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Apr 29 2014

What happens when you accuse racists of being racist?

You get mail. Nicely written, printed letters in the mail. And they confirm everything I said.

So a lot of Fox News viewers have been writing to me lately, expressing their outrage that I would dare to suggest that racist newspapers out to be thrown off campus. And a great many of them have another odd, common thread, something that wasn’t in the Fox News report, but apparently all these rabid tea-baggers have inferred it, and they’re pretty darned insistent that it must be true.

I must be Jewish.

Take it away, Bob in Boca:

bobinboca

“Myers” is not a Jewish name. I wouldn’t be at all put out if I’d had some Jewish ancestry, but I’m afraid that my father’s ancestry has been traced back to the 16th century (mostly Scots/Irish/English ne’er-do-wells living marginal lives along the western American frontier), and my mother’s back to the 14th (Scandinavian peasants who never wandered far from their village), and I’m afraid there’s no evidence of any Jewish family. I’ve never hinted that I might be Jewish. People who know me have never made the assumption that I might be a cultural Jew.

The only people who call me Jewish are right-wingers who write to me to chew me out for some great liberal evil I’ve committed, and a surprising number of them do so. They never speculate that I’m Lithuanian, or tell me that my name sounds suspiciously Belgian, or sneer at my obvious Sinhalese bias — it’s always this bizarre insinuation that I’m a wicked anti-American liberal, therefore…Jew.

It says a lot about them. Not much about me. Why are so many teabaggers implicitly anti-semitic?

134 comments

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  1. 1
    hexidecima

    it is rather fascinating that racists twits will still show their colors even when complaining about being called racists twits. “Why are so many teabaggers implicitly anti-semitic?” Hmmm, because they are a particularly vile subspecies of Christian?

    I do wonder how Bob would make Faux Noise more conservative. Hmmm, having no one else but people who agree with Bob? Ah, I do love wannabee dictators.

  2. 2
    jrfdeux, mode d'emploi

    I’ve never been able to figure it out: does Hate lead to Stupidity, or does Stupidity lead to Hate?

  3. 3
    Bart B. Van Bockstaele

    A semi-literate teabagger. Quite refreshing.

    My guess is that teabaggers are too elevated to even know where Belgium is ([laff]hint: it is not the capital of Brussels.[/laff]) or whether it exists at all.

  4. 4
    blf

    Why are so many teabaggers implicitly anti-semitic?

    Because yer obviously not guilty of being black, brown, or having tentacles.

  5. 5
    anteprepro

    Why are so many teabaggers implicitly anti-semitic?

    Because they are soooooo pro-Israel that they are practically honorary Jews themselves, so an anti-semitic remark or assumption now and then is perfectly acceptable!

  6. 6
    azhael

    @4 blf

    Because yer obviously not guilty of being black, brown, or having tentacles.

    You misspelled tits.

  7. 7
    Celtic_Evolution

    I always wonder in this day and age why one would receive such a letter in the actual mail as opposed to an email, which would be quicker, and the address simpler to come by.

    And honestly I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s intentional, and is meant as a subtle attempt at intimidation… “Yes, I know where you live / work and could track you down if I wanted to”.

  8. 8
    Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    Fox is… too liberal? The mind boggles.

  9. 9
    Marcus Ranum

    His problem with Fox is they are too liberal.
    I think we both see his problem rather clearly.

  10. 10
    Christopher

    I always wonder in this day and age why one would receive such a letter in the actual mail as opposed to an email, which would be quicker, and the address simpler to come by.

    And honestly I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s intentional, and is meant as a subtle attempt at intimidation… “Yes, I know where you live / work and could track you down if I wanted to”.

    Bob is a fox news viewer in Flordia, he is probably in his eighties, still distrusts computers, and thinks they are a passing fad.

  11. 11
    chimera

    It struck me reading that that there’s a lot of difference between saying “you’re a Jew” and “you’re Jewish”.

  12. 12
    Celtic_Evolution

    Christopher #10

    Mmm… maybe, but given he’s responding to something written on a PZ’s blog, I’m not sure I buy that totally. I would be willing to wager that PZ gets far more hate snail mail than fan snail mail at this point in time. I could absolutely be wrong.

  13. 13
    Kevin Kehres

    Bob in Boca…what kind of a name is that? Sounds Muslim to me. Like Osama bin Laden.

  14. 14
    mikeyb

    Yeah, Fox too liberal, that stands out too. They need a greater infusion of cash from the Koch bros.

    This is flabbergasting – why would you assume you know someone’s race when you launch an attack, and why would it matter anyway.

    Speaking of racism – the LA Clippers owner has apparently been banned for life for his racist tirade. Any bets as to when the first right winger will (a) claim his freedom of speech has been denied or (b) compare him to Obama.

  15. 15
    Christopher

    Mmm… maybe, but given he’s responding to something written on a PZ’s blog

    No, he is responding to something he saw on TV that reported (badly) about something PZ wrote on his blog. Poor old Bob is probably many degrees removed from actually reading anything PZ ever wrote.

  16. 16
    scienceavenger

    The “you believe this therefore you must be that” argumentative style is ubiquitous on GOP websites. Apparently the only way to validate their worldview is to just demand that reality conform. In my years commenting at Townhall I’ve been falsely accused of being gay, communist, a tree hugger, old, young, American-hating, amoral..you get the drift. Ad hominem attacks are mostly all they’ve got, and if you don’t have a trait they can use, they’ll simply make one up.

  17. 17
    Celtic_Evolution

    Speaking of racism – the LA Clippers owner has apparently been banned for life for his racist tirade. Any bets as to when the first right winger will (a) claim his freedom of speech has been denied or (b) compare him to Obama.

    Oh, the conservative crazies are already all over this one on FB and message boards… the most common complaint being “that’s ridiculous… if we all had our worst 10 minutes recorded 99% of us would be in serious trouble”!

    It’s always amusing to me how often racists assume everyone else is secretly a racist.

  18. 18
    robertfoster

    Is this what is referred to as cognitive dissonance? Righties are always on the side of Israel, no matter what, but they are often the first ones to yell Jew! at someone they dislike. (Light bulb flash!) I think I just answered Boca Bob’s friend’s question about why more Jews are NOT Republican.

  19. 19
    Doug Little

    It would have been better if it had of been typed on an actual type writer.

  20. 20
    David Marjanović

    Confusion with Golda Meir?

    This is flabbergasting – why would you assume you know someone’s race when you launch an attack, and why would it matter anyway.

    The argument this one tried to make was “it’s particularly stupid of you, given your self-interest, to not be conservative“.

  21. 21
    Christopher

    Is this what is referred to as cognitive dissonance? Righties are always on the side of Israel, no matter what, but they are often the first ones to yell Jew! at someone they dislike. (Light bulb flash!) I think I just answered Boca Bob’s friend’s question about why more Jews are NOT Republican.

    They only love Israel because:

    1. They hate muslims more than jews.

    2. Israel has to exist (and all of its people perish) before Jesus comes down from the big house and gives us our prize.

  22. 22
    anthrosciguy

    When the Beatles played Montreal, Ringo tilted his cymbals up to provide a bit of cover due to death threats he gotten because he was Jewish. Of course he wasn’t Jewish. Racists and anti-Semites are both pretty stupid, but combine the two as it so often happens and you’ve got some super stupid.

  23. 23
    jblumenfeld

    If this is implicit anti-semitism, I’d hate to see the explicit kind.

  24. 24
    doublereed

    implicit???

  25. 25
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Still find it funny in the most pathetic way how members of the slyme were linking each other to that Todd Starnes article.

    I am sure they care not about the type of people who take him seriously.

  26. 26
    nich

    Where’s that ganymede fella to shout you down for misapplication of the term anti-semite?

  27. 27
    nich

    “IS IT POSSIBLE TO THINK OF AN NON-ANTISEMITIC REASON THAT SOMEBODY MIGHT HATE JOOS!?!?! THOUGHT EXPERIMENT…”

    [I hit some strange combo of keys that caused my previous comment to submit before adding the above.]

  28. 28
    Area Man

    I got this from a Jewish called on a talk show who couldn’t understand why more Jews are NOT Republicans.

    Yeah, it’s a total mystery when your side has a habit of calling people Jews as a way of insulting them.

  29. 29
    nich

    I think PZ’s not-roversy has collided with the John Kerry apartheid flap to form a wingnut supercell.

  30. 30
    mnb0

    You shouldn’t even deny that you’re jewish. Who cares? Not me.
    Anyhow, “Meier” is a jewish name in The Netherlands and Germany. People on the right side of Fox are always ready to draw hasty conclusions, so there you are.

  31. 31
    twas brillig (stevem)

    I got this from a Jewish called caller on a talk show who couldn’t understand why more Jews are NOT Republicans.

    So he aint an anti-semite cuz he is just repeating what a Joo said about Joos!
    He even lets his Jewish friend use his bathroom, donchaknow.
    Always evidence of a lie: to blame the target of your hatred as the source of your statements.

  32. 32
    bibliophile20

    Oy. Well, speaking as an atheist Jewish liberal, I’ll answer good ol’ Bob as to why I’m not a Republican:

    First and foremost, the reason why the GOP supports Israel is not because somehow the Christian fanatics that make up the bulk of the party have somehow forgiven us for the sin of not accepting Jesus. No, the reason that they support Israel is because they want us all there as some sort of mass human sacrifice so that their dead Jewish carpenter will hurry up and come home. We haven’t forgotten about that, trust me.

    Second, for all of their talk of “supporting Israel” and that, we’re the favorite scapegoats of the GOP–as witnessed by Bob’s wonderful assumptions there. Something wrong? Oh, clearly, it’s a Jew. Whenever someone that you don’t agree with is labeled as “Jew”, why should the actual Jews buck the trend?

    Thirdly, amazingly, we never heard Democratic leaders make comments about waging holy war and forcing conversions to Christianity (Ann Coulter)–and we know that, once they finish up with the Muslims, who is next up on the target list for that holy crusade. And that’s just one example; the GOP is riddled with groups that consider it to be their holy duty to tell us what to believe, despite that we’ve been telling them for 2000 years or so that we’re not interested (and the high and mighty of the GOP panders to them; see Dubya’s little visit to the Messianic jews last November). At least the Democrats, for all of their numerous flaws and hypocrisies, don’t consider it to be a high point on the “to do” list to tell us what to believe.

    Fourth, and related to third, amazingly, it’s always the Republicans who are trying to do little things like find workarounds of the Establishment Clause or say things like “The United States is a Christian nation”. Gee, with 1400 years of being slaughtered, massacred, forcibly converted and expelled by “Christian nations”, is it really a surprise that we don’t think that we should vote for the people who are trying to undo the legal principle which has made this nation a haven for us, however tempestuous a haven it might be?

    Fifth and finally, the GOP’s entire current rhetoric is built around xenophobia and intolerance. We’re very much aware that we’re guests here, that we have our own culture that is not in the slightest bit dominant, that we are a tiny minority whose entire world population could be crammed into New York City with room to spare (a process which has, arguably, already begun). Right now, that xenophobia is primarily aimed at Muslims and Hispanics and Blacks. But, as Bob so elegantly shows with his assumptions, we’re not far down the list. We could never belong, you would never let us belong, and, sooner or later, you would expel us or destroy us because the GOP can tolerate no dissent, no disagreement, and we are a pre-made Other with which to use to keep your tribal identities coherent.

    And that is not even touching on the moral aspects, the reprehensibility of much of the party platform of “first class for white Christian businessmen, varying tiers of second class for everyone else”. That’s just the pragmatism aspects; we have our own identity, even those of us, like myself, who are not religious, but still hold to the cultural aspects, and the GOP cannot tolerate anyone that isn’t exactly like themselves–in all of the meanings of that word. Those Jews that are Republicans? They’re the dummies, because they forget their history. Today, yes, the beast is friendly and roars only at others. But, sooner or later, it will be their turn once again with its teeth at their throats.

  33. 33
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    Why are so many teabaggers implicitly anti-semitic?

    The only one you quote- “Bob in Boca”- is explicitly anti-Semitic.

  34. 34
    feralboy12

    Why are so many teabaggers implicitly anti-semitic?

    Because those dirty Jews voted for Ed Muskie. And they killed Jesus!

  35. 35
    Desert Son, OM

    bibliophile20 at #32:

    Great post. Thank you for those words.

    Still learning,

    Rober

  36. 36
    Desert Son, OM

    Evidently having trouble spelling my own name today.

    I’ll just try this again.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  37. 37
    Amphiox

    Oh, the conservative crazies are already all over this one on FB and message boards… the most common complaint being “that’s ridiculous… if we all had our worst 10 minutes recorded 99% of us would be in serious trouble”!

    How likely is it that any old random recording would just happen to record someone’s WORST 10 minutes?

    Much more likely that it recorded a typical 10 minutes….

  38. 38
    sugarfrosted

    Meier/Meyer is a Germanic surname as well as a Jewish, which is an occupation name meaning mayor (I assume that Myers is a descendent of this, as well.) It’s also a relatively common Ashkenazic last name, but that’s because the Ashkenazim were required to take surnames that were derived from German by the Prussians and “Meyer” the pre-existing name is similar to the Yiddish word borrowed from Hebrew מאיר meaning illuminating. I can’t understand how someone would assume off the bat that this surname meant you were Jewish though.

    Whenever the topic of Jewish Surnames come up I like to link this so here you go: http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Names_and_Naming#id0eocac

  39. 39
    Al Dente

    During the 18th and 19th Centuries the Jewish surname Meier was often Germanized into Meyer or similar names.

  40. 40
    Anders

    You got it wrong, its the Z in PZ that gives it away. As in “Probably Zionist Myers”.

  41. 41
    nctmyers

    My last name is also Myers and I’ve never been asked if I was Jewish…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers

  42. 42
    nrdo

    @ bibliophile20

    +1

    I would also add that the wingnuts don’t support Israel as much as they meddle in its internal affairs by supporting the right-wing at the expense of the other 60+ percent of the Israelis who don’t share their fantasies.

  43. 43
    addiepray

    So I was gonna comment from the perspective of an atheist Jew who is comfortable and proud of both halves of that equation (and has found ways to reconcile them to my own satisfaction) and then I saw what bibliophile20 wrote above and had nothing to add. Bravo/brava!

  44. 44
    Area Man

    First and foremost, the reason why the GOP supports Israel is not because somehow the Christian fanatics that make up the bulk of the party have somehow forgiven us for the sin of not accepting Jesus. No, the reason that they support Israel is because they want us all there as some sort of mass human sacrifice so that their dead Jewish carpenter will hurry up and come home.

    Support for Israel has also become a sort of shibboleth by which you’re not a Real American if you don’t put Israel’s interests above those of the US. Seeing the GOP attack the Democrats for being insufficiently pro-Israel is one of the most bizarre aspects of contemporary politics, given that an overwhelming majority of Jews are Democrats and that the party has long been strongly pro-Israel. But the Republicans have developed this strange ultra-purity test by which only they know what’s good for Israel, and everyone else is automatically an object of suspicion, even the Israelis.

    It would be completely absurd even without the anti-Semitism that permeates their base. It appears to have less to do with Israel as an actual country than as a signifier of tribal identity. You could probably substitute Israel with any random thing and their behavior would be indistinguishable.

  45. 45
    Chengis Khan, The Cryofly

    D: Hey, your name sounds Jewish. Are you a Jew?
    A: Nope, I am an atheist.
    D: Oh, then you must be a liberal Jew.
    A: (slaps own forehead)

  46. 46
    Marcus Ranum

    @#32 – well said!

  47. 47
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    bibliophile20 @32:
    Thank you for sharing your very informative thoughts.

  48. 48
    bibliophile20

    @Desert Son, OM

    You’re welcome. :)

    Ironically, the religious fanatics in Judaism that drove me out of the community that I was raised in would be right at home in the GOP… if not for that little problem. Tactics are the same, attitudes are the same, but they worship different sky-friends, and that’s enough, apparently.

    Right now, the extreme branch of Judaism (Chasidic/Charedi) is having similar problems to the GOP, with the parallels being more and more striking; my father calls it “chumrah madness”; I like my term for it, courtesy of Sir Pratchett, “An Abomination Unto Nuggan”. Basically, the different sects and leaders are all trying to outdo the others with displays of Conspicuous Piety and religious edicts against various and sundry aspects of daily life.

    My current favorite example (speaking more from hyperbole than from genuine amusement) include the sect (Satmar) that recently noted high rates of cancer in the community, came to the conclusion that the cancer was a punishment from god for sin, and then came to the realization that the sin in question must be women’s vanity! So their women are now forbidden from wearing makeup, as of two months ago. *headdesk* Of course, this one displaced the prior favorite example, where the same sect forbid their boys from owning bicycles, on pain of expulsion from the schools, on the grounds that the bicycles gave them too much freedom away from the control of their elders.

    The parallels between them and the GOP’s current race to the bottom on being the most shrilly and fanatically conservative are stark, are they not?

  49. 49
    Jadehawk

    Anyhow, “Meier” is a jewish name in The Netherlands and Germany.

    only insofar as it’s a very common last name for all sorts of people in the Netherlands and Germany. (that would be a bit like saying Smith is a Catholic name in the US)

  50. 50
    David Marjanović

    During the 18th and 19th Centuries the Jewish surname Meier was often Germanized into Meyer or similar names.

    No, the comment right above yours has it right: Meir, “meh-EER”, was replaced with the German name (of ultimately Latin origin: maior[domus]), which exists in a huge variety of spellings: the one that happens to conform to modern spelling rules, Meier, is the 2nd most common one, outstripped by Meyer; other versions are Mayr (as in Ernst), Meyr, Mair, Maier, all pronounced the same.

  51. 51
    David Marjanović

    that would be a bit like saying Smith is a Catholic name in the US

    + 1

  52. 52
    congaboy

    Another dumb bigot. And there’s nothing dumber than a dumb bigot. I got that from our friend Bob

  53. 53
    glodson

    Bob can’t be racist. He supports Israel. He just doesn’t like the Jews. And his statement about the Jews in his letter is okay because he heard it from a Jewish person on the radio.

    It is amazing to see people who are pro-Israel just be ready to throw the actual people living in Israel under the bus. I guess it makes sense, as those people are meant to be a blood sacrifice for their god so their god can come back and kill everyone else. But them.

  54. 54
    David Marjanović

    chumrah

    Chamer is “donkey”, right?

  55. 55
    grumpyoldfart

    Why are so many teabaggers implicitly anti-semitic?

    In the teabag group it is socially acceptable. They can mount a racist tirade against the Jews and their peers will nod approvingly. Say the same things about gun owners, however, and they will get the shit kicked out of them. So they stick to insulting Jews.

  56. 56
    Jadehawk

    During the 18th and 19th Centuries the Jewish surname Meier was often Germanized into Meyer or similar names

    actually, both versions are standard in German. Also somewhat common are the following variants: Mehre, Mäher, Mäger, Major, Meiur, Mayer, Mayr.

  57. 57
    Ing

    Ironically, the religious fanatics in Judaism that drove me out of the community that I was raised in would be right at home in the GOP… if not for that little problem. Tactics are the same, attitudes are the same, but they worship different sky-friends, and that’s enough, apparently.

    The tactics and attitudes are the same across a wide variety of asshole groups. There’s a reason we say history repeats itself

  58. 58
    jennifert

    Could be worse. At least they didn’t suggest you were atheist.

  59. 59
    David Marjanović

    Meiur

    Seriously? That’s a complete mockery of the German sound system (outside of Switzerland above 2000 m)…

  60. 60
    bibliophile20

    @ 42, 43, 44, 46, & 47

    :) No problem and it is my pleasure to speak up and give any degree of insight that I may possess. *lurking field generator coughs and gives up Blue Smoke* Oh well. Silly old thing was getting worn out anyway. :)

    So, I guess I should say hi. :) I’ll be frank (although I primarily answer to Joseph ^_^); I was raised in a fundamentalist Jewish community, packed with Young Earth Creationists (sadly, that’s a memeplex not restricted to fundy x-tians), and I was the kid that was interested in science. So they made my life a living hell, and the rabbis ranged from “don’t care” to “actively encourage the bullies”. Turns out, when you tell someone that they’re an apikoras (heretic) enough, sooner or later, they decide to accept the label! So, after much soul-searching, here I am, and I will say this without hesitation or reservation: There is no god or gods, and even if there was such an entity, I would not worship the insecure, violent and generally abusive deity as described in the Torah.

    But I still identify as Jewish (even if I’m a Humanist/atheist Jew these days). Culturally, it’s my identity. Historically, all four of my grandparents were Holocaust survivors, so I will show respect and deference there for the sacrifices made in honest belief in a god, even as I know that that belief was mistaken (I will flatly refuse to eat pork, or milk and meat together, to give examples, not out of religious conviction, but because I feel that it is disrespectful to my ancestors and relatives who were given the choice of “bullet or bacon” and chose to be shot (even though there’s a specific ruling for that exact instance in the religious texts that insists that one should eat the pork!)). And, pragmatically, the bigots like Bob in Boca would not let me, or my children’s children’s children forget who and what I and they are, so why should I give the identity up anyway?

    But, to be honest, that identity still hurts and burns–alot–when I visit my parents for Passover. They are accepting and understanding of my choices, and I love them for it, but I still need to sit through the Seder and read the passage that declares myself and others like me to be “the wicked son” and the blind follower to be “the wise son”. -_- So, yeah. On the one hand, I have people like Bob, who will forever hate me for the crime of being born. And on the other, I have been exiled from my own birth community for the crimes of asking questions and having intellectual integrity. But, amazingly, both of those hands are on the right, so I’ll join you nice folks over here on the left. Hi!

  61. 61
    Jadehawk

    That’s a complete mockery of the German sound system (outside of Switzerland above 2000 m)…

    http://www.duden.de/suchen/dudenonline/meiur

  62. 62
    bibliophile20

    @David Marjanović, 54

    Chamer is “donkey”, right?”

    Transliterations are always tricky things. It’s חומרה in Hebrew, and transliterating it to English gets you a bunch of different alternatives–especially with that chet at the beginning. That’s the letter responsible for that guttural cha sound that has no English equivalent, and crops up all over the place, leading to much hilarity.

    As for the concept of chumrah itself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chumra

    Short version, for those who don’t want to hit up Wikipedia: An additional legal/religious restriction, done to make certain that one doesn’t inadvertently transgress against a religious law (think of it as a buffer zone around the hard limit ascribed to the religious law), or, alternatively, a more hardline view on a religious law.

    You see this all the time in Judaism, where there are essentially gradations of observance, especially when it comes to kashrut (dietary laws), and the people who hold the strictest views use their self-imposed towering heights to sneer at people that aren’t as observant as them. My sister worked at a kosher bakery and they often had people stop in, look around, announce “Oh, I wish I could eat here, but it isn’t up to my standards” and leave in a sniff. And that’s the attitude that my father is referencing with his comment about “chumrah madness”–the displays of Conspicuous Piety, in order to further tribalize and create division in order to secure one’s own tribal identity and thus, for the leaders, stabilize their powerbase of fanatics, who can no longer reach outside of their own little self-created community without being exiled from it amidst cries of “heretic!”

    Like I said, sound familiar?

  63. 63
    anuran

    Why do you keep being called a Jew? I suppose it’s because you’re too pale to be an uppity darkie. And you’re an egghead perfesser intellectual which Jooz are when they aren’t parasite international bankers.

    Jew-hatred is never far from the surface in much of American politics. The Right is a little more honest about it. They hate those hook-nosed filthy kikes because they are different and because they killed Jesus and they’re clannish and you can never tell if someone’s a Jew just by looking.

    For parts of the Left it’s a lot like a RWNJ talking about Blacks. You can’t simply say “I hate darkies” if you’re a Republican in public just like you can’t say “I hate Jews” if you’re in public and on the Left. So you spend all your time decrying “AIPAC” and “Zionism” and “Israeli apartheid” and snuggling up to Hamas and Abbas and Assad even though you despise them, too because, well, they kill jewsZionists. The double standard is so obviously code for “We hate Jews” when you look at what the other side gets a pass on. (Hint: Jews qua Jews have been forbidden to own property, vote, hold jobs and in many cases even enter just about all Arab countries since 1948.)

    Both sets of Jew-haters are big on that old canard that American Jews are really just Jews living in America, that their primary loyalty is towards Israel.

    Those Jew-loving Christian Zionists? Look a little closer. They still hate Jews for killing Jesus and not becoming Christians (*). They just have to keep a few around. Israel has to be supported just long enough for the Arabs and maybe Russia to attack it, kill almost everyone and then be stopped at the last minute when the Haploid of Nazareth is allowed to turn up.

    (*) It’s traditional. From Paul through Mohammed, Luther, Joseph Smith, Bahaullah and a few others it’s traditional to welcome the Jews, tell them how wonderful it is that they waited for their True Completion and then exile, torture and kill them when the Jews refuse to give money and convert.

  64. 64
    David Marjanović

    Turns out, when you tell someone that they’re an apikoras (heretic) enough, sooner or later, they decide to accept the label!

    Well, yeah. Generally speaking, Epicurus was a nice enough fellow.

    were given the choice of “bullet or bacon”

    Where did that happen?

    http://www.duden.de/suchen/dudenonline/meiur

    …(in the last thousand years, that is).

  65. 65
    David Marjanović

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chumra

    Ah, that looks like an accidental similarity, then; and, having no idea of Hebrew grammar, I have no idea if the vowels would make sense anyway. :-] My source for “chamer” wasn’t English, though, it was German. (A book about obsolete Viennese slang.)

    Like I said, sound familiar?

    Oh yes.

  66. 66
    anuran

    @bibliophile20

    We could convert, give up every Jewish custom, renounce our heritage and completely assimilate.
    When the Inquisition or Klan or Mutwa or Cossacks come by it doesn’t make one fucking bit of difference. We’re still the Alien Other, so we get run out of town if we’re lucky.

    Growing up in a redneck town and learning how to fight (and do some emergency self-first-aid) is what convinced this Race-Mixing Liberal Jew he appreciated the ability to own knives and repeating firearms. Knowing that several of your neighbors deeply and honestly believe you are subhuman filth and need to be killed puts it in perspective.

    And before anyone says I’m exaggerating I say you haven’t lived in the parts of Portland where Volksfront and racist Skinhead groups have hung out. It only takes one “White is Right!” combined with “Nice coat, have you paid the tax on it?” to convince you that there really are bad, violent people who hate you without even knowing your name.

  67. 67
    Jadehawk

    (in the last thousand years, that is)

    details, details (and what do names care about which century their spelling stopped making any sense?)

  68. 68
    Ing

    So you spend all your time decrying “AIPAC” and “Zionism” and “Israeli apartheid” and snuggling up to Hamas and Abbas and Assad even though you despise them, too because, well, they kill jewsZionists

    Anuran are you just dedicated to being as big an asshole as possible around here?

  69. 69
    bibliophile20

    @David Marjanović, 64

    I’m not sure if you’re joking or not, but I defined apikoras in my original post. It means “heretic” or “apostate,” and is spelled in Hebrew like this: אֶפִּיקוֹרוֹס, not in Greek like this: Ἐπίκουρος, although they are phonetically similar. Sorry, but that’s a bit of a sensitive subject for me–even though now I accept the label fully, it still touches very strongly on the memory of having the rabbi/teacher in the classroom give me the label for daring to ask a question not on the approved list–and my classmates never let me forget it.

    As for the “bullet or bacon,” oh, it was a game the Nazi officers liked to play in the camps–and, for that matter, so did the Cossacks in Russia in the centuries before. Take a Jew, a gun and a slab of pork. Tell them that they could eat the pork or be fed the bullet from the gun. Shoot them when they refuse to eat the pork. Laugh uproariously and continue the pogrom. And, if you think I’m kidding or exaggerating, I’m not.

    @ anuran, 66
    Yep. Already commented on that. And I agree: They’ll never let me or you forget, so why should we give up our heritage and cultural identity?

  70. 70
    justaguy

    @ anuran, 66

    > “Nice coat, have you paid the tax on it?”

    I hope this isn’t wandering too far off topic, but would someone mind explaining the subtext of this? If someone said something like that to me, I wouldn’t really know what s/he was trying to imply (that Jews don’t pay taxes? Huh?).

  71. 71
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    bibliophile20 @60:
    I’m glad you chose to delurk.
    Feel free to venture over to The Lounge anytime you want. I think you’d fit in perfectly :)

  72. 72
    mudpuddles

    Stating that your problem with Fox News is that they are “too liberal” is the equivalent of declaring “I am a total asshole.”

  73. 73
    anuran

    @70 justaguy

    “Tax” as in “Street Tax”. They were trying to rob me.

  74. 74
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    justaguy @70:
    I was curious about that as well.
    I wonder if it is related to this offensive Jewish stereotype.

  75. 75
    consciousness razor

    bibliophile20:

    I’m not sure if you’re joking or not, but I defined apikoras in my original post. It means “heretic” or “apostate,” and is spelled in Hebrew like this: אֶפִּיקוֹרוֹס, not in Greek like this: Ἐπίκουρος, although they are phonetically similar.

    It’s not just a similarity. That’s the etymology of the word. It’s a reference to Epicureans, a specific sort of non-believer (or believer-in-something-else), which came to be used as reference to that whole category of people in general.

  76. 76
    justaguy

    @73 anuran

    Thanks for explaining — it’s clear I’ve led a sheltered/lucky life.

  77. 77
    Dick the Damned

    Can we have a new term for the worst kind of human being, please? I suggest a “BocaBob”.

  78. 78
    bibliophile20

    @ Ingdigo Jump, 68

    I’m pretty sure that anuran was being sarcastic, and very accurately bitingly so in the process. There are those on the Left who are every bit as anti-Semitic as those on the Right; while I personally might phrase it significantly more diplomatically, the central point is more or less accurate–the left-wing anti-Semites use dog whistle terms to cloak their own anti-Semitism, upto and including embracing groups that actively engage in terrorist activities against civilian populations, simply because those groups are terrorizing Jews and have, as their stated goal, Jewish genocide.

    I’m not going to debate the particulars (especially the West Bank settlers, those f-ing morons, who are trying to make it an, ahem, settled matter, but are just giving the anti-Israel groups ammunition), but it comes down to this: when certain people publicly supports a group that has stated that, as part of its charter, that the obliteration of the Jews of Israel is its goal, and indiscriminately bombs civilian targets, and then those certain individuals criticize Israel for striking against the planners and organizers of those suicide bombers, it sends the message very clearly from those individuals of “You are supposed to lay down and die, and, no matter the provocation, no matter the justification, we will never agree with or support your right to protect yourselves against those who wish to kill you.” At which point, I think that it’s fair to call them out on anti-Semitism, because we (speaking for all Jews) are being judged unfairly, on no other basis other than our heritage–especially when those same individuals stampede into denouncing homegrown terrorists like good old Mr. Bundy out in Nevada, who hasn’t even killed anyone yet, much less had his followers blow up cafes and nightclubs full of civilians.

  79. 79
    AJ Milne

    Yep. There’s own goal, and then there’s own-80-yard-touchdown. Thank you, Boca Bob. That there, that’s one for the highlight reel.

  80. 80
    bibliophile20

    @ consciousness razor, 75

    I’ve never heard of that entomological explanation before, but it makes some sense, especially after doing some digging. Either way, my apologies for overreacting, but it is, afterall, a touchy subject for me.

  81. 81
    Area Man

    For parts of the Left it’s a lot like a RWNJ talking about Blacks. You can’t simply say “I hate darkies” if you’re a Republican in public just like you can’t say “I hate Jews” if you’re in public and on the Left. So you spend all your time decrying “AIPAC” and “Zionism” and “Israeli apartheid” and snuggling up to Hamas and Abbas and Assad even though you despise them, too because, well, they kill jewsZionists. The double standard is so obviously code for “We hate Jews” when you look at what the other side gets a pass on.

    WTF? I’ll grant there are some fringe people on the left who may feel this way, but it does not describe the vast majority of the left, and more importantly, those who do think this way have zero power and influence. In case you didn’t know, Democrats in Congress are constantly competing with one another to see who can be more pro-Israel, and the Republicans posture themselves as being so pro-Israel that the Democrats are castigated as Jew-haters in comparison. Even the Jewish Democrats.

  82. 82
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    bibliophile20, anuran
    Unless you two are claiming that the government of Israel speaks for all jews everywhere, including the both of you, you’re full of shit. Objecting to the apartheid policies pursued by the Israeli government is not anti-Semitism. Pointing out the apartheid policies pursued by the Israeli government is not anti-Semitism. Pointing out, and objecting to, the fact that AIPAC is devoted to ensuring that massive amounts of U.S. money and materiel go to supporting the apartheid policies pursued by the Israeli government is not anti-Semitism. The objecting to Israeli atrocities is not the same thing as supporting Hamas atrocities. Pointing out that Hamas is actually doing significant amounts of what a government ought to be doing in Palestine is not anti-Semitic, it is a statement of fact. If the Israeli government wanted to see less support for groups like Hamas among Palestinians, they should look into not shooting at them, bulldozing their homes, driving them into refugee camps with no infrastructure and ensuring that they have no jobs or votes. If, instead, they were actually, you know, treating all of the human beings under their jurisdiction as human beings, they’d be having a lot more luck. But what do you expect from a theocracy? And why do you expect anyone here to support that theocracy just because they happen to be of a religion that’s generally disfavored? Don’t start in with ‘but they’re not’. They make a huge fucking stink about being the Jewish State, so they can damn well take the rough with the smooth, and the rough is that whole lot of people will justifiably consider them fascist theocrats. That’s what you call people who want a state with one ethnic group and one religion. If Israel wants a better international reputation, they should try electing governments that behave better. (Many of the same criticisms can be leveled at the U.S., of course, where all three of us appear to live, but I don’t get all bent out of shape when people call the U.S. on it.).

  83. 83
    ChristineRose

    Paul Zachary VaguelyJewish

  84. 84
    anuran

    @bibliophile20 and the rest…

    I’m being about 90% sarcastic, 10% serious. For Jew-haters “Zionist” is a socially acceptable dog whistle word. What gets packed in there without a mention is that for Jews and Jews alone any sort of national aspiration is by definition racist. It means the ghetto forever.

  85. 85
    bibliophile20

    @ Dalillama, Schmott Guy, 82

    Right. Thanks for proving my point.

    “full of shit”. Thanks for the personal attack. Do you treat all newbies so nicely, or just the Jewish ones?

    “theocratic fascists”. Ironically, that accusation has more truth to it than you know–but you should be looking at the Charedi communities in New York rather than the Knesset if you want to find it. Take a look at New Square, New York. Have fun!

    “bulldozing homes”. Right. Gotta love it when people move the goalposts. Do you happen to know why they bulldozed homes? Because that was the kid-glove option. Rather than engage in mass shootings to respond to the mass bombings, they identified the houses that the bombs had been built in. They didn’t shoot anybody, they didn’t respond with bombs–they went in and knocked over a house that had been used to build the devices that killed dozens. But apparently, when a Jew knocks over a house used as a building facility for bombs, it’s an “atrocity”. Apparently, the fact of who did it makes it qualify for “Atrocity: noun: an extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence or injury.”

    As for Hamas, at this point, they’re feeling the growing pains on going from “terrorist organization” to “legitimate government”. Now they’re building things, and I wish them luck in actually forming a stable government. But here’s the deal: do you know why those camps have no infrastructure? Could it be because anyone that came in to build it had rocks thrown at them, or bullets shot at them? Could things have been better handled on both sides over the last fifty years? Oh, yes. But, in the case of Hamas being willing to deal in good faith? Literally debatable.

    But you’re proving my point. Any. Other. Government. Out there whose response to a terrorist bombing was not the execution with extreme prejudice of the perpetrators would be applauded as restrained. But if the Jews go out and knock over a house… “Atrocity!THAT is the attitude that I and anuran were identifying. Because there are individuals who consistently and hypocritically criticize anything that Israel does to defend itself against those who have made the explicit statement that their goal is nothing less than the utter destruction of Israel, while at the same time scream bloody murder every time a gun fondler in the US does something threatening.

    And the pattern of that hypocrisy is suspicious to us, because we feel like we, collectively, as Jews, are being held to a much higher and unforgiving standard than anybody else, simply because we, and Israel, are Jewish. Is that fair? Debatable, and probably not. Is it understandable? Well, given that we, as a society, have not yet recovered, demographically or culturally, from an attempt at genocide in living memory, and, as Bob in Bosa so nicely demonstrates, we’re the preferred go-to scapegoats, I’d say, hell yes, it’s understandable that we’re a tad defensive!

    I mean, the people in Syria would probably really like it if the sort of public outcry that happens every time Israel knocked over an empty house happened every time the Bashar al-Assad regime murdered a family. I’d like to point out that there have been literally an order of magnitude more casualties in the Syrian Civil War over the last three years since it began than there have been in the 50 years since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began (200,000+ in Syria, at a minimum, vs. 21,000 in Israel). And that’s the sort of thing by what we mean. Israel knocks over an empty house! Atrocity! al-Assad has children gunned down in the streets. Hmm? What’s that deafening silence from the news media? Double-standard: Detected. Cause: Unknown. Hypothesis? Based on patterns of behavior, systemic bias against individuals and organizations of Jewish ancestry and composition, a.k.a. anti-Semitism.

    But I gotta say, boy, I feel welcome here. *kickstarts new lurking field generator* buh-bye!

  86. 86
    Christopher

    I’m being about 90% sarcastic, 10% serious. For Jew-haters “Zionist” is a socially acceptable dog whistle word. What gets packed in there without a mention is that for Jews and Jews alone any sort of national aspiration is by definition racist.

    If any ethnic group demanded a sovereign nation that would forever be ruled by that ethnic group regardless of whether or not that ethnic group was the majority population within said nation’s borders, wouldn’t the resulting nation be by definition a racist state?

    If America had different laws for white christians vs everyone else, shouldn’t that policy be criticized? Would it be OK to dismiss such criticism out of hand by calling it anti-aryan or anti-christian?

  87. 87
    Endorkened

    @82, truly hath thee earned thy moniker.

    (spends ten seconds writing that and ten minutes fretting about the proper grammar of the Anglo-Saxon thou)

  88. 88
    Endorkened

    (gets it wrong anyway)

  89. 89
    sugarfrosted

    @49

    only insofar as [Meyer is] a very common last name for all sorts of people in the Netherlands and Germany. (that would be a bit like saying Smith is a Catholic name in the US)

    It’s not really just that it’s a common last name. You’re conflating Jewish as only a religious descriptor with it as an ethnic descriptor and/or cultural descriptor. This happens often, which is one of the reasons I tend to used the label “Ashkenazic” instead of Jewish for this concept. For example my grandmother is a practicing Catholic, but she’s of “Ashkenazic” descent. Again there are Jewish last names in this sense. It’s not like saying “smith is a catholic name”, because catholic isn’t really an ethnic descriptor.

    For an explanation of Jewish(Ashkenic) last names, including Meyer/Meier, see: Yivo
    Enclopedia’s article on Names and Naming: Family Names

  90. 90
    sugarfrosted

    @49 Jadehawk, @sugarfrosted I Forgot the alt, it should be @Jadehawk 49

  91. 91
    Nepenthe

    If any ethnic group demanded a sovereign nation that would forever be ruled by that ethnic group regardless of whether or not that ethnic group was the majority population within said nation’s borders, wouldn’t the resulting nation be by definition a racist state?

    No. The rules are different here. It’s the same reason as when my Jewish then boyfriend told me that I wasn’t fit to bear his children due to my race, he was expressing a totally understandable desire to propagate a pure bloodline, but if his friend Sven the Norwegian had said the same to his Black girlfriend, that would be disgusting and wrong.

  92. 92
    NelC

    Unholy void, Nepenthe, I hope you managed to dispose of the body without trace after your boyfriend sealed his fate with those words.

  93. 93
    Al Dente

    bibliophile20 @85

    “full of shit”. Thanks for the personal attack. Do you treat all newbies so nicely, or just the Jewish ones?

    Just the ones who are full of shit.

  94. 94
    Suido

    @Bibliophile:

    “full of shit”. Thanks for the personal attack.

    You are not your opinions. If you can’t handle criticism of your words…

    Do you happen to know why they bulldozed homes? Because that was the kid-glove option. Rather than engage in mass shootings to respond to the mass bombings, they identified the houses that the bombs had been built in.

    That’s a false dichotomy. Those are not the only two options, and it is perfectly legitimate to object to both on the grounds they are human rights violations.

    They didn’t shoot anybody, they didn’t respond with bombs–they went in and knocked over a house that had been used to build the devices that killed dozens.

    You expect people to respect the fact that Israel chose NOT KILLING?!?!?! How hard is it to not kill? Instead they just went with destroying homes and infrastructure, but no one was shot or bombed, so that’s just peachy.

    Any. Other. Government. Out there whose response to a terrorist bombing was not the execution with extreme prejudice of the perpetrators would be applauded as restrained.

    No. Just no. Most countries do not have a death penalty, and regard killing as unjustified even in response to terrorism. Anders Breivik is in jail for terrorism and murder, not on death row. Norway is not applauded specially for that humane approach. It’s expected of a civilized nation.
    Not killing isn’t a noble action, it’s not even the bare minimum of respectable behaviour. Israel doesn’t get a free pass from being judged against civilised standards just because it refrains from “eye for an eye” style responses to terrorism.

    And the pattern of that hypocrisy is suspicious to us, because we feel like we, collectively, as Jews, are being held to a much higher and unforgiving standard than anybody else, simply because we, and Israel, are Jewish. Is that fair? Debatable, and probably not. Is it understandable? Well, given that we, as a society, have not yet recovered, demographically or culturally, from an attempt at genocide in living memory, and, as Bob in Bosa so nicely demonstrates, we’re the preferred go-to scapegoats, I’d say, hell yes, it’s understandable that we’re a tad defensive!

    Israel is being judged by the same standard as civilized countries. Countries that don’t use the death penalty. Countries that use due process in dealing with terrorists and criminals. Countries that don’t practice pre-emptive strikes. If you think you’re being held to a higher standard, you’re wrong. If you think it’s because of your ethnicity or religion, you’re even more wrong. Welcome to the world outside the US/Israel/Middle East.

  95. 95
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    bibliophile20:

    But I gotta say, boy, I feel welcome here. *kickstarts new lurking field generator* buh-bye

    I think you’re being a bit hasty. Dalillama’s comment aside, you *did* receive supportive comments prior to his (one of which was an explicitly welcoming one).

  96. 96
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    bibliophile20#85

    @ Dalillama, Schmott Guy, 82

    Right. Thanks for proving my point.

    “full of shit”. Thanks for the personal attack. Do you treat all newbies so nicely, or just the Jewish ones?

    Just the ones who are demonstrably full of shit. If you want a better reaction, try having better positions.

    “theocratic fascists”. Ironically, that accusation has more truth to it than you know–but you should be looking at the Charedi communities in New York rather than the Knesset if you want to find it. Take a look at New Square, New York. Have fun!

    Yup, the Charedi are assholes too, and I don’t approve of their bullshit anymore than I do any other conservative religious. The big difference between them and the Knesset, though, is that the NYC Charedi community hasn’t got an army or an air force, and isn’t running an ongoing military occupation.

    “bulldozing homes”. Right. Gotta love it when people move the goalposts. Do you happen to know why they bulldozed homes?

    Because they wanted more territory, it would appear.

    Because that was the kid-glove option. Rather than engage in mass shootings to respond to the mass bombings, they identified the houses that the bombs had been built in.

    Got evidence of that?

    They didn’t shoot anybody, they didn’t respond with bombs

    Yesterday. Shithead.

    –they went in and knocked over a house that had been used to build the devices that killed dozens.

    A house? A house? There were over 1500 bulldozings in the period of 2000-2004 alone. That’s not a house, you shithead.

    But apparently, when a Jew knocks over a house used as a building facility for bombs, it’s an “atrocity”.

    I note you’re not mentioning the refugee camps and economic devastation, and you’re denying the shootings, but yeah, indiscriminate bulldozing of houses counts too.

    Apparently, the fact of who did it makes it qualify for “Atrocity: noun: an extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence or injury.”

    No, I feel the same way about other countries doing it, but there’s a lot fewer people defending the atrocities committed by, say Saudi Arabia or China, and even fewer of them claim to be liberal humanists. Since you’re defending these particular atrocities, though, I’m focusing on them.

    As for Hamas, at this point, they’re feeling the growing pains on going from “terrorist organization” to “legitimate government”.

    And you know, if the Israeli government had stepped the fuck up and actually treated all the people under their jurisdiction as human beings with rights, Hamas wouldn’t have had to even start, now would they? (incidentally, the above quote perfectly encapsulates the Jewish Legion in the 40s-50s)

    Now they’re building things, and I wish them luck in actually forming a stable government. But here’s the deal: do you know why those camps have no infrastructure?
    Could it be because anyone that came in to build it had rocks thrown at them, or bullets shot at them?

    Could it be that they used to have infrastructure, before they were dispossessed and driven into camps? What do you know, it could and was. Could it be, therefore, that they had the existing infrastructure stolen and/or destroyed and that’s why they’re in camps with no infrastructure now? Funny thing, that’s exactly why they haven’t got any infrastructure. Hmmmm.

    But, in the case of Hamas being willing to deal in good faith? Literally debatable.

    And where’s the evidence of the Knesset being willing to do any such thing either?

    But you’re proving my point. Any. Other. Government. Out there whose response to a terrorist bombing was not the execution with extreme prejudice of the perpetrators would be applauded as restrained.

    As has been pointed out, this is not the case. The UK, Spain, Norway, Japan, and other countries have all dealt with terrorists without killing them within the past few decades. The fact that the U.S. and Israel haven’t joined the civilised world yet doesn’t mean that no one has.

    But if the Jews go out and knock over a house… “Atrocity!” THAT is the attitude that I and anuran were identifying.

    As I said, I have no more respect for any other government that does such things, but other ones have fewer defenders in the spaces I normally inhabit.

    Because there are individuals who consistently and hypocritically criticize anything that Israel does to defend itself against those who have made the explicit statement that their goal is nothing less than the utter destruction of Israel,

    Gee, why the hell might anyone want the utter destruction of a nation that stole their land, disenfranchised them economically and politically, and shot a whole bunch of their friends and family members? What a bizarre and incomprehensible attitude. How can anyone comprehend such a motivation?

    while at the same time scream bloody murder every time a gun fondler in the US does something threatening.

    As I noted in my earlier post, the same criticisms about not being part of the civilized world can and should be leveled against the U.S. as well. I don’t consider such claims to be an attack on my personal identity the way you seem to take criticisms of Israel.

    And the pattern of that hypocrisy is suspicious to us, because we feel like we, collectively, as Jews, are being held to a much higher and unforgiving standard than anybody else, simply because we, and Israel, are Jewish.

    No, I am holding Israel to the same standard as I do any other nation. I invite you to demonstrate otherwise. Search all you like for remarks where I make excuses for other nations who behave similarly. You’ll find nothing.

    Is that fair? Debatable, and probably not. Is it understandable? Well, given that we, as a society, have not yet recovered, demographically or culturally, from an attempt at genocide in living memory, and, as Bob in Bosa so nicely demonstrates, we’re the preferred go-to scapegoats, I’d say, hell yes, it’s understandable that we’re a tad defensive!

    Being victimized by criminals is not a sufficient justification for committing further crimes.

    I mean, the people in Syria would probably really like it if the sort of public outcry that happens every time Israel knocked over an empty house happened every time the Bashar al-Assad regime murdered a family.

    Wow, you’re really bad at context, aren’t you. A) Assad is an asshole; everyone agrees on it, and there’s no one vocally defending Assad’s actions, let alone advocating that the U.S. should give him money and guns to do more of it. I don’t need to make a case that Assad is bad for murdering families, because everyone already agrees on that. B)Assad doesn’t really even pretend to be part of the civilised world or to care about international opinion. No one thinks Assad will change his behaviour because the world doesn’t like it. Israel has pretensions at being a part of the international community, which leads people to hope that yelling about their behaviour might actually change it. C) When Assad has people killed, it’s very rarely on international television. Things that are on international TV tend to get more attention than things that aren’t. D) The U.S. gives Israel a lot of money and guns, but not Syria. This is another possible avenue for effecting change in Israel that isn’t available regarding Syria.

    I’d like to point out that there have been literally an order of magnitude more casualties in the Syrian Civil War over the last three years since it began than there have been in the 50 years since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began (200,000+ in Syria, at a minimum, vs. 21,000 in Israel).

    Your point? Disapproving of the actions of the Israeli government in no way detracts from disapproving of the actions of the Syrian government, and as I pointed out above, the Syrian government isn’t doing it with money from my taxes.

    But I gotta say, boy, I feel welcome here. *kickstarts new lurking field generator* buh-bye!

    Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  97. 97
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    @bibliophile20:

    Do you treat all newbies so nicely, or just the Jewish ones?

    Actually, you just proved Dalilama’s point. Any disagreement with Israeli government policy is instantly labeled antisemitism. You just did it, right there.

    It’s probably just as well you’ve gone back to lurking, if this is how you respond to anyone disagreeing with you in a thread otherwise suffused with thanks and praise.

  98. 98
    Area Man

    Israel knocks over an empty house! Atrocity! al-Assad has children gunned down in the streets. Hmm? What’s that deafening silence from the news media? Double-standard: Detected. Cause: Unknown. Hypothesis? Based on patterns of behavior, systemic bias against individuals and organizations of Jewish ancestry and composition, a.k.a. anti-Semitism.

    I generally stay away from Israeli/Palestinian pissing matches, partly because I don’t care, but mostly because my whole gripe is that Israel sucks entirely too much oxygen out of the American political scene, and we’d be significantly better off, and a few billion dollars a year richer, if we just treated them like any other country.

    That said, let me try to explain where many people on the left are coming from when it comes Israel vs. Palestine (I don’t really know what Assad has to do with anything). People who are on the left tend to sympathize strongly with the downtrodden and the dispossessed. People on the right tend to do the opposite — they sympathize with the privileged and the powerful. That’s why American Jews overwhelmingly tend to be left-of-center, as you so eloquently explained your own reasons for being. Same with other minorities, including, you know, atheists.

    But in the context of Israel, the Israelis are the ones who hold the power, and the powerless and dispossessed are the Palestinians. Whether you think the Zionist project was correct or not, whether you think the Palestinians acted like idiots by turning down a two-state solution way back when, the fact is that land that they and their ancestors lived on for centuries was taken from them. It’s also a fact that they tend to be poor and desperate, in large part because of this situation, whereas the Israelis enjoy a relatively high standard of living. Even Arab Israelis, though they have de jure equal rights, are much poorer than average and made to feel like second class citizens due to Israel’s explicit claim to being a “Jewish state” (for similar reasons, atheists and Jews are offended when fundamentalist Christians declare America a “Christian nation”). So when Palestinian radicals commit violent acts, which is never condonable, the situation is not symmetrical. The Israelis don’t have to commit violence in order to build illegal settlements and impose martial law, because they’re the ones holding all the power. The Palestinians feel they have no other options.

    This is why, in spite of Jews historically being the underdogs and characters of sympathy on the left, the situation is different when it comes to Israel. Again, my point here isn’t to take sides; I think the Palestinians would be vastly better off if they accepted Israel’s existence as a fait acommpli and tried to work within that context. But leftists who oppose Israel aren’t necessarily, or even usually, being anti-Semitic. It can sometimes devolve into anti-Semitism, because the political sometimes becomes the personal, and the far-left can be every bit as stupid as the far-right, but their sympathies toward the Palestinians aren’t born of a preexisting disdain for Jews. It’s about power and privilege in the context of a well-armed state vs. a people who had their lives yanked from under them and still can’t seem to catch a break.

  99. 99
    Suido

    FWIW, bibliophile20, I would like to also note that I enjoyed reading your first few comments and learned from them.

    Quoting from comment 60:

    But I still identify as Jewish (even if I’m a Humanist/atheist Jew these days)

    That’s what jarred when I read your later comments. Your defense of Israel’s actions do not strike me as humanist, and I’d be interested in hearing how you prioritise your beliefs, especially in regard to human rights of Palestinian civilians.

    On the one hand, I have people like Bob, who will forever hate me for the crime of being born. And on the other, I have been exiled from my own birth community for the crimes of asking questions and having intellectual integrity. But, amazingly, both of those hands are on the right, so I’ll join you nice folks over here on the left. Hi!

    Sorry, I forgot to say hi before diving right in and challenging your opinions. Hi! I hope you don’t disappear into lurkdom forever. I’m glad you mentioned intellectual integrity because it is an ongoing process for everyone, and religion is only one of many hurdles. We all have our own weaknesses, blind spots and biases – please don’t shy away from a conversation just because someone tells you that you’re opinions are wrong.

  100. 100
    Jadehawk

    You’re conflating Jewish as only a religious descriptor with it as an ethnic descriptor and/or cultural descriptor.

    I am doing no such thing. My statement has precisely fuck-all to do with Jewish people, religious or ethnic, anywhere that’s neither Germany nor the Netherlands. I was responding to the claim that in these places it is a “Jewish” name; it is not; it’s a Germanic name, common among all groups of people. Elsewhere it is a common Jewish name, but that is BECAUSE it is a German name.

  101. 101
    anuran

    Bibliophile20,
    You have to understand that pharyngula is not a place for nuance or multiple perspectives on a anything except scientific matters. Outside of that there’s a very narrow range of acceptable opinions with things neatly divided up into Good Guys and Bad Guys. Disagree on anything substantive and you are a Bad Guy.

    There is no room for demurral or a range of honestly developed opinions. It’s very cut and dried as one would expect on a fan site such as this.

  102. 102
    Area Man

    Please spare us the martyrdom.

  103. 103
    anuran

    Martyrdom, Area Man?

    Try “Simple, plain truth” Pick any substantive issue. There’s almost certainly a Pharyngula Consensus Position. Deviate and you’re a deviant. It’s as doctrinaire as the Free Republic and with as much venom leveled at anyone who doesn’t toe the line. You just notice it less because it happens to be a place which agrees with you so far.

  104. 104
  105. 105
    Area Man

    It’s as doctrinaire as the Free Republic and with as much venom leveled at anyone who doesn’t toe the line.

    Oh please. The Freepers instantly ban anyone who dissents in any way. Here, the only people who get banned are boring gotbots or obvious trolls. Your continued existence here defeats your own argument. And if you really think it’s that bad, why do you still bother?

    I’ve been on the wrong side of the consensus several times myself, and yeah, you get vitriol and shit. Whatever. Man up and argue.

  106. 106
    bibliophile20

    *delurks* I’m going to say this once, and only once, which is probably not going to do me any good, but getting it off my chest will be better (probably) than letting it stew. So, I’m going to address this directly, and in small words, so that the people who call others shitheads will hopefully get the point that I was originally trying to make.

    Do I approve of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank? No, I do not. Do I approve of the illegal settlements there? No, I have said that I do not. Do I think that things have been mishandled on both sides and that mishandling lead to great bloodshed that could have been averted? Yes.

    The point that I was trying to make is simple: There are those individuals on the left who use anti-Zionist criticism, however legitimate or not, as a way of cloaking their own anti-Semitic viewpoints, and that, as a result, there is a double standard of behavior to which Israel is held that no other country is. That is all.

    Unfortunately, as a result of those individuals’ statements and actions, it is impossible to actually have an actual critique of Israeli politics without accusations of bias and anti-Semitism flying back and forth. Area Man’s (98) post pretty much sums things up fairly well from my POV about the current state of things, and a perspective that I agree with. Really, I happen to agree nearly entirely with that entire post, especially the last paragraph, with the caveat that I do believe that there are those that are inherently anti-Semitic on the Left, but I’d personally rather work with the Palestinians than continue with the current status quo. I’d add one cynical bit to that post, however: there are those in Israel who recognize the truth of that decades-old observation–that the best way to destroy Israel would be to leave it alone, without enemies, and let internal tensions tear it apart. So they create a Palestinian bogeyman, given substance by bombings and rockets and worldwide anti-Semitism, in order to cynically and callously create fear that they can use to reinforce tribalism.

    I was trying (and apparently failing) to point out, in my point (68) that, unfortunately, that pattern of a double-standard issuing from anti-Semitism exists, and that anti-Semitism is alive and well among the Left, just wearing different clothes than it used to. But I then got attacked as being “full of shit”, and, you know what? I’m sick of being attacked all of the time. I moderate a whole ‘nother forum that has had problems with misogynists and libertarians for years, has only just started instituting moderation (me, and only me at present, because I was the only one stupid enough to volunteer *sigh*), and I’m constantly attacked as being a “member of the social justice/feminism conspiracy” there by our resident MRAs. So, yeah, I got hotheaded here, and for that I apologize.

    But I was trying to point out a double-standard that I feel exists. Is my perspective biased? Yes. Was I too defensive? Yes. But there comes a time when all you hear is hate–for you, for what you are, for who you are–that hearing it in a place where you thought was safe is sometimes the last straw. Do I agree with the actions taken by Israel? Hardly. But I do honestly and sincerely feel that there is a double standard in the media and in the political arena when it comes to any criticism of Israel, that the country of Israel has been held to a different and unfair standard as compared to any other country, and I will not apologize for that belief. Maybe I’m wrong and this is just the product of a siege mentality. Maybe it is, and I acknowledge that possibility. But I don’t think that that’s likely. Not when, as pointed out, we are still the favored scapegoats of hundreds of millions across the world for all of the ills of the world, and that there are groups whose sole reason for existing is to wipe me, everyone that I am related to, and everyone that shares my identity, all of us, from the face of the Earth, and our identity is held as synonymous with, at best, “position that I disagree with”, as seen by PZ’s post above.

    So, do past crimes and potential future crimes excuse present crimes? No. But a crime committed in self-defense, honest self-defense–not the Stand Your Ground BS that has gun fondlers creaming their holsters–should be looked upon with some leniency, and I see little to none. And, due to the stated aims and goals of groups such as Hamas, I do feel that said defense, however poorly and infuriatingly handled, was legitimate.

    Either way, I’m going back to lurking. I’ve said what I’ve said, and I’m too tired to deal with people whose first response is to call newbies full of shit and otherwise attack them. Childish of me? Maybe. Or maybe it’s recognizing that, despite first appearances, I really wouldn’t fit in here. Pity, that. Thank you to the people that did say nice things, and your courtesy was and is appreciated. *dodges door and returns to lurking*

  107. 107
    birgerjohansson

    Regarding names, some biblical names (mainly among Levites in the old testament), like Moses, have an Egyptian origin.

    Therefore, anyone with such a name is an islamo-fascist!

  108. 108
    P. Zimmerle

    This is like the Colbert picture where he’s pointing to any given ethnicity excitedly, in his famous parody of conservatives pointing to black/white/hispanic/Asian/whatever friends as a way to excuse their racist views.

  109. 109
    Jadehawk

    Man up

    speaking of being on the wrong side of the consensus: skip the toxic-masculinity-promoting language.

  110. 110
    Jadehawk

    I’m too tired to deal with people whose first response is to call newbies full of shit and otherwise attack them

    people’s “first response” to you was to thank you for your first comment. Just saying.

  111. 111
    Amphiox

    Try “Simple, plain truth” Pick any substantive issue. There’s almost certainly a Pharyngula Consensus Position. Deviate and you’re a deviant. It’s as doctrinaire as the Free Republic and with as much venom leveled at anyone who doesn’t toe the line.

    There certainly is a Pharyngula Consensus Position that 1+1=2, among other things.

    What consensuses in particular are you talking about?

    That women shouldn’t be raped?

    That rape victims should not be deliberately triggered?

    That misogyny should not be tolerated?

    That perpetrators rather than victims should be blamed?

    That mental illness is not an appropriate topic from which to make crass jokes?

    That the personal bodily autonomy of human beings should not be violated?

    That sockpuppetry is both cowardly and dishonest?

    That plagiarism is a bad thing?

    On SOME issues being “doctrinaire” is a feature, not a bug. DECENT, humane human beings tend to gravitate towards one position on these kinds of issues, and DECENT, humane human beings will indeed level venom at those who deviate from these positions, because those who receive that venom DESERVE IT.

  112. 112
    Amphiox

    Israel knocks over an empty house! Atrocity! al-Assad has children gunned down in the streets. Hmm? What’s that deafening silence from the news media? Double-standard: Detected. Cause: Unknown.

    You know, this is flat out not true.

    An individual ARTICLE might focus on one or the other, but if you follow the issue long enough, you soon realize that the major media outlets do in fact report on both.

    Or sometimes neither.

    But unless you went to Syria and directly observed Al-Assad gunning down children in the streets, the very fact that you know about it means that the media DID report it.

    Methinks the so-called “double standard” lies inside your brain. You NOTICE the media reports on one side of this issue more than the ones on the other. You are sensitive to the tone of the media reports on one side of this issue more than the other. It is confirmation bias on your part, nothing more.

  113. 113
    Amphiox

    Also, a country that claims to be a democracy should be held to a higher standard, and indeed, should welcome the expectation of a higher standard.

  114. 114
    Nick Gotts

    The point that I was trying to make is simple: There are those individuals on the left who use anti-Zionist criticism, however legitimate or not, as a way of cloaking their own anti-Semitic viewpoints, and that, as a result, there is a double standard of behavior to which Israel is held that no other country is. – bibliophile20@106

    That’s actually two points. The first is undoubtedly true. Antisemitism is deeply embedded in European culture, and isn’t going to disappear automatically among people who reject the Christianity which nurtured it*, even if they are on the left. In 2003 I stood up and protested against an antisemitic speech at a anti-war meeting (no-one else did), then walked out. (For information, I’m not Jewish, but a 10-year relationship with the daughter of Jews who fled the Shoah sensitised me to antisemitism.) I’ve recommended here before a (now rather outdated) short book on antisemitism in the British left, That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Anti-Semitic, by a Jewish leftist, Steve Cohen. On the second point, the “double standard”** that is true in some circles, but is vastly outweighed among those who actually hold power in the USA and much of the rest of the rich world, by the free pass Israel as a state gets: to possess (undeclared) nuclear weapons, to thumb its nose at UNSC resolutions, to break international law concerning the treatment of occupied territory, to commit state terrorist acts of assassination, kidnapping and undeclared cyber-warfare – a free pass otherwise extended only to the USA itself and its sidekicks such as the UK and France. Excuses are made for its openly racist policies – according to which any Jew, without any traceable connection to the territory of Israel, has rights denied to people who lived in that territory a few decades ago – when these policies are not simply ignored. The principle reason for this is that Israel operates as an outpost of American/western imperialism in a geostrategically vital area. Its interests are reliably given priority over those of other US allies in the area, such as Egypt (now firmly back in the imperialist camp) and Saudi Arabia, because it is seen as tied to the USA by a much stronger set of links – political, military, economic and cultural.

    Finally, whether you continue to comment here is up to you – I think you have plenty to contribute – but if you are a long-time lurker, you should be well aware that saying another commenter is “full of shit” is pretty mild by Pharyngula standards.

    *One of the tragedies that accompanied the rise of Zionism and the establishment of the state of Israel was the spread of this virulent ideology to Muslim cultures – Jews had of course not been treated as the equals of Muslims in pre-modern Muslim states and cultures, but antisemitism as such – which is more than a simple ethnic prejudice or religious privilege, the notion that “the Jews conspire” being central to it – is distinctively European-Christian in origin, but now firmly embedded in the Islamic world.

    **If you look back, you’ll find essentially identical complaints made by the defenders of apartheid South Africa. If that doesn’t give you pause, it should.

  115. 115
    sugarfrosted

    @112, I thin that might be due to the hostile media effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostile_media_effect

    In 1982, the first major study of this phenomenon was undertaken;[1] pro-Palestinian students and pro-Israeli students at Stanford University were shown the same news filmstrips pertaining to the then-recent Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinian refugees by Christian Lebanese militia fighters abetted by the Israeli army in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. On a number of objective measures, both sides found that these identical news clips were slanted in favor of the other side. Pro-Israeli students reported seeing more anti-Israel references and fewer favorable references to Israel in the news report and pro-Palestinian students reported seeing more anti-Palestinian references, and so on. Both sides said a neutral observer would have a more negative view of their side from viewing the clips, and that the media would have excused the other side where it blamed their side.

  116. 116
    David Chapman

    114
    Nick Gotts

    One of the tragedies that accompanied the rise of Zionism and the establishment of the state of Israel was the spread of this virulent ideology to Muslim cultures – Jews had of course not been treated as the equals of Muslims in pre-modern Muslim states and cultures, but antisemitism as such – which is more than a simple ethnic prejudice or religious privilege, the notion that “the Jews conspire” being central to it – is distinctively European-Christian in origin, but now firmly embedded in the Islamic world.

    That’s fairly grotesque misinformation. If, then, the Muslims oppressed the Jewish people horribly — which they frequently did — but they managed to refrain from forming conspiracy theories about the activities of the people they were oppressing ( which does not sound coherent with human nature ), this maltreatment would not qualify as anti-semitism? Bigotry towards Jews, among others, in Islamic culture goes back to the Qur’an, which among its other charms, is a vile anti-semitic tract.

    It is more fitting in this matter of course to say anti-Jewish, because anti-semitism is a 19th century racial term and an inaccurate one at that. Jewish people are demonized in the New Testament and the Qur’an for their religious beliefs. In the New Testament, they’re condemned by Christian Jews — including Jesus himself. In the case of Islam, racism may possibly have been involved from the start, but as Christianity spread and it soon became the case that most Christians were not of Jewish descent it presumably quickly entered the mix of bigotry in Christendom as well.

  117. 117
    Anri

    anuran @ 103:

    Martyrdom, Area Man?

    Try “Simple, plain truth” Pick any substantive issue. There’s almost certainly a Pharyngula Consensus Position. Deviate and you’re a deviant. It’s as doctrinaire as the Free Republic and with as much venom leveled at anyone who doesn’t toe the line. You just notice it less because it happens to be a place which agrees with you so far.

    As Amphiox noted @ 111, the commetariat here does tend to agree – in broad strokes – on major social and political issues. One of the reasons for that is that debate is allowed here, and people typically to back up their points. If you think someone is wrong on a topic, you can tell them so… but you will be expected to be able to justify what you say. If you can’t do this, people ignore or ridicule you.
    Over time, this tends to create a group of people who accept beliefs supported by the evidence. There are only a limited number of such viewpoints, and oddly enough, they tend to fall left-of-center.

    But feel free – pick a major topic, express your opinion that runs contrary to the ‘Pharyngula Party Line’ and defend it. Knock yourself out (maybe not in this thread, though – that’s what the Thunderdome is for).

  118. 118
    Nick Gotts

    David Chapman@116,

    You’re comment is ridiculously inconsistent. You say (correctly) that antisemitism is a 19th century term – readily adopted, if not coined, by antisemites themselves, BTW – and then say that the Koran is an antisemitic tract! It’s as absurdly anachronistic as saying that Jesus was a communist, as some like to do. I am well aware that there are anti-Jewish passages in the Koran; what I was quite specifically and explicitly referring to was the spread of the 19th century European ideology of antisemitism – that there is a Jewish conspiracy to establish world domination, linking Jews who “appear to be” completely opposed to each other (financiers and communists being the classic example), referencing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, etc. – to Muslim cultures. You might find the Wikipedia article on Islam and antisemitism a useful antidote to your ignorance.

    It is more fitting in this matter of course to say anti-Jewish, because anti-semitism is a 19th century racial term and an inaccurate one at that.

    Duh! That’s why I distinguished between anti-Jewish prejudice in general, and the conspiracist ideology of antisemitism which, to repeat myself in the faint hope that you will actually grasp the point, is what I was specifically and explicitly referring to as spreading from European-Christian to Muslim cultures. I prefer the unhyphenated form (“antisemtisim”) precisely because there are no such people as “Semites” to be anti: in intellectually respectable academic discourse, “Semitic” refers only to languages, or to ancient populations. (One of the most tedious misconceptions in this area is that anti-Zionists can’t be antisemitic because “the Arabs are Semites too”.)

  119. 119
    PZ Myers

    Wait, this is a fan site? Then why do so many people come here to argue with me & each other?

    And seriously, why would anyone be a fan of some small-time grey bearded college professor at a small liberal arts college? Justin Bieber has fan sites. Cranky profs…don’t.

  120. 120
    Christopher

    Justin Bieber has fan sites. Cranky profs…don’t.

    Rule 34.

  121. 121
    Celtic_Evolution

    Justin Bieber has fan sites. Cranky profs…don’t.

    Damn… I’m going to look silly then showing up at your next guest lecture wearing my octopus mardi-gras beads, Happy Atheist book-cover t-shirt and clip-on beard.

    (By the way, I actually do have octopus mardi-gras beads. I wasn’t making that up)

  122. 122
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @PZ:

    I still have the ticket you gave me to the talk in DC.

  123. 123
    gussnarp

    I bet most people don’t even notice how blatantly anti-semitic the notion that Jewish people should support Israel above all else, including the well being of the people in the country of which they are citizens.

    Some day I imagine the same anti-semites using that to accuse all Jews of being disloyal, though now they’re content to use it to try to convince Jewish people to vote for religious right wingers.

    And news flash: Democrats back Israel pretty much as consistently as Republicans. Sure, our current president has said a few things that sound slightly critical of certain Israeli policies and has actually attempted to get both sides engaged in diplomacy, but the military aid trough is still open. 2012 direct military aid to Israel from the U.S. was over 3 billion dollars, more than any year but one under W.

  124. 124
    doublereed

    Some day I imagine the same anti-semites using that to accuse all Jews of being disloyal, though now they’re content to use it to try to convince Jewish people to vote for religious right wingers.

    This already happens. I’ve heard this claim repeatedly, especially about Jewish American soldiers and military personnel.

    And news flash: Democrats back Israel pretty much as consistently as Republicans. Sure, our current president has said a few things that sound slightly critical of certain Israeli policies and has actually attempted to get both sides engaged in diplomacy, but the military aid trough is still open. 2012 direct military aid to Israel from the U.S. was over 3 billion dollars, more than any year but one under W.

    “Backing Israel” is pretty vague. If you’re just talking about military aid, then I doubt most left-wingers would be that angry about that. I would imagine we should back any US ally.

  125. 125
    Scr... Archivist

    bibliophile20 @32,

    We could never belong, you would never let us belong, and, sooner or later, you would expel us or destroy us because the GOP can tolerate no dissent, no disagreement, and we are a pre-made Other with which to use to keep your tribal identities coherent.

    What could interrupt this process? I don’t want to see the U.S. “expel us or destroy” Jews. So, I have to ask, what causes people to stop being anti-Semites?

  126. 126
    gussnarp

    @Bibliophile20:

    There are those on the Left who are every bit as anti-Semitic as those on the Right; while I personally might phrase it significantly more diplomatically, the central point is more or less accurate–the left-wing anti-Semites use dog whistle terms to cloak their own anti-Semitism, upto and including embracing groups that actively engage in terrorist activities against civilian populations, simply because those groups are terrorizing Jews and have, as their stated goal, Jewish genocide.

    I’m just curious as to whether you have any actual evidence of this. Which people on the left are you talking about? Serious politicians? Journalists? Or just some guy you heard about? Is it Jimmy Carter? Is it Glenn Greenwald? Because I’ve heard charges of anti-Semitism leveled at him, but I always found that a little strange and I’ve never heard any evidence that his positions were anything other than what they appear to be on the surface: he’s an anti-war, pro human rights liberal and he’s very consistent about it. But seriously, I honestly believe all sorts of things you probably think are dog whistles and they’re quite frankly, not. You don’t have to believe that or believe I’m consistent, but it’s the case. And you really ought to provide some evidence for claims like:

    embracing groups that actively engage in terrorist activities against civilian populations, simply because those groups are terrorizing Jews and have, as their stated goal, Jewish genocide.

    You’re telling me that people on the left support Jewish genocide and that anything they say or do regarding Israel is really all about that and not at all about any human rights issues or belief that theocracies and government protected religious privilege are bad ideas. That’s a pretty strong accusation and I’d like to see some evidence to demonstrate any significant figure on the left in the U.S. today who wants to see genocide. Name names and show evidence with a solid argument that supports your position, and I’ll listen. But I won’t likely accept weak arguments with no or specious evidence.

  127. 127
    gussnarp

    @doublereed #124:

    “Backing Israel” is pretty vague. If you’re just talking about military aid, then I doubt most left-wingers would be that angry about that. I would imagine we should back any US ally.

    That’s kind of my point. Going all the way back to the opening racist screed mailed to PZ, he claims Jews should not vote for Democrats because Democrats don’t support Israel. Well, yes, I think military aid in the billions is a pretty clear sign of support for Israel. His claim that Democrats don’t support Israel is, in my opinion, clearly and utterly false. What he’s really asking Jewish voters to expect is unquestioning support for every single position and action Israel takes, which is pretty unrealistic.

  128. 128
    Bronze Dog

    An idea I think is worth reiterating: “Israel” and “Jewish people” aren’t synonyms. That goes for the religious, cultural, and ethnic interpretations of “Jewish,” and probably any others out there.

    I tend to roll my eyes when someone immediately equates criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism. But I suppose that reaction is understandable given that many antisemitic bigots will latch onto anything to use as a dog whistle for plausible deniability of their bigotry. Not all criticism has that purpose, however. Some people honestly think the Israeli government makes bad decisions and have no desire to manufacture guilt by association. That leaves the difficult task of sorting out which critics are which. I think one part of that is not assuming that criticism of Israel necessarily implies a lack of criticism for their enemies. Some people are critical because they think both sides are wrong.

  129. 129
    Pierce R. Butler

    … some small-time grey bearded college professor …

    When did our esteemed host’s beard move to the British Isles?

    bibliophile20 – Most of us “progressives” in the US have gone through a wrenching process of realizing that our native nation consistently does the wrong things – morally, politically, militarily, economically, ecologically, legally, you-name-it – and have also worked through (and rejected) the knee-jerk reactions of “why do you hate America?” for speaking about same. I can’t help but get the feeling that you’re somewhere midway in the Israeli version of the same sequence. It involves a lot of fear and other negative feelings, and – sfaict – doesn’t offer any land o’ milk’n’honey at the end of the tunnel – but reaching a political perspective free of nationalism and ethnocentricism can be its own reward. Keep learning!

  130. 130
    David Marjanović

    details, details (and what do names care about which century their spelling stopped making any sense?)

    My point is that the Duden does not say that meiur is or ever was a name; it only says it was an Old High German word from which the modern name, without u, is derived.

    Back then, nobody this side of China had a surname.

    I’m not sure if you’re joking or not, but I defined apikoras in my original post. It means “heretic” or “apostate,” and is spelled in Hebrew like this: אֶפִּיקוֹרוֹס, not in Greek like this: Ἐπίκουρος, although they are phonetically similar.

    I know – my point is that the former is clearly derived from the latter. See especially this (the whole text of a book), in particular the first section of chapter VIII.

    Shoot them when they refuse to eat the pork.

    Shoot them anyway if they do eat it. At least for the Nazis, it wasn’t about religion or visible signs thereof; they tried to kill everyone with ethnically Jewish ancestry. I know they performed such stunts, but that was added bullying; eating pork didn’t save anyone’s life from them. Or from the Spanish inquisition once the horrible concept of limpieza de sangre had been introduced. I don’t know about the Cossacks.

    especially when those same individuals stampede into denouncing homegrown terrorists like good old Mr. Bundy out in Nevada, who hasn’t even killed anyone yet, much less had his followers blow up cafes and nightclubs full of civilians

    Well, there’s always Timothy McVeigh…

    Any. Other. Government. Out there whose response to a terrorist bombing was not the execution with extreme prejudice of the perpetrators would be applauded as restrained.

    …Not since the mid-20th century, no.

    Having abolished the death penalty is a prerequisite for being able to join the EU. That’s why Albania abolished it in 1994, even though everyone knows it won’t be able to join (for other reasons) for decades to come.

    They didn’t shoot anybody, they didn’t respond with bombs

    Yesterday. Shithead.

    Link doesn’t work.

    And you know, if the Israeli government had stepped the fuck up and actually treated all the people under their jurisdiction as human beings with rights, Hamas wouldn’t have had to even start, now would they?

    …Hamas is a… special case in that it was founded by the Mossad in an attempt to create a counterweight to the PLO, so the two organizations would fight each other instead of Israel. Unfortunately (and I’m not being sarcastic here), it immediately got out of hand; while the Hamas and the PLO did hate each other’s guts for a long time as planned, it was counterproductive.

    (incidentally, the above quote perfectly encapsulates the Jewish Legion in the 40s-50s)

    Or the African National Congress.

    You have to understand that pharyngula is not a place for nuance or multiple perspectives on a anything except scientific matters.

    …It’s precisely scientific matters where perspectives can’t be more numerous than the evidence allows.

    “There are no sects in geometry.”
    – Voltaire

    What consensuses in particular are you talking about?

    Probably the one that the US attitude to guns is as stupid as the German attitude to the lack of speed limits on highways, and a lot more murderous.

    If you look back, you’ll find essentially identical complaints made by the defenders of apartheid South Africa.

    I’ve read a few. They were like South Africa kills X black people, but the black dictator of the country next door kills X*Y black people – you are the real racist here

    the hostile media effect

    Interesting, thanks!

  131. 131
    nrdo

    @ gussnarp

    I’m just curious as to whether you have any actual evidence of this. Which people on the left are you talking about? Serious politicians? Journalists?

    Well, I can tell you that one figure of some note on the “intellectual left” would be Juan Cole, a professor who was popular in leftist advocacy a few years ago who used to accuse individual American Jews of having “dual loyalties”; a common anti-Semitic trope. Now, it’s important to mention that I don’t believe that he thought was being anti-Semitic. In fact, I don’t think he realized how inflammatory that was, in the light of history. It’s just that intelligent people are very good at rationalizing their own position and his continuous apologia for Arab militancy ended up having clear racist overtones without it being intended that way.

    Generally, I think we should try to avoid the ridiculous cycle of people accusing critics of Israel of antisemitism and then the critics themselves reflexively denying it (sometimes before the accusations are made) and saying that their opponents just want to silence them without ever pausing to consider whether their words are counterproductive . . . it just leads to a lot of arguing and very little self-reflection.

  132. 132
    David Chapman

    118
    Nick Gotts

    David Chapman@116,

    You’re comment is ridiculously inconsistent. You say (correctly) that antisemitism is a 19th century term – readily adopted, if not coined, by antisemites themselves, BTW – and then say that the Koran is an antisemitic tract!

    No, first I say that the Qur’an is anti-semitic, and then I point out that anti-semitic is a misleading phrase to use and it would be better to substitute a more accurate expression. Not because anti-semitism is from the 19th century, or because it implies what you claim it does, but simply because as we are both agreed, it’s crap.

    The Qur’an is an anti-semitic tract, according to how the term anti-semitic is used in the modern World.

    Duh! That’s why I distinguished between anti-Jewish prejudice in general, and the conspiracist ideology of antisemitism which, to repeat myself in the faint hope that you will actually grasp the point, is what I was specifically and explicitly referring to as spreading from European-Christian to Muslim cultures.

    I know. That’s what you had no business doing. You were using an eccentric, idiosyncratic meaning for ‘anti-semitism’ when in fact it simply means:

    Hostility to or prejudice against Jews. — Oxford Dictionary
    discrimination against or prejudice or hostility toward Jews. – dictionary.com
    hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group — Merriam-Webster

    and not what you were claiming, bigotry against Jews that specifically included conspiracy theories, not specifically Christian as opposed to Muslim, and not a specific kind of bigotry that originated in Christian Europe in the 19th century, and spread into the Muslim World after the foundation first of Zionism, and then of Israel.

    Just hostility or prejudice; that’s all the term specifies. This usage does appear in the Wikipedia article you mention, but that is just badly written. Of course the very title of this article and much of its content uses the term properly, in that it discusses all forms of Muslim anti-Jewish bigotry, under this heading, but then it switches definition about halfway through. Well, one of the drawbacks of multiple authorship manifesting itself again I suppose. ( And far from it correcting my ignorance, I think it’s biased or perhaps inadvertantly creates bias, minimizing the history of Jewish oppression under Islam by burying it under a heap of academic vaguenesses. ) The fact that this doom-laden couple of words were only conjoined in the nineteenth century, and that the innovation was etymologically cack-handed in the first place, doesn’t change the fact that this is what it means in contemporary usage. Arguing about terminology is fairly balls-aching, but some words and phrases are much more important than others, and this is one of them. If you start to frig about with it you’ll generate misinformation and miscommunication. As well, because of its grave historical resonance, it diminishes the gravity of the anti-semitism of the Islamic tradition if you adopt different terminology for Islamic and Christian variations, because in so doing you isolate the Islamic history from mediaeval European pogroms and Nazism. But the Islamic tradition boasts plenty pogroms of its own; and ( I’m sure you’re aware), Muhammad personally ordered the mass-murder of Jewish men and the enslavement of their wives and children, which is one thing you can’t say about Jesus. ( At least when he wasn’t being God anyway.) I have deep reservations about any linguistic quirk that suggests even inadvertently that Islamic prejudice was less virulent than Christian until it got spiced-up by a process of cultural transfer.

  133. 133
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    for anuran

  134. 134
    bobmunck

    mostly Scots/Irish/English ne’er-do-wells living marginal lives along the western American frontier

    Do you see yourself as continuing that tradition?

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