Sunday, April 10, 2016

Exposing a Formal Fallacy: Peter Beinart vs. Jonathan Sacks

There is a canard going around that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. For example, the title of a recent article by Jonathan Sacks, the ex-chief rabbi of Great Britain, makes this into a formal equation: Anti-Zionism is the New anti-Semitism

Sacks, of course, may not have chosen this title, but the title which makes the formal equation (anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism) is consistent with the tenor of the article. Sacks is saying anti-Zionists are anti-Semites. At the very least, he's saying if you’re an anti-Zionist you're automatically suspect for being an anti-Semite.

Peter Beinart takes issue with this. Beinart is very admiring and complimentary of Sacks but suggests that to make a formal equation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism dehumanizes Palestinians.

Sacks says this:
"Anti-Semitism is a classic example of what anthropologist RenĂ© Girard sees as the primal form of human violence: scapegoating. When bad things happen to a group, its members can ask two different questions: “What did we do wrong?” or “Who did this to us?” The entire fate of the group will depend on which it chooses."
And that makes Beinart’s point. Anti-Semitism is scapegoating the Jews for (God knows what?) The point is the scapegoat bears the sin of others: the scapegoat is either innocent, or not the main problem. And that’s very obviously not true about Zionism. It is Zionism that drove 700,000+ from the land and won’t let them come back; it is Zionism that engages in military occupation and oppression of millions for 50 years now. Opposition to that is not scapegoating the Jews. And by Sacks’ own definition that makes anti-Zionism not anti-Semitism.

Now can anti-Zionists also be anti-Semites. Sure. But that’s an entirely different question….it has NOTHING to do with anti-Zionism. The strong claim that anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism is a formal logical fallacy. It is entirely lacking in merit.

What about the weaker, factual claim that many anti-Zionists also happen to be anti-Semites. That weaker claim, of course, is in the prejudiced eye of the beholder....  In order to back it up, you'd have to do studies; and designing objective studies about such a thing would be very tricky. Sacks cites a 2013 European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights study which surveyed the subjective feelings of 5,847 European Jews in an on-line survey. 66% of respondents reported anti-Semitism to be a problem. This included 35% of respondents who perceived any criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. Gathering data like this is important and necessary, but this study provides no information that would permit a conclusion that anti-Zionists are anti-Semites. 

Sacks also cites a Brandeis University study of Jewish students who reported having been exposed to "anti-Semitic rhetoric" on college campuses. "Much of the intimidation on campus," he said "is stirred by 'Israel Apartheit' weeks and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel." This rather begs the question and assumes that BDS activism is anti-Semitism. 

Once the formal claim (anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism) is rejected—which it must be because it's a logical fallacy—then when you identify someone as an anti-Zionist, you’ve told me NOTHING about whether the anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite, or not. 

Sacks is trying to move anti-Zionism into the definition of anti-Semitism, which is invalid.

Follow me on Twitter @RolandNikles.

27 comments:

  1. It may be logical fallacy but alas, certain political and social positions "feel" a certain way. The way that BDS and anti-Zionism feels is that Israelis are the "bad guys" and Palestinians are the "good guys."
    One might say that is an over simplification. I agree. It is also an over simplification to say that Zionism forced out thousands of Arabs from their land. It neglects several political upheavals. World War 1. The destruction of the Ottoman Republic, World War 2. The Holocaust. The internal politics of post-colonial England and France. The recalcitrance of Arab neighbors to accept the UN vote in 1948. And primarily the nearly literal fog of war that covered the region and the world.
    Among my many issues with the BDS/Anti Zionist movement is that it seems to gloss over the Saudis and Emirates war in Yemen. The debacles in Syria and Iraq. The near genocide in Southern Sudan.
    Despite a world "on fire", the anti Zionists seem to focus on Israel as the major threat to peace in the world. While it may not be "scapegoating", it seems like misplaced priorities if one's goal is a peaceful, prosperous world.

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  2. Thanks, Don. Good and valid points all, except I think the misplaced priorities issue. You are right, of course, that the I/P issue is a minor one if you're a Martian looking at this from 0.704 astronomical units away.... Now, as you know, I don't believe in God, but if you're Yaweh you would take a particular interest in this conflict over, say what is going in Yemen. And as for Jews and hangers on of Jews and Judaism, it is a key issue to be paying attention to, because it is causing serious havoc with the religion and the community.

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  3. .... and, we should acknowledge that if one is looking at this from Gaza or Hebron....! and this is, after all, where BDS comes from.

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  4. "It is Zionism that drove 700,000+ from the land and won’t let them come back;"
    Not really.
    "Research reported by the Arab-sponsored Institute for Palestine Studies in Beirut, stated “the majority of the Arab refugees in 1948 were not expelled, but that 68% left without seeing an Israeli soldier.”
    “The Arab exodus from the villages was not caused by the actual battle, but by the exaggerated description spread by Arab leaders to incite them to fight the Jews”
- Yunes Ahmed Assad, refugee from the town of Deir Yassin, in Al Urdun, April 9, 1953
    The Arab States encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies.
- Falastin (Jordanian newspaper), February 19, 1949
    “It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem.”
- Near East Arabic Broadcasting Station, Cyprus, April 3, 1949
    “Since 1948 it is we who demanded the return of the refugees… while it is we who made them to leave… We brought disaster upon Arab refugees, by inviting them and bringing pressure to bear upon them to leave… We have rendered them dispossessed… We have accustomed them to begging… We have participated in lowering their moral and social level… Then we exploited them in executing crimes of murder, arson, and throwing bombs upon… men, women and children – all this in service of political purposes…”
- Khaled al Azm, Syria’s Prime Minister after the 1948 war
    “The refugees were confident that their absence would not last long and that they would return within a week or two. Their leaders had promised them that the Arab armies would crush the ‘Zionist gangs’ very quickly and that there was no need for panic or fear of a long exile.”
- Monsignor George Hakim, Greek Catholic Bishop of Galilee, in the Beirut newspaper Sada al Janub, August 16, 1948
    “The Arabs did not want to submit to a truce they rather preferred to abandon their homes, their belongings and everything they possessed in the world and leave the town. This is in fact what they did.”
amal Husseini, Acting Chairman of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee, speaking to the United Nations Security Council. Quoted in the UNSC Official Records (N. 62), April 23,1948,p.14
    “As early as the first months of 1948 the Arab League issued orders exhorting the [Arab Palestinian] people to seek a temporary refuge in neighboring countries, later to return to their abodes in the wake of the victorious Arab armies and obtain their share of abandoned Jewish property.” – bulletin of The Research Group for European Migration Problems, 1957

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  5. Part 2
    "“This wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boasting of an unrealistic Arab press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only a matter of some weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab States and the Palestinian Arabs enabled to re-enter and retake possession of their country.”
- Edward Atiyah (then Secretary of the Arab League Office in London) in The Arabs (London, 1955), p. 183
    “The mass evacuation, prompted partly by fear, partly by order of Arab leaders, left the Arab quarter of Haifa a ghost city…By withdrawing Arab workers, their leaders hoped to paralyze Haifa.”.
- Time Magazine, May 3, 1948, p. 25
    “The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence of the action of the Arab States in opposing Partition and the Jewish State. The Arab States agreed upon this policy unanimously and they must share in the solution of the problem,
- Emil Ghoury, Secretary of the Arab Higher Committee, the official leadership of the Palestinian Arabs, in the Beirut newspaper, Daily Telegraph, September 6, 1948
    “The Arab governments told us: Get out so that we can get in. So we got out, but they did not get in.”
- from the Jordan daily Ad Difaa, September 6, 1954
    “The Arab civilians panicked and fled ignominiously. Villages were frequently abandoned before they were threatened by the progress of war.”
- General Glubb Pasha, in the London Daily Mail on August 12, 1948
    “[The Arabs of Haifa] fled in spite of the fact that the Jewish authorities guaranteed their safety and rights as citizens of Israel.”
- Monsignor George Hakim, Greek Catholic Bishop of Galilee, according to Rev. Karl Baehr, Executive Secretary of the American Christian Palestine Committee, New York Herald Tribune, June 30, 1949
    “Every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives, to get their shops and businesses open and to be assured that their lives and interests will be safe. [However] …A large road convoy, escorted by [British] military . . . left Haifa for Beirut yesterday. . . . Evacuation by sea goes on steadily. …[Two days later, the Jews were] still making every effort to persuade the Arab populace to remain and to settle back into their normal lives in the towns… [as for the Arabs,] another convoy left Tireh for Transjordan, and the evacuation by sea continues. The quays and harbor are still crowded with refugees and their household effects, all omitting no opportunity to get a place an one of the boats leaving Haifa.””
- Haifa District HQ of the British Police, April 26, 1948, quoted in Battleground by Samuel Katz

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  6. Part 3
    "“the military and civil authorities and the Jewish representative expressed their profound regret at this grave decision [to evacuate]. The [Jewish] Mayor of Haifa made a passionate appeal to the delegation to reconsider its decision”
- The Arab National Committee of Haifa, told to the Arab League, quoted in The Refugee in the World, by Joseph B. Schechtman, 1963
    “The Arab exodus, initially at least, was encouraged by many Arab leaders, such as Haj Amin el Husseini, the exiled pro-Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem, and by the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine. They viewed the first wave of Arab setbacks as merely transitory. Let the Palestine Arabs flee into neighboring countries. It would serve to arouse the other Arab peoples to greater effort, and when the Arab invasion struck, the Palestinians could return to their homes and be compensated with the property of Jews driven into the sea.”
- Kenneth Bilby, in New Star in the Near East (New York, 1950), pp. 30-31
    “We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in. The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down.”
- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said, quoted in Sir Am Nakbah (“The Secret Behind the Disaster”) by Nimr el Hawari, Nazareth, 1952"
    And there is much more of that.

    "Zionism that engages in military occupation and oppression of millions for 50 years now. "
    Not really.

    The nation state of the Jewish People was attacked. The attackers lost. The losers refuse to negotiate a mutually agreed peace. Not "Zionism" at all.

    "Zionism" is the national liberation movement of the Jewish People. Now, one can be against ALL national liberation movements - that's fine. But if someone objects to ONLY the Jewish People achieving national rights, (enshrined in international law written in 1922, no less) that IS "antisemitism, by definition.

    "This rather begs the question and assumes that BDS activism is anti-Semitism. "
    Once again, boycotting and sanctioning one entity, while other commit equal or greater transgressions, and aiming those sanctions to ELIMINATE that one entity, which also happens to be Jewish, completely fits the definition of anti-semitism.

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  7. Thank you for that, William.

    During any war, refugees flee for diverse reasons, and they do so in a welter of confusion. The point remains: but for Zionism this war doesn't happen. And the point remains: because of Zionism none of the refugees were allowed back.

    Not sure I'm following you on the occupation. Any way you view Arab belligerence in '67, anyone under ~68 years of age in the West Bank and Gaza had nothing to do with this. In the intervening time they have lived under Israeli military occupation, and Israel has built Jewish-only infrastructure in the West Bank and moved 600,000+ settlers there. Settlement of the West Bank walks and talks like a continuation of '48 Zionism--except that none of Palestinians there are given citizenship, equality, due process of law, state resources, or economic opportunity.

    "National liberation movement of the Jewish people?" That's a bigger discussion. But any way you look at Zionism, there is nothing "liberating" about it for the Palestinians who live there. When I look at Jewish identity in 1930 I see a religion formed in diaspora for a people spread around the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, and later the world. The story of this religion includes an intimate connection to Eretz Israel, but that does not make an ethnic-religious colonial project in Eretz Israel a "liberation movement."

    What Zionism has achieved in the past 120 years is very impressive. However, there are fundamental problems baked into the idea of a religious ethnocracy (in a land where Jews are only ~50% of the population currently. Many warned against this from the get go. Since Judaism has placed this ethnocracy at the center of the religion since '48, and more so since '67.... failing to solve the puzzle of a just society in Israel/Palestine will harm not just the Palestinians, but Israel and Judaism itself.

    For those of us who care about Judaism, it's important that Israel get's it's democratic house in order--and we can't rely on the Israelis to get it done because they don't seem interested. See also my comment above re "why pick on Israel."

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    1. Part 2
      "Settlement of the West Bank walks and talks like a continuation of '48 Zionism--except that none of Palestinians there are given citizenship, equality, due process of law, state resources, or economic opportunity. "
      Settlement of Judea and Samaria proceeds according to international law, whether it is the Mandate, or the Oslo Accords. Citizenship, law, etc., cannot be extended to those territories since that would signify annexation - prohibited by international law.

      " it's important that Israel get's it's democratic house in order--and we can't rely on the Israelis to get it done because they don't seem interested. "
      I would suggest that those of us interested in democracy, and respecting it, need to leave "house ordering" to the Israeli electorate. After all, it is their lives, and the lives of their children that are on the line, not those of us who sit in relative comfort and security in the West.

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  8. Thank you for your response. When discussing "Zionism" it is fair enough that an acceptable definition is hammered out. There are, and have been innumerable "liberation movements" in recent history. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:National_liberation_movements)
    Why deny the Jewish People the same right to theirs? The Jewish People have identified themselves, since Biblical times, and up to date, as a "Nation", a "People" many, but not all of whom follow one or another of the branches of the religion.

    Now you wrote": ""It is Zionism that drove 700,000+ from the land and won’t let them come back;". You stepped that back, somewhat, and stated "but for Zionism this war doesn't happen." One can respond that but for Arab rejectionism of international law, this war doesn't happen. And refugees were not allowed back because they never dropped their rejectionism...and haven't to date.

    I am not sure what exactly you do not follow about the (so-called) occupation. Judea and Samaria are territories in dispute. They were occupied by Jordan. Jordan attacked Isrtael. Israel is now administering those territories. The Arab leadership has refused to negotiate a mutually agreed peace. Thus the "occupation" continues until some satisfactory solution is negotiated.

    "Israel has built Jewish-only infrastructure in the West Bank and moved 600,000+ settlers there."
    There is no law that forbids any Jew from deciding to build a home on that disputed land. No Jews were "transferred" in. No Arabs were "transferred" out. Indeed, according to international law which is the Mandate for Palestine, Jewish immigration was to be encouraged and "facilitated":
    ART. 6.

    The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes".

    "Settlement of the West Bank walks and talks like a continuation of '48 Zionism--except that none of Palestinians there are given citizenship, equality, due process of law, state resources, or economic opportunity.
    "Settlement of the West Bank walks and talks like a continuation of '48 Zionism--except that none of Palestinians there are given citizenship, equality, due process of law, state resources, or economic opportunity.

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  10. I would like to share this essay with you.

    As I see it, it is actually Zionism that has a much closer ideological affinity to Nazi-style anti-Semitism than anti-Zionism

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    1. Your comment that "Zionism that has a much closer ideological affinity to Nazi-style anti-Semitism" is incorrect.

      As you wrote in your paper: "Both the Zionists as well as the anti-Semites broadly viewed Jews in Europe as fundamentally alien and the Jewish presence in Europe as immensely harmful: the anti-Semites because it harmed the non-Jews, and the Zionists because it harmed the Jews."

      That is partly true, as far as it goes. European antisemites tried to isolate, wall off, expel, and finally murder the Jews amongst them. No efforts on the part of the Jews to "fit in" would ever succeed. As a result, Herzl's concept was that since antisemitism started with a Jewish Diaspora, (perhaps as early as Xerxes of Persia), the solution would be to end the Diaspora. To that end, then, in the 20th century, the Zionists worked to convince the world powers that the Jewish People deserved the same as all other Nations and People, that is, their own state; (the British in large part agreed and encouraged the establishment of a Jewish Homeland in large part to get rid of their own Jews). Today, some of the best friends to the Jewish Nation and People(Yes! Jews are a Nation, and a People, many but not all of whom practice some branch of the Jewish religion) are Evangelical Christians, whose goal, supposedly is, in the end, to convert all the Jews to Christianity.

      But to compare Zionist ideology to Nazi ideology is incorrect, unacceptable, and offensive.

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    2. Thank you Siddhartha for the link to your article. It's fascinating and interesting. Thank you both for the discussion.

      For my review of Corey Robin's article about Hannah Arendt I looked at Riefenstahl's film "Will to Power." This documented the Sixth Party Congress in 1934. Hitler had proclaimed that from the beginning, the goal of National Socialism was to be the sole political force in Germany. "The aim must be [for] all Germans [to] become National Socialists," he said. ... And I was struck by Rudolf Hess, the deputy party leader, who expressed this idea this way: "Thanks to your leadership," he said, addressing Hitler, "Germany will achieve its goal, to be a Homeland ... for all Germans of the world." [See Reifenstahl's Will to Power @24:00] A Nazi ruled homeland for racially pure Germans .... and no others.

      It's hard not to see parallels in this to "Israel is the Jewish homeland for all Jews of the world...."

      Over at +972 magazine, Noam Rotem also wrote recently about the historic connection between Zionists and National Socialists.

      I'll try to gather these points in a new post.

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    3. Greece is the homeland for all Greeks in the world. Japan is the homeland for Japanese, and Denmark is the homeland for the Danes of the world. Israel, the nation state of the Jewish People is the homeland for the Jews of the world..... NOTHING!!!! about "racially pure". NOTHING!!!!! about "and no others"!! Those who suggest there are "parallels" either have a vivid imagination, or malevolence in their hearts, or perhaps a combination of the two.

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  12. Japan is NOT the home of all people of Japanese origin (or ethnic Japanese) in the world. Today, we Americans rightly feel ashamed that during WWII we thought that ethnic Japanese could never think of America as their real homeland and become full-fledged American citizens. Do you feel that the U.S. is not the homeland of Japanese-Americans, and they should go back to Japan?

    Imagine what would happen if the (communist) President of China were to declare in a speech in Congress that he is the true representatives of all ethnic Chinese worldwide, including all Chinese-Americans, and that President Obama does not represent ethnic Chinese American citizens. This is exactly what Netanyahu (and probably other Zionst leaders) does regularly. Netanyahu's claim to be the leader of all Jews worldwide, also implies, by the way, that he does not see himself as representing Israeli citizens of Arab ethnicity.

    Chinese-Americans, Indian-Americans, African-Americans do not think that their homeland is overseas and that they are merely expatriates in America. Nor do they have "birthright trips" to "restore" the connection to their faraway "homelands". Nor do they get automatic Chinese, Indian, etc., citizenship, by virtue of their ethnicity.

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    1. Part 2
      "it is worth remembering that the Zionist movement emerged before either the Bolshevik movement in RUSSIA or the Young Turks movement in TURKEY, and almost a quarter century before the establishment of the Nazi Party in GERMANY."
      Note, that these were ALL EXISTING states. The Zionist Movement had no such "state" in which to "emerge". Indeed, the very definition of Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish People to re-establish their state in the land in which the Jewish People came into existence, and in which they had always lived, in greater or lesser numbers. Their core belief does not include an Exodus out of slavery from Egypt to Uganda, or Alaska. They do not pray multiple times daily for their redemption in Kampala, nor do they believe that their souls, and those of all their departed of blessed memory will be resurrected first from Lake Victoria., not Jerusalem.

      "More importantly, over the years various proposals for a Jewish refuge were made, but were deliberately rejected by the Zionists."
      Please name "all" those "proposals", specifically. And, BTW, please also mention Herzl's other plans to save the Jewish People from the scourge of antisemitism, including his idea for a mass conversion.


      "Even in Palestine, the Zionists gave higher priority to acquiring all the nationalistic bells and whistles thought necessary for a proper nation-state, than to establishing a refuge for persecuted Jews."
      Yet again, total, complete, unmitigated idiocy!! It was the British acquiescence to Arab rejectionism, beginning with the 1920 Abu Mussa riots, that prevented the earlier re-establishment of the Jewish State, (as well as the need for an ingathering of the exiles, so that the re-established state would be both Jewish AND democratic.)

      "Even Ben Gurion wrote "had [the Peel Commission plan for a two-state solution] been carried out, the history of our people would have been different and six million Jews in Europe would not have been killed - most of them would be in Israel.""
      INDEED!! Disregarding for the moment that the recommendations of the Peel Commission would have violated standing international law, "The British government accepted the recommendations of the Peel Commission regarding the partition of Palestine, and the announcement was endorsed by Parliament in London. Among the Jews, bitter disagreements erupted between SUPPORTERS and opponents, while the Arabs REJECTED the proposal and REFUSED to regard it as a solution. The plan was ultimately shelved."

      I ask you once again, especially in the context of the history of the Jewish People over the last 2000 years, when, as you note, "It is true that Jews have been persecuted very very severely in the past two centuries," (of course that is a typo - you meant the last TWENTY CENTURIES!!) why do you not have any problem with a nation state for Czechs, Danes, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, or Indians, but one for the Jews, (and apparently only the Jews), is "unnecessary"?

      No. Despite your clear, ingrained prejudices, you cannot deny that Herzl's conclusion to his book Der Judenstaat has become reality:
      "Therefore I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will spring into existence. The Maccabeans will rise again.
      Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who wish for a State will have it.
      We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes.
      The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness.
      And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare, will react powerfully and beneficially for the good of humanity."

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  13. Ah! As always, the true motivation will out eventually, despite all the erudite overlying obfuscations.

    Please note, the term is "homeland", not "home". And the definition of "homeland" is: "a state or area set aside to be a state for a people of a particular national, cultural, or racial origin?" While one can feel "at home" as a citizen of any country", one's "homeland" may, and often is, different. That does not mean that "they should go back" to it, but it is there for them, should they wish to. (See: Alberto Fujimori, ex-President of Peru.)

    History over the past 2000 years has shown that regardless of which country members of the Jewish People may have felt "at home' in, the rest of the country often did not share that view. But for 2000 years, they had no homeland to which to return for refuge, until 1948. THAT! is what P.M. Netanyahu was talking about when he said: "My responsibility is to worry not only about the State of Israel, but also the future of the Jewish people,” - a quote which you seem to willfully misrepresent. A further misrepresentation, "Netanyahu's claim to be the leader of all Jews worldwide, also implies, by the way, that he does not see himself as representing Israeli citizens of Arab ethnicity." is clearly refuted by his very next sentence: "I feel I am the representative of all Israel, even those who disagree with me. I feel a deep concern for the fate of Israel. I will do everything to guarantee our future,"

    "This is exactly what Netanyahu (and probably other Zionst leaders) does regularly." Please provide concrete, factual evidence to support that allegation.

    "Chinese-Americans, Indian-Americans, African-Americans do not think that their homeland is overseas"
    There are literally BILLIONS of Chinese, of Indians, of Africans, in the world today. In the entire world there may be a grand sum total of 13 million people who identify themselves as "Jews". The Jewish People is identified by, and identify with, the land in which they came into existence 4000 years ago, and from which they had been exiled for the last 2000 years. And ONLY the Jewish People have been consistently discriminated against, degraded, expelled, burnt, gassed, tortured and murdered throughout those 2000 years, simply and solely for being "Jews", in exile.

    Finally, as all sovereign states, Israel has the right to establish, maintain, and enforce its own immigration laws. India does, indeed, give preference to returning ethnic Indians. As do Greece, and Ireland, and....

    So what, exactly, is your beef?

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    1. So, according to your logic, the U.S. can be a "home" for African-Americans or Jewish-Americans or Irish-Americans, but can never be a "homeland" for them? Let's take the example of Ireland, since there are not BILLIONS of Irish. For Irish-Americans, I guess their "homeland" is Ireland, and they have the right to go "back" to Ireland whenever they please, and kick out recent immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Poland, etc., for whom Ireland is merely a "home" and not a "homeland".

      Sure, sovereign states have a right to their own immigration laws and many states have had racist immigration laws, which have favored or barred certain races (e.g., the Chinese Exclusion Law in the US). The mere fact that this has happened (and still happens in some countries) does not make it right.

      I think any attempt to establish a one-to-one relationship between ethnic, cultural, or religious groups that exist today and pieces of territory on which they supposedly lived two-thousand years ago is absurd. Human beings, having a tendency to move and intermix, cannot be grouped by two-thousand-year-old territorial homelands. And if one accepts the logic of a two-thousand year old territorial homeland, surely religious conversion should not negate that right. Many descendants of Biblical Jews converted to Christianity and Islam. As Shlomo Sand like to point out, the Hamas fighters of today are likely to be much more closely related by descent to Maccabees and Bar Kokhba than the Russian soldiers in the IDF.

      It is true that Jews have been persecuted very very severely in the past two centuries. What if the horrors of Nazi-style anti-Semitism were to befall us once again? So the idea of a refuge or some kind of special protection for Jews is a reasonable one. But is support for Zionism essential according to this logic? One cannot escape the fact that as far as establishing a safe refuge for Jews goes, Zionism has been a miserable failure. The Holocaust stands as evidence of Zionism's complete and utter failure in this regard. So, even if we set aside the question of whether or not it is ethical to subject the Palestinians to a terrible occupation to cater to the possible future needs of the World's Jews, it seems to me that Zionism is neither necessary (because a refuge does not have to be an ethnically defined Jewish State located in the Holy Land) nor sufficient (because history has shown that Zionism failed to establish a refuge for persecuted Jews when the need was most urgent and the opportunity to do so still existed).

      Thanks,

      Sid

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    2. Wow! I feel like a mosquito at a nudist convention. I don't know where to start.

      "but can never be a "homeland" for them"
      "Never" is a very long time. But yes, there is a defined difference between a "home" and a "homeland".

      Ireland:
      "Irish nationality law provides for Irish citizenship to be acquired on the basis of at least one Irish grandparent. Irish law also automatically grants citizenship at birth to any Individual born abroad to a parent born in Ireland"
      For other countries, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_of_return#Ireland
      "and kick out recent immigrants"
      Where do you get the idiotic idea that Israel's right of return has anything to do with kicking anyone out?

      "many states have had racist immigration laws, which have favored or barred certain races "
      Favoring one type of immigrant (Francophones for Quebec, Muslims for Saudi Arabia) is NOT AT ALL the same as BARRING certain races. Certainly the nation state of the Jewish People favors returning Jews, since that, in fact, is its raison d'etre. But it does not BAR anyone of any creed, color, race, or religion from applying for citizenship, according to its laws.

      "any attempt to establish a one-to-one relationship between ethnic, cultural, or religious groups that exist today and pieces of territory on which they supposedly lived two-thousand years ago is absurd."
      How about "a one-to-one relationship between ethnic, cultural, or religious groups" based on international law - in this case, written in 1922, and very much valid today?

      "Human beings, having a tendency to move and intermix, cannot be grouped"
      Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenians, etc., etc. disagree with you.

      "As Shlomo Sand like to point out"
      Sands has been thoroughly discredited.
      http://www.cell.com/AJHG/abstract/S0002-9297(10)00246-6

      'How I Stopped' Reading Shlomo Sand's Crackpot Memoirs ...
      forward.com/.../how-i-stopped-reading-shlomo-sands-crack.
      Shlomo Sand's False Illusion - Opinion - Haaretz - Israel ...
      www.haaretz.com › Opinion
      Haaretz

      "One cannot escape the fact that as far as establishing a safe refuge for Jews goes, Zionism has been a miserable failure. "
      Oh, I don't know. Residents of Israel have qualified as the 1tth happiest in the world, outranking the U.S., Belgium, Ireland and Austria.

      "The Holocaust stands as evidence of Zionism's complete and utter failure in this regard. "
      What total idiocy. If rthere only had been an Israel in existence in the 1930's, the Shoah would most likely never have happened. As it was, with no Jewish state, and no other state willing to admit the doomed Jews of Europe, 6 million were murdered

      "ethical to subject the Palestinians to a terrible occupation to cater to the possible future needs of the World's Jews"
      More idiotic nonsense. There were no "Palestinians" until they were invented in 1964. And then they attacked Israel in 1967. And they lost their gamble; but they have refused to negotiate a mutually agreed peace - ergo, the "terrible occupation" (what exactly is so terrible about it?) continues. the only "future need of the world's Jews that is being catered to" is THEIR SURVIVAL!!!

      "it seems to me that Zionism is neither necessary (because a refuge does not have to be an ethnically defined Jewish State located in the Holy Land)"
      What can I say. The overwhelming majority of the world's Jews, and international law, completely disagree with you.

      Perhaps, however, you can answer a question for me. Why do you not have any problem with a nation state for Czechs, Danes, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, or Indians, but one for the Jews, (and apparently only the Jews), is "unnecessary"?

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    3. Many states grant citizenship to children and grandchildren of citizens born abroad. However the parents or grandparents have acquired citizenship of the state based on birth or residency in the territory of the state, not by virtue of ethnic purity. Israel has granted (and continues to grant) citizenship to ethnic Jews whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, great-great-great-grandparents, etc., have never set foot on the territory of the state. Israel also explicitly denies citizenship and residency rights to people of the "wrong" ethnicity (Arab Christians and Muslims) who were born or have lived on the territory of the state, or whose parents or grandparents were born and have lived in the territory of the state, but were driven from their homes and villages by force or fear during wartime.

      The other states you cite are basically territorial states rather than ethnic states, and citizenship is based on birth or residency on the territory of the state, if not of the person himself, then his parents/grandparents. In fact, there is quite a number of Indian citizens who have at least some British ancestor. Moreover, there is a vast Indian diaspora who do not have automatic citizenship rights based on ethnicity, though they may certainly have cultural, religious and even family linkages to India (they can of course move to India and become a naturalized citizen as a person of any ethnicity can). So India is not the nation-state of all ethnic Indians worldwide. India is a state made up of Indians citizens. If you want to call this a nation-state, then it is a nation-state where membership of the nation derives from birth or residency on the territory of the state, rather than from ethnicity. Nor can someone be denied citizenship solely because he or she belongs to the "wrong" ethnicity.

      "Palestinians" were invented in 1964??? Well, call them what you will, but you can't deny that there were actual human beings living in the Holy Land long before 1964, and long before the advent of Zionism. This was an actual society, a complex and composite society, made up of Muslims, Christians and some Jews as well, a society with its own history and culture, though not without its own problems and its own internal schisms.

      Regarding the failure of Zionism to save the Jews from the Holocaust, well the First Zionist Congress, took place in 1897, some three and a half decades before the Nazis seized power in Germany. To put this in historical perspective, it is worth remembering that the Zionist movement emerged before either the Bolshevik movement in Russia or the Young Turks movement in Turkey, and almost a quarter century before the establishment of the Nazi Party in Germany. More importantly, over the years various proposals for a Jewish refuge were made, but were deliberately rejected by the Zionists. In one of the early Zionist Congresses (1903, IIRC), a British plan for establishing a Jewish refuge in Uganda was brought up. Theodor Herzl wanted to set up committee to explore the question, but he was heckled off the stage. All proposals for a Jewish refuge were deliberately ignored or rejected by the Zionists because such plans did not conform to the ethnic nationalistic vision of a Jewish national home on their ethnic homeland, but which, if acted upon might have provided an alternative to the gas chambers for many European Jews in the 1940s. Even in Palestine, the Zionists gave higher priority to acquiring all the nationalistic bells and whistles thought necessary for a proper nation-state, than to establishing a refuge for persecuted Jews. Even Ben Gurion wrote "had [the Peel Commission plan for a two-state solution] been carried out, the history of our people would have been different and six million Jews in Europe would not have been killed - most of them would be in Israel."

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    4. Part 1
      The Jewish People are unique among the people on this earth. They have always been a People, and a Nation. They came into existence in a land which they conquered, and in which they lived and were sovereign for thousands of years before they were expelled from it. That land defines who they are, their culture, their religion, their beliefs, their holidays, their food. Although forced into statelessness, they never relinquished their unique nationhood or peoplehood. After 4000 years, today they speak the same language, worship the same God, and practice the same customs as their forefathers, in the land to which they are indigenous. The state of the Jewish People had borders then, and had a capital, Jerusalem, the same capital they have today. The territory of that state was occupied by many others over the last 2000 years, but by dint of history, morality, and international law, it has been reconstituted, and as such, has the right to set its own immigration preferences. Members of the Jewish Nation and People are given preference for citizenship. No one is " barred" from citizenship by law, but there are rules and laws to attain that citizenship which require more than just belonging to that historic Nation and People. And yes, while those who stayed within the borders of the state when it was re-declared, and their descendants ARE full citizens of that state, those who left during the War of Independence, and remain sworn to the extermination of the state and its people are not permitted to return. Nor are the descendants of those who left India, and formed Pakistan, allowed back in as Indian citizens. Israel is indeed " a nation-state where membership of the nation derives from birth or residency on the territory of the state, (once it was re-established) rather than from ethnicity. " And with 20% of the population of the nation-state of the Jewish People being non-Jews, clearly no one is "denied citizenship solely because he or she belongs to the "wrong" ethnicity. "

      ""Palestinians" were invented in 1964??? "
      There were Arabs living "in the Holy Land" and beyond, whenm the First Temple stood, when Solomon was King in Jerusalem, before there was Christianity or Islam. What is your point? Their language, culture, beliefs, etc., were not specific or distinct from their brothers who lived in what is now Lebanon, or Syria, or Jordan, or Kuwait. That is why the Arabs are from Arabia, and the Jews are from Judah. And the Arabs themselves insist that this was (and is) so. That there was NEVER a "Palestinian People".

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    5. Part 2
      "it is worth remembering that the Zionist movement emerged before either the Bolshevik movement in RUSSIA or the Young Turks movement in TURKEY, and almost a quarter century before the establishment of the Nazi Party in GERMANY."
      Note, that these were ALL EXISTING states. The Zionist Movement had no such "state" in which to "emerge". Indeed, the very definition of Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish People to re-establish their state in the land in which the Jewish People came into existence, and in which they had always lived, in greater or lesser numbers. Their core belief does not include an Exodus out of slavery from Egypt to Uganda, or Alaska. They do not pray multiple times daily for their redemption in Kampala, nor do they believe that their souls, and those of all their departed of blessed memory will be resurrected first from Lake Victoria., not Jerusalem.

      "More importantly, over the years various proposals for a Jewish refuge were made, but were deliberately rejected by the Zionists."
      Please name "all" those "proposals", specifically. And, BTW, please also mention Herzl's other plans to save the Jewish People from the scourge of antisemitism, including his idea for a mass conversion.


      "Even in Palestine, the Zionists gave higher priority to acquiring all the nationalistic bells and whistles thought necessary for a proper nation-state, than to establishing a refuge for persecuted Jews."
      Yet again, total, complete, unmitigated idiocy!! It was the British acquiescence to Arab rejectionism, beginning with the 1920 Abu Mussa riots, that prevented the earlier re-establishment of the Jewish State, (as well as the need for an ingathering of the exiles, so that the re-established state would be both Jewish AND democratic.)

      "Even Ben Gurion wrote "had [the Peel Commission plan for a two-state solution] been carried out, the history of our people would have been different and six million Jews in Europe would not have been killed - most of them would be in Israel.""
      INDEED!! Disregarding for the moment that the recommendations of the Peel Commission would have violated standing international law, "The British government accepted the recommendations of the Peel Commission regarding the partition of Palestine, and the announcement was endorsed by Parliament in London. Among the Jews, bitter disagreements erupted between SUPPORTERS and opponents, while the Arabs REJECTED the proposal and REFUSED to regard it as a solution. The plan was ultimately shelved."

      I ask you once again, especially in the context of the history of the Jewish People over the last 2000 years, when, as you note, "It is true that Jews have been persecuted very very severely in the past two centuries," (of course that is a typo - you meant the last TWENTY CENTURIES!!) why do you not have any problem with a nation state for Czechs, Danes, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, or Indians, but one for the Jews, (and apparently only the Jews), is "unnecessary"?

      No. Despite your clear, ingrained prejudices, you cannot deny that Herzl's conclusion to his book Der Judenstaat has become reality:
      "Therefore I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will spring into existence. The Maccabeans will rise again.
      Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who wish for a State will have it.
      We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes.
      The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness.
      And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare, will react powerfully and beneficially for the good of humanity."

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  14. I'm sorry I'm going to disagree with your early step in this argument regarding the definition of Antisemitism as scapegoating. When I look at the classic anti-Judaic charges:

    • Jews are behind a plan for global conquest,
    • Jews work through Masonic lodges,
    • Jews use liberalism to weaken church and state,
    • Jews control the press,
    • Jews work through radicals and revolutionaries,
    • Jews manipulate the economy, especially through banking monopolies and the power of gold,
    • Jews encourage issuing paper currency not tied to the gold standard,
    • Jews promote financial speculation and use of credit,
    • Jews replace traditional educational curriculum to discourage independent thinking,
    • Jews encourage immorality among Christian youth,
    • Jews use intellectuals to confuse people,
    • Jews control “puppet” governments both through secret allies and by blackmailing elected officials,
    • Jews weaken laws through liberal interpretations,
    • Jews will suspend civil liberties during an emergency and then make the measures permanent.

    They aren't being scapegoated for other things they are being attacked too forcefully for things they often were doing. Jews did use liberalism to weaken church and state. That's not some false equation. Jews were heavily associated with radical and revolutionary movements...

    So no. I'm going to deny your definition right off the bat as being accurate.

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  15. I never defined antisemitism simply as "scapegoating', although that is one facet of it. First of all, the term, "antisemitism" was only recently coined in the late 19th century to differentiate between those who professed the Jewish religion, and those who belonged to the (non-existent) Jewish "race". The terms include "The Longest Hatred", Judenhaas, Anti-Judaism, antisemitism with and without the hyphen, and Judeophobia. Each has a slightly different interpretation. All the terms come down to essentially the same thing: the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon the right of Jews to live as equal members of whatever host society they inhabit. In a perverse way, antisemitism isn't even really about Jews. It can be seen as "The politics of grievance and blame, which holds the Jews responsible for the aggression committed against them; and the misdirection of blame and responsibility away from the failings and evils of the perpetrators."

    Now as to your accusations, many of which come verbatim out of the antisemitic Russian forgery that is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I would say that absolutely if you believe, ingest, and promulgate those falsehoods, you are indeed a dyed-in-the-wool antisemite. When you say "Jews" when speaking of liberals, or communists, or economists, you are an antisemite. When you say Jews are behind a plan for global conquest, Jews control the press, Jews manipulate the economy, especially through banking monopolies and the power of gold, Jews replace traditional educational curriculum to discourage independent thinking, Jews encourage immorality among Christian youth, Jews use intellectuals to confuse people, Jews control “puppet” governments both through secret allies and by blackmailing elected officials, Jews weaken laws through liberal interpretations, you are, incontrovertibly, an antisemite, deny it or not, as you will.

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    1. I would agree with the more generalized definition of denying Jews equal status inside the society they inhabit rather than scapegoating. Which of course is precisely what has happened with Israel where it being denied the same legitimacy as other countries. Hence the accusation.

      As an aside, most of the Antisemetic themes predate Protocols by centuries. Protocols didn't invent much mainly its influence was a consolidation of multiple themes into a single work.

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    2. And I would agree with you that the "themes" that you list are clearly and inarguably antisemitic, prima facie.

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