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mazingerz88's avatar

When does commenting about Israel crosses the threshold from legit criticism to anti-Semitism?

Asked by mazingerz88 (25917points) November 10th, 2011

Recently, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak said that all options are on the table when it comes to stopping Iran developing nuclear weapons. Translation, Israel may attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Iran is indeed developing nuclear weapons according to the international agency trying to monitor this. If Israel attacks, the belief is it would drag the US in that conflict that would have dire effect on the world economies. If Israel attacks it could be argued as justifiable pre-emptive self-defense.

On the other hand, even if Iran loads a nuclear warhead into a missile, would it actually be that dumb to fire at Israel, assuring its guaranteed destruction as well once Israel retaliates? ( or am I missing something here? )

Whatever Israel does these days, whether building more settlements, imposing blockades on Turkish ships and threatening to bomb Iran, they are subject to American comments, opinionating and criticisms. The US is a major financial supporter and ally of Israel and Americans have differing views on how to honor this alliance and what Israel should or should not do.

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18 Answers

Mamradpivo's avatar

When you make your comments about Jewish people and not about the policies of the Israeli government. That’s the line.

zensky's avatar

You’re missing that Israel is always discussing this with both the US and England et al, behind the scenes, and two: it’s the size of New Jersey – all you need is just one. Ahmendilidingdong has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” Hitler said things and should’ve been taken more seriously at first – and so should Mahmoud.

I don’t think discussing it is Anti-Semitism. I think what some Americans forget is that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. It’s imperfect, but westernized and similar to America in beliefs. In terms of intelligence (military), hi-tech, science and medicine – Israel and the US work closely together. There’s also the oil. There’s also the Muslim terrorism issue.

Jews are stingy, dirty and smell; that’s anti-semitism. Usually a reflection of a double digit IQ and inbreeding.

Israel shouldn’t build in the territories because they are obstacles to peace: politics.

GladysMensch's avatar

You know you’ve crossed the line as soon as “the Jews” are mentioned.

thorninmud's avatar

Criticisms of the Israeli government can be motivated by anti-Semitism, of course. That doesn’t mean that supporters of Israel are justified in labeling any criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism. How can one determine whether anti-Semitism is truly a factor? It often comes down to examining the criticism in light of the critic’s other comments and actions. The very same policies may be criticized by Hezbollah and leftist Jews; the motivation, though, would be entirely different.

Nullo's avatar

Broadly speaking, when you start criticizing who they are rather than what they do. There are also stock falsehoods (blood libel et al.) that can serve as red flags.
I sometimes wonder if Arabic anti-Israel sentiment counts as anti-Semitism – IIRC both the Hebrews and the Arabs are Semitic.

mazingerz88's avatar

@zensky Yes, there are a lot of things I’m sure Israel is doing behind the scenes and I have no doubt the last thing Israel wants is start a conflagration. But what if the US says no to attacking Iran, what might Israel do then?

zensky's avatar

Actually the US has said it is an option.

mazingerz88's avatar

@zensky Yes. But as much as I have no doubt about the determination of Israel to strike ( or is it just what Netanhayu wants Iran to think? ) I’m not sure if the US would sanction any such act in light of the state of economy right now and Iraq and Afghan engagements.

flutherother's avatar

Surely we understand that criticising the policies of Israel or Iran is different from criticising their people?

Jaxk's avatar

I question the assumption that if Iran sent a nuke to Israel, that we would retaliate with nukes of our own. I just don’t think that would happen. I suspect Israel has similar doubts. Worse yet, I suspect Iran has similar doubts.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I think a lot of it falls into the more gray area of “privilege”. It’s not so much directly anti-Semitism, so much as a failure to try to really understand why Israel acts the way it does, what goes into forming the Jewish identity and nationality, what’s the cultural and historical memory there, etc. This also goes for understanding the other side, whoever they may be, but the question was about Israel. So many end up making sweeping statements about how Israel is unequivocally and deliberately wrong, instead of taking a more “I disagree with this particular tactic, but I understand why there’s a problem, and even why certain people would be drawn to this particular tactic as a solution”.

AstroChuck's avatar

@zensky- Turkey is also a democratic nation in the middle east.

zensky's avatar

@AstroChuck Sort of:

According to the “Democracy Index” (published by the Economist, a British journal), the country in the Middle East with the highest Democracy Index score is Israel, with a score of 7.48, corresponding to the status of “flawed democracy”; the only one in the region. The next highest scores of countries of in the region are held by Lebanon (5.82) and Turkey (5.73), classified as “hybrid regimes”. Also in the “hybrid regimes” category are the Palestinian territories and Iraq. The remaining countries of the Middle East are categorized as authoritarian regimes, with scores below 2 held by Iran and Saudi Arabia.


You might want to read up on Turkey – US relations a bit, here:


Aethelflaed's avatar

@zensky So, do you know what the reasoning is behind listing Israel as a flawed democracy, or why it’s at the specific number ranking that it is? I don’t really know anything about what goes into the EIU’s decision on those matters. Except for why North Korea is last; that I totally get.

Nullo's avatar

@Aethelflaed Not quite an answer, but here is the Wiki page for the Democracy Index.
I believe that the very concept of democracy is flawed – it assumes that 51% of The People (or the largest organized fraction) know what the proper course of action will be, and permits them to force that course of action on the other 49%. This would require a degree of insight, foresight, and benevolence that does not easily manifest, and certainly not in mobs.
Still, it’s the best that we’ve been able to come up with.

mattbrowne's avatar

Anti-semitism is a form of racism which is about negative judgment of an entire group of people. It’s evil and wrong. Commenting on a particular decision or course of action of the Israeli government is not anti-semitism. It’s about exercising freedom of thought and freedom of speech. Every democratically elected government must know that people might disagree with their decisions. That’s perfectly normal in a free world. It’s part of pluralism. It’s about ideas competing with each other. In this case on an international level. Disagreeing with friends is a very normal thing. It’s a sign that we care about each other.

zensky's avatar

^ I agree my friend. @Aethelflaed I don’t know more than the wiki page sorry.

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