Blogs > Liberty and Power > Another Anti-Semite Is Born

Jul 30, 2006 11:50 am


Another Anti-Semite Is Born



The other day on CNN I saw a woman in Tyre, Lebanon, whose apartment had fallen in on her thanks to Israeli bombers, shout,"Death to Israel. God punish Israel."

No doubt an anti-Semite, like the young men chanting the same thing as they stood amid the rubble that was once their town.

I am reminded of Karl Kraus's aphorism:"The psychiatrist unfailingly recognizes the madman by his excited behavior on being incarcerated."

Likewise, the Israel supporter unfailingly recogizes the anti-Semite by his excited behavior on having his home destroyed by the IDF.

Cross-posted at Free Association.



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Max Schwing - 8/4/2006

The root is the very existence of the Jewish state on the Middle Eastern soil and with it the occupation of holy land of the Arabs. The solution is different amongst the various Islamic entities, but the most vocal ones are the Iranian/Syrian/Hezbullah connections and they are the ones with weapons..

The question is, where should Israel turn for help and support? None of the moderate countries or personalities have spoken out for peace or against the radicals.


Max Schwing - 8/4/2006

The root is the very existence of the Jewish state on the Middle Eastern soil and with it the occupation of holy land of the Arabs. The solution is different amongst the various Islamic entities, but the most vocal ones are the Iranian/Syrian/Hezbullah connections and they are the ones with weapons..

The question is, where should Israel turn for help and support? None of the moderate countries or personalities have spoken out for peace or against the radicals.


Mark Brady - 7/31/2006

I was careless in my original post. Certainly the words semitism, semite, and semitic can still be used to refer all semitic peoples, and when linguists refer to Semitic languages Arabic is included. However, the use of the words semitism, semite, and semitic to refer to Jews is not solely American. The Oxford English Dictionary, which I consulted before I made my first post, gives an example from a book published in London in 1886 where semitism and semitic are used to refer just to Jews. And the words anti-semitism, anti-semite, and anti-semitic have always been used to refer just to Jews. The OED also gives examples of these words from British English (from as early as 1881).


David Emanuel Andersson - 7/31/2006

Yes, but when linguists refer to Semitic languages Arabic is explicitly included, which is true to its original meaning. And I think that the equation Semite = Jew is actually American rather than universal. An analogous example is liberal, which usually means pro-government-intervention in the US but pro-market in continental Europe, and segregation, which implies racial separation in the US but more often implies socio-economic spatial separation in many parts of Europe.


Mark Brady - 7/31/2006

Since the late nineteenth century, semitism (and its variants) and anti-semitism (and its variants) have been used specifically to refer to Jews and not all semetic peoples. Indeed, those professing opposition to the Jews have called themselves antisemites.


David Emanuel Andersson - 7/31/2006

I had always thought that Arabs constitute the most populous group of Semites. So the proper term should be anti-Zionist rather than anti-semite, if it refers to denying the legitimacy of Israel, while anti-Jewish would mean being opposed to any Jew, which is of course irrational.


Bill Woolsey - 7/31/2006

My impression of Sistani, is that he has had a positive influence in Iraq. I respect his aloofness vis a vis the Americans. His fundamental support for the political dominance of the Shia majority. And his willingness to reconcile with the Sunnis Arabs and work with the Kurds.

Some years ago, however, critics of Sistani suggested he had various "nutty views" and said that these views were on his website. I checked it out.

Admittedly, from my moderate libertarian, Christian, and American perspective, some of his rulings did sim a bit peculiar. But this is relevant to this thread, because he discusses the issue of Palestine. His ruling is that it is about the property rights of individual Palestinians. They should have their land back, and the specific Israelis who have been using this land for the last 50 years or so owe them compensation.

Sounds pretty libertarian to me. And much better than the Socialist Nationalist nonsense that is still the Israeli party line (remarkably repeated by pro-Israel libertarians) and, of course, the socialist nationalist nonsense that reflected the rhetoric of the Arab side in the past.

Of course, I don't believe that the citizens of Israel should be subject to an Islamic republic. Even if the Jewish residents of Palestine became committed libertarians, there would be no easy answer. Their security situation might be little better. They would have more of my sympathy, however.


Sheldon Richman - 7/30/2006

The question is: what is the root of Hezbollah's or Iran's hatred? Does it matter?


Craig J. Bolton - 7/30/2006

There is little question that there can be a distinction between hating [or disagreeing with] Israeli policy and hating Jews. If one bothers to read the Israeli press http://www.kol-israel.com/ two observations are obvious: (1) Israelis are much more specifically and vehemently critical of Israeli policy and Israeli leaders than just about anyone else. [Of course, few Israelis blame such polices on the Jewishness of their makers.] One who deals in institutional economics and stereotypes might note that such is not unexpected of a proportional representative democracy or modern Jews. (2)There are a number of Haredim in and out of Israel that think that the existence of Israel is heresy.

That is, however, criticism of a quite different sort than one hears out of Herzbollah or its masters in Iran. And those who can't tell the difference are probably being purposely deaf, dumb and blind. For instance:

http://www.tehrantimes.com/Detailview.asp?Keyword=zionists&;Da=7/31/2006&Cat=2&Num=18


Sheldon Richman - 7/30/2006

It was not aimed specifically at anyone on L&P. The post initially ran on my own Free Association. It was aimed at a prevalent attitude in and outside of libertarian circles.


Steven Horwitz - 7/30/2006

This is really a cheap shot Sheldon, at least if it's aimed at those of us who have been more sympathetic to Israel in this conflict. As we have said it is NOT anti-Semitic to criticize Israeli policy, or to be pissed at Israel when your neighborhood gets blown up. Note that it's YOU here who are equating Israel and Jew. My own view is that one can hate Israel, the state, without being anti-Semitic (i.e., hating Jews).

I do not consider that woman anti-Semitic.

When it comes to Israel, I only ask that it be held to the same standards to which we hold other countries and no more. To hold Israel to a higher standard legitimately raises the question "why?" The answer to that could be, but is not necessarily, anti-Semitism. The devil is in the details.

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