Is #OccupyWallStreet Anti-Semitic?

Cent Uyger of the Young Turks here deconstructs this canard.

There is unquestionably a public relations campaign being waged by the state of Israel, and it’s a war over language meant to deprive critics of any sitting Israeli government of a language in which to talk about Israeli policies in any register other than one that can be tagged “anti-Semitic”.

For example, “Zionist” may not be used despite the fact that the Zionist movement itself under Herzl and others, a movement that proudly used that term, was responsible for the land investment and settlement prior to the creation of Israel in 1948, land investment and settlement that created facts on the ground…that the new government of Israel supplemented with state terrorism to drive Arabs (and, it needs to be emphasized, Christians) out of their homes in Palestine into Gaza, the West Bank, and exile.

At my own alma mater, Roosevelt University of Chicago, where I’d taught in the Philosophy department in the 1970s, an adjunct such as I had been was summarily fired rather recently by the chair of the absurdly downsized department (a department of “philosophy and art history”). The chair’s PhD was identified as ABD, which means she didn’t have a PhD any more than I have a completed Masters in Computer Science, because “ABD” means “all but dissertation”.

Douglas Giles, the adjunct, had fielded questions from students in a class on comparative religion (one that students needed to fulfill the philosophy requirement for their degree that could replace an actual introduction to philosophy) about “Zionism”. The chair refused to allow him to use the very word and said in support that the “Palestinians are animals”.

Very few powerful bankers are Jewish, of course. However, some ordinary people view “Jewish” bankers with suspicion because they in fact encounter few Jews in their (low-level) jobs because in the USA Jews punch above their weight not only as bankers but in other, more respectable, professions.

When such people are affiliated with the Left they are an embarassment when they try to use language and the very intent of Israel’s public relation is precisely to deprive them of a language, one in which “bankers” would not be “Jewish bankers”, and one in which “Zionist” would refer to a supporter of Israel’s criminal regime.

Leftists need very much to constantly engage in a critical history of progressive movements and take full responsibility for all cases where labor unions (notably in South Africa) supported apartheid and grassroots progressives used language about “the Jews” offensively.

But what this would reveal is that even where left-wing leaders have been criminals, they rarely mounted pogroms against the Jews. Stalin’s Soviet Union recognized Israel at the same time Truman recognized Israel.

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4 Responses to “Is #OccupyWallStreet Anti-Semitic?”

  1. Adolph Godwin Says:

    ” Israel’s criminal regime”

    No bias there then. I’m sure you could list many crimes the state of Isarael is guilty of (or at least suspected of). But there can be few if any countries in the world that you could not make an equivalent list for. Do you preface every mention of , say, China, with such a label? No? Then you’re ignoring the crimes of every country except Israel?

  2. spinoza1111 Says:

    “Tu quoque” (you’re another) is the favorite logical fallacy of the criminal element: “since what I do is common practice, it must be OK”. It’s the mirror image of Kant’s categorical imperative: “so act that your action can be recommended as a moral law”: so that a sustainable situation would exist if everyone acted as I act: for example, trying through theft to enjoy the benefits of property would itself destroy the institution of property since “if everyone stole” then there would be no security of property.

    We have to next ask, well, given that Israel acts unjustly as do other nations, is its injustice justified by the fact that many other nations act unjustly, whether independent of Israel’s actions as would be the case of China, or in reaction to past or anticipated Israeli actions as in the case of its neighbors. Well, the only case in which international law countenances injustice is in self-defense, in which the basic injustice (war) becomes just because of the unjust conduct directed at your nation.

    But the fact that China holds territory such as Tibet that may or may not be justly held has no bearing on whether Israel is justified in doing likewise with West Bank settlements.

    But more to the point, Israel disobeys the categorical imperative. If all nations conducted themselves as has Israel since 1967 then there’d be general war, since one of Israel’s specialties is the pre-emptive attack: another is the targeting of leaders and the innocent children in their families: a third is the indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

    Far from bringing about the intended results, Israel’s actions have alienated its former moderate friends notably Turkey. Its actions, which it professes to take in the name of peace, have since 1967 produced one hundred years of war.

    China, furthermore, does not demand to be treated as a liberal and democratic state while Israel still does.

    “Bias” is treating axioms unquestionably and drawing unwarranted conclusions from false axioms that aren’t interrogated. But belief in the criminal nature of the Israeli regime isn’t an assumption. It is a conclusion based on the facts.

  3. Adolph Godwin Says:

    The question is not whether Israel has committed “criminal” acts, it surely has, Your response fails to explain why you reserve the “criminal” label for Israel alone. Because “Israel demands to be treated as a liberal and democratic state”? Every dictatorship in the world claims to be “democratic”. Many put it in their names. Hypocrisy is SOP amongst nations. Was it criminal for the US to invade Iraq? It’s certainly committed many criminal acts recently. I believe you’ve mentioned such. Yet you don’t label the US as “criminal” in every sentence as you do Israel. You can criticize nations for their acts without branding them with such a label. Try it, unless your motive is simply to engender abuse in return.

    • spinoza1111 Says:

      I do not always say “criminal Israel regime”, of course: you are just being silly, and furthermore, disregard for international law IS standard for the US and Israel, to a less extent China, and to a far less extent for let us say Norway or Canada. In Israel, deliberate disregard for international law is a policy set at the highest level.

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