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The Isreal / Anti-semitism debate

(104 Posts)
Blu Thu 03-Feb-05 11:35:03

MN is a wonderful place where interesting discussions evolve - but personally I feel v uncomfortable discussing present day politics in Isreal /Palestine on a thread about the holocaust.

<<sticks neck out - and that's a ref to my comments on the other 'is something racist...' thread>>
I do not agree with Ariel Sharon's gvt and the settlements in Gaza etc. But I have no wish to harbour any anti-semitic feelings or views. My objections to what is going on are to a gvt and to people who support it only insofar as their approach to this one issue. Not because they may be jewish, and not, presumably, about other aspects of their beliefs or individual human characteristics.

Is it possible to be not in support of Ariel Sharon's gvt, and not be anti-semitic?

crunchie Thu 03-Feb-05 11:39:13

YES That is what I think too. Surely I can't be anti-semitic as I am jewish, but I don't support some of his policies. I read an intersting debate in teh Guardian (don't we all) aboutthis. It basically said that you can agree in principle to a state of Israel (which I do) but you can also disagree with the modern running of this. Personally pre-1967 I agree with it, however there was a war in 1967 which saw Israel invade some of it neighbours (forgive wooly facts) and personally since then I disagree with what they have done since.

I find it easy to separate the political party and the religion (although others may not be able to do so)

Blu Thu 03-Feb-05 11:56:46

Hi Crunchie,
I do think, though, that the way we discuss it is made more complex by what still exists as a current of anti-semitism in society.
I wouldn't want to unwittingly fuel anti-semitism by the way I spoke about my views on Isreal.

wordsmith Thu 03-Feb-05 12:20:01

But surely the only way to address an issue is to discuss it openly withut fear of being called preudiced in any way? IMO avoiding issues because you fear causing offence just makes them even more liable to be 'ghetto-ised' (and PLEASE excuse the term, I am aware of its implications but I really cannot think of another way of putting it) and more prone to extremist argument?

Agree totally with Blu's comments at the start of the thread, BTW

wordsmith Thu 03-Feb-05 12:20:35

...or even preJudiced, of course!

piffle Thu 03-Feb-05 12:20:45

yes!
I detest the Israel Palestine conflict, I yet have several Jewish friends, many of whom support Israels tough stance and some who actively campaign against it.
It has nothing to do with Jewishness, I feel/felt the same way about Northern Ireland, the old Sth Africa, Zimbabwe many many places where dispossession and disenfranchising is the root of many conflicts.
I have moments of great great hatred toward Sharon and the occupation, it in no way means that I agree with suicide bmobings or rocket launchings on EITHER side, but I do sincerely believe that it is an unfair conflict, and I also believe it is the root many an arab conflict, Osama Bin Laden is always mentioning it, if George Bush (I know not likely but we can hope) or Tony Blair can get envoys in and get this peace process moving, either could go down in history. But I do not see it while Sharon is in power.
Forgive my over simplification and generalisations but this could not be dealt with in one posting with a daughter eating my knee whilst I type...

wordsmith Thu 03-Feb-05 12:29:54

Am impressed that you can do capitals with a child on your knee!

Caligula Thu 03-Feb-05 13:18:10

Yes, Blu, of course it is.

What is so dispiriting is that hardline people in Sharon's government have no conscience about hurling the "anti-Semite" insult around whenever anyone dares to question their methods. In the short-term, this may be effective in shutting people up because they don't want to be tarred with that particular brush, but long term I think it does real damage to Israel itself and to Jews outside of Israel. If you call the slightest criticism anti-Semitic, how are you going to recognise, real, dangerous anti-Semitism? (Of which there is sadly, still no shortage.) Crying wolf is always a really bad idea.

amunette Thu 03-Feb-05 13:34:05

I think you can be against Israel's current policies and remain not anti-semitic. But many Jewish people I ahve debated with do not. To be against Israel means you are an anti-semite, whether you acnowledge it or not!!

I think Judaism, like any other religion, has its extrmeist side, many who seem to be American Jews, ironically, as they do not actually have to live through the conflict.

When we lived in Israel it was terrible to see how the Pals lived. Many Israelis suported them, but we came across many who treated them as lesser than dogs(their words).

The US Jews I have talked with feel that the Palestianians are not a real people, therefore do not warrant a country. They feel that the Arabs have enough land in the area to home the Pals, so why should Israel allow them part of its small piece of territory.


(PS, I am using my id from elsewhere now, as those who know Gwen will have worked out it was me as Ocean!! I wanted to use a new name here as I did not want to be pre-judged, but prefer Amunette really as I use it most places)

Gwenick Thu 03-Feb-05 13:37:08

ooops - sorry Amunette - didn't mean to 'give' you away

amunette Thu 03-Feb-05 13:41:02

Hi Gwen, it wasn't really a secret!! I just wanted to post without prejudice for a while, but I really do prefer to be me LOL

Gwenick Thu 03-Feb-05 13:42:19

phew - thought you and I were about to have one of our infamous 'falling outs' here on MN! I guess some people have already 'labelled' you and I bet other (BW users) are now running a mile

Heathcliffscathy Thu 03-Feb-05 13:51:31

Sharon's policies are indefensible imo. Israel has flouted more UN resolutions then you can shake a stick at (same kind of resolutions that lead to the invasion of iraq). The attitude of many (note not all) Israelis towards the Palestinians beggars belief, and is all the more sad as the kind of racial prejudice behind it is identical to the anti-semitism that lead to the holocaust. I find it so sad that the descendants of the victims of the holocaust could ride roughshod over the human rights of their neighbours in the way that israel has over recent years. But the policy of the Israeli govt, and the attitude of many Israelis is not nor ever could be representative of Jews either as a political or religious group. There are many many Jews (both Israeli and non-Israeli) that abhor what is happening.

I don't see how anyone can reasonably argue that to be against the policies of the Israeli govt vis the Palestinians is anti-semitic to be honest.

amunette Thu 03-Feb-05 14:04:42

Agree Sopahable. But unfortunately, the powerful people who tout the claim anti-Israel means anti-Semite are those in positions of power in the US government.

People on the US street follow suit, and it soon pervades society.

Twiglett Thu 03-Feb-05 14:06:50

I do not agree with Ariel Sharon's gvt and the settlements in Gaza either (and I am in no way anti-semitic)

Yes it is totally possible not to be in support of Ariel Sharon's government and not be anti-semitic, as is attested by a numerous amount of Israeli protestors to the current situation

aloha Thu 03-Feb-05 14:21:17

But it is possible to be sad about the direction of political leaders, but still believe that jews are entitled to a homeland - and Israel is just about the only state on earth where Jews haven't been discriminated against and murdered by their leaders and fellow countrymen. I feel very much for ordinary Palestinians but also note that they (or their leaders) believe that Israel should not exist at all, which rather makes the current conflict insoluble, surely?

Twiglett Thu 03-Feb-05 14:25:56

I think it behoves the Israeli state to take a different approach .. I think the current 'eye for an eye' policy, although with its roots in the old testament, needs reassessing

If with every atrocitiy committed by Palestinian terrorists is met with an atrocity committed by the Israeli state then all we have is an escalation of warfare / terrorism

If the Israelis can find a way to break the cycle of retaliation then hopefully over time there will more and more moderates and more support for moderates and more chance of a lasting peace

Israelis deserve a homeland, so do the Palestinians (I do think they should be given a large tract of land in Jordan too .. British Mandate has a lot to answer for)

open Thu 03-Feb-05 14:30:52

Can someone answer this - was Israel founded on land once thought of as 'Palestinian' or not?

Caligula Thu 03-Feb-05 14:40:17

It certainly was by the people who lived there!

But no, there has not in recent history been a state called Palestine. It was under British rule (ah, the empire again) before the establishment of the State of Israel.

donnie Thu 03-Feb-05 14:41:09

the trouble is the Palestinians have in effect been thrown off their land and forced to live as refugees in appaling squalor and poverty. The ghettoes of the Gaza Strip are classified as some of the most densely/over populated pieces of land on earth. So what about their right to a viable state? Israel continues its practice of annexing Palestinian land under the pretext of claiming it is a defence strategy with virtual impunity.It is nothing more or less than theft. The US and Britain do nothing to stop continuous persecution of Palestinians who have their homes rocket -attacked and bulldozed in dead of night, suffer humiliations every day at checkpoints and countless other human rights abuses. Israel has broken more UN resolutions than any other country (check the Amnesty website for more details). The 6 day was was started by Israel by a 'pre-emptive' strike against Egypt and they have NEVER returned lands taken from Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, let alone the Palestinians.I couldn't care less if the Israelis were Jews, Moslems, Christians or Buddhists, they are still little more that terrorists IMO.Sorry to get het up but some this is one of the world issues I feel very passionate about!

donnie Thu 03-Feb-05 14:42:50

that should read ' 6 day war'.

Twiglett Thu 03-Feb-05 14:43:59

Open .. it is, as you suspect, extremely complicated

Technically 'Palestinians' were only created as a result of the British Mandate following WWI. Palestine was a huge area covering a range of different Arab territories.

Britain actually sectioned off a large part of Palestine and created Jordan ( a country which had not existed before, hence no such thing as Jordanians). They gave areas to Syria and the Bedouins too. Only 6% of the original territory was actually used to create the State of Israel (and that was not till well after WWII .. I think 48)

donnie Thu 03-Feb-05 14:46:07

and let us not forget the background of Menachim Begin, Ariel Sharon and other Israeli Prime Ministers - the former a military leader who invaded Beirut, the latter a member of the Stern Gang which blew up hotels, among other things, killing people. And these people have/had the nerve and hypocrisy to label Arafat a ' terrorist'....

donnie Thu 03-Feb-05 14:56:52

BTW there is a series of longer reports on the Palestinian question on Radio 4 at the moment. Early mornigs on wed I think, repeated some time but can't remember when. Very interesting.

Twiglett Thu 03-Feb-05 15:28:35

\link{http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4233003.stm\bbc report, perhaps there is yet hope)

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