User talk:Adam Carr/Anti-Zionism 1

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the term anti-Zionism has gained currency in English only since the 1970s
-- I wonder what the evidence is for that statement. Frankly I don't believe it. During the British Mandate the rights and wrongs of Zionism were earnestly debated throughout the English-speaking world (especially in the UK, for obvious reasons) and it is hard to imagine that the contrary opinion was never called "anti-Zionism". Certainly the concept was very well known. As for the word itself, I found a 1947 usage but I bet that I can find some earlier.
--Zero 02:53, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I have been following the Middle East debate very closely since about 1970 and I don't recall hearing the term anti-Zionist as a political category until fairly recently. "Anti-Israeli" was much more common I think. Obviously I am not asserting that the expression was never used: I chose the phrase "gained currency" deliberately so as not to be understood as saying that. If we were writing a dictionary entry it would be relevant to find the earliest citation of the term. The point in an encyclopaedia is to show when it came into common use. Adam
My comment was in respect of the Mandate period, when you can be quite sure that nobody was called "Anti-Israeli". What were the very many opponents of Zionism called then, and does it really matter whether they were called "anti-Zionists" or "opponents of Zionism"? Your comment about dictionaries was one I was going to raise in support of my own position. The article devotes a lot of attention to types of anti-Zionism (called that or not) prior to 1948 so why the focus on when the word came into use? It is your writing that is like a dictionary! --Zero 05:15, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Well I haven't read the English-language press from the Mandate period, so I can't answer that. Are you telling me that the term was in common usage then? In reference to whom? Anti-Zionist Jews? The Palestinian Arabs? If that is so I will change the text accordingly. I will still argue that even if the term was in common usage before 1948, it then fell out of usage again until recently.
I'll do some research on this next week. What I believe is true is that anti-Zionist Jews were so called, anti-Zionist Arabs were not (because it was the default position for Arabs), and anti-Zionist Brits were called that. During the British mandate period, especially when the British soldiers started coming home in body-bags, there was heated argument on the merits of Zionism all through the British press, in the British parliament, and presumably in the British public. Many people took an anti-Zionist position and I'd be really surprised if they weren't called "anti-Zionists". What else would they be called? --Zero 11:57, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Zero, I still await your comment on the article as whole: you challenged me to write a NPOV article on anti-Zionism. Have I succeeded? Adam 05:23, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I never thought that you couldn't write a good article on the subject. What I still think is that it is impossible to write and maintain a good article on it. It's not a statement about you at all. What is going to happen is that people will start adding crap to it and finally it will be as bad as the previous article. We can prevent that to a limited extent by continuous vigilance, but we are finite and eventually we will lose the battle. Unfortunately, I think that the existing anti-Zionism article represents the Wikipedia steady-state. Call me cynical. --Zero 06:13, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Yes, I acknowledge that that is what you originally said, and of course you may be right. I think, though, that bad articles attract more crap than good articles. I note that the new Zionism article has not been attacked yet. We will see. Adam 06:46, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

historically some anti-Semites were pro-Zionist
-- The word "historically" suggests that this was true mostly in the past, but it is just as true today. Some of the most ardent supporters of Israel today (esp. in the USA) are fundamentalist Christians whose opinions about the role of Jews in the world are reasonably called anti-Semitic.
--Zero 02:59, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I will defend this statement: I'm not aware of any recent examples of anti-Semites arguing that all the Jews should be made to emigrate to Israel, as they did in the 20s and 30s. Christian Zionism is a different topic altogether, which need an article to itself. I don't think it is correct to call Christian Zionists anti-Semites without careful explanation of what they say and what that categorisation means. They believe that the Jews must eventually accept Christianity as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, but I don't think they hate Jews. Adam
Some in Farrakhan's Nation of Islam and in the Ku Klux Klan still hold this view. Most anti-Semites today dislike Jews and are prejudiced towards them, but do not want to exterminate them. They just want them elsewhere. (Of course, the trouble is that when everyone wants them "elsewhere", what happens next is ugly.) RK 21:14, Nov 28, 2003 (UTC)
I didn't call Christian Zionists in general anything; I was referring to a particular group of fundamentalists. They believe that Jews have a particular purpose which involves rebuilding the Temple then getting slaughtered en masse in the resulting world war (except for those who accept Jesus, of course). I would call this "anti-Semitism" without hesitation even though it derives from a religious perspective. This is a minority view amongst Christian Zionists but not a fringe view. I can't give numbers but I believe it is millions. These groups present as blind supporters of Israel and there is a large literature on their alliance of convenience with the far right of Israeli politics. --Zero 11:39, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

the existence of even a small minority of anti-Zionist Jews is sufficient to show that there is no necessary identification between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
-- This is based on the idea that Jews can't be anti-Semites. At the very least that is a highly disputed claim. You can look around Wikipedia and find quite a few Jews who are labeled as anti-Semites by someone; I rarely agree with the examples but there is no logical reason to say it is impossible. Won't you refer to an Australian as anti-Australian if they are passionately in opposition to Australia?
--Zero 03:08, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

My statment has no logical connection with the question of whether Jews can be anti-Semites unless you are accepting the proposition that anyone who is anti-Zionist is ipso facto an anti-Semite, in which case the argument becomes completely circular and pointless. An anti-Semite is a person who hates Jews as Jews. Are you arguing that the ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists hate all Jews? Personally I think the category "Jewish anti-Semite" is a semantic impossibility, and the fact that the term is used here as a term of abuse proves nothing. Adam 04:56, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)
There are many Jewish people who effectively hate Jews. The Satmar have published a large amount of violent hatespeech towards all Jews (except of course towards themselves). Similarly, one can find racits material on balcks written by black people! The existence of such self-hatred may be confusing, but it exists. RK 21:14, Nov 28, 2003 (UTC)
I can't understand your reply at all. It is certainly not targeted at what I tried to say. Let me put it more simply. You have written "the existence of even a small minority of anti-Zionist Jews is sufficient to show that there is no necessary identification between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism" and "My statement has no logical connection with the question of whether Jews can be anti-Semites". These two statements appear at face value to contradict each other. Your argument needs you to present some people who are anti-Zionist but not anti-Semite, but you only managed to present some people who are anti-Zionist and Jewish. To complete the logic you need to show they are not anti-Semites. I'm not saying they are anti-Semites [in fact I'm sure the great majority are not], I'm just saying you have a gap in your logic. --Zero 11:47, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

the anti-Zionism of those who argue that Israel ought to be voluntarily transformed into a binational secular state in which Jews and Palestinians live together as equals
-- I have two problems with this statement. One is that it is not a correct definition of what is usually called a "binational state" in this context. What you describe is a unitary state. A binational state involves some type of internal autonomy for the two nations. The Swiss model is often cited. Variations include systems that are almost indistinguishable from two separate states in a confederacy. The second objection is that you are stating a far from universal opinion by calling this anti-Zionism at all. Many of the proponents of this system, especially the Israelis, deny being anti-Zionist. A common claim is that a binational state is the only way to preserve the democratic nature of Israel, and that it is therefore a pro-Zionist position. I'm not arguing for or against any of these opinions, but I don't think you should either. At the moment you present one viewpoint as if there is no other. --Zero 12:24, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Response to Zero's first point

Yes, you are right, I did not phrase that very well, I think because I changed my mind halfway through about what I was saying. Of course there is a connection between my original statement and your response to it. So let me start again. The logical sequence is this:

I say: the existence of even a small minority of anti-Zionist Jews is sufficient to show that there is no necessary identification between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism

You say: Your argument needs you to present some people who are anti-Zionist but not anti-Semite, but you only managed to present some people who are anti-Zionist and Jewish. To complete the logic you need to show they are not anti-Semites.

My response is: On any reasonable definition of anti-Semitism a Jew cannot be an anti-Semite. The fact that the accusation is made in the course of inter-Jewish arguments doesn't change that. Therefore my first statement is correct.

Your response must then be: Either to agree with me, or to show how the category "Jewish anti-Semite" can exist in reality rather than just in rhetoric. I hope that is clearer :) Adam 12:31, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I believe that is incorrect. You are making an unfounded assumption. I have personally met Jews (i.e. people who are Jewish by Jewish law) who hate the Jewish people, and who think that Jews are the cause of most of the world's problems. For goodness sakes, there even have been Jews in the Ku Klux Klan. Your argument incorrectly assumes that people think logically. You think logically, and so does Zero, Danny and most people here, but that isn't true of all people. Also, remember that the term "Anti-Semitism" does not mean "The desire to kill and exterminate Jews". It never has referred only to such an extreme belief. The term has always been used for a much lesser (and more common belief), i.e. any form of bigotry and racism towards Jews as a group. RK 21:14, Nov 28, 2003 (UTC)

Reply to Zero's second point. You are correct that I am muddling two different proposed alternative to the present situation, the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. I think it is correct to say that anyone who proposes the abolition of Israel as a Jewish state is an anti-Zionist, but the proposed alternatives need to be stated more precisely. Please suggest an alternative wording. Adam 12:34, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Early forms of Jewish anti-Zionism are really not related to modern forms of anti-Zionism. One of the big problems with the current anti-Zionism article, and this one, is that we are using the same word to describe unrelated belief systems. This article describes several groups of people with different reasons for different beliefs...yet lumps them all in the same category. I have thus made recent additions which try to clarify this issue. RK 21:14, Nov 28, 2003 (UTC)

OK we have two things to discuss here:

  • Different types of anti-Zionism

I agree with RK that is very misleading to discuss pre-1948 Jewish opponents of Zionism and lump them in with Hamas as "Anti-Zionists." I agree that we are talking about two quite different phenomena. The problem is that we have to discuss them together, partly to make exactly that point (I did try to make this clear through my structuring of the article, but I agree that we can make the point more clearly), and partly because modern anti-Zionists themselves seek to draw this connection, by saying: "See, we cannot be accused of anti-Semitism because all these Jews in the past were also anti-Zionists."

I think the paragraphs RK has added to the text help clarify what "Jewish anti-Zionism" actually meant, although I think their formatting is a little clumsy. I will try to integrate them into the text a bit more.

It was a clumsy first attempt. Your edits would be highly appreciated. RK 17:40, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)

This question arose because I said that the existence of even a small number of Jews who oppose Zionism demonstrates that a simple identification between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism cannot be made. To this Zero said that the Jewish anti-Zionists might themselves be anti-Semites. To this I replied that in my opinion a Jew cannot be an anti-Semite.

To this RK makes two points: that he has himself has met Jews whom he defines as anti-Semites, and that that Satmar etc are anti-Semites. I cannot of course debate RK's first point. If he says there are individual Jewish anti-Semites, I will have to take his word for it, although I think he is describing a psychiatric phenomenon rather than a political one. (One might compare this to internalisaed homophobia among gay men, which is clearly a psychological disorder.)

Just to clarify, the reason I view certain ultra-Orthodox groups as anti-Semitic is not because of their anti-Zionism. That is just a complicating coincidence. I (and others) view them in this way because of their statements about the entire Jewish people. The leaders of certain extremist groups have very angry, if not hateful, things to say about all Jews. (Except, of course, themselves.) Their anti-Zionism is likely one factor which makes them feel separate from other Jews. RK 17:40, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)

On the second point, I don't claim to know much about the ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist groups. I have read the website [1] given at the Zionism article as an example of this tendency. I didn't see anything there I could describe as anti-Semitic. I saw a group of extremely pious Orthodox Jews making a theological argument against Zionism based on their interpretation of Jewish law and tradition. One might say they are wrong or foolish (matters which are not for me to judge), but I can't see how they can be described as anti-Semitic. RK will have to give me some sources for the "hate speech" to which he refers if I am to be persuaded about this.

I actually agree. However, this is a sanitized website, which leaves out all the actual events and attacks which cause many Jews to view certain Jewish extremists as virtually anti-Semitic. RK 17:40, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)

(Later: I have done some research on this now. I discover that Satmar, far from being a handful of cranks as I had been led to believe by an earlier argument between (I think) RK and Danny, is a major Chassidic sect, with tens of thousands of followers in New York, and that when Rebbe Teitelbaum visited Israel in 1994 he was met by 100,000 people. Am I expected to believe that all these people are anti-Semites on any reasonable definition of that word? Earlier, RK thoughtfully provided a definition of anti-Semitism: "any form of bigotry and racism towards Jews as a group." Can he show how a large community of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who devote their entire lives to Torah observance, express "bigotry and racism towards Jews as a group"?)

In any case, to return to the point, it is not sufficient for the purposes of this discussion to show that individual Jews can be anti-Semites in some way, nor is it sufficient to show that some Jewish anti-Zionists definitely are anti-Semites. To refute my point that the existence of Jewish anti-Zionists demonstrates that anti-Zionism is not automatically the same as anti-Semitism, it is necessary to show (not merely allege) that all Jewish anti-Zionists, without exception, are anti-Semites. And the mere fact that they are anti-Zionists cannot be cited as evidence that they are anti-Semites, because that is the point which is in dispute. Other evidence of their alleged anti-Semitism must be produced. I suspect this will be beyond even RK's dialectical skills.

Adam 01:49, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I believe that it is totally possible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic. SJK, a former Wikipedia contributor, is one such person. He was against all forms of nationalism, including Jewish and Arab nationalism. Nothing anti-Semitic about that. However, what many Jews find anti-Semitic is the belief that Jews alone have no right at all to any form of homeland or nationalism. That is the view of the leadership of the Reform, Conservative and Modern Orthodox movements, as well as the view of the ADL, and leaders in many other American Jewish groups. The predominance of this view does not make it true, of course, but I do wish to point out that this is not some lone opinion held only by me. RK 17:40, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)

One further question arising from RK's comments: he says that "Some in Farrakhan's Nation of Islam and in the Ku Klux Klan still hold this view" [that all the Jews should be deported to Israel], in other words that there are still pro-Zionist anti-Semites. I would find it extraordinary if American Black Muslim anti-Semites supported the existence of Israel, even for anti-Semitic reasons, since this would mean breaking solidarity with the rest of the Islamic world. Can RK provide sources for this? Adam 02:41, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Satmar is actually the largest Hasidic group in the world today, with over 100,000 followers, based in New York, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. They are also an extremely influential group, because they are wealthier than most of the other groups--Satmar is prominent in the international diamond trade. They are politically active, and generally support conservative causes. Many other Hasidic groups are influenced by Satmar and look up to the previous rebbe, Joel (Yoel) Teitelbaum, as an authority figure. His book, VaYoel Moshe, is an important exposition of the ultra-Orthodox position on Zionism, based on a literal interpretation of midrash (Bab. Talmud, Ketubot) that God and the Jewish people exchanged three oaths at the time of the Exile:

  1. That the Jewish people would not rebel against the non-Jews that ruled over them;
  2. That the Jewish people would not return to Israel en masse (shelo ya'alu be-homa, literally, that they would not "ascend like a wall");
  3. That God would not allow the non-Jewish world to persecute the Jews excessively.

This was the position of most of the ultra-Orthodox world until the Holocaust. Even today, many ultra-Orthodox Jews, including the Agudat Israel party, which has participated in most of Israel's coalition governments, accepted these oaths, arguing either that the Holocaust was "excessive persecution," or more commonly, that whereas they are opposed to Zionism, Israel exists de facto as a state, and it woudl be better to cooperate with it than to actively oppose it. In fact, this latter view is held by virtually all hasidic groups, incl. the supposedly Zionist Lubavitch, to some degree or another. Another important point is that Neturei Karta, an Israeli phenomenon (though some ultra-Orthodox Jews outside of Israel now identify themselves as Neturei Karta) are not Satmar, even though they have been influenced by Teitelbaum's writings. Danny 03:57, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

That's all very interesting Danny, but what is your view on my discussion (above) with RK and Zero? Does the existence of a significant current of anti-Zionism in Orthodox Judaism establish the point that anti-Zionism is not synonymous with anti-Semitism, or does it not? Adam 04:47, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I have been arguing this point sporadically with RK for well over a year now. I maintain that anti-Zionism is not synonymous with anti-Semitism, and I further maintain that Satmar, Neturei Karta, and other anti-Zionist groups are not anti-Semitic. Personally, I find it offensive to claim that they are, but that is besides the point. While it is fairly easy to find objectionable statements made by these groups, no one familiar with them will call them anti-Semitic, or if they do (and I doubt it is possible to find a statement that "Satmar is anti-Semitic), that it is anything more than a rhetorical jibe. Satmar is NOT anti-Semitic. Danny 04:55, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

In case it wasn't clear before, I agree with Danny on this. On the other hand, I don't find any reason in principle why a Jew can't be just as anti-Semitic as anyone else. It isn't an emotion felt towards one person (even if it's yourself) but against a group. The suggestion that such examples are due to mental disorder is can I put this?... astonishingly 19th century. So my problem with the example given in the article is not that it isn't valid but that there is a defect in the presentation. Of course RK isn't the only person on earth that claims anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. It is the stated position of the president of the ADL, for example. I just happen to strenuously disagree. --Zero 06:23, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Even then, a minority of Jewish opinion opposed the creation of a Jewish state, although that minority dwindled almost to nothing in the 20 years after the establishment of Israel.
--For the reasons stated by Danny above, this statement is stronger than the facts allow. Can I suggest that Danny revises it? --Zero 06:28, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Of course. I would not have written that sentence had I read the stuff about Satmar beforehand, although I think it is probably true of non-Orthodox Jewish opinion.

On your previous point, I stick to my position. If anti-Semitism is reasonably defined (I am happy with RK's definition of "bigotry and racism towards Jews as a group"), I fail to see how a Jew of sound mind can hold such a position. I find your statement that "I don't find any reason in principle why a Jew can't be just as anti-Semitic as anyone else" extraordinary. Of course there is a reason - because they are Jewish. For a Jew to accept "bigotry and racism" towards themselves - to believe that they themselves are a money-grubbing parasite, or spread venereal diseases, or kill Christian children, or secretly control the world (and that is what we are talking about when we use the expression anti-Semitism), can only be evidence of some sort of pyschological problem. Adam 06:47, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

So you disagree with the point that anti-Semitism is antipathy towards the group rather than towards particular individuals? --Zero 08:16, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I just said I accept RK's definition of anti-Semitism as ""bigotry and racism towards Jews as a group." What are you getting at? Adam 08:21, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)
So someone can believe that Jews as a group are evil while excluding some individuals. Why can't those individuals include themself? --Zero 08:51, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Bigotry among the average person usually isn't well thought in detail. From what I have read and experienced, it seems to me that most people who are racist towards blacks allow themselves not to be racist towards certain black individuals whom they know or respect. There are even some black people, in the black community, who have come to believe racist stereotypes abouts blacks as a whole, yet don't apply such beliefs to themselves or other black people they work with. The same goes for people in other groups, like Jews. Its not a sympton of a psychological problem; it is rather a problem of failing to think one's position through logically, and examining the logical consequences of one's beliefs. RK 17:45, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)

Yes well I suppose all that is possible, but that is not what we are debating. We are debating the question of whether anti-Zionism is synonymous with anti-Semitism. I cited the existence of anti-Zionist Jews as evidence for that. Zero suggested that these Jews may themselves be anti-Semites. I still think that is an unlikely proposition, but I suppose it may be true in some individual cases. But it clearly cannot be true for all the tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews in sects such as Satmar whose opposition to Zionism is based on Jewish theology, not on some quirk of personality. Please address yourselves to this central point. Adam 01:25, 30 Nov 2003 (UTC)

As attested to in many older discussions on the Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism page, as well as on the Wiki-En list, the view of most Wikipedians is that anti-Zionism is not synonomous with anti-Semitism. However, it seems to me that many people have reached this conclusion largely due to the fact that some Jewish groups are "anti-Zionist". It has been repeatedly argued that "If some Jewish groups are anti-Zionist, then it cannot possible be anti-Semitic. However, I believe such reasoning is totally flawed, because they are using the same word ("anti-Zionism") to refer to totally different belief systems. The anti-Zionism of Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, and of many other people simply has nothing to do with the anti-Zionism of early Reform Jews, or Orthodox Jews. Also, as I said above, anti-nationalism is a philosophy in which one is against any form of nationalism, including Jewish nationalism, aka Zionism, and there is nothing anti-Semitic about this even-handed belief. So here is my personal conclusion:
  • Principled anti-nationalism, when applied evenly to all groups, is not anti-Semitic.
  • The "anti-Zionism" of early Reform Judaism is not anti-Semitic
  • The "anti-Zionism" of religious Jews who are against a secular socialist Jewish is not anti-Semitic.
  • The "anti-Zionism" of religious Jews who are against a the creation of a Jewish state before the coming of the messiah is not anti-Semitic, even though it is stupid beyond words.
  • However, most forms of anti-Zionism that exist today are inherently anti-Semitic, including the rising tide of Jew-hating vitriol masquerading as anti-Semitism in the European and American left-wing, among Palestinians, and among many Arabs and Muslims. These latter forms of anti-Zionism bear no relationship the other forms of "anti-Zionism" listed above, and are only linked together by those who wish to justify a double-standard against Jews. This is not my view alone, but the view of a great many in the leadership of the mainstream religiou and non-religious Jewish community. Your mileage, of course, may vary. RK 22:53, Nov 30, 2003 (UTC)
  • This last statement of mine will be more controversial, but I stand by it, as it is a mainstream view of not a small number of non-Orthodox Jews. The views of certain anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox groups may fairly be termed anti-Semitic. Not, however, because they are against Zionism, but because in addition to this, they put forth rather vile hatespeech towards others Jews, and incite violence towards other Jews. It is distressing to me to state this, but I won't present all of my co-religionists in a good light just because we technically are in the same religion. One's behaviour counts more than one's label, and many gentiles have been nicer to me than many fanatic ultra-Orthodox Jews. RK 22:58, Nov 30, 2003 (UTC)

Thanks for that explanation of your position. You may be surprised to know that I agree with nearly all of it. Clearly "anti-Zionism" is two completely different things, and I will try to recast the article to make that clearer, but they do have to be discussed together for the reasons discussed above. As to the last point, I haven't seen the anti-Semitic hatespeech you refer to, but the point isn't really central to the topic so I don't need to argue with you about that. Adam 00:52, 1 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Good to hear this. Just to make thing easier, I agree that the last point is off-topic, and I won't press it in any Wikipedia article. It is an opinion, not a fact. Unless some article needs a discussion of inter-denominational relations in Judaism, it would best be avoided. If the topic does come up, we can always say "Group X is against group Y because of such-and-such; the more liberal groups responds by saying that they feel Z because of such-and such", and just leave it in terms of a formal attribution of opinions. RK 01:33, Dec 1, 2003 (UTC)

OK well that deals with the issue of the anti-Zionist Jews, for now anyway. I would still like you to document the suggestion you made earlier that there are pro-Zionist anti-Semites - people who still advocate that all the Jews should or be sent to Israel. You mentioned Farrakhan as one. I find this improbable, but I am open to persuasion if there is evidence. Adam 02:30, 1 Dec 2003 (UTC)