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You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
May 31, 2010 1:30 AM   Subscribe

No, I don't think you can deliberately, maliciously, misquote a fellow Mefite, making a strawman look like a quote, to imply the guy you're quoting is an anti-Semite. Misquote. Real Quote.

Really, that's dirty pool. I'm offended by it, and frankly, anyone who is interested in honest debate should be offended by it. It's an attack not just on the Mefite who was misquoted, but on all of us in the Metafilter community.
posted by orthogonality to Etiquette/Policy at 1:30 AM (605 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

I agree. That comment was terrible. I/P discussions are fraught to begin with, and really don't need baseless accusations of anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, it seems there's a certain subset of people who seem genuinely incapable of distinguishing the difference between the statements "Isreal's Palestine policy is murderous and wrong" and "Let's throw all the Jews into the sea."
posted by kaibutsu at 1:42 AM on May 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


It's the same bullshit tactic that apologists of Israel always resort to in debates.

There needs to be a law for it, in the mold of Godwin:

"In any debate involving questionable or controversial actions undertaken by Israel, the probability that one who opposes said actions will be labeled an "anti-Semite" rises towards 1 as the discussion progresses."
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 1:43 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


i just assumed this was about all the nazi bullshit in the hijab thread.
posted by nadawi at 1:52 AM on May 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


No, I don't think you can deliberately, maliciously, misquote a fellow Mefite, making a strawman look like a quote, to McCarthyize your opponent like a Nazi fascist jackbooted internet thug.

Fixed that for you.

(I mean, hear, hear. That's bush league through & through.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:53 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Comments like that are lighting fluid+match-like, but the snarkiness of the comment undermines my ability to take the accusation seriously.

Also, it's good to see that cooler heads have prevailed in the thread.
posted by anitanita at 2:03 AM on May 31, 2010


Israel apologists can find antisemitism anywhere, including in how you capitalize "antisemitism."
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:36 AM on May 31, 2010


I was disappointed by that thread. I figured of all websites, this would be the place where you could specifically criticize specific actions without people thinking your opinions extend to the entire population of those committing the act. Both sides are guilty of doing something to this effect, and it really poisons reasonable discussion.
posted by spiderskull at 2:37 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Actually, I take part of that back. There are only a few offending comments -- there's actually quite a bit of reasonable discussion further down the thread.
posted by spiderskull at 2:40 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I srael apologists canfind antisemitism anywhere, including in how you to be a capitalize "antisemitism." idea

FTFY

(In all seriousness, though, yeah, that sort of thing is not cool when done in seriousness when discussing a topic like that.)
posted by davejay at 2:40 AM on May 31, 2010


Surely you're not serious. The different font and the "Fixed it for you" make it perfectly clear. But while we're whining about misquotations, how about leaping to my defense? My position was mischaracterised in this comment. Do you find that equally outrageous, or are you trying to use the moderation stick to silence someone who disagrees with you?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:45 AM on May 31, 2010


People can and do, and it's hardly limited to I/P threads. They deserve to be called out on it, but I also think that we need to trust that most of the rest of the userbase is able to see past it.

FWIW, I don't read Joe's post as a "deliberate misquote", although you have to be pretty familiar with Mefi's conventions to see that he's making an assertion about what Meatbomb secretly meant, rather than claiming Meatbomb actually said something he didn't.
posted by hattifattener at 2:46 AM on May 31, 2010


Joe, it's still a crappy comment, because you're accusing Meatbomb of meaning something substantially different from what he said, and you're offering absolutely no support for your accusation, just throwing it out there to stir up shit.
posted by hattifattener at 2:49 AM on May 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


Joe in Australia: My position was mischaracterised in this comment.

Perhaps your "position" was mischaracterized, but your earlier "statement" was not.

If your words don't represent your position, that's your problem.
posted by three blind mice at 2:52 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


That was some bullshit.
posted by delmoi at 2:56 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Keep digging Joe. I don't think delmoi mischaracterised anything. I don't see any reason why anyone should defend you. Try apologising instead.
posted by adamvasco at 2:57 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


That shit's worth banning, or at least a vacation.
posted by mullacc at 2:59 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


My position was mischaracterised in this comment.

Joe, you were accurately quoted in that comment, a courtesy you failed to extend when you "quoted" Meatbomb. Accurately quoting you doesn't mischaracterize you. Writing, as delmoi did, that "You haven't addressed anything," (though you claim you did) seems quite accurate, as all you did was to make an ad hominem attack.

So I suppose you complaint is that delmoi also wrote that you "just made the claim that anyone opposed to Israel is an anti-Semite." And to me, that also seems accurate, as you "quoted" Meatbomb by replacing his word 'Israel" with your word "Jews", conflating the two words' meaning and in so doing implying that anyone opposed to Israel is opposed to Jews, which is pretty much the definition of "anti-Semite".

delmoi didn't mischaracterize you; indeed, his complaint bout you is essentially the complaint I'm making in this Metatalk post.
posted by orthogonality at 3:00 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


There needs to be a law for it, in the mold of Godwin

We could call it Yhwhwin's Law.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:03 AM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


"Surely you're not serious HITLER. The different font and the "Fixed it for you HITLER" make it perfectly clear. But while we're whining about misquotations HITLER, how about leaping to my defense? My position was mischaracterised HITLERIZED in this comment. Do you find that equally outrageous HITLER, or are you trying to use the moderation stick HITLERSTICK to silence someone who disagrees with you"

There, fixed it for you.

And don't call me Shirley HITLER.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:06 AM on May 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm with hatti here - I saw it more as a 'this is how I (and x million Jews) just interpreted your post', which, while probably an unfair interpretation of the post, is relevant, and maybe an accurate representation of the x million Jews' position* - but I think the nature of the event we're posting on is one that makes people a little more likely to react emotionally to comments like that, and be less accepting of those backing Israel, who seem to be the unprovoked aggressors in this situation.

*No, not ALL or MOST Jews, x million. You can't be too careful with generalisations on the internet :)
posted by doublehappy at 3:06 AM on May 31, 2010


FWIW, I don't read Joe's post as a "deliberate misquote",

He prefixed his misquote with "Metabomb wrote'; admittedly, he italicized all of Meatbomb;s words except the word he changed ("Isreal" to Jew"), but as youi point out, one needs to know a good birt of inside baseball to realize it's not a direct quote.

Since the only indication that it's not a direct quote is that lack of italicization, it comes dangerously close to slander. What happens when another blog quotes Joe's comment? Does it preserve italicization. Does it get italicized, do readers understand tge significance if it does, when Google picks it up?

No, probably not. Anti-Semitism is a terrible thing, all the more so as it has historically been used to justify pogroms and genocide. Allegations of Anti-Semitism are correspondingly devastating, all the more so when used cavalierly to stifle legitimate debate.

In combination with misquoting someone, such an allegation is transparently an attempt to tar an opponent and shut him up, and that's an attack not just on the person slandered, but on all of us who desire honest and open debate in our online community.

It's playing it far too close to a line that shouldn't be crossed, if it doesn't (as I believe) in fact cross that line. We can't tolerate that if we want to preserve everyone's ability to speak their minds without fear of being slandered.

And we shouldn't tolerate it. Joe in Australia crossed a line tonight, and I feel that has to to be made clear.
posted by orthogonality at 3:14 AM on May 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


wow rhaomi, not sure how many meanings your displacing, but that's a bit weird to place here...
posted by artof.mulata at 3:16 AM on May 31, 2010


But while we're whining about misquotations, how about leaping to my defense? My position was mischaracterised in this comment.

Joe, your argument is that Meatbomb is an anti-Semite for saying, "I do not like the State of Israel, and wish that it would go away. It does a grave disservice to Jews, democracy, memory of the Holocaust, the West, pretty much anything it associates itself with." You are making this argument in a thread about an incident where the IDF boarded a boat carrying humanitarian aid and killed at least 10 of the people on board. If you were defending the IDF's actions, that would be one thing, and we could have an actual good-faith discussion about it. But that's not what you're doing. Instead, you're using the accusation of anti-Semitism to smear people and derail the thread, in a way that makes it hard for any actual discussion to take place. I have no opinion on whether the mods should ban you, but you're not worth any more of my time.

*plonk*
posted by twirlip at 3:20 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Beans, anyone?
posted by mrbill at 3:27 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since the only indication that it's not a direct quote is that lack of italicization, it comes dangerously close to slander. What happens when another blog quotes Joe's comment? Does it preserve italicization. Does it get italicized, do readers understand tge significance if it does, when Google picks it up?

I think it's a bit of a stretch to blame someone for being misquoted by another site - and that's what it would be if they strip the tags. I also don't see any need for him to moderate his comments to ensure that people don't misunderstand him if they pick up his comment on Google. People are responsible for reading and interpreting things on their own. I appreciate your point though.
posted by doublehappy at 3:31 AM on May 31, 2010


He did provide a link to the original quote, btw. I took the meaning along the lines of doublehappy. And honestly, while the execution was poor and the followup defensive, I got what he was trying initially to say.
posted by sundri at 3:49 AM on May 31, 2010


Beans, anyone?

I don't think the "all opposition to Israel is anti-Semitism" trope is a plate of beans. It's an insidious impediment to any real dialogue about the issue.
posted by shii at 3:52 AM on May 31, 2010 [35 favorites]


Yeah, I wouldn't mind some moderation (and I'm glad to see the call out here) on that issue if it comes up again (and it always seems to). Does anyone else also find it terribly condescending that, instead of treating Israel like any other nation-state in terms of evaluating its policy decisions in and outside its borders, people try to silence/Godwin any criticism with WHY DO YOU HATE "THE JEWS" SO MUCH??!!?

And who are these, "the Jews", anyway? Does it include those in Israel who are strongly loyal to the state but opposed to state actions regarding the "Palestinian question," like the ex-IDF members of Combatants for Peace, or the religious leaders in Rabbis for Human Rights?
posted by availablelight at 4:28 AM on May 31, 2010


bucket of hugs on that plate o' beans, anyone?
posted by infini at 4:40 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


He is lucky that Meatbomb is so benevolent.
posted by chillmost at 4:43 AM on May 31, 2010


availablelight: instead of treating Israel like any other nation-state in terms of evaluating its policy decisions in and outside its borders

Well the problem is that anti-semitism exists and this cannot be denied: some people hate Jews because they are Jews.

It is the fact that anti-semitism exists that makes the inappropriate use of the label so loaded.

I mean calling someone an anti-Scandinavianist has no punch.
posted by three blind mice at 4:47 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


add me as one person disapointed by the direction the thread is taking.

I think a line was crossed too. On such a touchy subject on wich I refrain from commenting, it really doesn't feel genuine, and is borderline trolling.
posted by motdiem2 at 4:51 AM on May 31, 2010


I'd be thrilled if all of the passive-aggressive FTFY bullshit and resultant mocking/parodying of the FTFY bullshit were sunk to the bottom of the Gulf and used to stuff that fucking oilhole already.

And beyond that, if your real point is that someone in a thread is a secret racist, antisemite, misogynist, ablist, or other -ist for expressing certain views, then flag the comment as offensive or bring it to MeTa. How hard is that?
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:53 AM on May 31, 2010 [39 favorites]


Even a cursory glance at a Venn diagram indicates that Joe in Australia is completely full of shit.
posted by crunchland at 4:55 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well the problem is that anti-semitism exists and this cannot be denied: some people hate Jews because they are Jews.

It is the fact that anti-semitism exists that makes the inappropriate use of the label so loaded.

I mean calling someone an anti-Scandinavianist has no punch.


Some people do hate Jews because they are Jews. Can the rest of us, and the rest of the world, still have the same kinds of policy discussions about Israel that we would have about Scandinavia? Do humanitarians who criticize state-sanctioned human rights violations in Angola or Sudan just really hate black people?
posted by availablelight at 4:59 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


In my opinion, there's a fundamental danger in going for the anti-semitism hot button. If that card gets played often enough, if supporters of Israel refuse to allow people to differentiate between a government and an ethnicity, that means that all Jews are tarred with that brush.

If you refuse to allow the differentiation between Jews and Israel, it may let you temporarily silence critics, but by doing so, you inextricably link political decisions and their fallout with worldwide Jewry, whether they agree or not. If the world gets sufficiently angry at Israel, that could have terrible consequences.
posted by Malor at 5:10 AM on May 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Joe's was one of the more despicable pieces of misquoting I've ever seen on Metafilter.
posted by unSane at 5:25 AM on May 31, 2010


Joe, if you MeMail me your address, I will send you a copy of a movie I recently watched entitled American Radical.
posted by gman at 5:34 AM on May 31, 2010


Yeshua, what a shvants.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:36 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree that the comment was inappropriate and pointlessly inflammatory.

But it wasn't a misquote. It was clear in what it was doing.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:42 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I agree with Meatbomb's comment (except maybe that "going away" could be a bit more difficult to achieve without horrific violence than the phrase suggests) but I can't see how anyone who has been on the internet for more than a few days could misunderstand what Joe meant.

Maybe a mod could clear this one up? Anyone awake on the Astral Plane?
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:54 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can the rest of us, and the rest of the world, still have the same kinds of policy discussions about Israel that we would have about Scandinavia?

Any discussion of Israeli policy that ignores anti-semtism is not really giving the subject a fair hearing. No such problem exists in a discussion about Sweden - unless you are talking to Norwegians.

One must, in fact, deal with this in an upfront and open manner or risk that anti-semitic attitudes present themselves as simply benign opinion.

At the same time one should not look for anti-semitism where there is none. This is the problem with Joe from Australia's comment.
posted by three blind mice at 5:55 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


But it wasn't a misquote. It was clear in what it was doing.

Bullshit. Misquotation is one of the most pernicious pieces of bad behavior on MeFi and MeTa. The FTFY meme (may it die in hell) relies on taking the accurate quote, striking out certain portions, and then replacing them with 'fixed' versions, so that the reader can see what has been changed. It also generally doesn't begin 'XXXX wrote'.

If JFA had actually used the normal format, something like:

I do not like the State of Israel Jews, and wish that it would go away. It does a grave disservice to Jews, democracy, memory of the Holocaust, the West, pretty much anything it associates itself with.

then it would have been clear what an egregious and tendentious piece of editing this was. Which was presumably why he didn't do that.
posted by unSane at 5:56 AM on May 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


Can 'Joe in Australia', please at least take the 'Australia' out of his handle.

I do not like Joe in Australia, and wish that he would go away. He does a grave disservice to Australians, democracy, memory of Les Patterson, the West, pretty much anything he associates himself with.
posted by a non e mouse at 5:57 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Joe in Australia does not phase me at all. He is using tired and dishonest tactics when trying to equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism. Go tell these people that I hate Jews, mmkay?

I am confident in the righteousness of my position on this issue. Joe and other Israeli apologists will be buried on the scrap heap of history, along with this morally bankrupt state.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:04 AM on May 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


It's funny how disingenuous bullies always talk about "whining" when people call them out on their bullshit.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:07 AM on May 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Don't skip the question, Meatbomb. It's not whether Joe is wrong to "equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism". It's whether or not that was what he was doing in his comment.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:07 AM on May 31, 2010


To clarify - it's pretty obvious that he was, but he can't have been doing that AND have been doing what he's accused of here.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:09 AM on May 31, 2010


I do not see any question directed at me in this thread, GeckoDundee.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:16 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


hey Joe,
where you goin' with that misquote in your hand?
hey Joe,
I said where you goin' with that misquote in your hand?
your tired and sorry tactics,
oughtta be enough to get you banned
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:16 AM on May 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


Maybe a mod could clear this one up? Anyone awake on the Astral Plane?

If you really need one. But I didn't have you pegged as the sort to walk past a lynching, no matter who was being lynched.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:19 AM on May 31, 2010


Its obvious that this wasn't a misquote.
posted by seanyboy at 6:24 AM on May 31, 2010


But it wasn't a misquote. It was clear in what it was doing.

Just wanted to repeat what someone said before: It was totally and completely unclear in what it was doing. Switching back and forth from italics to roman is sooooooooooooooo unbelievably easy to miss. The "FTFY" meme uses strikethroughs because those are impossible to miss. Not using strikethroughs for FTFY is doing it wrong and makes the meaning unclear.

In you want everyone to get your FTFY, use strikethroughs. If you want some people to not get it and assume you are either malicious or ignorant, then incorrectly use FTFY with italics.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:24 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


23skidoo is absolutely right. I think the FTFY is cheap and stupid and tiresome, and I'd rather not see people using it here, but if you are gonna use it, it should be as 23skidoo has explained. Virtually everyone here does it like that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:28 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


The correct protocol is to use strikethrough:

I do not like the State of Israel Jews, and wish that it they would go away.

There, fixed it for you.


I almost missed it with the non italicised words, but the "There, fixed it for you" was an absolute giveaway. The whole FTFY meme is as old as the hills.

Yeah, it's definitely still dirty pool [good saying, that one] and a bit fark.com-ish... but a "deliberate, malicious misquote"? If you're aware of the meaning and use of "fixed that for you" then you're just being a Precious Pete.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:31 AM on May 31, 2010


In the time it took me to write that last post, 23skidoo and flapjax at midnite said most of what I was trying to say.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:34 AM on May 31, 2010


I'd have used strikethroughs if I'd thought of them, but they're not intuitive - it's not like they're built in, like italics. But orthogonality now seems to be saying that it's bad because someone might quote it and not copy the italics or the "fixed that" part and ... I'm trying to figure out the "and" bit here. It's manufactured outrage.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:34 AM on May 31, 2010


Bizarro world.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:36 AM on May 31, 2010


Virtually no-one here does it like that.

FTFY
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:41 AM on May 31, 2010


It's manufactured outrage.

At least personally, before I even read the non-italicized part of your comment, I did a double-take CTRL-F to find out who the hell said what was quoted and was a little confused. It's pretty easy to get locked in to a particular brand of styling and when people stray from it, it can confuse someone, especially when you're not 100% devoted to thread-reading.
posted by Hiker at 6:41 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's not the misquoting.

It's the intellectual dishonesty.
Joe in Australia equated Meatbomb's criticism of the Jewish state with a supposed wish that Jews in general would "go away". This was wrong. Obviously wrong, yet three people favorited it anyway.

Really dirty pool there. Not misquoting, but nasty threadshitty trolling and false to boot.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:47 AM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


To all those who were offended, how 'bout I give Joe In Australia a UFIA and we'll call it even.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:50 AM on May 31, 2010


Yeah, it's definitely still dirty pool

"Dirty pool" barely begins to cover how blatantly despicable a move it was. Someone mentioned in-thread that it reads like a deliberate attempt to get the entire thread tossed into the dumpster; I'm not sure that's far off.
posted by mediareport at 6:51 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's manufactured outrage.

My irony meter just shit its pants.
posted by hermitosis at 6:52 AM on May 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'd be thrilled if all of the passive-aggressive FTFY bullshit and resultant mocking/parodying of the FTFY bullshit were sunk to the bottom of the Gulf and used to stuff that fucking oilhole already.

OH MY GOD YES THIS
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:54 AM on May 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


Also, let me just say that while I/P threads may be fraught, Meatbomb's comment was pretty damn decent and level-headed. No GRAR to be seen there.

If anything, the baseless GRAR seems to be slowly moving to the pro-Israel-at-all-costs camp. Desperate flailing, really.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:57 AM on May 31, 2010


My acronym meter just SIPs.
posted by a non e mouse at 7:02 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


It does get a bit tired that Joe in Australia says the same things in every single thread on this subject. Though I guess a lot of us are repetitive. At least most of us our obnoxious with our misquoting, I guess.
posted by chunking express at 7:07 AM on May 31, 2010


NOT obnoxious. God damn it.
posted by chunking express at 7:07 AM on May 31, 2010


Well, I just woke up so it is probably too late to make any valuable contribution to this thread.

BUT!

Meatbomb was not being taking a stand against the actions of the state of Israel. He made a statement against the existence of the state of Israel. That's what a "one-state solution" is. It means replacing Israel with something else. It is something that is defended by the likes of Muammar al-Gadaffi.

Joe's response was harsh, but Meatbomb's proposal was heavy-handed AT BEST.
posted by falameufilho at 7:10 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


A GRAR is a noise (i.e. GRAR! ANTISEMITES! GRAR! GRARRR!) as well as a stocky, scaly, foul-smelling animal with a large mouth. The common GRAR hides out at the edge of threads, hopping into the middle to take a big stinky dump and then returning whence it came. Seldom-known fact: They communicate AND reproduce via sharp bites to the shin.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:11 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Meatbomb's proposal was heavy-handed AT BEST.

And... so? People aren't allowed to hold incisive opinions, or they deserve to be misrepresented if they are? I'd like to see that rule applied to other MetaFilter discussions.

"Affirmative action goes against everything the U.S. stands for."

"I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Fixed that for you."
posted by shii at 7:16 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Joe in Australia, you've been here long enough to know that, quote or misquote, this, considering the topic and its usual attendant controversy/strong opinions, is an incredibly bad way to move a discourse forward. Argue the finer points of italics/strikethrough/FTFY/mischaracterization if you'd like, but this comment in question does a huge disservice to MetaFilter discussion, and it seems like you should really know better.

Instead of picking up the shovel and digging, digging, digging on this one, it might be better to apologize for making needlessly inflammatory comment and let everyone move on.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 7:18 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


a GRAR is not an acronym
a GRAR is but a sound
of course, in I/P threads is where
it's very often found
so now you know, my friend
it's an onomatopoeia
and now I must be going
take care, my friend, and see ya!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:25 AM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Surely you're not serious.

You've said this to start a comment both here and in the original thread, Joe. Is this a tested line to deliver extra assholery or did you just watch Airplane last night?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:27 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


It is something that is defended by the likes of Muammar al-Gadaffi.

It is also something proposed by a lot of thoughtful non-Gadaffi observers of the situation.
posted by mediareport at 7:27 AM on May 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think the world would be a much nicer place if everyone was just a little bit more like flapjax at midnite.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:29 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd have used strikethroughs if I'd thought of them, but they're not intuitive - it's not like they're built in, like italics.

Look, if you want to say that it's EASIER to use italics, fine. But unintuitive? It's unintuitive to use italics with FTFY because no one else here is doing that. Yours is the only instance I can remember on MeFi of someone using italics to do a FTFY. Unless you learned it somewhere else, and then wanted to use it here, it's totally untuitive to use the meme the way that everyone else here uses it.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:38 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


To be honset I'm a little suprised that this line of bullshit carries any weight in this day and age, it's so fucking tired and old.

It does however immediately let you know that anyone who uses it is a troll who is not worth dealing with. Ignore it, bar flagging, and move on.
posted by Artw at 7:49 AM on May 31, 2010


I'm a little suprised that this line of bullshit carries any weight in this day and age

I know where you're coming from, Artw, but "this day and age" is, well, hell, just look at the world all around us: this day and age is a fucking mess, and there's certainly no shortage of idiocy, stupidity, blindness, trickery, deception, twisting of words and meaning, scoring of cheap points, hatefulness, etc. etc. Maybe more than there's ever been.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:58 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yes, but this is the internet. Everyone knows that accusations of antisemitism mean precisely fuck all on the internet. Hell, unless you're talking about Mel Gibson they mostly mean "does not agree with something Israel is doing" in the real world, and on the web that goes double or triple.
posted by Artw at 8:03 AM on May 31, 2010


Look, if you want to say that it's EASIER to use italics, fine. But unintuitive?

He's saying there's an italics button on Metafilter. There is no strikethrough button.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:09 AM on May 31, 2010


Sometimes, when someone says something, you think he is implying something else. Sometimes -- with or without evidence -- you are sure of it. There are several ways you can choose to express that feeling:

1. The Best Way IF Your Goal Is To Express Your Interpretation While Being Fair To the Person You're Quoting

Bill: "I hate carrots."

Whenever anyone says that, I suspect they mean "I hate all vegetables." I think that's especially likely in Bill's case, because, based on things he's posted in the past (link, link), it's pretty clear he's an anti-veggite.

Note: here, the poster has made it clear that he can't read Bill's mind, but that he's making what he thinks is a reasonable interpretation of Bill's intent.

2. An Okay Strategy If You Want To Punch A Little Harder While Still Playing Somewhat Fair.

Bill: "I hate carrots."

By which you mean you hate all vegetables.

Note: this is a bit unfair, because it's "mind reading," and it's said with such simple confidence that it's a little hard for Bill to defend himself. But it's not THAT hard. Bill just needs to point out, "You are not me, and you don't know whether I hate vegetables or not."

There is something a little bit not-quite-fair about this rhetoric, because it works partly via emotional response rather than logical argumentation. There's a certain AHA GOTCHA! feeling to "By which you mean...."

By saying that, you create the illusion that you've caught the person you're quoting with his pants down, and it's tempting to agree with you just due to the confidence of your rhetoric.

A: I think...

B: By which you mean...

Even without knowing any more details. I'm tempted to side with B, just because he seems like nobody's fool, and because he seems like one of those smart people who exposes hypocrisies.

3. Playing Dirty. Great Strategy If You Have No Interest In Fairness But Just Want To Sway People To Your Point Of View.

Bill: "I hate all vegetables."

There. I fixed that for you.

That is dirty even if people understand what you're doing with italics and get the "I fixed that for you" comment. It's a dirty rhetorical device, because it changes history. Careless people are likely to just read the "quote" and react to it. "Fuck you, Bill! You're an anti-veggite!"

Yeah, I get (from your use of italics) but Bill didn't actually said that, but it feels like he did, because I'm seeing "Bill:" and then some text. It's so easy for me to just go with your witty, aggressive version rather than Bill's version, especially if I already agree with your general points (that anti-veggites are assholes and that many people try to hide their anti-veggism.)

Here's my interpretation of people's goals when they use a tactic like this (though, of course, I can't read minds, so this is a guess). They WISH Bill had actually said, "I hate all vegetables." They really want everyone else in the thread to see Bill as an anti-veggite.

So they quote Bill as saying that and, just to keep up appearances of being fair, throw in a disclaimer in the form of obscure games with italics. But the basic intent is to rewrite history and change Bill's statement. The hope is that people will not start arguing with Bill as if he'd said the "fixed" version instead of what he actually said.

Some people are likely to do this, because many others don't read carefully or don't get the italic convention. The people who misquote Bill KNOW this and are counting on it.
posted by grumblebee at 8:09 AM on May 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


But it wasn't a misquote. It was clear in what it was doing.

Agreed. I don't find the italics-to-Roman switching to be "easy to miss"—but regardless, he linked to the comment he was quoting. It was not a good thing to do and it should be discouraged; but I find the level of hysteria and invective in here to be out of proportion to the offense, and hypocritical in light of the usual tenor of MeFi political threads.
posted by cribcage at 8:09 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Considering how important Israel is to a large majority of Jews alive today, the idea that you could just make it "go away" and this would not affect the jewish culture or way of life is naive. For many jews, the homeland is a central part of the identity, and to hate the homeland is to hate "the jew". So I don't think it's outlandish at all to suggest it smacks of antisemitism - even if it was unintentional. It's just a poorly thought out comment.
posted by mdn at 8:17 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


The problem is FTFY in general. It is almost always a strawman argument, and it is rarely good for discourse. I find it very annoying when someone does that to me because if I wanted to say something else I would have said something else. Even when people do it in jest it strikes me as aggressive.
posted by Danila at 8:19 AM on May 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


He did provide a link to the original quote ..... And honestly, while the execution was poor and the followup defensive, I got what he was trying initially to say.

At the very least Joe From OZ is guilty of reckless driving here, which though significantly less heinous than deliberately driving someone off the road, is still the kind of transgression that should earn one more than a simple slap on the wrist.
posted by philip-random at 8:21 AM on May 31, 2010


He's saying there's an italics button on Metafilter. There is no strikethrough button.

That, and I'm used to typing angle-bracket-i and -b elsewhere. I usually have to look up other html commands (which are not allowed on most systems) and I often forget they exist. I have been surprised to discover the existence of the angle-bracket-small command several times now. It's an odd feeling.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:22 AM on May 31, 2010


Assnugget in Australia.

FTFY.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:25 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem is Assnugget in Australia, who chooses to accuse others of anti-semetism where there is none, instead of engaging in rational discussion.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:28 AM on May 31, 2010


I don't find the italics-to-Roman switching to be "easy to miss"—but regardless, he linked to the comment he was quoting.

That makes it worse: I think it's kind of crappy to force people to click on links to comments so that they can see what someone *really* said.

Also, I'd like to nominate FTFY as "MeFi Meme that should die already".
posted by 23skidoo at 8:28 AM on May 31, 2010


Ugh. Cleaned that thread up as best I could to nix the stuff springing directly from the initial comment while leaving the rest intact. Kind of a no-win situation from a moderation perspective since things have a tendency to fold back on themselves.

Joe In Australia, please refrain from bullshit quote-munging on hot-button topics. It's crappy fucking behavior, and you managed to derail a thread and fuck up my morning in the process.

Everybody else, consider not responding in force to crappy behavior in the middle of the night, because it's a pain in the ass to deal with in the morning when it's had a few hours to gel and expand.

The argument about there being a concrete rule or not regarding how to do an annoying FTFY comment is rather beside the point; obnoxious, bullshit quote-munging on a hot-button topic is a problem in its own right regardless of stylebook questions. Again: not cool, don't fucking do that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:29 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, Joe of Australia's implication -- unless I'm totally misreading him -- is that if you hate Israel that NECESSARILY means you hate Jews. That is simply wrong. It's not a matter of opinion. It's wrong. It IS true that SOME people who hate Israel are also anti-Semites, but it's pretty easy to see the logical fallacy here:

1. Some people who hate Israel are anti-Semites.
2. Bill hates Israel.
-----
3. Therefor Bill is an anti-Semite.

If you can't see the flaw there, you're not capable of participating in an adult discussion. The flaw here is one of pure logic. It shouldn't matter what side you're on. It's just a bad argument.

There's another possible thought process that is equally flawed: when people think of Israel, they NECESSARILY think of it as "the country of the Jews," by which they mean that it's the country that ALL Jews support and that supporting Israel is the same as supporting Jews. In fact, according to this way of thinking, Israel = Jews.

1. All people equate Israel with Jews.
2. Bill hates Israel.
---
3. Therefor Bill hates Jews.

That is logically valid. The problem is that 3 is only true if 1 and 2 are true, and 1 is not true. There is at least one person who doesn't equate Israel with Jews: me. I'm Jewish. I don't hate Jews. (I don't particularly hate Israel, either. I'm not fond of it. But I'm not fond of any political state.)

So, unless you think everyone in the world who claims they don't equate Israel with Jews is lying, the flawed argument is...

1. Some people equate Israel with Jews.
2. Bill hates Israel.
----
3. Therefor Bill hares Jews.

If you can't see the flaw, please read an introductory book on logic before participating in a discussion about ... actually, about anything.

To be fair to Joe of Australia, many bigots try to hide their bigotry. One gets tired of anti-Semites trying to hide their true feelings behind an anti-Israel stance. That IS a good stance to take if you're an anti-Semite who wants to be able to claim that you're not one. So you ARE going to meet a number of people who claim to hate Israel but who really hate Jews -- or who hate Israel because it has such a large, powerful Jewish population.

But that boils down to THIS flawed argument:

1. Many people who claim to hate Israel are secret anti-Semites.
2. Bill hates Israel.
-----
3. Therefor, Bill is an anti-Semite.

If you can't see the flaw, stay out of the argument. If you see it but don't care, you're an asshole. You're an asshole, because you're KNOWINGLY painting a certain number of people as anti-Semites when you know they may not be anti-Semites.
posted by grumblebee at 8:29 AM on May 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


Considering how important [Palestine] [was] to a large majority of [Palestinians] alive today, the idea that you could just make it "go away" and this would not affect [Palestinian] culture or way of life is naive. For many [Arabs], the homeland is a central part of the identity, and to hate the homeland is to hate "the [Arab]". So I don't think it's outlandish at all to suggest it smacks of anti-Arab racism - even if it was unintentional. It's just a poorly thought out comment.

Does that work too?
posted by availablelight at 8:31 AM on May 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


While we're fixing things, I'd like to offer an amendment to the I/P Godwin's Law, as follows:

"In any debate involving questionable or controversial actions undertaken by Israel, the probability that one who opposes said actions will be labeled an "anti-Semite" rises towards starts at 1 and remains there as the discussion progresses."
posted by rusty at 8:38 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meatbomb was not being taking a stand against the actions of the state of Israel. He made a statement against the existence of the state of Israel. That's what a "one-state solution" is. It means replacing Israel with something else.

You make it all sound very dire. He is "against the existence of the state" as if there is some physical and perfect state which you can point to and which must be defended against those would would despoil it. But given the nature or Israel's governing body, one can make a pretty good argument that the state is replaced every three years or so. (Besides, what is Meatbomb going to do, take away their constitution?)

Also, don't we have a lot of historic data showing that the mindset Xia for the Xians (Or Xrael or Xistan or whatever) is a really great solution if your problem is, "How can I get two populations to really really hate each other?" or "How can I get a genocidal war started?" I'm pretty much willing to say that if those are the problems you're looking for a solution to, I've got an issue with the existence of whatever it is you're trying to set up.

It is something that is defended by the likes of Muammar al-Gadaffi.

Can you see that "You wear pants. Idi Amin wore pants. Ergo you eat babies." is maybe not the very best syllogism to use in an argument, even is you white space some of the bits?"
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:40 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


it doesn't work quite as well, since anti-arab racism doesn't have as powerful a history as antisemitism But more important, I think most people here who might have been made uncomfortable by that comment were made uncomfortable by the notion of a "one state solution" - which is to say, wouldn't it be better if we could somehow do something that would satisfy both arab and israeli needs? If someone were suggesting we should make all arab homeland in the middle east "go away," that'd be a problem. But I don't think that's being suggested.

Grumblebee, logic and rhetoric are two different methods of communication, and I think Joe of Australia was using a rhetorical device, rather than a logical one. He wasn't intending to prove that Meatbomb was, by necessity of logic, an anti-semite, but rather, to tell him that the way he'd expressed himself could easily be read as having anti-semitic undertones.
posted by mdn at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2010


Seems to be some kind of outrage fallacy here, like when someone says something very bad, and he makes a usage error too, and you pounce on him stabbing again and again screaming "that's not what begging the question means!"
posted by fleacircus at 8:45 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does that work too?

Umm, whatever? You've taken a pretty rational comment and rejigged to support a particular concern, which is not to say your analogy is wrong so much as, why bother? Unless you're insinuating that the historic plight of the Palestinians is somehow more important/relevant than the historic plight of the Jews in which case all I can say is, please don't. It's a bottomless pit.
posted by philip-random at 8:48 AM on May 31, 2010


For many jews, the homeland is a central part of the identity, and to hate the homeland is to hate "the jew". So I don't think it's outlandish at all to suggest it smacks of antisemitism - even if it was unintentional.
posted by mdn


To participate in adult conversations in good faith, you have to be willing to distinguish from what you believe, and how others might view something. If you aren't able to distinguish between your religion and ethnicity and a country whose state religion is that same thing, even if it represents "the Jew" to you, then you aren't operating in good faith, as it clearly doesn't represent "the Jew" to much of the rest of the world. In fact I would argue that for the non-Jewish world, Israel probably represents "the Jew" for more antisemites than for others (especially since antisemites lean towards insane conspiracy theories and the like). The rest of us are pretty likely to think that "the Jew" is not so monolithic an entity, it is not a government, nor a country. I think that the decisions Israel makes are bad for the Jewish people, does that make me an antisemite? I can't see that as following logically, if I want good things for those same people.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:51 AM on May 31, 2010 [14 favorites]


lso, Joe of Australia's implication -- unless I'm totally misreading him -- is that if you hate Israel that NECESSARILY means you hate Jews.

Not at all. There are lots of people with non-racist reasons to hate Israel. But I find that people who propose that Israel is somehow unique (and typically uniquely evil) generally do so because they think Jews are unique (and typically uniquely evil.) I like to challenge this belief because it may either reduce intolerance or at least spread it around. If I turn someone who hates Israel into someone who hates the entire Middle East including Israel then I don't think my time has been wasted.

Of course, it would probably be better to go through life without hatred, but not everyone has my sweetness of temperament.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:53 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I frequently browse MeFi on my phone with Opera Mini, which strips out all italics. I wish it didn't. But if I had seen the "quotation" before this discussion I'd have had no idea it was modified.
posted by 6550 at 8:55 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


He wasn't intending to prove that Meatbomb was, by necessity of logic, an anti-semite, but rather, to tell him that the way he'd expressed himself could easily be read as having anti-semitic undertones.

This thread proves that intent is very easy to misread. I for one thought Joe's point was that Meatbomb was being anti-Semitic.
posted by grumblebee at 8:56 AM on May 31, 2010


I find that people who propose that Israel is somehow unique (and typically uniquely evil) generally do so because they think Jews are unique (Emphasis added.)

If you find that an intent is GENERALLY but not universally true, it's not fair to accuse someone of having the general sentiment. You can ask if they do. You can suggest that MAYBE they do. But your statement read, to me, as if it was clear that Meatbomb DID hate Jews.

It's even possible to be totally misinformed about Israel and not hate Jews. Let's say that there are 30 countries that are all behaving badly. Let's say Israel is one of them. Maybe Bill hates Israel because he's been learned about what Israel has done but not about what the other countries have done. Bill is woefully ill-informed. But he's not necessarily an anti-Semite.

It may even be that genuine anti-Semites have influenced Bill -- that the REASON why he only knows about Israel's flaws is because he's been listening to people who hate Jews. But that STILL doesn't mean that Bill necessarily hates Jews.

Accusing someone of antisemitism is a very specific, very serious charge. One of the many things it means is that Bill, finding out that I am a Jew (one that doesn't live in or care about Israel), will dislike me because I'm Jewish or treat me unfairly because I'm Jewish. Unless you have reason to believe this is true about Bill, it's unfair to imply that he's an anti-Semite.
posted by grumblebee at 9:05 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Grumblebee, logic and rhetoric are two different methods of communication, and I think Joe of Australia was using a rhetorical device, rather than a logical one.

It doesn't matter whether someone is using logic or rhetoric or some mixture in terms of whether he is being fair or not.
posted by grumblebee at 9:06 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


He was being a dick deliberatly, to further his cause of being a dick to people he disagrees with. Cutting hairs finer than that is really not required.
posted by Artw at 9:08 AM on May 31, 2010 [19 favorites]


He wasn't intending to prove that Meatbomb was, by necessity of logic, an anti-semite, but rather, to tell him that the way he'd expressed himself could easily be read as having anti-semitic undertones.

I don't buy that, not one little bit. If Joe had really meant that, his comment should have simply read "Meatbomb, your comment could easily be read as having anti-semitic undertones", which would've been the clear. polite and decent thing to do. The FTFY structure clearly implied antisemitism on Meatbomb's part. The way Joe "fixed" Meatbomb's comment, intent was clear, and was in no way nuanced by some sort of gentle "you might be misinterpreted there, Meatbomb" kind of meaning.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:11 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


> He was being a dick deliberatly, to further his cause of being a dick to people he disagrees with. Cutting hairs finer than that is really not required.

Quoted for truth.
posted by languagehat at 9:14 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The way Joe "fixed" Meatbomb's comment, intent was clear, and was in no way nuanced by some sort of gentle "you might be misinterpreted there, Meatbomb" kind of meaning.

Or, as I suggested earlier, he's just a sloppy, reckless poster and, if I was cop and he was a driver, the man who get a big fat ticket, maybe spend a night in jail.
posted by philip-random at 9:15 AM on May 31, 2010


But I find that people who propose that Israel is somehow unique (and typically uniquely evil) generally do so because they think Jews are unique (and typically uniquely evil.)

Isn't turning a blind eye when Israel does stuff like this implicitly saying that Israeli Jews are unique? For those of us who think that people are all just people, it really doesn't matter whether the people who oppress others are Jewish, Muslim, white, black, whatever, and the idea that Jewish people are in any way exempt from consequence because of their ethnicity is insane. I'm pretty sure that no one in this thread or the other has said, for example, that the Iranian government is in any shape or form better than the Israeli. Condemning Israel's actions does not equal condemning Jewish people, nor does it equal approving of anti-Semitism or of terrorism.
posted by oinopaponton at 9:15 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


FWIW, grumblebee, I read it that way too. That alternate interpretation is possible, but strikes me as awfully complex for such a simple post. The message was so blunt that presuming a delicate level of indirection instead seems a bit off to me.

More generally: I wasn't confused at all by his quoting. It was clear that Meatbomb hadn't actually said anything of the sort. Maybe people are misdirecting their (justified) anger from the message toward the form in which it arrived?

Getting all rules-lawyery about using strikeouts is an awful lot of noise about pretty insignificant formatting trivia, and I suspect, had Joe had expressed a different opinion, the reaction would be far more muted, or non-existent at all.
posted by Malor at 9:17 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Coming in late to this with just one thing to say. The "FTFY" convention has been pissing a lot of people off all over the site over the past few months especially. it would be nice if people could just say what they mean instead of passive-aggressively shitting all over someone else saying something that they disagree with. Want to help people out with "hey you might be misunderstood, talking like that?" then feel free to use your entire arsenal of words and not just your HTML skills.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:25 AM on May 31, 2010 [47 favorites]


I think Joe of Australia was using a rhetorical device

a tired, predictable, polarizing, distracting rhetorical device that has a lot to do with why these discussions usually go so poorly. When accusations of anti-semitism are raised the conversation drifts so far from the original post, there's so much noise in the thread, it's nearly impossible to not just walk away from the whole thing out of frustration.

Of course, it would probably be better to go through life without hatred, but not everyone has my sweetness of temperament.

and this reads to me like "mission accomplished"
posted by minkll at 9:30 AM on May 31, 2010


For those of us who think that people are all just people, it really doesn't matter whether the people who oppress others are Jewish, Muslim, white, black, whatever, and the idea that Jewish people are in any way exempt from consequence because of their ethnicity is insane.

Precisely! I don't care that they're Jewish. As far as I'm concerned, that's irrelevant. I care that they're engaging in collective punishment. I'd be just as angry if Israel were a Buddhist or Christian state. I'd actually have, if anything, more ire for those religions.... Buddhism because of the non-violence they preach, and Christianity because of its long history doing very similar things.

The fact that they're Jewish enters into the equation only in the sense that I'd expect them to know better after all the abuse they've taken. How can they live through that kind of suffering, and then turn around and do something so very similar?

I don't understand why we're allied with them. I see nothing but loss for us in this relationship. When they were a small and fragile state, heavily outnumbered and outgunned on every side, that was one thing.... but now they've turned into psychopathic assholes with a military and nuclear capability that could wipe out the Middle East. They don't need our help anymore, and they do enormous damage to our credibility around the world. The idea of America as the good guys is dying out even in the countries we haven't exploited.
posted by Malor at 9:33 AM on May 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


it would be nice if people could just say what they mean instead of passive-aggressively shitting all over someone else saying something that they disagree with.

Would "Fuck You, Joe" be direct and honest enough to pass muster?

I stayed out of the IP thread specifically because assholes like Joe make it impossible to criticize the actions of the Israeli government without being called hateful names. Which is frustrating as hell, because the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government is, in my opinion, completely fucking atrocious.

Fuck you, Joe, for shutting down discussion.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:11 AM on May 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


For some reason, it really rubs me the wildly-disproportionate wrong way, and makes me draw conclusions that are probably unjustified, when people say that they don't know basic goddamn html because they're so used to typing that dumbed-down forum code [b] shit.

It's a personal failing, and I'm trying to work on it.
posted by box at 10:12 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


For some reason, it really rubs me the wildly-disproportionate wrong way ... when people say that they don't know basic goddamn html

Maybe because five seconds of googling will bring up all sorts of HTML cheat-sheets.
posted by grumblebee at 10:19 AM on May 31, 2010


And that, kids, was Cortex on no Coffee.

Damn straight, skippy.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:36 AM on May 31, 2010


This thread proves that intent is very easy to misread. I for one thought Joe's point was that Meatbomb was being anti-Semitic.

My point was that by showing that the suggestion is not logically airtight, you don't defeat it. It is meant on a rhetorical level - it is a claim of expression, which I think is shown by the use of "fixed that for you" which means, "I think this is what you really meant", or in other words, "these are the undertones I detect when reading your comment."

I don't want to get into a position of having to defend Israel. I really don't have a strong position here, but I do think it's kind of obvious that suggesting we can just make it "go away" is likely to sound a bit off to some ears. Half of the world's jews live there. For a good portion of the other half, it is an important place. To think we can just *poof* and make it disappear just doesn't make sense, and sounds sort of weird. What is being proposed exactly? What do you imagine will happen?
posted by mdn at 10:42 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is being proposed exactly? What do you imagine will happen?

In Meatbomb's comment a one-state solution was being proposed. Explicitly.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:48 AM on May 31, 2010


Metafilter: Even a cursory glance at a Venn diagram indicates that it is completely full of shit.

<3
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:49 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Meatbomb's comment a one-state solution was being proposed. Explicitly.

But if you look at the subtext of the undercurrent of the ...
posted by chunking express at 10:54 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


... of the underlying analogy, it quickly becomes clear that Colonel Sanders was a Freemason.

FTFY
posted by philip-random at 11:01 AM on May 31, 2010


Malor's seamless transition between 'they', the Jews who should know better because o what they've experienced and 'they', Israel with whom 'we' the USA should not be allied,

is an example of the kind of discourse that conflates Jews and the Israeli government and that makes 'me', a Jew and an American, uncomfortable.
posted by Salamandrous at 11:11 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


it comes dangerously close to slander libel. Wait...slander libel false light invasion of privacy?

FTFY?
posted by sallybrown at 11:21 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good point, but it really is a double standard that the Colonel is allowed to keep his herbs and spices program a secret. Fairly reliable estimates put the Colonel's secret herb and spice arsenal at somewhere near a dozen. No other fast food spokesmascot is allowed to pursue secret herbs and spices programs in the same way, they must be content with the deterrent value of their "special" sauces and thousand island dressings. You can draw connections to the Masons all you like, but be aware it puts you in league with the tinfoil hat conspiracy nut set. I'm inclined to blame the unwavering support offered to KFC by the McDonald regime and the influence of the Kentucky lobby within McDonaldland 's government.
posted by Kirk Grim at 11:23 AM on May 31, 2010


To think we can just *poof* and make it disappear just doesn't make sense, and sounds sort of weird. What is being proposed exactly? What do you imagine will happen?

That's a fair reading of Meatbomb's odd comment.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:26 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wasn't a fan of Joe in Australia's comment either (or Israel's treatment of Gazans, but that's another story), but these callouts - either in thread or in MeTa are pretty ugly too. They're far more regular when the prevailing view is questioned than the reverse. It's not just about the ugliness of his tactics - some of the vitriol being directed at him is because of the supposed ugliness of his views on I/P.

This one has degenerated into the kind of namecalling and second guessing on his motives we're all supposed to be above.

The irony is that the original comment was partly accused of shutting down the debate but only a mug would post something supportive of Israel without being very careful about how it could get parsed for all manner of ills.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:32 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


lso, Joe of Australia's implication -- unless I'm totally misreading him -- is that if you hate Israel that NECESSARILY means you hate Jews.

Not at all. There are lots of people with non-racist reasons to hate Israel. But I find that people who propose that Israel is somehow unique (and typically uniquely evil) generally do so because they think Jews are unique (and typically uniquely evil.) I like to challenge this belief because it may either reduce intolerance or at least spread it around. If I turn someone who hates Israel into someone who hates the entire Middle East including Israel then I don't think my time has been wasted.

Of course, it would probably be better to go through life without hatred, but not everyone has my sweetness of temperament.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:53 AM on May 31 [+] [!]


Ah, now I see why you identify so strongly with the state of Israel, Joe.

When you commit an enormous blunder, you only know how to make it worse, not how to admit it and correct your behavior.

Too bad for you, too bad for Israel, too bad for the rest of us.
posted by jamjam at 11:32 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


In Meatbomb's comment a one-state solution was being proposed. Explicitly.

I meant more along the lines of, what sort of state exactly is being proposed? Who would run it, and how would you prevent a civil war? what would the story be on the rights of women and homosexuals? what language would public broadcasts be in, etc etc... how do you imagine two such disparate and antagonistic states becoming one without one of them being heavily compromised? Considering Israel stands out from the rest of the middle east, and has a smaller population, it seems likely it would be assimilated rather than given freedom to flourish on its own terms as part of a peaceful merger.

But I did not mean to get stuck defending a side and particularly not if I'm getting accused of making things up (I just think being aware of when pure logic is what's at stake and when it's not really the key is important)... So I'm letting this go - I have no answer to the world's political problems, just felt like someone was getting dismissed a bit too quickly here.
posted by mdn at 11:36 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Considering Israel stands out from the rest of the middle east, and has a smaller population, it seems likely it would be assimilated rather than given freedom to flourish on its own terms as part of a peaceful merger.

Replace Israel with South Africa and you have your answer.
posted by empath at 11:47 AM on May 31, 2010


... crappy behavior in the middle of the night, because it's a pain in the ass to deal with in the morning when it's had a few hours to gel and expand.

This sounds like a prank involving someone's Fleet enemas, a prank which has gone horribly and uncomfortably wrong, one that requires some delicate and embarrassing surgery that might leave a lot of tender spots for some time to come.

On second thought, yeah, that sounds exactly like what cortex had to fix.
posted by adipocere at 11:50 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I find that people who propose that Israel is somehow unique (and typically uniquely evil) generally do so because they think Jews are unique

The Holocaust was a unique event in human history.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:52 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


it doesn't work quite as well, since anti-arab racism doesn't have as powerful a history as antisemitism

They didn't have the Crusades in your universe?

If someone were suggesting we should make all arab homeland in the middle east "go away,"

The suggestion that Palestinians should "go away" and that Paelstine isn't a real state that shouldn't exist is a fairly standard one bought up in any number of of conversations on I/P conversations here on MeFi.
posted by rodgerd at 11:56 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


I meant more along the lines of, what sort of state exactly is being proposed? Who would run it, and how would you prevent a civil war?

My understanding is that it would be a democratic state that includes the people in "Palestine" and "the Occupied Territories" and Gaza etc., and the leaders would be chosen democratically. This is a threat to the current identity of the state of Israel as it would represent a major demographic shift and you're right to question whether it would work in any desirable fashion for both nations and not one at the expense of the other. Maybe it's just me but I think the meaning was clear enough in its own terms not to be understood as an anti-semitic rant but as advocating a controversial fundamental change in the state of Israel.

I agree the comment was a little out of place given how general it was in the face of a specific incident, and there's a lot of controversy in the first place regarding the idea of a one-state solution vs a 2-state solution vs the status quo. It would be totally fair to take Meatbomb to task on the very questions you bring up with respect to the ramifications of a one-state solution, and no one would object if you stopped short of doing what Joe in Australia did and made with the "you clearly hate Jews" stuff.
posted by Kirk Grim at 11:57 AM on May 31, 2010


The Holocaust was a unique event in human history.

Not really. Hitler even explicitly compared what he wished to do with the Jews to what other nations had done to minority groups.
posted by rodgerd at 11:57 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


somehow i'm getting a whiff of there being collateral damage in this thread with some kind of an underlying deeper agenda...
posted by infini at 12:17 PM on May 31, 2010


The suggestion that Palestinians should "go away"

And this is as ugly and insidious an argument as saying Israel should go away. And someone should call this out and present a dissenting argument...
posted by sundri at 12:47 PM on May 31, 2010


Both comments were pretty bad. The first, for neither explaining their assertions (which were pretty strong), nor carefully relating the assertions to the topic/news event at hand. The second, for being ambiguously snarky with an FTFY.

But you know what? On MetaFilter, people blurt dumb things all the time. This particular interaction wasn't that special. Singling it out, making a big deal out of it, escalating it with mean/aggressive comments (from both sides)—this is a detrimental attitude. It would be more constructive give one another chances to do better.
posted by polymodus at 12:56 PM on May 31, 2010


Not really. Hitler even explicitly compared what he wished to do with the Jews to what other nations had done to minority groups.

rodgerd, it's not Hitler's intentions or precedents that make the Holocaust unique, it's the degree to which he achieved his goals. No, the Nazis (and their collaborators) did not kill EVERY Jew in Europe but he did kill roughly two-thirds of them
posted by philip-random at 12:56 PM on May 31, 2010


Salamandrous: Malor's seamless transition between 'they', the Jews who should know better because o what they've experienced and 'they', Israel with whom 'we' the USA should not be allied,

I went back and reread the post, and I think I see your confusion. I was never talking about Jewish people as a whole. I was always talking about the state and the people who live in it. When I talked about 'them' understanding, I was thinking of the people living there. There are many Jews who aren't in Israel, and I suspect you expanded the meaning of 'they' to cover more than I intended. All my 'theys' were purely about the state and its members throughout the post. The transition that got you worried is seamless because the subject never changed.

This is probably the biggest problem in this whole mess, because the state, the religion, and the ethnicity are all mixed up. It just happened there... I was talking purely about the state and its residents, and talking about ceasing relations with them somehow registered as a threat to you. This is as far from the truth as anything could be.

For what it's worth: if you're a US citizen, you're a US citizen in my book. I don't care what color or ethnicity you are. You can wear a fez or a turban or a skullcap. Worship whatever holidays you like, approach your life and your religion however you choose. You have every right that anyone else does, and I'll be just as vociferous about protecting you as anyone else.

Even if I decry the actions of the Israeli state, and even if I argue with you about supporting what I think is a vile and terrible regime (not that we ever have, to my knowledge), I would never in a million years try to deprive you of your rights or ability to stay here. And I'd help fight anyone who did. You're allowed to have an opinion here, even when I disagree with it intensely.

And as far as going after all Jewish people for what Israel is doing... that's just lame beyond words. If we can be guilty by proxy like that, they should throw the book at me for being an American.
posted by Malor at 12:57 PM on May 31, 2010


Sorry, mis-posted there. My whole comment:

it's not Hitler's intentions or precedents that make the Holocaust unique, it's the degree to which he achieved his goals. No, the Nazis (and their collaborators) did not kill EVERY Jew in Europe but they did kill six million, roughly two-thirds of the estimated 1939 Jewish population of Europe.

Factoring in both the total number killed and the percentage of the initial population, I have no problem viewing this as "unique".
posted by philip-random at 1:01 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) This is a thread about "misquoting".

2) Like it or not, Anti-semitism is linked to the pro-Palestinian perspective. Not pointing fingers, and this isn't a criticism of metafilter, but you don't have to have the I/P conversation many times before someone says something that is anti-semitic. This (and the fact that anti-semitism is couched so carefully in how it is expressed) means that I'm sometimes overly sensitive to hints of anti-semitism in I/P arguments, and I may even see it when it doesn't exist. I suspect that this is true of others. If you're smart, then you'll understand that I, and those like me, will sometimes accuse you of being a jew-hater when you may not be.

I try and read your intentions correctly. Not perfectly, but I try. I'd suggest that you try and do the same before getting all pissy because I can't always distinguish your anti-Israeli rhetoric from your anti-jewish rhetoric.

3) The Holocaust was a unique event in human history. Not even close.

4) This is a thread about "misquoting".
posted by seanyboy at 1:10 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


you don't have to have the I/P conversation many times before someone says something that is anti-semitic.

It depends who you're having the conversation with. I once had a polite and civil conversation with a very-pro Israeli American Jew who expressed his wish that all Palestinians be rounded up and exterminated. I'm not making this up.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 1:15 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


rodgerd, it's not Hitler's intentions or precedents that make the Holocaust unique, it's the degree to which he achieved his goals. No, the Nazis (and their collaborators) did not kill EVERY Jew in Europe but he did kill roughly two-thirds of them

Tell it to the Cathars. Except, oops, they all got wiped out. Or the Moors and Jews of Spain in the era of the Reconquista. Except oops, they all got wiped out.

Need I go on?
posted by rodgerd at 1:16 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sadly, I know you're not making it up.
posted by seanyboy at 1:17 PM on May 31, 2010


you don't have to have the I/P conversation many times before someone says something that is anti-semitic

I honestly haven't shared this experience and I studied poli sci/international relations at university. Needless to say, I/P came up a lot as you might expect. Maybe it's where I live and where I grew up, but the only places I'm exposed to anti-semitism is as presented on TV, scrawled crudely on walls, or in stories in the newspaper rather than from the mouths of aquaintances and colleagues while discussing Israel and Palestine.

What comes up more frequently on this topic in my experience is the accusation of anti-semitism. Was there some example of anti-semitism in the thread, specifically?
posted by Kirk Grim at 1:24 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


In terms of extermination, if you go for mitochondrial Eve stuff, there's good evidence that her line (i.e. all of us) wiped out a bunch of other humanoid variant lines in the Pleistocene... ain't nothing new under the sun.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:34 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


And as far as going after all Jewish people for what Israel is doing... that's just lame beyond words. If we can be guilty by proxy like that, they should throw the book at me for being an American.

Interestingly, only 40% of Jews live in Israel and the U.S. currently has the largest Jewish population of any country.
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:40 PM on May 31, 2010


> If you're smart, then you'll understand that I, and those like me, will sometimes accuse you of being a jew-hater when you may not be.

If you're smart, you'll understand that accusing someone of being a Jew-hater is so serious it should be reserved for the most egregious and unmistakable cases. If you throw it around whenever you get a whiff, you are doing it wrong.
posted by languagehat at 1:53 PM on May 31, 2010 [35 favorites]


I love Jews...and I fucking hate the government of Israel now.

What I hate even more are people who cannot see how those two statements can co-exist.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:01 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, I'm pretty sure I hate vicious murderous thugs more than I hate jackasses who can't hold more than one idea in their head at one time.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:20 PM on May 31, 2010


The "FTFY" convention has been pissing a lot of people off all over the site over the past few months especially. it would be nice if people could just say what they mean instead of passive-aggressively shitting all over someone else saying something that they disagree with.

For the longest time, I read "FTFY" as "Fixed To Fuck You." Even now that I know it is "fixed that for you," I still read the implied "fuck you" in it loud and clear.

It's not as nasty as some of the "I'd hit it" variations, and I'm sure that I've done it myself at least once. Even so, I'd be happy to see it disappear from the site vernacular, with the occasional exemption for friendly use in good humor. There are better ways to communicate that do more, you know, communication, with less pissing off.
posted by Forktine at 2:25 PM on May 31, 2010


I'm sometimes overly sensitive to hints of anti-semitism in I/P arguments, and I may even see it when it doesn't exist. I suspect that this is true of others. If you're smart, then you'll understand that I, and those like me, will sometimes accuse you of being a jew-hater when you may not be.

My jaw just hit the floor.

I mean, thanks for being honest, but I'm stunned you didn't day that with any hint of feeling that your actions are inappropriate -- and without any sort of apology.

This is exactly the same as, "Hey, I grew up in a rough neighborhood where people where constantly trying to beat me up and I had to defend myself. So you need to expect that sometimes, even if you haven't done anything to deserve it, I'm going to punch you in the face."
posted by grumblebee at 2:39 PM on May 31, 2010 [16 favorites]


My jaw just hit the floor.

would you say the same to a black person who admits to possibly being oversensitive to issues of racism? No one's punching anyone in the face.

If you live in lower manhattan, it's easy to think antisemitism isn't a big deal.
posted by mdn at 3:10 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


would you say the same to a black person who admits to possibly being oversensitive to issues of racism?

Uh, probably? Why not? Just because racism exists doesn't mean you get to accuse everyone of being racist without cause.

If you live in lower manhattan, it's easy to think antisemitism isn't a big deal.


Who is saying it's not a big deal?
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2010


I'm sometimes overly sensitive to hints of anti-semitism in I/P arguments, and I may even see it when it doesn't exist. I suspect that this is true of others. If you're smart, then you'll understand that I, and those like me, will sometimes accuse you of being a jew-hater when you may not be.

If you are aware that you may see it when it doesn't exist, do you understand how spectacularly unhelpful it is to level an accusation like "jew-hater" in that situation? You already understand that you are choosing to look for something and may find it where it doesn't exist.

Here's the thing: if you are right, and the carefully-couched words were indeed anti-semitic, then you may be technically correct but it doesn't seem to move the dialogue forward in any productive way. If you are wrong, however, an accusation of anti-semitism is like leaving a giant turd in the punch bowl that ruins the party for everyone else, and for no good reason. How does that help your cause?
posted by ambrosia at 3:39 PM on May 31, 2010


If we can be guilty by proxy like that, they should throw the book at me for being an American.

/clears throat
I have some news for you...
posted by jacalata at 3:40 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


2) Like it or not, Anti-semitism is linked to the pro-Palestinian perspective. Not pointing fingers, and this isn't a criticism of metafilter, but you don't have to have the I/P conversation many times before someone says something that is anti-semitic. This (and the fact that anti-semitism is couched so carefully in how it is expressed) means that I'm sometimes overly sensitive to hints of anti-semitism in I/P arguments, and I may even see it when it doesn't exist. I suspect that this is true of others. If you're smart, then you'll understand that I, and those like me, will sometimes accuse you of being a jew-hater when you may not be.

I honestly think that maybe 20 years ago, a significant percentage people with an pro-Palestine POV were probably motivated by anti-semitism, but given the facts on the ground today, I don't think that assumption is fair at all.

All you are doing is essentially saying that a perfectly reasonable, ethical and moral position (and not to mention one held by an increasing number of Jews) is anti-semitic. I think you are doing a favor to real anti-semites by doing so.
posted by empath at 3:43 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Some days I wake up and my heart just aches and my whole body hurts. I miss my parents, who were killed in front of my eyes. I don't sleep right if I sleep on one side, because my scapula was broken in the same shelling that killed my parents, and - lacking any access to real medical care - it wasn't set exactly right. I've got scars from two sniper "hits" and from shrapnel. I lost everything, and since I came to America it feels like I've never had much of a rest. I had to scramble to learn English, to go to school, to support myself. Every day's a struggle. But I don't post anti-Serbian screeds here, for instance. Many times when it's clear that someone posting is just a thoughtless idiot, I've taken the time to try to correct inaccurate assumptions or statements, and though I'm sure I've failed a few times, I always try to employ logic and thoughtful consideration in my arguments. I really want to people to understand what I'm trying to express.

All of that is despite the fact that often I'm quite angry. And often I'm quite heartsick for all that I've lost, and I feel like I can barely function. When I feel too negative or too emotional and feel I might write something I would regret later, I stay off Metafilter.

So from my very personal point of view, what Joe in Australia did was kind of an abomination. Wrong on every level. The worst thing, which few people have addressed, is that - at best - it's a sort of "boy who cried wolf" action that allows genuinely anti-Semitic comments and activities to be ignored more easily by diluting their impact with nonsense.

Three weeks ago, I went to see the film "Killing Kasztner," about a Hungarian Jew whose actions saved more Jews from the Holocaust than any other single Jewish person, though his actions were later questioned in a fashion which later led to a fairly persecutory trial in the state of Israel, and ultimately, his murder. The director of the film was there, which excited me. But no one wanted to see this "dreary" Holocaust-oriented movie with me, not even Hungarian or Jewish friends, so I went alone. The audience consisted of me, an elderly couple and one other person. After the film, we all went outside to shake hands with the director.

The older couple said to me, how wonderful to see a nice young Jewish girl interested in history, and they gave me a warm smile. They had that nice Mitteleuropa accent.

When I said I was actually Muslim, they were momentarily taken aback. I explained that I'd lived through a war myself and had lost my parents and was interested in this sort of subject. And - for this is true - that I really enjoyed Jewish culture and history.

The nice elderly woman paused and said quietly, I lost my parents too. I knew what she meant. No one said anything. I took a breath and held it so I wouldn't start to cry. These meetings are hard for survivors, always.

We all lost something, her husband said.

It's really a shame what happened to that man [Kasztner], the woman said. I nodded.

You know, she continued, we almost emigrated there [to Israel] in the seventies, after our children went to school. We visited it, twice. But we didn't like what was going on there. The attitudes were unfamiliar.

Ach!, her husband scoffed, expressing his disdain for Israel with a clearing of his throat more directly than his wife was managing with words.

What goes on there today is upsetting, the woman started.

Her husband interrupted. Power corrupts. I don't recognize those people.

Are they anti-Semites too, Joe?
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:43 PM on May 31, 2010 [175 favorites]


Dee, thank you. And I'm very, very sorry about your parents.

Are they anti-Semites too, Joe?

There are Jews who would say they are self-hating, misguided or naive. I've been accused of both myself by people I know, simply because I have voiced criticisms of Israel's actions to them.
posted by zarq at 4:28 PM on May 31, 2010


I hate, hate, hate that Israel did this. I also hate that the people involved in the flotilla decided to poke Israel with a stick, because they obviously knew (and hoped?) they would prompt exactly this reaction. Above all, I hope this prompts some quick damned positive changes in the way that Israel is treating the Palestinians. And I hope that leads to some peace, finally.

There are many sentiments being expressed in the main thread that make me personally, instinctively uncomfortable. A year or three or five ago, I might also have attacked Meatbomb for his comment and accused him of antisemitism. No more. But many Jews in the US, especially religious and observant Jews, myself included were brought up to believe that Israel is the only refuge left to us, in a world full of people who hate us and want to kill us. It's an argument is hard to argue against. Most Jews with any knowledge of their religion's history would probably agree that Judeophobia is universal.

So part of me understands where Joe is coming from, even though I sharply disagree with his characterization of Meatbomb's (and other people's) comments.

Joe, Meatbomb wasn't being antisemitic. Neither are other contributors to that thread. You're engaging in massive confirmation bias. People here should have a right to legitimately criticize what Israel has done without being accused of race hatred, in the same way that people here should be allowed to legitimately criticize the US for Guantanamo, for example.

It would be nice if you would allow those of us who are upset by this situation to criticize what Israel has done without being made to justify our motives for doing so. It would also be nice if you would stop playing the "BUT THE PALESTINIANS DO NASTY SHIT TOO!" card every time someone voices the slightest criticism of Israel. It would be extremely nice if you would stop trying to deflect the discussion from what Israel has actually done, to the unfairness that you perceive in anyone's voicing a criticism of Israel. It would be nice.... but I'm not holding my breath.
posted by zarq at 4:41 PM on May 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm stunned you didn't day that with any hint of feeling that your actions are inappropriate -- and without any sort of apology.
Firstly, I'm never actually gonna call someone a Jew Hater without utter evidence. Apologies if hyperbole confuses you.

Secondly, as hysterical as you try and make my point - it stands. I've seen so much racist bullshit in my time, that I'll tend to respond to anything that resembles a dog-whistle. Just be aware of the fact that me and people like me are like that. I don't need to apologise for explaining to you why the words you're using may cause people to start accusing you of things you don't think you believe.

And I don't much like that you think I've got to be super-sensitive to whether your carefully couched words are racist or not whilst you get some free pass from me because you're not sensitive enough to say meaningful shit in a way that doesn't feed into / propagate racism.

And yes - That anti-semitism wrapped up in Pro-Palestinian propaganda thing does exist. If you've not seen it, great for you. How's the air up there in that big old ivory tower?
posted by seanyboy at 4:52 PM on May 31, 2010


But many Jews in the US, especially religious and observant Jews, myself included were brought up to believe that Israel is the only refuge left to us, in a world full of people who hate us and want to kill us. It's an argument is hard to argue against.

How about "The entirety of the 21st Century world is not quite equivalent to Nazi Germany"...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:03 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is a meatbomb like a lagerbomb?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:04 PM on May 31, 2010


Anyway - I've been lying in bed trying to get to sleep, but this is just running through my head.

The way I see it is so...

If someone accuses you of being racist, or sexist, or anti-semitic you've got two options.

Option number 1 is to try and understand why someone thought that, to try and convince them that that is not what you meant and to apologise for the injury. Learn, Teach and Mend.

Or you could just go all mental and start protesting how you're not really that thing. And it's all so unfair, and it's political correctness gone mad.

And the thing is. I've met those former people and those latter people. And the latter people need to shut the fuck up about the perceived injustices that are being done to them by whatever minority they believe is too sensitive and start listening.
posted by seanyboy at 5:12 PM on May 31, 2010


I'm never actually gonna call someone a Jew Hater without utter evidence

except that you're basically stating that taking a pro-Palestinian stance is all the evidence you need because of "dog-whistles" and that "anti-semitism is linked to the pro-Palestinian perspective" in your mind. If someone criticises Israel in a way that you don't like, it's probably anti-semitism and you're totally OK with calling them an anti-semite just to be safe.

Seanyboy, the burden of proof is on the accuser. Everyone gets a "free pass" when it comes to being labelled an anti-semite until they demonstrate that they are an anti-semite. Then it's "game on" as far as I'm concerned, but it won't matter because you've just given us ample reason to not pay you any mind or take you seriously.
posted by Kirk Grim at 5:29 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


If someone accuses you of being racist, or sexist, or anti-semitic you've got two options. Option number 1 is to try and understand why someone thought that, to try and convince them that that is not what you meant and to apologise for the injury.

Yeah, so, the burden of proof is on the accused. You know what? Fuck that.

Or you could just go all mental and start protesting how you're not really that thing.

Baseless, scattershot, knee-jerk accusations of anti-semitism are what's going "all mental."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:47 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


How about "The entirety of the 21st Century world is not quite equivalent to Nazi Germany"...?

No, it's not. But we'd have to be blind, deaf and dumb to miss the fact that Judeophobia and antisemitism have been ubiquitous for centuries, across most human cultures. Please read the points in the comment I linked to. Then, pick up and read this book.

If we are trying to understand the Israeli mindset, it would be wise to keep in mind that Nazi Germany not only did not exist in a vacuum, but antisemitism was rampant worldwide throughout the 20th century and those that preceded it. The only continent that didn't see antisemitic incidents in the last 110 years was freakin' Antarctica. Muslim antisemitism is still a very serious problem, from France to America to Australia. Desecration of cemeteries and synagogues is still commonplace, as are violent acts against Jews.
posted by zarq at 5:50 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


And because it has to be said, even though I've said it again and again in multiple I/P threads....

That mindset doesn't excuse oppression. It doesn't excuse murder. It doesn't excuse human rights violations.

My point is simply that the mindset arose only in part because of what the Nazis did. The 21st century world isn't far removed from the events of 60 years ago. But even if it were, Jews have a long memory of continued antisemitism worldwide, and it hasn't disappeared.
posted by zarq at 5:57 PM on May 31, 2010


The only continent that didn't see antisemitic incidents in the last 110 years was freakin' Antarctica.

Well given how traditionally small Jewish populations have been in Africa and Asia and Latin America, this comment seems a bit hyperbolic. Furthermore, I think that in America desecration of cemeteries and synagogues...[and] violent acts against Jews are actually relatively rare. I'm not saying they don't happen, but compared to the organized violence perpetrated against blacks (in the form of lynchings, etc) up until the 1950s, hate crimes against Jews in America have been mostly occasional and sporadic, and certainly (thankfully) have never achieved anything like the kind of pogrom-levels one saw in the Old World.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:01 PM on May 31, 2010


HP Laserjet P10006, I clearly said in my comment that the other incidents I referred to were not equivalent to what happened in Nazi Germany and other collaborating countries.

The point is not the degree of antisemitism or the severity of the incidents. It is that they exist at all, and continue to exist as a nearly universal hatred across most cultures. This continuing problem gives rise to the fear that Jews will never be truly free of hatred or discrimination, and perpetuates the belief that Israel remains their one true refuge.

By the way, Jews have most certainly faced serious antisemitism and discrimination in America. Grant's General Order Eleven. Father Coughlin. Ku Klux Klan and other lynchings. More. Whether other minorities have had it better or worse than us is besides the point.
posted by zarq at 6:11 PM on May 31, 2010


Also see.
posted by zarq at 6:13 PM on May 31, 2010


Jews have most certainly faced serious antisemitism and discrimination in America.

I never said they did not. What I meant was that compared to what they faced in Poland or Russia in the 19th Century, for instance, it was not as traumatic. Hence the fact that America, long before Israel, was the primary place of refuge for the European jewish diaspora.

Whether other minorities have had it better or worse than us is besides the point.

Well it matters in the sense that, for instance, the history and circumstance of Liberia is not the same as the history of Israel: despite the fact that the former was also established as a safe-haven for an oppressed people. In other words, the narrative that is kept alive for a given country is not always the same as the facts on the ground, i.e. while discrimination against Jews and Irish catholics in America was certainly very bad for a long time, it was, compared to the historic record on the treatment of blacks and native americans, never as systematically brutal. I realize that's cold comfort to the victim of a hate crime, and I do not intend by it to diminish the legacy of antisemitism, but it adds some context.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:24 PM on May 31, 2010


I completely agree that people should be able to criticize Israel without being called anti-Semites, but I'm extremely uncomfortable with the kind of sentiments that Meatbomb seems to be expressing in this thread. Israel is explicitly a Jewish state. You may disagree with that, but that's the way it is. So when someone says:

Joe and other Israeli apologists will be buried on the scrap heap of history, along with this morally bankrupt state.


I can't help but feeling that they are tying the moral bankruptcy to its nature as a Jewish state. Adding that you believe in a one-state solution isn't any better, unless you live in some fantasy world of pure ideas. Anyone who imagines that Jews would be safe as a minority in a state in the Middle East is either deluded or disingenuous, and given the hostility of sentiment to Israel being expressed, I can't help but feel that the latter is more likely than the former.

There are plenty of states around the world that do far worse than Israel does, and with far less of a threat to the security of their citizens to contend with. I can't remember many other situations when the solution advocated is that the state should be dissolved and the citizens put at the mercy of a hostile majority population. This happens all the time with Israel. I wouldn't call someone an anti-Semite lightly, and in the interests of civility we shouldn't do it on Metafilter, but I think that a position can be effectively anti-Semitic because it holds the Jewish state to a standard, and prescribes a solution (its elimination) that is not applied to any other state.
posted by Dasein at 6:34 PM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Anyone who imagines that Jews would be safe as a minority in a state in the Middle East is either deluded or disingenuous, and given the hostility of sentiment to Israel being expressed, I can't help but feel that the latter is more likely than the former.

You may be right, but the truth is no one knows. After all, people said the same thing about South Africa before the end of apartheid.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:38 PM on May 31, 2010


What, like apartite South Africa?
posted by Artw at 6:39 PM on May 31, 2010


Sorry, that was to Daesin.

Funny how SA turns up a lot in these conversations. Still, racist state, prone to murdering people, complete contempt for everyone else in the world, it's pretty inevitable really.
posted by Artw at 6:43 PM on May 31, 2010


After all, people said the same thing about South Africa before the end of apartheid.

That doesn't make the comparison valid. Arab rejectionism of a Jewish state is deep-seated in cultures across the Middle East in a way that I'm not aware was ever present in ANC rhetoric in respect of the existence of whites in South Africa. Just listen to what Hamas and Hezbollah - both extremely popular - have to say about Jews, not just in Jews in Israel, and I think the comparison falls apart.
posted by Dasein at 6:48 PM on May 31, 2010


Still, racist state, prone to murdering people, complete contempt for everyone else in the world

We talking apartheid SA, or the one about to host the world cup of soccer?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:50 PM on May 31, 2010


Uncanny - The one I was referring to a couple of posts above.

What a stupid question.
posted by Artw at 6:55 PM on May 31, 2010


That doesn't make the comparison valid.

It may not be valid, but it's also true no one has a crystal ball. Remember Vietnam? Once designated a communist threat to all of SE asia, it's now an American-friendly capitalist icon. Also, until we wrecked Iraq I believe there were both christians and jews living peacefully there. Coptic christians from Armenia and elsewhere still live in Syria, Egypt, and other ME countries. It may not be a good comparison, b/c they are often oppressed from what I understand, but the point is no one knows how things will go.

I'm not trying to downplay the virulent and disgusting anti-semitism often found among militant Palestinian organizations, either, and frankly I'm not even sure myself if I favor a "one state" solution, but I am trying to say: first, that there are no certainties in terms of the future, and second, that all possible peaceful options, no matter how counterintuitive, need to at least be looked at in this conflict.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:58 PM on May 31, 2010


It was a rhetorical question, stupid. And it was also an awesomely witty joke.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:58 PM on May 31, 2010


The point is not the degree of antisemitism or the severity of the incidents. It is that they exist at all, and continue to exist as a nearly universal hatred across most cultures. This continuing problem gives rise to the fear that Jews will never be truly free of hatred or discrimination, and perpetuates the belief that Israel remains their one true refuge.

I think I understand your meaning, but personally I'm uncomfortable with the term "universal" you keep throwing out. "Most cultures" are not universally anti-semitic that I am aware of in the sense of the word "universal" that I am familiar with. In North America it's anti-semitism fairly rare in fact and frowned upon (to borrow the term) nearly universally.
posted by Kirk Grim at 6:58 PM on May 31, 2010


It was a rhetorical question, stupid. And it was also an awesomely witty joke.

I, for one, knew it was a rhetorical question. Granted, a really stupid rhetorical question... are you sure you got your word order and punctuation correct in that comment, hengeman?

And it was also an awesomely witty joke.

That statement is simply unsupported by the facts.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:02 PM on May 31, 2010


I think I understand your meaning, but personally I'm uncomfortable with the term "universal" you keep throwing out. "Most cultures" are not universally anti-semitic that I am aware of in the sense of the word "universal" that I am familiar with. In North America it's anti-semitism fairly rare in fact and frowned upon (to borrow the term) nearly universally.

That is not what I'm asserting. I'm saying this, which I linked to above. In the following comment there, I linked to the essay which that comment is based on. I'm not saying that most cultures are universally antisemitic. I'm saying that antisemitism shows up in most cultures in one form or another, as a large or tiny problem.
posted by zarq at 7:18 PM on May 31, 2010


You win this round, flapjax.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:18 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone who imagines that Jews would be safe as a minority in a state in the Middle East is either deluded or disingenuous

You know, the fact Jews were safer in the Moslem world than in the Christian world for a good 1500 years means NOTHING. The Moslems were just biding their time is all.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:22 PM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


But also... ethnic intolerance shows up in most cultures in one form or another, as a large or tiny problem.
posted by polymodus at 7:29 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, the fact Jews were safer in the Moslem world than in the Christian world for a good 1500 years means NOTHING.

It means something, all right - it means that there's been a tragic change in Muslim-Jewish relations, and that ancient history is just that. No one is saying that Muslims are genetically predisposed to anti-Semitism, but it's about as intelligent to point to Muslim tolerance in the Middle Ages as evidence that everything would be hunky-dory today with a one-state solution as it would be to point to medieval Christian oppression of Jews as evidence that Jews need to fear for their lives from European governments today. Times change, so do group attitudes. (Facile internet comments that convince only their posters are timeless, however.)

Incidentally, if anything what you're pointing to is that tolerance in one century is no guarantee of tolerance in another - which is the key argument for Israel's founding, that Jews can only be forever secure in their own state.
posted by Dasein at 7:40 PM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


would you say the same to a black person who admits to possibly being oversensitive to issues of racism?

Of course.

And, as a Jew who had family members killed in the Holocaust, I have NO RIGHT to rail at some random German person I meet.

Circumstances don't excuse rudeness. You don't get to bitch at some innocent friend of yours because you're "having a bad day."

There are ALWAYS excuses. If you get to be mean to an innocent person because of some bad circumstance in your life, you'll have a free pass to be mean to as many people as you want.

I can forgive someone for making a knee-jerk assumption. What I can't forgive is that person not apologizing when his mistake is pointed out to him. And for someone else to excuse him because he's being reasonably oversensitive is ... I don't even know what to say.

If I have a terrible day at the office, I am not allowed to take it out on my wife. But I'm imperfect, so maybe sometimes I will. But if she points it out to me, I have two honorable choices. If I really believe my treatment of her is justified, I can say so. If I don't, I should apologize to her. What I DON'T get to do is say, "You gotta understand, honey. I had a bad day at the office." Unconscionable.
posted by grumblebee at 7:42 PM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


You win this round, flapjax.

Hengeman, I am touched by your magnanimity.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:43 PM on May 31, 2010


the fact Jews were safer in the Moslem world than in the Christian world for a good 1500 years means NOTHING.

It means nothing for the safety of Jews in a Jewish-minority state in the Middle East now, no. You can look at the situation of Bahai and Yezidi and Zoroastrian and Christian and Hindu minorities right now, or for that matter the treatment of Shiite Muslims in majority Sunni states (and vice versa).

Yes, Muslim countries were comparatively marvellous places for Jews in the past. In the past.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:45 PM on May 31, 2010



I find the level of hysteria and invective in here to be out of proportion to the offense, and hypocritical in light of the usual tenor of MeFi political threads.

The reason people are angry is because we are sick and tired of being accused of antisemitism by Zionists. A lot of us are Jews, as well. Tony Judt is a good example.

Muzzlewatch keeps track of the higher-profile versions of Joe from Australia.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:57 PM on May 31, 2010


until we wrecked Iraq I believe there were both christians and jews living peacefully there

No, there was a strong element of Nazi sympathy and virulent antisemitism in the government of Iraq in the 1930s, resulting in discriminatory laws against Jews, and some violence; and then, in the early 1950s, a combination of further discrimination and violence, and the lure of Israeli citizenship, resulted in the emigration of almost all remaining Jews from Iraq (having been stripped of their property in favor of the state).

Basically, it's not at all true that Iraq was a place were Jews lived in peace until the US invasion. And if you're suggesting that we look to the treatment of Jews in Iraq in the 20th century as a harbinger of what life would be like for Israeli Jews under majority-Arab rule, it should give us pause, not hope.
posted by palliser at 8:00 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Zarq, I said i think I got your meaning because I already did read the thingy you linked to. The example of the concept of "universality" you referenced is this:

Judeophobia is universal. With the exception of China, nearly every country that Jews have lived has despised them for one manufactured reason or another. It is also the oldest hatred in recorded history, stretching back more than 3 millennia.


Every country has despised the Jews at some point? Again, I'm not an expert and I'm fully aware that anti-semitism is far-reaching, pervasive and in and out of fashion in different parts of the world at different times. But I don't know of a time when the USA or Canada for example could be described as countries that have despised the Jews definitively. If I'm wrong, then it's not the case now. But wait...

Judeophobia is permanent. It ingrains itself in cultures, even though those cultures may never have seen, nor interacted with a Jew. Negative Jewish stereotypes are embedded more deeply in many cultures, as well.

And now I'm really lost. Every country on earth except China--because for over 3 millennia have all universally hated Jews--still hates Jews?

I'm taking the point to be that anti-semitism is a big-ass, widespread problem with deep roots and affects many. I'm understanding that a Jew anywhere in the world will likely encounter anti-semitism, and that's sad and unacceptable. But I think terms like "universal" and "permanent" are overstating the case somewhat.
posted by Kirk Grim at 8:04 PM on May 31, 2010


it means that there's been a tragic change in Muslim-Jewish relations

Hmmmm...what was that change? Could it have had anything to do with a century-long program of ethnic cleansing carried out by...mmm...certain parties?

Jews can only be forever secure in their own state

Israel doesn't seem to feel very secure, based on their aggressive behavior. Armed robbery seems like a curious strategy to ensure security.

On the other hand, how secure are Jews in America? I mean, besides the ones who believe antisemitism is a universal trait.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 8:07 PM on May 31, 2010


If someone accuses you of being racist, or sexist, or anti-Semitic ... try and understand why someone thought that ... Learn, Teach and Mend.

Agreed.

But it cuts both ways.

If you call someone racist and he insists he is not, listen to him. Learn, Teach and Mend.
posted by grumblebee at 8:12 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hmmmm...what was that change? Could it have had anything to do with a century-long program of ethnic cleansing carried out by...mmm...certain parties?

And this is why a lot of Jews are suspicious of anti-Israel types - because for them, it's all the Jews' fault. Without disputing that Israel expelled Palestinians in 1948, tell me, how did Jews in Muslim countries fare? It's this sort of lack of context, the demonization of Israel and Jews and total absolution of Arabs, that precisely constitutes anti-Semitism in this debate.
posted by Dasein at 8:13 PM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's really hurtful to be abused by bigots for years and years and years, and to hear those bigots justify their actors in the various ways bigots do. And to then, later, to be accused of BEING a bigot, and hear THOSE people excuse their actions because "we have a right to be over sensitive."

It so easy to find excuses for being abusive.

I'm tired of planet Earth. Can someone suggest another world I can go to?
posted by grumblebee at 8:17 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


and so easy to get away with abuse because one was once abused... its a vicious cycle, well documented in DMV IV as classic characteristics of abusive households. its teh wise that recognize taht and break free...
posted by infini at 8:21 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, how secure are Jews in America?

Considering the ongoing tensions between Williamsburg hipsters & their Hasidic neighbours, it won't be long before the parties start mounting fixie blockades & building walls to keep each other in place.

It would be better if both parties could step back & acknowledge the common humanity of all peoples, and respect above all the fundamental & universal right to grow beards and wear funny hats.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:25 PM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yes, Muslim countries were comparatively marvellous places for Jews in the past. In the past.

And yes, Christian countries were comparatively awful places for Jews in the past. In the past. Things do change, and there's the evidence. So the aim should be to bring peoples together and work things out, not to divide, segregate and build walls.
posted by Jimbob at 8:29 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


See, Jimbob agrees, and not only because he sports a beard.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:32 PM on May 31, 2010


ubu, I don't care how much sense you make, I'm still not going to grow a beard...
posted by infini at 8:34 PM on May 31, 2010


I agree with that, Jimbob.

It is a problem when people's rhetoric becomes florid enough that you have to infer their position. Eg, I inferred that Jimmy Havok was suggesting that Jews would be safe in modern times as a minority in a Muslim state because they had been at some point in the past, and it's that inference that I was addressing.

It's possible though that he meant something different, or more nuanced, but I can't really tell.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:35 PM on May 31, 2010


There will always be some reactionary elements.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:35 PM on May 31, 2010


*rolls eyes*
posted by infini at 8:37 PM on May 31, 2010


now infini, the right to grow a beard does not imply at all the obligation to grow a beard. That would be oppressive.
posted by jacalata at 8:50 PM on May 31, 2010


I am frustrated by the feeling that I can not state what I believe is a rational and non-partisan view.

The I/P issue is pwned.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:56 PM on May 31, 2010


jacalata, i hear you but its more oppressive to be encouraged to grow a beard when that's not the kind of lady one hopes to be...
posted by infini at 8:57 PM on May 31, 2010


Hmmmm...what was that change? Could it have had anything to do with a century-long program of ethnic cleansing carried out by...mmm...certain parties?

No. Read up on the Arab-Israeli War in 1948. Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948. Five neighboring Arab states attacked them the very next day.

So the change you are referring to happened initially because a number of Arab nations objected to the formation of Israel as a Jewish homeland. Most other aspects of the Arab / Israeli conflict stem from this continued objection.

Note that three of the five Arab countries involved in that war then refused to absorb Palestinian refugees. Instead, they kept them in separate refugee camps in miserable living conditions because they wanted to stoke the fires of Palestinian resentment against Israel. In the 60's, Arafat turned that resentment into military strikes against Israel. As Jordan, Syria and Lebanon had planned.
posted by zarq at 8:59 PM on May 31, 2010


Without disputing that Israel expelled Palestinians in 1948, tell me, how did Jews in Muslim countries fare?

Well, it's recently been recognized that many Jews were saved from the Holocaust by Arabs. Why would that have changed in just a couple of years?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:02 PM on May 31, 2010


Jimmy, are you now agreeing that Jews wouldn't be safe as a minority in a Muslim majority state? I confess I'm confused about what your point is.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:11 PM on May 31, 2010


You know, the fact Jews were safer in the Moslem world than in the Christian world for a good 1500 years means NOTHING.

From an historical perspective, to Jews the Muslim world was simply the lesser of two evils. We shouldn't misinterpret "better treatment" as a ringing endorsement of life under the Imams.
posted by zarq at 9:12 PM on May 31, 2010


What about a false beard, like in The Life of Brian?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:16 PM on May 31, 2010


Read up on the Arab-Israeli War in 1948. Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948. Five neighboring Arab states attacked them the very next day.

The ethnic cleansing started much earlier, in December of '47.

Note that three of the five Arab countries involved in that war then refused to absorb Palestinian refugees.

Oh, I see, the neighboring countries were supposed to act as enablers for the ethnic cleansing, so it's somehow their fault. The logic is impeccable.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:17 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Every country has despised the Jews at some point?

Nearly every country has had discriminatory policies in place against Jews at some point. Every culture has shown some aspect of antisemitism, which is based on mythology and hatreds that are deeply ingrained. Whether that Judeophobia was institutionalized (endorsed by the state or not) depends on each country's history.

And yes, both the US and Canada have had laws on the books at various points in their respective histories which discriminated against Jews.

Again, I'm not arguing that all countries are antisemitic, that all cultures are antisemitic to the same degree, or that the problem has not improved in modern times. I am saying that the antisemitism exists and has existed, and its presence throughout history helps fuel the Israeli mindset.
posted by zarq at 9:18 PM on May 31, 2010


Jewish Virtual Library is nothing but Zionist propaganda.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:18 PM on May 31, 2010


a patently false long white wise old gaffer type beard. o yes...
posted by infini at 9:24 PM on May 31, 2010


No. Read up on the Arab-Israeli War in 1948. Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948. Five neighboring Arab states attacked them the very next day.

So the change you are referring to happened initially because a number of Arab nations objected to the formation of Israel as a Jewish homeland. Most other aspects of the Arab / Israeli conflict stem from this continued objection.

Note that three of the five Arab countries involved in that war then refused to absorb Palestinian refugees.


Thankyou, zarq!

Believe me, I haven't got a dog in this race. I know more Muslims than I do Jews, and I know zero Palestinians. But you've articulated something, as an outsider, that I feel doesn't get talked about much.

Who started this violent shit on a grand scale? Who got owned? Where's the Arab brotherhood? What's this really all about?

Aboriginals Australians get some rights [easier access to welfare, priority placement in government jobs] that non Aborigines get because THEIR DEAD RELATIVES WERE HERE BEFORE MY DEAD REALTIVES.

I can't understand why the I/P argument can't be this simple. I'm guessing coz it goes back to pre history? Then why can't we call it a draw?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:31 PM on May 31, 2010


apologies for the atrocious spelling and grammar
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:33 PM on May 31, 2010


The ethnic cleansing started much earlier, in December of '47.

You are deliberately mischaracterizing what happened during that Civil War, and ignoring various Palestinian attacks against Jews leading up to the Arab Israeli War that predated it, including the Jaffa Riots and the 1936-39 Arab Revolt. Husayni's Army of the Holy War were certainly not innocents. They blockaded 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem starting in December of '47. The response by Yishuv and Haganah was a reaction to this. Meanwhile, more than 100,000 Arabs fled the country of their own volition, determined to avoid the fighting.

The largest massacre happened at Deir Yassin in April '48, where up to 254 Palestinians were slaughtered by paramilitary troops. It was pretty much condemned by everyone at the time.
posted by zarq at 9:35 PM on May 31, 2010


Jewish Virtual Library is nothing but Zionist propaganda.

If you refuse to rebut the points the page makes, then I'll assume in the absence of evidence to the contrary that it is wholly accurate.
posted by zarq at 9:36 PM on May 31, 2010


there are two key never quite solved problem spots that imho are both connected to the British - Lord Balfour; his ruler and a pencil.
posted by infini at 9:44 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every country has despised the Jews at some point? Again, I'm not an expert and I'm fully aware that anti-semitism is far-reaching, pervasive and in and out of fashion in different parts of the world at different times. But I don't know of a time when the USA or Canada for example could be described as countries that have despised the Jews definitively. If I'm wrong, then it's not the case now. But wait...

One of the most ineresting stories about Harry Truman (excuse me if I've mentioned it before) is that, after his presidency was over and he retired back to Independence, MO, his best friend was some former governmental official of reknown (I've forgotten his name.) They got together every day to chat and bide their time, as retired people do. But Truman's friend was never once invited into his house . . . because Bess didn't think it was appropriate to have a Jew enter their home. This was less than fifty years ago, around the same time that Jews weren't allowed to join most golf clubs either. If you think America wasn't a highly anti-Semitic place for much of its history, you're wrong.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 10:18 PM on May 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


"In any debate involving questionable or controversial actions undertaken by Israel, the probability that one who opposes said actions will be labeled an "anti-Semite" rises towards 1 as the discussion progresses."
I find this hilarious, because people on the other end of the political spectrum complain about exactly the same thing, only with respect to "racism".
posted by planet at 10:30 PM on May 31, 2010


I find this hilarious, because people on the other end of the political spectrum complain about exactly the same thing, only with respect to "racism".

True. But you can't be articulating your thoughts so well. You need to be more obtuse and smug.

"Brain assplodes" or "irony jaw hits ironic floor" is the way to go here on Metafilter.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:36 PM on May 31, 2010


Or, if you prefer, you could make an obtuse and smug comment about apartheid SA or the South Africa about to host the soccer world cup.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:48 PM on May 31, 2010


you are deliberately mischaracterizing what happened during that Civil War, and ignoring various Palestinian attacks against Jews leading up to the Arab Israeli War that predated it

Am I? There was a long-standing policy on the part of the Zionists of evicting Arabs that went back to the 19th century. The ethnic cleansing that started in Dec '47 was just the culmination of that policy. For example:
Ben-Gurion was quite explicit, as in a 1937 letter to his son: “A partial Jewish state is not the end, but only the beginning. The establishment of such a Jewish state will serve as a means in our historical efforts to redeem the country in its entirety. . . . We shall organize a modern defense force . . .and then I am certain that we will not be prevented from settling in other parts of the country, either by mutual agreement with our Arab neighbors or by some other means. . . . We will expel the Arabs and take their places . . . with the force at our disposal.”

A year later, Ben-Gurion told a Zionist meeting: “I favor partition of the country because when we become a strong power after the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and spread throughout all of Palestine.” And “Palestine,” as understood by the Zionists, included the West Bank, Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights, southern Lebanon, and much of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
You might want to read the entirety of that article, as it might open your eyes.

Palestinians were defending themselves, not attacking. They were there long before the Ashkenazi Jews came along, and lived quite peacefully with the Sephardic Jews.

Your description of the flight of the Palestinians as "voluntary" is the deliberate mischaracterization here. They were fleeing coordinated terrorist attacks. The leaders of those terrorists later were Prime Ministers of Israel. Read Benny Morris for the facts.

The irony of the situation is that the European Jews who were fleeing oppression visited the same sort of oppression onto the Palestinians.

You're just repeating the same standard Zionist justifications. No doubt you were raised on them, and have uncritically accepted them, so I guess it's not really your fault.

If you refuse to rebut the points the page makes

Just reading it is all the rebuttal it needs. It cherry-picks the entire span of Muslim history for a few atrocities, then claims these were typical. It's patent propaganda. Why didn't it mention that the Caliphate offered refuge to the Spanish Jews from the Spanish Inquisition? Because they were cherry-picking, and that would have contradicted their premise of universal Muslim antisemitism, used as a justification for Zionism, that's why.

Dee's point is good. American antisemitism is not long gone. However, just the fact that the accusation of antisemitism is a canard today shows what the current situation is.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:05 PM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


You just can't help yourselves can you.
posted by seanyboy at 12:01 AM on June 1, 2010


infini: I have long held that the vast majority of 20th and 21st Century conflicts can be traced back to the British in some way.
posted by bardophile at 12:10 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Who started this violent shit on a grand scale? Who got owned? Where's the Arab brotherhood? What's this really all about?

I'd like a copy of that pamphlet, too, if you find one.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:37 AM on June 1, 2010


I can't understand why the I/P argument can't be this simple. I'm guessing coz it goes back to pre history? Then why can't we call it a draw?

It's also tied up in what each respective religion says about the area in question.

If you're doing business with a religious son-of-a-bitch,
Get it in writing.
His word isn't worth shit.
Not with the good lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.

- William S Burroughs, "Words of Advice for Young People"
posted by krinklyfig at 12:38 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Who started this violent shit on a grand scale? Who got owned? Where's the Arab brotherhood? What's this really all about?

I'd like a copy of that pamphlet, too, if you find one.


Here you go. If you want a physical copy, you can sometimes find them in public restrooms.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:42 AM on June 1, 2010


I wasn't familiar with the Virtual Jewish Library, so I spent some time looking at things there, including articles regarding subjects of which I have a pretty solid knowledge, like Redző Kasztner. I've read most of the English language books about him, met a survivor of "Kasztner's train," have seen two documentaries about him (and met the director of one of them, mentioned in a comment above.)

This virtual library has some things to reccomend it. Unfortunately, it's incredibly skewed towards Zionism, the furtherance of hatred and mistrust between Muslims and Jews, and more.

The Kasztner article plays at being objective; there's not a lot there to argue with per se. But it leaves out a lot of stuff that would call into question some questions about his trial that would cast a poor light on the state of Israel - his abandonment by Ben-Gurion, an insanely biased judge, and more.

But as I've mentioned many times, I'm proud of the relationship which existed for centuries between Jews and Muslims in my native city of Sarajevo. When Sephardic Jews were persecuted during the Inquisition and bad times in places like Spain and Portugal, they were invited to settle in Sarajevo (among other places in the Ottomoan Empire) and well-accepted by the Muslim society. I've written a couple of times about the Hagaddah in Sarajevo, and how it is an honored and beloved symbol of Sarajevo's history of tolerance and diversity. Sarajevo's history is filled with tragedy too, but not in the domain of Muslim / Jewish relations. We Muslims were proud of the fact that we *invited* a persecuted people to settle among us, prouder still that the Jewish community was well-integrated with the rest of Sarajevo and proudest that this relationship was mostly healthy and happy until the recent war (when most Jews, who were eligible for a way out - to Israel - wisely fled. So there's simply not much of a Jewish community left now.)

What would the Virtual Jewish Library say about my fine city?

The history of the Jews in Sarajevo can be traced back over 400 years ago when the first Jews arrived in Sarajevo as early as 1541 via Salonika. They were mostly artisans, merchants, pharmacists, and doctors. They built their own quarter, dubbed El Cortijo (the courtyard), in 1577 with permission from the pasha Siavush. The community built a synagogue in El Cortijo in 1580 with the help of a Turkish benefactor, in a building called Velika Avlija. By the end of the 16th century, the building where Velika Avlija stood became known as old Jewish Cathedral, Sarajevo’s first synagogue.

This is all accurate. But it avoids the most salient facts of Jews in Sarajevo: the happy one that the local Muslims invited the Jews to Sarajevo, and that this invitation was never betrayed or regretted by either party. Sarajevo's Sephardic Jews didn't simply arrive out of nowhere for no reason of course . . . but you wouldn't know that from the VJL article, would you? I've heard Sarajevan Jews tell this story, and it's always with a sort of ironic (given current Israeli / Arab conflicts) joy at the thought of a sixteenth-century Muslim benefactor willingly assisting them, and a pasha openly granting them fine land (as opposed to simply giving permission.)

I don't need to go on, but everything I read in the VJL which could relate to Zionism did its best to avoid any sense that there was ever much of a positive history between Muslims and Jews. They hardly would refute this, I suppose; the VJL is admittedly "strongly pro-Israel," funded by vehemently pro-Israeli sources, and their articles tend to reflect ideas in ways that put Israel's policies in the best possible light. Their name and the basic layout of the library obscure this a little, but even they don't keep it much of a secret. In essence, Jimmy Havok's assessment is right on.

Zarq may still have a point about the Muslim world being the lesser of two evils. I don't have the time to do the incredible research to determine the answer to that my satisfaction, and I suspect it's largely dependent on how long a view of history one takes. (Over all, it may be true, but I do know that there were many instances of entire centuries (or longer) when Jews lived in harmony with Muslims. Thus for many generations of Jews, it would then not have been a lesser of two evils, but simply a fairly harmonious existence.)

That said, the Virtual Jewish Library was a very weak and biased source to use to back up the assertion. it's overtly biased towards a specific agenda, and it doesn't much deny it.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:43 AM on June 1, 2010 [25 favorites]


I have long held that the vast majority of 20th and 21st Century conflicts can be traced back to the British in some way.

Specifically, Benny Hill.

Well, that's my theory anyway.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:44 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you think America wasn't a highly anti-Semitic place for much of its history, you're wrong.

Yes, but American anti-semitism wasn't nearly as bloodthirsty as European anti-semitism. Not getting invited to dinner doesn't really compare to having your entire family murdered in a pogrom. Maybe a 4 on the scale of 1-10, with 1 being the US having a Jewish president, 8 being institutionalized slavery and 10 being the holocaust.
posted by empath at 12:52 AM on June 1, 2010


I have long held that the vast majority of 20th and 21st Century conflicts can be traced back to the British in some way.

Particularly thin, slightly effete ones with cut glass accents, impeccable manners and a barely concealed love of schadenfreude. I mean people like Alan Rickman and Jeremy Irons.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:52 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Zarq may still have a point about the Muslim world being the lesser of two evils.

Well, look at it this way: If you are living as a minority ANYWHERE, it is going to be the lesser of some number of evils. That's the appeal of Zionism. That Jews can have a place somewhere in the world where they are in control of their own destiny and don't have to depend on the benevolence of their current rulers.

There's nothing wrong with it in theory. It's just that they put Israel in a place where people already lived, and religious fanaticism is driving spectacularly poor decision making, currently.
posted by empath at 12:59 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have long held that the vast majority of 20th and 21st Century conflicts can be traced back to the British in some way.
Damn you King Edward for your Edict of Expulsion. Without it, the Jewish peoples would have been able to live in harmony with the rest of the world.
posted by seanyboy at 1:02 AM on June 1, 2010


Every time I see the word "misquote" in this thread, some sort of mild dyslexia kicks in and I read "mosquitoe."

Makes it much more entertaining.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:47 AM on June 1, 2010


[derail]

Aboriginals Australians get some rights [easier access to welfare, priority placement in government jobs]

Excuse me? What welfare? Which government jobs?

"That's Bill. He's an Indigenous Engagement Officer because it's his right. Nothing to do with having unique specialist expertise not available to uninitiated white men who fly in and out of Canberra and Darwin. Unlike his white government colleagues, he also has the right to have half of any income support he receives quarantined."

Wish I had me some of those rights.

[/derail]
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:58 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


would you say the same to a black person who admits to possibly being oversensitive to issues of racism? No one's punching anyone in the face.

If you live in lower manhattan, it's easy to think antisemitism isn't a big deal.


Actually, just because I've met real, honest-to-God antisemites, and just because I know how big a deal it is, I find the allegation of antisemitism as a response to any criticism of Israel to be so insulting.

Among other things, I once witnessed a US-educated German, during the first Gulf War, offer free drinks for each Scud to land on Israel. Was he pro-Iraq, pro-Arab, or pro-Palestinian? No, he was a damn Nazi, who hated and despised Arabs just as much as Jews. And if you put me in the same camp as that asshole, because I can't abide Israel's daily humiliation and occasional murder of innocent civilians, you bet I'll be angry as hell.

The biggest irony is that Israel increasingly hard line is leaving them with, as only "friends", actual anti-Semites, from millenialist evangelicals obsessed with Armaggeddon, to racists who see Israel as a tool to vicariously kill Arabs.
posted by Skeptic at 2:48 AM on June 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm tired of planet Earth. Can someone suggest another world I can go to?

That depends on whether you believe in an afterlife.
posted by WalterMitty at 4:42 AM on June 1, 2010


Thanks to Jimmy Havok; that MuzzleWatch site looks very useful.
posted by mediareport at 5:38 AM on June 1, 2010


This is probably the biggest problem in this whole mess, because the state, the religion, and the ethnicity are all mixed up.

You know what would make everyone happy? Some new made-up words like USian to help calm everyone down and reduce confusion.

What?
posted by rokusan at 7:06 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This thread is probably the better place to discuss Joe's latest derailing behaviour than in the FPP.
posted by Artw at 7:08 AM on June 1, 2010


It was a resounding success. The discussion is now entirely about the comments below the linked article, and about Joe himself, and not about the content of orthogonality's link. Good job, Joe.
posted by rocket88 at 7:10 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Isn't Israel one of those countries that hires people to go into internet forums and derail threads that are potentially critical of said country? Israel being controversial and all, the signal-to-noise ratio is so low that my Google-fu has failed me.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:31 AM on June 1, 2010


You might want to read the entirety of that article, as it might open your eyes.

I will do so, and do further research online, then respond to the rest of your points. I admit it's possible that my knowledge of the time period is biased.
posted by zarq at 7:39 AM on June 1, 2010


Isn't Israel one of those countries that hires people to go into internet forums and derail threads that are potentially critical of said country?

People do it for free.

You may be thinking of China's Fifty Cent Party.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:45 AM on June 1, 2010


rodgerd, it's not Hitler's intentions or precedents that make the Holocaust unique, it's the degree to which he achieved his goals. No, the Nazis (and their collaborators) did not kill EVERY Jew in Europe but he did kill roughly two-thirds of them.

"The suffering of my people was SO MUCH MORE than the suffering of your people that we have every right to impose suffering on whoever else we want!" defense?

This is the perspective that I cannot handle graciously. This is the perspective that makes me freaking flip out, not at countries or whole populations, but at individuals who excuse their own or their government or their military's cruel and despicable behavior or discrete operations with "you have no right to criticize ANY of our actions because of this horrific event in our past--which no one else has ever experienced to the degree that we experienced it, by the way."

Fuck. That. Noise.

YOU WANT TO BE MOST? Tell it to the Romani, when during WWII the death toll proportionally equaled "and almost certainly exceed[ed], that of Jewish victims." Tell it to the Rwandan Tutsi's, where an estimated 60% to 80% of Tutsi’s died within 100 days (10,000 murdered every day, 400 every hour, 7 every minute), with many 300,000 remaining Tutsis having been maimed or infected with HIV via rape.

YOU WANT TO BE MOST EFFICIENT? The Armenian Genocide is widely acknowledged to have been one of the first modern, systemic, organized genocides. By 1923, the entire landmass of Asia Minor and historic West Armenia had been expunged of its Armenian population. The destruction of the Armenian communities in this part of the world was total. Agreed, that the technology available to the Nazi's via the Industrial Revolution at the time allowed them to be the evil Henry Ford's of genocide.

YOU WANT TO BE BEST DOCUMENTED? This is certainly true, as the Holocaust occurred at the time of unprecedented archival and visual media advances in a country which could afford them (unlike Rwanda).

What kind of person looks at the sufferings of others and sniffs, "Well, it's no Holocaust." The callousness and coldness of that perspective shocks me to my bones.

I am NOT referring to all Jews or all Israelis. I know American Jews and Israelis who are working to support human rights all over the world, and who are disgusted at this recent event unfolding. They are devout, they believe that Israel should exist (as do I), AND they recognize that this type of action by this particular government is not above criticism.

I'm referring to anyone, Jew or Muslim or Christian or Atheist or whomever, from whatever country, who feels that anyone else should be belittled or shouted down if they "dare" to criticize any action taken by any government of Israel (or the US or any other country).

I'm referring to anyone who believes that suffering can be ranked, and that there is a "suffering hierarchy" that exists in the world where the group on top wins the right to do whatever the hell they want without question.

I'm referring to the hypocrisy that inspires someone to engage in causing pain for others under the banner of "I had it so much worse, though!"

Fuck. That. Noise.
posted by jeanmari at 8:26 AM on June 1, 2010 [35 favorites]


Joe, you really are the jerkiest jerk on MetaFilter these days. Congratulations.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:29 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


You know as for the video and the comments below it that caused the latest stir, I think it's unfortunate that it was Joe who protested its being posted without a warning about the comments. A video on a NSFW site should get a warning and there are certainly employers who wouldn't hesitate to fire you if that page's comments turned up in your browsing history.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:46 AM on June 1, 2010


jeanmari: "Evil Henry Ford" is a bit redundant, don't you agree?
posted by jtron at 9:07 AM on June 1, 2010


I hate to do this, but...

Joe in Australia
: "Someone else in that comment thread complained about the racist comments and the blog owner replied that he deletes ones which actually call for violence against Jews. It's not a matter of allowing an open forum or not having had time to check for offensive comments; he actually considered the "Hitler didn’t take things far enough" comment and decided to let it through. I haven't read the rest of his blog but he's either a racist or is consciously giving them a platform."

What The Fuck. Are you new at this?

The blog author stated his moderation policy: He deletes threats and calls to violence (unsurprisingly, the same sorts of comments that don't get 1st Amendment protection in the US). The Hitler comment is neither. It's disgusting and anti-semitic, sure... but it's just an opinion, not a call to action of any kind. It does not cross the stated moderation policy, and the moderator's decision not to delete it doesn't mean that the moderator is a racist. He is providing a platform for comments. You do not have to agree or support unpopular points of view to be willing to allow someone to assert their unpopular view.

The best way to identify racists and other ____-supremacists is to give them a forum where they can put forth their vile views for the world to see and judge.

My meter keeps bouncing between Troll and Shill, instead of merely Overzealous Zionist, and I'm hoping that Joe gets toaded or sent to the time out room.
posted by toxic at 9:58 AM on June 1, 2010


Fuck. That. Noise.

jeanmarie, you're ranting.

I accept that the Holocaust is arguably NOT the most horrible thing that's ever happened to any group of people anywhere. Yet it is unique for many of the reasons we both pointed out:

- that it did happen in comparably modern times
- that such fastidious records were kept
- that not only such a large proportion of a population was murdered, but such a large number as well

And perhaps most significant. BECAUSE A NATION GREW OUT OF ITS AFTERMATH. And yeah, hate it or love it (or maybe even try to ignore it) the nation of Israel is defined by two words more than any other:

NEVER AGAIN

I'm not trying to condone anything here (murder is murder, regardless of blood, historical grievance or book of rules) but I am trying to understand something, and a big part of understanding what the fuck happened yesterday off Gaza includes "getting" the historical uniqueness of the Holocaust.
posted by philip-random at 10:17 AM on June 1, 2010


And yeah, hate it or love it (or maybe even try to ignore it) the nation of Israel is defined by two four words more than any other:

NEVER AGAIN
(TO US)

My corrections in non-italics. Among certain hardline elements in Israel the distinction is pertinent.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:24 AM on June 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Where is the Gypsy state again?
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


jeanmarie, you're ranting.

Absolutely, dear. Righteous anger usually brings that out in me. The fact that a nation grew out of the aftermath of the oppression of a people is not unique to the Holocaust. And I believe that the genocides of Rwanda, Darfur, and the Former Yugoslavia are a bit more contemporary.

There is no defining characteristic of the Holocaust that makes it an excuse for carte blanche human rights violations. There is no defining characteristic of the Holocaust that allows the present government of Israel to escape criticism.

In fact, there is no defining characteristic of any event that does.
posted by jeanmari at 10:40 AM on June 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Actually, MuffinMan, I'd say it's more than just the hardliners who operate under the NEVER AGAIN (TO US) banner. Otherwise, I suspect the Israeli leadership would be far more moderate.
posted by philip-random at 10:41 AM on June 1, 2010


There is no defining characteristic of the Holocaust that makes it an excuse for carte blanche human rights violations. There is no defining characteristic of the Holocaust that allows the present government of Israel to escape criticism.

I agree. But I believe if you want that criticism to be effective, it must on some level be informed by a grasp of Israel's history. It's no different really than dealing with a neighourhood bully, who you later find out was abused and tortured as a small kid by the creepy guy next door (or worse, the chief of police).

Evil doesn't just happen, does it?
posted by philip-random at 10:46 AM on June 1, 2010


It's no different really than dealing with a neighourhood bully, who you later find out was abused and tortured as a small kid by the creepy guy next door (or worse, the chief of police).

Let me pose a scenario to you, philip-random, since you've brought this metaphor into the discussion.

Your neighbourhood bully has killed someone. On the stand, his lawyers argue that since he was abused and tortured as a young boy by the chief of police, his treatment inspired his present life of crime. Therefore, the State cannot judge his actions because they created "this monster" so they need to just let him free. Oh yes, and if he kills someone else? Still gets a free pass. In perpetuity.

Does the State let him go with a warning and turn him loose again?
posted by jeanmari at 10:57 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh yes, and if the mother of this murdered person, her neighbors and her friends criticizes the actions of your neighborhood bully, are they shouted down by anyone with cries of "but he was tortured so much MORE than anyone else ever was? How dare you question him? How dare you rebuke him?"

Should these people be censored for criticizing the bully?
posted by jeanmari at 11:00 AM on June 1, 2010


What's the punishment for torturing an anology these days?
posted by MuffinMan at 11:10 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Analogy.

Ack
posted by MuffinMan at 11:11 AM on June 1, 2010


Therefore, the State cannot judge his actions because they created "this monster" so they need to just let him free.

It's not a case of "letting" him free, more along the lines of him being armed to the teeth with who knows what nasty armaments stashed in the basement, so it's not as simple as just barging in and arresting him. Unless (to make a mockery of analogy extrapolation) you're the Treasury Department and the bully's David Koresh, and you do just bust in and ... localized apocalypse ensues.
posted by philip-random at 11:16 AM on June 1, 2010


So, you're saying that your murdering bully should be allowed to arm himself and hunker down in the basement because of his childhood abuse? I'm not asking if it will be simple to hold him accountable, I'm asking if you believe he should be held accountable. In fact, let's just dump this metaphor and I'll ask the real question that the metaphor is obscuring.

So, p-r, are you saying that Israel should not be held accountable or criticized for their actions to the same degree that other nations are because of their history? Or are you saying that they should, but it will be difficult to do so?
posted by jeanmari at 11:27 AM on June 1, 2010


Apparently Zarq is upset with me because I responded to not one, but two things of his that I considered dumb, and would very much like to link them. If you want to continue that conversation here, please go ahead.
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on June 1, 2010


> Apparently Zarq is upset with me because I responded to not one, but two things of his that I considered dumb, and would very much like to link them. If you want to continue that conversation here, please go ahead.

It would help if you weren't so douchey about it.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:34 AM on June 1, 2010


jeanmari: “Righteous anger usually brings that out in me.”

Is there such a thing?
posted by koeselitz at 11:41 AM on June 1, 2010


> jeanmari: “Righteous anger usually brings that out in me.”

Is there such a thing?


Yes, anger can be a "positive" motivator in circumstances where there is imbalance or asymmetry that needs to be addressed. A boot in the arse to act, so to speak. Egocentric anger is another story.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:46 AM on June 1, 2010


Are we seriously so soft here that the existence of righteous anger is being called into question? Jesus, people.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:52 AM on June 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Pope Guilty: “Are we seriously so soft here that the existence of righteous anger is being called into question? Jesus, people.”

Yeah, soft. That's what logic is. Soft.
posted by koeselitz at 11:55 AM on June 1, 2010


Burhanistan: “Yes, anger can be a "positive" motivator in circumstances where there is imbalance or asymmetry that needs to be addressed. A boot in the arse to act, so to speak. Egocentric anger is another story.”

Anger is a strong emotion. Strong emotions are useful for some things, but they're pretty much the antithesis of rational thought. "Righteous anger" might be useful for, say, trying to push a car out of a ditch, but it means fuck-all when you're trying to uncover what's right and what's wrong in a political dispute that's lasted centuries.
posted by koeselitz at 11:57 AM on June 1, 2010


And, moreover, 'a boot in the arse to act' is hardly what anybody in the Middle East really needs right now.
posted by koeselitz at 11:59 AM on June 1, 2010


Righteous anger

Morally justifiable anger. "righteous indignation" see moral, indignation

moral

Concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles; "moral sense"; "a moral scrutiny"; "a moral lesson"; "a moral quandary"; "moral convictions"; "a moral life"

indignation

Indignation is righteous anger at something wrongful, unjust, or evil.

----------------------

**shrugs** You can feel however you'd like to, koeselitz. This is how I feel in this situation.
posted by jeanmari at 12:00 PM on June 1, 2010


> And, moreover, 'a boot in the arse to act' is hardly what anybody in the Middle East really needs right now.

Well, I was speaking in the abstract. I don't want to see any more conflict there but it seems like a big-ass war might be coming anyway. But, correctly placed, anger is a state of awareness that causes one to see imbalance. It's not the same as lashing out. This is probably a discussion that, if even necessary, requires exacting terms.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:03 PM on June 1, 2010


My indignation aside, if you believe that I have demonstrated any irrationality in my comments above, you're welcome to address that, versus explain which feelings I am or am not allowed to have at this time.
posted by jeanmari at 12:03 PM on June 1, 2010


Yeah, soft. That's what logic is. Soft.

Oh, give me a break. It's not about logic. It's about the insane desire to believe in sunshine and kittens and pretend that sunshine and kittens are the correct response to all situations.

Righteous anger is anger which arises as a reaction to injustice. You can play word games and pretend that we're all going to sit down and talk things out with respect and calm voices, but the world has never worked that way, and there is no reason to expect the world to work that way. The idea that anger cannot be valid is absolute horseshit, and it's privileged horseshit besides.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:03 PM on June 1, 2010


Apparently Zarq is upset with me because I responded to not one, but two things of his that I considered dumb, and would very much like to link them. If you want to continue that conversation here, please go ahead.

I said what I needed to in-thread.

If you feel the need to continue to attack me for things I didn't say or have already apologized for saying, I'll decide whether and how to further respond.
posted by zarq at 12:08 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Pope Guilty: “You can play word games and pretend that we're all going to sit down and talk things out with respect and calm voices, but the world has never worked that way, and there is no reason to expect the world to work that way.”

The world works by ranting?
posted by koeselitz at 12:21 PM on June 1, 2010


have already apologized for saying

Um, you are pissed off at me calling you out for something BEFORE you retracted it - am I missing something here?
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on June 1, 2010


Jesus. Leave zarq alone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:49 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The world works by ranting?

Are you suggesting that I am being loud and angry, koeselitz? Or irrational and confusing? Because I will grant that I could be characterized as the first definition when it comes to this event. But I would be interested in hearing more about how what I've written could be specifically defined as the second definition...
posted by jeanmari at 12:58 PM on June 1, 2010


Dude came after me, Blaze.
posted by Artw at 1:00 PM on June 1, 2010


The world works by ranting?

Sometimes. One person's rant is another person's impassioned, inspiring speech. Sometimes the world works by people who are motivated by the intense emotion they feel when they see injustice. There is no logic that will do that; logic may tell you how you should act GIVEN a conception of right and good, but it can't tell you what's right and good (Sam Harris's attempts notwithstanding...).
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:00 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Um, you are pissed off at me calling you out for something BEFORE you retracted it - am I missing something here?

Yes, you are.

You deliberately ignored part of what I said in my initial comment, in order to call me out here and say that I was "okay" with murder.

I have explained this to you repeatedly, now in two threads.
posted by zarq at 1:24 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


And yes, both the US and Canada have had laws on the books at various points in their respective histories which discriminated against Jews.

Again, I'm not arguing that all countries are antisemitic, that all cultures are antisemitic to the same degree, or that the problem has not improved in modern times. I am saying that the antisemitism exists and has existed, and its presence throughout history helps fuel the Israeli mindset.


That's fair enough; while I'm not aware of the particular laws I'm certainly aware of some discriminating against other groups. Dee and zarq, sorry to give the impression that I felt there's never been anti-semitism in Canada or the USA (it's still here by all indications, but not pervasive), I was just reacting the term "universal" (and "permanent") as characteristic of North American anti-semitism.

I mean, when Bess Truman wouldn't let her husband's Jewish high-ranking public servant friend in to her house, the country had policies of racial segregation in place so it's really no surprise to me that some people had prejudices against Jews and/or other ethnic groups. There's still a lot of people that could be described that way, no argument here. What I was getting at was that this doesn't "salt the earth" so that Jews can ever return, or indicate that the country isn't or wasn't safe for Jews to settle in by comparison to any other group (save Western Europeans I guess). The country of Israel itself lies on land from which the Jews were once expelled. That's why I don't much like the terms your summarized example used, "universal" or "permanent". Pretty sure I'm catching the overall meaning though.
posted by Kirk Grim at 1:42 PM on June 1, 2010


You deliberately ignored part of what I said in my initial comment, in order to call me out here and say that I was "okay" with murder.

I think you're flattering your initial statement:

A total of nine people were killed. Out of 700. A single death from this incident is a horrible tragedy. But nine deaths is hardly a "massacre."

"But" is the important word there. The statement attempts to diminish the crime with the "but", and the "hardly", and the "9 out of 700". That may not have been your intent, you may have misspoke, but that is the implication.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on June 1, 2010


Let it go, the both of you. Seriously, no one cares who has the last word.
posted by languagehat at 2:12 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


You might want to read the entirety of that article, as it might open your eyes.

So.... I'm still reading it, and trying to find other sources online that aren't overwhelmingly partisan.

But if you were trying to open my eyes, you chose an excellent article to do it with. The PSQ article's author is Professor Jerome Slater. Slater is partisan, but he's written some of the most cogent and meticulously researched articles and books I've read from anyone, with regard to Israel and the Palestinians, like these two essays regarding the Gaza conflict. I don't always agree with his conclusions. But he tries very hard to make sense of the conflict without casting either side as having the moral high ground.

So one way or another, thank you for linking to the PSQ article. Even though Slater's partisan, I have a great deal of respect for him and the perspective of history he presents.
posted by zarq at 2:29 PM on June 1, 2010


Deep breaths, walks outside, and hugs for everyone! Especially Artw and zarq!
posted by Aizkolari at 2:31 PM on June 1, 2010


Art, I could argue further, but I'm letting this go. You have the last word. I'm bowing out.
posted by zarq at 3:09 PM on June 1, 2010


the nation of Israel is defined by two words more than any other:

NEVER AGAIN


Don't you mean OUR TURN?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:53 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


> > If you're smart, then you'll understand that I, and those like me, will sometimes accuse
>> you of being a jew-hater when you may not be.
>
> If you're smart, you'll understand that accusing someone of being a Jew-hater is so serious
> it should be reserved for the most egregious and unmistakable cases. If you throw it
> around whenever you get a whiff, you are doing it wrong.

It would be nice if people got the same memo about "racist," "sexist," "homophobe," and the other such accusations, that ought to be deeply serious and that are actually at risk of being devalued right down to the neener-neener level.
posted by jfuller at 4:03 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


If only as much energy could be put into creating solutions for the future, as people put into nitpicky historical finger pointing & blaming.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:22 PM on June 1, 2010


So, p-r, are you saying that Israel should not be held accountable or criticized for their actions to the same degree that other nations are because of their history? Or are you saying that they should, but it will be difficult to do so?

Yes, they should be held accountable. Yes, it will be difficult. And a huge part of this difficulty lies in understanding and neutralizing what's motivating them.
posted by philip-random at 5:15 PM on June 1, 2010


and ummm ... ANGER IS AN ENERGY.
posted by philip-random at 5:23 PM on June 1, 2010


'But nine deaths is hardly a "massacre."'
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre had a body count of seven

posted by jtron at 5:31 PM on June 1, 2010


Yeah, people pointed that sort of thing out in thread and Zarq retracted the statement on the basis of that.
posted by Artw at 5:34 PM on June 1, 2010


I feel compelled to say that I can now point to Dee's beautiful comment and say to all my hungarian jewish relatives that stuff my inbox with their zionist propaganda - once and for all: you have drawn your lines of right vs. wrong along the wrong axis.
posted by victors at 5:35 PM on June 1, 2010


Yes, they should be held accountable. Yes, it will be difficult. And a huge part of this difficulty lies in understanding and neutralizing what's motivating them.

OH MY GOD HE'S TALKING ABOUT NEUTRALIZING JEWS! ANTI-SEMITE!
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:40 PM on June 1, 2010


Less holler, more challah please.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:54 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


i'd rather be in some dark challah
where the sun don't ever shine
than to be in a Mefi I/P thread
they cause me to lose my mind
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:00 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


yalla, challah, mash'allah.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:21 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


The St. Valentine's Day Massacre had a body count of seven

I'm in hell.
posted by zarq at 6:26 PM on June 1, 2010


Sorry to hear that.
The Boston Massacre? Five.
posted by jtron at 6:40 PM on June 1, 2010


Alice's Restaurant Massacre? Zero.
posted by Sailormom at 6:55 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I ain't no challah-backed gurl.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:02 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


So I'm out smoking on Vanderbilt near 45th, West side of the street, and this chef at this too precious Greek restaurant on the corner, replaced a great Japanese book store, you can still see the original name in gray on gray up above, is shouting at someone on the other end of his cell phone and starts ranting about "the jews" and you "can't trust them" and he's just sitting there in the window spewing anti semitic invectives and I'm trying to smoke and he looks at me for confirmation, like my nod would make what he's doing ok.

So I laugh, hoping that it mollifies him and gets him to stop and hoping anyone else who notices thinks I'm laughing at him not with him even though, deep down, I know better.

Now, in NYC almost everyone adopts a certain Jewish cadence to their speech, nearly everyone can say, "some of my best friends..." and me too. Literally my best friend, and my Dutch wife, blonde as the day is long, would have been off to the gas chambers for her quarter. And I passed off some lame laugh instead of calling the motherfucker out. He wasn't that big; I could have taken him. But, hey, it's Midtown and nobody wants to rock the boat, not nowadays.

Anti semitism is deep and insidious and subtle and calls up the worst in people who think they have the best of intentions. All the more reason to never, ever use it in vain. Because Jew or Gentile, it's there, it's always there, and that fight is tough enough. Take it from the well meaning gentile who's now more than a little bit ashamed.
posted by digitalprimate at 7:23 PM on June 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


Maybe next time just look away?
posted by mlis at 7:29 PM on June 1, 2010


I lived in Israel for a while. I usually stay out of these threads, but in this case I have to note that the black and white thinking of my fellow lefties on this issue, the naivete, the hostility, the free ride given to Egypt's own role in the horrific situation in Gaza, the knee-jerk demonization of Israel (as opposed to deserved criticism), the spectacle of idealistic young people such as Emily Henochowicz or Rachel Corrie being injured or killed by venturing unprotected into war zones, the attempts to ban Israeli academics from Western universities or from publishing in Western journals, and, here in Metafilter, the pile-on over Joe in Australia's remarks all make me feel sick and discouraged.
posted by jokeefe at 9:18 PM on June 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


*reading further in thread*

Huh, pile-on over zarq, too. I think I'll skip the rest.
posted by jokeefe at 10:07 PM on June 1, 2010


I have to note that the black and white thinking of my fellow lefties on this issue,... all make me feel sick and discouraged.

I don't speak for anyone else, but I'll just note that I was pretty pro-Israel for years, then transitioned to "a pox on both their houses", then finally lost what little patience I had for Israel over the routine humiliation meted out Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, the intolerant, inflexible arrogance of the fundamentalists and settlers, and finally the Invasion of Gaza in "Operation Cast Lead".

I'm no fan of intolerant religious fundamentalists here, so I don't know whey I should cheer on their geopolitical Torah-based fantasies there. And in the face of policies of torture and eviction and, now, in Gaza, a literal attempt to starve a surrounded population -- well just how am I, as a "fellow leftie" supposed to turn a blind eye to this?

Because this time the oppressive bastards are Jews The "same" people who in the US marched in the vanguard of the labor movement, the Civil Rights movement, who worked to liberate women and gays and black South Africans. o, I'm sorryu, but its's because of my respect for what some Jews have doen that I'm all the more unable to excuse the cynical barbarism of Israel.

I tried for years to make excuses -- "a new land for the survivors of the Shoah"; "a tiny sliver of land beset by enemies on all sides"; "give it time, it's 'complicated'"; "there were atrocities on both sides"; "terrorists on every bus!"; "oranges blossoming in the kibbutz" -- but more and more, Israel became uglier and more fundamentalist and less willing or able to negotiate for peace.

And in good conscience, I couldn't rail against US torturers at Guantanamo while excusing Israel's even more routine tortures of Palestinians who only "crimes" were growing up in a refugee camp and not being Jewish.

Sorry, jokeefe -- to my shame I tried for far longer than I should have. And perhaps because of that, I can't and won't anymore. One of our axioms as "lefties", learned in the crucible of the Civil Rights Movement, penned in the Birmingham Jail, is that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." As a "leftie", I have to live that. As a "leftie", I have to admit that what Israel is doing is wrong.
posted by orthogonality at 10:27 PM on June 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


Mossad chief: Israel becoming burden on U.S.: Mossad Chief Meir Dagan said on Tuesday that Israel is progressively becoming a burden on the United States.

"Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden," said Dagan, speaking before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 10:37 PM on June 1, 2010


Sorry, jokeefe -- to my shame I tried for far longer than I should have. And perhaps because of that, I can't and won't anymore. One of our axioms as "lefties", learned in the crucible of the Civil Rights Movement, penned in the Birmingham Jail, is that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." As a "leftie", I have to live that. As a "leftie", I have to admit that what Israel is doing is wrong.

How nicely put. I've written often here when I feel that Islam or Muslims are unfairly maligned, or stereotyped in ways that seem unreasonably prejudiced or damaging. I've paid in the blood of my parents for my religion; perhaps I should have more of a bias.

But I will be the first to stand up and denounce much of what many "Muslim" states stand for, and much of what they do. Iran is an atrocity. Saudi Arabia is an abomination. It's not hard for me to state those things. I have serious problems even with secularized Muslim countries for various reasons - Turkey's denial of the Armenian genocide, or its treatment of its Kurdish minority. I guess I'm a "leftie" too, first and foremost. I've lived through war and wish it on no one. I really want peace for the world.

My tremendous love for the Jewish people and much of what characterizes their culture and history and language and so on . . . I can't express it deeply enough. My posts have frequently and consistently displayed that.

When I first learned, as a young girl, of the Holocaust and of the founding of the independent state of Israel, you simply can't imagine my pride at the thought of this great people, who suffered millennia of persecution, pogroms and genocide, for finally gaining a state of their own. Surely, given the wisdom, experiences and teachings of the Jewish people, this will be one of the most civilized, wonderful and exalted of all of mankind's many lands. I was happy to live in a time when I would see it all unfold.

Sadly, I must now concede that Israel - like Iran and Saudi Arabia - is pretty much a disaster zone. This is made more tragic not only because its origins promised so much (think of it - from its date of independence, Israel was blessed with a massive immigration of hugely educated, skilled and professional people with origins in some of the world's most developed countries), but because of all "Western" countries with at least a semi-decent claim to being a democracy, Israel has among the worst human rights records, and things are only getting worse.

I know that there are many Israelis whose concerns echo my own, and who work - in vain, it would seem - to turn the situation around. Looking to the future, few factors are on Israel's side:

1) Non-Israeli Jews are less and less concerned and supportive of Israel, a fact which has been the subject of many editorials in Jewish media.

2) The demographics of Israel are such that the largely reactionary, extreme rightwing and intolerent segments of the population is growing much more quickly (via reproduction, not change of heart) than others. This is not only a concern in and of itself, but a factor which causes moderate or leftwing Israeli politicians to alter their stances in many areas to appease this part of the population. (For instance, in lack of will to stop illegal settlements.)

3) As stated above, even Israeli officials (as well as many American politicians) increasingly perceive Israel as an unneccessary burden. This isn't just economic (Israel is historically the largest beneficiary of American foreign aid), but political, too.

Could Israel turn it around? Sure. But my experiences with world politics influence me to think that things tend to fall apart - with much lost - before real, poitive change occurs.

I received a nice letter from Joe in Australia today, and I was pleased that he wrote, despite my feeling that his comment (the one which started all this) was dishonest and harmful. Joe, there are a lot of us who've criticized Israel who would sincerely love to it become the nation it could be - a model for the rest of the world, and a beacon of hope for all peoples who have suffered from oppression, genocide and hate. At the moment, it's more an oppressor than a beacon of hope. Your comment, what it did was to make it easier for anyone on the margins to dismiss those who speak for Israel as delusional fools who'll use any trick in the book to avoid speaking truth. In a small way, you've helped to marginalize Israel more deeply than it is already.

Israel's lost one important ally (Turkey) because of this incident. For the past few decades, international sympathy has been increasingly on the side of the Palestinians. Americans are becoming weary of it all, and I would imagine that America's support for Israel is weakening. There is a tipping point where nations fail. I've seen it up close, a couple of times. I don't know precisely where Israel's point of failure may be, but I shudder at what it would mean for its people. The best way to avoid it is to start owning up to its own atrocities, failures and lies, not by channeling reasonable criticism into expressions of anti-Semitism.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 11:43 PM on June 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


What orthoganality said. The way I see it, peace is entirely in the hands of the Israelis, but every choice they have made has been toward more war. The only way the Palestinians could bring about peace through unilateral action would be for every one of them to emigrate (and even then, Israel would still be coveting Syrian and Lebanese land), whereas all Israel needs to do to bring about peace is to give up their territorial ambitions and be satisfied with the pre-'67 borders.

Every member of the Arab League has signed on to a pledge to recognize Israel if they will simply accept the '67 borders and be satisfied, but there is rarely any mention of this in any of the discussions of the conflict and how to resolve it. Instead, we get claims that Arab hostility toward Jews is implacable and unjustified, that Israel's many invasions of its neighbors are defensive (the closest those claims come to honesty is when they use the term "pre-emptive defense"), and that Israel's brutality is simply the way that the sub-human Arabs must be handled, as the only thing they understand is force.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:17 AM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm so very tired of being sub-human just because i'm not shiny pink albeit technically caucasian
posted by infini at 12:24 AM on June 2, 2010


it must be worse if your nose and eyes and mouth don't meet the gold standard
posted by infini at 12:25 AM on June 2, 2010


(via reproduction, not change of heart)

Actually I wonder if emigration isn't also making a difference there. I regularly get emails from Israelis interested in emigrating from Israel, and as far as I can tell they skew to the left.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:31 AM on June 2, 2010


Baby Otters Getting Swim Lessons Don't Care What You Think About Israel
posted by homunculus at 1:12 AM on June 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Actually I wonder if emigration isn't also making a difference there. regularly get emails from Israelis interested in emigrating from Israel, and as far as I can tell they skew to the left.

Indeed, I've met such Israelis. Not necessarily "lefty", but generally young and educated. The impression I've got is that many of the most worldly Israelis are leaving the country. And, on the other hand, many of the West Bank settlers have never lived in Israel proper, but are extremists who have directly landed there from abroad, to claim their "birthright". The damage this is doing to Israeli politics is indeed significant.
posted by Skeptic at 5:48 AM on June 2, 2010


The damage this is doing to Israeli politics is indeed significant.

And awesome.
posted by nevercalm at 7:46 AM on June 2, 2010


Except for the dead people.

And that this is a propaganda gift to Al Queda and the like, so thousands of little jihadis will be signing up on the basis of it, and it's not like they're going to be selective or even try to go after Israel directly, they'll be going after everybody else.

So whatever the next Mumbai is Israel will have been indirectly responsible. Which is not awesome, for anyone.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Art: Israel, like America, requires a neverending supply of enemies to fight.
posted by rokusan at 11:42 AM on June 4, 2010


"I vote we all go throw bricks at falameufilho, instead."

It amazes me that no one who commented after that statement in that thread voiced a problem with it. No one had a problem with it. I suppose I shouldn't find this surprising any more.

You know, there are days when I wonder whether the problems I've had as a member of Metafilter are my fault. Am I not speaking clearly enough, that my words are misinterpreted so frequently? Do I use a convoluted sentence structure? Am I somehow inviting attacks from random Mefites over things they think I say, rather than what I'm actually saying?

As it turns out, some of our members are just fucking assholes.

How disappointing.
posted by zarq at 8:37 PM on June 4, 2010


This world is choc-a-bloc full of assholes. It's frustrating as hell.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:41 PM on June 4, 2010


"I vote we all go throw bricks at falameufilho, instead."

Whether people mind it or not, it's not okay. One of the reasons we dislike the I/P threads generally is that most people abandon them when they turn into shouting matches and then the people left in the threads treat each other badly with very little oversight. Whether or not anyone who was left in that thread saw fit to call out dunkadunc's comment [it was flagged, but not much] doesn't make it a non-shitty comment.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:57 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you for deleting it, Jessamyn. And thank you for letting us know that people other than me had flagged the damn thing.

One of the reasons we dislike the I/P threads generally is that most people abandon them when they turn into shouting matches and then the people left in the threads treat each other badly with very little oversight.

The list of topics on which some MeFites are unable to treat each other civilly seems endless.
posted by zarq at 9:10 PM on June 4, 2010


No, it's really about five or six items long, a few more if we include AskMe topics that don't come up in MeFi. The big deal is the same topics, that go terribly, are also the ones that some people feel are very very important [I'm sure these are connected] so while it might be nice to say "Just don't talk about Israel here" that's not at all realistic, so we have to keep a close watch on them and deal with the fallout. And really, as bad as these topics go here, they tend to go worse elsewhere which I think is why people who care deeply about these topics would prefer to try to discuss them here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:14 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think you can expect too much nuance at the 200+ comment mark. I mean, who did you expect to jump to his defense? I wonder who is lt actually reading the thread? At this point its mostly people shouting at each other. Or trying their very best to shout at each other without actually doing so.
posted by chunking express at 9:51 PM on June 4, 2010


Thank you for deleting it, Jessamyn. And thank you for letting us know that people other than me had flagged the damn thing.

Thank you for deleting it, and thank you folk who flagged it. But let's not make a habit of counting how many times a post is flagged. Its removal suffices to satisfy the needs of the community; to start counting coupe is to fundamentally change this community.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:55 PM on June 4, 2010


Also, if you find you are *regularly* being treated like a jerk, maybe you actually are acting like a jerk. (Though it is certainly possible its everyone else.)

In this particular thread, I think anyone playing mental gymnastics trying to justify the actions of the IDF are going to piss people off. That's still not a good reason to talk about throwing bricks at each other, etc, but it really shouldn't be surprising. I mean, people here freak out about declawing cats.
posted by chunking express at 10:02 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you for deleting it, and thank you folk who flagged it. But let's not make a habit of counting how many times a post is flagged. Its removal suffices to satisfy the needs of the community; to start counting coupe is to fundamentally change this community.

I'm not counting coup and have no intention of making a habit of it. I was honestly surprised that the comment had not only stayed in place for 5 or 6 hours, but that some 30+ comments had been made in the thread after it, and not one person of the 10 or so who were actively participating mentioned it. In a thread filled with justified outrage over how a group of people are being mistreated, not one a single person bothered to step up and even say something mild like "you really shouldn't say that" in 6 hours.

So yeah, it's nice to know that I wasn't the only one who saw it and thought it should be flagged. Especially since I'm not exactly feeling particularly welcome around here lately myself.
posted by zarq at 10:05 PM on June 4, 2010


Also, if you find you are *regularly* being treated like a jerk, maybe you actually are acting like a jerk. (Though it is certainly possible its everyone else.)

I'm open to the possibility that this is so.

However, I've been quietly asking several Mefites in memail and on twitter for advice. I have asked them if I'm communicating poorly, and for advice on how to improve if that's the case. So far, all of them have told me that I'm not doing anything wrong, and some have offered a variety of reasons why people might be deliberately misinterpreting my words and attacking me so often. Others just seem as baffled by it as I am.

If you have constructive advice to contribute, I'd welcome it.
posted by zarq at 10:15 PM on June 4, 2010


Jessamyn, I'm not particularly happy with Metafilter at the moment. That may be biasing my perspective of the scale of the problem.
posted by zarq at 10:21 PM on June 4, 2010


Thank you for explaining.
posted by zarq at 10:21 PM on June 4, 2010


Is this a MeTa, MeFi, or AskMe problem? I can't imagine why anyone would have their ginch in a knot about you.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 PM on June 4, 2010


Fat people, circumcision, cat declawing, Israel / Palestine, LOL Christians … mushrooms?
posted by chunking express at 10:28 PM on June 4, 2010


i just skimmed a couple pages of your comments and now I really can't see anyone but a lunatic being out for your blood. I suggest you ignore them. Flag and move on, I guess. Certainly don't respond; that can only encourage them.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:34 PM on June 4, 2010


If you have constructive advice to contribute, I'd welcome it.
posted by zarq


My advice is don't even think about leaving because that would be a serious loss for Metafilter and very upsetting to me personally.
posted by jamjam at 11:01 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thinks it's important to be able to step back and not take things on the site too personally. I also think you didn't say anything that crazy in the thread, but like a cat declawing thread, once people think you are OK with getting rid of those claws they probably stop reading what you're saying. Or, read everything you have to say in the worse light. I think the trick is knowing when to stop responding to the stupid attacks.
posted by chunking express at 4:28 AM on June 5, 2010


I was honestly surprised that the comment had not only stayed in place for 5 or 6 hours, but that some 30+ comments had been made in the thread after it, and not one person of the 10 or so who were actively participating mentioned it.

I didn't even notice it, tbh.
posted by empath at 4:56 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


eh, it was an incredibly long thread, and mostly re-hashing the exact same I slash Pee stuff that's already been done to death. I'd assume that most people - like me - just ducked in & out, read a bit, Page Down-ed a lot, and missed whatever the comment was. something to do with a brick, yeah? nobody reads the comments down here, anyway.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:50 AM on June 5, 2010


what?
posted by infini at 5:54 AM on June 5, 2010


nobody except infini reads the comments down here, anyway.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:01 AM on June 5, 2010


i think I need to lie down for half an hour before I make any sudden moves. close the headlights a little.
posted by infini at 6:04 AM on June 5, 2010


I was honestly surprised that the comment had not only stayed in place for 5 or 6 hours

This place is dead on [US] Friday night. Mod email drops pretty much to zero as does the flagging queue. It's the time when people are most likely to be doing other things. That was a thread that all but the most dedicated had abandoned. People were behaving generally badly but not so badly as to shut the thread down. The echo chamber effect is a problem, not just because that sort of thing is tiresome but because it can wind up like that thread did, with unpopular opinions being shouted down and no one calling our attention to him. And I'd unfollowed that thread, or stopped reading it. I don't even know if I'd started reading it.

So I know you're bummed about the site generally zarq, but I don't think it's a good example of "people stood by and did NOTHING" There are certainly problems with the site and you may feel that there are problems with your relationship to it, but in the same way that people keep popping up in the BP threads and commenting some variant of "death to BP execs" [even though we've asked them not to] people are going to pop in and wish ill will on other commenters for a variety of reasons. We could maybe be more aggressive about moderating those sorts of things, time of and such, but it's a tricky thing and mostly we'd just like to remind people to be decent to each other.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:18 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Iran has been mentioned a couple of times, I would urge anyboduy interested to checl this FPP, which seems to have gone unnoticed. Things are hotting up again, with rallies planned for the anniversary of the rigged election and the goverment making hostile noises.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on June 5, 2010


"I don't think you can expect too much nuance at the 200+ comment mark. I mean, who did you expect to jump to his defense? I wonder who is lt actually reading the thread? At this point its mostly people shouting at each other. Or trying their very best to shout at each other without actually doing so."

Not at all, or at least I don't think so. It's been one of the more interesting threads on Mefi in a while. All the shouty stuff died out in the middle and it's mostly just people who are genuinely interested in conversation now.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:04 PM on June 5, 2010


Is this a MeTa, MeFi, or AskMe problem? I can't imagine why anyone would have their ginch in a knot about you.

I don't contribute to AskMe much. It's a MeTa and MeFi problem. In addition to the dustup with artw in the most recent I/P thread, it feels to me like I wind up defending myself a hell of a lot around here. I used to think it was confirmation bias on my part, or that I was taking things too personally. Maybe it is and I am. I don't know.

I post FPP's and some folks complain that I'm editorializing. OK, fine. That's par for the course around here and I've complained about it myself on other people's posts every once in a while. There are times when the complaint seems ridiculous to me, but whatever.

I know that sometimes anger and misinterpretation is unavoidable. Like in a Dawkins thread, or if I'm talking with someone who's pretty defensive about a topic. So I try to ask them to re-read what I wrote, stay calm and correct them. Some topics just make people twitchy. And sometimes someone comes late to a discussion and complains you didn't link to stories before they appeared online. (OK, that last one did make me laugh.)

But damn, it can be annoying as hell when it happens over and over again. And after a while I start to wonder what I'm doing to piss people off.

You're right. I have to try not to take things so personally. But sometimes I do feel like I have to respond if I'm being wrongfully accused of something. Also, I was a lot angrier about this earlier in the week. A little time to think let me step back, take a breath and calm down. Maybe I just have to try and do that more often, too.
posted by zarq at 12:14 AM on June 6, 2010


This place is dead on [US] Friday night. Mod email drops pretty much to zero as does the flagging queue. It's the time when people are most likely to be doing other things. That was a thread that all but the most dedicated had abandoned. People were behaving generally badly but not so badly as to shut the thread down.

OK. I didn't consider that last night. Or that people who were still commenting (like empath) might have simply missed duncadunk's comment. It looked to me like tacit acceptance at the time.

The echo chamber effect is a problem, not just because that sort of thing is tiresome but because it can wind up like that thread did, with unpopular opinions being shouted down and no one calling our attention to him.

I know you're not saying this, but I want to mention it anyway: I do realize you can't read everything posted to the site. My complaint isn't that you or the rest of Team Mod had seen it and let it stand. If something's not flagged you may not be aware of it. And I know you have to make a judgment call when you see things, anyway.

So I know you're bummed about the site generally zarq, but I don't think it's a good example of "people stood by and did NOTHING"

I see your point.

but in the same way that people keep popping up in the BP threads and commenting some variant of "death to BP execs" [even though we've asked them not to] people are going to pop in and wish ill will on other commenters for a variety of reasons.

Unfortunately true. I stopped reading the BP threads for that reason.

We could maybe be more aggressive about moderating those sorts of things, time of and such, but it's a tricky thing and mostly we'd just like to remind people to be decent to each other.

I understand. I l;ike the fact that you're trying to have a light touch with the site. But the fact that such a reminder for decency is needed, (and it seems like it's needed often,) is kinda disheartening.
posted by zarq at 12:29 AM on June 6, 2010


My advice is don't even think about leaving because that would be a serious loss for Metafilter and very upsetting to me personally.

I was. I may still take a break, but I'm not quitting the site. I lost my temper in MeTa in February and seriously regretted it afterwards. Don't want to do that again.

But thanks. It's kind of you to say that.
posted by zarq at 12:33 AM on June 6, 2010


I think the trick is knowing when to stop responding to the stupid attacks.

True. I'm not good at it.
posted by zarq at 12:35 AM on June 6, 2010


Fat people, circumcision, cat declawing, Israel / Palestine, LOL Christians … mushrooms?

Religion / Atheism. Mention Dawkins and the thread will almost always derail.
Andrew Sullivan.
Republicans. Sarah Palin is in a class by herself.
Vaccinations / Autism
A variety of "boyzone" topics.
Abortion
Non-PC words and curses.
Ayn Rand
And every once in a while, someone pops up and defends the Confederacy.
posted by zarq at 12:50 AM on June 6, 2010


Oh, and Helena Bonham Carter's behind
posted by zarq at 12:52 AM on June 6, 2010


not to mention boingboing etc
posted by infini at 1:01 AM on June 6, 2010


Oh, and Helena Bonham Carter's behind

Behind what?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:50 AM on June 6, 2010


behind the shark that she jumped at least ten years ago.

the shark couldn't stand watching her anymore either, and turned tail.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:11 AM on June 6, 2010


Helen Thomas saying that Jews should get the hell out of Palestine and go home to Poland and Germany disappoints but doesn't shock me.

Does it justify sensitivity to certain types of I/P discourse? Were Jewish media who criticized her before this paranoid or wrong to do so? Maybe maybe not, but it certainly doesn't help.

But then again, some people do defend her and her statement as not being antisemitic.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:14 AM on June 6, 2010


Video of the Thomas incident is here. She's already recanted her statement, probably because there's been a bit of a public outcry and call for her to be fired.

But then again, some people do defend her and her statement as not being antisemitic.

I'd have argued against it myself, if it weren't for the fact that the interviewer said "So where should the Jews go?" and that's the statement she was responded to.
posted by zarq at 7:35 AM on June 6, 2010


Does it justify sensitivity to certain types of I/P discourse?

There's sensitivity as in being thin-skinned, and there's sensitivity as in "Ah, I can tell where he/she is coming from and it's not a nice place." I've been given a pretty hard time in this thread but I have not resiled from my views.

A lot of the people here are very reluctant to recognise racist speech - it's as if it's cognitively hard to process: "He seems a decent chap, so I'll chalk this up to an excess of enthusiasm on behalf of the Palestinians." And then the person who identified the racist speech becomes the bad guy - because you see, the speech wasn't racist at all! But it was racist and the speaker ought to be called on it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:23 AM on June 6, 2010


WTF Helen. She has done so much excellent work for so long, and now this? How sad.
posted by homunculus at 8:41 AM on June 6, 2010


Also, I don't believe that people in the West Bank are being evicted from their home

I can not see how I am to believe you are correct about subtle racism when you make statements that are best explained by beleiving you are so racist as to be willfully blind.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:48 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The above should be addressed to Joe.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:49 AM on June 6, 2010


I can not see how I am to believe you are correct about subtle racism when you make statements that are best explained by beleiving you are so racist as to be willfully blind.

I am astonished that you should think so. But if you can show me to be wrong I will be very happy to apologise.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:03 AM on June 6, 2010


> I am astonished that you should think so. But if you can show me to be wrong I will be very happy to apologise.

Re-read all of your comments but imagine that you are a Palestinian farmer who had his family's olive tree orchards bulldozed by the IDF with no compensation. Then look for hints in your comments that you have a pretty severe bias.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:09 AM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


zarq:
I admit to seeing the pile-on and deciding to just not get involved. It was ugly, and certainly shouldn't have gone on so long, and next time I see such a thing I will make an effort to say something in thread. I apologise.

Joe:
In this modern world, we have had - for quite some time - certain institutions whose purpose is to get many people to act according to the will of a few. In its more benevolent forms, this stems from the belief that people are unable to take care of themselves, and need some larger entity to take care of them. In its less kindly forms, this is what it looks like when a few try to exploit the many. Recall the Italian fascist flag: a bundle of sticks, tied together. The message is that as one, people are stronger. One stick in the bundle is a bit longer than the others: it is the job of the strong to shepherd the weak.

The main institutions to which I refer are the modern nation-state and organized religion and, to the extent that it is used as a tool of these institutions, ethnic identity. I believe rather strongly that many of the dominant Western religions were picked up by and survived because of their compatibility with state power. Christianity - in the form picked up by the mainstream - is all about bowing to a greater authority. Same goes for mainstream Islam. It's worth observing that when these religions took off, states were much weaker than they are today. And indeed, once nationalism took off as a force for uniting people under the banner of a government, religion became a little less important. Both organized religion and modern nationalism can be viewed as forces meant to shift people's allegiances away from the tribal level, and towards a more abstracted, centralized power. FWIW, ethnic identity has often been used as a tool for bolstering the power of a state: nationalism is an outgrowth of the 'nation-state,' which essentially means that the government identifies with a particular set of cultural norms. Ethnicity is often used as a way to create hatred amongst the lower classes - pointing at dirty Mexicans or Palestinians is a great way to keep people distracted from the rich people ripping them off.

What's all this have to do with Israel?

Israel is a nation-state that utilises ethnicity and religion as tools for unification. Indeed, Isreal uses ethnicity and religion to actively recruit people who live abroad into moving to Israel and identifying with the interests of the Israeli state. The Israeli state is not the Jewish people, nor is it the Jewish religion, but its politics and its rhetoric is built on the notion that it is identical to both of these things. This is a very clever move to get people to do things that they normally wouldn't dream of doing, and has often convinced otherwise good people to support and commit heinous atrocities. It's a clever move that has been repeated many, many times throughout history, and which has been shown to work very well. Just to cite one example, the identification of Australia with Britain was strong enough to convince the people of that country to sail off to a slaughter at Gallipoli on the far side of the planet, and ethnic and religious identity keeps modern Australians identifying more with the concerns of Western Europe than with the much nearer large economies in east Asia.

When people talk about Israel, they are not necessarily talking about Jews, just as when people talk about Australia they aren't necessarily talking about white people or Christians.

Ultimately, we're just people - you, me, a starving guy under a tin roof, a guy who works at a border checkpoint. The extent to which we are racists or nationalists or religionists simply tells the extent to which we've bought the lies.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:12 AM on June 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


(or genderists.)
posted by kaibutsu at 9:13 AM on June 6, 2010


When people talk about Israel, they are not necessarily talking about Jews

It's rather irritating to hear this repeated about a dozen times, as if it were some remarkable insight.

Do you have any doubt that when Helen Thomas said Israelis should be sent back to Germany and Poland she meant Jews, specifically Jews, and not Arabs or other Israelis with non-Jewish ancestry? If so, I assure you that you're wrong: she said Israelis but she meant Jews. She was using the classic antisemitic trope of the rootless Jew who isn't really native, isn't really attached to his home, and should just be moved on when his presence is too offensive. You might not be sensitised to this, but I assure you that her meaning is unmistakable to anyone with a reason to know about this sort of thing.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:42 AM on June 6, 2010


Helen Thomas is not a policy maker.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:47 AM on June 6, 2010


hey guys I found one example of somebody saying "Israelis" and meaning "Jews", that totally disproves the notion that sometimes when people say "Israelis" they don't mean "Jews" because I haven't the first idea how logic works
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:00 AM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pope Guilty wrote: [...] sometimes when people say "Israelis" they don't mean "Jews" [...]

It's rather irritating to hear this repeated about over a dozen times, as if it were some remarkable insight.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:08 AM on June 6, 2010


I am not now, nor have I ever been, Helen Thomas.
posted by Sailormom at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Pope Guilty wrote: [...] sometimes when people say "Israelis" they don't mean "Jews" [...]

It's rather irritating to hear this repeated about over a dozen times, as if it were some remarkable insight.
posted by Joe in Australia


And yet, you still keep using it as a basis for your arguments.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 AM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dear Joe;
Good on ya for arguing with Helen Thomas, rather than what was written.

Best,
-kaibutsu
posted by kaibutsu at 10:15 AM on June 6, 2010


Which is, I suppose, to say that Israeli policy and ethno-religious identity get mixed up EXACTLY BECAUSE the Israeli state uses the ethno-religious identity to maintain power and carry out its goals. You don't want the Helen Thomas' of the world to keep mixing up the Israeli state and the Jewish people? Then please, by all means, start asking the Israeli government to start representing all of the people who live in Israel and stop using Jewish identity as a weapon.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:21 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


He'd rather argue with Helen Thomas than with us because to acknowledge what we are writing would be to admit that his worldview is based on lies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:22 AM on June 6, 2010


At the rate this is going, we'll have a replacement for ParisParamus.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:23 AM on June 6, 2010


It's classic conspiracy theory argumentation:

If any two people agree on any subject, then they always share the same motivations and ultimate goals.

It can't possibly be that anybody who agrees with an anti-semite that Israel should end the blockade against Gaza is doing so for any reason besides anti-semitism.
posted by empath at 12:23 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


It can't possibly be that anybody who agrees with an anti-semite that Israel should end the blockade against Gaza is doing so for any reason besides anti-semitism.

That's a straw-man argument and it does you no credit. Surely you can agree that these remarks are antisemitic:
Somebody on the flotilla to the IDF: Go back to Auschwitz (and the long version)
Helen Thomas about Israel: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine ... They can go home! ... Poland. Germany."

This thread started because Orthogonality didn't think it was fair to describe this as being part of the same continuum:
"I do not like the State of Israel, and wish that it would go away."

The funny thing is that the first two remarks had already been made when I flagged Meatbomb's comment as being antisemitic, although I didn't know it at the time. I don't think I have ever had my opinion confirmed so quickly and so exuberantly.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:56 PM on June 6, 2010


Brick wall
posted by Burhanistan at 5:08 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey Joe? Here's the difference between those three statements:

1) Telling Israelis to go back to a concentration camp is indisputably antisemitic. And speaking as someone who lost family members in the camps, I sincerely hope that insensitive, "Go back to Auschwitz" activist remains naive and never, ever has to face similar horrors.

2) Telling Jews to return to places where they were oppressed, rounded up and murdered is also antisemitic.

3) Criticizing Israel for its foreign policies and the way it treats Palestinians is not antisemitic.

Meatbomb's full comment, emphasis mine was: "I do not like the State of Israel, and wish that it would go away. It does a grave disservice to Jews, democracy, memory of the Holocaust, the West, pretty much anything it associates itself with.

One state solution."


If you're going to quote what he said, quote it all. The second sentence provides additional context, which clearly shows he's upset with Israel's policies, and not its very existence.
posted by zarq at 7:14 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Kaibatsu, thank you.

One thing, though:

The Israeli state is not the Jewish people, nor is it the Jewish religion, but its politics and its rhetoric is built on the notion that it is identical to both of these things.

Israel was deliberately founded as a Jewish State. I don't disagree with your points about the way the religion can become intertwined with political policies and used to force homogeneity. But we cannot ignore the fundamental fact that it is was always intended to be a Jewish state and refuge for Jews.
posted by zarq at 7:21 PM on June 6, 2010


Just to clarify what should already be crystal clear: I am indeed upset with Israel's very existence. There are a lot of ways things could have spun out in some alternate history in which Israel would have been a viable long term entity, but things are too far off the rails now for any two state solution to work.

I am a supporter of a one state solution to the I/P conflict. Such a solution would involve the dissolution of the current Israel, leaving something democratic, pluralistic, and multicultural in its place. I liked some of the feelers put out from Clinton in the last round of talks, like moving a big chunk of the UN to Jerusalem and making it an open, international city or some such.

I don't want anyone sent off to camps. I don't hate Jews, in fact I quite like them. One of the reasons I hate Israel much more than Hamas is that I identify with the people and culture that Israel claims to represent, and I think Israel makes Jews, westerners, liberals, and democrats look bad through guilt by association.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:26 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Israel was deliberately founded as a Jewish State.

You know, its possible to be against the idea of a state _for_ any particular ethnic or religious group in principle. I think in the long run, countries are better off when they are founded on philosophical principles, rather than ethnicity, language and religion. I welcome immigration to the US, and I'm for open borders in general.

It would be great if Israel was the kind of country that could expand its definition so that it also includes Palestinians, and vice versa. That's kind of impossible the way its defined now.
posted by empath at 7:32 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Racial nationalism is a corrosive and horrible force regardless of who practices it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:34 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, its possible to be against the idea of a state _for_ any particular ethnic or religious group in principle.

I understand that. That's not what I was responding to, though.
posted by zarq at 7:57 PM on June 6, 2010


Racial nationalism is a corrosive and horrible force regardless of who practices it.

Hear hear. Nationalism of about any flavor scares the shit out of me.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:02 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am indeed upset with Israel's very existence.

I stand corrected.
posted by zarq at 8:02 PM on June 6, 2010


Zarq wrote: If you're going to quote what he said, quote it all. The second sentence provides additional context, which clearly shows he's upset with Israel's policies, and not its very existence.

Zarq, it's great that you're standing up for people after the way you've been treated. I'm surprised, but impressed.

Anyway, Helen Thomas's statement also had context - some at the time, some in her long engagement with the Palestinian cause. It was also a political comment, at least as much as Meatbomb's was. The only difference was that she said "back to Poland and Germany" while he just said "away". But they're both political comments - they both express a desire to remedy a problem by getting rid of the Jews. Sorry, "the Israelis". And he explicitly said that he was opposed to Israel's very existence. I'm not especially surprised you made the error: this is what I mean about racism being cognitively hard to process.

I've spoken to a lot of Hungarian Jews who lived through the Holocaust. They told me that the non-Jewish locals enthusiastically supported the deportation. Remember, this was after years or decades or propaganda about how Jews are wealthy capitalists, or communists, and how they exploit people, and grab all the places at university and so forth. I am quite sure that the Jews' neighbours didn't think that they were going to be sent straight to Auschwitz. They just wanted the Jews to go away.

Here's another historical parallel for you. In World War Two, after Pearl Harbour, lots of people were concerned about Americans of Japanese descent. You probably know the whole story of how they were rounded up and put into concentration camps. I can understand why your country did this: it was at war with Japan, there was speculation that Japanese spies had helped the attack on Pearl Harbour, spies for Japan would logically be drawn from people with the greatest cultural affinity for Japan. But it doesn't really matter how grounded in reality the rationale was: the same impulse was behind the Holocaust. If the war had continued for a few more years the internees would have faded from public consciousness, conditions in the camps might have deteriorated (and some were pretty bad, as bad as many Nazi labor camps) and it's easy to imagine that the interned Japanese-Americans would have just ... gone ... away. (*)

This is why you really ought not justify or tolerate this sort of thing. It doesn't matter whether the speaker is motivated by racial or political hatred. It's the idea itself: when someone expresses a desire to make a nation or an ethnic group "go away" they are winking at genocide. And it really doesn't matter if they introduce their desire with the right political noises and justifications, or dress it up with promises that the people made to "go away" will be treated well. That's how it's done. The same justifications are always made, the same promises are made, the victims will even play along. After all, the alternative isn't any better.

(*) I can give other examples if you like - ones where the genocide actually happened. But I think the Japanese-American experience is telling precisely because your country didn't go down the European path.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:08 PM on June 6, 2010


Such a solution would involve the dissolution of the current Israel, leaving something democratic, pluralistic, and multicultural in its place.

You really can't believe that, can you? At best, it would turn out like Iraq. At worst, I don't even want to imagine.
posted by empath at 8:08 PM on June 6, 2010


In World War Two, after Pearl Harbour, lots of people were concerned about Americans of Japanese descent. You probably know the whole story of how they were rounded up and put into concentration camps. I can understand why your country did this: it was at war with Japan, there was speculation that Japanese spies had helped the attack on Pearl Harbour, spies for Japan would logically be drawn from people with the greatest cultural affinity for Japan. But it doesn't really matter how grounded in reality the rationale was: the same impulse was behind the Holocaust. If the war had continued for a few more years the internees would have faded from public consciousness, conditions in the camps might have deteriorated (and some were pretty bad, as bad as many Nazi labor camps) and it's easy to imagine that the interned Japanese-Americans would have just ... gone ... away. (*)

You do realize that Gaza is pretty much a giant concentration camp now, yes?
posted by empath at 8:10 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mean, I would think the parallels between Japanese Internment and Gaza would be pretty clear. Or, if you like, Indian Reservations. It's not the conditions of the confinement that matter, it's the confinement itself.
posted by empath at 8:12 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


empath wrote: I think in the long run, countries are better off when they are founded on philosophical principles, rather than ethnicity, language and religion.

I agree. None the less, this was not the thinking sixty years ago when so many other single-ethnicity states were set up. Also, the idea behind partition wasn't philosophical: it was a practical solution to the impending massacre of Palestinian Jews by Palestinian Arab mobs.

You know, its possible to be against the idea of a state _for_ any particular ethnic or religious group in principle.

Yes. In fact I don't think any other view is compatible with a modern liberal outlook. But when people say that they hate Israel because it's a Jewish state, and they ignore the fact that the entire Middle East (except Lebanon, more or less) consists of Islamic states, it makes me ask whether they're really opposed to ethnic states, or just Jewish ones.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:18 PM on June 6, 2010


Whether or not anyone who was left in that thread saw fit to call out dunkadunc's comment [it was flagged, but not much] doesn't make it a non-shitty comment.

I was getting really weary of falameufilho's mental gymnastics justifying what's going on- no real empathy, logic or facts, just the same old bigoted "nya nyah, i'm right, you're wrong and i'm not listening". There are some opinions that are simply not justifiable, and falameufilho's stance on Israel is one of them.

Still, oy. Sorry about that, no real intention to hit people with bricks. Not good for Metafilter at all. A better way of expressing how I feel:

falameufilho, please go back to commenting in newspaper comment sections. Metafilter's better than that.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:23 PM on June 6, 2010


zarq: “Israel was deliberately founded as a Jewish State. I don't disagree with your points about the way the religion can become intertwined with political policies and used to force homogeneity. But we cannot ignore the fundamental fact that it is was always intended to be a Jewish state and refuge for Jews.”

This is true, but it's worth pointing out (although I'm sure you are aware of this, and it's probably been mentioned at some point in this long, long thread that I don't have the heart to read through completely): the state of Israel was founded deliberately as a distinctly ethnically Jewish state, and pointedly not as a religious Jewish state. The Rabbis in general opposed the foundation of the state of Israel, and for the most obvious reasons: because the foundation of such a state at this time is clearly not intended by the Torah or any of the prophets, and in fact contradicts the stated sequence of events. The state of Israel saw its foundations not in the Jewish religion, but in Zionism – real, actual Zionism, not the caricature called up by most people when they hear that word, the sort of Zionism that Theodor Herzl envisioned: a generally secular sanctuary for the world's Jews. Rabbi Kook, the spiritual father of religious Zionism, was vastly in the minority amongst the Rabbis in his support for Zionism proper. And this is no mistake, for Zionism had its seeds, I think, in the writings of Spinoza, who famously foretold the foundation of the state of Israel almost three and a half centuries ago in his Theologico-Political Treatise:
... indeed, I would absolutely believe that, unless the foundations of their religion were to make their [the Jews'] spirits effeminate, they will someday, given the occasion – as human affairs are changeable – erect their imperium once more, and God will choose them anew.
But the foundation of Israel posed real problems for Rabbis who had opposed it – since opposing its foundation beforehand was an abstract, academic matter, but calling for its end once it had already come into existence could mean calling for the deaths of many. Given the particular circumstances at the point in our era at which Israel came to be, the Rabbis who had opposed the state of Israel saw little recourse but to support it as it stood, at least outwardly. And of course, over time, we've seen a growing bed of religious feeling among certain people within Israel based on the notion that Israel is a religious necessity to Judaism as a faith.

I don't feel as though I really have any obvious or easy answers here, and I know there are a couple of different arguments going on at the moment in this thread. I'm sorry if I'm intruding on those. I just wanted to mention that it seems to me that the difficulty with the state of Israel generally has to do with a series of confusions regarding its relationship to the Jewish religion on the one hand and secular Jewish culture on the other.

Joe in Australia: “Somebody on the flotilla to the IDF: Go back to Auschwitz (and the long version)”

Yeah, I've heard that audio. If it doesn't sound distinctly fake to you, I really don't know what to tell you. And given that there's evidence that it really was doctored, it seems worth it to hold of quoting that bit as a prompt for outrage.

But even aside from that relatively minor point – I have to say that I think you're going about all this in entirely the wrong way. By emphasizing some sort of general solidarity with a shifting, supposedly homologous concept called "Israel" – without once asking what that concept really means, whether it's consistent with itself, and whether it's actually good for the Jews – you're encouraging the same fiat identity formed by all those who just from criticism of Israel to abject racism. You're telling them: "yes, Israel is exactly the same thing is Judaism and Jewishness." And when you tell them that, then you're telling them that whenever they have objections to the way Israel handles itself, they're really objecting to the very existence of Jewish people. This kind of bad reasoning has to stop, and in order to stop it we have to start being clear about the distinctions between Israel and religious Judaism.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that, when I read Meatbomb's comment, I flashed back to those objections that the Rabbis had to the idea of a Jewish state back in the 1930s. Many of them looked around at the world as it was and said that there was no way that such a state, which would provide a very real target and focus for any anti-Semitism, would ever be good for Jews. In fact, many of them even claimed that a Jewish state would lead to nothing but death and injustice. You can hardly blame Meatbomb for voicing reservations that Jews themselves, some might even say important Jews, were voicing eighty years ago.
posted by koeselitz at 8:32 PM on June 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


Joe, you are being deliberately dense in order to present the reading that suits you. This is the last time I'll engage with you here.

There are three different things: Jews, Israelis, Israel. You are choosing to equate "Israel should go away" with "Jews should be exterminated".

I want the State of Israel, a political arrangement, to be replaced by a different state. The Israelis there now would be free to continue living there. Remember when Apartheid collapsed? We didn't round up all the white people and send them off to camps in the interior.

kthxbye
posted by Meatbomb at 8:42 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am a supporter of a one state solution to the I/P conflict. Such a solution would involve the dissolution of the current Israel, leaving something democratic, pluralistic, and multicultural in its place.

Two problems:

1) Both Palestinians and Jews seem to be against the idea of a binational state. In surveys, IIRC only ~20%* of both groups think it a realistic solution. Palestinians only seem to say they're in favor of it if it's their only way to change their current status and existence. Jews look at it as a threat to the existence of a state which was supposed to be their refuge from groups who hate and tried to kill them. Good luck convincing Israeli Jews that non-Jews aren't a potential threat.

2) We're talking about Jews. The nature of Judeophobia, and the two groups' shared history changes things. I think what you're proposing would be impossible to put into practice.


Personally, I'm in favor of a two state solution in which Israel just gives Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians. Withdraw to whatever borders are necessary to preserve peace. (1967 borders would be fine with me.) Remove the illegal settlers. Allow anyone to help the Palestinians rebuild if they want to. No sanctions. Be generous. Give them medical and food supplies. Welcome them as neighbors.

But tell them quite unequivocally that once they have their own country, if a single rocket or mortar lands on Israeli soil, Israel will reserve the right to consider that an act of war. But exercise restraint. Don't react with a declaration of war if a few rockets land. Give the Palestinians time to get things consolidated and under control. Try diplomacy. Appeal to the UN if necessary. If it gets bad, ask for protection from NATO or something.

If the attacks continue after all non-violent pushed for peace are exhausted, then reluctantly declare war.

But I bet it wouldn't be necessary. I suspect that the average Palestinian would want to preserve their freedom and new state at all costs because the alternative would still be fresh in their memory.
posted by zarq at 8:52 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


But when people say that they hate Israel because it's a Jewish state, and they ignore the fact that the entire Middle East (except Lebanon, more or less) consists of Islamic states, it makes me ask whether they're really opposed to ethnic states, or just Jewish ones.

I think it should probably go without saying that most of us are against the governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia.
posted by empath at 9:06 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Koeselitz wrote: But even aside from that relatively minor point – I have to say that I think you're going about all this in entirely the wrong way. By emphasizing some sort of general solidarity with a shifting, supposedly homologous concept called "Israel" ...

Wait a minute. Where did I do that?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:23 PM on June 6, 2010


I want to destroy all nation states.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:24 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Joe in Australia: “Wait a minute. Where did I do that?”

All along. Even if you're not conscious of it, insisting that an anti-Israel statement like Meatbomb's is really about the Jews is at base an insistence that Israel and Jewishness are inextricably linked. Though you've generally ignored the second part of his statement, you're denying by implication that Israel might possibly be bad for the Jews.
posted by koeselitz at 9:35 PM on June 6, 2010


the impending massacre of Palestinian Jews by Palestinian Arab mobs

Funny how those poor helpless settlers who needed to be protected from the ravening Aaaaarabs went on to beat the armies of five countries. You mentioned that yourself, not so long ago.

It just shows that your arguments have nothing to do with facts or consistency, they are only thrown up as noise to protect your basic premise of racial superiority. The contradiction between portraying your heroes as both victims and conquerors never even registers in your mind.

the entire Middle East (except Lebanon, more or less) consists of Islamic states it makes me ask whether they're really opposed to ethnic states, or just Jewish ones.

Islam is as far from an ethnic religion as you can get. It was specifically founded as a counter to the ethnic tensions of the region, and is intended to be universal. There are Muslims of every ethnicity, from European to Filipino. On the other hand, conversion to Judaism is nearly unknown, and there are sects that actually forbid it. Judaism is more of an ethnicity than any other religion in the world today. Jews lived peacefully in the Islamic world for some 1300 years before the ones fleeing Christendom screwed it up.

But hey, once again, your argument isn't concerned with facts, only with reinforcing your own contradictory ideology of persecuted heroism. You're the member of a victimized race, and therefore anything you do is excused, because it's necessary for your survival in the face of an entire world that hates YOU, YOU, YOU!!! Imagine how special you must be, if the ENTIRE WORLD hates you! I bet if aliens came to Earth, you'd be absolutely certain that they hated you, too.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:44 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Judaism is more of an ethnicity than any other religion in the world today.

Hinduism is more extreme in that sense. You literally cannot convert to Hinduism - you are either born a Hindu or not. None of this "it's rare, and some sects forbid it". It simply cannot be done.

Having said that, Hinduism includes people from a number of ethnolinguistic groups, from the Nepalese & the Aryan Northerners, to the Dravidian Southern Indians, and of course the Balinese.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:01 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


MeFi.
posted by homunculus at 11:26 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a daisy chain!
posted by Meatbomb at 11:52 PM on June 6, 2010


And then there's the Druze, who not only prohibit converting into the faith and proselytizing, but will deny their beliefs publicly if they feel that admitting them will put them in danger.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:02 AM on June 7, 2010


My aunt converted to Hinduism.
posted by chunking express at 4:47 AM on June 7, 2010


can you expand on that?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:07 AM on June 7, 2010


that's a different kind of conversion that what Ubu is referring to. you can of course choose your faith and follow a particular spiritual ideology or philosophy

but in the context of being Hindu, where your dharm is laid out by your caste and thus your heritage adn history (not to mention your dna) its pretty much impossible to "convert" into that system - i can't convert to brahmin and vice versa - that's why so many call this caste system a form of embedded social apartheid

Jason Overdorf has a recent article on castes etc

The 2,000-year-old Hindu caste system remains the most powerful force in Indian society.

Friendships, business ties and marriages live and die according to its dictates. Political parties carefully script their election tickets according to its mathematics. And an increasing number of government policies — including spiraling quotas for government jobs and university education — follow its logic.

But it's not polite to talk about it, and might even be dangerous to quantify it.


interesting piece on upward mobility and social dynamics
posted by infini at 5:24 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


also caste and class are not synonymous in india plus I call upon the cydonian to give a far more lucid explanation ;p
posted by infini at 5:24 AM on June 7, 2010


Conversion to Hinduism seems to be a bit controversial; it was apparently such a big-tent religion that conversion wasn't really considered as a Thing... At least until the Christians started showing up and converting people away from Hinduism. It's also worth noting that the Krishnas are a school of Hinduism, and they most certainly recruit. There definitely exist fundamentalist ethnic-purist branches of Hinduism in India, but they aren't the whole story.

See also this chapter, which takes a decidedly decentralized view of Hinduism and Hindu conversion. In the absence of actual conversion rituals (like baptism), Hinduism is defined mainly by the belief and practice of the individual, rather than by the jumping through of sacred hoops. It's a fundamentally different kind of beast from the Abrahamic religions.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:25 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


(The Krishnas. Their buffets kick ass, by the way.)
posted by kaibutsu at 5:38 AM on June 7, 2010


can you expand on that?

She's a practicing Hindu.

And honestly, anyone telling you they know exactly what Hindusim is or is not is a giant-ass liar. (No offense, infini.) There isn't some governing body of Hindu scholars. There aren't really any key religious texts that people would follow like scripture. (It's not like my mom reads the Upanishads to figure out what's the what what.) It's a very loosely structured religion. If you go to India there are countless sects and branches of the religion, and you can't really argue one is any more true than the other. Hare Krishna's aren't the only group to reject the caste system, for example. I don't think it's a religion you can really pin down.

So yeah, she's a Hindu because she acts like Hindu. It's a duck-typed religion.
posted by chunking express at 6:12 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


my dad's favourite anecdote is one where everyone's a hindu, can't find it but somewhere I have a photo from outside a temple saying more or less the same thing... so there you go... all the benefits of hinduism without the restrictions of caste et al
posted by infini at 6:28 AM on June 7, 2010


MeFi.

Yup, not that awesome. Not at all following the "these sorts of threads don't go well here, please make your post with care" guideline, but it had over 100 comments by the time we saw it so we're stuck with it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:26 AM on June 7, 2010


In University my Hinduism professor mentioned that one problem missionaries had when they first arrived in India was that Hindus would just assume that the missionaries were basically confused Hindus. (There are some Hindus that view Jesus as an avatar of Vishnu.)

Kerela has some really beautiful churches, so the missionaries eventually got some people to switch teams.
posted by chunking express at 7:31 AM on June 7, 2010


Mar Thoma - Doubting Thomas buried in Chennai - missionaries a millenium or so too late.

and also, Jesus Christ is known as Issa Massey (Issa the Messiah?) in the vernacular
posted by infini at 8:34 AM on June 7, 2010


Here are some links covering the blowout from the Helen Thomas incident.
I have enough here for an FPP, but am refraining because I can't imagine such a post going well.

White House: Helen Thomas' Remarks "Offensive and Reprehensible"

She's been dropped by her Speakers' Agency and has agreed to bow out of a scheduled high school commencement speech in MD.

Journalist Craig Crawford, who co-authored a book with Thomas, has announced he will no longer be working with Thomas on any book projects.

An Open Letter to Helen Thomas (by Mr. Yoram Dori, adviser to Israeli former-President Shimon Peres, in the JPost)

Former White House Press Secretary Joe Klein: Helen Thomas: Go to the back of the room.

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer: Fire Helen Thomas; She is advocating ethnic cleansing.

Salon.com: The right's Helen Thomas hypocrisy

The Moderate Voice: How I feel about Helen Thomas

Andrew Sullivan

Think Progress: Thomas Has Apologized. When Will Huckabee?

National Review Online: A few basic thoughts...
posted by zarq at 9:08 AM on June 7, 2010


Wow, it's almost like nobody's standing by her and the conflation of her statement with all criticism of Israel is disingenuous or something.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:11 AM on June 7, 2010


Also holy lol at Ari Fleischer pretending to be morally outraged at anything; not a press conference went by that he didn't say something nauseatingly offensive to human dignity.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:12 AM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, poor Helen. I hope that her dopey and poorly constructed remarks don't overshadow her long life of determined journalism. Reading between the lines, she was angry at what she saw as foreigners coming to Israeli settlements from all corners of the Western world and making trouble for local Palestinians, as does indeed happen. She should have refrained from commenting in the first place, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:13 AM on June 7, 2010


And, Ari Fleischer is just lashing out at Thomas for all those piercing stares she gave him when he was spewing lies and spin at the White House podium.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 AM on June 7, 2010


Somebody on the flotilla to the IDF: Go back to Auschwitz (and the long version)

Yeah, I've heard that audio. If it doesn't sound distinctly fake to you, I really don't know what to tell you. And given that there's evidence that it really was doctored, it seems worth it to hold of quoting that bit as a prompt for outrage.


Blumenthal talks about the doctored audio here.
posted by homunculus at 9:26 AM on June 7, 2010


I can't view the Blumenthal video at the moment, but this is from Ha'aretz:
In its clarification, the IDF explained that the audio recording was edited to reduce long periods of silence and to eliminate incomprehensible comments. The IDF further clarified that though the recording was originally attributed to passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, due to "an open channel, the specific ship or ships in the Freedom Flotilla responding to the Israeli Navy could not be identified."

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit further announced that they have posted the full unedited 5 minute and 58 second recording online.

The release of the audio recording was another step taken by the IDF to solidify the claim that the passengers of the Mavi Marmara were determined to attack the soldiers who boarded the deck, and that the soldiers were acting in self defense.
Unedited version on YouTube.
posted by zarq at 9:32 AM on June 7, 2010


Helen Thomas Is Retiring
posted by homunculus at 10:14 AM on June 7, 2010


Poor Helen. Years of sticking it to assholes in the White House and this is how she's remembered.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:21 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Helen Thomas Is Retiring

OK, now I hope someone puts together an FPP about her career because it was pretty amazing in and of itself.
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM on June 7, 2010


Nevermind: MeFi.

Something tells me I'm going to be much happier monitoring my "lesbians make better parents" FPP instead. :P
posted by zarq at 10:53 AM on June 7, 2010


Funny how those poor helpless settlers who needed to be protected from the ravening Aaaaarabs went on to beat the armies of five countries. You mentioned that yourself, not so long ago.

Worth noting that even the Arabs were shocked by this at the time. And in the Six Day War the only reason they won was they struck first and took advantage of Egyptian incompetence and disorganization. That victory then shocked the other involved Arab nations quite badly. The Egyptians were unable to mobilize against a massive attack on their air force, and none of their planes were in hardened bunkers. By the time the Israelis were done, the Egyptian air force had nearly been wiped out without even getting off the ground. This, despite the fact that the Egyptians had started out with an air force between 3 and 4 times the size of Israel's.

Israel was reviled throughout the Arab world for striking first. But if they hadn't, they would surely have been defeated.
posted by zarq at 12:15 PM on June 7, 2010


jessamyn: “Yup, not that awesome. Not at all following the‘"these sorts of threads don't go well here, please make your post with care’ guideline, but it had over 100 comments by the time we saw it so we're stuck with it.”

Looks like some dumbass figured out that posting after 12pm EST on a Sunday night is the best way to avoid getting fightstarter bullshit deleted.
posted by koeselitz at 12:39 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


* There are some opinions that are simply not justifiable, and falameufilho's stance on Israel is one of them.

Dunkadunc, that's bullshit, and you know why? Because you don't know what's my stance on Israel. You're taking one small slice of the problem (which is a little bit that we discussed about the Gaza blockade and the specific flotilla incident) and filling the blanks with what you think is my opinion on the other 98% of the subject.

So don't going around saying I have NON-JUSTIFIABLE OPINIONS unless you're prepared to specifically call them out.
posted by falameufilho at 1:39 PM on June 7, 2010


Strategic analysis aside, the Jewish settlers weren't the helpless lambs they are portrayed as whenever it is convenient to the Zionist argument. The Arab armies were poorly equipped, trained and motivated, while the Zionists had the advantage of years of planning and some significant finances behind them.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:47 PM on June 7, 2010


* falameufilho, please go back to commenting in newspaper comment sections. Metafilter's better than that.

BTW, was that an attempt at apologizing? Because you sucked at it.
posted by falameufilho at 2:00 PM on June 7, 2010


S/He was saying that your comments are similar in their quality and opinions to those seen on newspaper websites.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:39 PM on June 7, 2010


Strategic analysis aside, the Jewish settlers weren't the helpless lambs they are portrayed as whenever it is convenient to the Zionist argument. The Arab armies were poorly equipped, trained and motivated, while the Zionists had the advantage of years of planning and some significant finances behind them.

Focusing on the Israeli War for Independence, now:

I'm not entirely sure who it was that said to you that "Jewish settlers were helpless lambs," because I agree that neither the substantial population of Jews that were already living in Israel prior to the 1940's, nor the influx of settlers after the British withdrew were not helpless. History doesn't view them as helpless, either. But the Jews of Palestine weren't exactly at an overwhelming advantage either, prior to the war.

Let's not forget that the The Arab League not only had set plans years in advance to invade the region immediately following the British withdrawal, but also had supplied arms and men in the form of the Arab Liberation Army to the region in order to fight a war by proxy against the Jews. Meanwhile, the Jews had a slight manpower advantage in their existing, resident population, but the British embargo prevented them from importing either manpower or arms. The Arab League had no such restriction. Both militias were made up of a combination of seasoned soldiers and unskilled volunteers. There are other differences. The Arab economy had collapsed, while the Jewish Va'ad was collecting taxes from residents.

But I've always believed that motivation was the primary reason the Jews won, more than any other factor. The Jews viewed the war as their last stand against Hitler's already started Final Solution. At least some of the Arabs in the militias were not native to the region and therefore did not view the conflict as an ultimate fight for survival. And many Palestinians fled or were ousted by Jewish forces when fighting became too intense.
posted by zarq at 2:50 PM on June 7, 2010


Looks like some dumbass figured out that posting after 12pm EST on a Sunday night is the best way to avoid getting fightstarter bullshit deleted.

I didn't think that post was phrased in a fighty way, and I don't see a big fight going on although it's quite possible I missed some mess that got deleted.

But if you and the mods feel that way, perhaps there should be something in the FPP form that delineates EST hours and days of the week when it's appropriate to post threads about I/P, circumcision, police conflicts, vaccination, cat declawing, various U.S. political figures, religion, obesity, bicyclist activism, and whatever other topics considered fightstarty?
posted by lalex at 3:39 PM on June 7, 2010


I didn't think that post was phrased in a fighty way, and I don't see a big fight going on although it's quite possible I missed some mess that got deleted.

It was editorialized in the title and with the word retired in quotes, implying that she was wrongfully abandoned by people who attacked her and forced to retire. The poster backed that up in this comment, defending his fpp.

At least one derail, possibly two were removed by Jessamyn. In one of them, Thomas was referred to as a "hag." :(

I'm not an expert, but I suspect any post on the subject would have derailed no matter how carefully it had been composed.
posted by zarq at 3:47 PM on June 7, 2010


But if you and the mods feel that way, perhaps there should be something in the FPP form that delineates EST hours and days of the week when it's appropriate to post threads about I/P, circumcision, police conflicts, vaccination, cat declawing, various U.S. political figures, religion, obesity, bicyclist activism, and whatever other topics considered fightstarty?

Daq's been a member as long as I have, but has not been as active. He may not be fully aware that some topics don't go well here.
posted by zarq at 3:53 PM on June 7, 2010


zarq, I thought that the thread koeselitz referred to was the one homunculous linked above; if not then I've misunderstood and I understand your concerns about the Helen Thomas post.
posted by lalex at 3:55 PM on June 7, 2010


I didn't think that post was phrased in a fighty way, and I don't see a big fight going on although it's quite possible I missed some mess that got deleted.

I don't think it was posted in a particularly fighty way either, for what it's worth. There was, however, some mess that got deleted, and at a certain point it makes sense to recognize that a topic can be not just hot-button in general (which I think I/P stuff is pretty exceptionally so) but can be sort of superheated beyond "this was framed in spartan and neutral terms so it's a good post" threshold in context.

And the timing—both in terms of late-on-a -Sunday-night and in terms of on-the-heels-of-two-still-bubbling-angry-I/P-threads (see superheated context comment above)—was not great, and I do think that's something that ortho can appreciate and so I'm going to agree with Jessamyn that this was not an awesome post as a package deal.

perhaps there should be something in the FPP form that delineates EST hours and days of the week when it's appropriate to post threads about I/P

It's fairly well-established that we all live in the US and that we sleep during the night time. Beyond that I don't see us establishing formal operating hours, and vacapinta is usually around to delete the absolutely unambiguous spam/trainwreck posts, so there's pretty much going to be not-great timing manifesting itself.

But folks who have been around and know that timing matters a little in this sense would do well to give us a hand by not making posts about known-explosive topics late in the evening or on weekends or especially both.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:55 PM on June 7, 2010


I'm talking about the same post as you, lalex, yeah.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:56 PM on June 7, 2010


I'm not entirely sure who it was that said to you that "Jewish settlers were helpless lambs,"

Joe from Australia. He claimed the settlers were in imminent danger of being slaughtered by the Palestinians. Those people who were in such danger are the same ones he bragged about as beating five armies, just a little earlier. The point is that he's taking it both ways at the same time, identifying his in-group as both victims and conquerors at the same time. It's exactly what Chomsky and Eco point out about the fascist mindset: the enemy is at the same time overwhelmingly strong and contemptibly weak.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:00 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


perhaps there should be something in the FPP form that delineates EST hours and days of the week when it's appropriate to post threads about I/P

Or we can assume that people who have been on this site long enough know that sort of thing and look slightly askance when they post an offended MeTa on a topic and then a not-unfighty FPP about the same topic a week later.

As we've said, phrasing matters and timing matters. We'd like it if people made an effort to try to discuss hot button items they feel are newsworthy with an attempt to be unfighty. An "Israel Sucks" post, even if yes Israel did something sucky, is not a great way to do that. We left the thread, it's mostly non-fighty, but I am now following four threads in Recent Activity about I/P topics all of which are going only sort of okay with people being sort of dickish in them all of which need ongoing attention.

This is not a great way to spend my mod-time and it's why we have the guideline [yes, not a rule] in the first place. These threads are mod-intensive. And yes, sure, that's our job, but people can through their own actions make that job easier or harder. If they don't care to do that, that's their business and no one gets banned for it but I think it's okay to say we don't like it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:06 PM on June 7, 2010


Joe from Australia. He claimed the settlers were in imminent danger of being slaughtered by the Palestinians. Those people who were in such danger are the same ones he bragged about as beating five armies, just a little earlier. The point is that he's taking it both ways at the same time, identifying his in-group as both victims and conquerors at the same time. It's exactly what Chomsky and Eco point out about the fascist mindset: the enemy is at the same time overwhelmingly strong and contemptibly weak.

Ah. Okay, that's a serious lack of understanding of the region's history, right there. (On Joe's part, I mean.)

You and I discussed this a little bit up thread. I actually went out and took out some history books from the library over the weekend, because it's practically impossible to find unbiased source material about the history of the region online. At this point, the only thing I can tell you is that my understanding is incomplete... and yes, it's biased. I'm now in a position where I have to relearn what I used to be certain of. Which is fascinating, but a little weird. Like finding out years later that Jefferson owned slaves or something.

So... I'm reading. Thanks for initiating that.
posted by zarq at 4:09 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ah... lalex. Sorry about that. I misunderstood.

Too many I/P threads! Can't keep track of 'em all!
posted by zarq at 4:11 PM on June 7, 2010


Joe from Australia

That's Joe IN Australia.

Judging by the fact that his spelling is most certainly not the Queen's English, Joe is more likely to be American or Canadian.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:21 PM on June 7, 2010


Coincidentally, he gives his location as East St Kilda, which is the heartland of orthodox Jews in Melbourne.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:25 PM on June 7, 2010


Jessamyn, I disagree that orthogonality's post was phrased in a not-unfighty way. I don't think that the act of posting about something that's a Big Geopolitical Issue means that someone is trying to be fighty. This video has been widely publicized and discussed, and we've had tons of BP posts because BP is also a Big Deal right now.

And this MeTa thread, which orthogonality did indeed post, is really about egregious misquoting of a fellow MeFite. The fact that they're both related to I/P indicates to me that orthogonality is interested in the issue and follows related threads.

I assume that by favoriting koeselitz's comment above you weren't endorsing the idea that orthogonality is a "dumbass" for posting a non-fighty FPP about I/P slightly after midnight EST. But if you were, I would suggest again that guidance be added to the posting page or FAQ, so that others can avoid making that mistake.
posted by lalex at 4:28 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, Helen — you do great works for all your life, you've got your reputation all sewed up as Helen the Great Journalist.

But fuck just one goat, and you're forever remembered as Helen the Goatfucker.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:37 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I assume that by favoriting koeselitz's comment above you weren't endorsing the idea that orthogonality is a "dumbass" for posting a non-fighty FPP about I/P slightly after midnight EST.

Nope, I don't think he is a dumbass. People use favorites in many different ways.

I don't think that the act of posting about something that's a Big Geopolitical Issue means that someone is trying to be fighty.

Posting an "Israel Sucks" thread in the manner that he did and with the timing that he used and with the history on the site that he has seems calculated to me. Obviously we-as-mods have a different history with him than other users of the site. Usually threads that are flagged so heavily get deleted. However this was an active thread and we decided to babysit it instead.

I would suggest again that guidance be added to the posting page or FAQ, so that others can avoid making that mistake.

We're not going to. People who are heavy site users know this, people who aren't heavy site users don't care. There are no demerits for getting a post deleted or even for having one that gets heavily flagged. I don't really understand your suggestion, what are we trying to help people avoid? Us not liking something?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:49 PM on June 7, 2010


My suggestion was intended to minimize threads that you described as mod-intensive and a not-great use of mod time. But if it's not really a problem from your perspective, then no need.
posted by lalex at 4:58 PM on June 7, 2010


The deal is, it's a policy change to say "don't do this." We're not going to enforce that rule and it's sort of a stupid rule anyhow. People who are curious "Hey what's the best time to make a post for maximum/minimum mod attention?" can figure that sort of thing out pretty quickly since our schedules rarely change. People who seem to consistently act in ways that are labor intensive [I think our backroom term for this is "high cost" users] mostly just have to hear about it from us. And if they choose to not do anything about it, we note that. And that's all that happens.

That said, it's a community and people have differing ideas about their responsibility towards the community, and what that means from both a personal and a community perspective. Us telling everyone what to do doesn't forward that idea. That said, we know that means there will be less overall harmony because people are deciding what they think is important, not having us tell them. And yeah sometimes we complain about people who are acting in ways that we think are at odds with the notional idea of community that we are trying to nurture here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:06 PM on June 7, 2010


Posting an "Israel Sucks" thread in the manner that he did and with the timing that he used and with the history on the site that he has seems calculated to me.

Again, I really did not think this was an Israel Sucks thread. Regardless, I'm not sure it can be assumed that every subtlety of the site's guidelines is known by every user. I'm a pretty heavy reader of MeFi and only recently learned of, say, the new stringency towards update threads in MeTa and the somewhat complex nuances of sockpuppets/AnonyMe questions.

Frankly, I thought that when vacapinta became a mod it meant that the implicit " hey, keep in mind that mods are only active during U.S. daytime hours" guideline became sort of moot.
posted by lalex at 5:11 PM on June 7, 2010


Frankly, I thought that when vacapinta became a mod it meant that the implicit " hey, keep in mind that mods are only active during U.S. daytime hours" guideline became sort of moot.

He's not a mod. He checks in on the site twice a day while we are generally sleeping and has some limited powers to do things. He doesn't answer email and he doesn't have the same range of abilities as the rest of the mod team does.

only recently learned of, say, the new stringency towards update threads in MeTa and the somewhat complex nuances of sockpuppets/AnonyMe questions.

Both of those are things that have either changed fairly recently or been explicated more clearly quite recently. We don't expect people to all know all this stuff, we expect them to trust that we're fairly and consistently moderating the site and to let us know if they think we're not doing that. We're just the janitors most of the time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:20 PM on June 7, 2010


lalex: “I didn't think that post was phrased in a fighty way, and I don't see a big fight going on although it's quite possible I missed some mess that got deleted.”

Look, it's all in the context. And orthogonality and I have had enough experience of each other over the years here on Metafilter that I hope he can take me calling him a dumbass; it's not incredibly personal, and I don't think that about him in general, but that post sort of made me throw up my hands.

I mean, he's the one who brought this to MeTa in the first place by starting this post we're still sorting out here. And yes, he was right – Joe in Australia was in the wrong. Moreover, yes, his new post isn't worded in an overtly fighty way necessarily. But look at the context: a couple of fighty I/P threads, one of which ortho himself (probably rightly) started, and plenty of rage and anger to go around in those threads already. And we've been talking here and elsewhere about the fact that people have died and are dying as a result of these things; there's starvation and mayhem and pain in the lives of children. In the face of that, it just seems... petty to insist on making one more post, a post that skips out on talking about the real issues involved – pain, starvation, massive poverty, institutionalized ignorance – to focus on some petty IDF propaganda that really doesn't deserve any more air time, to be honest.

The mods don't like to place fiat bans on topics, and I think that's a good thing; but they're right that at this particular time it's hard to make a good I/P post. A good post would've cut past all the bullshit and focused on the human angle, narrowing in on what is actually going on and the lives it's affecting. Unfortunately, orthogonality's post just focuses on the most hideous aspect of Israel at the moment. That's fair enough, unfortunately, because it's an aspect we're seeing a lot of, and it's largely the problem with the situation; but it's an immediately confrontational post, because it's pointing out something obviously reprehensible instead of encouraging anybody to think carefully and critically about the issues involved.

“But if you and the mods feel that way, perhaps there should be something in the FPP form that delineates EST hours and days of the week when it's appropriate to post threads about I/P, circumcision, police conflicts, vaccination, cat declawing, various U.S. political figures, religion, obesity, bicyclist activism, and whatever other topics considered fightstarty? ... My suggestion was intended to minimize threads that you described as mod-intensive and a not-great use of mod time. But if it's not really a problem from your perspective, then no need.”

You're missing the point. This isn't an issue of breaking rules or guidelines. It's pretty simple: orthogonality's been around here a long time, and he knows damned well that this was more likely than anything else to start fights. It would've been nice if he'd shown a certain amount of consideration before diving in and doing just that. It's not against the rules, though; it's just a lack of consideration, and if we've got to put a note on the posting page that says "show some consideration!" then I don't really know what good it will do.
posted by koeselitz at 5:22 PM on June 7, 2010


You're missing the point. This isn't an issue of breaking rules or guidelines. It's pretty simple: orthogonality's been around here a long time, and he knows damned well that this was more likely than anything else to start fights.

I disagree. I've been around for a reasonably long time, and I maintain that it's almost impossible - even for heavy readers like myself - to grasp every nuance of what is/isn't OK in terms of posting/commenting on all of the various subsites.

Also, I wasn't proposing a hard rule, just maybe some additional explication in the FAQ or posting page that says something like
It's OK to make a post about a controversial topic, but we'd ask that you (a) check again that your post is not editorializing and (b) if you fear that the topic of your post may elicit a particularly fighty thread, it might be best that you post it during a time when the main site mods are active and can help ensure that the discussion is productive.
posted by lalex at 5:32 PM on June 7, 2010


And Koeselitz, you refer to two Orthogonality posts that you describe as rightly posted. What would you have changed about this sequence of events?
posted by lalex at 5:34 PM on June 7, 2010


> I actually went out and took out some history books from the library over the weekend, because it's practically impossible to find unbiased source material about the history of the region online. At this point, the only thing I can tell you is that my understanding is incomplete... and yes, it's biased. I'm now in a position where I have to relearn what I used to be certain of.

That's pretty damned admirable. I wish more people would do it.
posted by languagehat at 5:42 PM on June 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Leaving aside whether the posts are good enough to stand on their own, Orthogonality is now pretty much the official 'anti-Israel' guy on metafilter and his posts on the topic are feeling more and more axe-grindy.

I think he should continue to comment in I/P threads that others start, but maybe he should call a moratorium on actually starting those threads himself.
posted by empath at 5:44 PM on June 7, 2010


lalex: “And Koeselitz, you refer to two Orthogonality posts that you describe as rightly posted. What would you have changed about this sequence of events?”

I didn't say those posts were right. I said they're fair enough as material goes.

What would I have changed? The sequence. The timing. I would've waited at least a week or three before posting more contentious stuff. Most of all, turning Metafilter into a shitstorm of argument and rage won't help anybody, and sometimes I wish orthogonality understood that.
posted by koeselitz at 5:57 PM on June 7, 2010


lalex, gently: whether or not ortho should (i think he should) or did (I have a hard time believing he didn't) know better than to make a hot-button follow-on post late on a Sunday night does not really have anything to do with whether you personally knew that. ortho has been in these trenches long enough and has I think had enough conversations with us to have a reasonably good sense of this relatively big-picture notion. That's about as far as it goes; it annoys us at a superficial level because it pretty clearly is not an issue if him being blindsided by some subtle nuance of the site.

I appreciate that you're trying to approach the general question constructively, but in this case it seems like a defense of a posting decision to which the defense does not apply, regardless of whether you think it would apply to you if you were in his shoes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:02 PM on June 7, 2010


Thanks, cortex, I think I am just being sensitive because I did break one of the rules of the site, which led to my post being condemned and called "risible" when I genuinely didn't know I had crossed a line.
posted by lalex at 7:35 PM on June 7, 2010


But your post was risible – and I should say that it certainly wasn't a condemnation of you or your post for cortex to say so. It's funny that you linked to a post which had been deleted in a "previously" link. It's not funny because cortex or anybody else thought it reflected on who you are as a person; it's funny because, well, that last post was deleted – so the only sense it was a "previously" discussed topic was the sense in which it was discussed badly and briefly. It's funny like if I put "dropped out of high school" on my resume. That doesn't make you a bad person, or cast you out of the in-group, or whatever. It was just a funny little thing, that's all.

The important thing is that it wasn't personal. cortex isn't really the kind of person to judge you outright and make snide remarks – believe me – and I'm almost certain that when he used the word "risible" he meant just that; no snide superiority or condemnation implied. He was just noting there that the post was being watched, because it linked to a previously-deleted thread, because that's funny, and because funny little things like that make mods wonder if you're trying to fuck around, or if it's innocent. It was clearly innocent, wasn't your fault, the thread went fine, no worries. The mods are just doing their jobs, and when they delete (or don't delete) a thread, it's not because they're condemning anybody.
posted by koeselitz at 7:56 PM on June 7, 2010


Eh, we'll have to agree to disagree.

And for the record I actually did drop out of high school, and actually did go on to earn a degree, so I am happy you find that amusing.
posted by lalex at 8:38 PM on June 7, 2010


I think I am just being sensitive because I did break one of the rules of the site

It's not a site rule, it's a guideline, and it's not even a guideline, it's more like etiquette.

And just to be crystal clear, the thread you're referring to was a similar situation [big giant fighty MeTa thread about a topic and coincidentally-timed FPP on the same topic still being fought about in MeTa] that we're talking about here. It was also, as the Israel thread we're most recently discussing, not deleted.

There's a difference between things that are allowed to stay on the site and things that bring joy and warmth into the hearts of the mod team. We are answering your questions about how to do the former, but if you're asking about the latter we could give some better suggestions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:24 PM on June 7, 2010


Lordy. Is this place really so scary that it's as angsty as all that? Do or do not do, there is no try. Take your lumps and learn, just like everyone else has.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:53 PM on June 7, 2010


Today is the day that I learn that I've been using "risible" wrong for however long I've been using it. I'd always read it as more in terms of provocative or e.g. of questionable etiquette/etc than being specifically laughter-inducing or ludicrous. Wonder where the hell I picked that reading up.

Anyway, that's my Holy Shit for the day. I'd rewrite that comment replacing "risible" with "questionable and kind of provocative" I guess, but the intent remains more or less what koeselitz is talking about: the post's framing and timing as they took place seemed problematic, but that's not a you-suck thing so much as a this-is-not-a-great-thing thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:06 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


the impending massacre of Palestinian Jews by Palestinian Arab mobs

Jimmy Havok wrote: Funny how those poor helpless settlers who needed to be protected from the ravening Aaaaarabs went on to beat the armies of five countries. You mentioned that yourself, not so long ago.

What I actually wrote was "partition [...] was a practical solution to the impending massacre of Palestinian Jews by Palestinian Arab mobs." You're talking about the events of 1948, but Partition was seriously suggested over a decade earlier.

In 1936 people perceived that the Palestinian Jews were clearly going to be massacred as soon as the British pulled out of then-Palestine. They knew this because there had been repeated attacks on Jews; Jewish families and institutions had been forced to leave, e.g., Hebron and some other major towns. You sarcastically said that they weren't "helpless lambs". Actually, they were - these were race riots against a civilian population, not a battle between armed forces.

The whole idea of partition was that Jews in Palestine would then be able to defend their homes. And that's what happened - they prepared for partition and were stunningly, miraculously, successful, and lost only part of the territory they were defending. But that was over a decade later and it was in the context of regular forces defending their territory against invasion, not a minority civilian population living in the same village as their attackers.

As for the rest of your message, please try to control your rants. They're unpleasant and untrue:
It just shows that your arguments have nothing to do with facts or consistency, they are only thrown up as noise to protect your basic premise of racial superiority. [...] You're the member of a victimized race, and therefore anything you do is excused, because it's necessary for your survival in the face of an entire world that hates YOU, YOU, YOU!!! Imagine how special you must be, if the ENTIRE WORLD hates you! I bet if aliens came to Earth, you'd be absolutely certain that they hated you, too.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:08 PM on June 7, 2010


lalex: “And for the record I actually did drop out of high school, and actually did go on to earn a degree, so I am happy you find that amusing.”

I went to college with several people who did the same thing – and without exception, they were more intelligent and dedicated than myself. I didn't mean to be hurtful, and I hope it didn't sound like I was trying to be cutting or biting.
posted by koeselitz at 10:32 PM on June 7, 2010


... but I have to say, now that you've mentioned it, because I've been wondering: why did you link to a deleted post, lalex? Did you just think it was a great post, and shouldn't have been deleted? Did you think it was worthwhile to bring it up again? You seem to have meant it just as a touchstone, like "here's where it came up before;" but didn't the fact that it'd been deleted mean something when you were linking it?

Really, I'm genuinely just curious. Because, to be honest, your suggestion that something about this go on the posting page to let people know isn't a terribly bad idea (although people around here rightly balk at adding rules and regulations) – it's just that it might be better if we instead put a note on deleted pages to the effect that they shouldn't be linked in posts. Then again, the whole "DELETED" banner at the top of posts sort of seemed to imply that to me.
posted by koeselitz at 10:37 PM on June 7, 2010


Looks like some dumbass figured out that posting after 12pm EST on a Sunday night is the best way to avoid getting fightstarter bullshit deleted.

You know, I'd appreciate not being called a dumbass. Not just for me, but for metafilter. We can disagree without being insulting, and doing so makes this a better place

And thanks to Jessamyn for deleting your initial thread-shitting rather than the thread, even if she doesn't like my Flotilla satire video post.

For the record, I didn't intentionally post it at any particular time; I posted it as soon as I read about it on reddit, and watched that jaw-dropping video. I generally get home from work around 10pm or later, and my weekend schedule follows that. (And zarq, I didn't see the "stone a mefite" comment Friday night, because I was out partying.)

Oh, and koeselitz, great comment on the history of Zionism and the founding of Israel. Seriously, meaty and informative. That comment and kaibutsu's on the nation-state are really worth favorite favorite status.

And to anyone else, I only just got through the Helen Thomas thread, and haven't finished reading this one, so if I've missed something else, I'll get to it tomorrow.
posted by orthogonality at 1:40 AM on June 8, 2010


i was just thinking about the original posting made in this thread and it strikes me how often that happens. someone says something, with no harm intended, and someone else hears that or reads that and if they have even the slightest malicious intent can misconstrue a harmless comment, take it out of context and create an unholy mess of hurtful exchanges from all sides for no good reason at all than perhaps their own agenda.

for all of that, I want to say I'm sorry for all the GRAR comments in general

isn't it time to close this thread?
posted by infini at 1:48 AM on June 8, 2010


OK, I just skimmed the rest. Jesus. I'll address it tomorrow.
posted by orthogonality at 1:56 AM on June 8, 2010


Metafilter: I'll address it tomorrow.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:51 AM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's pretty damned admirable. I wish more people would do it.

Thank you. :)

Though I gotta say it seems a little weird to accept praise for wanting to question things and hopefully expand my horizons. I'm just an obsessive autodidact at heart.
posted by zarq at 10:01 AM on June 8, 2010


This may be of interest. Found it on Reddit. I wanted to post it in an I/P thread here, but am kind of at a loss to see where it might fit in.

"As the Arabs see the Jews"
His Majesty King Abdullah,
The American Magazine
November, 1947

Summary

This fascinating essay, written by King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In the article, King Abdullah disputes the mistaken view that Arab opposition to Zionism (and later the state of Israel) is because of longstanding religious or ethnic hatred. He notes that Jews and Muslims enjoyed a long history of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East, and that Jews have historically suffered far more at the hands of Christian Europe. Pointing to the tragedy of the holocaust that Jews suffered during World War II, the monarch asks why America and Europe are refusing to accept more than a token handful of Jewish immigrants and refugees. It is unfair, he argues, to make Palestine, which is innocent of anti-Semitism, pay for the crimes of Europe. King Abdullah also asks how Jews can claim a historic right to Palestine, when Arabs have been the overwhelming majority there for nearly 1300 uninterrupted years? The essay ends on an ominous note, warning of dire consequences if a peaceful solution cannot be found to protect the rights of the indigenous Arabs of Palestine.

posted by zarq at 10:06 AM on June 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


> I wanted to post it in an I/P thread here, but am kind of at a loss to see where it might fit in.

It would seem to fit in in just about every I/P thread. Thanks.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 AM on June 8, 2010


You know, didn't the Israelites not originate in Palestine? I mean, Exodus has them conquering it by killing the existing tribes. So maybe we can find some long-lost descendants of the Midianites or whatever and have them lay claim to Jerusalem.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:55 AM on June 8, 2010


Burhanistan, you're quite welcome.
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on June 8, 2010


I dunno, PG, there was that movie about the Midianites and they seemed pretty feisty - it might make things in the Middle East even worse
posted by jtron at 11:11 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Zarq, there's a subtext to King Abdullah's interview. He wanted to be the ruler of all of former-Palestine, not just the part east of the Jordan (which became Transjordan and then Jordan). He was using this interview to bolster his credentials with nationalist Arab Palestinians who distrusted him. And they were wise to do so, of course: when partition took place, King Abdullah took over the West Bank and Jerusalem and made the residents Jordanians. I think his successor, King Hussein of Jordan, only gave up his claim to Jerusalem in the mid 1980s.

Anyway, King Abdullah's historical analysis is bollocks. Here's the least snarky bit: when he said "For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab" he was obviously wrong because (a) it was a Jewish nation (albeit dominated by Rome) until 132 CE (and you have to think it was majority-Jewish for much longer); and (b) it was only conquered by Arabs in the middle of the seventh century.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:12 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looks like some[one] dumbass figured out that posting after 12pm EST on a Sunday night is the best way to avoid getting fightstarter bullshit [their post] deleted.

In all seriousness, membership's open to people from anywhere, so I don't think this is ever a fair argument unless Metafilter closes for the (EST) night. I haven't been here long enough to memorize the mods and their locations - or particularly care, to be honest. If I see a post or a comment that moves me, I'll probably respond to it - obviously I'll try to make that a reasonable and well thought out comment (and sometimes even reasonable and well thought out comments crash and burn miserably, this is sort of a tone free medium), but I'm not going to take extra care to ensure I'm not posting in a controversial thread after midnight EST. I call Australia from work perhaps three or four times a day and I can barely remember the time difference to there.
posted by doublehappy at 12:40 AM on June 9, 2010


I gotta agree with doublehappy - when I first came to MeFi there was no activity during US night time but now there's some life more or less 24/7
posted by infini at 2:51 AM on June 9, 2010


I agree too. When somebody suggested a note not to post [controversial?] stuff late at night American EST time, my only thought was "Yeah, like I'm gonna fuck around trying to work out what time it is in NY before posting!"

Not that I have to worry, as I never post anything controversial anyway.

Now, let's go burn down a Greek Orthodox cathedral. God, I hate those guys.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:39 AM on June 9, 2010


*obligatory eye rolling at Ubu*
posted by infini at 3:50 AM on June 9, 2010


Ubu for Aussie Mod!

(May you live in interesting times...)
posted by Jimbob at 4:03 AM on June 9, 2010


Ubu for Aussie Mod!

An Aussie or East Asian mod would go a long way toward making this a truly global/international site, and that's no joke.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:43 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


pancakes for japanese modifications

er...
posted by infini at 4:48 AM on June 9, 2010


For a truly international site, we should have at least one Jewish mod and one Palestinian mod.
posted by doublehappy at 5:34 AM on June 9, 2010


No wai!

Palestine isn't a country, and Jewish is not a nationality.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:46 AM on June 9, 2010


but you can ALL be Hindu :)
posted by infini at 5:52 AM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


For a truly international site, we should have at least one Jewish mod and one Palestinian mod.

Some of the mods are partially one of those. :)
posted by zarq at 6:43 AM on June 9, 2010


Technically I'm considered Jewish. cortex has one Jewish parent. I don't know the religious/ethnic affiliations of either mathowie or pb but I don't think they're Palestinian.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:51 AM on June 9, 2010


I dunno. That mathowie guy looks a little Palestinian. He has dark hair. Let's see if he can float...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:27 AM on June 9, 2010


you're so weird, but I guess that's the price of entry by default anyhoos
posted by infini at 10:39 AM on June 9, 2010


500
posted by languagehat at 11:59 AM on June 9, 2010


5000.
posted by box at 12:15 PM on June 9, 2010


KRING KRING KRING HING HRING DAKSHINE KALIKE
KRING KRING KRING HRING HRING HUNG HUNG SWAHA
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:40 PM on June 9, 2010


can I repeat weird so soon?
posted by infini at 1:43 PM on June 9, 2010


Oh, that's nothing.

Savaruhaammahabhimaghoradanshtram Hasanmukhim
Chaturbhujamkhadagmundavarabhayakaram Shivam
Mundamaladharamdevi Lolajihvandigambaram
Evam Sanchintayetkalim Shamasanalayavsinim
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:51 PM on June 9, 2010


Was that a bhajan?
posted by zarq at 1:54 PM on June 9, 2010


no, he's reading out parts of the scripture of an ancient vedic ceremony.
posted by infini at 1:55 PM on June 9, 2010


Interesting.

Mentally, I'm hearing the words set to the music of "Taterphone."
posted by zarq at 1:56 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


yes, when the ceremony ends he mystically turns into the ultimate empty minded god, the drooling one next to the elephant headed one
posted by infini at 1:57 PM on June 9, 2010


I like how you can say anything if you're a hindu! For example:

Q: What does Lord Ganesha say when his rat brings him laddoos?

A: Om nom nom.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:06 PM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


(in case that needed explanation, each god has a 'vehicle' familiar - eg Lord Vishnu has a garuda, but Lord Ganesha's vehicle is a teensy little rat. The rat is normally depicted bringing Lord Ganesha a plate of round yellow sweets called laddoos. You can see the ratty & the sweets in the bottom corner of this image)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:13 PM on June 9, 2010


I used to sit at a Zen temple, at which the long periods of staring at a wall would be bookended with chantings of sutras and whatnot. Most of these were brief and translated into English, but every time we would also recite the following, somewhere in the middle:

Kan ji zai bo satsu gyo jin han-nya ha
ra mi ta ji sho ken go on kai ku do
is-sai ku yaku sha ri shi shiki fu i ku
ku fu i shiki shiki soku ze ku ku
soku ze shiki ju so gyo shiki yaku bu
nyo ze sha ri shi ze sho ho ku so fu
sho fu metsu fu ku fu jo fu zo fu gen
ze ko ku chu mu shiki mu ju so gyo
shiki mu gen ni bi zes-shin ni mu
shiki sho ko mi soku ho mu gen kai
nai shi mu i shiki kai mu mu myo
yaku mu mu myo jin nai shi mu ro
shi yaku mu ro shi jin mu ku shu
metsu do mu chi yaku mu toku i mu
sho tok-ko bo dai sat-ta e han-nya ha
ra mi ta ko shin mu kei ge mu kei ge
ko mu u ku fu on ri is-sai ten do mu
so ku gyo ne han san ze sho butsu e
han-nya ha ra mi ta ko toku a noku
ta ra san myaku san bo dai ko chi
han-nya ha ra mi ta ze dai jin shu ze
dai myo shu ze mu jo shu ze mu to
do shu no jo is-sai ku shin jitsu fu ko
ko setsu han-nya ha ra mi ta shu
soku setsu shu watsu gya tei gya tei
ha ra gya tei hara so gya tei bo ji
sowa ka han-nya shin gyo.

Of course I got lost every single time; I'm pretty sure it was selected entirely to produce a sense of futility.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:31 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Easier this way:
When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva was practicing the profound prajna paramita, he illuminated the five skandhas and saw that they are all empty, and he crossed beyond all suffering and difficulty.

Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form. So, too, are feeling, cognition, formation, and consciousness.

Shariputra, all dharmas are empty of characteristics. They are not produced. Not destroyed, not defiled, not pure, and they neither increase nor diminish. Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, cognition, formation, or consciousness; no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind; no sights, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, or dharmas; no field of the eyes, up to and including no field of mind-consciousness; and no ignorance or ending of ignorance, up to and including no old age and death or ending of old age and death. There is no suffering, no accumulating, no extinction, no way, and no understanding and no attaining.

Because nothing is attained, the Bodhisattva, through reliance on prajna paramita, is unimpeded in his mind. Because there is no impediment, he is not afraid, and he leaves distorted dream-thinking far behind. Ultimately Nirvana!

All Buddhas of the three periods of time attain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi through reliance on prajna paramita. Therefore, know that prajna paramita is a great spiritual mantra, a great bright mantra, a supreme mantra, an unequalled mantra. It can remove all suffering; it is genuine and not false. That is why the mantra of prajna paramita was spoken. Recite it like this:

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha!
posted by languagehat at 2:46 PM on June 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


borg
posted by infini at 3:01 PM on June 9, 2010


لا إله إلاَّ الله و
la il'aha ilah Llah

posted by koeselitz at 11:26 PM on June 9, 2010


I just read that three times.

Lucky you didn't include a "Mohammad (PBUH) rasul-la" or else I would've isntantaneously converted from Hinduism to Islam.

(and then people would suspect that I'd done it to escape an untouchable dharma)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:19 AM on June 10, 2010


Convert from Hindu to Muslim? Who says you can't be both? [pdf]
posted by koeselitz at 12:58 AM on June 10, 2010


I don't wanna run the risk of praying towards Mecca, and inadvertently mooning Mt Kailash in the process.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:54 AM on June 10, 2010


or vice versa.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:54 AM on June 10, 2010


*obligatory ubu roll*
posted by infini at 6:09 AM on June 10, 2010


> I just read that three times.

Lucky you didn't include a "Mohammad (PBUH) rasul-la" or else I would've isntantaneously converted from Hinduism to Islam.


Just in case any gentle readers are confused, testifying the Shahada is a reflection of one's intention to affirm the unity and overarching transcendence of God and the acceptance Muhammad (pbuh) laid down the way to perceive that. It's not an "open sesame" magic formula that makes one a Muslim, and one could parrot the phrase all day long and not actually become a Muslim. Carry on.

posted by Burhanistan at 7:38 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


(and then people would suspect that I'd done it to escape an untouchable dharma)

They'd be accusing you of being some sort of dharma dharma dharma dharma / dharma chameleon?

posted by cortex (staff) at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I resent that crack against my religious principles


*rinse, repeat*
posted by infini at 8:48 AM on June 10, 2010


> I resent that crack against my religious principles



Ecumenical plumber's crack.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:55 AM on June 10, 2010


you misquote the essence of my original crack
posted by infini at 9:18 AM on June 10, 2010


the crack that can be described is not the true crack.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:27 PM on June 10, 2010


what is a crack? five tons of flax.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:48 PM on June 10, 2010


Randomly, as I was just reviewing it to learn about an unrelated topic, if vacapinta is not a mod then it might be useful to adjust the "Who is in charge here?" section of the FAQ.
posted by lalex at 4:24 PM on June 10, 2010


... but I have to say, now that you've mentioned it, because I've been wondering: why did you link to a deleted post, lalex? Did you just think it was a great post, and shouldn't have been deleted?

I linked to it because in general, I think it's good etiquette to share references to [previous] and [via]. I could be wrong, but it's something I do fairly frequently.

sorry, am just getting caught up with this thread. Would anyone like a recipe? I do a mean dulce du leche & crepes thing with a makeshift double boiler.
posted by lalex at 5:48 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't wanna run the risk of praying towards Mecca, and inadvertently mooning Mt Kailash in the process.

Near the end of Guru Nanak's travels, he was in the Mamluk Sultanate when a group of Muslim pilgrims found him sleeping beside the road with his feet pointed towards Mecca. Horrified, they woke him and remonstrated with him. "My apologies, brothers," said Nanak-ji. "Please, I beg you, show me the place that God is not, and I will point my feet there." The pilgrims paused, thought, and consulted with one another, then apologized to the Guru for disturbing his sleep and resumed their travels.
posted by Lexica at 8:30 PM on June 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


"And Allah's is the East and the West; therefore, wheresoever you turn, there is the face of Allah." – Qu'ran 2:115
posted by koeselitz at 12:50 AM on June 11, 2010


trimurthi or argus?
posted by infini at 2:36 AM on June 11, 2010


Well, Joe is at it again: "Gosh, Helen, I didn't know that you had joined Metafilter."

Joe, when you resort to such things you're basically screaming to everyone that you are not discussing things in good faith and are just looking to be able to slap someone with an antisemitism label. It's boorish, disingenuous, lazy, and corrosive. I hope you get banned.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:28 AM on June 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I don't think there is a productive debate happening in that thread, certainly not any more. The accusations started flying a while back, and it doesn't look like the thread's going anywhere else.
posted by Dysk at 9:00 AM on June 13, 2010


Well, Joe is at it again: "Gosh, Helen, I didn't know that you had joined Metafilter."

I left a note in the thread, that's totally not okay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:41 AM on June 13, 2010


Oy. Oy vey.

Ok, I'm bowing out of that thread. I could try to try to salvage the discussion and explain myself, but I think I'd probably just ignite another shitstorm. FWIW, that's the last thing I wanted. Also, I'd rather not be the asshole that causes unnecessary headaches for the mods around here.

Marooka, if you would like to take this to memail, that's fine with me. If not, no worries. I'm happy to let your comment stand as a public unchallenged (by me) rebuttal.

Joe... I appreciate your intentions. You were trying to defend what I was trying to say.

I'd like to offer some mild advice. With all due respect, perhaps it would be more helpful to ask people to clarify what they mean before pouncing or calling them racists. Sometimes, a person's choice of words may not be the best, and may make it sound as if they're saying something they're not. Asking them to clarify can help avert flamewars, you know? This is a lesson I need to learn myself. I've been guilty of it, too.
posted by zarq at 11:37 AM on June 13, 2010


Funny how the yelling is always framed in terms of jews / zionists / israelis etc, when most of the settlers are effectively just economic migrants, happy to leave basket-case eastern european economies in favour of the first world life that Israel offers.

Seriously, how many people willingly move to Israel from winner countries?

You don't swap peace & prosperity for suicide bombs & walls just because of some mythopoetic sense of ancestral belonging in a dry & dusty historical passageway; people just aren't motivated like that. The question is always "where is my & my family's quality of life going to be better?" and the only people for whom living in Israel is better than what they currently have is Ethiopians & miscellaneous Ukrainians & Russians.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:18 PM on June 13, 2010


> Seriously, how many people willingly move to Israel from winner countries?

In 2009, aliyah from North America was at its highest level in 36 years. A total of 3,324 North Americans immigrated to Israel.

posted by Burhanistan at 12:21 PM on June 13, 2010


Wow, at that phenomenal rate, Israel will be full of USians, instead of Moroccans, Romanians & Poles.

Wait, not it won't.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:27 PM on June 13, 2010


It might be more of a question of which groups are comprised of more individuals who go to illegal settlements with aggressive intent, than which groups are simply looking to integrate into an economic program.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:28 PM on June 13, 2010


Joe is clearly desperate, lazy, and foolish. A dumbass goon who seems to feel bullying is the way to win hearts and minds. A schmuck.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:35 PM on June 13, 2010


not it won't.

that's what i get for posting with one eye on the world cup at 5am.

posted by UbuRoivas at 12:49 PM on June 13, 2010


You don't swap peace & prosperity for suicide bombs & walls just because of some mythopoetic sense of ancestral belonging in a dry & dusty historical passageway; people just aren't motivated like that.

Some people do, even now, although clearly not in the same numbers as the Russians. And I'm afraid that since the wall went up, suicide bombing is virtually a thing of the past -- that's one of the unfortunate things about it, since it powerfully reinforces the benefits of fuck you isolation.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:24 PM on June 13, 2010


UbuRoivas wrote: Funny how the yelling is always framed in terms of jews / zionists / israelis etc, when most of the settlers are effectively just economic migrants

I don't think that's the case. If you define a "settler" as someone living past the Green Line then the typical settler is probably a middle-class Israeli with kids. If you define it as someone living in a caravan on a hilltop somewhere and you exclude the people born in Israel, most of the remainder would likely be American. Economic migrants by definition are not ideological.

Seriously, how many people willingly move to Israel from winner countries?

No offense (none meant to either of us, obviously), but I've been told that Australia has had a relatively high rate of migration to Israel. I can't find figures broken down by relative population to confirm this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:49 PM on June 13, 2010


I've been told that Australia has had a relatively high rate of migration to Israel

According the the wiki link posted by Burhanistan, above, the total migration from Australia and New Zealand to Israel since 1948 is a whopping 4,488 people, or approx 0.02% of current population.

The US is around 50% higher, at about 0.03%.

Ethiopia, to give one example, is about 400% higher.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:11 PM on June 13, 2010


whoops, i forgot to count NZ. make that 0.017%

(who knew that there were over 4 million of them?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:15 PM on June 13, 2010


This was a pretty god damned good thread. Thank you Meta people.
posted by Trochanter at 6:02 PM on June 13, 2010


What do you call 4 million Kiwis?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:49 PM on June 13, 2010


In a volkswagen?
posted by Trochanter at 6:59 PM on June 13, 2010


A group of kiwis is called a 'kerfuffle'.



What?
posted by zarq at 7:01 PM on June 13, 2010


Some of the jokes at that WikiAnswers site aren't very good:



What is a female kiwi called?
Any kiwi is called a kiwi.

What are baby kiwis called?
Kiwis. There is no difference.
posted by Trochanter at 7:07 PM on June 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would like to repeat the most recent example of Joe's disgusting habit:


It's using a classic antisemitic trope, perhaps the classic trope. Saying that "some" Jews think that they have the right to steal is no better than saying that "some" Jews drink the blood of babies. And in fact there is a steady stream of propaganda that makes both of those claims, believe it or not.


This in response to a comment about the settlers who build on stolen land (and who obviously think that they have the right to do so).

Honestly mods, how bad does it need to get?
posted by moorooka at 8:37 PM on June 13, 2010


This in response to a comment about the settlers who build on stolen land (and who obviously think that they have the right to do so).

What? Are we talking about Canada now? The US of A?
posted by philip-random at 8:41 PM on June 13, 2010


I am sympathetic to Joe wrt to anti-semitism since I went through something similar wrt to my perception of anti-Catholic bias here. I tried to keep my complaints about it off the blue and managed to keep most of it to a single train-wreck of a metatalk thread.

I think someone should tell Joe to knock it off in the mefi thread and bring it here if he wants to accuse fellow mefites of anti-semitism or discuss anti-semitism on metafilter.
posted by empath at 9:14 PM on June 13, 2010


Saying that "some" Jews think that they have the right to steal is no better than saying that "some" Jews drink the blood of babies.

Oh, my. Is Joe really saying that some Jews drink the blood of babies? That's pretty rough.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:51 PM on June 13, 2010


This is so frustrating. Joe, I really think you do see anti-semitism in the rhetoric about Israel, which is why I'm reluctant to accuse you of being crassly manipulative. You're being manipulative, but you're doing it (I think) from a place of genuine belief, not out of a desire to derail or shut things down, so you're not crass.

Of course, what you're actually doing is derailing and shutting things down, so there you go.

Joe, I live in Jerusalem, and I work for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. I see here an institutional unwillingness to confront the impact of occupation, an almost pathological (though understandable) desire to paint international reaction to domestic policy as being purely anti-semitic. Most people here simply don't see the occupation on any regular basis, and most people here are scared of an attack from Iran, and so most people here are more than willing to believe that the government is doing everything it needs to protect their security.

But my job is to show that it isn't. The occupation is brutal because it is an end to itself. The blockade is brutal because it is designed to punish ordinary Palestinians for the sins of their leaders, because it is premised on the idea that a collective culpability exists for Hamas, and because its logical conclusion is to view all residents of Gaza as partial combatants, not civilians.

I wish that global antisemitism didn't exist, because it would eliminate a major obstacle to productive criticism of the State of Israel's policies. But the fact that some antisemites mix legitimate criticisms of Israel into their otherwise hateful screeds doesn't make those criticisms inherently invalid. If a white supremacist rails at domestic abuse in the Sikh community, does that let the Sikh community off the hook?

Maybe it would be easier for all of us if you showed us your anti-semitism checklist. Defend your logic, and maybe we can debate it on its own merits. But each time you point to Helen Thomas when someone says something anti-zionist, it reinforces in my mind (and I assume in most everyone else's here) our suspicion that Israel and its supporters are touchy, irrational, and unwilling to change. If that's the case - if no amount of appeals to logic will affect the course of Israeli policy - and if you believe those policies to be fundamentally immoral, then what else can you expect but a widespread attempt to delegitimize the State?

Can you not understand why Israel appears to be fundamentally broken? Are you blind to the negative stock it's built up in world opinion? Or is everything really ok, and it's us who are blind, wrong, racist, and stupid?
posted by awenner at 10:28 PM on June 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


You know who else believed in collective culpability for partisan activity?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:59 PM on June 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe Joe is a subtle Hamas agent, successfully making blind supporters of Israel look more foolish. Good work, Joe!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:17 AM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh, a black hat operation.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:49 AM on June 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


awener wrote: the fact that some antisemites mix legitimate criticisms of Israel into their otherwise hateful screeds doesn't make those criticisms inherently invalid. If a white supremacist rails at domestic abuse in the Sikh community, does that let the Sikh community off the hook?

Of course not. But the fact that the white supremacist can make polite noises about domestic violence shouldn't let him off the hook either.

You strive to recognise valid criticism of Israel regardless of the source. It's both your job and, if I understand you correctly, a task you feel is fundamental to repairing the relationship between Israel and Palestinians and hence repairing Israel itself. But that's something which looms larger in your consciousness than in mine. I think it would be great if Israel were Switzerland on the Mediterranean but I'm in the diaspora. I don't see any reason why I ought to put up with antisemitic remarks, just because the speaker has learned to wrap them in a veneer of concern for Palestinians.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:49 AM on June 14, 2010


Well, I don't see any reason why we should have to put up with constant accusations of anti-semitism either. You appear to think that being Jewish is the only fact about Israel that matters, and that everyone else sees it that way too, no matter what they say. You seem to think that it's not possible to criticize Israel without somehow criticizing Jewishness.

You really, really need to back off from that stance, because it's completely preventing you from understanding our criticism. I can't speak for everyone, but I suspect that most of the people in this thread care that Israel is Jewish about as much as they care that America is Christian.... that is, they really don't, except when the religious nutjobs are causing havoc, and then they just want them to stop, not to go away, convert to some other faith, or die.

I don't care what religion anyone is. I don't believe in any of them anyway, so why would it matter?

I judge Israel's actions purely through the lens of the Golden Rule, and I find them wanting.

You really, really need to understand that there's essentially zero anti-semitism on Metafilter. Until you get that, until you really understand that the criticism is based purely on behavior, you'll just go around and around and around, never getting anywhere, and never understanding why people are upset. They criticize the state, exactly the same way they complain about the U.S.

The fact that you can't separate the state, mentally, from either the ethnicity or the religion is your failing, not ours.
posted by Malor at 7:03 AM on June 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


While I cannot take the time to name all the men on MetaFilter who have been named as antisemites, I have here in my hand a list of 205.
posted by chunking express at 7:05 AM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, did we need yet another Israel / Palestine thread? The video from the boat post really should have been a comment in the last flotilla thread, which is still open.

I think at about the 50 comment mark, these threads all turn into a shit storm, so maybe they should auto-close.
posted by chunking express at 7:10 AM on June 14, 2010


I've been called an anti-Semite for observing to an online Jewish friend that the normal long-term outcome of a military takeover is that the victors and the losers intermarry over a few generations, eventually becoming a single, blended people.

The woman I was chatting with acted like I'd suggested that 'her people' start marrying animals. She called me an anti-semite and put me on ignore, after we'd been hanging out in the same chat channel for nearly ten years.
posted by Malor at 7:12 AM on June 14, 2010


Joe in Australia: awener wrote: the fact that some antisemites mix legitimate criticisms of Israel into their otherwise hateful screeds doesn't make those criticisms inherently invalid. If a white supremacist rails at domestic abuse in the Sikh community, does that let the Sikh community off the hook?

Of course not. But the fact that the white supremacist can make polite noises about domestic violence shouldn't let him off the hook either.


If somebody makes a point about domestic violence in the Sikh community, then we must take that point on its own merit. If it happens to be valid, it is a valid point, and it helps nobody to disregard it due to bias (real or perceived) on the part of the person making it.

...and so blindingly obvious it shouldn't even need stating: somebody who makes a point about domestic violence in Sikh communities is not necessarily a white supremacist, and such accusations should be made (insofar as that's necessary in the first place, but that's another argument) only on a much stronger basis.
posted by Dysk at 7:37 AM on June 14, 2010


Joe in Australia knows that he is unfairly conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism. He knows this, and it has been shown to him repeatedly. He's playing gotcha games with people and I wish that we would stop feeding his trollish behavior.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:03 AM on June 14, 2010


The woman I was chatting with acted like I'd suggested that 'her people' start marrying animals. She called me an anti-semite and put me on ignore, after we'd been hanging out in the same chat channel for nearly ten years.

Malor, I once got cold-cocked by a Hawaiian. Am I to conclude that all Hawaiians are cowardly, violent bullies?
posted by philip-random at 8:15 AM on June 14, 2010


Pretty sure that's not what he's saying, p-r.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:24 AM on June 14, 2010


Joe in Australia knows that he is unfairly conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism. He knows this, and it has been shown to him repeatedly. He's playing gotcha games with people and I wish that we would stop feeding his trollish behavior.

No shit. This whole "Sikh" alternate story plays right into his fantasy construct, because we take it as part of the story that the protagonist is a racist.

Which is the point Joe wants so very much to be presented as the case here, in this I/P discussion.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:29 AM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, I was trying to point out that you can find antisemitism if you're looking for it, whether it's there or not. I had a vague idea of a happy, unified, intermarried Israelstine/Palisrael kind of thing, and that made me an anti-Semite.
posted by Malor at 8:35 AM on June 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I had a vague idea of a happy, unified, intermarried Israelstine/Palisrael kind of thing, and that made me an anti-Semite.

Well, intermarriage would destroy the Jewishness of Israel, so I can almost kind of see it if I squint.
posted by empath at 8:55 AM on June 14, 2010


Joe in Australia:You strive to recognise valid criticism of Israel regardless of the source. It's both your job and [...] a task you feel is fundamental to repairing the relationship between Israel and Palestinians and hence repairing Israel itself. [...] I think it would be great if Israel were Switzerland on the Mediterranean but I'm in the diaspora. I don't see any reason why I ought to put up with antisemitic remarks, just because the speaker has learned to wrap them in a veneer of concern for Palestinians.

That's just the point. I'm not directly interested in repairing the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. I'm a political realist, and it's my belief that a just and lasting solution to the conflict will involve painful concessions from both Israel and Palestine, and that ending the occupation and the siege are necessary, but not sufficient, components for that ultimate goal.

I'm interested in doing what's right. The logical flaw the pro-Israel right tries to trap us in is the canard about "Switzerland on the Mediterranean" - that even if our critiques were valid on their own, they still wouldn't apply in a brutal Middle Eastern sectarian conflict. But my argument is that the difference between right and wrong in this kind of fight is how willing you are to stay within the limits of necessity. That is, I don't believe the siege of Gaza in its current form - to say nothing of the occupation - are necessary to the safety and security of Israeli citizens. A much-reduced blockade, sanctions, even limited dialogue, god help us, would do the job just as well.

I'm forced to conclude, based on my own modest observations - I have a masters in Middle Eastern studies, I speak Arabic and Hebrew fluently, I've done extensive field research in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, I've interviewed Israeli political figures, and I've worked at one Israeli newspaper and two highly respected Israeli NGOs - that Israel isn't solely concerned with keeping its citizens safe at night. It wants Hamas gone entirely, and it wants villas on hilltops. It has shown no particular willingness to move away from these goals, even though they're clearly wrong by every standard but a racist one.

Many people, including some anti-Semites have realized this fact, and it drives their opprobrium. You've no obligation to give a free pass to hummus-haters of any stripe, but in your eagerness to be offended you've reinforced the image of Israel - and Israel supporters - as having completely missed the point.

And I think it's fair to say that you owe this community an explanation: who, exactly, is an anti-Semite? Am I?
posted by awenner at 10:33 AM on June 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


I believe it's fair to characterize Joe's position as "anyone who does not prioritize the safety and well-being of Jews anywhere over everyone else in the world is anti-Semitic."
posted by empath at 10:37 AM on June 14, 2010


The "anywhere" bit is questionable - he was one specific location in mind and gives no sign of caring one inch what happens anywhere else.
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on June 14, 2010


who, exactly, is an anti-Semite?

Semitic ... was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages. This family includes the ancient and modern forms of Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Ge'ez, Hebrew, Maltese, Phoenician, Tigre and Tigrinya among others.

So technically, if you're anti-Semitic, you're not just anti-Jewish, you're anti every human who traces their lineage to the Middle-East.
posted by philip-random at 10:43 AM on June 14, 2010


If Israel became "Switzerland on the Mediterranean" would that mean they'd have to start turning Jews away at the border?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:15 PM on June 14, 2010


Well, intermarriage would destroy the Jewishness of Israel, so I can almost kind of see it if I squint.

Hasn't destroyed Judaism anywhere else in the West. There's lots of marriages out there with one Jewish partner. And the Jewish culture blends in very nicely, at least here in the U.S.

Can't really see that argument flying.

In her case, I think it was virulent racism toward Palestinians. I don't think she'd have been any angrier if I'd just suggested that cows would make suitable life partners for the Israelis.
posted by Malor at 10:06 PM on June 14, 2010


The woman I was chatting with acted like I'd suggested that 'her people' start marrying animals.

There are a lot of Jews who object to any Jews marrying anyone except other Jews. In their eyes, you aren't that much higher than an animal.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:07 PM on June 14, 2010


Jimmy H, there's bigots and assholes of all faiths, skin-tones, nationalities. To single Jews out in this regard doesn't feel rational, or fair.
posted by philip-random at 10:16 PM on June 14, 2010


A fine example.

Metaphorically, you're nothing but a predator. Yes, yes, it's a metaphor, that's all. A metaphor for your irredeemable, innate viciousness.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:16 PM on June 14, 2010


In their eyes, you aren't that much higher than an animal.

Jimmy, that is the kind of drive-by slagging that has caused me to look twice at all the more reasonable things you have said. Many communities, not just Jews, don't marry out for all sorts of reasons. You appear to be saying "there are a lot of Jews in whose eyes you are not much higher than an animal" which I think is pretty bluntly antisemitic.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:19 PM on June 14, 2010


2 Corinthians 6:14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

Can I start libelling all Christians now, Jimmy Havok? Apparently I'm unrghteous and full of darkness. Or could that be, I don't know, a cherry-picked piece of unfairness?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:25 PM on June 14, 2010


I don't single out racist Jews. I think racist Europeans and racist Asians are just as foul. But somehow, they don't get the free pass that racist Jews seem to get, and this thread happens to be about racist Jews accusing other people of being racist in order to provide themselves with cover.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:26 PM on June 14, 2010


Can I start libelling all Christians now, Jimmy Havok?

You certainly ought to point out the ones who want to make the US into a theocracy. Unless you're afraid that someone will say "LOLXians" at you.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:31 PM on June 14, 2010


No, you were saying that Jews who don't want to marry out do so because they think Gentiles aren't much higher than animals. That is, frankly, slanderous. The readiness with which you trot out these kinds of jabs is what pings my radar. Note I have had nothing to say to you about Gaza, or the flotilla, or the I/P dispute, because I am largely on side with you there, as I think my recent comments show. But this is different. This is just slagging Jews en masse, this time with the whole "they think they're better than us" trope.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:34 PM on June 14, 2010


Since about half of all married Jews in the US have married non-Jews, it's obvious that all (or even most) Jews don't consider non-Jews as lesser beings. The sad thing, though, is that so many of the non-racists are being used as tools by the racists.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:08 PM on June 14, 2010


It's just plain obvious that a lot of white Euro-ancestry folk take a dim view of darker-skinned peoples. I think it's pretty commonly recognized that a good portion of the Japanese and Chinese populations take a down-their-noses view of the inferior white race. Pointing out that there are Jews who consider other ethnicities/cultures/religions inferior is not the least bit anti-Semitic. It's reality.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:24 PM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


And for that matter, my wife's father's Ukranian family was incensed almost to the point of disowning him when he started up with her British-ancestry mother. If there's a concept of "Us" and "Them," you can be sure someone is agin' it.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:27 PM on June 14, 2010


The sad thing, though, is that so many of the non-racists are being used as tools by the racists.

For once, something we can all agree on.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:30 PM on June 14, 2010


Like the awesome tastiness of bacon! Oh, wait.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:56 PM on June 14, 2010


fff: as you say, it's obvious and reality that Jews have the same flaws as other people. But that is not the proposition I object to. What I object to is what Jimmy Havok actually said, which is that Jews who don't marry out believe Gentiles are barely higher than animals. That is an untrue slander and an antisemitic stereotype. If Jimmy Havok merely wants to express the uncontroversial opinion that there are some racist Jews, he has many other options.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:37 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It's obvious that group A has property x, as x is true of all groups. However, to directly say that group A has property x is unacceptable!"

Really?
posted by Dysk at 1:33 AM on June 15, 2010


Brother Dysk, what I object to is making untrue statements about group A that conform to a historical pattern of slander against that group.

There are a lot of Jews who object to any Jews marrying anyone except other Jews. In their eyes, you aren't that much higher than an animal.

This is simply untrue. The religious justification given by rabbis is the high probability that the offspring will not maintain the religion and leave the community, and the social reason is just the same as any other group that practices endogamy -- maintaining our numbers and our culture. Note, my mother married out, I married out, and I am very, very, sick-to-death familiar with the actual arguments Jews have on this subject.

However it IS true that the idea Jews look down on Gentiles as inferior is a common component of anti-Semitic attacks.

I have no problem with Jimmy Havok saying that some Jews are racists. That is not that I object to. That is, as five fresh fish said, obvious. What I don't agree with is the anti-Semitic slander that preceded that claim.

I don't know how I can make this clearer.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:03 AM on June 15, 2010


I see your point. However, it also reads as "Jews can be racist except when it comes to marriage. Then they're 'just' protecting their religion and culture."
posted by five fresh fish at 7:46 AM on June 15, 2010


If you define "unwillingness to marry outside your ethnic group" as racism, then sure, we do that too. But by the same token, that hardly needs stressing as peculiar to religious Jews. It is, I repeat for the umpteenth time, the charge of considering Gentiles "barely higher than animals" which I object to.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:55 PM on June 15, 2010


I completely missed this:

What do you call 4 million Kiwis?

The collective noun is maul: a maul of Kiwis.

In a volkswagen?

That'd be a rolling maul.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:34 PM on June 15, 2010


i_am_joe's_spleen, the point you raise directly in relation to me, fair enough, that makes sense. Your very next comment, however, still falls into the category covered by my previous comment.
posted by Dysk at 5:13 PM on June 15, 2010


Perhaps those anti-outmarriage Jews do regard non-Jews as equal but other. I find the proposition as unlikely as the American segregationists' formula of "separate but equal.".

What I find so objectionable, though, is the way that Jewish racists get a complete and absolute pass in a way that no other racists seem to.

The only good news is that, at least in this country, they are in decline.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:54 PM on June 15, 2010


> What I find so objectionable, though, is the way that Jewish racists get a complete and absolute pass in a way that no other racists seem to.

This is true only in your own head. Most people who are against racism are against all racism. And your insistence that Jews who object to intermarriage think that non-Jews "aren't that much higher than an animal" is, as i_am_joe's_spleen has kept pointing out, untrue and slanderous, and the fact that you say it leads to reasonable suspicions of your attitude toward Jews, especially since (as he also points out) it is part of a historical pattern of anti-Semitic lies. You should really recalibrate your attitudes.
posted by languagehat at 10:21 AM on June 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Almost all religions aren't too happy with intermarriage, afaik.
posted by empath at 10:39 AM on June 16, 2010


neither are inter caste marriages the norm

makes one wonder if its simple bigotry and tribal clannishness than racism per se?
posted by infini at 10:48 AM on June 16, 2010


And your insistence that Jews who object to intermarriage think that non-Jews "aren't that much higher than an animal" is, as i_am_joe's_spleen has kept pointing out, untrue and slanderous...

It may be rare, but it happens. My own wife dated a Jewish boy when she was in highschool and the boy's father was openly and vocally disgusted with the situation. He even said - in her presence - that the lowest Jew was better than the best Gentile.

No culture, race, or ethnic group is free from bigots. The fact that "they do it too" is no excuse for your own, however.
posted by rocket88 at 12:54 PM on June 16, 2010


> It may be rare, but it happens.

Of course. And there are [insert ethnicity here] [insert stereotypical negative quality here], too. There's all the difference in the world between the existence of one or more persons fitting a group description having a given quality and the ascription of that quality to all such persons.
posted by languagehat at 2:22 PM on June 16, 2010


the ascription of that quality to all such persons.

"Since about half of all married Jews in the US have married non-Jews, it's obvious that all (or even most) Jews don't consider non-Jews as lesser beings."

On the other hand, there seems to be nearly zero dismay when that other kind of Jew describes non-Jews as (metaphorical, of course) predators. Because it's a metaphor.

And every one of them is described as an isolated example, even though there's a whole country full of them.

The bad Jews are (I hope) a shrinking subset of all Jews. I usually use the term "Zionist" to describe them, since it is their ideological orientation that is objectionable, not their ethnicity. However, they are the ones who insist on the issue of ethnicity, so it can't be completely ignored.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:28 PM on June 16, 2010


awenner wrote: And I think it's fair to say that you owe this community an explanation: who, exactly, is an anti-Semite?

My goodness. I do not think I am up to a task like that, and, if I were, the margins of this website are too narrow to contain it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:43 PM on June 16, 2010


who, exactly, is an anti-Semite?

Easy. Every non-Jew, and half the Jews as well.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 5:17 PM on June 16, 2010


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