Monday, June 20, 2011

Defining Antisemitism broadly

A good piece over at Flesh is Grass (and not just because she quotes a comment of mine). (via Bob.)

It's commonplace in anti-racism that racism should be broadly defined, focused on the impact on minorities rather than the "soul" of the racist. Racism against Blacks in America cannot be reduced to slavery. It's also when people say, "I don't hate Blacks, just N*****s." Yet it's an unfortunate commonplace that antisemitism is treated differently. The EUMC definition of antisemitism is like any definition of racism that focuses on the specific tropes of racist discourse, which is to say it's limited but useful for what it is. We need elaborations of stereotypes and disingenuous arguments that have already been repeatedly addressed. That's why people keep making bingo cards, like this one. That's why definitions of racism are "working definitions."

Now treating antisemitism differently. That's racist.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I really like this piece at Lilith blog:
There are rules, somewhere, about how to be a Chasid on an airplane.  In that same rulebook there are most likely also a set of behavioral norms for a woman in stretch pants lying about in the back of the plane.
Palestinian protesters at a Syrian refugee camp, mourning the loss of life in the protest at the Israeli border, blamed the PFLP. Palestinian leaders responded by killing 14 of the Palestinian mourners. (From Rebecca. If "Yom ha-Naksa is her phrase, kudos.)

Ameinu posted this on Facebook. I should have checked the byline before spending so much time pondering the resurrection of that bizarre calumny about Hamas: that they were prepared to implicitly recognize Israel. (Hamas spokesmen denied the charge repeatedly, but certain left-wing journalists continued anyway to put words into their mouths.) However, this is Robert Fisk quoting Munib Masri on Khaled Meshaal. If the quote is delivered accurately, there's just a touch of interpretation to muck up:
"The only thing we didn’t get from Meshaal was that the government has to be by agreement. We told him the government has to be of natiuonal [sic] unity -- on the agreement that we would be able to carry out elections and lift the embargo on Gaza and reconstruct Gaza, that we have to abide by international law, by the UN Charter and UN resolutions. He asked for three or four days. He agreed that resistance must only be ‘in the national interest of the country’ – it would have to be ‘aqlaqi’ – ethical. There would be no more rocket attacks on civilians. In other words, no more rocket attacks from Gaza."
If I read it correctly, the end of rocket attacks is conditioned on the reconstruction of Gaza but ultimately based on the principle that the government of a Palestinian state would have to have a monopoly on violence. One thing I haven't seen discussed is that if there is a Palestinian state, with Hamas in a unity government, and Hamas launches a rocket, then that would probably be seen as an act of war rather than an act of terrorism. It would be tough to claim international law in criticizing Israel's response. If Hamas is willing to operate within the constraints of human rights law, even conditionally, and intra-Palestinian talks recognized the importance of this for the legitimacy of a Palestinian state, that's a big step forward.

I only caught a few minutes of this so far, but I'll be listening to it soon. The title of this book about Iran is clearly a reference to that famous German poem, "First they came for the Communists..." That's most likely going to be interesting (or blasphemous, but given the radio show it was on, I'm expecting interesting).