Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sure, let's talk about anti-Semitism.


In which we learn that Blogging Tory "shlemazl" is a total and utter douchenozzle whose opinions on the topic of "anti-Semitism" don't mean shit.

Lately, we've been talking about anti-Semitism, but it should come as no surprise that there's no point discussing the topic if one doesn't properly define it first, wouldn't you say? So what does it mean to be "anti-Semitic?"

I'm guessing that it means that you don't like Jews. Is that a fair statement? It means that, fundamentally, deep down, you dislike someone for no other reason than that they're Jewish. Can we all agree on that? Really, I can't see how anyone can dispute that position. But that forces one to accept a fairly significant observation. It means that you can't accuse someone of anti-Semitism unless you know their state of mind, and it's that point that will prove that shlemazl is a complete and utter douche. Let me demonstrate by way of example.

Let us imagine that I have a Jewish neighbour and that, one night, I sneak over and burn down his garage. Does that make me anti-Semitic? Actually, there's no way to know unless one understands my motivation.

If I did it just because I hate those dirty, stinking Jews, then of course that makes me anti-Semitic. If my entire motivation was that I despise Jews, then my anti-Semitism is kind of obvious and no one could reasonably deny that.

On the other hand, it might be that, the day before, my wife was out shopping and was driving around the mall parking lot and my neighbour was being a total asshole and speeding in that same parking lot and hit my wife's car and when she got out to exchange vehicle information, said neighbour berated her, insulted her and finally slapped her across the face before driving away, and I'm so pissed off about that that I torched his garage. Does that make me anti-Semitic?

I would argue that it doesn't. In that second case, I didn't set his garage on fire because he was Jewish, I did it because he was a boorish asshole who physically assaulted my wife. And while that doesn't justify my actions, it at least explains them, whether those actions are justifiable or not. Do you see how that works? Because it demonstrates, beyond any possibility of refutation, that accusations of anti-Semitism must take into account one's motivations or state of mind.

And why is this such a big deal? Because of what douchenozzle wrote back here (emphasis leg-humpingly added):

I do not know for sure whether it is hatred of Jews that motivates these people. Neither do I care. I am sure their best friends are Jewish. Who knows what motivated the executioners of the Kristallnacht? May well have been commercial considerations against Jewish competition. An act of anti-semitism is anti-semitism whatever is the motive.

Pause.

Go back and read that first part again:

I do not know for sure whether it is hatred of Jews that motivates these people. Neither do I care.

One more time, to make sure you appreciate the screeching assholitude contained therein:

I do not know for sure whether it is hatred of Jews that motivates these people. Neither do I care.

In short, douchenozzle is perfectly happy to sling around accusations of "anti-Semitism," while making it clear that he has no interest whatsoever in understanding the underlying motivations. He doesn't care about anyone's state of mind; it simply doesn't concern him in the slightest. If a Jew is being treated badly, well, that's anti-Semitism and that's the end of the discussion.

And that's why douchenozzle's opinions on the topic can be utterly discounted. His bleatings on this issue have no value whatsoever. None. Nada. Zip. Because he's an ignorant cretin who sees no problem with accusing everyone of "anti-Semitism" when he himself makes it clear that he doesn't know what the phrase means, neither does he care.

Herein endeth the lesson. And the smackdown.

AFTERSNARK: There's an entertaining hypocrisy to hearing wanks screech on and on about how every mistreatment of Jews is "anti-Semitism" since, curiously, they take exactly the opposite approach with their own rancid homophobia.

As they like to explain, their obvious dislike of gays should never, ever, ever be dismissed as simple homophobia. That's unfair. There's always another reason (whatever the hell it might be). But it's never homophobia. It's only a desire to strip gays of basic rights, deny them the same protections the rest of us have, keep them from getting married, etc, etc. But it's never "homophobia." On the other hand, "anti-Semitism" ... hoo boy!

The double standard is amusing, is it not?

AFTERSNARK, PART DEUX
:

"You don't like someone that's Jewish! That makes you anti-Semitic!"

"Well, you clearly hate Barack Obama. I guess that makes you racist."


"No way! That's different!!"

It always is.

33 comments:

sooey said...

Aw c'mon. Shlemazl's straight up. You either agree with him or you're an anti-semite. I find myself agreeing with him all the time now, you anti-semite.

Renee said...

Also, from reading his 'blog (a mistake I shan't make again) I think that his sarcasm bone is broken. That's a serious injury, that could eventually result in being extremely lame and boring.

Marky Mark said...

Anti-Semitism is a form of bigotry. Like other forms of bigotry, it manifests itself in different ways, some of which we as a society try to regulate and in other ways we leave alone. Not liking someone because of a group affiliation is not something we regulate. (And, to your point, since that speaks to a state of mind or intent, it would be impossible.) But we do regulate bigotry that manifests itself as violence. Your factual example relates to that issue.

Other forms of bigotry don't include violence and the bigots don't believe that they hate anyone. "Separate but equal" is an example of demonstrable discrimination, clearly rooted in bigotry, where the bigots believed they did not hate those who suffered discrimination. Similarly, in the era where Jews were denied access to neighbourhoods, jobs and universities, the bigots argued they didn't hate the Jews but simply wanted to be free to be separate. With same sex marriage, again those opposed to it passionately argue they don't hate gays, but that doesn't end the debate. I note they even deny they are bigoted against gays. So in all these cases there may not be anti-Semitism or its equivalent vis a vis other groups, as a matter of not liking a particular group, but you still have bigotry or, at a minimum, a pattern of conduct that as a matter of effect hurts people of that group. That introduces the notion that effect is relevant.

When people like Alan Dershowitz argue that there is a "new" anti-Semitism based on a singular focus on Israel, he is basically saying that whether you hate Jews or not, and whether you bigoted against Israel as a state or not, if there is a fact pattern of dealing with A, B and C in one way and Israel alone in a completely inconsistent way, all other facts being equal, that in effect constitutes anti-Semitism. I wouldn't use that term at all, but I think reasonable people acting in good faith can have a debate on whether there indeed is a double standard at play, as a matter of fact, and what is behind it, as a matter of intent. But to the essence of your post, since we can't read people's minds, and intent can't be determined, it's not a road worth travelling.

thwap said...

That was a long way of saying nothing at all.

Did you read what shlemazl wrote?

He wrote that he didn't care if a criticism was motivated by anti-Semitism or not.

He was just going to say it was anti-Semitic.

Dershowitz (as you describe him) is expressing some meandering bull-shittery that I shan't bother to debate with.

Marky Mark said...

thwap,

shlemazl can speak for himself. I chose to deal with the bigger issue I thought CC was getting at as opposed to the CC vs. shlemazl issue. That others chose in the comments in the earlier thread to equate shlemazl and me (either as being the same person or as being two differnet people who share all views) is not something I can control.

But re: Desrshowitz, not so easy to just call a highly respected Harvard Law professor some sort of a crank. He raises a point that is worthy of debate.

The Sentinel said...

Shlemazl and the truth part company pretty much every time he touches a keyboard.

But he is an ego-maniac and control freak who, given his distinct lack of substance and intellect, needs some sort of lever to beat down those who disagree, and especially those who can dissent with some measure of credible argument.

So in comes anti-Semitism, and in comes Shlemazls self proclaimed basis for it: "I do not know for sure whether it is hatred of Jews that motivates these people. Neither do I care."

Of course not; the dirty b*stards have the effrontery to disagree with him, why should he care about about such triffling matters as the truth and accuracy?

Don't even dare to mention AIPAC or JINSA - or an even worse crime, begin to use logic, reason or evidence to expose the shallowness of much of his contentions - or not only will you be the worst foaming, mad-dog rabid anti-Semite he has ever encountered but he will also throw in a few accusations of death threats against his children and spoof a comment or two about the holocaust for good measure too.

Truly deranged.

It is people like Shlemazl that entirely devalue the word and concept of anti-Semitism and do a great disservice to Jews in general.

M@ said...

not so easy to just call a highly respected Harvard Law professor some sort of a crankNo, but it's easy to see him as prejudiced on the issue himself. Disagreement with, or criticism of Israel might be a common feature of anti-semitism. However, it is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for calling someone an anti-semite.

In fact, it's trivially easy to imagine a case where someone is anti-semitic and pro-Israel. If someone was anti-semitic but hated or feared Muslims more, he could easily advocate for Israel to continue or increase its aggressive policies against Hamas and Hezbollah, and its belligerent stance against its neighbours, while still considering Jews to be, say, less worthy people than "pure" whites (or whatever stupid racial lines the bigot wants to draw -- I can't say I know or even understand the racist terminologies).

The syllogism nozzle appears to advance is "Israel is Jewish -- Anti-semites hate Jews -- Anyone who hates Israel is an anti-semite". The logic is completely flawed; it brings to mind Woody Allen's syllogism: "All men are mortal -- Socrates is a man -- therefore all men are Socrates."

It's a lot funnier when Woody Allen does it, though. Nozzle is just tiring.

Dr.Dawg said...

I don't like shlemazl. I guess that makes me an anti-Semite.

M@ said...

I guess that makes me an anti-Semite. ... or Socrates.

harebell said...

Mat
just consider the position of the xtian zionists in Texas whereby they support Israel and the government because according to their dogma they need the Jews in Israel so that their end times can happen as it is written.
A clear case of pro-Israel anti-Semitism that is encouraged by Israeli governments and businessmen.

wv - haver - very appropriate considering the topic is Schlemazl

Marky Mark said...

I'm always suspicious of wiki links but there is quite a lot here on both sides of teh debate re: the "new anti-Semitism" and here more generally on the topic.

Dr.Dawg said...

Meanwhile, at shlemazl's den, one of his commenters has adopted the name "Hoosbin Fartin," and they're both getting a good chuckle out of their little racist joke.

M@ said...

It's not that the concept of "new antisemitism" isn't worthy of debate, MM.

But if criticism of the actions of Israel are to be unquestioningly considered anti-semitic, then the actual invasions of the USA and Israel on three predominantly Muslim countries (not to mention its attacks on other Muslim countries and populations), multiple attacks on an Arab news outlet (both verbal and physical), and the reference to a "crusade" must constitute anti-Muslimism (is there a better word for that? there must be). And it would easily be argued that this anti-Mulsimism is a far greater danger in the world today than antisemitism is, because it has caused the exertion of immense military force, far greater than the rockets fired from Gaza or Lebanon.

The existence of antisemitism, in systemic or overt forms, is an undeniable fact. But the claims around it, such as those around the new antisemitism, are political claims, completely separate from the issue of antisemitic racism.

To blur the line between political acts and racially-motivated acts will give a hell of a lot more credence to people like Ahmadinejad -- and it will be very hard to counter such claims without some blatant self-contradictions.

Marky Mark said...

M@,

Well said from my point of view. I think these issues in most cases can and should be discussed without crossing that line.

sooey said...

Yabbut, you're a fruitcake, so who cares about your point of view.

But enough about you. To the rest of you, I can only conclude that your anti-semitic bahaviour towards me of late is due to my name - sooey - which, although not strictly Jewish, does rhyme with Jewey.

Adam C said...

For years I used the word "gypped" interchangeably with "ripped off". I was simply ignorant of the origin of the term. Even when I made that connection, it was only when I encountered a roommate who said "jewed" instead of "gypped" that I woke up to the racism inherent in either term.

Was I racist? No, but it was a racist term to use all the same. I think the argument presented here is similar: that criticism with an anti-Semitic origin is being repeated by people who may not realize they are applying "special" standards to a Jewish state.

I strongly disagree in this specific case - and I also have a very low opinion of Dershowitz - but I don't think it's as simple as CC has made out here.

Another example: your trusted coworker says don't take cheques from this guy, he's not trustworthy. So you don't. But you don't realize that the only reason your coworker believes this is because the guy's Jewish. You're not an anti-Semite - but is this an anti-Semitic act?

sooey said...

No. But your co-worker is definitely an anti-semite.

M@ said...

I do think it's as simple as CC makes it out, Adam.

While we can't ever know others' motivations with certainty, we can often make educated guesses about them, and thereby claim that they are antisemitic (or not). We can take them at face value (if they are explicitly antisemitic, for example) or infer it from a pattern of activity. But that's where the discussion tends to lie, in trying to determine if an act or opinion is antisemitic.

If we agree that motivation is a necessary condition for racism (specifically antisemitism), and if schlemazl explicitly rejects motivation from consideration, then you have to agree with CC's point: schlemazl's accusations of antisemitism are, at best, useless.

Ti-Guy said...

All of us have prejudices, petty hatreds and various and sundry xenophobias. The point of being civilised is to understand that they're almost always irrational and shouldn't be accorded much weight in public discourse on matters of substantive importance.

Marky Mark: Dershowitz is insane. His argument for "torture mandates" was the last straw....although that time I saw him shrieking "Planet Chomsky!" in a debate should have been enough to have him institutionalised.

shlemazl said...

Allow me to distract you from the discussion just for one second. CC misread what I said:

An act of anti-semitism is anti-semitism whatever is the motive.A thief breaking into my car is not committing an act of anti-Semitism. Someone calling me an "idiot" is not committing an act of anti-Semitism.

Someone drawing a swastika on a clearly identifiable Jewish grave when their are lots of other graves around IS committing an act of anti-Semitism.

When that happens it does not matter what motivated the artist. Motivation is impossible to prove: maybe the swastika-artist just wanted to tease someone or maybe it was an act of revenge against a former business associate. As far as I am concerned, it does not matter at all and that was my point. The fact is that someone drew a swastika on a signled out Jewish grave, so the subject's ethnicity was used in the attack.

Now you can get back to ignoring what I actualy said but it wouldn't be for the lack of a superdetailed explanation on my part. I was even typing this real slow for CC's benefit.

Adam C said...

But M@, my point is that while you need to infer motivation to identify a person as racist, ignorance is enough to perpetuate racist actions or slogans. The scenario being presented here is that we progressives are repeating accusations against Israel that we've picked up from genuine anti-Semites in our midst - that we're following the crowd without examining the issues critically. And so AS accusations are being put forth by non-AS people.

Try this example: you have homophobic family members who constantly link gays and pedophiles. You might have nothing against gays, but still end up extremely critical of the ones that want to have sex with small boys. The homophobic lie has stuck with you. And you may encounter someone who says "I don't know care what your motivation is, that statement is a homophobic lie."

Shlemazl's accusations are useless because they're not true, but not because they're impossible.

CC said...

Jesus Christ, douchenozzle, but you're a lying piece of crap, in that you just redefined the term "anti-Semitism" to suit your purposes. What an utterly Twatsian thing to do.

Let me refresh your memory of your own words:

"Who knows what motivated the executioners of the Kristallnacht? May well have been commercial considerations against Jewish competition. An act of anti-semitism is anti-semitism whatever is the motive."

In other words, douchenozzle, for the sake of argument, you just proposed that perhaps the Nazis wiped out the Jews because of commercial competition. But if they had, would that have been "anti-Semitism?" If they'd wiped out gays for exactly the same reason, would that be anti-Semitism as well?

By your own words, you admit that, if the Holocaust had been based on ruthless business practices, you wouldn't care but would still label that as "anti-Semitism."

What a repulsive sack of shit you are.

Marky Mark said...

Not to be flip about this, but as good a discussion as this may be, no group of reasonable people acting in good faith are ever going to agree on a definition. I think we're in Potter Stewart territory of "I know it when I see it."

Just to keep going with the thought experiment, how about every reference to the President by Ann Coulter as "B. Hussein Obama." Would that meet the test of racism against a group? It does for me, but I can't easily articulate why.

CC said...

P.S. In case I wasn't clear enough above, let's be clear why douchenozzle is being such a douchenozzle.

As you can see from his original wording, douche makes it clear that he is wholly uninterested in motivation when it comes to slinging around accusations of "anti-Semitism," to the point where it doesn't matter if the motivations of the executioners of Kristallnacht "may well have been commercial considerations against Jewish competition."

In other words, even if what drove the Nazis was simply business principles, well, that's "anti-Semitism." Suddenly, though, douchenozzle frantically moves those goalposts with:

"A thief breaking into my car is not committing an act of anti-Semitism. Someone calling me an "idiot" is not committing an act of anti-Semitism."

No, douche, my boy, you don't get to take that position since it's my position and I was using that position to club you over the head. So what is douche's position now:

"Someone drawing a swastika on a clearly identifiable Jewish grave when their are lots of other graves around IS committing an act of anti-Semitism.

When that happens it does not matter what motivated the artist. Motivation is impossible to prove: maybe the swastika-artist just wanted to tease someone or maybe it was an act of revenge against a former business associate. As far as I am concerned, it does not matter at all and that was my point. The fact is that someone drew a swastika on a signled out Jewish grave, so the subject's ethnicity was used in the attack.
"

Shorter douchenozzle: "Motivation is not relevant for me to accuse someone of anti-Semitism, as long as the motivation is already painfully obvious."

Quite the turnabout from douche's original position, wouldn't you say? Thanks for making my argument for me, douche. Now, why don't you piss off and match wits with someone way dumber so it's a fair fight? There's a good douchenozzle.

Kusotarre said...

Not to be flip about this, but as good a discussion as this may be, no group of reasonable people acting in good faith are ever going to agree on a definition.Which is why only you and schlemazl are the ones arguing with it.

You're like some new form of troll. A "word count" troll or something.

Ti-Guy said...

Just to keep going with the thought experiment...Please don't dignify meandering, pointless speculation by calling it a thought experiment.But to your point; if a pattern of behaviour can be established (with credible evidence) for particular cases that suggests entrenched beliefs, then that goes a long way to demonstrating motivation.

Shouldn't you know this already? Aren't you a lawyer?

Dr.Dawg said...

shlemazl is a lying, racist twit who has more than once connected something I have written with Nazism. Innuendo, not very cleverly used: when I took him on about his clear implication that I was an anti-Semite, he backpedalled furiously.

But it's a relief to know that disliking this POS is not in itself anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism means what shlemazl wants it to mean, no more, no less, and it changes by the hour.

sooey said...

Yes. Well. Your hero cookie is in the mail, I'm sure. But allow me to make up for your post by posting something worth reading.

If you believe that, as a result of the Holocaust, Israel and Jews should continue to be the exception to other countries and peoples, you will inevitably see anti-semitism in any criticism of Israel. Even if you're not really at one with the "ongoing" part to the exception anymore, I suspect that if the Israel of today was the hippie/kibbutz Israel of yore, and it was being criticized for defensive action (even if it was actually aggressive action) against hostile Arab neighbours (even if they weren't), we on the Left would see that criticism (coming from the Right) as anti-semitic - which it may or may not be - depending on whether the criticism was coming from anti-semites or not. If not, then it wouldn't be anti-semitic, no matter how much we argued that it was.

The argument that Israel is being singled out for criticism in a way that is an exception to criticism of other countries is completely disingenuous because Israel IS an exception to other countries.

Those people should be tossed into lakes with cement blocks tied around their ankles to see if the lightness of their brains will bring them to the surface.

KEvron said...

is it anti-semitism for me, specifically, to call nazl a "dirty jew boy"?

KEvron

stageleft said...

The problem here is that your post discusses anti-Semitism, and you defined it correctly, but that's old hat, not applicable anymore, I mean seriously dude, it's completely 1950's for gawds sake.

What we have these days is "the new anti-Semitism", and that includes a whole bunch of stuff that the original definition forgot to include.

... things like criticizing Israeli government policy, actions, or politicians, and disagreeing with shlemazl for example.

sooey said...

Phff. He's probably not even Jewish. I had Marky Mark and his sock puppet army invade my comments section one night. So I told the chaplain that I was Jewish. He managed to convince the rest of the sock army to go home, "sorry, sooey - hang in there", were his parting words. I was going to post back, "so would it kill you to clean up maybe a little bit before you leave with no thanks for the hospitality?" but I didn't want to press my luck.

Now that I don't have a comments section, I never blog about Israel. I guess I just wanted attention. Until one night when I got too much. Now I have a boyfriend.

Ti-Guy said...

... things like criticizing Israeli government policy, actions, or politicians, and disagreeing with shlemazl for example.

The antisemitism tout le monde is talking about these days is the one where it's antisemitic to even react negatively to the accusation of antisemitism.

I swear, breathing these days is a veritable Kristallnacht.

Dee said...

People use the racism card to excuse past/future behaviour. Loses it's reactive value if it's used too often.

For the well used douchebag who wrote about majority of Canadians who don't like anti-semitism? I think they find the murder of women and children more distasteful.

Cluster fuck.