sharing set-up. And they got other things that were important to them like prisoner release and effective immunity from prosecution for some paramilitaries. None of which I see as being directly to do with civic equality for Catholics - this is not to dismiss the fact that there was real and serious systemic inequality for Catholics in NI which should never have been the case and which was caused by and promoted by the state. But what I'm saying is that NI and Israel-Palestine are comparable in the sense that both sides had to swallow things they didn't like in order to get something. Sinn Fein and the PIRA had to realise in the end that the British state couldn't be driven out of NI by violence and that a united Ireland was not on the cards anytime soon. The British government realised that it had to deal with people it thought were committing unjustifiable acts, and give them a political place. Similarly in the ME, Israel will have to recognise a Palestinian state and not obstruct its development and prosperity. The Palestinians will have to recognise Israel and not allow themselves to be drawn into regional hostility with Israel.

It is made harder though by the fact that almost all the countries in the ME do not want to see Israel survive. They have no interest in supporting Israel and the Palestinians to broker a peace settlement, even though it would be better for Palestinian Arabs from a humanitarian perspective, because they would no longer have a rallying cause against Israel.

Vingtdeux22 Tue 29-Jul-14 14:32:05

There is a significant difference between being anti-Israel and being antisemitic. There is a significant difference again between being opposed to the policies of the Netanyahu government and being anti-Israel.

It is interesting that a significant number of Christian Arabs from Lebanon have chosen to make Israel their permanent home [I am sure that this will result in reference to the Sabra and Chatila massacres but many of those now resident in Israel were not even born in 1982.].

Anyone who says that Israel has no right to exist as a state is not, de facto, an antisemite, but it is probably only a short walk.

Any Israeli has the democratic right to criticise the policies of the current Israeli government. Sadly, many other residents of the Middle East do not have the same right of democratic criticism.

GarethCanFOff Tue 29-Jul-14 14:15:42

Thanks for posting a link to the Miko Peled talk, I'm going to watch it later.

This is a very good documentary

The Zionist Story

Interestingly the Zionist originally looked to various areas across the globe as potential Jewish Homeland areas, including Uganda and parts of the US. Palestine as a potential homeland was not an automatic given, even if it looks that way to us now. The religious Zionists wanted it in Palestine (and this offered useful symbolism to the movement).

Mumblepot26 Tue 29-Jul-14 13:15:21


PigletJohn Tue 29-Jul-14 13:09:16

The Palestinians?

FraidyCat Tue 29-Jul-14 12:54:06

I'm sure there are several hundred other groups that could be mentioned.

FraidyCat Tue 29-Jul-14 12:52:32

So the problem with saying that Israel doesn't have a right to exist, as I see it, is that you're saying that Jews uniquely among all ethnic groups of the world don't have the right to a nationalism.

I'm replying immediately after reading this, without reading the rest of the thread, so hope I'm not duplicating what someone else has already said.

Surely this is completely untrue? There must be countless groups of various sizes who don't have a nation state, and little prospect of getting one?

Where is the Uighur state? The Kurdish state? The completely independent and self-governing Sioux state? The Zulu state? The San state? What state do the aboriginal (as opposed to Malay or Chinese) people of Malaysia have? Or for that matter those of Australia or New Zealand.

PigletJohn Tue 29-Jul-14 12:24:56

"Israel is essentially a modern colonial state "

I agree, but although Israel has colonised most of Palestine, I don't believe that like most other colonial states, it will ever leave.

dreamingbohemian Tue 29-Jul-14 12:07:09

You said:

In terms of historical comparison, I suppose we have to look at when Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany agreed to be buddies and invade and occupy Poland.

I have now given many reasons why I think this is a bad comparison.

Yes, I agree with some things you have said but I disagree with your overall point.

I did not say 'others do it' is an excuse for what Israel is doing. I said these tactics should not be the only basis for making comparisons, because they are so widespread.

But we can leave it there as no doubt this is boring for everyone. We're not going to agree basically.

PigletJohn Tue 29-Jul-14 11:07:21

"I don't disagree that Israel has done these terrible things"

then we are agreed, on what I actually said in my post.

We might or might not agree on some other things that I did not say.

The fact that other nations also do terrible things is a different issue.

"Other people do it too" is never an excuse.

dreamingbohemian Tue 29-Jul-14 11:02:28

I said earlier why I thought the comparison was problematic: scale, aims and context.

The current conflict is horrific, no doubt, but the number of civilians who have died in the past 15 years of conflict is still less than the Nazis/Soviets might kill in a single day. These are two tiny states fighting, you can fit Gaza practically within the M25. It's not really comparable to the destruction caused by two of the biggest powers in the world.

Aims -- both the Nazis and Soviets wanted not just territory but to eliminate whole classes of people. The Nazis had elaborate categories to divide up populations into kill immediately, work to death, exploit economically, etc. By 1939 the Soviets had already murdered millions of people based on class and occupation (the Ukrainian kulaks, Red Army officers, etc.)

I don't dispute that extremists in Israel do want to eliminate the Palestinians and obviously the Israeli state is not showing any consideration for civilian deaths. But I don't think it's in the same league as the genocides conducted in WW2, Rwanda, Armenia, China, etc.

Finally the context -- as i said earlier, I really don't know why people want to compare Israeli behaviour to WW2 when it clearly resembles much more the colonial wars of old.

Even going by your bolded comments above -- is that not a good description of British colonial occupation? Why is that comparison not made more often?

I don't disagree that Israel has done these terrible things, but to be frank, these are all very common occurrences in modern warfare. The US and UK did many of the same things in Iraq. Russia did much worse in Chechnya. So we can compare everyone to the Nazis if you like, but I think it's more useful to be more specific. Israel is essentially a modern colonial state and comparing it to previous colonial wars I think gives a clearer picture of their scope and aims.

PigletJohn Mon 28-Jul-14 17:11:14


I can see it is not something you like, but looking at the characteristics I actually mentioned in my post, are there any which you think Israel has not done?

For your ease of reference:

They both brutalised and deported the existing population, seizing their homes and other possessions and moving in their own people as "settlers." There was of course a great deal of oppression on racial and ethnic grounds, and the territory was ethnically cleansed.

This was prior to the building of extermination camps, so any killings would have been on an ad hoc basis, and might have averaged less than the few hundred a day which Israel is committing in Gaza. The people who had lost their homes and lands had to be concentrated into enclosures under the control of the invaders.

Even the names of towns and villages were changed from their historic names to names suiting the invading occupier. Monuments by the previous inhabitants were destroyed so that history could be rewritten.

Have I mentioned yet anything that has not happened in Israel's seizure of Arab lands?

I would be really pleased if you can point out something that prevents them being comparable.

PigletJohn Mon 28-Jul-14 17:08:08


I posted a cumulative figure in error, hence my almost immediate retraction, which you presumably saw before criticising me..

I don't know if it's right for Israel to be the biggest recipient of US aid, as there are other countries suffering actual poverty and deprivation who might need it more, but it's not my call, or yours.

Backinthering Mon 28-Jul-14 17:06:32

Yes I suspect that the UK/Europe has been deeply uncomfortable for many Muslims since 9/11.
I think right-wing extremism has increased in general over the last few years, be it towards Jewish or Muslim people or anyone with an obvious ethnic minority background. It would be so good if we could all stand together on this.

Backinthering Mon 28-Jul-14 17:05:54

Yes I suspect that the UK/Europe has been deeply uncomfortable for many Muslims since 9/11.
I think right-wing extremism has increased in general over the last few years, be it towards Jewish or Muslim people or anyone with an obvious ethnic minority background. It would be so good if we could all stand together on this.

Bambambini Mon 28-Jul-14 16:46:14

I had no idea that Jews were feeling worried and threatened in this way and anti semitism was rising like this. Not good. But then I've wondered how Muslims feel in the UK since 9/11. If they feel watched or mistrusted , apprehensive etc.

edamsavestheday Mon 28-Jul-14 15:31:21

Sadly the extreme right is on the march in Israel too. People who have tried to protest against the treatment of Palestinian civilians have been threatened and attacked and even advised to leave the country.

dreamingbohemian Mon 28-Jul-14 15:19:57

carol -- sorry to be unclear, I meant that if you were looking for a historical analogy to compare Israeli actions, I think it's better to look to smaller conflicts from the colonial era than WW2.

Just to be pedantic though, German concentration camps were primarily meant to detain people, use them for labour, etc., it was the extermination camps that were designed for mass and immediate killing.

SamG76 Mon 28-Jul-14 15:15:12

PJ - $30bn ????? - that's just fantasy, and it's the willingness of people to believe any c**p about the ME that makes others think that there is something more sinister at work. At least the Americans get something for their investment - most of it is spent in the US on US equipment, and the Israelis are allies, who give them decent intelligence. Compared to the amounts the US have wasted in Afghanistan, and sums they spend giving aid to al-Sisi in Egypt, it's probably money well spent.

caroldecker Mon 28-Jul-14 15:13:08

There is a significant difference between Boer war internment camps, which were designed to hold people and the German concentration camps, designed to kill people.

dreamingbohemian Mon 28-Jul-14 14:42:20

Sorry I don't understand

Germany and the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Poland in 1939 -- this was the start of WW2. If you're comparing Israel to what they did in Poland then yes, you are comparing it to WW2.

The extermination camps and ghetto liquidations did occur after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, but prior to that Poland was still subject to mass killings of a highly organised nature. The Soviets killed more than 20,000 Polish officers and intelligentsia in the Katyn massacres, the Germans killed thousands of Jews and Poles in mass actions and organised millions of Jews into ghettos. This was not just a few hundred ad hoc killings a day.

The scale, the aims and the overall context make it difficult to compare with Israel today.

A better comparison would be what the Brits did in the Boer war -- which incidentally is where the modern concentration camp first emerged. Not a lot of people know that, I find.

PigletJohn Mon 28-Jul-14 13:25:11

that's why I particularly mentioned when Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany agreed to be buddies and invade and occupy Poland.

It occurred prior to (but was trigger of) the start of World War 2.

Ware was not declared by Germany or by Russia.

Extermination camps had not yet occurred.

Hence it is a good example on occupation, oppression, land seizure, and ethnic cleansing.

I have specifically not said Israel's oppression of Arabs is like WW2.

Turning back to what I actually did say are there any points which do not match Israel's actions?

brokenhearted55a Mon 28-Jul-14 13:20:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dreamingbohemian Mon 28-Jul-14 13:15:29

Actually, not to do any derailing, but that is not exactly how the killing process worked in Eastern Europe. The extermination camps were simply the apogee of organised killing -- this does not mean the other killings were ad hoc or random or small scale. In 1941, for example, the decision was taken to eliminate all the Jews of Kiev, and more than 30,000 men, women and children were marched to a nearby ravine and shot over the course of two days. The aims were different as well -- the Nazis wanted to eliminate 'sub-human' elements and settle the land with Germans, the Soviets wanted political control over lands they considered part of the Russian sphere. And then there is the scale, with about 15 million people killed in Eastern Europe.

I think some comparisons can be made, but they should be done very carefully. You can't say that Eastern Europe in WW2 was essentially just what Israel is doing now + extermination camps. There are really important differences as well.

ThisOneAndThatOne Mon 28-Jul-14 13:15:28

Ronald, do you also believe that it is the duty of British Muslim to speak out against atrocities happening in each of the 22 predominately Muslim countries. Or is that jut something expected by British Jews?

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