Talk:Antisemitism/Archive 6

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RK - I put in the disclaimer which you found distasteful, not Danny. I still think that's a good idea. Wiktionary is the correct place to debate definitions - wikipedia is not. This article doesn't need a hard and fast definition of anti-Semitism, any more than the definition article does. What it needs is a working definition, so that people understand that when we use the word anti-Semitism in this article, we're talking about whatever it is that we are talking about. That definition needs to be quick and snappy and, for NPOV, it needs to be made clear that it's a working definition rather than a statement of fact about the English language. Martin

I am not sure why you think we disagree. I totally agree with all of this, Martin! Please do not believe what Danny tells you about me. For whatever reason, he often puts words in mouth, and then attacks positions I do not have. (Remember his bizarre claims that I held that the Jews were some kind of "racially pure" people? How bizzare! Not only did I not say that, I repeatedly and explicitly stated the exact opposite.) RK
I was reading your words, not Danny's. From [1]
  • "RK (Removing a ridiculos and offensive disclaimer. Danny may think it wise to refuse to explain what anti-Semitism is, but the definition of this term MUST be in this article)"
  • "RK ((A) Removing polemical jab at me. There is still no excuse for refusing to offer a simple definition of the subject. ...)"
I'm slightly confused that you appear to agree with me here that the disclaimer is a good idea, but in recent changes you've removed that disclaimer twice. Could you clarify? Martin

From what Ive seen RK, you don't need any help with putting bodyparts in your own mouth....But I digress. This isnt about you, or I, and I apologise if you feel singled out. In trying to sort out some of these issues, we often make the mistake of stepping on each other's toes, flying off the handle, and resorting to rudeness (a sample of which you just read above) - Most arguments are based on some "misunderstanding - Ive found. And defensiveness is something I quickly pick up on as a symptom of a deeper, more innate miscommunication, I think you may be right to point out that you and Danny arent really arguing over much, it looks like splitting hairs to me. By the way, everyone please read Wikipedia:Abundance and redundancy - an informal write-up, concocted last night in my frustration... -Stevert

1. While proofreading, I made a potentially sensitive change: added "they hold that" in front of "the conceptual denial of the right of Jews for a state is indicative of considering Jews inferior", since the latter sentence looks dubious to me. There might be other reasons to "conceptually" deny Jews the right to a state. Perhaps some were even brought front by jewish antizionists, for religious reasons. After all, a few prophets stood against the (old) state(s) of Israel-Juda, if I remember well. --FvdP 23:16 Jan 30, 2003 (UTC)

I'll agree with that. Another possible reason to deny the Jews this is because one denies the very existance of a generalised "right for a state", whether it be claimed by Jews, gypsies, micronationalists, or indeed wikipedians. That's not anti-Semitic, that's a certain perspective of statehood. Martin

2. I fail to see a reason for the disclaimer about the definition. What's the difference between an encyclopedic definition and a dictionary definition, apart that details of language use may be omitted from the encyclopedic one ? What's un-dictionaryish in the current definition ? BTW, the Wiktionary significantly reproduces the Wikipedia definition to start its own article. --FvdP 23:16 Jan 30, 2003 (UTC)

I agree. the disclaimer is somewhat concocted and completely illogical "reasoning" for not explaing Anti-semitism clearly, as a dictionary might. "Wikipedia not being a dictionary:" means something else entirely; dont make articles for words that can be explained simply, or are better incorporated else where. This isnt such an article, and to start with a definition is not only valid, its the standard. -Stevert

The problem, for me, is that a definition of anti-Semitism appears (based on this talk page, etc) to be highly controversial. The book I've just finished reading (Semites and Anti-Semites) defines anti-Semitism as Jew-hatred that goes beyond "normal" racial and religious prejudice and aims at Jewish extermination. That's a very much more narrow definition than this entry uses. I'm sure others would press for a wider definition than this entry gives.
Starting with a definition is absolutely a good idea, but I'm nervous of the potential for bias unless we make it clear that this is a definition, not the definition. I'm also nervous of the potential for the definition section of the article expanding so much that it becomes unhelpful. If you're not convinced those are good reasons, then I'll happilly make way. :)Martin

The real problem is specialysis - specialization + paralysis (quote me). Like Danny and I discussed above, the danger in allowing concepts to become too specialized is that no one else can discuss them. Of course, this might be ok with some Jews, who might (out of defensiveness) say: "We define all aspects of our identity, including the terms, and those to whom those terms apply."

I dont buy it. Its just Enronomics, of a sort - applied to ethnic theory. Some people are unclear on ethnicity and just how broad it is; Wikipedians might form an ethnic group of a particularly informed, contentious group of people. Usually though, it has something to do with geography, and culture, and aspects of culture such as religion, language - anything that creates deliniations between people. Color - ironically has only recently been an aspect of ethnic distinctions, as justification for slavery and all. It deeper than that, but...

I particularly dislike RK's notion that anti-Semitism is an "invention" - that is to say it cant possibly mean anything else other than what the 'coiner' of the phrase originally said. It disavows the logical reading of the term, which is to effectively load up the term (loaded terminology ) with extra, irrelevant, over-specialized garbage... not that it cant be explained, in the background... but the term means something... and that something is what it means. -Stevert

You misunderstand. That is not my view. It is a historical fact that the word was coined for this sole purpose. Further, the term does mean something. It means "hatred of Jews". It always has meant this, and still does. You can't suddenly rewrite the dictionary, and now claim that it means "hatred of Arabs", or "hatred of Persians", or hatred of "Akkadians". The term has never meant "hatred of people who speak Semitic derived languages". That's just illegitimate historical revisionism. RK
RK is precisely right in this point. This is an interesting case in which, while Semitism historically referred to all those languages, Anti-Semitism is, curiously, not an antonym, and never referred to anything but hatred for Jews, latter-day revisionism notwithstanding. Anti-protestantism does not denote opposition to protest, nor does Anti-catholicism denote opposition to universalism. Ortolan88 18:00 Jan 31, 2003 (UTC)

What purpose is the term "anti-Semitism" used for? Clue me in. Maybe we can look at how its used. Lets look at recent press - "anti-semitism this ... anti-semitism that..." excuse me for being skeptical of your "purpose". Harrassment, you say? Perhaps my disagreement with you, on the subject of what you might call anti-Semitism, is itself anti-Semitic..? Is anyone going to staple their tongues to that tennis ball?

(interrupting... ):This word was invented to express hatred of Jews. Stop lying, and pretending that means something else. RK

continued:And If RK is "precisely right" this time, is he otherwise right all the rest of the time? you make my point, Ortolan, in your precision. There is no precision, only inclusion'. Like God, - that thing which we can point to without being able to comprehend how inclusive it is in the least.., He who transcends all concepts is the superior being. So it is for all classification. The more general, more inclusive meaning for the term is the most valid. Forget the history. Only bookworms deal with history as a static set of details. How stagnant. How letter of the law. You perhaps think, like Antonin Scalia, that the letter of the law is strong. Nonsense. words reveal flaw. And the exploit of such is what I object to: as long at anti-Semitism remains a mere political code-word, it can be used as ad hominem for ad infinitum. perhaps this is what you mean by purpose. And Finally, this might be a cheap shot but... "You can't suddenly rewrite the dictionary" -RK again...

Wikipedia is not a dictionary. -Stevert

No, it is not a dictionary, but that does not mean that there cannot be articles about words, or that there cannot be definitions of words in articles. That prohibition is aimed at stubs that do no more than define their topics, and is not, so far as I know, intended to keep definitions and etymologies out of encyclopedia articles, which often include them as a normal part of the discussion. I haven't been involved with RK pro or con, but the history of the word, which is surely germane to an article on the topic, is as he states it. Ortolan88
Hmm, I think I will dispute that anti-Semitism has always and solely referred to hatred of Jews rather than other "Semitic races". Official Nazi philosophy was to oppose all the so-called "Semitic races", both Jews and Arabs, because both threatened the "purity" of the Aryan race. The Nazis themselves called this philosophy "anti-Semitic". Of course, this Nazi philosophy was riddled with contradictions, and in practical terms the Nazis killed vastly more Jews than any other "Semitic" people.
I'm not entirely clear what my point might be here... ;-) Martin
Hi, Martin. Actually, that's not exactly accurate. Hitler did meet with the Mufti of Jerusalem and together they drew up plans for concentration camps in the Middle East. In Germany, the policy of anti-Semitism was centered on Jews. In North Africa (which was, in part under Nazi control for a time) no discriminatory measures were taken against the Arab population (apart from the normal measures taken against any occupied people), while Jews from Libya were deported to Auschwitz. Danny 16:12 Feb 1, 2003 (UTC)
Like I say, the Nazi philosophy was riddled with contradictions, and that was one of them. But in theory at least, as it was laid down in Mein Kampf, all the Semitic peoples were bad news. Martin
For what it's worth -- Adolf Hitler did not coin the term "anti-Semitism". Wilhelm Marr did. He was a proto-Nazi political agitator in Germany in the 1870s, who founded a racialist group called the "League for Anti-Semitism". He wrote specifically that the term was intended as a replacement for the older word Judenhass (Jew-hating). He wasn't talking about Arabs. --FOo
That's very true. However, Wilhelm Marr doesn't have a monopoly on the meaning of any word, even one that he coined. It is a fact that Hitler and others used the term in this broader sense over 50 years ago. Hence I'm disputing the idea that this usage is just "latter-day revisionism", as has been claimed. Martin
Hi, Martin. Myself and two historians specializing in the field have spent a while trying to find the source of your claim that Hitler used the term anti-Semitism in a much wider sense to inlcude people other than Jews. We can't find it. What is your source? Admittedly, Nazi "racial science" was complex and convoluted, but we can't seem to find any reference to what you say. On the other hand, we know of about thirty volunteer units of Muslims in the Wehrmacht and SS. They were mostly Tatars, Uzbeks, and Chechens, but there was also a Muslim Legion in the SS. For an easy to find websource, try You will notice if you scroll down the page there is an arm patch for a Frieden Arabien unit. There would not be such a thing if they were not deemed Aryan or relatd peoples. Danny 15:30 Feb 4, 2003 (UTC)
That's irritating. It was second source - via a book which had seemed (perhaps I was mislead) fairly impartial. I'll retrieve the book this weekend, find the exact sections, and see what I can discover to back it up, if anything. Plus, of course, check that I didn't manage to misread entire sections! In the meantime, I'll move the relevant section to user:MyRedDice/Scratch. Martin 15:39 Feb 4, 2003 (UTC)

Poor thinking and discourse about anti-semetism serve to fuel anti-semites in their beliefs. Only a rigorous NPOV article can serve to reduce prejudice. Anything less is unacceptable to this community. The city I live in, Toronto Canada, dealt with its white supremists (most often Jew Haters, besides anti-Islamic and homophobic) by fighting them eye for eye in pitched battles on the streets. A.R.A. like them, or loath them, chased the racist fringeout of Canada's largest city. White Supremists are still in the hinterlands where they have moved to regroup. Anti-semetism is not acceptable to voice in T.O.

The solution to this ongoing problem lies in the correct use of the talk pages and in proper refactoring technique. For what its worth. User:Two16

I think we all agree on clarity as valid aspect of NPOV. Im not sure its in everyone's interests to attain this clarity with all terms. Granted, words are always changing and its impossible to nail them down, like with any symbol, without losing some parts of its meaning. Perhaps this is what some object to. This doesnt mean we dont strive for clarity, does it? -Stevert

You're a liar, Stevert. Words do have meanings. The problem is that you are systematically trying to cleanse Wikipedia of references to anti-Semitism, and trying to deny that it exists. That in of itself is an anti-Semitic act. RK

Robert, you'll get more support from others (like me) if you'll abstain from insulting people you disagree with. Take a lesson from what happened to me on the mailing list lately. I used the word disingenous loosely, and a dozen follow-up posts accused me of attacks (plural) on other contributors' character, or defended me -- all of which was a big waste of time. --Uncle Ed

Yes, Two16, your absolutely correct. And the developments Danny, and Foobar bring up are interesting too, although Im sure they dont appreciate being called "revisionists." "Wilhelm Marr doesn't have a monopoly on the meaning of any word, even one that he coined." This is the exact argument I used against someone with Dice's persuasion... and now, he brings it up to refute the so-called "revisionist" point of view (actually, the informed NPOV view). What strange bedfellows.... -Stevert

Just what exactly are you trying to say? I'm finding all of this hard to follow. --Uncle Ed

I think I misread Martin's statement. apologos, martin. -Stevert

Woo! :)
I'm very happy that Danny pulled me up on that fact, because it gives me a chance to check one of my sources for bias. Also, I suggest we split off talk about the etymology to talk:anti-Semitism (etymology) or talk:anti-Semitism (word). That should make it easier to follow, right? Martin

No it wouldnt. We 'anti-Semites' must make a stand here :)...-Stevert

I think we can take the stand better in a talk article that summarises:
  • All the different wikipedians who have come along and said what we're saying now
  • All the different sources they have used to demonstrate that this minority usage exists
Anyway, I'll create the page, but I'll summarise, not copy or move. If nothing else, it'll serve as a way for people like me to quickly review the past debate and avoid duplication... Martin

No. Splitting and going off somewhere else, effectively means you concede your points here. Its one thing to take notes. But this must be resolved. As it stands the article is deplorably biased, unclear, and based on very crude and politicized standards for its application. If you agree, then there must be work done here. -Stevert

I've created some notes.
I've also changed the article in response to some of the things said by Clutch. He was concerned that often no distinction is made between strong anti-Semitism, which is what Hitler had, weak anti-Semitism, which is what Wagner may have had, and rational opposition to some aspects of Jews or Jewish culture or Jewish religion or Jewish politics, which is what Clutch has. I've copied and reworded content from homophobia to try and make a start on this, since I think the issues are essentially parallel. Martin

Upon some reflection it occurs to me, that the term "anti-anything" means simply the inverse of that thing. Follow? You really only have to define the thing itself, and the meaning of "anti" is its polar opposite. Hence anti-gravity is the inverse of ... Gratned its not as clear cut as that, each develops an idependent history of its understanding - gravity was known long before antigravity. So there can be a history of this topic; I'm not saying that this article should only be an blip that says "the opposite of Semitism". Of course not. But it does follow naturally that Semitism should be defined - if only to help clarify the meaning of its inverse. I'll get started right away. :) -Stevert

I do not agree that "anti" x simply means the inverse of x -- maybe it would in a mathematical system, but not in languages like German and English, which have different rules of discourse. In any eent, "Anti-Semitism" does not mean "against 'semitism,'" it means "against Jews." Slrubenstein

I find point (B) of the following extract hard to believe, can someone back that up (I somehow can't quite imagine that they believe that South Africa for example was once under Muslim control - even though religious fanatics are not known for their intelligence):

According to their tractation of the Islamic law, all lands fall into one of only two possible legal categories (A) Land currently under Islamic control, and (B) Land once controlled by Muslims, that all Muslims worldwide are bound to re-conquer;

--snoyes 22:07 Mar 1, 2003 (UTC)

All Hail Discordia! Now that's done why don't we learn how to use a talk page: FOLLOW THE HELP! BUTTTON ON THIS PAGE. I have done a cut up job on NPOV, Wikipedian Ethos, Jimbo Wales' principles, talk pages, observation on refactoring etc.. It's on my page User:Two16. I've only added two links (maybe three words) all the rest is from the wikipedia. Date would be found in older versions. Please pay some attention to close reasoning.

Here's a sample of what may be found :

See also most common Wikipedia faux pas for some useful information for newcomers.

  1. Deleting useful content. It's impolite and counter-productive to simply delete content that is useful just because it is somewhat biased (why not just remove the bias?) or because it's poorly copyedited (why not do the necessary copyediting?). Except in the very most obvious of cases, deleting anything over, say, a few sentences demands some words of justification on a talk page. A good principle is never to reduce the overall amount of useful content in an article.
  2. Treating Wikipedia as a chat forum. On talk pages, it is all too easy to get involved in emotional, partisan debates about various topics. Unless this results in an improved article, which it often doesn't, for drawn-out, emotional squabbles, please just sit on your hands. There are many other places online where you can engage in debate and to try to persuade other people of your views. That's really not appropriate on Wikipedia, because we're trying to focus on the task of creating an encyclopedia. Please see What Wikipedia is not.
  3. Thinking that there is an "author" of any given article you read. A common misconception of new arrivals to Wikipedia is that there are single authors of articles. This leads people to issue critiques on Talk: pages when they could just as easily make changes to articles themselves. The fact of the matter though is that no article here has just one official author, even if only one person has worked on it. Anyone can work on any article, and if you see a problem with an article, and you can fix it, then please do fix it then and there. Don't bother with the Talk: page unless politeness demands you explain what you've changed (it often doesn't), or that you ask a question first. For more information, see Be bold in updating pages and Talk page.
  4. Adopting a combative stance. Some new people immediately see that there is a special community of people here committed to working together toward friendly consensus. Others make the mistake of treating disputes on Wikipedia as on a par with Usenet-like flame wars. Most old hands want to spend as little as possible time in nasty, competitive disputes. That isn't what Wikipedia is about. There are acrimonious disputes, even among the old hands. We ain't perfect. But it does seem safe to say that most of us aren't here for that, and we are embarrassed and frustrated when it comes to that. We're here to write an encyclopedia. For that, some amount of Wikipetiquette (if you will) is required. See also Staying cool when the editing gets hot

What wikipedia is not

Propaganda or advocacy of any kind. (But an article can of course report objectively on what advocates say, as long as an attempt is made to approach a neutral point of view. Go to Usenet if you want to convince people of the merits of your favorite views--and good luck.)

This article is overly pro-Israeli. Could someone please fix it? Some examples:

A common form of this type of action is the claim that "Jews view all criticisms of the State of Israel as anti-Semitic"; this is then used to justify attacks on Jews as being overly-sensitive, and/or as being a people who constantly bring forth false accusations of racism. In point of fact, no Jewish organization holds that criticism of the State of Israel, in of itself, is a form of anti-Semitism. Most Jewish groups themselves have at one or more times criticised Israel on various issues, and Jewish groups have very good relations with many non-Jewish groups that have offered criticisms of Israel.

That's untrue, lot of Jews consider criticizing Israel as being anti-Semitic.

I agree with you, but I think this is besides the point. Sometimes criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. Sometimes it is not. When it is anti-Semitic, it is perfectly reasonable for someone to point that out. In such instances, there may be room for argument -- but surely a person has an obligation to listen to why someone else perceives their remarks to be anti-Semitic. In this instance, if a person is then dismissive ("Of course I am not anti-Semitic, you Jews are always saying that") -- well, in this particular case you surely have another instance of anti-Semitism. Slrubenstein
I disagree; the majority of Jews have never considered mere criticism of an Israeli policy, in of itself, to be anti-Semitic. More to the point, no Jewish organization in the mainstream Jewish community holds this view. This claim, that "the Jews" see all criticisms of Israel as anti-Semitism, is an unfair distortion made by people trying to tar Jews with a broad brush. What Jewish organizations consider anti-Semitic is when someone repeatedly condemns the State of Israel for certain positions or actions, yet refuses to condemn anyone else for the same thing. When this occurs time and time again, only aimed at the Jewish state, at that point many Jewish people become suspicious that the true motives may be anti-Semitic. And, as I think you would agree, there is good reason for suspicion in such cases. RK
{From the article} Most Jews hold that in the vast majority of cases ideological anti-Zionists are also anti-Semites, combining the two concepts in a way that cancels the distinction between them. They hold that the conceptual denial of the right of Jews for a state is indicative of considering Jews inferior - which is exactly anti-Semitism.

That's example of pro-Israeli lie. It's one thing for people living somewhere to create a state there and completely different to colonize some area, create state there, and treat former inhabitants of it as second-class citizens.

No, it is not a lie; it is a point of view, i.e. and opinion, held not only by many Jews, but also by many American Christians and other non-Jews. You can't attack people's opinions as "lies"; that's ridiculous. Look, some people hold that nationalism itself is a conceptual denial of the rights of the individual. Is that a "lie"? No. It is a point of view, an opinion. (And one that I happen to think is ridiculous.) You must distinguish between opinions and facts. People who have ideas that differ from you (or even me!)are not liars. RK
Again, this misses the point. Many Jews and non-anti-Semitic non-Jews are critical of Israeli policies. But this does not mean that all critics of Israel are Jews or non-anti-Semitic non-Jews. Just because an orange is a fruit does not mean that all fruits are orange. The passage you quote says "most Jews believe" which I think is factually correct, and goes on to say "in the vast majority of cases" which by no means suggest "all" or "necessarily."
Self-proclaimed anti-Zionists almost always fail to distinguish between Israel the state, and Israelis and Jews as individuals; this often leads to anti-Semitic demonization.

That's obviously not neutral.

How is it not neutral? Many anti-Zionists have such behaviour. How is reporting the existence of this a violation of our NPOV policiy? I can see how advocating this behaviour would a violation of NPOV, but the article does no such thing. I think you need to read this article more closely. RK
Well, it is an empirical claim and strikes me as too general to be proven. I'll make a little change to NPOV it. Slrubenstein

Taw 20:38 May 13, 2003 (UTC)

One form of anti-Semitism is to exagerrate or fabricate the position(s) of the Jewish community, and use the false claim as a justification for criticising Jews and/or Zionists. In logic and debating circles, this is known as a strawman attack.

Strawman arguments can be found on both sides of every argument over every subject.

The most common form of this attack is the claim that "Jews view all criticisms of the State of Israel as anti-Semitic", and then conclude that Jews are untustrworthy or irrational, as they constantly bring forth false accusations of racism.

This would be considerably better if you cited an actual instance of someone making this attack. I don't know of anyone who does so - for example, while Noam Chomsky is a fierce critic of the ADL, he says only that the ADL equate criticism with racism, not that all Jews do so.

I'm also anxious for statistical evidence that this is the most common form of the strawman fallacy in anti-Semitism. But failing that, a citation to show that it occurs at all would be good.

In point of fact, no Jewish organization holds that criticism of the State of Israel is a form of anti-Semitism. In contrast to the myth, most Jewish groups themselves have criticised the State of Israel on various issues, and Jewish groups have very good relations with many non-Jewish groups that have offered criticisms of Israel.

That may be a point of fact, but it's a point of disputed fact. Opponents of the ADL, for example, argue that while they claim to distinguish between criticism and racism, in practice they do not. Similarly, it is possible for the BNP to say "we're not racist", while being racist. We should not say "in point of fact, the BNP are not racist", but rather "the BNP state that they are not racist".

The Anti-Defamation League states that "[snip]".

This should be on Anti-Defamation League, if anywhere - I have no desire to see large tracts of ADL rhetoric scattered around Wikipedia on unrelated subject. Martin 22:24 17 May 2003 (UTC)

Martin, your changes are both POV and wrong. There are plenty of examples of strawman arguments that RK is talking about. Here are some--in the years leading up to America's entry into WW2, Father Coughlin, an anti-Semitic radio preacher, as well as many other prominent people, condemned "the Jews" because they were leading America into war. Yes, most Jews in America supported the Interventionist camp, but not all. Similarly, Jews were condemned by populist politicians for their leftwing politics at the turn of the century. Many Jews were leftwing, but not all. Today, Jews are sometimes condemned for their supposed "high level of participation" in the slave trade. Yes, some Jews participated in the slave trade, but it was, in this instance, a minority. If I understand RK correctly, these are all strawman arguments. Notice that not one of them has to do with Israel. Danny

I fully agree that anti-Semites use strawman arguments in their rhetoric. You give an interesting example of Father Coughlin's strawman arguments, as well as the the slave trade strawman, and the leftwing strawman. You might also consider the Protocols of Zion as a strawman - fabricating claims about a "Zionist conspiracy" in order to discredit Jews. So let us agree that anti-Semites use the strawman fallacy in their arguments, along with ad hominem arguments, arguments from authority, and many other fallacies.
That said, I'm missing the relevance of your comments to the way I rewrote that section. Are you saying that because (in our view) strawmen fallacies are common amongst anti-Semites that we should have a specific section on strawmen fallacies in anti-Semitism? Martin 23:21 17 May 2003 (UTC)

Oh, and as for your recent comments about "rhetoric," I was reminded of the Belle Island race riots in Detroit during WW2. When they happened, both Vichy France and Nazi Germany publicly denounced the U.S. for its "racism," which led to the riots. Yes, there was racism in the States, but that is an example of real rhetoric--kinda like Farrakhan saying that the ADL is racist or sexist. Danny

It's a cute word - I like it :) Martin

Well, for one, RK was writing about a specific type of argument used by anti-Semites to attack Jews. You changed that to "Criticism of Anti-Semitism and Israel." The two are not related. Danny (slight paraphrase)

I really don't see the benefit in having a section on the use of the strawman fallacy by anti-Semites, or indeed on, say "ad hominem anti-Semitism" or "no true scotsman anti-Semitism", or any of the rest. I think that that would be a very odd way to organise the subject.
For example, under the heading "Criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism", I can write about Chomsky's accusations in a comparatively neutral fashion - under the heading "strawman anti-Semitism" I cannot - the title commits me to saying that Chomsky is using a strawman argument. And yet, Chomsky's criticism needs to be mentioned if readers are not to mistakenly assume that arguments about criticism of Israel being anti-Semitic are solely the preserve of extremists. Martin 23:54 17 May 2003 (UTC)

But doing what you are doing limits the arguments to Israel, whereas the that type of argument has been used repeatedly throughout history. In the three examples I gave, Israel is not a factor. There seems to be a false corrolary drawn here, probably unintentionally, that equates anti-Semitic positions with anti-Israel positions. The logical consequence of this is that since anti-Israel attitudes are legitimate, anti-Semitic attitudes should be legitimate too. That is both objectionable and POV (oh, and in itself anti-Semitic). Danny

Hmm, so while I have a problem with "Strawman anti-Semitism" because it excludes Chomsky, you have a problem with "Criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism" because it excludes other strawman fallacies? I still feel that that's an odd way of dealing with the subject, but I'll give way here - watch my next edit... Martin 00:39 18 May 2003 (UTC)

The most common form of this attack in the last 40 years has been the claim that "Jews view all criticisms of the State of Israel as anti-Semitic", and then conclude that Jews are untustrworthy or irrational, as they constantly bring forth false accusations of racism.

Again, I ask for (A) evidence that this particular strawman attack is the most common form and (B) a citation of a named advocate making this strawman attack, with a reference. If this attack is the most common, then it should be easy to find a citation. Martin

In point of fact, no Jewish organization holds that criticism of the State of Israel is a form of anti-Semitism. In contrast to the myth, most Jewish groups themselves have criticised the State of Israel on various issues. As for gentile criticims of Israel, most Jewish groups have very good relations with many non-Jewish groups that have offered criticisms of Israel. The strawman claim is specious.

That's a point of disputed fact. I've already provided two references of people disputing this fact - I can provide more if needs be. As I understand our neutral point of view policy, one cannot say "X is true" if a significant number of people hold that X is false. Martin

Jewish groups hold this to be a typical exmaple of a strawman argument: Even from the beginning, no Jewish groups ever complained that all disagreements with Israel are anti-Semitic; Muwakki has written many strawman articles rebutting charges that no Jewish group has ever made. As such, some Jews feel that rebuttals of fabricated positions are in of themselves anti-Semitic positions.

Let's take a step back here. Muwakki's column is complaining not about the actions of Jewish groups, but of "organized groups of Jewish readers". Therefore statements about what Jewish groups have or have not done are at best tangential to the point. Similarly Muwakki's column does not say that all disagreements with Israel are viewed as anti-Semitic. Rather, he says that "being charged with anti-Semitism is a risk any critic of Israeli policy must assume". Those are different positions and we would be wise to be aware of the distinction.

Muwakki is saying only that some Jewish readers have written to him accusing him, specifically of anti-Semitism. He's not making statements about all Jews, or about Jewish groups, but about some Jewish readers. He's not saying that these particular Jewish groups view all criticism as anti-Semitic, only that they have attributed bigoted motives to his opinions.

And, again, this rebuttal is uncited, being attributed only to vague "Jewish groups". Citation? Reference? Am I talking to myself here? Martin

user:RK wrote in an edit summary "Martin, you keep removing a section, solely because you feel it proves that Chomsky is an anti-Semite."

I should point out that at the time RK wrote this, I had removed a section precisely once. I am unclear how this qualifies as "keep removing", and consider that this edit summary misrepresents my past actions.
Further, the edit summary speculates about my motives for removing this section once, and does so inaccurately. My motives for removing this were expressed on this talk page, and I do not recall saying that I felt that any particular section proved that Chomsky is an anti-Semite.
I would appreciate an apology for this edit summary, which I feel misrepresents both my actions and my beliefs. Martin

I am preparing to overhaul this entire article. In the meanwhile, I am removing this paragraph. Like much of this article, it is ridiculous.

The term anti-Semitism, like other emotive words as for instance homophobia usually implies irrational hatred and fear of Jews or the Jewish culture or religion. Some people use the term to mean any sort of disapproval of Jews or Jewishness, whether subtle or explicit, unconscious or conscious, completely unreasoning or in some way principled. These advocates make no distinction between these two forms of anti-Semitism, and consider all opposition to Jews irrational. Others believe that it is possible to have rational reasoning for disapproval of Jews, but characterize it as unusual.

Here is an analysis:

The term anti-Semitism, like other emotive words as for instance homophobia usually implies irrational hatred and fear of Jews or the Jewish culture or religion.

No, it does not. No anti-Semites claim that their hatred of Jews is "irrational." On the contrary, they find justifications for their hatred, whether it is some pseudoscientific theory or a religious belief. Nor are hatred and fear synomous. People can hate Jews with out fearing them, and fear them without hating them. Nor does anti-Semitism as coined by Wilhelm Marr refer to Jewish culture or religion. If that was the case, Nazis would have had no problem with Jews who assimilated into German society. Similarly, during the Inquisition, people were persecuted because of Jewish ancestry, though they themselves may have been devout Catholics.

Some people use the term to mean any sort of disapproval of Jews or Jewishness, whether subtle or explicit, unconscious or conscious, completely unreasoning or in some way principled.

Huh? How is racism principled?

These advocates make no distinction between these two forms of anti-Semitism, and consider all opposition to Jews irrational.

No, they consider it racist, not irrational. This sentence implies that some opposition to Jews, i.e., anti-Semitism, can be rational and therefore legitimate. See the next sentence for verification of this reading.

Others believe that it is possible to have rational reasoning for disapproval of Jews, but characterize it as unusual.

Actually, belief in a " rational reasoning for disapproval of Jews" is the essence of anti-Semitism—see above. By the way, I wonder how people would react if the word Jews in this sentence were replaced with Blacks, homosexuals, women, Gypsies, the disabled, etc.

And this is only the beginning of my overhaul. Danny

In response to your "by the way"... the paragraph originally came from homophobia, and it was modified to replace "homosexual" with "Jew". Back on the homophobia, there was no huge reaction. I'm not sure what this proves, though?
That said, I think many of your criticisms (though not all) of the paragraph were persuasive and you were correct to remove it. Please carry on rehauling - and thank you for giving a detailed critique on the talk page. Martin
People who are called anti-Semites in the second sense typically do not accept that label. They believe they have rational and morally sound reasons for opposing some aspect of Jewishness. People who are called anti-Semites in the first sense, that of extreme irrational hatred, usually actively embrace the label and are happy to proclaim themselves anti-Semitic.
I just zapped this because the "first sense" and "second sense" refer to the previous paragraph, so it no longer made any sense. I'm unsure whether it might need reinstatement in a different form. Martin

I removed some more, which was an attempt to hypothesize (wrongly, I might add) about Marr's racial theories.

This name was chosen because Marr and others believed in a now discredited theory that held that certain racial groups and linguistic groups coincide.

What is the evidence that Marr or anyone believed this? In fact, people involved in racial science recognized that this was not true. For instance, racism was a predominant feature of American life, yet African Americans spoke English, not African languages. Similarly, most Jews with whom Marr was acquainted spoke Yiddish, a derivative of Old German, not Hebrew. Furthermore, a more modern anti-Semitic argument that Jews are descended from Turkic tribes such as the Khazars eliminates the Semitic aspect entirely.

Semites, at the time, were defined as natives of a group of Middle Eastern nations related in ethnicity, culture and language.

What evidence is there that Marr used this definition? Under this theory Semites would include: Jews, the various Arab groups, and ancient nationalities such as the Assyrians, Canaanites, Carthaginians, Aramaeans and Akkadians (one of the ancestors of the ancient Babylonians).

Actually, in racial theory, attempts are made to link the "northern races" to some of these ancient peoples. Finns still sometimes link themselves to Sumer, while the Babylonians were perceived as heroic conquerors.

The theory of Semitic peoples has long since been discredited, but the Semitic languages are still considered to be those of the above groups. This is a non sequitor. Still working at the trimming … Danny

With all due respect, but the way the word is used in my surroundings, which includes or have included parts of France, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, most certainly supports the statement:

Anti-Semitism (opposite: Philo-Semitism) is hatred or antipathy directed against Jews.

I suspect there is a reason behind this particular controversy in the different value of the terms hate and love, which according to my perception carry more load in Britain and on the European continent (and in Australia, I believe) than in USA. (I've absolutely no ideas about other Anglophone countries, such as India, for instance. ;-> )
-- Ruhrjung 09:26 19 May 2003 (UTC)

I agree with Ruhrjung and am removing the nonsensical disclaimer about "Some people don't regard antipathy ..." What exactly does that mean? "I don't like Jews a little" therefore I am not anti-Semitic? Exactly who says that? Is anti-Semitism measured by degrees of dislike? ("I don't really like Jews" is fine, but "I don't like Jews a whole lot" isn't?). It's just rhetoric. Danny

This was added by Ed Poor after me and RK (mostly me) got into a spat on his talk page regarding the word anti-Semitism, which I regarded as being a very strong word that should be sparingly applied, while he regarded it as being a less strong word that could be widely applied. RK and I both agreed with Ed's change at the time. I think there's some stuff in the archives of this talk page on the subject as well.
Examples from the archives - archive #1: Simon J Kissane, for example, says "I would certaintly class Nazis, Neo-Nazis, and the KKK as anti-Semitic. But they are very different from Neturei Karta". The views of the Neturei Karta would seem to exemplify "milder forms" of anti-Jewish prejudice - and there is a legitimate debate over whether it's correct to call these views anti-Semitic.
I would also quote your own debate with RK on archive 5 - you quoted David Berger as saying (in part) "hostility to Jews as a group which results from no legitimate cause or greatly exceeds any reasonable, ethical response to genuine provocation". This definition is comparatively restrictive - it allows for the possibility of non-hostile antipathy (eg, I don't like the commercialism Manchester United, but I'm not going to be violent or hostile towards a Manchester United supporter). It also allows for hostility arising from a legitimate cause.
Of course, that was all some time ago, but I think it's still valid. Some people have comparatively broad definitions, some peope have comparatively narrow definitions. There are a fair few cites in the archives - for example: "Attitudes and actions against Jews based on the belief that they are uniquely inferior, evil, or deserving of condemnation by their very nature, or by historical or supernatural dictates. ("Anti-Semitism: The Causes and Effects Of A Prejudice", Crosser & Halperin) (my emphasis). While I appreciate the desire for a snappy definition, I think we have to note the dispute in the intro, since I think it runs through many related arguments.
That said, I've no particular attachment to any particular form of words, so if it can be phrased less nonsensically, so much the better.
Martin 19:23 20 May 2003 (UTC)

By defining anti-semitism as X or Y, you've covered both. I don't care much about the removed sentence. It looks too much as extreme NPOVitis (akin to Political Correctness), in particular in the unspecified form ("some people don't regard milder forms", instead of a specification of where such a very narrow definition is popular), but if it's neccessary to avoid perpetual edit-wars, then it's neccessary. ;->
-- Ruhrjung 20:04 20 May 2003 (UTC)

Hmm - I read "anti-Semitism is X or Y" as "X is anti-Semitism and Y is anti-Semitism". It seems you're reading it as "X is anti-Semitism, or maybe Y is anti-Semitism, or maybe both X and Y are anti-Semitism". Anyway, I added a "broadly speaking" bit to the intro, and I'll be content with that. More detailed stuff can go in the section on usage, properly attributed, etc. Martin

When is hatred of woman not misogyny? Is some dislike of all woman no longer considered misogyny? Are only large amounts of hatred towards women now considered real misogyny? Of course not. Anyone who dislikes woman as a group is, by definition, a misogynist. When is hatred of blacks not racism? Is some dislike of all blacks no longer considered racism? Are only large amounts of hatred towards blacks now considered real racism? Of course not. Anyone who dislikes blacks as a group is, by definition, a racist. When is hatred of Jews not anti-Semitism? Is some dislike of all Jews no longer considered anti-Semitism? Are only large amounts of hatred towards Jews now considered real anti-Semitism? Of course not. Anyone who dislikes Jews as a group is, by definition, an anti-Semite. So why keep rewriting this article to make it appear as if dislike (or hatred) of all Jews is something other than anti-Semitism? That is both dishonest and illogical. Think of the fun racist and sexists will have with the other Wikipedia articles if we set such a ridiculous precedent. RK 00:31 21 May 2003 (UTC)

RK, that's an interesting point of view, and one that should be described in the article, properly attributed to named advocates. However, if you read the wikipedia article on sexism, you will discover that there is a genuine dispute over what attitudes and behaviours might be accurately described as sexist. As of yet, this "ridiculous precedent" hasn't caused us any problems. Ditto on homophobia. Still, if you want to argue for anti-Semitism being a special case...? Martin
content removed - wikipedia:no personal attacks
to Danny - "broadly speaking" - when one "speaks broadly", one speaks in generalities and simplifies details. Here, we are simplifying details by not speaking (yet) of the considerable debate, which you yourself have taken extensive part in, as to the meaning of the word anti-Semitism. If you can think of a better way of putting this, please do. Martin