Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A bit more on anti-Semitism

Regarding yesterday's post about the JCC murders and anti-Semitism, commentor Michael makes some important points, with my replies:

Egnor, I agree with most of your sentiment, up until here: "...but we as a society need to make it clear that if you spew anti-Semitic swill ("the Jews control..."), you are radioactive and you have no place in our midst." 
This sort of thinking allows for Jews (or by extension any other people) to be held above scrutiny on the grounds that observation of their activities automatically constitutes racism, even in instances where an observation may hold merit.
Judaism is not a race. Race is a biological term, rather ill-defined, but real. Jews are of many different races, and Judaism is not a biological characteristic.

Judaism is first and foremost a religion-- a metaphysical stance. It is also a culture.

The statement "Jews control..." is nonsensical. Certainly it cannot mean that people of a certain race or biology control something. And the individuals cited almost certainly differ strongly on religious issues-- there are many atheists, liberal Jews, and a (very) few conservative and orthodox Jews in the "Jews control..." cohort. So these "Jews" share nothing in common as a religion-- they are as diverse as atheists and Hasidim. They are neither a race nor a religion.

They undoubtedly share some cultural characteristics-- they were probably raised in cultural milieus that had some things in common--  aspects of what we would call Jewish culture, although that probably varies considerably as well.

So the assertion that "Jews control..." doesn't really mean much. It does not describe a homogenous group. At most, it merely attributes some nefarious deeds to people of Jewish ancestry who probably share a few cultural characteristics. It does not describe a race or a religion, and it is a very sloppy term for a culture.

Now a term like "Liberals control..." or "Conservatives control..." or "Atheists control..." or "Evangelicals control..." or even "Orthodox Jews control..." actually means something. Whether it is true is another matter entirely, and varies from instance to instance. But "Jews control..." is just gibberish and refers to nothing meaningful.

Of course, some of the complaints about entities invoked in "Jews control..."-- the financial industry, the entertainment industry, academic, etc-- are fair targets for criticism, even harsh criticism. And I should point out that the "bad Jews" so often invoked-- commies, corrupt bankers, entertainment moguls, etc-- are almost invariably secular irreligious Jews. It is their irreligion that characterizes them, and they are not Jewish in any way that matters. It is their atheism, not their Judaism, that correlates with the evil they do.  Religious Jews are as mortified by corrupt atheists (who happen to have Jewish ethnicity) as Christians are. Many religious Jews are very conservative and very much opposed to the deeds of which the "Jews control..." cohort is accused.

Bottom line: the only thing that the assertion "Jews control..." reliably tells you is that the person saying it is, inevitably, an anti-Semitic asshole.
Should the Russians be exempt from scrutiny on the grounds that tens of millions of them were killed off (i.e. victimhood), or likewise the Chinese?
Why would I blame "Russians" for communism or Stalin? They were as much the victims as the perpetrators, and what do Russians living today have to do with what Bolsheviks did? What do Chinese people have to do with Mao, for goodness sake? Is guilt inherited?
Observations on racial, ethical or ideological grounds do not constitute racism in and of itself; it is only in the application of fostering hatred (e.g. "these people are a plague and should be ousted") where the latter comes into fruition.
"Jews control..." is inevitably an expression of hatred. I have never seen it used as a complement. Given that it means very little specifically, and it is an invariable expression of hate made by anti-Semites, there's not much to recommend it.

This is not to say that I don't believe in conspiracies and cabals. There are lots of conspiracies and lots of cabals. Pro-lifers, pro-choicers, gay activists, anti-gay activist activists, liberals, conservatives, Occupy Wall Streeters, Tea Partyers, Democrats, Republicans, the list goes on. Some of these conspiratorial cabals do control things (Republicans control the House of Representatives, Democrats control the Senate and White House), and it's perfectly proper to point it out.

"Jews" is such an imprecise term that it is meaningless to attribute "control" to them, just as it is meaningless to attribute control to "non-Jews" or "people born in November".
As Christians, we are called to be witnesses to the truth and part of that responsibility is not to allow ourselves to be ignorant of reality.
As Christians, we worship a Jew.  The Lord lived every second of His life on earth as a Jew. He's the only Jew I know who "controls" anything, and we are blessed that He does.

"Jews control..." is rhetorical and logical nonsense. Given its recent provenance, it should set off alarms, and people who assert it should be called out for the assholes and anti-Semites that they are.  

15 comments:

  1. "And I should point out that the "bad Jews" so often invoked-- commies, corrupt bankers, entertainment moguls, etc-- are almost invariably secular irreligious Jews. It is their irreligion that characterizes them, and they are not Jewish in any way that matters. It is their atheism, not their Judaism, that correlates with the evil they do."

    Who's arguing otherwise? That there's people (of all walks of life) who push for bad policies and immorality in today's socio-political landscape cannot be undermined and they're certainly not an "exclusively Jewish" by any means.

    "Why would I blame "Russians" for communism or Stalin? They were as much the victims as the perpetrators, and what do Russians living today have to do with what Bolsheviks did? What do Chinese people have to do with Mao, for goodness sake? Is guilt inherited?"

    You tell me. It seems that you're confusing critique for inherent bigotry against Jews, seemingly on account of the Holocaust. No matter the level of atrocity committed, it isn't grounds to hold anyone above scrutiny. There's not a single race, religion or other without its share of bad apples.

    ""Jews control..." is inevitably an expression of hatred. I have never seen it used as a complement. Given that it means very little specifically, and it is an invariable expression of hate made by anti-Semites, there's not much to recommend it."

    You're operating on the pretense that 'observation (about the Jews) = bigotry.' One can readily verify that every major media conglomerate in America, of which there are six, is owned by Jews, but that in and of itself does not prove (or disprove) anything of merit. The problem is that it makes Jews easy targets for hatred by people who are convinced that they're a part of some grand conspiracy to demoralize and destroy America. If you read the comments sections on political forums and whatnot, you'll inevitably run across accusations of that sort, accusing Jews of being nation-wreckers and war mongers.

    "This is not to say that I don't believe in conspiracies and cabals. There are lots of conspiracies and lots of cabals. Pro-lifers, pro-choicers, gay activists, anti-gay activist activists, liberals, conservatives, Occupy Wall Streeters, Tea Partyers, Democrats, Republicans, the list goes on. Some of these conspiratorial cabals do control things (Republicans control the House of Representatives, Democrats control the Senate and White House), and it's perfectly proper to point it out.

    'Jews' is such an imprecise term that it is meaningless to attribute 'control' to them, just as it is meaningless to attribute control to 'non-Jews' or 'people born in November.'"

    Here is where I disagree. It's no more meaningless an attribution than it is to say that the middle-east is controlled predominantly by Muslims. In either case, correlation does not equal causation.

    "As Christians, we worship a Jew. The Lord lived every second of His life on earth as a Jew. He's the only Jew I know who 'controls' anything, and we are blessed that He does."

    I refer you here:
    http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/if-jesus-was-a-jew-why-are-we-catholic

    "'Jews control...' is rhetorical and logical nonsense. Given its recent provenance, it should set off alarms, and people who assert it should be called out for the assholes and anti-Semites that they are."

    Gotcha. So ethnic Jews are above scrutiny, because anti-Semitism.

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    1. Overarching generalizations-- "Jews control...", "Muslims control...", "Men control..." etc. that are based on factual observations are of value only when they have reasonable reference to the issue at hand.

      The fact that Muslims "control" much of the Middle East is quite relevant, because Islam has intellectual and cultural characteristics that are relevant to governance, culture, etc. And most Middle Eastern leaders and elites cohere to the tenets of Islam to a greater or lesser degree. To understand the Middle East, it is indeed necessary to have a reasonable understanding of Islam.

      To understand the entertainment industry or the news media or the financial industry, it is not necessary to know anything about Judaism. The Jews (if what you claim is true) who have power in it are not notably religious-- my guess is that they're quite secular. Since Judaism is not a biological category, and the so-called Jewish power-brokers aren't particularly religious in any observant sense, why identify them as "Jews", unless you're just an anti-Semite who associates the stuff you don't like with Jews.

      I am much more concerned that the people at the top of the entertainment industry are atheists, liberals, Democrats, friendly to gay activism, environmental loons, etc.

      As I said, making the point that they are "Jews" says nothing of importance about them. It only says things about you.

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    2. That's just a cop-out, no different than declaring that anyone who comments on another group such as homosexuals, Muslims, Europeans, etc. are "bigots and haters" in order to shut down the conversation before it begins, thereby evading scrutiny. Rather convenient, isn't it? LGBT groups use this strategy all the time.

      When politicians who call themselves Catholics, such as Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, come out in favor of same-sex marriage, abortion and so forth and contradict their faith, they are (rightly) chastised by the Catholic Church and community. In contrast, why is it that Jewish politicians (e.g. Bloomberg, Feinstein, Emanuel, etc.) promote gun control, defend same-sex marriage and favor socialist policies, yet Jewish communities do not demonstrate similar outrage, if indeed they are in fact set apart by their secularism as you suggest?

      http://news.yahoo.com/biden-jewish-leaders-drove-gay-012202293.html

      Contrary to what you claim, this says absolutely nothing about myself.

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    3. "In contrast, why is it that Jewish politicians (e.g. Bloomberg, Feinstein, Emanuel, etc.) promote gun control, defend same-sex marriage and favor socialist policies, yet Jewish communities do not demonstrate similar outrage"

      They do provoke outrage, among Conservative and Orthodox Jews. Conservative and Orthodox Jews vote Republican. I have Conservative and Orthodox friends who despise these leftists (who happen to be Jews).

      The conservative community in Judaism is small-- most Jews are liberals, for a variety of cultural, theological and historical reasons. A very large portion of the Jewish community is atheist, explicit or functional.

      It is in atheism, not Judaism, that the problem lies, and our ire should be directed at atheism and various secular idolatries, not at Jews as a religion.

      I point out that anti-Semitism is today the provenance of the Left, and that anti-Semites are almost invariably socialists of one sort or another.

      If you have a specific cultural or religious critique of Judaism, offer it. It may well be valid-- I have my own critiques, the most obvious being that Jews deny the Lord. There are other problems with religious Judaism, including an obsession with ritual, etc.

      But these critiques are of a sort that can be leveled at any belief system or culture, and it does not translate into "Jews control..." idiocy.

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    4. "It is in atheism, not Judaism, that the problem lies, and our ire should be directed at atheism and various secular idolatries, not at Jews as a religion."

      I don't recall aiming ire at Judaism. And I have no doubt that the Jewish politicians, as much as the white, black, etc. Gentile ones are operating from an ideology rooted in Marxist secular-atheism.

      "I point out that anti-Semitism is today the provenance of the Left, and that anti-Semites are almost invariably socialists of one sort or another."

      Which is ironic given that the American Jewish community overwhelmingly leans towards the left.

      "If you have a specific cultural or religious critique of Judaism, offer it. It may well be valid-- I have my own critiques, the most obvious being that Jews deny the Lord. There are other problems with religious Judaism, including an obsession with ritual, etc."

      You're making the error of conflating my argument with Judaism when in fact I only pointed out that Jewish people in influential positions favor progressive policies.

      "But these critiques are of a sort that can be leveled at any belief system or culture, and it does not translate into 'Jews control...' idiocy."

      But alas, that is a large contributing factor, if nothing else than because one cannot undermine their power to influence while simultaneously attempting to counter or diffuse the atheist/pagan ideology prevalent in the mainstream. Nobody is calling for another holocaust (which would be anti-Christian to the extreme), so relax.

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  2. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthApril 16, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    I can think of a very good reason why Jews are, and have been, a focus for hate: envy.

    In the list of countries ranked by Nobel Prizes in Science per capita, Israel comes in at #11. Stop and think for a moment about how remarkable that is. Israel itself has been in existence since 1948. Moreover, countries higher on the list like Austria, Germany, the UK, and the US owe much of their position to native or immigrant Jews.

    The same is true for business and law. Jews punch far above their demographic weight in both domains. And, basically, Jews own economics.

    The entertainment industry is loaded with Jews, as are the arts. Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas", for Pete's sake. "White Christmas" is, by some accounts, the best-selling Christmas song of all time.

    There's much there to hate, and much to explain one's own relative mediocrity. Obsession with what other people have achieved - envy - is common, and, as Churchill noted, the very gospel of socialism.

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  3. In 2008 Joel Stein wrote an LA times column bragging that the “Jews totally run Hollywood”, pointing out that all 8 major film studios are run by men who happen to be Jewish, and that scouring the trades, he could only find 5 Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. It’s common knowledge that Jews control Hollywood. Hollywood Jews brag and joke about it all the time, and they’re certainly not anti-Semitic.

    Because the Anti-Defamation league feels that Jews are exposing themselves to anti-Semitic backlash if they brag about control, they want to deny the Hollywood reality, and when the ADL says “jump”, Christian Zionists like Egnor ask “how high”.

    -KW

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    1. Et tu, KW?

      The primary nidus of anti-Semitism is on the Left today, so I should have guessed.

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    2. mregnor, what KW said is true, unfortunately, as I have read the arrogant comments in question. The onus is on Jewish leaders to denounce the actions of bad actors within their community, just as Catholic leaders are expected to denounce the bad actions of those within our own.

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    3. I encourage Jews to denounce liberals, just as I encourage Catholics, Muslims, atheists and bald people to denounce liberals.

      In fact, many conservative Jews have spoken out eloquently and powerfully against liberalism (ever read Commentary magazine?).

      This Jewish obsession fascinates and repels me. There are real problems in the world. Jews qua Jews aren't the problem. A strong case can be made that, on a per capita basis, Jews have done more to help humanity than any other identifiable group of people.

      Stick to the real issues-- ideologies, genuine religious and metaphysical differences, actual cultural trends-- and toss the anti-Semitic crap in the garbage where it belongs.

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    4. "In fact, many conservative Jews have spoken out eloquently and powerfully against liberalism (ever read Commentary magazine?)."

      Sorry, I haven't, but if you can point me towards relevant material, I'll gladly read it.

      "This Jewish obsession fascinates and repels me. There are real problems in the world. Jews qua Jews aren't the problem."

      I'm not claiming that they are.

      "A strong case can be made that, on a per capita basis, Jews have done more to help humanity than any other identifiable group of people."

      If you say so. I'd argue that Christians have done more to help people than anyone else, but that's just me.

      "Stick to the real issues-- ideologies, genuine religious and metaphysical differences, actual cultural trends-- and toss the anti-Semitic crap in the garbage where it belongs."

      Then why emphasize it in the first place?

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  4. I’m not going to apologize for stating the obvious. Apparently keeping your head shoved up your ass makes it easier for you to make false accusations of ant-Semitism.

    -KW

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    1. I've long said that the socialisms of the "left" and "right" are twins.

      Anti-Semitism is like flypaper to assholes.

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    2. That explains why you’re obsessed with it.

      -KW

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  5. This is a better thread then then the previous one. Yet still in need of important editing.
    jews are a nation that live within another nation or empire etc. They are as segregated a people as poles from Russians. They are a historically almost exclusively breeding population.
    in fact some evolutionist Jews like Stephen Pinker say they are a intellectually superior people based on genetics . One could only be that if one is tight in breeding and almost a race if not.

    Jews are just historically a small percentage of a nations population but possess the prestiges things, including money, of that nation out of proportion. Thats the complain of the natives or other segregated peoples in a nation.
    This leads to charges Jews control this or that. They do or almost do in this or that now and then.
    Its a small step to see this power as ruling the natives nation BECAUSE the small circles of power at the top always do rule the nations.
    its an equation.
    Its not anti semitism, which is a mythical thing I say, but simply normal complaining about who has the power and wealth and what they are doing with it and why do they have it.
    if a immigrant people demands or asks that they have and hold all the top things in a nation , relative to numbers, then they are asking the native to live in and accept inferiority man for man and they are asking the native to forsake concepts that a nation belongs to the whole people of that nation.
    if there is malice or hatred against jews then its morally wrong.
    however getting angry with any immigrant peoople who presume to dominate the native is not morally wrong even if intellectually wrong.
    Affirmative action in North america is founded on the concept there is right and wrong about who gets what. they do it by percentages and not teasing out racism or sexism.
    If identity determines who gets what then so be it.
    No more all men are equal and will be equal now and in the future.
    All of us can say there is a right and wrong answer to who rules and gets in ones nation..
    love this forum but one can say WASPS or WHITES or WHITE PROTESTANTS or MEN or JEWS run this or that and decide if its moral and legal. What is always immoral and evil and to be stopped is violence or any illegal wrong done to those accused.
    Just take everyone to court.
    tHe people of nations have rights to their nations. tHere are contract between the native and the immigrant. Everyone can decide for themselves the right answer about who is master and who is servant. Fair and square.
    anti semetism no more exists then racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, thatguyism.
    tHere is just right or wrong, with malice or none, accusations of people groups against other people groups and between individuals.
    Who is accused more then social conservative Christians ??? no one today. its not a problem in the present establishment , very Jewish, despite a ugly heritage of group accusationism.
    I'm not against accusation but lets have fair trials before conviction or before accusations against accusers.
    It all comes down to fair trials after all. Very "Anglo saxon" copcept.

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