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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tell me it's not so

An English synagogue is defaced. Anti-Semitic fools? Islamists? Not quite:

"An Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Stamford Hill in London has been attacked and vandalized - not by anti-Semitic thugs, but by fellow Jews who regard its leaders' outspoken condemnation of Israel as a betrayal.

"Rising tensions over the forced evictions by Israeli troops last month of Jewish settlers from Gaza and parts of the West Bank as part of the Middle East peace process has sparked a backlash among Stamford Hill's Orthodox Jewish community.

"Windows at the synagogue in Alkham Road were smashed after bottles were hurled at them last Thursday evening and the front of the building was covered with red spray paint.

"The synagogue belongs to Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox sect opposed to the Zionist political movement that established the state of Israel as a national homeland for Jews.

"The sect claims that the concept of a sovereign Jewish state is contrary to the teachings of the Torah and has led to the bloodshed in the Middle East.

"In recent years it has staged the public burning of the Israeli flag on street corners in Stamford Hill."


Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Is it orthodox, ultra orthodox, or a sect? It can't be all three.

But it is a shame and disgrace that it was attacked.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 2:38:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Ibrahamav said...
"Is it orthodox, ultra orthodox, or a sect? It can't be all three."

Err .. you should know this one. The Naturei Karta are "ultra-orthodox". These guys regard Zionism as evil made manifest because it is, as they understand it, anti-messianic in that it has been brought about not by the hand of god but by the hand of human beings. For them, Zionists, whether knowingly or not, usurp god and replace him/it with their own egotistical desires - and thus, Zionists constantly block the peaceful utopic destiny of the Jews and indeed all humanity.

But it is a shame and disgrace that it was attacked.

That's cetainly true. What I find most curious is that one never hears about this sort of repression happening in Israel itself. For some reason, the (attempted) silencing of dissent from the current Israeli government line seems to occur mostly OUTSIDE Israel. Any thoughts on why this is so?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 8:22:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

I do know that one. It is a sect. If it were merely ultra-orthodox, it would still regard israel as a nation and would not assist the PLO nor insist on dismantlement.

There is little attempt of silencing dissent, by Jews, outside of israel. There is just the movement to ensure that the dissent motivated by antisemitism is widely noted.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 10:34:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Ibrahamav, your use of the word 'anti-Semitism' to describe any criticism of Israel gives the word no meaning and allows true anti-Semitism to be either ignored or forgotten. Get some perspective.
As for this: "There is little attempt of silencing dissent, by Jews, outside of israel." Really, you must be kidding? The number of both Jews and non-Jews who are slammed, intimidated, silenced and threatened for speaking out proves that your point is spurious. And that's being kind.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 11:13:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Antony, your attempt to associate the dismay shown concerning certain criticism of Israel with the misuse of the charge of antisemitism gives your attempt no meaning and allows true antisemitism to be either ignored or forgotten.

Good thing that everybody but neo-nazis, white supremists, Holocaust deniers, and islamo-fascists (and their helpers, witting or not) is on to that little canard.

Using the term 'antisemitic' when criticising those charges against israel which are clearly antisemitic in nature, witting or not, is no crime, nor does it dull the legitimate sting, no matter how much you would love it to.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 1:43:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...


I would really appreciate you outlining for what is acceptable criticism of Irael and what is antisemitic criticism.

Are these guidelines stipulated somewhere?

I'm not asking this to be sarcastic, but it seems to me there are differing opinions on what constitutes antisemitism. I'm sure you woudl agree that if the guidelnes are arbitrarily definied then it opens up the charge of antisemitism to being abused or used in the wrong context.

I do not consider myself to be anitsmitic in any way, nor anti Jewish, yet you have suggested that some of my arguments are antisemitic in nature.

Can you appreciate my dillema?


Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:29:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

I understand your dilemma. Here's a hint that might help.

Criticising Israel for failure to follow UN resolutions without explaining that the vast majority of such resolutions are passed in knee-jerk fashion, that several of the resolutions require Arab action before Israel can be expected to follow suit, and that similar action by the Arab enemies of Israel are not singled out for resolutions, is merely unfair criticism of Israel and not antisemitic.

Any attempt to equate Zionism to racism, without clarifying that every single nationalistic movement including the Palestinian one is equally as racist, is antisemitic.

But if it is already proven that you are an antisemite, it makes little difference how you term your criticism of israel and zionism as it usually stems from your antisemitic outlook. You don't get brownie points when you accidentally stumble across an actual non-antisemitic critique.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:01:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

But, of course, I'm not the expert and it is just a ball park explanation

Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:01:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Thanks for that.

That last paragraph poses a problm for me. For example, some people are racist for any number of reasons - education, upbringing, negative experience or lack thereof. How they arrive at this outlook affects how they deal with it. Some grow out of it, while others get worse.

But there are many examples of people who start out as racists, and subsequently discard their racist aoutlook. Has this hot happened to people who have been antisemitic?

I appreciate there are people who are antisemitic, but work very hard to disguise it, but according your reasoning, it would seem once and antisemite, always an antisemite.

What about those who's critisism i based purely on what they read or believe to the true. How do you ineterpret the intentions of someone's heart?

I hpe you don't mind me saying, but it's certainly a minefield.


Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:48:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Again, ballpark explanation. But the Rowan's of the world are not about to change their stripes.

It is not up to me to look into their hearts. Their intensions will be read from their posts.

Here's a hint. When someone complains that someone else label all criticism of israel as antisemtitic, that is a post that gives reason to suspect such a fellow's intentions.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 4:00:00 am  

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