(((Semitism))) by Jonathan Weisman

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(((Semitism))) by Jonathan Weisman

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:00 am

I'm about halfway through this, and finding it very insightful into the question of what Jewish identity means in Trump's America. The triple parentheses are, as I learned, a code pattern used by anti-Semitic Internet trolls to identify Jewish people and single them out for harassment by the entire anti-Semite horde. (They do what amounts to Google searches for that pattern.) Weisman himself has been subjected to their harassment, as has Julia Ioffe. Needless to say, Trump supporters are prominent among them.

The most interesting chapter so far has been on the conflicted relationship American Jews have with Israel. He writes about this from the Jewish perspective, but the conflict exists also for Gentiles like me. On the one hand, Israel is a fact and any future policies that do not allow it a secure existence are to be ruled out of consideration. This is also a highly moral position, because the Jews are an ethnic group as much entitled to their own country as the Croats, the Czechs, the Slovaks, the Portuguese, the Japanese, etc. On the other hand, Israeli nationalism has become a barrier to the establishment of such a country for the Palestinian Muslims and Christians. They protest impotently for the most part, but viciously, lobbing rockets into Israel. And there the problem lies and festers. I don't know the answer. Nor does Weisman, nor do other Jewish liberals like Eric Alterman. All of us would like a peaceful two-state settlement and can't help criticizing Netenyahu's expansionist policies. But we recognize that his first consideration has to be the security of Israel.

But Weisman laments the refocusing of Jewish philanthropy on issues of Israeli defense, to the detriment of the enormous outreach they once had to places like Darfur. When I was talking with the rabbi a decade ago after Raul Hilberg's funeral, he proudly spoke of the Jewish effort to mitigate the suffering in Darfur. Weisman notes how the signs outside synagogues that used to call attention to this situation now urge support for Israel instead.

I agree with Weisman that, while anti-Semitism never dies in America, it is not likely to become a serious threat any time soon, with both Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton married to Jewish men (just as an example). But it certainly pays to be watchful. Trump himself isn't anti-Semitic, perehaps because he's too stupid to think about the possibility of it. But there is plenty of anti-Semitism among his followers.
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Re: (((Semitism))) by Jonathan Weisman

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:53 pm

1. What is the moral basis/claim for every ethnic group to have their own country?

2. Should ethnic groups that have fully assimilated into some larger group also seek their own country?

3. Whats more important, the needs and requirement of some other country (eg Darfur) or your own country?

4. lmftfy: "I agree with Weisman that, while anti-Semitism never dies where ever Jews are a minority of the population including America

5. "On the other hand, Israeli nationalism has become a barrier to the establishment of such a country for the Palestinian Muslims" //// is it Israeli nationalism or Palestinian Muslims who want to wipe Israel from the map? Who make the impossible claim of right to return?

6. Christians?

Excellent review of the book though. Enjoy the read.
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Re: (((Semitism))) by Jonathan Weisman

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:31 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:1. What is the moral basis/claim for every ethnic group to have their own country?

2. Should ethnic groups that have fully assimilated into some larger group also seek their own country?

3. Whats more important, the needs and requirement of some other country (eg Darfur) or your own country?

4. lmftfy: "I agree with Weisman that, while anti-Semitism never dies where ever Jews are a minority of the population including America

5. "On the other hand, Israeli nationalism has become a barrier to the establishment of such a country for the Palestinian Muslims" //// is it Israeli nationalism or Palestinian Muslims who want to wipe Israel from the map? Who make the impossible claim of right to return?

6. Christians?

Excellent review of the book though. Enjoy the read.


Thanks, I do think it's a good book. As for point 1 above, I only said Israel has THE SAME right as other ethnic groups. I never said that is a right in "natural law" (whatever that is) for anybody. I'd actually like an entirely different form of government for the whole world, not the current checkerboard of nation-states, if I could get it.

Point 2: I have no advice to give people as to what they should be seeking.

Point 3: A ranking of priorities doesn't end with the top priority excluding all others.

Point 4: No disagreement here.

Point 5: Lobbing rockets into Israel is, as I said, vicious. SOME Palestinians want to wipe Israel off the map; others just want to live without having their homes demolished by bulldozers. Israel gives any Jew the right of return, even those who never lived in Israel. Many Muslims still remember that their parents used to live in what is now Israel, and Israel has refused to let them come back (out of security concerns, no doubt). As I have said elsewhere, if I knew how to settle this problem, I'd be there in an instant urging my solution.

Point 6: What does this mean?


I should also have noted that the current enthusiastic support for Israel among American evangelical Christians is probably a safeguard against a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the US. How long that will continue, I don't know. The millennial fever that gripped some evangelicals a few decades ago, exploited to make millions of dollars by frauds like Jack Van Impe, Hal Lindsey, and Pat Robertson, will not last forever. Sooner or later, they will simply get tired of waiting for all the "signs" to appear and will drift away, disillusioned, and refuse to get excited about the next "sign of the end" that the hucksters are promoting. When that happens, support for Israel and hence protection for Jews in the US, will decline.
The Internet has democratized the old threat our teachers used to hold over us: "That goes on your permanent record." We knew that was a bluff. The only people whose misdeeds were recorded in indelible ink, back then, were husbands.

But now, thanks to Google, everybody really does have a permanent record. Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg!

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Re: (((Semitism))) by Jonathan Weisman

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:06 pm

1. There is no moral right to have an ethnic based devoted country. The set up implies there is. Word games otherwise.

I really like Elie Wiesel...but like all poetry, it just doesn't stand up:

2. How do you teach events that defy knowledge,/// No such thing
3. experiences that go beyond imagination? /// None do.
4. How do you tell children, big and small, that society could lose its mind and start murdering its own soul and its own future? /// Society as a human and legal construct has no such mind or soul.
5. How do you unveil horrors without offering at the same time some measure of hope? /// By providing the relevant pros in the situation, alterntives to it, and "for me" the notion that things could always be worse--while working for an improvement.
6. Hope in what? /// Whatever floats your boat.
7. In whom? /// your own appreciation of what reality is
8. In progress, in science and literature /// Yes, all good places. and meditation, deep breathing, healthy life style, good food and wine, etc..
9. and God?" /// No such thing. Lots of comfort in that right away.
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
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