How to Criticise Israel Without Being Anti-Semitic

To criticise Israel is not antisemitic. In fact with the policies and actions of the current Israeli government it should be criticised, but far too often it draws on antisemitic themes and licenses antisemitic ways of thinking. Here’s a simple but interesting guide on how to criticise Irael without being antisemitic.

If you’ve spent any time discussing or reading about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I guarantee you’ve heard some variation of this statement:

OMG, Jews think any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic! 

In the interests of this post, I’m going to assume that the people who express such sentiments are acting in good faith and really don’t mean to cause pain to or problems for Diaspora Jewry.  For those good-faith people, I present some guidelines for staying on the good side of that admittedly murky line, along with the reasoning why the actions I list are problematic.  (And bad-faith people, you can no longer plead ignorance if you engage in any of these no-nos.  Consider yourselves warned.)  In no particular order:

  1. Don’t use the terms “bloodthirsty,” “lust for Palestinian blood,” or similar.  Historically, Jews have been massacred in the belief that we use the blood of non-Jews (particularly of children) in our religious rituals.  This belief still persists in large portions of the Arab world and even in parts of the Western world.  Murderous, inhumane, cruel, vicious—fine.  But blood…just don’t go there.  (Depicting Israel/Israelis/Israeli leaders eating children is also a no-no, for the same reason.)
  2. Don’t use crucifixion imagery. Another huge, driving motivation behind anti-Semitism historically has been the belief that the Jews, rather than the Romans, crucified Jesus.  As in #1, this belief still persists.  There are plenty of other ways to depict suffering that don’t call back to ancient libels.
  3. Don’t demand that Jews publicly repudiate the actions of settlers and extremists.  People who make this demand are assuming that Jews are terrible people or undeserving of being heard out unless they “prove” themselves acceptable by non-Jews’ standards.  (It’s not okay to demand Palestinians publicly repudiate the actions of Hamas in order to be accepted/trusted, either.)

Read the rest of it  here.

30 Responses to “How to Criticise Israel Without Being Anti-Semitic”

  1. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    According to Prof. A. Zick from Bielefeld University only 11 percent of those who criticise Israel do it without anti-Semitic stereotyp or remark.

  2. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Excellent piece. It could be added to by suggesting that people take the “Are You Antisemitic Test?” here” http://www.talkingsquid.net/archives/1702, which was posted here some months ago.

  3. Dan Says:

    The entire list is right on target, but numbers 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, and 16 are especially important. I see way too many people falling into these traps. That needs to change, and pronto.

  4. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    BTW, I gave a talk Wednesday evening to a small group of Jewish people, and recommended this very article (as the topic of how to gently but firmly confront people using antisemitic tropes. Hopefully, they will be visiting this article and using it for themselves. Hopefully others will also circulate it.

    It is a very good list.

  5. Nancy Says:

    I was all set to recommend this article except for Nos. 13 and 14. Genocide? That’s okay? Really?
    And those sections make no mention of the uniqueness and particular viciousness of accusing Israelis of being like Nazis.
    I also might’ve phrased a few other things a little differently, but it’s otherwise very good and an easy read. It’s hard to articulate many of these points and too easy to get emotional and tongue-tied. Ack – maybe I will share this, though with a caveat.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Caveats are good, Nancy. No-one is claiming perfection here, we’re all learners, trying to do our best to confront the crazies.

  6. N. Friedman Says:

    While the settlement project is certainly dubious, the entire discussion to find language that permits acceptable criticism of Israel to occur is even more dubious and, frankly, foolish. What you are doing is helping – not challenging – those who are Antisemites because you are providing them with acceptable vocabulary – effectively, a get out of jail free card – to use to continue their vilification campaign. This is a real mistake.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Quite possibly, Neil. There is always the possibility that, as you say, providing such guidance will merely encourage antisemites to find apparently acceptable ways of being antisemitic. However, I read this as a guide for those of us wishing to let others know that there are acceptable and unacceptable ways of writing about Israel. After all, we’re not going to be able to stop the antisemites from writing as they wish (and they care less about us); but there are people out there who do wish to learn how to do it in the right way,

      After all, many of us here are quite prepared to criticise Israeli government actions without being antisemitic. Why shouldn’t we allow others to do the same.

      • N. Friedman Says:

        Brian writes: “After all, many of us here are quite prepared to criticise Israeli government actions without being antisemitic. Why shouldn’t we allow others to do the same.”

        Antisemitism is not a speech problem. It is a form of hatred that has, in some historical circumstances, involved racism (e.g., in Nazi Germany and in 15th Century Spain) and in other periods (e.g., now, with respect to Israel), is more ideological. Whatever Antisemitism is, helping others to find “acceptable” ways to hate does not, at least to me, seem to be a very good idea.

        Now, I have never thought that the settlement policy is a good thing. But, to me, anyone who obsesses with that issue given that, in fact, there is no resolution to the Arab Israeli dispute that has any imaginable chance of success in the foreseeable future (i.e., in the next fifty years or more) is helping the haters.

        Consider: the Israelis could be angels – assuming that giving up on settling land would be what angels would do – but that does not mean the dispute can settle. The Israelis, of course, are not angels but, frankly, neither are the Arab Palestinians. There is basically no evidence at all that they are in earnest about resolving the dispute. In Arabic, as has been well reported in the US, the leaders of the PA have consistently said that they are working to destroy Israel. And, polling data show that the Arab Palestinians mostly seek only an interim resolution that includes Israel. So, those, other than the Antisemites, who worry about the Israelis settling land are simply wasting their time.

        Lastly, please stop calling me Neil. It is not my name.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Apologies, I was under the impression that that was your first name, given earlier comments here by N. Friedman, who appeared to respond (or not object) to “Neil” or “Neal”.

          Okay, so N. Friedman appears to be saying that any criticism of Israel is going to be antisemitic. Which is arrant nonsense, of course. The trick is, therefore, to find ways of criticising Israel without being antisemitic, which the article linked to does.

          Or does N. Friedman insist that this cannot be done. Does he(?) therefore also insist that criticism of, e.g., Zimbabwe must, perforce, be racist, if one isn’t a black African (or of such descent)? This is arrant nonsense.

          I shall continue to argue that it is, and must be, possible to criticise Israel without being antisemitic. If N. Friedman agrees with this, how would he(?) suggest this is done, if not in the manner outlined in the article above? If not, is the argument that there must be no criticism of Israeli government policy ever?

          Please elucidate.

  7. Absolute Observer Says:

    You say that you find the settlements ‘dubious’ and not a ‘good thing’ (the ’1967 and all that’ school of history?)
    How can you make these critical points without giving ammunition to the haters? Surely they are an acceptable way of criticising Israeli policy which, according to your ‘logic’ offers an ‘acceptable’ way for others to express their hate?
    Maybe you should take your own advice and not say anymore. At least that way, you will avoid looking even more foolish than you already have.

  8. N. Friedman Says:

    Brian writes: “Okay, so N. Friedman appears to be saying that any criticism of Israel is going to be antisemitic.”

    That is not what I was saying. Please read my words again. Those words were: “What you are doing is helping – not challenging – those who are Antisemites because you are providing them with acceptable vocabulary – effectively, a get out of jail free card – to use to continue their vilification campaign.” That is a different thing from how you interpret my words.

    Brian continues: “The trick is, therefore, to find ways of criticising Israel without being antisemitic, which the article linked to does.”

    No. The trick is to find a way to advance your cause without helping the Antisemites.

    To me, though, your cause is errant nonsense. The opposition to the settlements is not a great moral cause. The mixing of peoples has historically been a good thing, not an evil thing. It has brought improvement to civilization, not harm. The issue here is strictly a political one, as in if the goal is to create two countries, increasing Israel’s size is problematic – but not so problematic that it remotely deserves the degree of criticism pouring out. Or, are you also incensed by Chinese settlers in Tibet? Unlike, for example, Chinese settlers in Tibet, Jewish settlement does not threaten the extinction of Arab culture or civilization. Irrational impulses, not morality, is the reason that drives most criticism of Israel. If morality were the issue, people would focus all their energy on China’s policy – and, even then, not on the fact that the Chinese are being mixed with the Tibetans but on the fact that Tibetan civilization is being extinguished.

    Criticism is fine in theory. At the moment, though, it is not fine in practice. Even if I thought that the settlers were committing a great evil – which I do not believe to be the case -, I would still look at what is going on today and say that the far, far greater evil is the spread of hatred against Jews worldwide. Everyone knows where that leads. Given the unwillingness of the Palestinian side to reach a final end to the conflict – with their position being that any land they liberate or Israel cedes must be Judenrein (which is, to note, the official policy of the PA) and given the position taken by the Brotherhood, including its Hamas chapter (where the matter is expressly set forth in the Hamas Covenant), that the annihilation of all the world’s Jews is official policy, I think that those who spend their time criticizing Israel as if it were to help Israel are fools.

    If you want to be able to affect the policy of Israel so that the country can cede land in order to do its part towards ending the conflict, you need to address what the Arab and greater Muslim side is doing – which is spreading Antisemitism in order to advance the cause of destroying Israel. To worry over where some people settle, given that the Palestinian side seeks only Israel’s destruction, is foolish. It is delusional.

    And, by the way, I have been in the West Bank. I have seen settlements. I have also seen how Palestinians live in the West Bank. I reiterate. Settlements are not the great moral issue of our time. To provide any moral cover to the work of the Antisemites is to do a very bad – a very immoral – thing.

    N.

  9. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    N. Friedman: “The opposition to the settlements is not a great moral cause.” Funny, that, I didn’t mention the settlements, I was talking about how to criticise Israel without being antisemitic. If subjects are to be placed off-limits, then how can this be done. By the same token, I am not allowed to criticise any policy of the Obama administration (because I’m not a Us voter, let alone a citizen, registered to vote or otherwise), on account of this would make me a racist, seeing as how he is African-American.

    If that is seen as arrant nonsense (as it should be), then how can non-Israelis criticise, for example, the policy of building settlements across the Green Line without being antisemitic. All you are saying is that you don’t believe it is an issue of great importance, other than to antisemites. Others may disagree. And they are entitled to do so.

    Thus, I ask again, how can one criticise particular policies, whether you believe they are of great importance or not (and yours is not the only opinion, any more than mine is), in a non-antisemoitic manner? I restate my view that the article linked to offers a way, as does the article from Talking Squid (http://www.talkingsquid.net/archives/1702) which I linked to above.

    I’m still waiting to be convinced otherwise.

  10. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Oh, and by the way, you also say “If you want to be able to affect the policy of Israel so that the country can cede land in order to do its part towards ending the conflict, you need to address what the Arab and greater Muslim side is doing – which is spreading Antisemitism…” (I take the ‘you’ here as generic), I do, but not necessarily here, but on a number of other sites. I take it that you do the same.

  11. N. Friedman Says:

    Brian,

    We would do better if we read each other’s comments for what is said and not said. When we spend our time criticizing the Israelis – in this case, teaching people how to advance a hateful, immoral cause using language that does not seem so offensive -, we do a very bad thing. That is the point I have been arguing.

    Be that as it may, I do not, at present, think it is really possible to criticize Israel, given the state of today’s world politics, without doing so in the service of the Antisemites. In that I think Antisemitism is a great evil, I would not do so even if I believed that settling the West Bank were also a great evil.

    If, like me, you think Antisemitism to be a great moral evil, you would look askance at people who provide polite ways for others to express their hatred. In my views, those who think the language game is a smart cause or even a moral cause have lost their minds.

    Now, what I am not saying is – to quote you – “All you are saying is that you don’t believe it is an issue of great importance, other than to antisemites.” I am saying nothing of the sort. No. What I am saying is that you – and I am not referring to you personally – are doing a great service on behalf of the Antisemites, by teaching them to advance their cause (i.e., harming Jews) in a manner that disguises their hatred but does nothing to prevent them from advancing that cause.

    I must also add the following – although nothing above said is contingent on what follows – if someone thinks that settling land – which is the norm throughout the history of mankind – is an evil to be discussed in the same breadth as Antisemitism, there is no way to persuade such a person. All of us live on land that was settled by colonists (even in Europe). So, if that is your view, then I do not know what to say to you other than you are morally confused and historically unschooled, thinking that a perfectly normal and moral act – i.e. settling land – ought be the subject of obsessive criticism.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      This is now more than faintly ridiculous, as must be obvious to readers of this comments thread. I keep talking about how, if possible, to criticise Israel without being antisemitic (and, by implication, being open to accepting correction) and you keep bringing up the settlements, which I have not once mentioned, except in response to your mentions of them, and not once have you explained why this topic is so important, nor, come to that, why, apparently, it is impossible to criticise Israel without either being antisemitic or “allowing” antisemites to continue their antisemitic mode of commenting.

      Fine, have it your way.

      I quit this comments thread, but remain in profound disagreement with what of your comments I understand. I just wish you responded to what is said to you, and not what (from where I’m sitting) what you wish was said to you.

  12. Absolute Observer Says:

    Gosh, like all good anti-Zionists that deny antisemitism, N. Friedman has shifted the conversation away from combatting antisemitism to. Aa discussion about Israel. Not surprising since, like many antisemites, he sees antisemitism and Israel as two sides of the same coin; and in so doing gives the antisemites a raison d’être they obviously crave but which antisemitism can never provide. In other words, he is expressing precisely the problem Fine wishes to confront.

    • N. Friedman Says:

      I am certainly not an anti-Zionist. How you concluded I held such views is beyond me.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        A.O., I would agree with N. Friedman that he isn’t an anti-Zionist nor an antisemite, at least in his own eyes. However, he does appear to have tunnel vision. This thread is about how (and whether it is possible) to criticise Israel without being antisemitic. N. Friedman, in an unspecified manner, appears to believe that this merely encourages antisemites to continue their antisemitic criticism of Israel under cover of not being antisemitic, because we have given them the means to do so.

        However, when various of us attempt to engage him and ask how this is so, his response is to raise the subject of the settlements. This intrigues me: I have never (except in response to his comments) raised this topic. When asked what this has to do with the topic, he ignores this, I would have thought legitimate, question, and repeats his earlier concerns.

        Go figure. And if you do, please let the rest of know what you have figured.

        I would add that on an earlier comments thread, he and I had a long ‘debate’ (I use the word advisedly) on the role the UK Jewish community played in the amount of antisemitism to be found in the UK. He appeared to take the same position that Anthony Lerman (twice Director of JPPR) took: if only British Jews were less wholeheartedly supportive of Israel and its right to exist in peace and security, then antisemitism in the UK would markedly decline.

        It didn’t matter how much I pointed out that there is a large body of research in the social sciences on the concept of “blaming the victim”: it made little difference to the aggressor how the victim of prejudice and discrimination behaved. The key to changing this was and is the behaviour of the perpetrator, not the victim. There wasn’t an argument on this from N. Friedman: he just ignored it.

        Just as he is ignoring detailed questions and criticism on this thread.

        The intriguing question is what does this say about him?

        As I said above, go figure.

        • N. Friedman Says:

          Brian,

          If you read the article, it refers to the “settlers.” Hence, my reason for raising the issue. (See numbered item 3 of the article). Moreover, the article states: “the policies and actions of the current Israeli government it should be criticised …” The most likely policy that would be criticized is Israel’s policy regarding the territories that Israel has captured.

          Now. You say I ignore questions. Please list them. I shall answer each and every one of them the best I can.

  13. Nancy Says:

    N. Friedman –
    Am I correcting in interpreting your remarks to mean that it is not possible to criticize Israel’s actions (or any other part of society there) without necessarily promoting anti-Semitism or being anti-Semitic oneself? That sounds like asserting that Israel – alone among nations – should therefore be immune from commentary or criticism – or at least, that those of us who are Jewish and/or feel an affinity for Israel and wish it to thrive should bat down any such criticism as being or promoting anti-Semitism. And that we should accuse the critics – regardless of their intention, their language, or the substance of their remarks – of being anti-Semitic or promoting anti-Semitism. That sounds unreasonable to me. Please correct this if I’ve misread you.

    • N. Friedman Says:

      Nancy,

      If I might explain my position by an analogy.

      In the period before WWII, there was a lot of criticism of Jews and pooh poohing of real concerns raised by Jews about what was going on in Europe. In fact – and this was recognized by many – Jews were faced with an emergency. In any event, the sum impact of the talk was to delegitimize Jews. No one who cared one wit about Jews ought to have joined in the criticism – even if there might – which I am not admitting is true – have been truth in this or that particular criticism.

      Much the same things is occurring now – the same nasty talk, the same pooh poohing of those who assert that, for example, the situation faced by Israel is an emergency situation, not a simple situation subject to ready resolution by negotiation.

      My contention is that now is not the time to express criticism of Israel. The sum impact will be only to serve the cause of the Antisemites. And, anyone who really cares about Israel is well advised not to spend time criticizing Israel. Rather, it is more advisable to spend time mentioning the unwillingness of the Arabs to negotiate, much less negotiate in earnest. It is more advisable to point out the wretched state of society throughout the Arab regions – the same wretched state of affairs prevailing in the territories governed by the Palestinians. Etc., etc. Someday, the dispute will settle. Until then, worrying about what the Israelis are doing – even if there were something wrong in what they are doing – only serves the purposes of those who make war against Israel and against Jews.

      By the way, I do hold that Israel and Jews are in a special situation. Unlike with respect to China and Turkey – two other countries which are settling conquered land right now -, no one seeks to destroy China, Chinese civilization or anything of the sort. No one seeks to destroy Turkey or its civilization. So, one has to judge Israel by its circumstances, not by some abstract view that, for example, there is something wrong with settlements (a stupid but commonly held argument that, in the US, is the subject of laughter, given that the US has settled on all lands on which it was founded – just like all countries in the Americas).

      And, Jews are also in a special situation. In Europe, wearing jewelry or garb that shows one to be Jewish can cause problems. It can get you beat up. That is not a normal state of affairs. There are moves to boycott things made in Israel and to protest speeches by self-identified Jews. That is not a normal state of affairs.

      If and when Jews and Israel receive treatment akin to other peoples and countries, then special considerations would cease to apply. But, as we speak, things are deteriorating and Engage, for inexplicable reasons, thinks it important to provide assistance to Antisemites on how to harm Jewish interests without sounding Antisemitic – i.e., to be Antisemitic with a get out of jail free card. That, to me, is crazy.

      • Nancy Says:

        Thank you.

        I agree with you that Israel’s situation is different from China and Turkey and should be judged in its own context. Besides that, I can’t get behind what you’re advocating as a general proposition. I feel that there are plenty of ways to advocate in favor of Israel even if one decides also to take issue with this or that policy or cultural trend. Indeed, many legitimate critics of settlements or whatever else each think that they are in fact advocating a positive way forward for Israel.

        Further, what you advocate seems to presuppose that supporters of Israel are of a single mindset. Last I heard, there were no annual meetings of Jews and Zionists plotting the advocacy agenda for the rest of us. I think that to circle the proverbial wagons and ignore the complexity of so many issues and legitimate ways to deal with them is simplistic, unrealistic, and dishonest.

        • N. Friedman Says:

          Nancy,

          There are people who believe that Israel would be better off politically if it did not settle people in the territories. That is a perfectly legitimate argument that can be made without “violating” my rule. I have no problem with people who make that argument.

          Please read my argument more carefully. One can argue the wisdom or lack of wisdom of settling in the territories without criticizing Israel.

  14. Absolute Observer Says:

    Agreed – Israel is the subject of ‘special’ attention. Agreed – some (by no means all) of it is driven by antisemitism at its worst and an anti-Zionist irrationalism at best.
    Response: not to be silenced by antisemites (N. Friedman’s view) nor by Israeli nationalists (again, not-N Friedman’s response)’how can you criticise Israel when so many other are? but by challenging both the antisemites and the nationalists. And in that way, we support a sizable proportion of Israelis, as well as helping to ensure that the ‘special considerations would cease to apply’. The alternative is to retire silently to the attic (and pulling up the ladder behind us) or to the battlements (an remaining silent in the face of some pretty nasty politics (maltreatment of refugees, intolerance of women; cuts in welfare spending, lack of foresight in relations with its neighbours, etc. that is being pushed by the current Israeli government) all the while bemoaning how terrible the world is.(And, yes, I have an equally critical view of those that claim to represent the Palestinians).

    Ever since Jews gained emancipation in Europe, there have always been political forces that have tried to take Jews’ rights away (including the right to speak). I’m buggered if I am going to be silenced either by their latest iteration or by those who (despite being the specific object of their contempt and hatred) minister the same ‘advice’ (although evidently – and despite what those who have fallen for antisemitic mythology would have us believe – without anywhere the power to make that advice a concrete reality)!

    As I said, two sides, same coin.

    • N. Friedman Says:

      Absolute,

      You make some good points here. Most particularly, you are correct that ever since Jews have gained emancipation, there have been those who sought to take those rights away. That is, of course, an understatement of what has been attempted but I see your point.

      Consider the following: when one has real enemies – something you acknowledge -, what should one do? On your view – if I understand what you write -, you should not be cowed into silence by such fact. My view is that one needs to live with the reality as it is and must, in order to survive, adjust to that reality. Thus, if I lived in the USSR, I would not have been screaming about the evils of Soviet communism, if I thought such ideology or its implementation in society to be an evil. That was a necessity, if one wanted to live.

      Of course, in Europe, you do not, at the moment, face an annihilative ideology that has power in any European state. Consider: the Israelis do face that reality. Friends of Israel need to consider that reality when they speak.

      One has to ask the obvious question. What is it that you think the Israelis need to hear that you know? Do you have any special knowledge about their situation that Israelis do not know, more than likely, far better than you know? Do you think the Israelis are unaware of their dangers and the various possible paths forward – including the actual risks they face by favoring one approach over another approach? I know a lot of Israelis. All of them are well aware of what goes on in the territories. All of them are well aware that the country has real enemies. All of them I have met would do anything and everything that might lead to ending the dispute – and that is true of Israelis I know who favor settling the land – people who say, I support settlements but would, if it ends the dispute, clear them out tomorrow. So, what is the point of the criticism from abroad from Israel’s friends?

      I guess I do not understand why one thinks it important to find a way to criticize Israel without using Antisemitic language. I think it merely provides a means to help Israel’s enemies.

  15. Nancy Says:

    I forgot – I also think that the analogy to the lead up to WWII for European Jews is facile and runs the risk of getting into Reductio Ad Hitlerum territory. There is a superficial logic. But, since as you say we should judge a situation (Israel) in its context, I think the analogy fails once you do that. There are serious problems and challenges facing Jews and Israel today, yes for sure. But it is not 1930s Europe. You may critcize me for not writing something longer or more detailed, but I’d rather not get overly sidetracked, I don’t have time just now, and I think others have done so here and elsewhere more eloquently than I can.

    • N. Friedman Says:

      Nancy,

      I do not claim it to be a perfect analogy. I claim there to be sufficient similarities to the 1930′s to make a useful analogy. The main difference is that Israel has arms to protect its population.

      The assertion that my logic is “superficial” is a way of making an argument without having to make one. That is not an honest way to make a point. The analogy is certainly not superficial and I challenge you to show it is – something that you will certainly be unable to do without ignoring facts that show that favor my position.

      The most obvious points favoring my analogy are (a) a highly charged ideology (i.e. Islamism) by which Jews are considered a danger to the survival of a people (i.e. to the Muslim umma), (b), people holding to that ideology arming themselves and asserting they will use them to rid the world of Jews (see, Hamas Covenant, the numerous statements of the Ikwani so asserting and their coming to power in countries such as Egypt, the statements by the Shi’a version of Islamist ideology including by the leaders of Hezbollah and the leader of Iran, which is arming itself about ridding the world of all Jews – and latest statement from its military that it purposely developed rockets – i.e. rockets capable of carrying unconventional payload – with range to hit Israel, etc., etc.) and (c) Jews being criticized for the audacity of defending themselves (e.g. see HRW and The Guardian, both claiming acts of self-defense, which they have, in other disputes, claimed were legitimate self-defense, are wrongful). In the case of HRW, it even listed the very same specific war acts as war crimes when Israel acted against Hamas but legitimate war actions when taken by the US against the Serbs.

      Is the analogy I draw perfect? No. It is not. Is it “superficial”? No way it can be said to be superficial without denying the undeniable..

  16. Nancy Says:

    N. Friedman you write – “There are people who believe that Israel would be better off politically if it did not settle people in the territories. That is a perfectly legitimate argument that can be made without “violating” my rule. I have no problem with people who make that argument.”
    This strikes me as sophistry. Or, you actually haven’t stated your arguements in a concise and cogent enough fashion that I have failed to understand it.

    On the WWII analogy – we’ll have to agree to disagree. Yes, there are threats against Israel and Jews. They need to be dealt with. But otherwise I find the situations very different. I’m surprised that this isn’t self-evident. I also think it does a disservice to the millions both murdered and otherwise victimized by the Nazis to dilute the singular horror of that experience. There are lessons to be learned, and the world should never forget. But I simply won’t subscribe to a theory that an analogy like the one you make is productive or realistic. It’s a distraction from focusing productively on current challenges.

    • N. Friedman Says:

      Nancy,

      In a discussion, it helps to know why – not just that – you disagree with my position. You note there are threats and then say, “otherwise I find the situations very different.” In what ways that matter? And, how might the the threats “be dealt with’? You are silent.

      Do you actually have anything other than a gut reaction that my analogy is wrong? I do not think so, at least based on what you post.

      To criticism is to say something is not right – normally, meant as a harsh disagreement. According to the dictionary: “The act of criticizing, especially adversely.” It is that which I oppose. Stating that you think Israel would be better off ceding territory or not settling territory or not negotiating or negotiating, that is, in my view, legitimate discussion points. I shall add, though, unless you live in Israel, you likely are not well enough versed with the actual situation on the ground sufficiently to contribute much to the discussion. But, there is certainly nothing wrong with stating that Israel would be better or worse off to settle or not settle the territories, etc.

      There is something wrong to wax moral about the topic – which is the thing that Israel’s critics normally do. In the US, which is, as you know, entirely settled on land captured from earlier inhabitants – inhabitants who were not merely moved out of the way but effectively annihilated -, it normally gets the reply that the speaker is a rank hypocrite. Europeans might do well to read their own histories and, if they did, they would realize that they too live on land that was settled, with other peoples being moved out of the way. And, by the standards of Europe and America, the Israelis are absolute angels.


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