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The Weird Irony of Anti-Semitism
Posted: 06 March 2006 09:19 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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(Treblinka, stay out of this - not interested in your opinion on this one.)

I'm gonna let something off my chest here that's been giving me the s**ts for a while.  That is: Anti-Semitism.  I'm not talking about people who are anti-semetic*.  But the notion of Anti-Semitism itself.

For starters, why is it that rasicm is bad, but anti-semitism is so severely depraved, so utterly foul, that it deserves it's own name?  The fact that abuse (verbal, physical, emotional etc) against one people is called one name, but abuse against everyone else is called another, seems to me to be, quite frankly, racist.

Secondly, why is it that the "anti-semetism" slogan is only applied if it's racism against jews?  Why isn't anti-arab rasicm called anti-semetism?  After all, aren't the Arabs a semetic race?

In my view, Racism is Racism, end of argument.  Never is it right, and rarely can it be justified (if at all).

Out of curiosity, I'm gonna start a poll on this.  What's your thoughts peoples?

*:    (Treblinka, stay out of this - not interested in your opinion on this one.)

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Posted: 07 March 2006 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I honestly never understood anti semitism.  I’ve always thought of them as whiteys with a different religion than me, not any more or less caucasian than any other of us crackas. 
Besides, there are so many other minorities out there that are way more fun to be mean to than jews. 
Just don’t get all the hatred some people have for’em.

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Posted: 07 March 2006 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Having more words to describe similar things is good.

Eskimos have 17 words for snow.

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Posted: 07 March 2006 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Having more words to describe similar things is good.

Eskimos have 17 words for snow.

I agree with you on this.  To take an extreme counter-example, have a look at newspeak (1984 by George Orwell for those who haven’t read it), where the range of emotional words (from bad to good) goes something like this.

Double-Plus Ungood, Double Ungood, Ungood, Good, Double Good, and Double-Plus Good. 
That’s a really extreme example, but youre right - a range of words do help us to express ourselves not only more interestingly, but also (for lack of a better word at the moment) with more expression…

However, do we really need to be more expressive when it comes to racist views?  Do we really need to have separate words for racism against differing people?  In a nutshell, would having more terms for racism help eliminate racism, or help promote it?

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Posted: 07 March 2006 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“sjkebab”]In a nutshell, would having more terms for racism help eliminate racism, or help promote it?

Having more words should help to better describe and, thereby, to understand.

For example, do you have any ideas why the term “anti-semite” is in common usage whereas “anti-gallic” is not?

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Posted: 07 March 2006 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Having more words should help to better describe and, thereby, to understand.

Are you saying there should be more words describing the finer shades of anti-semitism or racism?  Sort of like face mask penalty in football?  5 or 15 yards?  Can one be a little bit racist?  Pregnant?

In the dark ages, when I grew up, the word was prejudiced, and it referred to the whole gamut of bigotry.  Slowly, special cases filtered in.  I never thought the special cases were needed.  If one was going to pre-judge any person, race or country based upon generalized beliefs pertaining to same, it is prejudicial behaviour, so why are the special cases needed?

Why is a homophobe any different than an anti-semite?  Why is either one any different than a racist?  These are not fine shades of meaning, they are merely adjectives catagorizing the same degree of behavior.

My two cents.

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Posted: 07 March 2006 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Imagine if black people had worked the cotton fields of the U.S. South for 2,000 years. No access to formation of family because they are not human and their owners don’t care a whit whether or not two brothers ever see each other again. Daughters are stolen from their mothers as soon as breasts start to develop, never to return. This goes on for 2,000 years.

In such a world, what would we call anti-black racists as opposed to anti-Swedish racists? Perhaps a somewhat different (though not stronger) term?

My comparison is not meant to be picked apart. Only to describe how a group of people can be uprooted from society. Jews were mistreated by Christians for 2,000 years in entirely different ways from how Southern plantation owners treated their slaves. My only point is that anti-Semitism describes an amazing brand of horrible treatment over an amazing amount of time, and it may well extend to 3,000 years or more.

Just my opinion. Do me a favor and don’t argue my feelings.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 07 March 2006 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“hampsteadpete”]

Having more words should help to better describe and, thereby, to understand.

Are you saying there should be more words describing the finer shades of anti-semitism or racism?  Sort of like face mask penalty in football?  5 or 15 yards?  Can one be a little bit racist?  Pregnant?

There should be as many words as people find necessary to describe things concisely and accurately.  What people do with the words (5 or 15 yards) is separate.  A bigot is a bigot is a bigot.  Some hate gays.  Some hate blacks.  Some hate jews.  Some all 3.  Some a mixture.

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Posted: 07 March 2006 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-semitism

The word antisemitic (antisemitisch in German) was probably first used in 1860 by the Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider in the phrase “antisemitic prejudices” (German: “antisemitische Vorurteile”). Steinschneider used this phrase to characterize Ernest Renan’s ideas about how “Semitic races” were inferior to “Aryan races.” These pseudo-scientific theories had become quite widespread in Europe in the second half of the 19th century, especially as Prussian nationalistic historian Heinrich von Treitschke did much to promote this form of racism. In Treitschke’s writings Semitic was practically synonymous with Jewish. German political agitator Wilhelm Marr coined the related German word Antisemitismus in his book “The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism” in 1879. Marr used the phrase to mean Jew-hatred or Judenhass, and he used the new word antisemitism to make hatred of the Jews seem rational and sanctioned by scientific knowledge. Marr’s book became very popular, and in the same year he founded the “League of Anti-Semites” (“Antisemiten-Liga”), the first German organization committed specifically to combatting the alleged threat to Germany posed by the Jews, and advocating their forced removal from the country.

So far as can be ascertained, the word was first widely printed in 1881, when Marr published “Zwanglose Antisemitische Hefte,” and Wilhelm Scherer used the term “Antisemiten” in the “Neue Freie Presse” of January. The related word semitism was coined around 1885. See also the coinage of the term “Palestinian” by Germans to refer to the nation or people known as Jews, as distinct from the religion of Judaism.

Despite the use of the prefix “anti,” the terms Semitic and Anti-Semitic are not antonyms. To avoid the confusion of the misnomer, many scholars on the subject (such as Emil Fackenheim of the Hebrew University) now favor the unhyphenated term antisemitism. Yehuda Bauer articulated this view in his writings and lectures: (the term) “Antisemitism, especially in its hyphenated spelling, is inane nonsense, because there is no Semitism that you can be anti to.” [1], also in his A History of the Holocaust, p.52)

The term anti-Semitism has historically referred to prejudice towards Jews alone, and this was the only use of this word for more than a century. It does not traditionally refer to prejudice toward other people who speak Semitic languages (e.g. Arabs or Syriacs). Bernard Lewis, Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University, says that “Anti-Semitism has never anywhere been concerned with anyone but Jews.”[2]

In recent decades some groups have argued that the term should be extended to include prejudice against Arabs, Anti-Arabism, in the context of accusations of Arab anti-Semitism; further, some, including the Islamic Association of Palestine, have argued that this implies that Arabs can not, by definition, be anti-Semitic, despite the acknowledged high level of Arab anti-Semitism. The argument for such extension comes out of the claim that since the Semitic language family includes Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic languages, and the historical term “Semite” refers to all those who consider themselves descendants of the Biblical Shem, anti-Semitism should be likewise inclusive. This usage is not generally accepted…

Anyhoo, get rid of it. We don’t need it. It just gives “anti-Jew” a more ‘sophisticated’ sound in the world’s media. If the media were to use “anti-Jew” every time they labelled somebody an “anti-semite”, even the laymen would stop to consider if the said person really hates Jews. Anti-semite is a good character-denigrator and is especially one-sided so it should be gone. But since the Jews own the media, I can’t see it happening soon LOL

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Posted: 08 March 2006 01:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Cheers for the reference Lorenzuim.  Being a wikipedi-holic, I can’t believe that I didn’t look it up first myself!
As for the media thing, I wouldn’t mind seeing a (non-biased) comparison of media owners and their respective religions.  There’s definately a perception of “excessive jewish control” of many institutions - the media being one of them.  I’ve tried to look up some stats on this, but alas, I tend to get led to pointy-white-hat websites - hardly reliable sources of information….  So this perception - and I must admit this perception is shared by myself*  - goes untested.

I can’t say I like that state of affairs to be honest….

There should be as many words as people find necessary to describe things concisely and accurately. What people do with the words (5 or 15 yards) is separate. A bigot is a bigot is a bigot. Some hate gays. Some hate blacks. Some hate jews. Some all 3. Some a mixture.

Bare with me with this argument…
Imagine bigotry in a caste system, where the upper castes are prejudiced against all other classes, middle classes are prejudiced against lower classes, and the lower classes are bigots to the lowest class.  The theme here - a heirarchy.

Now, if each of these differing breeds of bigots have different names for their respective racism, that creates a heirarchy of racism itself, where one form is accepted more than others. 
Clearly, an undesirable outcome.

   


*:  I suspect a few of you might harbour similar beliefs too - but you never know ‘till you ask…

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Posted: 08 March 2006 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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lorenzium is a neo-nazi.  The media in the west is controlled mostly by old rich white men—many are jews, atheists, catholics, protestants.  If you want to know, look up the backgrounds of Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, the board of directors of General Electric, etc.

So, sjkebab, please do very cursory research on your own about media ownership.

Which dovetails nicely with a counterexample to your premise about why there should not be multiple words for racism.  That extra word describing a certain form of racism is leading you to learn more about how that particular group has been, is, but hopefully will not continue to be shat upon simply for being who they are.

More words are better.

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Posted: 08 March 2006 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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I’d appreciate an edit thanks mudfoot.

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Posted: 08 March 2006 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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There are reasons NOT to get rid of old words.

1.  The reason the word existed in the first place is a part of history.
If you don’t know why the word exists, then you probably are missing a part of history.

2.  The fact this word was recently coined to describe an attitude that existed for centuries before we had an ENGLISH word for it, doesn’t make the word’s historical context any less valid.

3.  Wanting less words just because of some obsessive compulsive complex for order out of chaos?  Feeling it is not politically correct?
Want to change the truth of the word’s history,  use and existance by getting rid of the word?  Working for the Bush White House?  Member of the Discovery Institutes “America Dumbing Down” (ADD)  program?

Do some more homework = )

What were the other racial slurs lost in the past that refered to the Jewish minority in Europe?

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Posted: 08 March 2006 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Time is a factor, so I’ll be as concise as possible…

Mudfoot:

So, sjkebab, please do very cursory research on your own about media ownership.

I did some (very) cursory research on it, and came up with nothing other than I described above - if you could point me in the right direction, I’d appreciate it.

Which dovetails nicely with a counterexample to your premise about why there should not be multiple words for racism. That extra word describing a certain form of racism is leading you to learn more about how that particular group has been, is, but hopefully will not continue to be shat upon simply for being who they are.

More words are better.

No it’s not that word that’s allowing me (us) to learn - it’s the fact that we have a forum like this where these things can be discussed freely and factually, so long as each of us enters into conversation with an open mind.

As for the future of the Jews (with regards to being shat upon, so to speak), I think they’ll be safe as long as the holocaust remains in living memory.  Add 100-odd years and religious dogma may come back into it - we’ll have to wait and see…

IIsbliss:

There are reasons NOT to get rid of old words.

1. The reason the word existed in the first place is a part of history.
If you don’t know why the word exists, then you probably are missing a part of history.

2. The fact this word was recently coined to describe an attitude that existed for centuries before we had an ENGLISH word for it, doesn’t make the word’s historical context any less valid.

It was also accepted that Jews were inferior in those dark days too.  As were the blacks.  As were the Arabs.  As were the Asians.  There’s a history of racial/religious persecution that goes back time immemorial.
However, we live TODAY.  In this supposedly enlightened age, most people (worth listening to) consider such inferiority/superiority to be a complete myth, a real improvement over the olden days.  We have published scientific studies of the latent abilities of the human mind from areas all over the globe - some even in areas where western contact is extremely minimal - and these studies show NO qualitative or quantitative differences other than those explainable by environmental/cultural differences.

SO in keeping with this “enlightened age”, why do we need a word that negatively describes racial abuse, that simultaniously has racial undertones?
To me, it’s merely a strange and illogical irony.

3. Wanting less words just because of some obsessive compulsive complex for order out of chaos? Feeling it is not politically correct?
Want to change the truth of the word’s history, use and existance by getting rid of the word? Working for the Bush White House? Member of the Discovery Institutes “America Dumbing Down” (ADD) program?

Yes, I feel that it is politically incorrect (whatever that means).  But I don’t understand the rest of the argument.  Could you please clarify?

Do some more homework = )

What were the other racial slurs lost in the past that refered to the Jewish minority in Europe?

I don’t care to be honest.  Actual slurs come and go with time.  Think about how many anti-vietnamese slurs popped up out of the blue during the vietnam war.  The basis of my argument is not about actual slurs, but the word describing the behaviour of “slurring”.

Looks like that idea of brevity didn’t work… wink


Oh one important discovery I’ve made today with regards to this.  Alot of the prejudices I’ve held (some knowingly, others unknowingly) seem to have been lifted straight from the pages of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.  I haven’t read this, but it seems that people I’ve talked to in my earlier years have - and managed to implant a bit of it in my head. 
I believe the word is “progress”  smile

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Posted: 08 March 2006 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“sjkebab”]
Mudfoot:

So, sjkebab, please do very cursory research on your own about media ownership.

I did some (very) cursory research on it, and came up with nothing other than I described above - if you could point me in the right direction, I’d appreciate it.

Rupert Murdoch is the founder and CEO of “News Corp”, one of the world’s largest media organizations (owner of Fox).  He’s Australian, white and of Catholic ancestry. 

Ted Turner is the founder and former CEO of “Turner News Network”, the company that started CNN.  From the midwestern US, raised Catholic/episcopalian.  Woke up to be a freethinker.

General Electric owns ABC.  Bunch of old rich white guys (with some exceptions) on that board of directors.

Try here for more starting points:   

People who say the jews control the media are morons at best.

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Posted: 08 March 2006 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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There’s a history of racial/religious persecution that goes back time immemorial.

Actually, I am not so sure this is accurate, not in our modern day frame of reference.  I think the statement is too broad and too sweeping to cover what really has gone on between diverse populations, and you would have to break it down to specifics.  In modern countries you do have to live near people that are different from you and get along with them.  In the far past, I think we didn’t tolerate too much difference without bloodshed eventually.  Do you consider war persecution? Genocide? Forced Slavery?  Do you think when Rome or Egypt took slaves, they were racially and religiously motivated?

It was also accepted that Jews were inferior in those dark days too.


Well I disagree totally with this.  It didn’t start out with the Jews being inferior, never like black people were considered inferior.  Jews were considered EVIL.  They ate Christian children after sacraficing them.  They killed Christ.  They are the agents of the devil incarnate.  They are smarter than us.  They have all our money.  This is not the image of an inferior race, but one to fear.

Before our civil war, there was a booklet published, which I am trying to find, that sought to prove that Africans were inferior to white people scientfically.  That has been the general attitude toward Native Americans and South American and Black people, in fact almost anyone with dark skin is considered to be inferior to white skinned people.

That is the real difference between racism and anti-semitism.
I guess I wouldnt have gotten here if you weren’t forcing me to discuss this !! = )

Anti-semitism implies the Jews as a race are involved in one or more evil conspiriacies to get all our money/control the world.    It does not imply they are in any way inferior.

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