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Old 02-11-2019, 02:16 PM
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"It's all about the Benjamins, baby" -- anti-Semitic?


I read that a Muslim Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, has been condemned by her own party leadership for anti-Semitic tweets. I was shocked and wanted to see the despicable tweets with my own eyes.

In response to someone else's tweet ("It's stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans") Ms. Omar tweeted back "It's all about the Benjamins, baby." There was a second offensive tweet I guess, but the other one didn't appear in the news article. Perhaps family newspapers are loathe to print such foul language.

(* - 'Benjamins' are $100 bills, the largest denomination of currency printed by the U.S. Treasury.)

But wait a minute. If someone wondered why Congress passes laws that help bankers rather than bank customers, and I replied "It's about the Benjamins," would I be accused of anti-Semitism? Exxon, Pfizer and other big corporations get laws passed that benefit their interests over society at large. Might that also be due to "Benjamins"?

AIPAC seems to brag about the power of its Benjamins:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States. ...
One of several pro-Israel lobbying organizations in the United States, AIPAC states that it has more than 100,000 members, seventeen regional offices, and "a vast pool of donors".... In addition, the organization has been called one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States....
Its critics have stated it acts as an agent of the Israeli government with a "stranglehold" on the United States Congress with its power and influence. The group has been accused of being strongly allied with the Likud party of Israel ...
Recall that Likud is the party that advocates Jewish settlements in the West Bank and has opposed Palestinian statehood.

I thought impugning the motives of Congresscritters who receive large cash donations was de rigueur. Or is this now only acceptable only when the donors are Christians, Nuslims or atheists?


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Old 02-11-2019, 02:32 PM
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It's not about banking laws that she is being accused of anti-Semitism for, it's about her condemnation against Isreal, and her assertion that the only reason that US politicians and others in the US support Isreal, is the money that flows to them from that country.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
I thought impugning the motives of Congresscritters who receive large cash donations was de rigueur. Or is this now only acceptable only when the donors are Christians, Nuslims or atheists?
Generally speaking, it appears that some folks don't want the general public to know of the massive amounts of lobbying money that flows to Congress on behalf of Israel and when someone points it out they get accused of anti-Semitism (ironically some of the biggest Political Correctness seems to be from conservatives on this issue).
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:36 PM
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The congresswoman has apologized:

https://twitter.com/IlhanMN/status/1...h%2Findex.html
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:37 PM
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Omar faced increasing backlash after suggesting Republican support of Israel is fueled by donations from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a prominent pro-Israel group.
On Sunday, Omar responded to a tweet by journalist Glenn Greenwald that reads, "GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel. It's stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans."
Omar replied, "It's all about the Benjamins baby," followed by a musical notes emoji. Omar has been critical of the Israeli government over its treatment of Palestinians and supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a non-violent activist campaign that aims to put economic and political pressure on Israel over its actions toward Palestinians, including calling for an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
From here.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:48 PM
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It feeds on the 'rich Jews controlling government' trope. I would liken it to a politician saying that black people support Democrats 'because of welfare.' It feeds on stereotypes whose original intent was to denigrate people of a particular race.

As such, I would indeed vote that Yes, it is anti-Semitic.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:53 PM
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It feeds on the 'rich Jews controlling government' trope. I would liken it to a politician saying that black people support Democrats 'because of welfare.' It feeds on stereotypes whose original intent was to denigrate people of a particular race.

As such, I would indeed vote that Yes, it is anti-Semitic.
But she's not saying the government supports Jewish people because of money. She's talking about governmental support for the State of Israel and the vast amount of lobbying money that is used to support Israel.

It appears to me that by using this viewpoint, one can never criticize the massive lobbying effort on behalf of Israel without being called anti-Semitic.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
But she's not saying the government supports Jewish people because of money. She's talking about governmental support for the State of Israel and the vast amount of lobbying money that is used to support Israel.

It appears to me that by using this viewpoint, one can never criticize the massive lobbying effort on behalf of Israel without being called anti-Semitic.
She has now literally conceded that her comments touch upon the "evil moneyed Jews" thing.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:01 PM
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I'm in a spin. Legislation forbidding boycotts of Israel* are heinous. But Omar is a nitwit and has in the past expressed genuine anti-semitism. So sometimes I like her and sometimes I dont.

*I expect someone to come along and tell me I'm getting it wrong.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:02 PM
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She has now literally conceded that her comments touch upon the "evil moneyed Jews" thing.
Because we all know that politicians fully accede to whatever they are apologizing for .

I don't think she needed to apologize for her comments, but the political situation being what it was, she did so.

Regardless it doesn't answer the question. How do you criticize the lobby efforts of AIPAC and the like when talking about lobby money on behalf of Israel gets you branded an anti-Semite?

Last edited by ISiddiqui; 02-11-2019 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:09 PM
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tn the book "by way of deception" by a former mossad agent there's a rather chilling account that describes how the mossad uses such groups like AIPAC in various ways to influence policy and as an ad hoc intel group

particularly against any one who speaks out unfavorably about the close ties we have with Israel or against Israeli policy in general

So I wouldn't be too surprised to see some sort of campaign against her
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:14 PM
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I don't think AIPAC is powerful because of money. J Street gives a million times more in campaign contributions. The Chamber of Commerce spends about 30 times more than AIPAC on lobbying.

AIPAC is powerful because it has an extremely strong and motivated membership. If you want to tackle AIPAC, call them out on issues like being totally inseparable from the reprehensible policies of Netanyahu.

ETA: are you directly saying that her apology was insincere? If anything, it rang quite true for me. But if you think she's lying about it, maybe the issue isn't closed.

Last edited by Ravenman; 02-11-2019 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Dale Sams View Post
1. Legislation forbidding boycotts of Israel* are heinous. 2. But Omar is a nitwit and has in the past expressed genuine anti-semitism. So sometimes I like her and sometimes I dont.

*I expect someone to come along and tell me I'm getting it wrong.
1. I don't know about 'heinous'. I could see cases where laws telling private entities not to boycott this or that, or making govt funding depend on not doing it, could raise questions about excessive encroachment by government on free political expression. It depends.

2. As often, when a *particular person* with particular baggage says particular things people make different assumptions than they might about the statement in a vacuum. This lady is AFAIK anti-Israel, and left leaning political activism against Israel has a tendency to run over into antisemitism. It's not crazy to read into that comment a libel against Jews that was common in the West in the past, and is common in the Muslim world now.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-11-2019 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
It appears to me that by using this viewpoint, one can never criticize the massive lobbying effort on behalf of Israel without being called anti-Semitic.
It appears to me that many people consider any criticism of Israel at all to be antisemitic.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:39 PM
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ETA: are you directly saying that her apology was insincere? If anything, it rang quite true for me. But if you think she's lying about it, maybe the issue isn't closed.
I think it was a politician's apology. More of a I'm sorry I offended others. But she still does point out that she does think money in lobbying for Israel is an issue.

If anything I think she probably learned she just needs to be more specific and less meme-ish when criticizing Israeli lobbying.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:26 PM
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It feeds on the 'rich Jews controlling government' trope. I would liken it to a politician saying that black people support Democrats 'because of welfare.' It feeds on stereotypes whose original intent was to denigrate people of a particular race.
^ I would go along with this.

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Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
But she's not saying the government supports Jewish people because of money. She's talking about governmental support for the State of Israel and the vast amount of lobbying money that is used to support Israel.
A lot of people - particularly the anti-Semitic - seem to have trouble understanding that Jewish people are individuals and not clones of each other. There is sometimes an assumption that all Jews everywhere are automatically and unquestionably pro-Israel, or pro-this-particular-administration, and that just ain't so.

There are actually some significant differences between, say, American Jews and Israeli Jews, and between various other factions under the umbrella of "everyone Jewish".
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:38 PM
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A lot of people - particularly the anti-Semitic - seem to have trouble understanding that Jewish people are individuals and not clones of each other. There is sometimes an assumption that all Jews everywhere are automatically and unquestionably pro-Israel, or pro-this-particular-administration, and that just ain't so.

There are actually some significant differences between, say, American Jews and Israeli Jews, and between various other factions under the umbrella of "everyone Jewish".
Yes, and that's why Omar didn't speak about Jewish people or any tendencies of Jewish people as a group or whole. Rather her comments were on why the US government tends to support Israel, to the point of trying to squash localities participating in the BDS movement. The entire twitter conversation doesn't even mention the word Jewish or Jew once, right?
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:55 PM
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I remember reading an article about AIPAC awhile ago that gave me real pause: they seemed, like the NRA, to wield lobbyist power in a way outsize to their constituency.

Criticizing AIPAC in particular, or even the Likud government, is absolutely within bounds. However, the history of antisemitism means that those criticisms need to be very clear and specific.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:33 AM
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From a comment in a Minnesota newspaper.
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It seems that Rep. Omar has such animosity toward Jewish people that she cannot control her tendency to express the most virulent anti-Jewish stereotypes we have not heard from politicians in the state of Minnesota for many years. Her most recent attack, in which she says that our congressional representatives only support Israel because of the Jewish money they receive, is perhaps the most dangerous,
Sorry; I just don't get it. Is there some other tweet everybody's talking about? I just don't see "It's all about the Benjamins, baby" (which I guess comes from a rap song — is that song anti-Semitic?) as "virulent" anti-Semitism.

Is there any doubt that some politicians are swayed by donors' money? If I write "Senator X voted against consumer finance protection because he's in the pockets of big banks" would I be castigated and forced to apologize?

Google my past SDMB posts and know that I tend to take Israel's side in the Middle East. But enough is enough! The extremist elements in Israel commit atrocities and seem to have no human compassion for Palestinians. Does calling for change in Israel's behavior mean I'm a Holocaust denier?

I can criticize the actions of the Chinese government without being called a racist chink-hater. I can distance myself from Louis Farrakhan without being asked if I'm a KKK-style hater of blacks. Yet no criticism of the actions of Israel's government is permitted?

Is the problem that a Muslim dared to make this criticism? It would be OK if it were a Christian that spoke truth to power?
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:03 AM
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Omar has a history of antisemitism -- she's made comments about how Israel has "hypnotised" the world, for example.

You can criticize Israel, but a lot of people seem to think Israel is evil, and doesn't deserve to even exist. Israel isn't innocent, they're just like any other country. But a lot of people seem to give Israel shit, while they excuse Palestinian attrocities. It's a very complex situation over there.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
Omar has a history of antisemitism -- she's made comments about how Israel has "hypnotised" the world, for example.

You can criticize Israel, but a lot of people seem to think Israel is evil, and doesn't deserve to even exist. Israel isn't innocent, they're just like any other country. But a lot of people seem to give Israel shit, while they excuse Palestinian attrocities. It's a very complex situation over there.
But that's still just being anti-Israel. Believing Israel doesn't deserve to exist is still just about the country, not about the people.

The word "hypnotizes" is the problem, AFAIK, because it sounds like a dogwhistle for antisemitism, as it references old stereotypes about Jewish people being able to use magic to control people.

But it could also be that type of unintentional racism that comes from cultural baggage, where you don't intend to be racist, but you still have leftover implications. What she said could just be problematic.

What I do note is that this is the right wing demanding someone on the left be PC, and worry about exactly how she says things. Could it be that being PC only matters when it's about people the right cares about?
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:20 AM
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But that's still just being anti-Israel. Believing Israel doesn't deserve to exist is still just about the country, not about the people.
Well, yes and no.

It's interesting that Israel is just about the only country in the world people say shouldn't exist. It's also the only Jewish-majority country. Correlation does not imply causation, obviously, but it's still troubling. Why is Israel singled out for cancellation?

Also, what does "cease to exist" mean? If you're saying that Israel should change its laws and maybe it's name, then OK. We won't agree, but at least we can have a civilized discussion. If you're saying that a sovereign state, a UN member, should be dissolved or subsumed into another, that's a much bigger problem. And if you're saying that the Jewish population of Israel should be removed... can you advocate the exile or murder of millions of Jews without being an anti-Semite? If someone suggested doing that to the Palestinians, would you not accuse them of racism against Arabs? Because I know I would, and I have.

Last edited by Alessan; 02-12-2019 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:03 AM
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I'm continually amazed at the amount of insane online nutters who proudly spout Jewish-led conspiracy theories (often involving obscure code words such as: "Globalists," "bankers," "Cultural Marxists," etc). Whatever your political goals are, regarding comments on Israel/the middle east, anti-Semitic nutters do exist and you mustn't feed these trolls with dog-whistles. This is especially true if you have no desire to whistle, but just want share a message that's clear and personally important to you.

But what do I know? To this left-ish Canadian it seems that the vast chunk of the American right could open up a full stereotype laden/race-baiting/dog-whistling symphony orchestra. How your politics are run never fails to amaze me.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:19 AM
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Sorry; I just don't get it. Is there some other tweet everybody's talking about? I just don't see "It's all about the Benjamins, baby" (which I guess comes from a rap song — is that song anti-Semitic?) as "virulent" anti-Semitism.
The notions that Jews are rich and use their wealth to buy influence and favors has been around for centuries and what makes it toxic is that that meme has been used to oppress and abuse Jews in general - most of whom are and have been of modest means or even outright poor. It was used to justify additional taxes or outright taking of stuff. Russia, and later the USSR, were infamous for stripping anything of value from departing Jews, as just one example, to the extent of slitting the hems of clothing to look for anything that might be hidden there, and it was justified because Jews "stole" that wealth or had so much money they didn't deserve.

Quote:
Google my past SDMB posts and know that I tend to take Israel's side in the Middle East. But enough is enough! The extremist elements in Israel commit atrocities and seem to have no human compassion for Palestinians. Does calling for change in Israel's behavior mean I'm a Holocaust denier?
Not as you expressed it there, but you were clear you were referring to Israel and current elements in there. You didn't lump all Jews together as supporters of that policy. That's a key difference.

Quote:
Is the problem that a Muslim dared to make this criticism? It would be OK if it were a Christian that spoke truth to power?
If a Christian used the exact same words it would have been just as offensive.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by orcenio View Post
I'm continually amazed at the amount of insane online nutters who proudly spout Jewish-led conspiracy theories (often involving obscure code words such as: "Globalists," "bankers," "Cultural Marxists," etc). Whatever your political goals are, regarding comments on Israel/the middle east, anti-Semitic nutters do exist and you mustn't feed these trolls with dog-whistles. This is especially true if you have no desire to whistle, but just want share a message that's clear and personally important to you.

But what do I know? To this left-ish Canadian it seems that the vast chunk of the American right could open up a full stereotype laden/race-baiting/dog-whistling symphony orchestra. How your politics are run never fails to amaze me.
It's not just the right -- antisemitism seems to be on the rise on the left as well. Omar, for example, is a leftist politician.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:31 AM
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Well the first part was directed at Omar/the left and the second part was just a quick comment on how toxic the modern America ring-wing is to this Canadian.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:32 AM
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It appears that many people consider any criticism of Israel at all to be antisemitic.
Not all criticism......just a lot of it.
It's often a very fine line that defines the boundary between legitimate criticism and illegitimate antisemitism.

The neighboring countries surrounding Israel are all antisemitic, and some of them are extremely violently and proudly antisemitic.
Too many of the people who criticize Israel also offer support to the neighboring countries.....and ignore the fact that by doing so they are openly supporting antisemitic jihadists.

So yes, much of the criticism of Israel IS antisemitic--because if the critics succeed in their goals, the result will be a lot of dead Jews. (and a country being wiped off the map. )
When the stakes are that high, it's difficult to put up with too much criticism, even when it comes well-intentioned. See Alessan's post #22.


[And now, make a lot of popcorn and find a really comfortable seat for a long show..... the move to GD is coming up]

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Old 02-12-2019, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
Omar has a history of antisemitism -- she's made comments about how Israel has "hypnotised" the world, for example.
You mention that the "hypnotised" is an 'example.' In fact your source shows a total of two (2) alleged anti-Semitic quotes by Ms. Omar; the "hypnotised" quote and the one in thread title. It also shows the following quote by Ms. Omar:
"I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans. My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza War and I’m clearly speaking about the way the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war."

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Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
You can criticize Israel, but a lot of people seem to think Israel is evil, and doesn't deserve to even exist.
Did Ms. Omar say Israel doesn't deserve to exist?

Or is this the syllogism:
(a) Some people who criticise Israel don't think it should exist.
(b) Ms. Omar criticised Israel.
(c) Therefore Ms. Omar doesn't think Israel should exist.

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Not as you expressed it there, but you were clear you were referring to Israel and current elements in there. You didn't lump all Jews together as supporters of that policy. That's a key difference.
Did Ms. Omar lump all Jews together?

Let me see if I understand: Because of a centuries-old meme that associates Jews with money, it is now taboo to ever accuse Israel of misusing money. Is that about it?

You don't have to convince me that there are anti-Semites about. I've drunk beer with ex-pat Brits and it almost seems that a majority are Jew-haters. (I asked one why he hated Jews; his answer: "They've been hated for thousands of years; there must be something wrong with them.") But I see no evidence that Ms. Omar is a Jew-hater.

Making it off-limits to question Israel's inhumane policies against Palestinians is "political correctness" run amok. I don't think this would have gotten any traction except that Ms. Omar is (a) a Democrat, (b) a Muslim and possibly (c) she quoted a rap song.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:32 AM
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Let me see if I understand: Because of a centuries-old meme that associates Jews with m
oney, it is now taboo to ever accuse Israel of misusing money. Is that about it?
Nope, not quite.

Here's the difference:

Acceptable:
"The current administration in Israel is mis-using money and attempting to influence the politics and government of another country.

Unacceptable:
"Jews use their money to control government X"
"Jews have too much control over government X, and it's all about the Benjamins"

Acceptable:
"AIPAC is a lobbying group unduly influenced by Israel and American Jews that support the current Israeli administration and their actions, many of which I find objectionable for reasons X, Y, and Z."

Unacceptable:
"AIPAC is funded by Jewish money both from Israel and American Jews to advance the Jewish agenda to the detriment of the rest of us."

The acceptable phrasing makes it clear you are criticizing a current government (which, given it's an at least nominally democratic country, can be changed by future elections) and not everyone of a particular ethnicity or religion.

The unacceptable forms presume guilt by association and lump everyone of a particular religion/ethnicity all together as one monolithic block, which is what makes it bigotry.

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But I see no evidence that Ms. Omar is a Jew-hater.
I tend to agree with that - I think Ms Omar probably hasn't know many Jews (or Israelis, which are not always Jewish) and comes from a background with a lot of both conscious and unconscious anti-Semitism which makes it really easy for unintentional mis-steps to occur.

This is rather like how a lot of white people are completely unaware of racist versions of "eeiny-meeiny-mieny-moo", or what a prior name for "Brazil nuts" was. This leads to unintentional offense which, despite being unintentional, can be deeply hurtful. Which is why we, as a society, need to learn to speak of these things in a way that does NOT lead to shouting and infighting so we can move to eliminate the cultural baggage and ignorance that leads to giving offense.

Which battle is exhausting - one of the annoying things about living in the area I do is that there are a couple of very offensive phrases people use without thought because they've heard/used them all their lives and have no clue how offensive they are. One of my current good friends unintentionally used one that comes across as anti-Semitic and I mentioned that to her - she apologized and said she had no idea that it was a problem. I said I realized that, which is why I mentioned it to her in a non-confrontational manner because I knew from the rest of her actions towards me that she is NOT anti-Semitic. She just never had reason to question a phrase that, like "gypted" or "welsh on a deal", can be offensive to a particular group but is so ubiquitous that most people using it don't really hear what they're saying.

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Making it off-limits to question Israel's inhumane policies against Palestinians is "political correctness" run amok.
Agreed. In fact, I think it is a topic that very much needs to be dragged out into the open and thoroughly examined. So long as Palestinian positions that would be inhumane towards others are also examined thorough. Really, it's a mess and the whole situation needs to be dissected and examined in the clear light of day before we have any hope of resolving it. Both sides are dirty as hell and need to make real changes in how they conduct themselves.

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I don't think this would have gotten any traction except that Ms. Omar is (a) a Democrat, (b) a Muslim and possibly (c) she quoted a rap song.
None of that helped.

That said - despite the offense I found in her remarks I am able to look past that to acknowledge that there is some truth in what she says. It's just that the manner in which she said it did nothing to help her cause and gave her enemies a way to use it against her. That is how politics is done (and always has been). New politicians often run aground because navigating the shoals of words and dog-whistles is tricky stuff and requires time and experience to learn.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post

Did Ms. Omar say Israel doesn't deserve to exist?

Or is this the syllogism:
(a) Some people who criticise Israel don't think it should exist.
(b) Ms. Omar criticised Israel.
(c) Therefore Ms. Omar doesn't think Israel should exist.
That is so NOT what I said. Please do not put words in my mouth.


Quote:
Did Ms. Omar lump all Jews together?

Let me see if I understand: Because of a centuries-old meme that associates Jews with money, it is now taboo to ever accuse Israel of misusing money. Is that about it?
No.

Quote:
You don't have to convince me that there are anti-Semites about. I've drunk beer with ex-pat Brits and it almost seems that a majority are Jew-haters. (I asked one why he hated Jews; his answer: "They've been hated for thousands of years; there must be something wrong with them.") But I see no evidence that Ms. Omar is a Jew-hater.

Making it off-limits to question Israel's inhumane policies against Palestinians is "political correctness" run amok. I don't think this would have gotten any traction except that Ms. Omar is (a) a Democrat, (b) a Muslim and possibly (c) she quoted a rap song.
Nobody said it's off-limits. Seriously, we're knee deep in straw here.
  #31  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:36 AM
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Here's the difference:

Acceptable:
"The current administration in Israel is mis-using money and attempting to influence the politics and government of another country.

Unacceptable:
"Jews use their money to control government X"
"Jews have too much control over government X, and it's all about the Benjamins"

Acceptable:
"AIPAC is a lobbying group unduly influenced by Israel and American Jews that support the current Israeli administration and their actions, many of which I find objectionable for reasons X, Y, and Z."

Unacceptable:
"AIPAC is funded by Jewish money both from Israel and American Jews to advance the Jewish agenda to the detriment of the rest of us."

The acceptable phrasing makes it clear you are criticizing a current government (which, given it's an at least nominally democratic country, can be changed by future elections) and not everyone of a particular ethnicity or religion.

The unacceptable forms presume guilt by association and lump everyone of a particular religion/ethnicity all together as one monolithic block, which is what makes it bigotry.
In your examples, it is acceptable to criticize a particular Israeli government, but not to cast general aspersions on Jews.

When did Ms. Omar even use a word like "Jew" or "Jewish"? A page was submitted up-thread as "evidence" of Ms. Omar's anti-Semitism. I've confirmed with Firefox's Search facility that the letters J-e-w occur in that order only ONCE (1 time) in any quote by Ms. Omar cited on that page. Here it is:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilhan Omar
My intention is never to offend constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole.
  #32  
Old 02-12-2019, 09:01 AM
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When did Ms. Omar even use a word like "Jew" or "Jewish"?
It is very strange to argue that her comments were not anti-Semitic when she said in her own words that she wasn't aware of how hurtful her comments were in the context of anti-Semitic tropes.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:19 AM
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Here's the difference:

Acceptable:
"The current administration in Israel is mis-using money and attempting to influence the politics and government of another country.

Unacceptable:
"Jews use their money to control government X"
"Jews have too much control over government X, and it's all about the Benjamins"

Acceptable:
"AIPAC is a lobbying group unduly influenced by Israel and American Jews that support the current Israeli administration and their actions, many of which I find objectionable for reasons X, Y, and Z."

Unacceptable:
"AIPAC is funded by Jewish money both from Israel and American Jews to advance the Jewish agenda to the detriment of the rest of us."

The acceptable phrasing makes it clear you are criticizing a current government (which, given it's an at least nominally democratic country, can be changed by future elections) and not everyone of a particular ethnicity or religion.

The unacceptable forms presume guilt by association and lump everyone of a particular religion/ethnicity all together as one monolithic block, which is what makes it bigotry.
But Omar never used any of the 'unacceptable' phrases. Is the contention that claiming that lobby money is used to influence Israeli politics was unacceptable because she wasn't specific enough in the first tweet that it was AIPAC that she was criticizing? Because a lot of people got really mad when she was asked to clarify who has the benjamins and she named AIPAC. Is the issue one of being not specific enough when quoting a song lyric?
  #34  
Old 02-12-2019, 09:25 AM
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It is very strange to argue that her comments were not anti-Semitic when she said in her own words that she wasn't aware of how hurtful her comments were in the context of anti-Semitic tropes.
People apologize all the time for things they don't think were out of line, but others felt was hurtful. Helps And, as I pointed out before, this especially happens with politicians. Perhaps maybe she'll be more specific next time (and in her apology she does indeed call out lobbying by AIPAC - which has led some to say that it wasn't a real apology).

And of course, one does not have to agree with how a person understands their own words.
  #35  
Old 02-12-2019, 09:26 AM
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In your examples, it is acceptable to criticize a particular Israeli government, but not to cast general aspersions on Jews.
That is correct.

And I stress that my examples were just that - EXAMPLES - and not intended of direct quotes of anyone. I was trying to speak in general and not specific terms.

Quote:
When did Ms. Omar even use a word like "Jew" or "Jewish"?
As I do not have a Twitter account and I'm not even sure how to access a particular Tweet I stuck to generalities rather than specifics. If someone could provide a complete and unedited quote of the allegedly offending tweets I might be willing to be more specific.

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But Omar never used any of the 'unacceptable' phrases.
Again, they are examples and not an exhaustive listing of all possible unacceptable/offensive phrases.

Quote:
Is the contention that claiming that lobby money is used to influence Israeli politics was unacceptable because she wasn't specific enough in the first tweet that it was AIPAC that she was criticizing? Because a lot of people got really mad when she was asked to clarify who has the benjamins and she named AIPAC. Is the issue one of being not specific enough when quoting a song lyric?
I think it would have been better if she was specific from the start that she was criticizing AIPAC. Some people would still have gotten upset, of course, because there are some ardent AIPAC supporters, just as there are some ardent Palestinian/Hamas/whatever-other-group-you-care-to-name supporters. It's impossible to discuss political, religious, social, or financial issues without offending someone.
  #36  
Old 02-12-2019, 09:33 AM
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Well, yes and no.

It's interesting that Israel is just about the only country in the world people say shouldn't exist. It's also the only Jewish-majority country. Correlation does not imply causation, obviously, but it's still troubling. Why is Israel singled out for cancellation?
The situation of Israel is unusual in that its territory is entirely claimed by somebody else, deadly seriously, recently and continuously*. However I still wouldn't even say 'yes and no'. There is too little daylight between believing Israel should not exist and being antisemitic in the real practical world to waste much effort trying to distinguish those two things. It's logically possible to believe the first and not be the second, but that's a negligibly rare POV in practice. It's entirely reasonable in general to assume that people calling for an end to the Jewish State are anti-Jewish.

*this is different than rhetorical flourishes saying for example the US, Canada, Australia etc should be given back to the aboriginal peoples there. That's not to say those people have no valid complaint, but literal expulsion of the Europeans is not a serious prospect.
  #37  
Old 02-12-2019, 09:40 AM
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Omar is a nitwit

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  #38  
Old 02-12-2019, 09:41 AM
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People apologize all the time for things they don't think were out of line, but others felt was hurtful. Helps And, as I pointed out before, this especially happens with politicians. Perhaps maybe she'll be more specific next time (and in her apology she does indeed call out lobbying by AIPAC - which has led some to say that it wasn't a real apology).

And of course, one does not have to agree with how a person understands their own words.
Again, her apology looked quite sincere, as it related the words she said to the harm that she often suffers from other people's words about her. Just because you want to think that her apology was insincere, I don't think that's the most plain reading of it. Had she written something different, like maybe "I've been misunderstood, you're attacking me because of my beliefs, but I'm sorry if someone was offended" then yeah, I could see that as not being an actual apology. But that's really not what she said.

Last edited by Ravenman; 02-12-2019 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:48 AM
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I would like to elaborate on my earlier statement. The problem with her tweets is that she is reducing extremely complex issues to 'they're being paid off.' This attitude largely is the attitude of anti-Semitic groups and feeds directly into their conspiracy narrative. AIPAC is often seen as a stand-in for 'Jews' in general among these conspiracy groups. It feeds those people. At its very, very best, she displays an incredible ignorance. American-Israeli relations have an extremely long and storied past that has led us to our current point. If AIPAC folded tomorrow, politicians aren't going to start not supporting Israel. At this point, AIPAC is largely extraneous to the conversation. As an elected official, she really should know that. Saying that various politicians pursue pro-Israel policies because they're getting money under the table is completely ignoring the political realities of the relationship. It's a reductive way of viewing politics that might sit well with the uninformed as a convenient narrative, but it is not truth (Anymore than the fiction that it's the NRA that is somehow controlling pro-gun politicians.) The fact that this particular reduction is the same reduction that hate groups make makes it egregious. It is trafficking in conspiracy theory where no conspiracy is required - which is exactly what anti-Semitic groups that are saying the same thing are doing. The fact that the most notable person defending her tweets is David Duke probably tells us something about them. When you reduce the issue to 'evil group (in this case Jews via AIPAC) is paying off politicians in order to oppress people' it's pretty easy to see why she needs called out. The most troubling thing about it is that she actually followed up on her original tweet. This tells you that she truly is engaged with these conspiracies and it wasn't simply a thoughtless blunder. That's not something that we should accept from our politicians.
  #40  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:11 AM
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...Why is Israel singled out for cancellation?

Also, what does "cease to exist" mean? If you're saying that Israel should change its laws and maybe it's name, then OK. We won't agree, but at least we can have a civilized discussion. If you're saying that a sovereign state, a UN member, should be dissolved or subsumed into another, that's a much bigger problem. And if you're saying that the Jewish population of Israel should be removed... can you advocate the exile or murder of millions of Jews without being an anti-Semite? If someone suggested doing that to the Palestinians, would you not accuse them of racism against Arabs? Because I know I would, and I have.
This was already done to the Palestinians. See the 1948 Palestinian exodus; people were driven from their homes or left because or the partitioning.
  #41  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:25 AM
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I don't think AIPAC is powerful because of money. J Street gives a million times more in campaign contributions.
I just have to break in here. There is no J Street in DC. While I realize there's some usage of J Street to mean AIPAC and other Jewish lobbying firms, most lobbying firms are on K Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Spent a great deal of time there at one point in my life.

Last edited by Jonathan Chance; 02-12-2019 at 10:27 AM.
  #42  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:28 AM
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They left or were driven out because of the civil war, not because of the partitioning, which never actually happened. It was a nasty war, too, much like the recent one in Syria - albeit with fewer refugees than the Syrian war. Just like in Syria, there was no mater plan to drive people out before the war. If there were, I’d be against it.

Anyway, two wrongs don’t make a right, do they?
  #43  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:31 AM
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I just have to break in here. There is no J Street in DC. While I realize there's some usage of J Street to mean AIPAC and other Jewish lobbying firms, most lobbying firms are on K Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Spent a great deal of time there at one point in my life.
“J-Street” is a recently-established DC-based advocy group that posits itself as a left-wing alternative to AIPAC. Look it up.
  #44  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:34 AM
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I think it would have been better if she was specific from the start that she was criticizing AIPAC. Some people would still have gotten upset, of course, because there are some ardent AIPAC supporters, just as there are some ardent Palestinian/Hamas/whatever-other-group-you-care-to-name supporters. It's impossible to discuss political, religious, social, or financial issues without offending someone.
I'd imagine she probably will be a bit more specific in the future. I will say her tweets were "It's all about the Benjamins, baby" followed by "AIPAC" when someone asked her to clarify. I'd imagine that second tweet would have specified the first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Again, her apology looked quite sincere, as it related the words she said to the harm that she often suffers from other people's words about her. Just because you want to think that her apology was insincere, I don't think that's the most plain reading of it. Had she written something different, like maybe "I've been misunderstood, you're attacking me because of my beliefs, but I'm sorry if someone was offended" then yeah, I could see that as not being an actual apology. But that's really not what she said.
Do you not think that people apologize for hurting other people while not necessarily seeing much wrong with what they've said? It's not insincere, per se. However, she did also make sure in her apology to critique pro-Israel lobbyists (all the while comparing AIPAC to the NRA, etc).
  #45  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:47 AM
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“J-Street” is a recently-established DC-based advocy group that posits itself as a left-wing alternative to AIPAC. Look it up.
Well, yes. I'm aware and mentioned it there. But it's clear from Ravenman's statement that he meant generalized lobbying. If J Street - as you've defined it - were to give 'a million times more' than AIPAC it would be contributing $3.5 trillion dollars per year at this point. AIPAC gave $3.5 million in 2018. J Street gave $4.1 million.

Look it up.

Last edited by Jonathan Chance; 02-12-2019 at 10:48 AM.
  #46  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:04 AM
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It feeds on the 'rich Jews controlling government' trope. I would liken it to a politician saying that black people support Democrats 'because of welfare.' It feeds on stereotypes whose original intent was to denigrate people of a particular race.

As such, I would indeed vote that Yes, it is anti-Semitic.
Nonsense. Condemnation of Israel is nowhere near the same thing as being antisemitic. Israel is a thuggish government that needs thrashing. It wouldn't matter if it was comprised of WASPs.
  #47  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:05 AM
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But that's still just being anti-Israel. Believing Israel doesn't deserve to exist is still just about the country, not about the people.
So if I say Ireland doesn't deserve to exist, I'm not anti-Irish? If I say Mexico doesn't deserve to exist, I'm not anti-Mexican? Seriously, that's an incredibly fucked up notion.

And what is the "country", if not the people?
  #48  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:17 AM
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It is very strange to argue that her comments were not anti-Semitic when she said in her own words that she wasn't aware of how hurtful her comments were in the context of anti-Semitic tropes.
Odd. I'd have derived the exact opposite conclusion. If she didn't know that her words could be interpreted as hateful, that implies she didn't intend them as hateful.

And it's already been explained that she was effectively forced to apologize. That does not mean she's sacrificing her ideals — one's got to pick one's fights.

Another oddity. One poster seems to insist that Ms. Omar was anti-Semitic even though, despite the hoopla, not one single comment by Ms. Omar has been presented which is anti-Semitic by that poster's own criterion! So the burden is on Ms. Omar's defenders to find every utterance or tweet that might be anti-Semitic and present them for approval/disapproval? Got it, I guess.
  #49  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:20 AM
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Well, yes. I'm aware and mentioned it there. But it's clear from Ravenman's statement that he meant generalized lobbying. If J Street - as you've defined it - were to give 'a million times more' than AIPAC it would be contributing $3.5 trillion dollars per year at this point. AIPAC gave $3.5 million in 2018. J Street gave $4.1 million.

Look it up.
No, you're wrong on both counts. First, I mean J Street, as in the advocacy organization. Second, AIPAC did not contribute $3.5 million to campaigns; they had lobbying expenses of $3.5 million. AIPAC gave basically nothing in campaign contributions. J Street was the opposite: they gave something like $4 million in campaign contributions, and had pretty small lobbying expenses.

Is that clear now?
  #50  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:25 AM
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Another oddity. One poster seems to insist that Ms. Omar was anti-Semitic even though, despite the hoopla, not one single comment by Ms. Omar has been presented which is anti-Semitic by that poster's own criterion! So the burden is on Ms. Omar's defenders to find every utterance or tweet that might be anti-Semitic and present them for approval/disapproval? Got it, I guess.
I can't speak for the other poster any any criteria they put forth, but I think it's perfectly clear that her comments as seen through a larger societal context were broadly viewed as hurtful. If one denies the broader context of the remarks, and one just looks at the words, I can see how someone will come to a conclusion that she did nothing wrong.

I think it is a mistake to ignore the broader context and just focus on the words, in a similar way to how some politicians seem to be saying to themselves right now, "Hey, I just dressed up like my favorite pop singer, what's wrong with that?"

ETA: Also since you mentioned it, I really take no opinion on whether she intended her tweets to be offensive. She says she didn't, so I'll just take her word on that.

Last edited by Ravenman; 02-12-2019 at 11:26 AM.
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