Thursday, March 18, 2010

Above Criticism

Tel Aviv – At the height of the worst Israel-US crisis in decades, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to distance himself Wednesday from the views of his brother-in-law, who called President Obama "anti-Semitic" over the airwaves this morning.

In an interview with Israel Army Radio on Wednesday, Hagai Ben Artzi, the brother of Netanyahu's wife Sara, reportedly said: "it needs to be said clearly and simply: There is an anti-Semitic president in the US. It's not that Obama doesn't sympathize with [Mr. Netanyahu]. He doesn't sympathize with the people of Israel."

Netanyahu's office swifty published a condemnation: "I entirely reject the remarks of Hagai Ben Artzi."

The way this works, in both Israel and the US, is that if anyone criticizes Israeli policy, they are immediately labeled "anti-Semitic". That's essentially calling a critic a racist, regardless if the criticism is valid or not. The term goes a little bit further because of the oppression that Jewish people have endured in the past. Calling somebody "anti-Semitic" carries the implication that the person tacitly supports that oppression.

Even further, criticizing Israeli policy, even if such criticism is absurdly off-base, is not actually a racist act. Policy has nothing to do with race. There is a key distinction, however. If one were to criticize policy that involves Israel, simply because it involves Israel, is not inherently racist. If one were to criticize policy that involves Israel, simply because most Israelis are Jews, then ya, that's pretty racist.

The "anti-Semitic" canard is absurd, of course. The accusers are at risk of neutering the meaning of the anti-Semitic term by throwing it around recklessly, and thus destroy it's power when confronting people who really are racist toward the Jewish.

I think of Jewish people in two very distinct ways. There is the Jewish race, which is a race like any other.. white European (with subsets within), black Africans.. Asian Japanese, and so on. Then there's the jewish religion. The Jewish race is just like anything other.. pretty much all the same. The jewish religion is just like any other religion.. crazy as fuck.

I still think it's funny that some jewish religious types are all cozy with the American evangelical christians. The christians are convinviced that the jews are going to burn in hell.. up until the point that jayzus makes his big return and converts them all to jebusness.. or something.

They're very crazy people.

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