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Am I Anti-Semitic Or Not

Sorting debate from hate speech with Web technology
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Recently, in Melbourne, there was some controversy when the local newpaper pulled a cartoon by well-known cartoonist Leunig, which compared the Middle Eastern situation with the Holocaust in a somewhat controversial way. The cartoon has since been reprinted by various protest groups, adding fuel to the debate over the Israeli/Palestinian issue and responses to it.

The issue of whether criticism of Israeli actions enter the realm of anti-Semitism has come up several times, in (genuine or apocryphal) reports of far-right groups joining pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and in some particularly heated slogans coming from the protest movement.

So how does one determine what is legitimate criticism and what is hate speech? I propose using the most accurate oracle yet devised: namely, a Am I X Or Not website.

This would involve established an Am I Antisemitic Or Not website. Contributors could upload graphics of various objects (editorial cartoons, peace rallies, Adolf Hitler, Microsoft Wingdings). Other contributors would view them and click a radio button on a scale, with a star of David on one side and a swastika on the other, to determine whether the artifacts presented are anti-Semitic.

acb, May 14 2002

(?) The Diaryland diary of Ann Frank http://annfrank.diaryland.com/
Anti-semitic, or just too short? [pottedstu, May 16 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Indict Ariel Sharon for war crimes http://www.indictsharon.net/
(Partisan) coverage on the legal proceedings in Belgium to have Sharon tried for mass murder. [pottedstu, May 16 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

BBC coverage of the Belgian legal proceedings against Sharon http://news.bbc.co....1458000/1458169.stm
[pottedstu, May 16 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       I suppose you could call me anti-dichotomistic in terms of classifying people by their cultural heritege. The 'you're either with me or with my enemy' thinking in the long run doesn't lead anywhere.
RayfordSteele, May 14 2002

       No they're not. Palestinians -> Phillistines -> descendants of Ham, not Shem.
waugsqueke, May 14 2002

       They all worship the God of Abraham.
[ sctld ], May 14 2002

       <troll> Just out of interest, can anyone explain to me the difference between anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish and also the difference between both of those and 'sorry mate, I believe in a completely different god' or 'I don't believe in religion at all'? </troll>
DrBob, May 14 2002

       Anti-Semitic in common usage means the same as anti-Jewish, but is different from being anti-Israeli (opposing Israel or its policies) or anti-Zionist (opposing the idea of a Jewish homeland).   

       The word Semite comes from Shem, one of Noah's sons, and refers to the people descended from him, which may refer to a number of races in the Middle East, including "Jews, Arabs, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Phoenicians" (source Oxford English Reference Dictionary at xrefer.com), although no one knows who is actually descended from Shem.   

       In linguistics, the Semitic group of languages includes not only Hebrew but Arabic and Maltese and many now-extinct languages of the Middle East. Despite this, anti-Semitic does tend to refer exclusively to anti-Jewish sentiments: particularly the belief that Jews are different or lower than other human beings, or possess stereotyped characteristics such as being miserly and avaricious, or are part of a world conspiracy to enslave us. And in practical terms it refers to discrimination against Jews.
pottedstu, May 14 2002

       Thanks for sharing, bliss.
pottedstu, May 14 2002

       Bliss-, Hahahahahaha.
em-tae, May 15 2002

       Thanks for the clarification, pottedstu. <troll> So, depending on whether or not you're descended from a mythical character (Shem) determines whether you are a Semite and believing in the inferiority of a bunch of folks who claim descent from this mythical character means that you are an anti-Semite. Furthermore, believing in the inferiority of those who follow Judaism makes you anti-Jewish but not necessarily anti-Semitic. Am I right? </troll>
DrBob, May 15 2002

       <troll>Yes, and interestingly while the Catholic church has occasionally been accused of anti-semitism, it has always been pro-semen, at least when that semen doesn't fall on stony ground.</troll>
pottedstu, May 15 2002

       <troll> Interesting indeed because I would have thought that believing in a branch of Christianity (and so accepting the existence of Shem)denies the validity of Judaism, thus making you anti-Jewish (because if you are right then the Jews must be either deluded or mad) but not anti-Semitic.</troll>
DrBob, May 15 2002

       sigh, well at least we (England) still have David Seaman.
po, May 15 2002

       <troll>It's true that Christians have throughout history disliked people of different religions. For instance much of the exploration of Africa and Asia was performed by missionaries looking for new people to call sinful, perverted and mad. However, nowadays many people of religion seem more interested in opposing the atheistic and the apathetic, and overlook the differences between religious faiths. Although from time to time we still have to go bomb the hell out of people who're different from us anyhow.</troll>   

       Incidentally, is this idea a rant: specifically a rant against those who consider criticism of Israel to be morally equivalent to shoving Anne Frank in a furnace?
pottedstu, May 15 2002

       Get your head out of the gutter [blissmiss].

Or wherever you've put it...
mcscotland, May 16 2002

       pottedstu: Not sure if I'd frame it as a rant, but this idea was a reaction to some of the incendiary rhetoric seen recently, and also to the censorship of the Leunig cartoon mentioned.
acb, May 17 2002

       Perhaps the answer is to focus on individuals rather than groups. The Jews are human like most of the other people on this planet, and on the average, about 2% of any given human population (whether Jews or not) can legitimately be described as "bad guys" (a phrase that doesn't always exclude women).   

       It is well known that when a bad guy obtains social power, abuse of that power follows. This tends to affect the external perception of the entire group that has the bad-guy-in-power. Thus many Germans were reviled unnecessarily because of the actions of Hitler. Thus many Jews were reviled because of the actions of Rothschild (famous quote: "Give me control of a nation's money, and I care not who makes her laws."). And so on.   

       Which is why it is more important to revile the bad guys in particular, and leave the groups out of it.
Vernon, Oct 03 2011

       I agree with [Vernon] but just wondering: // about 2% of any given human population (whether Jews or not) can legitimately be described as "bad guys"// I am not saying it is low or high, but I was just interested in where you pulled that stat or was it just out of the air. This seems like a stat with what I have heard called "truthiness", i.e. close enough to one's own beliefs to not need external support, but wonder if anyone has done studies.   

       PS This is the first time I have seen the <troll> </troll> annotations. Was this in fashion here in 2002 and has since fallen or what?
MisterQED, Oct 03 2011

       //if you are right then the Jews must be either deluded or mad)// <christian> Neither diluded or mad. Just wrong. Like those Muslims! </christian>   

       The fact that most comments here are troll-ish is implied, no need for <troll> tags any longer.
DIYMatt, Oct 03 2011


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