Shuck and Jive

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What is Anti-Semitism?

Viola Larson has trouble writing a post about Israel/Palestine without using the word "anti-Semitism" in some form or another. I counted 18 posts on the topic since February 25th. Of those 18, 10 contained the word anti-Semitic or anti-Semitism.

Her latest post linked to an article by the former editor of Christian Century magazine, James Wall, who Viola writes has "anti-Semitic leanings." I am not sure what the label means but it seems to be used against anyone who criticizes the activities of the modern state of Israel. Israel can do anything it wants. If you criticize its policies or activities, you are anti-Semitic. The label is a form of bullying.

I am pleased that she made the post, though. In it she linked to Wall's article, Do Not Call It a Military Conflict; It's The Occupation, Stupid:

This is not a conflict, my friends. It is an Occupation created and enforced by superior military power over a imprisoned population.

It is an Occupation institutionalized behind a Wall that is not about security but all about protecting the Israeli public and the outside world from seeing what Israel’s right-wing rulers do daily in their name.

As folks like the Christian Peacemaker Teams report to us constantly, what is not being seen, and certainly not reported in US media, is a brutal, death-dealing, racially-oriented Occupation carried out by an Israeli government unrestrained by any outside power.

The world witnessed Israel's brutality last year in Gaza.

Important discussion and action will occur at this summer's General Assembly when the GA receives the report from The Middle East Study Committee.


  1. Well, not to mention that the label "anti-Semetic", when applied towards someone who aligns sympathetically with the Palestinians is just plain wrong. Palestinians are Semites, too. And, as it currently stands, they also happen to be Israelis, so you can't even call them "anti-Israel."

    Poor, persecuted Viola. It gets harder and harder every day for her kind.

  2. I have nothing against Jewish people. I have a lot against Zionists who are hell bent on keeping the Palestinians down forever so they can continue to occupy their land. And I'm against any government that helps them do so.

  3. I wonder if she people can even write a blog post without calling someone either an anti-Semite or a heretic. Probably not.

    I suspect these have become so commonplace in some people's personal rhetoric that they are merely the equivalent of vocal pauses like "um..." and "er..." (and about as meaningful.)

    I wonder what she thinks about gay Jews. It's like an Einstein thought experiment. Being against them would make her an anti-Semite, but being for them would make her a heretic.

    Anyway, I'm waiting to see the anti-Semite, heretic, apostate trifecta. If you try, John, maybe you can collect all three! :)

  4. I could be an angry, anti-Semitic, leftist, apostate, humanistic heretic and the chicken livers still won't file a charge.

  5. Ilan PappĂ© is an Oxford University-educated Israeli historian and author who was forced out of his professorship at Haifa University by right-wing harassment and now teaches at Exeter University. In a speech given in May, 2008 at the UCLA urged the audience the al-Awda convention not to use the word “conflict” when describing what is going on in Israel/Palestine. “There is no conflict between the rapist and his victim nor the occupier and the occupied.

    Pappe anti-Semetic?

  6. John,

    Before she so violently excommunicated me from her blog with all sorts of slanderous accusations, I had noticed that in Viola's busybody church-lady mode she seems to think she knows more about Middle Eastern politics than all the folks who live in the Middle-East put together.

    It is a sad historical fact that when the Empire sends missionaries over seas, it does not want the missionaries to learn anything about the people or lands they go to that stands at variance with its own ideology.

    It is called "going native" and much to be discouraged.

    But it is something I learned growing up on the mission field, that unless you 'go native' you are completely ineffective as an evangelist.

    Empire builder yes, evangelist no.

    The other thing I learned is how naive the evangelist missionaries really are. Their nature is to preach the good news they have discovered as if it were good to everyone, if only they heard it. So, they go to the mission field, discover some great truth, and fully expect to be welcomed home with open arms by those that sent them when they report back what they have learned.

    They weren't sent to learn and bring back new truth. They were sent to teach the sender's truth.

    Viola is an adorably perfect illustration of how that plays out. What makes her even more adorable is the fact that she seems completely unaware of it.

    It's like her house has no mirrors.

  7. About Ant-Semitism.

    It seems to be a major propaganda coup that the Israeli lobby in the US has successfully equated anti-Zionism to Anti-Semitism.

    But if you listen to the rhetoric of Zionism and compare it to the rhetoric of early Lebensraum, it's exactly the same thing.

    It's an ironic holdover from a very strange ideological time period. The ideologies of that time period ripped Europe and Asia apart.

    Exported to the Middle East they have done no better.

    God only knows if it will be possible to pull the Middle East back from the edge of the precipice. I sometimes feel its just a matter of time before the nukes go off.

    "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!"

  8. Thanks, John, for calling attention to this. I am so sick and tired of being called anti-semitic by Viola and others because I think Israel should stop building illegal settlements in the occupied territories and should make all of the illegal occupants leave ASAP. That's not anti-Semitic. That's JUSTICE.

    When will they ever learn the difference?

    I am so grateful for organizations like J-Street and Jewish Voices for Peace and other Jews advocating for the same policies Presbyterians support, the same policies knowledgeable and compassionate people all around the planet support.

    love, john + + "Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." -- Martin Luther King, Jr. (a speech containing this famous quote is found at

  9. @ Jodie - I did not know you were kicked out of Viola's Kingdom. I wasn't actually kicked out but I left when "Madame I Know All" told me I was using her blog in a shameful way and could not post again on a particular string where I was trying to bring some wisdom and common sense to her and her fans.

    I had gone to great lengths trying to find common ground and even affirming her forum as a place where people could express their disagreements and have a useful dialogue again and again. She never responded positively to those affirmations. She had no trouble responding quite negatively to statements I made which did not fit her very narrow range of Orthodoxy and inclusion in the Church.

    Viola, if you are reading this, you are welcome at my blog unless you try to oust me from my Presbytery or undermine my ministry. I support John Shuck in his decision to ban you from participation here since you are so openly and brazenly trying to destroy his ministry, a ministry of compassion, peace and justice second to none.

    love, john + + "The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, humankind will have discovered fire." -- Teilhard de Chardin

  10. Did I say fans? I should say Subjects!

  11. Jodie nailed it.

    "anti-Semitism" is in fact propaganda used to accuse those of us who despise Zionism and it's Nazi-like ways.

    The hard truth about it?
    Israel is virtually void of Semetic people. Maybe 5% of the population, no more.
    Palestinians are mostly "Semites". Many Kurds and a certain number of Iraqis are as well.

    Israelis of today are white Europeans just like most of us. They are not "Semites".
    And as long as they continue to propagate that lie, they will be looked down upon by the entire planet.
    The misery they live in, being surrounded by their enemies, they brought upon themselves.
    There is no question about their savage war crimes. We all saw it.

    Israel is a rouge protectorate. Nothing more. We, as their handlers, are just as guilty. I'm very pleased that Obama and Clinton have smacked them around a little.

    Like Monkerstein said, this has nothing to do with Jews. My favorite young lady in my life happens to be Jewish :). Jewry has produced some of the greatest minds in world history. Their contributions to the planet and especially this country are monumental.
    Though I would like to see more American Jews speak out against what Israel is doing to Palestine.

    As for Viola, well, LOL.

  12. Curious. I criticize a lot of the Israeli governments actions. I think all the settlements on the Palestinian side of the blue line should be torn down. It's unlikely but that's what I think. I support the idea that Jerusalem should be the capitol of two nations. I understand why Israel build the barrier but think it should have been built on the blue line. Yet I am never called antisemitic even by my Jewish friends.

    I also support a two state solution. I think that those who support a one state solution may not take seriously the rhetoric from various groups among the Palestinians who say they are going to kill all the Jews.

    I also have a strong suspicion that the various Arab states that talk about peace with Israel really don't mean it. If there was peace with Israel they would have to deal with a reaction from their people to the oppression in their own countries. Imagine what would happen in Syria or Egypt if Israel was not around to hate.

    BTW there is a particularly funny (although also sad) piece of graffiti on the Bethlehem side of the wall. It shows a series of dashes with a pair of scissors, suggesting that there should be a hole cut in the wall like clipping a coupon.

  13. @Bob

    I think all the settlements on the Palestinian side of the blue line should be torn down. It's unlikely but that's what I think.

    So why is it unlikely? What forces are involved making this unlikely? What actions could we participate in now to put pressure on the Israelis to make this likely? Houses are bulldozed by American made bulldozers. Gaza was bombed by American made weapons. Perhaps it will remain unlikely until Americans understand that we finance and support an occupation and then do something about it.

  14. Trust me, Pastor Bob. If we tell Israel to pull their settlements out of Palestine or we stop all military and monetary aid, they will bulldoze the homes with their people inside them.

    The Israeli Gov't, which is a fake Democracy, is controlled by some of the most evil, corrupt individuals in this planet's history.
    Netanyahu is every bit the terrorist that Osama Bin Laden, Augusto Pinochet or Fulgencio Batista was.
    They all love to accumulate wealth as others die for their fabricated causes. Netanyahu is no different.

    "I also have a strong suspicion that the various Arab states that talk about peace with Israel really don't mean it."

    I beg to differ. It's Israel's "talk" of peace that is deceptive. If they have peace they don't get rich off our money.
    If anything it is Arab talk of "wiping Israel out" that is fake. That's how they sade their uneducated masses.

    Israel is the military might (thanx to us) in the region and they could put most of the hatred to rest if they took a humble and giving approach to the peace process. You know, like Jesus tried to teach their pre-exile predecessors.


  15. @John

    Maybe I should have said unlikely at this time, or maybe for the near future. The US government isn't going to give up supporting Israel without radical changes happening in Congress.


    I should have phrased what I had to say better. I think we agree. The Arab states need Israel so that they can talk about and point to Israel as the basis for all the problems in the region. If Israel did not exist or Israel made a just peace with the Palestinians then those governments would have the uncomfortable task of dealing with real issues in their own countries.

  16. "@ Jodie - I did not know you were kicked out of Viola's Kingdom."

    It might be easier to ask, "Who hasn't been?"

    I've been kicked off more BFTS blogs than I can count. As several of them have made quite clear, they're not so keen on the queers muddying up their tidy blogs. :)

    However, I get the last laugh since every time I get banned from a blog, a fairy gets his wings. :)

  17. "... a fairy gets his wings"

    Too funny.

    Rumor has it Viola referenced this very post in another diatribe against the "anti-Semites" in the PCUSA.

    What would God do without her Quixotic tenacity to the rescue? Surely the PCUSA would be filled with ordained Bible-burning gay-married Nazi Muslims singing death to the Jews and praises to Mohamed.

    It is interesting to note, by the way, that the association of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism is recent. To the extent that it stifles any criticism of Israel it is an obviously dangerous and evil doctrine.

    But it is also true that the people of Israel, most of them Jews, are fighting for their survival minute by minute while the rest of the surrounding region is not.

    This clearly creates a very volatile and dangerous situation, and the Palestinians are trapped in the middle. A whole generation of Palestinians have essentially been born, raised, married, had children and are now dying of old age behind the barbed wire of refugee camps.

    Is there a justification for their plight that would stand up in the courts of the Almighty?

    I really don't think so.

    And when God turns to the current generation of Christians and asks us "what did you do about it?", what answer are we to give for ourselves?