Talk:Antisemitism/archive2

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The entry at one time stated: In recent years some anti-Semites within the Arab world have tried to confuse the issue by rewriting the dictionary; they claim that since they themselves speak a Semitic language, they by definition cannot be anti-Semitic. Jewish, Christian and moderate Muslim groups (as well as English usage dictionaries) respond by saying that this is a just a word game. Anti-Semitism means solely hatred of Jews.

Can some provide evidence for this primarily,

1) Early sources for the use of "anti-semitism" as being inclusive of "anti-arab" by known anti-semitic arabs.

2) Evidence that it was for the purpose of confusion, and not for any of the reasons suggested in Joseph Telushkin "Why the Jews?: The Reasons for AntisemitismTalk:Anti-Semitism/archive", Moshe David's "World Jewry and the State of Israel" or the article "Antisemitism is Anti-Jewish" by Lorne Shipman and Dr. Karen Mock.

Also note that in Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) the definition is inclusive of anti-arab behaviour. Note that it is the _1913_ edition.

In the modern Webster (Online Edition), however, there's absolutely no ambiguity. This is particularly suspicious, considering the fact that the examples you bring are all very new. --Uri
Given that the version online is the Collegiate edition it is likely to give only the most common definition. The examples I chose are just the ones I could find from the internet, which by the nature of the internet are recent (last ten years) and are in electronic databases or are old enough to be out of copyright (i.e Webster 1913).

The last sentence is obviously inaccurate, see the cites I have given above.

You bring usage in 4 (related!) letters during the last couple of years, as opposed to world-wide usage for decades? Of course, language change, but that particular change is nothing more than a jargon pecularity that's most likely to disappear (if it hasn't already). Mentioning it as something significant is misleading, hence it's against NPOV. --Uri
I'm not sure what you mean "letters" only one was a cite of a letter, the others are all newspaper articles. More over as I said they are all in the last two months(chosen to indicate the word is in current use). The fact that this arguement exists makes it significant, I'm not opposed to saying that it isn't normally used in that sense, but to deny its existance in legitimate usage ins't NPOV.
You want some more cites, well here are some,
* The Sun (London), July 5, 2002 , Letters section, letter from Ambassador Ali Muhsen Hamid
*BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, November 1, 1997, (admitedly the use was in a quote from Qadhafi)
*Daily Post (Liverpool), September 25, 2001, page 6.
*The Times (London), September 2, 1992, interview with Bobby Fischer.
*The Times Higher Education Supplement, June 2, 1995 , page 22.
*M2 PRESSWIRE , March 24, 1997, "UN Human Rights Commission concludes general debate on racism and racial discrimination"
How many cites do you need before you'll consider the term "legitimate" ?
The question is which usage. Claiming that some people have at one period used this term to signify something else than what dictionaries mention, does not mean that their usage is acceptable. They could just as well be not educated enough in the subject and inventing their own words for different concepts. For example, a lot of people use *virii as plural of virus. Now there isn't such a word *virii, the correct English plural being viruses (see here for a discussion). The fact that some people use *virii does nothing to even make it a word in general usage (as opposed to their own dialect of English); similarily, the fact that some people use anti-Semitism in a certain way does not mean that this way is acceptible for general usage. --Uri
Also, one more thing: it's curious that many of the sources you said originate in non-English speakers, and in particular Arabs. The fact that they've been prefering this usage or other may be interpreted not just as casual misuse, but intentional propaganda (see Newspeak). So I wouldn't treat their statements as any example of normative English usage. --Uri
Three possibly four are from Arab, one from Bobby Fischer ( who I assume isn't arab as one of his parents is jewish) and the rest are from British journalists. --Imran

How about a compromise here. Something along the lines of: "Anti-Semitism is a term coined in 18?? to describe hatred of the Jewish people. While this is the meaning most associated with the term, it is also used occasionally/with increasing frequency to refer to other Semitic peoples, notably Arabs." Just a suggestion. Danny

No, that would be simply untrue. In the vast majority of English contexts, anti-Semitism refers solely to the hatred of Jews, all other usages so far being either unsuccessful (unadopted) propaganda or inadquate understanding of the real meaning of the word (folk etymology). --Uri
I agree with you here --Imran
That doesn't make it untrue. The fact is that no matter what you, I, or anyone else thinks about it, the term seems to be undergoing some kind of evolution. That happens in language and in this case is worth noting. Danny
When studying language, one should distinguish between (1) random/deliberate changes for whatever reasons that were introduced by an individual or individuals and (2) changes, such as above, that persist, and propagate into common usage. I do not deny that (1) takes case (in this case, as a propaganda effort on behalf of the Arabs); I merely point out that it hasn't (and chances are that it won't) become (2). Until it does, I don't think it deserves to be incorporated, as it represent a piece of information of too little importance (exactly as I wooudln't be writing, for example, what sorts of associations people have when they hear the word "anti-Semitism"). --Uri

Among the majority of English speakers, the the use of the word "Anti-Semitism" is not undergoing any significant form of evolution. Rather, the changes we see usually come from anti-Semitic people who deliberately mis-use this word in order to confuse the issue. That is certainly not NPOV (neutral point of view). The secondary fact that some non-anti-Semites on occasion mis-use this word, but this is meaningless. After all, all English words are occasionally mis-used like this. But do we rewrite encyclopaedia entries on hundreds of other topics because of such varying useage? No - it is only in the entry on anti-Semitism that some people do so, and that is precisely what some anti-Semites are trying to accomplish. Their entire goal is Newspeak, a deliberate project to rewrite parts of the dictionary in order to further their political goals. RK

I haven't seen any quotable sources saying the word was being used purposefully to confuse, I list some source earlier which give several possible reasons, the most common being that the term anti-semitism is already popular and has strong negative conatation associated with it so it can be more easily adopted by other persecuted semites rather then them trying to coin a new word. Another source I've seen also attributes the use due to the majority of usage outside of Israel/USA being related to far right groups who do oppose semitic people as a group. --Imran
I'm very much a non-expert on this, but I don't see any need to "rewrite" the entry - all you need is a short note somewhere as Danny suggests saying that some people use the term to mean something other than the generally accepted definition. Of course you don't have to add such a comment to entries on other "misused" words, but some of the misuse here has been from quite prominent figures (the reason for their usage is irrelevant). Apart from anything else, I should think that somebody going to a dictionary and finding "Semite" to mean "a descendant of Shem or speaking a Semitic language such as Hebrew or Arabic" might logically conclude that an anti-semite is one against people speaking Hebrew or Arabic. Even if such a misuse is "wrong" and "deliberate" I don't see how ignoring it does anybody any favours. --camembert
It is simply false - in general English usage, "anti-Semitism" means only the hatred of Jews. The possible misinterpretations are already well-represented in the article. --Uri
I don't know what you're saying is false, but I admit my last entry was somewhat incoherent, and having reread the article, I largely agree with you - I think there's little chance of people being left unclear as to the meaning of the phrase. But if it is demonstrably true that certain people are trying to change the meaning of the phrase (as RK suggests), shouldn't this be mentioned? Not as an evolution in the meaning of the phrase, but as an attempt by certain parties to change it. --camembert
I have a house full of dictionaries and not a one contains a hint that anti-Semitism is anything but anti-Jewish. In fact, the unabridged Webster's III, which is strongly oriented towards definitions based on actual usage, gives not only "anti-Jewish", but "anti-Zionist" and "opposed to the state of Israel" as definitions. In the Oxford English Dictionary, perhaps lagging a little, virtually all the citations refer to German anti-Semitism.
A quick Google search on "anti-Semitic anti-Arab" reveals a few instances of the "we're/they're Semites too" argument, usually stated pretty naively. It strikes me that this is not only sophistry, but actually harmful to the Arabs. Most of the Google hits refer to "anti-Semitic" and "anti-Arab" as two different kinds of prejudice against two kinds of people. It is unquestionably true that there is anti-Arab feeling, stereotypes in the media, hatred directed at "towelheads" and "camel jockeys", and worse. It greatly diminishes public discourse if these manifestations are not called what they are, anti-Arab, without any confusing talk about ancient languages. Ortolan88 08:25 Jul 29, 2002 (PDT)
I'm not disputing the meaning of the phrase "anti-Semite" but I am saying that if people (some of them prominent) are using it to mean something different, as has been suggested, and that use is part of a deliberate attempt to confuse or mislead people, then that is something worth observing. I'm not saying such an incorrect use of the phrase should be presented as an acceptable or widely used alternative, any more than I'd suggest an article on xenophobia should say it's a jolly good idea, but it is something worth noting, I feel. But as I said, I'm far from an expert on this, and I'll let others argue about it from now on. --Camembert

--- That's a reasonable position, but I think that that's exactly what the article says now :-) If I misunderstood you, could you say what changes do you propose? --Uri

Another attempt at compromise here: ""Anti-Semitism is a term coined in 18?? to describe hatred of the Jewish people. While this is the meaning most associated with the term, it has occasionally been coopted by some to refer to other Semitic peoples, notably Arabs." At some point, this can be explained in no more than a sentence (which is really no more than it is worth). Danny

Here's how I think we should rephrase in order to remove opinion and just leave factually provable statements (things in brackets are just comments anf not intended to be part of the article),

Anti-Semitism is hostility or violence toward people of Jewish ancestry. Although sometimes used for hatred of all Semites?, The word "anti-Semitism" was coined specifically to refer to hatred of Jews. There are numerous forms of anti-Semitism, originating in different trends in human society, but usually having the common ground of xenophobia.

(It is obvious that in a lot of these cases people aren't confused and are using it deliberatly so I've dropped the word confuse)

(Next replacements for the last two paragraphs of etymology)

In recent decades some people have argued that the the term Anti-Semetism should be extended to cover all Semetic people and not just Jews, this arguement has failed to make any significant impact on popular usage, although proponents of the idea (including politician Bobby Fischer and famous chess player Qadhafi) continue to use the word in this sense. Because of this debate many scholars now favour the unhyphenated term antisemetism to represent anti-jewish behaviour.

(I've removed any statement indicating the reasons why they want widen the definition of the term, after all you and I are not mind readers and can't tell their motivation, however I doubt that all the users are anti-semetic after all two of those quotes I gave came from journalists of Rupert Murdoch papers.)


Clearly we must explain the usage of the term, as well as describing instances of the practice. The current etymology section looks pretty good. How about adding a usage section, pointing out that some people use anti-semitism one way and some people use it another? I think if we go pointing the finger of "co-opted", et al., we wind up adding more fuel to the POV fire. I think Uri is on the right track. Ed Poor

I'm still opposed to seriously treating a "usage" with a political base, several dozen big (I saw Fischer's opinions described as "anti-Semitic" somewhere, and I don't think he meant the Arabs), as something deserving this sort of a review. --Uri
Yes, Fischer is very much anti-Jew, but I've seen nothing by him to suggest he is anti-Arab as well (although I certainly wouldn't put it past him) - I doubt in any case that that's the meaning he'd give to "anti-semetic". Since the paragraph at the end of the etymology section was added, I don't really have any objections to the article. (I didn't have many before, really; I think I misunderstood the argument, because it seemed to me that some were arguing for the removal of any reference to these "alternative" uses.) It could still do with a bit of tidying, I suppose (the last two paras of the etymology section seem to duplicate one another - I prefer the second to the first myself) and I think naming one or two people who have used "anti-semite" to include arabs would not go amiss. I'm for dropping "confused" in the opening para as well. And that really is the last I'm saying about it (probably) :-) --Camembert

Reasons for removal:

Others would argue that Palestinians are embittered because they feel they were unfairly expelled from their country. This has nothing do to with religion.

We are not talking about proposals to a Palestinian states; we're talking about the reason why most Muslim Arabs (non-Palestinians) find Israel to be religiously inacceptible. I feel the sentence above was off-topic, although the subject could probably be discussed (consequences of the arab-Israeli conflict as opposed to the inherent hostility towards Jews). --Uri

I wish this sentence hadn't been deleted from the article:

Others would argue that Palestinians are embittered because they feel they were unfairly expelled from their country. This has nothing do to with religion.

I have re-written it as:

Some advocates explain the bitterness of Palestinian Arabs as a natural response to what they call unfair expulsion from "their country", an argument which presumes that the land from which they were expelled was rightfully "theirs" (see Palestinian homeland).

--Ed Poor 12:30 Aug 8, 2002 (PDT)


If the term anti-Semitism was originally a euphemism, why not say,

Some advocates insist that the term anti-Semitism should be taken literally, thus interpreting anti-Semitism as hostility toward everyone who is "Semitic" or speaks a Semitic language. Given this interpretation, they reason that to call Arab hatred of Jews and Israel "anti-Semitism" is a misnomer and conclude that there is no such thing as "Arab anti-Semitism". This usage is genarally considered non-standard.

--Ed Poor 07:18 Aug 20, 2002 (PDT)

I've modified the "anti-zionism" section slightly, to remove the old canard of there being an "arab state" (rather than various states which have an Arab majority), and added the following explanatory text to the paragraph immediately afterwards:

For example, there is no specific "Arab state", just as there is no specific "European state", "African state", "Homosexual state", "Heterosexual state" or "Hispanic state". Rather, there are a number of nation states, many of which have a majority which shares racial or cultural characteristics in addition to their citizenship, which is also shared by minorities which do not possess those "majority characteristics."

This revision seems to more closely approximate a NPOV on this argument Jacob

I have to remove this proposed change. Your word games have been carefully constructed in order to deligitimize the State of Israel alone. That's a violation of NPOV. It is also intellectually dishonest, as Arabs themselves say that Arabs deserve to have ethnically Arab states. In fact, the vast majority of Arabs feel that this is valid; this is why so many ethnic Arab states exists. I seriously doubt that they are lying about their own beliefs. Your claims about "homosexual" states are so irrelevant, that I can't believe that even you take them seriously. They are so obviously not relevant that one can only conclude you are grasping at straws in order to deligitimize the rights of Jewish people. Curiously, you don't slander Japan, China, or any of the Arab or Hispanic nations as wrong for their mere existence, but you clearly imply that it is racist when Jews want to have the same rights as other human beings. That is precisely what many Jews view as Anti-Semitism, and what all Jews agree is anti-Zionism. You deny Jewish people the same rights that ever other people on this planet are allowed to possess. RK

No, the previous word games (the ones which you have restored) were carefully constructed in order to cast a spurious legitimacy onto Israel alone.
Just as Japanese people have a right to have a Japanese nation, just as Chinese have a right to live in a Chinese nation, and just as Arabs have the right to live in any nearly two dozen distinct Arab nations, Jews too have a right to live freely among themselves as well. This is what Jewish writers since the Emancipation have termed "normalcy"; the goal of Jews to live as other peoples do.
The comparison between Chinese/Japanese and Jewish is spurious, the former being based on membership of a country (the right claimed by Jews), while the latter is based on ethnicity/religion. If the comparison is to stand, a parallel needs to be drawn, demonstrating that ethnicity/religion/nationality are equivalent concepts - as it stands, you're simply stating that by sleight of hand, and hoping that that statement is accepted. Which is extremely biased towards the Israeli POV. Similary, why do you claim legitimacy by extension with the existence of predominantly arab states, but reject extending that argument when it implies a need to have "European", "African", "homosexual" and "Hispanic" nation states? Is it because the "arab" example is part of Israel's mythos, and has been claimed so often that it has received a kind of unthinking acceptance, whereas extending the argument shows it to be a ridiculous one?

There are two issues here: one has to do with different kinds of identities, the other is methodological. The identity question is complicated because in the 195h century, when modern Zionism developed, "Jews" were identified both by religion and race. Both of these categories (and for present purposes I think "race" and "ethnicity" and "nationality" are interchangable)are salient. When Israel declares itself a "Jewish" state, it is not defining itself as a religious state but as an ethnic/national (and, in the 19th century context, racial) state. I do not know if Saudi Arabia defines itself as an "Arab" state -- I do not know if it claims to be a "nation" state at all, although the term "Arabia" in the name of the country suggests as much. But Saudi Arabia most definitely defines itself as a Muslim state. The point is, this is an exclusive way of defining a state, and the point of this is, you cannot criticize Israel for having an exclusive notion of its statehood without also criticizing countries like Saudi Arabia.

The second issue is methodological -- how do we understand the role of identity in modern states? Much of the discussion of Zionism hinges on the Declaration of Independence, a document which defines Israel as a Jewish State. The question is, are such documents (whether they have the force or law or not) the only way to study the role of identity in state formation? If a country has no document officially identifying itself as a nation state, does this mean that it is not a nation state? I do not think so. Indeed, the most interesting work in political theory these days includes critical scholarship that reveals the underpinnings of modern nation-states, how states that have been held up as paragons of liberal politics (in which people are only citizens, and as citizens are all equal, and any other identity -- religious, national, ethnic, racial, is irrelevant) in fact have relied on national and ethnic identity. Israel has a document that defines itself as a nation state because the Zionist project had to involve a relocation of people. No such relocation was necessary for Italy, France, Germany (well, yes a little with Germany -- and interestingly enough Germany has a "law of return" very similar to Israel's), and England. Nevertheless, if you look at documents from the nineteenth century you will see that at the same time that these states were sometimes celebrating liberal ideals (all citizens are equal; any other identity is irrelevant), they were also amploying nationalist discources to legitimate themselves.

I am no expert on the history of Arab states. But I would not be at all surprised if during the struggle against the Ottoman Empire, and later the British and French, emergent leaders appealed to some sort of "Arab nationalism." This is an empirical question, and someone who has studied these countries has to inform us of whether this did indeed occur. But you will not find it out just by looking at the Syrian or Jordanian constitution -- you need to study a variety of data. Slrubenstein

Your line "for present purposes I think "race" and "ethnicity" and "nationality" are interchangable" seems to me to presuppose the outcome of the discussion, which is whether "race" and "ethnicity" are interchangable concepts with "nationality". Why should those three concepts be interchangable? For example, an individual may be of Chinese ethnicity but of US nationality - the two are not mutually incompatible, and do not at all imply Chinese nationality (though such an individual may hold or be entitled to dual Sino-USA citizenship, that is by no means necessarily the case). Jacob

The comparison between Chinese/Japanese and Jewish is spurious, the former being based on membership of a country (the right claimed by Jews), while the latter is based on ethnicity/religion.

No, this is false. The Chinese and Japanese themselves have alway held that they were (respectively) both ethnicities and nationalities, much in the same way that the Jewish people always held. The same ws true in the past of the Greeks, the Romans, the Akkadians, the Babylonians and the Persians. The big difference is that the Chinese and Japanese survived attempts to conquer them, while the Jewish people did not, and only recently was able to restablish their state. RK

If the comparison is to stand, a parallel needs to be drawn, demonstrating that ethnicity/religion/nationality are equivalent concepts - as it stands, you're simply stating that by sleight of hand, and hoping that that statement is accepted. Which is extremely biased towards the Israeli POV

Nonsense. You are using your own defintions of "ethnicity" and "nationalist", and then Jews whose beliefs aren't the same as yours. As S. L. Rubestein has written here on Wikipedia many times, the Jewish concepts of ethnicity and nationality are not the same as the ones that you are referring to. As he has pointed out, it was traditional for nationality and ethnicity and religion to be fused concepts, and it is only a relatively recent innovation for them to have become separated. So are you demanding that Jew must change their beliefs and actions to fit these modern new definitions. If yoy do that, you must also do that for Japanese, Chinese and Arabs. But you choose to pick on the Jews, and on the Jews alone. This kind of unfairness is what many Jews call anti-Semitism. RK
Such "changes" to the definitions have already been absorbed by other nations - including Japan, China, Iraq, Saudi, etc - arab ethnicity does not make one a citizen of Saudi, only Saudi citizenship does that. Similarly, Chinese ethnicity does not make for Chinese nationality - indeed, there are many people of Chinese ancestry whose nationality is, for example, British or French, rather than Chinese, and who are not entitled to Chinese citizenship. In other wodes, the concepts of "race", "ethnicity" and "nationality" are not interchangable. Jacob

Similary, why do you claim legitimacy by extension with the existence of predominantly arab states, but reject extending that argument when it implies a need to have "European", "African", "homosexual" and "Hispanic" nation states?

I have no idea what you are talking about. I never argued against the the right of black African states to exist, nor did I argue against the right of Hispanic states (such as Spain) to have the right to exist. You are attacking statements that no one has made. RK
No, I was commenting on your line above ("Your claims about "homosexual" states are so irrelevant, that I can't believe that even you take them seriously."), which focussed on a single word in a list of characteristics which groups often use to define themselves.

Is it because the "arab" example is part of Israel's mythos,

There is no "mythos" of Arab nations. Many ethnic and national Arab states do exist; this is just an indisputable fact. I can't trust people who have the nerve to claim otherwise. RK
I was not claiming that states do not exist which has a majority of people who share a given ethnicity - indeed, I said precisely that in the addition which you deleted from the article. Rather, I am arguing that ethnicity is not the same thing as nationality - the former is a sociological phenomenon, while the latter is a legal one. I refer you to the "US citizen of Chinese ancestry" example above, though use a "Morrocan citizen of Jewish ancestry" if you prefer. You seem to be arguing that the terms "ethicity" and "nationality" are interchangable, and hence a given ethnicity necessarly implies a given nationality (or, if you prefer, one of a given set of nationalities). That is clearly not the case. Jacob

Jacobgreenbaum misunderstands the current discussion -- we are not using the term "nationality" in the legal sense. This is an ambiguity that should be cleared up in the article. The point is, some times people use the word "national" in the legal sense (a citizen of), but other times people use the word differently. In the first case, "national" is definitely NOT comparable to ethnicity. In the second case, it is. In the second case, some political theorists still distinguish between nationalities, which are indigenous to a place, and ethnicities, which are immigrants. When I wrote above that for present purposes, ethnicity and nationality are interchangable (with race, as well), I obviously did not mean "national" in the legal sense. Also, when I wrote "for present purposes" I meant just that -- for this discussion of the notion of Israel as a Jewish state. I do not think it is useful at this point to bring in very different examples (Chinese-Americans); in any event, even if you think it would be useful to bring in such diverse examples, the whole point of the phrase "for present purposes" was to highlight the fact that my argument is restricted to a specific case, and not meant to be generalizable to other cases.

So I see most of the above discussion as being about semantics. Obviously there are Arab citizens of Israel, and if you want to define "national" as a citizen, then these Arabs are Israeli nationals. That this is so indicates that in many ways Israel is a modern liberal state.

Nevertheless, if we want to discuss Zionism and anti-Semitism, we need to use the word "national" in a very diffferent way -- in a way that corresponds to the ways politicans and scholars have used it in discussion the rise of nation-states (from the late 18th century on) and "nationalism" as an ideology. In these contexts, "national" clearly is much more like race or ethnicity than "citizen." Slrubenstein

Actually, from what you write above, it really does sound to me like you are using "nationality" in the unique sense - unique to Israel, that is - of "ethnicity" when referring to Israel, and using the same word ("nationality") in a very different sense, "legal nationality" when referring to everyone else. In which case, how is it "anti-semitic" to insist that the same definition (the generally accepted legal sense) be applied in all cases? It seems to me that applying a different definition to a word specifically when discussing zionism as from discussing other subjects is, in itself, a dubious practice.
As for this being "semantics" - yes, it is: The article is arguing that "anti-zionism" equates to "anti-semitism" because it (anti-zionism) denies that ((ethnicity sense) "nationality" equates to ({legal sense) "nationality"}) for Jews while accepting the ((legal sense) "nationality") of non-Jews. However, and as my Chinese-American example makes clear, and as you appear to accept above, the ((ethnicity sense) "nationality") of non-Jews does not equate to their ((legal sense) "nationality"), since you are using very different definitions of "nationality" in each case. Giving the lie to the claim that anti-zionism is anti-semitic because it treats Jews as a special case, different from non-Jews. In fact, the equation of the two definitions of "nationality" is never made, neither for Jews nor for non-Jews, except by zionists, who appear to use whichever definition (ethnicity or legal) is most helpful to their argument at the time, blurring or ignoring your two different definitions in the process and treating - as you state - "ethnicity" and "nationality" as interchangable terms, even though no nations other than Israel (and, to some extent, Germany) treat those terms as interchangable.
If anything, then, what you state demolishes the argument in this article which equates anti-zionism with anti-semitism. Jacob
I do not think I am using "nationality" in a unique sense, although I do admit I am using it in a non-legal sense. France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia are nation-states. They are not just states, in which there are people who may be identified as "citizens" or "subjects." They are states whose legitimacy is in part based on the identification of a political boundary (the state) with a cultural boundary (the nation). This is an historical fact. It also raises the problem of how to deal with subjects or citizens who do not "belong" to the nation. In some cases such non-nationals (not in the legal sense where "national" simply = citizen, but in the cultural sense) are given "equal rights before the law, in some cases they are not. Some theorists like Jurgen Habermas and Brian Barry believe that this is possible, desirable, and sufficient. Like you, they would say that a particular state may have a majority of people who beling to a particular ethnic group of nation, but for them this is politically inconsequential (or rather, the state should involve legal apparatuses such that it would be inconsequential). But many others have pointed out that even when all citizens (regardless of nationality) are equal before the law, informal social institutions, and the implicit relationship between legal/political practices and culture, result in a situation where ethnicity and nationality really do matter, in a way that liberal constitutions cannot accommodate. All of this is preface to two points I want to make (and tried to make earlier): first, Israel is a nation-state, not because it defines itself as such in its Declaration of Independence, but because it was founded precisely to mimic European nation-states like Germany, France, and England. Second, even if the Suadi Arabian constitution did not declare it to be an "Arab state," it is still a nation-state in the same way Israel is.
In any event, I do not think any "nation-state" is racist merely by virtue of being a nation-state. I am not accusing Israel of racism, nor am I accusing Saudi Arabia of racism.
you continue to conflate two notions of nation, with the effect of muddying the water. To say that there exists a nation and that nation deserves a state (a rationale for France and for Israel) does not mean that that state should exclude non-nationals, should deny them citizenship, or deny them equal rights as citizens. Zionists are claiming two things, in response to those who equate Zionism with racism: first, that anti-Zionists wish to deny the nation of Israel what the International community has allowed Czechs, Slovaks (you know, they now each have their own country -- a bi-national state was replaced by two nation-states), Lithuanians, etc. Second, that anti-Zionists hold Israel to a higher standard (of political rights) than its Arab neighbors.
By the way, this does not mean I think that any country should deprive its citizens of equal rights under the law -- my sense is that both Israel and Saudi Arabia have a lot of work yet to do to ensure this.
Thus, I would agree that perhaps a significant number of citizens (or subjects) of Israel and Saudi Arabia may be racists. And that will affect public poicy, often in bad ways. Slrubenstein


Hmmmm - I'm not talking about "racism" as such, but about the equation of ethnicity with nationality - and stating that denying that equation in general does not equate to anti-semitism when applying that principle to Israel. Jacob
I think that this more concise presentation of your view is reasonable, except you must explain that by "nationality" you mean solely in the sense of citizenship, because really many people do not mean it that way. Nevertheless, your view raises certain questions. On this basis, would you deny the Palestinians a state "of their own?" (I realize that we would still have to argue about whether Arab citizens of Israel are equal under the law, whether Palestinians living in Israel could enjoy all the rights of citizenship.) Were you opposed to the division of Czechoslovakia? Are you opposed to French law, whereby people born in France (even to parents who were born in France) may not be French citizens? Are you opposed to Germany's law of return? Are you equally a critic of the lack of democracy in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia? Do you believe that those four countries should (even as a condition for membership in the UN) adopt modern liberal constitutions (whereby anyone can be a citizen and all citizens are equal before the law; there is a strict separation of church and state; and strong laws against discrimination of minority ethnic groups)? I ask these questions in part out of sincere curiosity -- but also to suggest why many Zionists see a double-standard in current political opinion. Slrubenstein

I left in the added "third path" of a bi-ethnic state. But I cut the following because it lacks NPOV and is inaccurate:

This is the situation in which the vast majority of the world's ethnic groups live, quite happily. However, most Zionists will accuse anybody who suggests this solution of anti-Semitism, because it denies their ambition to fulfil what they see as their rightful destiny; they believe that the land of Israel was promised to them, and to them alone, by God.

First, it is at best questionable that the vast majority of ethnic groups live in liberal-democratice, pluralistic, multi-ethnic states "happily." Look not only at the popular press, but at many academic journals and books, and you will see that the unhappiness of many people living in multi-ethnic states, and the fragility of the political institutions that sustain them (hello -- remember Yugoslavia?). This is not to say that a multi-ethnic state is in and of itself a bad idea or cannot work, nor is it to say that it is not a conceivable sollution to the current problems in Israel-Palestine. But it is simply false to say that this is the norm, and a generally succesful norm to boot. Let's see what happens in N. Ireland, Zimbabwe, and Sri Lanka first, shall we?

Second, those Zionists who pionered the "Jewish State" were largely atheists; although the Religious right is very influencial in Israel today, it would still be a huge error to think that belief in God or God's promise of the land of Canaan to the Jews is really behind what is going on. Believe me, if you convinced all Jews living in Israel that God did not exist (and therefore never gave them Israel -- and you know, by the way, some devout religious Jews are not Zionists), you would STILL have the problems we find today. To suggest that belief in God has something to do with the problem suggests false sollutions and will prevent us (or, them) from finding the right sollutions. Slrubenstein

Firstly: The third path isn't a "bi-ethnic state", which would barely be more equitable than a mono-ethnic state. It's very simple! All that is being suggested is a straightforward secular democracy, along the lines of the USA, the UK, Canada, France, and every single other regular democracy. It is the norm! You give examples of N. Ireland, Zimbabwe, and Sri Lanka etc. The "unhappiness" there is caused by inequality, not equality! Secondly: Maybe I was being charitable by attributing to religion the Zionists' desire to dominate all other ethnic groups in the area. If it is not religion then what is it? Just plain evil? GrahamN 16:25 Sep 2, 2002 (PDT)

GrahamN writes: Maybe I was being charitable by attributing to religion the Zionists' desire to dominate all other ethnic groups in the area. If it is not religion then what is it? Just plain evil?

GrahamN, control yourself. Such outburts of anti-Semitism are a violation of NPOV, of Wikipedia etiequtte, and of simple human decency. For some time now you have have been trying to make non-NPOV changes, and you have made many questionable comments about Jews, but this latest outburst of Nazi-like hatespeech is over the top, and beyond apology. Once you slander practically all Jews as "just plain evil", you reveal yourself as not just biased, but as a Jew-hater. Don't think for a second that the majority of Wikipedia users will let you foul this forum with your hatespeech. RK

Nazi-like? Anti-Semitic? This is far more insulting than anything I have written about you or any other of the Zionists here. If anybody should apologise to anybody, it is you who should apologise to me for that foul slander. Despite your attempts to muddy the waters in this article, anti-Semitism simply means "racism directed against Jews". I have made no comments at all about Jews. I hate all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. Zionism is a racist ideology, so I hate Zionists. Will anybody answer my question? If it is not religion, why do you Zionists want the Jews to dominate all other ethnic groups in the "Holy Land"? GrahamN 12:39 Sep 4, 2002 (PDT)
I think the rationale for the Jews wanting the "Holy Land" is that following World War II and the Holocaust, it seemed that the Jews needed a safe haven they could call their own, and the international community via the UN was willing to give them one. As for RK's comments, it appears that "hatespeech" is just a word used to describe politically incorrect opinions, and has very little to do with "hatred" in the older more conventional sense of that word. In that light, what he said may not be as insulting as it sounded at first. Wesley

This paragraph could go in another article:

There is also a large body of opinion that believes that the most just outcome in the area is for all the people in Israel/Palestine to share a single state in which all people will have equal status, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

How about proposals for a Palestinian state? --Ed Poor

Nazi-like? Anti-Semitic? This is far more insulting than anything

Once again GrahamN writes "I hate all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. Zionism is a racist ideology, so I hate Zionists." Of course, all of Reform Judaism is now Zionist; All of Conservative Judaism is Zionist; All of Modern Orthodoxy is Zionist, and most of the previously anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox groups have disavowed their previous positions and become non-Zionists, or pro-Zionists. Most secular Jews all around the world, as well as millions of Christians, also believe that Jews have the right to a state (which by definition is Zionism). Even the Catholic Church has renounced their earlier positions, and they publicly embrace the view that the Jewish people has the right to a Jewish state in Israel. Yet GrahamN slanders these millions of Jews and Christians as racist, states that hates all of them, yet then wants to be taken seriously? Its sad to see what hate does to people. RK

Wesley writes "As for RK's comments, it appears that "hatespeech" is just a word used to describe politically incorrect opinions, and has very little to do with 'hatred' in the older more conventional sense of that word. "

No, Wesley, that is an outrageous claim. GrahamN regularly makes violently anti-Semitic outburts on Wikipedia. It hurts me very much that not only does this not bother you, but that you think his diatribes are merely "politically incorrect". Do you really think that its Ok to violently hate millions of Jews and Christians who believe that Jews have the right to a state, as GrahamN admits he does? Your tone in recent weeks worries me, and it seems that you are presenting aspects of your personality that I have not seen here before. RK
  • RK, your conclusion is wrong because your premises are wrong. You base your "hatespeech" comment on the idea that Zionism = Jews. There are ultra-Orthodox Jews who are anti-Zionist; they believe the "true Israel" must be established by God, not man. There are many Reform Jews who are anti-Zionist, and more who wouldn't classify themselves as anti-Zionist but are certainly opposed to the policies of Israel.
  • Let us make one thing very clear. Disagreement with the policies of the government of Israel, or the means by which Israel was established, is not anti-Semitism. It is disagreement with a past and present political movement, no more, no less. I, personally, do not hate those who do believe in these policies. But I deplore policies which I disagree with, and Israel has many. I deplore atrocities, whomever commits them and by whomever they are committed; this includes atrocities against Arabs by Zionists, against Zionists by Arabs, against Zionists by non-Zionist Israelis, against non-Zionist Israelies by Zionists, against Arabs by Arabs... or any other bloody permutation that you care to name. This does not make me anti-Semetic. It makes me anti-atrocity. Let us not demean the many, many people who have suffered from anti-Semitism, unto torture and death, by applying the label indiscriminately to those who merely disagree with the politics of a regime or territorial movement. -- April
RK: First of all, I haven't been following these discussions or "outbursts" closely, so I'm not going to give any blanket approval or condemnation of statements I haven't read. It seemed to me that GrahamN was at a genuine loss to understand how Zionists justify an exclusively Jewish state if not on the basis of religion, and mentioned "plain evil" as the only possibility he could think of, BUT I thought did so as an invitation to have someone correct his misunderstanding. Perhaps I misunderstood.

RK, I find it difficult to take you seriously when you throw around emotionally loaded words so carelessly. For example, what is the difference between "violent hatred", "hatred", and "thinking that what someone else is doing is wrong"? Normally, I would think violent hatred would have some component of deliberate physical or emotional harm. Yet you use the phrase in a context where I see no evidence of deliberate harm, or planned deliberate harm, other than GrahamN saying that Zionism is wrong and racist. Now, you and others might be hurt by his remark, but that doesn't mean that hurting you emotionally was his intent. You might possibly call the statement hateful if he had stated that Jews were evil, but since he didn't in that paragraph, I'm at a loss. I don't know what to think, or what you mean by "violent hatred" or "hatespeech", so it's simply hard to take such accusations seriously when I don't know what they are supposed to mean. I fear they aren't supposed to mean anything specific, but are merely rhetorical devices. Please correct me, as I genuinely hope I'm laboring under a misunderstanding. Wesley

No, Wesley, you are not laboring under a misunderstanding. You are making it clear that you don't have a problem with GrahamN's flat-out admission that he hates all Zionists, which is the same thing as hating most Jews. I don't understand why you don't have a problem with this; it's very disappointing. I suspect that Jesus would be sad to see people justify such hatespeech against his people and his nation.
I don't think it's my place to judge GrahamN, you, or anyone else. I've tried to address the terms used in the debate, not take sides in the debate itself. I don't think insults advance either side. I'm quite certain that I've done far more to cause Jesus sorrow than anything I've typed online, grievous though some of my remarks may be. -As for the article itself, if it uses words like "hatespeech", I hope that such terms are well-defined there. That's all. Wesley

To Graham and RK - please cool it. These kinds of insults do not belong here. Grahams point of view 'Zionism is racist' and RK's point of view 'anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic' are both widely held, and controversial views (which is unsurprising given that wars are fought over these kinds of arguments). We are here to write articles, not to act as an arena for these kinds of disputes. You both need to display more sensitivity for other people's points of view if we are to all work productively together to improve articles. Enchanter

We won't ever improve the article while anti-Semites flood this forum with anti-Semitic hatespeech against Jews. Why is this simply concept so confusing to you?

RK, your conclusion is wrong because your premises are wrong. You base your "hatespeech" comment on the idea that Zionism = Jews. There are ultra-Orthodox Jews who are anti-Zionist; they believe the "true Israel" must be established by God, not man. There are many Reform Jews who are anti-Zionist, and more who wouldn't classify themselves as anti-Zionist but are certainly opposed to the policies of Israel.

I must disagree. Most Jews are pro-Zionist to some extent. Zionism is merely the belief that Jews have a right to a Jewish state. Further, most people who are members of Zionist organizations currently are Jews. Secondly, you may have misread what I wrote. I agree that there are still some anti-Zionist Jews; I have written about them in great detail (see the archive page). To makr this clear, I agree with you! Thirdly, although what you write about Reform Judaism was true 100 and 50 years ago, it is now decades out of date; it is now incorrect. Fourthly, I myself have repeatedly written that mere disagreement with certain policies of Israel is not anti-Semitism. Again, I agree with you. But when a person like GrahamN comes along and flat-out publicly states that he hates all these Jew, well hatred of most Jew is anti-Semitism. That is what the word means. RK
  • Let us make one thing very clear. Disagreement with the policies of the government of Israel, or the means by which Israel was established, is not anti-Semitism.
I totally agree; your point is covered in great detail already on this very Talk page. See this entry and its archive for more info. I think you are countering an argument that no one is making. We all agree with you. (Always a nice thing to hear!) RK

It is disagreement with a past and present political movement, no more, no less. I, personally, do not hate those who do believe in these policies. But I deplore policies which I disagree with, and Israel has many. I deplore atrocities, whoever commits them and against whomever they are committed; this includes atrocities against Arabs by Zionists, against Zionists by Arabs, against Zionists by non-Zionist Israelis, against non-Zionist Israelies by Zionists, against Arabs by Arabs... or any other bloody permutation that you care to name. This does not make me anti-Semetic. It makes me anti-atrocity. Let us not demean the many, many people who have suffered from anti-Semitism, unto torture and death, by applying the label indiscriminately to those who merely disagree with the politics of a regime or territorial movement. -- April

Um, what atrocities do you believe are being committed by zon-Zionist Israelis against Zionist Israelis? And what atrocities do you believe are being committed by Zionist Israelis against non-Zionist Israelis? I have never heard anyone, even Arabs, make such a charge. I can't imagine what you are referring to. The Israeli, American, Arab and European newspapers have never mentioned any such events, ever. I am disturbed to hear you making these claims without any basis whatsoever. It sounds like you really have it in for the Jews. RK
  • As someone else said, that was meant to be a hypothetical case: hate the atrocity, no matter who's doing what to whom. However, since you insist, and since I cynically believe you can find examples of almost anyone doing almost anything to anyone else... I did a web search. For a beginning, see this link: http://www.io.com/~jewishwb/iris/archives/551.html ... "With my own eyes, I wept. I wept that a Jewish policeman would attack a Jewish child. I wept that a Jewish government would use violence against Jewish citizens." ... This was not chosen because it's the best source, but because it was the first allegation I found. Thirty-second search. Please don't make me search for more and better sources - I will almost certainly find 'em, people being people the world over, and this sort of thing depresses me.) Note that I do not have the slightest idea whether this is a true or a false allegation. It is an allegation, ergo such allegations exist, ergo I deplore the actions cited in the allegation if in fact those actions happened as described. So am I anti-Semetic for condemning the hypotheitical actions of a hypothetical Jewish policeman against a hypothetical Jewish child? I think not.
  • It's my belief that trying to tar those who disagree with one with slurs of bigotry, when no bigotry is actually in evidence, is both a weak tactic and a harmful one. Something that long experience has taught me: be precise, and condemn the action you deplore, not the person committing it. (Hey GrahamN, talkin' to you too here. :) Sling that "anti-Semetic" around too much, and you only empower the racists, by actually lending credence to the old canard that the term is just used to silence political opponents. I refuse to let the serious problem of anti-Semitism be degraded that way. Check out my posts to sci.skeptic on DejaNews, wherein I have verbally walloped on Holocaust revisionists who tried just that.
  • A long time ago, in a city far away from where I am now, my mother was a US civil rights activist with "Women for Racial and Economic Equality." She was an enthusiastic and idealistic promoter of equality of all peoples, of the ideal that individual potential mattered far more than ethnic or socioeconomic background. And one day, when she was running for a leadership position within the group, another woman argued that she should not be allowed to have it. Why? Because she was "racist". It was incidents like that which, alas, let the term "playing the race card" into the vocabulary, thence to be seized on and used gleefully by racists everywhere. RK, I beg of you, in all seriousness, don't make the same mistake.
  • And now, as Enchanter so wisely points out, this doesn't really belong here. (She said, after adding several paragraphs. Apologies.) I second his motion, and suggest that we take this to meta, or better yet, all try to see each other as individuals with different points of view, and work together to build a better Wikipedia. -- April


RK - You are repeatedly insinuating that others are racist or anti-semitic without good reason. (I would have thought it is quite clear that April is speaking hypothetically and is not making any specific allegations). Again - these kinds of insults are out of place, and April for one certainly deserves an apology for your misunderstanding her. Enchanter 14:40 Sep 4, 2002 (PDT)
RK, I think you are probably quite mad. I have never made an anti-Semitic remark in my life. As for your accusation that I am violent, I'll have you know that I am a pacifist. Once more you slander me because I dare to say things that you know to be true but which you wish were left un-said. I think Wesley is saying that the non-religious Zionists' motivation for wanting Jews to dominate Israel-Palestine, was that it should be a haven from anti-Semitism. This sounds reasonable, but it is a reasoning that only works while anti-Semitism is a widespread phenomenon. So it is clear that Zionists have a vested interest in keeping anti-Semitism alive; if there were no anti-Semitism, there would be no moral justification for the apartheid. It seems to me that accordingly, you Zionists have adopted two strategies for keeping anti-Semitism alive. Firstly you try, in articles like this one, to re-define the word "Anti-Semitism" to include anybody who opposes Zionism, in the hope that this will allow Zionism to float along in perpetuity on a hovercraft of circular reasoning. Secondly, you behave like utter bastards towards the Palestinians, so that all right-minded people will despise you. In case you are confused, I repeat that by “you” I mean “you Zionists” not “you Jews”. OK? GrahamN 14:23 Sep 4, 2002 (PDT)
Whatever you think of Zionists, this is not the place to vent your opinions. These insults reflect very badly on Wikipedia. Please stop. Enchanter 14:40 Sep 4, 2002 (PDT)


GrahamN writes "I think Wesley is saying that the non-religious Zionists' motivation for wanting Jews to dominate Israel-Palestine, was that it should be a haven from anti-Semitism. This sounds reasonable, but it is a reasoning that only works while anti-Semitism is a widespread phenomenon. So it is clear that Zionists have a vested interest in keeping anti-Semitism alive..."

GrahamN, please stop filling this forum with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. This kind of obsession about Jews is unhealty.

GrahamN writes "if there were no anti-Semitism, there would be no moral justification for the apartheid. It seems to me that accordingly, you Zionists have adopted two strategies for keeping anti-Semitism alive. Firstly you try, in articles like this one, to re-define the word 'Anti-Semitism' to include anybody who opposes Zionism, in the hope that this will allow Zionism to float along in perpetuity on a hovercraft of circular reasoning. Secondly, you behave like utter bastards towards the Palestinians, so that all right-minded people will despise you. In case you are confused, I repeat that by 'you' I mean 'you Zionists' not 'you Jews'.

The Zionists GrahamN refers to are most of the world's Jews. So GrahamN claims that he can't be an anti-Semited because of word games? I find this quite unconvincing. Frankly, he has a grudge against Jews that he just can't control, and is trying to use Wikipedia as a forum to vent. I believe that he should go elsewhere.