Anti-Semitic, its meaning and a history of its misuse

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The words anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic suffer from obfuscation (lies), misdirection and at its very heart, an absence of a rational definition.

The current row about Anti-Semitism, and what most people think it means, is flawed and dishonest. It is made far worse by sensationalist journalism. Truth and a rational debate is almost impossible to find and to quote almost all the media, “We are all very upset and angry about all those nasty people who are anti-Semitic, particularly those in the Labour party.”

It’s a trick says Shulamit Aloni – former Israeli cabinet minister (Click on picture to go to source)

The current issue of anti-Semitism is confused and is being manipulated by some very clever people. In the main, those people are career politicians & journalists. The Israeli government misuse it too, see below and in photo opposite.

The BBC is failing to inform us, as it should do, because whilst journalists are talking about anti-Semitism, none preface their statements with an explanation of what they understand it to be. What is very clear, the BBC says, is that anti-Semitism is very bad! But nobody is actually dealing with it honestly.

What follows is the result of my listening to Jewish voices, Israeli voices, Zionist voices, Corbynite voices, Momentum voices, Palestinian voices, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Wikipedia and my own “still small voice”.

We all think it means, but without actually saying it, “anti Jew”; as opposed to anti-Judaism or anti-Israel or anti-Israeli government.

However, even anti-Jew is completely inaccurate, as we shall see later, even though the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance  (IHRA ) re-defined the word “anti-Semitic” in 2016. The IHRA felt it necessary to explain that “… criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.”

Shulamit Aloni (pictured above) was an Israeli cabinet minister and a minority Jewish voice pointing out the misuse of the word by the Israeli government. She makes it quite clear that the word was used by the Israeli government to deflect criticism from itself. Please click on her picture to see more detail of her statement.

The UK government was one of the first governments to adopt the fallacious IHRA definition. History and truth is corrupted yet again. The IHRA definition is deeply flawed in that it conflates any criticism of Israel to be be anti-Semitic.

The simple fact is that the word anti-Semitic did not exist before the late 19th century and was then *2 as now, used by journalists and politicians as a euphemism for “Anti Jew”.

However, the very use of the word outside the study of ancient languages is deeply flawed and intentionally misleading.

Why? Because many Arab Muslims, certainly those living in the prison camp called Palestine, and many other peoples originating from the Middle East, are also Semites, and yet they are not seen as the targets of the word anti-Semitism.

Semitic refers to a language group, which includes, in small part, Hebrew amongst five or six others, but does not infer race or religion. (See *1 below)

Furthermore, the International snowflake generation of political worthies agreed with the IHRA definition of the word in 2016 so that nobody had to say “Anti-Jew”.

The term is a political smoke screen and apparently targets the Jewish religion rather than the Israeli government. Who, by the way, are currently guilty of the flagrant disregard of at least 45 UN resolutions instructing them to stop their land grabs in Palestine.

All 45 of those resolutions continue to be ignored or side stepped by the USA using its veto. The UK is a bit quiet on the issue too.

Israel’s latest murder of 60 or so Palestinian stone throwers has been almost ignored in the UK, the EU & the USA.

Shame on us, shame on them and the so-called impartial, informative BBC!

What then has Jeremy Corbyn actually done to deserve his almost total vilification in the press? Well, he has stood up for Palestine consistently over the past 30 years and has criticised Israel for their inhumane and illegal land grabs in contravention to those United Nations resolutions.

So then, calling him anti-Semitic is just stupid because most Palestinians are Semites too!

But, it is what Corbyn has not done which does deserve criticism. He has not removed or criticised the minority of loony members of Momentum who really are quite nasty, ill informed Twitter trolls. The evidence is out there if you wish to find more detail.

By his inaction, Corbyn reveals himself as a weak leader, a self serving party politician, greedy for votes however gained. (Ed: Gosh? I never heard that before.) My opinion of Corbyn has changed dramatically from when he first appeared on the scene.

What can we learn from this deliberately confusing issue?

  • That an unhealthy fear of criticising religion is curtailing freedom of speech and our ability to think rationally.
  • That religion is, yet again, being used by powerful corporate interest groups to protect politicians who, of current necessity, are financed by them.

*1 I quote the Encyclopaedia Britannica:- “Semite, person speaking one of a group of related languages, presumably derived from a common language, Semitic (see Semitic languages). The term came to include most Arab speaking peoples, Akkadians, Canaanites, some Ethiopians, and Aramaean tribes including Hebrews.

*2 Encyclopaedia Britannica again: “Anti-Semitism, hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious or racial group. The term anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by the German agitator Wilhelm Marr to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns under way in central Europe at that time. Although the term now has wide currency, it is a misnomer, since it implies a discrimination against all Semites. Arabs and other peoples are also Semites, and yet they are not the targets of anti-Semitism as it is usually understood. The term is especially inappropriate as a label for the anti-Jewish prejudices, statements, or actions of Arabs or other Semites. Nazi anti-Semitism, which culminated in the Holocaust, had a racist dimension in that it targeted Jews because of their supposed biological characteristics—even those who had themselves converted to other religions or whose parents were converts. This variety of anti-Jewish racism dates only to the emergence of so-called “scientific racism” in the 19th century and is different in nature from earlier anti-Jewish prejudices.”

Click here to read more on this from the same Encyclopaedia Britannica article.

Palestine / Israel & the Single State Solution (SSS)

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Ariel Sharon’s recent death, after 8 years in a coma, marks the end of what was the last, but slim best chance for a solution to the Israeli / Palestinian turmoil. Sharon was hardly a beacon of hope for the region, but his last few actions, as prime minister, were moving in a positive direction.

It's all god's fault
It’s all god’s fault

Age might have been slowly bringing wisdom to this former soldier and enthusiastic, Arab bashing Zionist hero of the 1967 Arab Israeli war. Sharon, in 2006, just before his terminal stroke, as Prime Minister, was at the start of a realistic peace process with ‘Palestine’. Despite his long military career, where he was responsible for thousands of Palestinian & Lebanese deaths, parts of the Palestinian leadership were listening to him as was the Israeli Zionist right. He had begun the process of removing the laughably so called “settlers” from the West Bank and many Israelis were thinking he was right to do so. Sharon’s life story will fill many books but this blog is about a possible future.

Sharon was a secular Prime Minister, his Jewishness was cultural rather than faith based, but he was not a supporter of, what really is the only lasting solution to this horrific mess, the “Single State Solution”.

“Single State Solution”?

The SSS is explained later in this piece, but, ‘bear-with’, first we need a quick summary of the last 100 years; I’ll keep it short.

At the risk of sounding like a pompous arse, I have to say this has bugged me for several years (that’s one pompous arse bit), and while it has been of more serious concern for others, and for much longer,  I will, at least, have my own thinking sorted out. The solution became suddenly obvious to me (that’s another pompous arse bit), but when I looked for similar views, many others had seen it years ago.

When Israel was carved out of bits of the Middle East in 1948 the usual territorial cockups were made by Britain and a fledgling U.N. (then called the ‘League of Nations’) in an understandable but nevertheless emotional  response to the recent Nazi atrocities against the Jews.  Arabs were turfed out of their farms and family homes to make way for a huge migration of Jews into Israel. The fact that Jew and Arab had lived side by side in the region for millennia was ignored and the fuel that created today’s Islamism was lit!

The events leading up to the creation of Israel are complex, and I would be the last to say that I fully understood them. However, I see clearly that the failure to create a Palestinian state at the same time as Israel was formed, was a huge error, and, it has to be said, partly of the Arabs own making. It is now far too late for a viable Palestinian state to be made out of the paltry parcels of scrub land left after Israel’s many illegal, but totally unchallenged, land and water grabs. See here for a truly shocking map view of what has happened to Arab Palestine since 1948. It is therefore far too late for a Two State Solution to be viable or just.

Although the cartoon says it was god’s fault, the real culprits are Britain, France and latterly, the USA. Lies were told to fledgling Arab states as is well told in Lawrence of Arabia. The, openly flawed, Balfour Declaration of 1917 is seen today as obfuscation at best and incompetent hypocrisy at worst.

This continuing tragedy has to be stopped, but the West’s reticence (I, of course, mean that of the USA and UK) to stand up to Israel’s repeated illegal land grabs is the largest elephant in the room! Party politics, here and in the USA, is the cause of this global tragedy. Statesmanship is the answer, not politics. What a tragedy that Obama wasn’t the man we thought he might become, but I suspect his hands are tied by a powerful Congress and an even more powerful Jewish lobby.

Everywhere we see politicians asking for a “Two State” solution to the current crisis in Israel & Palestine as if this is the only grown up and realistic compromise solution. Indeed, this is even what the current Palestinian Authorities are asking for in the United Nations a few months ago, although even that news was hardly being discussed at the time.

Perhaps more newsworthy might be the 10 to 1 death ratio of Palestinians to Israelis in the recent years escalations of violence, except that is hardly mentioned in the media either. Our media’s brave reporters donned their bullet proof vests, stood on smoking piles of rubble, and described the latest bomb damage and small child’s death with serious faces.

Correspondents in Israel stood in leafy, prosperous Tel Aviv looking at the occasional window smashed by Guy Fawkes sized rockets.  Gaza based correspondents stood on a 3rd world rubbish dump with a level of overcrowding that makes Mexico City look like Shropshire! (Biased? Moi?)

News, in November 2012, that the UK abstained in the UN vote, on Palestine being granted ‘UN Observer Status’, was truly sickening. I listened to William Hague’s weasel worded political claptrap with a growing sense of rage at our government’s weakness and lack of vision. He mentioned several times that the only solution is a negotiated ‘Two State’ solution. Even more sickening, is the recent announcement from Israel of yet another illegal ‘settlement’ to be built on the West Bank. I am ashamed of my government for missing an opportunity to right the wrongs we help make between 1916 & 1946 when Palestine was a British Protectorate.

The Two State Solution cannot ever provide a lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians because it does not resolve, or even address, the errors made, by the UN and Great Britain and France, when Palestine & Israel were “created” in 1948.

This article was started about three years ago and I felt distinctly uneasy in publishing it then for several reasons, the main one being, that I have never visited Palestine or Israel and yet dare to pontificate on the subject. My unease was removed by the last bout of retribution by Israel where yet again the Palestinian death toll was 10 times that of Israel.

Even senior, battle hardened ex Mossad leaders have called for Netanyahu to change direction because they realised that Israel has little time left to get away with it’s truly atrocious behaviour to the Palestinians and its continuing decimation of what was Palestine in 1948.

The Single State Solution discussion is completely absent from mainstream news, although, if you look below the surface, you will find many politicians, academics, philosophers and even a few religious leaders giving this subject realistic thinking time.

Here then, is the Single State Solution advocated by many wise people, both Jew & Arab (see end of article for details):-

  • Israel and Palestine are merged, their populations become one nation, under one secular government;
  • The disgusting wall, cutting through lemon groves on former Arab owned land, is torn down and Zionists are told to shut up, by the USA;
  • The Palestinian authority and Hamas denounce their version of terror and recognise that Judaism has as much right to exist as does Islam, Christianity and Atheism.

That will take 50 years to achieve but with help from the Arab League, The UN and most of all the USA, Russia, France and China, it can happen.

To put this SSS into an historical perspective, at the time of Herod, Palestine incorporated today’s Israel, the whole of Jordan and a few other land parcels. Neither Jew nor Arab has ever had an exclusive right to this land and if they could only ignore their respective gods (different names but the same non-existent chap) there might yet be a chance for peace.

On the one hand the Israelis might seem to have most to lose, but, on the other, much to gain. What price for everlasting peace?

West Germany has absorbed, and is still absorbing, East Germany; South African apartheid has gone, two almost unbelievable events at the time. OK the jury is still out on the aftermath and Mandela’s declining influence but at least the seemingly impossible does happen.

Here are the main plus points for the SSS:

  • It is simply the most logical solution for the beleaguered people of Israel and Palestine
    • Economically
    • Socially
    • Morally
  • It saves uncountable future lives
  • It gives a moral validity for the 1948 creation of Israel (which in the view of many is highly dubious)
  • It rights the wrongs done when Arabs were forcibly evicted from their own homes when Israel was created
  • It saves Israel a huge amount of money (defence budget cuts)
  • It saves a fortune for the Europe Union. Guess how much we and the EU fund Gaza/Palestine each year?
  • Jerusalem becomes a little more peaceful
  • Everybody’s god would be happy
  • It gives Islamism a much needed kick in the balls
  • It will put a few arms dealers out of business
  • There are a few precedents that politicians can do the right thing:-
    • Germany, East absorbed into West (walls will always be torn down!)
    • South Africa abolishing apartheid
  • and finally, and in any case, it has already happened see here and here

These are the main arguments against the SSS:

  • “Don’t be so damn naive / stupid, that could never work”
  • The monstrously powerful Jewish political lobby in the USA
  • Religion
  • Jingoism
  • Religion
  • Jingoism
  • Religion
  • It will put quite a few arms dealers out of business. Jobs will be lost in the USA, Russia, England, Iran, China and France
  • Jingoism
  • … did I mention religion?

What is the alternative? Another 100 years of what we have seen for the last 100?

Here it is being discussed rationally:-

– Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine

A Wikipedia overview

Radical Middle Newsletter from the USA

– Israel and Palestine Conflict (a reformed Zionist’s view)

and many many more …

Einstein said: “Only two things are infinite; the universe and man’s stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe”.

Acknowledgement: Cartoon by Baloo