Anti-Semitism, Columbus, and nip/tucks: A Mini Round-Up

Dennis Prager on why Jews should abandon secularism and join forces with the Christian right: because universities are bad and criticising Israel is on par with anti-Semitism. Prager’s point, more specifically, is that anti-Zionism is the equivalent of anti-Semitism, and that American universities breed anti-Zionist students. Now, I’ve been at a pretty liberal American university for more than four years now, and I’m still pretty firm in my belief that Israel has a right to exist. Does that give it free reign to do whatever it wants? No, it doesn’t, and criticism of the Israeli government is often warranted. So is criticism of Palestinian leadership. And American leadership, and Saudi leadership, and French leadership, and the leadership of a whole slew of other places. Israel doesn’t get a free pass; but criticism of a government’s decisions isn’t the equivalent of anti-Semitism. For Prager to then make the jump that American Jews should abandon secularism and embrace Jerry Falwell is pretty ridiculous. Of course, individual Jewish people should do what they want; if they’re comfortable hanging out with a guy who believes they’re all going to Hell unless they accept his God as their own, that’s their business. But the secularization of American society has a history of being promoted by long-outcasted Jews, and came at least in part as a response to WWII. Advocating an end to secularism is bad for everyone — but particularly for religious minorities.

Happy Columbus Day. It’s not actually about Columbus, but maybe that’s ok.

The emotional aftermath of cosmetic surgery.

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8 comments for “Anti-Semitism, Columbus, and nip/tucks: A Mini Round-Up

  1. October 10, 2005 at 11:37 am

    As a Canadian activist, I can report that I’ve now encountered as many “your anti-semetic” tirades in protests and at events, as I have “your anti-american”. It is a trick of the neo-con tides that manipulates language and invests it’s efforts against critical thought, civic action and dissent.

    The ‘being Canadian’ factor is relevant, because I’m thinking that this may be the only place in the world right now (outside the US), where publicly criticizing the US of A gov’t can cause a political representative to resign (or be ousted) – or where fights can break out over it.

  2. AndiF
    October 10, 2005 at 11:59 am

    Interesting idea — Jews should join up with people who think they are damned and going to hell (but then Jews don’t believe in hell so maybe that’s not a big deal).

    And I guess I’ll be qualifying as a self-hating Jew since I am anti-Zionist and believe that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and their strategies in the middle east have been, for quite a long time, often wrong-headed and sometimes morally reprehensible.

  3. October 10, 2005 at 12:54 pm

    Did you know that Leif Ericsson Day is the day before Columbus Day? I hadn’t realized that, but I saw it on a list of national holidays. ~_-


  4. kaygee
    October 10, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    Saying someone is ‘anti-…..’ just because they question is lazy and ignorant. But it happens all over.

    Anti-American has become a big part of our political ‘speak’ (Australia). Anyone who criticises the war, or the fact our PM appears to have grafted himself to your Presidents bottom is accused of hating America. I don’t hate America at all, just not overly fond of pre emptive strikes based on bullshit. It’s not even related to any feelings on America really, since OUR PM sent our troops there.

    Our PM also likes to trot out ‘Anti-Australian’ for anyone who opposes the Iraq debacle, or think we should be able to process asylum seekers without imprisoning them in the desert for years on end. I’m just anti-johnhoward, maybe his fragile ego cannot accept that!

  5. Sally
    October 10, 2005 at 1:27 pm

    As a Canadian activist, I can report that I’ve now encountered as many “your anti-semetic” tirades in protests and at events, as I have “your anti-american”. It is a trick of the neo-con tides that manipulates language and invests it’s efforts against critical thought, civic action and dissent.

    A couple of months ago I mentioned in passing to a Canadian activist that I was Jewish. She demanded to know my stance on Israel (a question that came completely out of the blue), when I said that I was anti-Zionist demanded to know what I, personally, had done to help Palestinians so that she could judge my anti-Zionist credentials, and made it clear that she thought I shared in all Jews’ collective guilt for Israel’s crimes. I’m sure she doesn’t think she’s an anti-Semite, and I’m sure she thinks I’m a hysterical neo-con because I think she is one. But honestly, as much as there are a lot of Zionists who wrongly throw around accusations of anti-Semitism, there also is a fair amount of anti-Semitism floating around lefty circles. And in my experience that’s much more true outside of the U.S. than in it, perhaps because the American left is so heavily Jewish.

    The incredibly annoying thing about the Pragers of the world is that they have no constituency, but they give fundy theocrats ideological cover to claim that they’re not really exclusionary.

  6. piny
    October 10, 2005 at 2:10 pm

    Regarding the plastic surgery article: Hm. I don’t know if I’m comfortable with the way the “second thoughts” are framed–the idea that these women shouldn’t worry about their appearance in terms of society at large’s reaction, but in terms of the reaction of intimates and family members?

  7. October 10, 2005 at 3:25 pm

    I’m going to threadjack a bit, and point out that tomorrow is National Coming Out Day.

  8. Rebecca
    October 10, 2005 at 9:04 pm

    I spent four years at a very liberal Ivy League school and I have to say, in the wake of 9/11 I saw anti-Zionism tipping over into anti-Semitism. I never noticed it before 9/11 and by the end of my college career it had mostly dissipated, but it was very evident in the six months following 9/11 and was still going on over a year later.

    Of course, one of the most interesting facets of this anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism was that many of its proponents were Jewish. But that’s another matter.

    There were a lot of articles in our school paper criticizing Israeli policies and military actions while completely ignoring Palestinian wrongdoing (even to the extent of excusing or ignoring the precipitating murder) while completely ignoring Israeli self-criticism. They also equated supporting Israel’s right to exist to advocating the murder of Palestinians. And when a bunch of Palestinian protesters crashed a Jewish religious ceremony and the incident was writted up in the paper as Jewish students interupting a pro-Palestinian rally, I saw red. The complete inability of many of my fellow students to see that there was another side to an issue, let alone that it might be possible for thinking, feeling person to agree with it, really reminded me of the wingnuts.

    I don’t think that all critics of of Israel are anti-Semites, or even that many are. But they certainly do exist. However, there’s no way in hell I’d ever join Prager in his crazy “Judeo-Christian” world.

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