I’m working on more substantive, mathy posts, but in the meantime, I’m pissed,
so I’m making a quick off-topic post.
With the horrible things that are going on in Gaza right now, I’ve gotten a raft of antisemitic spam. Most of it has been through private mail, but some has been in comments on
I’ve mentioned plenty of times on this blog that I’m Jewish. Not Israeli. Jewish.
I’m not a member of the Israeli military. I am not a citizen of Israel. I don’t get to vote in Israeli elections. I have no say in anything that the state of Israel does.
If you’re the type of good-for-nothing coward who thinks that the correct way to
handle a political conflict is to fling insults around at some random powerless blogger,
you should at least bother to check that you’re not shooting yourself in the foot with what you’re saying.
I’m not an antisemite, you fucking jew dog. I can’t be an antisemite – I’m an arab, which means I’m a semite. I don’t hate myself. And I don’t hate jews, I hate zionists who
oppress my people.
You start off with “You fucking Jew”, but don’t worry, I believe you. You don’t really hate Jews, it’s just those zionists. Of course, you don’t know whether or not I’m a zionist. You just assume that I am because I’m a Jew. And you hate me enough to spam me with insults about being a “fucking jew dog”. But you’re don’t hate Jews, no.
And you’re not an anti-semite because you’re “arab”. Well, see, in your typical
pig-ignorance, you don’t know that “anti-semite” is a rather deceptive word. It was
created to give an intellectual gloss to jew-hatred. See, Jew-hatred just sounds
so ugly. Back in the late 19th century, a group of German intellectuals was trying
to make Jew-hatred fashionable, and they chose the word “antisemiten” in German to provide a
pseudo-intellectual term that fit with the in-vogue racial theories of the time. That’s where it comes from. It doesn’t matter that looked at in terms of etymology, it doesn’t appear to be a term related specifically to jews. It’s got a clear pedigree dating back well over a century. Antisemitism is Jew-hatred, plain and simple. That’s what the word was created to mean, and that’s what everyone, you included, mean by it.
Even if that weren’t true, it wouldn’t help you. Even if “antisemitic” really
did mean “hating people of semitic origin”, an Arab could be as antisemitic as anyone else. Being a member of a group doesn’t exist stop you from hating that group. Hell, there’s no reason that a Jew can’t be anti-semitic (in the true, Jew-hating meaning of the word): there’s no shortage of people who are Jews by family history who have a deep and intense hatred of Judaism.
People have a hard time separating Jews and Israelis. Not just people like the
assholes who triggered this post. As a child, I lived in a small town in Ohio for four long, miserable years, and constantly heard from people – including my schoolteachers – who couldn’t figure out how I could possible be a Jew and an American at the same
time – because Jews were Israelis.
It’s really not a hard thing.
Judaism is a religion; being Jewish is a matter of belief, custom, and ritual.
Israel is a country. Being Israeli is a matter of politics and citizenship in
You don’t have to be Israeli to be Jewish, and you don’t have to be Jewish to be Israeli.
Like most countries, Israel has laws describing how you can become a naturalized citizen
if you aren’t born there. It happens that under that law, it’s extremely easy for
many Jews to become naturalized Israeli citizens. That doesn’t mean that all Jews
are Israeli citizens. It means that if you’re part of the group recognized as Jews
by the Israeli government, it would be easy for you to become a naturalized Israeli
citizen if you ever moved there.
I don’t like what’s going on in Gaza right now, but I don’t pretend that the situation is
simple or clear. One one side, I don’t think that any country can afford to let someone shoot
missiles at their people on a daily basis, and not do anything about it. On the other side, I
don’t think it’s remotely acceptable to kill hundreds (or more) of innocent people in the
hopes of stopping a small group of murderous bastards. The Israeli response is complete out of proportion, and the people who are the real victims, who are paying the real price for the most part, aren’t the guilty ones.
But none of that is my choice. Because I’m Jewish, not Israeli. There’s a huge difference
there. (I know that many Israeli’s oppose this conflict; but just like I believe that I share
in the responsibility for the horrors my country has inflicted on the Iraqi people, I think
that Israelis – even the ones who oppose this conflict, share in the responsibility for what
their country has done. And the people in the Palestinian territories who voted for Hamas
share in the responsibility for what Hamas has done in their name. When you’re a citizen of o country, you become a part of it, and you own a share in both the good and the bad of what it does.)