What's with this Jewish (or Zionist, maybe) stereotype?

I’m talking about the hateful attack I’ve seen on this board: the claim that Zionists will call anti-Zionists anti-Semites. And to avoid being called a hypocrite, I realize only some anti-Zionists make this claim. But it disturbs me because it often goes unchallenged, while anyone who makes the absurd direct-link between anti-semitism and anti-Israeli beliefs is quickly attacked (and rightfully so).

People who claim that feminists “hate men” start 10 page threads and the general consensus is that is bullshit. I feel it is the same way with this stereotype, yet it has not been addressed on this board. (At least I think. If it has, I apologize).

So, to the people that hold this belief: show me that a sizeable percent (> 33%) of Jews believe that if you don’t support Israel you must (i.e., not a correlation, and no exceptions) be an anti-semite. Otherwise, quit making this claim.

(And for those of you who want to see an example of this attack, see this. Or read some of the threads here about Israel, and you’ll see it come up, I’m sure.)

Firstly, I wouldn’t quite describe this as a “hateful attack”.

Secondly, I haven’t been in many recent threads on this, but there certainly have been posters (including a notorious now-banned one-trick-pony on the subject) who were very quick to fling - or insinuate - that those criticising the Israeli government/Sharon/Israel were anti-semitic.

Thirdly, it’s not necessarily Jews that would be relevant to your [33%] statistic - it would include non-Jews that are Zionists. There are plenty of Christian Zionists.

This subject certainly has come up before. In fact, I addressed it in this current thread.

The poster istara refers to (undoubtedly the late, not wholly lamented december) did on a number of occasions suggest that certain verbal/written attacks on Israel or omissions in news coverage had an anti-Semitic tinge. He was off-base on a number of these accusations IMO. Even december though never claimed that it was anti-Semitic per se to criticize Israel or its leaders. And I have never seen anyone else on these boards, no matter how fervently pro-Israel, make this claim.

This doesn’t stop certain posters on the other side of the fence from suggesting that they have been targeted as anti-Semites for criticizing Israel, or that off-board one is constantly at risk of this slam for being anti-Israel. No politician or pundit that I know of has ever slammed opponents of Israel in this way, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

It is certainly true that the more venomous and one-sided attacks on Israel are, the greater the likelihood that the person(s) making them are motivated (at least in part) by anti-Semitism. We’ve seen this happen on the SDMB.

Suggesting that anyone who critiques Israel gets whopped as an anti-Semite strikes me as misperception at best - at worst, it is either a ploy to deaden disagreement or an attempt to denigrate the seriousness of continuing anti-Semitism in the world.

My two cents.

A couple years ago (no, I haven’t found the link) I believe it was mr. december who played that card on me when I expressed limited support for the Palestinian cause and a dislike for the current Israeli government. When I explained that, I am(partially) of Jewish extraction he called me self-loathing. (shrug) You can’t win for losing with some people but that is why some folks have reason to assume that some others equate any disagreement with the policies of the nation of Israel with anti-Semitism.

So because one poster does it, it isn’t a stereotype?

And I don’t see this is less hateful than saying something like, “Black people always pull the race card.”

It has really reached a new low in the thread that Jackmannii links to.

There no one was even talking about Israel. Concerned was expressed about the alleged revival of the Christ-killer motiff and suddenly in come the screamers ranting about how Jews cry antisemitism about everything, that “anti-Semitism” seems to mean from being against an Ariel Sharon policy to throwing people in ovens, and any cause it suits in between, and that Jews use the Holocaust as a cheap PR tactic.

Hateful? IMHO, yes.

People can be and are against Israeli policies and without being antisemitic. Heck, most Zionists criticize aspects of Israeli policies. I believe that very little of the anti-Israel rhetoric in this board is motivated by Jew-hating. And most of those people soon get themselves banned for some reason or another without having to be called anti-semitic.

Antisemites do use attacks on Israel as a thin veneer for antisemitic attacks. When the criticisms are grossly one-sided, unfair, and distorted, despite adequate exposure to the facts, one begins to privately question the motivations. When distortions like comparing Israel to Nazis claims of genocide pop up, for example, one begins to suspect that it has crossed the line. Sometimes one does see the veneer wear very thin indeed. But even when I am convinced that someone’s positions are motivated by Jew hating, I am reluctant to level that charge. It is clear enough usually by the vitriol the posters express, and it is hard to prove motivation. Moreover cavalier use of the charge by some devalues it.

The problem is, there are two seperate kinds of anti-Israeli attitudes. The first is criticism of Israel’s policies, actions or leadership, which is perfectly legitimate. It’s similar to the mainstream European criticism of the U.S. - we don’t like what you’re doing, we don’t like the people you put in charge, but we’re willing to talk and settle our differences like adults. I can’t say I’m crazy about hearing this kind of criticism (I’m hardly a disinterested observer), but I can live with it, and it’s definitely not anti-semitism.

The second kind of anti-Israeli attitude is, essentially, Israel delinda est. Dismaying popular in the Muslim world, this approach has also appeared intermittantly elsewhere, even in Europe. In my opinion, this is anti-semitism - the will to destroy a sovereign nation can only be a product of fear and hatred, especially when one has no personal stake in the matter (which is why, for instance, a Palestinian who wants to destroy my country bothers me much les than a Swede who wishes to do the same). Unlike the first attitude, this I can’t live with.

The problem is that one can’t always tell the differnce between the first kind of anti-Israelism and the second, especially when you realize that those who advocate Israel’s destruction tend to be intentionally vague about their own point of view. I suspect that those who claim that anti-semitism doesn’t exist often tend to adhere to this latter group - after all, it only reinforces the vaguenesss.

DSeid “Sometimes one does see the veneer wear very thin indeed.”
What veneer?

I’ve read the linked thread and I agree that people who shout the loudest: ‘There’s no such thing as anti-semitism around here’ are the ones that lack any kind of veneer whatsover.

Begging pardon: I often don’t agree with Israel’s politicis, as I’m sure; people don’t agree with the Dutch.

But I do think there are some scary posters on this board, who ‘smell’ a bit of anti-semitism. No matter how hard they yell that “the holocaust is a cheap PR stunt”. ewww.

I wholeheartedly agree with your first two paragraphs, but it is the policy of some people to portray “A” as “B”, regardless of how finely “A” makes his point.

I think (especially in consideration of the quote I just posted) that we need to distinguish between the types of “anti-Zionism” that Alessan points out.

One can certainly criticize the Israeli government’s policies and not be antisemitic, just as one can criticize the U.S.'s actions and not be anti-American. However, I believe that one must excercise care in the way that they express those criticisms. It’s one thing to say (even strongly) that you disapprove of the demolition of Palestinian homes in Gaza and the West Bank. It’s another thing altogether to depict a cartoon of Ariel Sharon biting the heads off of Palestinian children. The former is strictly a criticism of a policy and actions, and does not evoke any of the classical images that have been used against Jews in the past; the latter harkens back to the blood libels, where Jews were accused of consuming the blood (or other portions) of Christians (and more recently Arabs) for their holiday celebrations.

Likewise a similar example occured several years ago when several armed Palestinian terrorists holed themselves up in the Church of the Nativity A siege ensued with the Israelis around the church. It’s one thing to criticize this action and this policy. It’s another thing altogether, however, to do as the Italian newspaper La Stampa did: they drew a cartoon depicting the baby Jesus hiding in his manger at the sight of the Israeli tank stating “Oh no, they don’t want to kill me again.” This too, evokes centuries-old hatred against Jews, this time for the alleged crime of deicide.

In both of the above cases, there were legitimate ways to criticize the Israeli government and their policies. However, in both cases, the criticizers went “over the line” that is between legitimate “anti-Zionism” and true antisemitism.

Zev Steinhardt

So we’re stereotyping those who stereotype the stereotypers, eh? :stuck_out_tongue:

Precisely; one now-departed poster used to do that, sometimes in a rather convoluted and backhanded way, and it drove me bonkers. Especially since many people in the “A” category are Jews, and even Jews who lost relatives in the Holocaust.

And I think this is one of the very rare issues on which I might have to part ways with Dr. King. Zionism is almost as loaded a term as anti-Semitism, and I think we have to observe carefully how people use their terms, requesting clarifications when necessary.

This is such a tough question.

I don’t know how to phrase this other than by saying “Some of my best friends are Jews …”

I am thinking in particular of a very good friend of mine, whose opinion I hold in very high regard.

He was heard to utter the phrase “The Canadian Left is anti-semitic.” After I removed my jaw from the floor I eventually managed to establish that what he actually meant was “The federal NDP party is anti-semitic.” The reasoning went that Svend Robinson (a member of the party) was active in the Middle East issue, advocating for the Palistinian side. (The wisdom of the decision to give Mr Robinson the Middle East portfolio is another matter altogether.) Since the rest of the party didn’t immediately condemn him for this, the whole team gets tarred. That was his point as near as I can tell, anyway.

This really upset me because, well, on the face of it it’s quite absurd to make such a claim about ‘The Canadian Left’ - if such a thing exists, it certainly includes Judy Rebick, Naomi Klein, Michele Landsberg and other Jews too numerous to mention. But the fact that he could even think such a thing belies (to me) a kind of knee-jerky attitude of ‘Well, if you’re against the Occupation you must be anti-semitic’ that I have seen traces of in Jews that I know. This particular conversation with my esteemed friend ended with him claiming exactly this, and when I asked him “So, if you met a Jew who was against the Occupation, you would say that s/he’s not ‘really’ Jewish?” and he agreed.

This scares me, because I cannot dismiss him as an abberation. He comes from a prominent family of philanthropists, they are fantastic people, somewhat influential in the community, and I can’t imagine that he came up with this idea on his own.

My suspicion that anti-Zionism is usually related to anti-Semitism comes from the question, “Why are all these people so passionate about how Israel treats the Palestinians when one could easily list dozens of far more repressive regimes and much more horrific violations of human rights going on in the world at any given time, all of which are largely ignored?” Look at the thread on “Is there an hope for Africa?” for an example of what I mean.

OK, I get it that Israel is an industrialized modern country and is supposed to be more civilized, so we’re going to be more disappointed when they fail to come up with non-repressive techniques for dealing with the Palestinians. But the sheer venom and ferocity of the critics has to make you wonder. Where were all the Rachel Corries when Saddam was bulldozing the trees in Northern Iraq, or draining the swamps in the South? Russia in Chechna? North Korea starving hundreds of thousands of civilians?

There are Israeli policies I definitely disagree with, and no one is going to argue that being a Palestinian is a stroll in the park, but the disproportionate amount of press exposure and UN censure given both the geographic area and number of people involved has to make you wonder about people’s motives.

Several posters have cited concrete examples of what they feel goes “over the line” into hate speech.

The posters who disagree with the premise of the OP could do a service by similarly citing specific examples. For example, it would be useful to document any instance on this board where a poster was attacked as an anti-Semite merely for critiquing Israeli policy.

Even if the only person you think did this was an ahem, former poster, name of december, ssshhhhh, can’t mention the name!

Root out those example(s) and let’s have a look.

Well, I’m glad to see the search function is once again at least partially functional, because for a while there it was telling me that december and I had never posted in the same thread. But here’s one example that springs to mind:


Look at p. 2. He never came out and called me an anti-Semite (which would be silly), but the veiled accusations were pretty clear to me. Pro-terrorist, anti-Semite, or whatever term you care to use, once the distinctions have been blurred beyond all recognition, it’s difficult to reclaim the actual meanings of the words.

Well, OK then.

Caveat: I really like Eve, enjoy her posts, and don’t have a problem with her at all; I wasn’t annoyed or upset by her post, just mystified by its accusations. This is not meant as an attack, merely the latest example of this phenomenon that I can recall.

Now, I would agree that prejudice exists on the board. But in that particular thread, though I saw criticism of Israel’s policies, I didn’t see any “anti-Jew” sentiments in the thread prior to her posting it, yet she said “in this thread”.

Actually, it’s a bit too veiled for me.

Reading the exchanges between the two of you, what I see is december claiming you were too harsh on Israel while not devoting sufficient attention to other ills in the world, including the following statement: “I have a sense that you tend to criticize the United States and Israel more than other countries.”

If he is even subtly calling you an anti-Semite in those passages, I’ve missed it.
I realize the search function is crapped up, but do you have anything more compelling to cite than that?

I’ll look, but as december knew damn well that I’m Jewish, it would have been ludicrous for him to outright call me an anti-Semite. And well, it may have been veiled, but at least one other poster apparently saw it that way as well.

I don’t see the connection…she’s merely saying that through this board she’s found out how much anti-Semitism there is in the world, not on this board.