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It seems as though the next casualty of the I/P conflict is going to be Helen Thomas who, according to a dKos diary, has been ordered to retire

I agree that what she said was pretty much  anti-semitic, but it's not so far from what the Israelis say about the Palestinians.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:40:47 PM EST
and no, two wrongs don't make a right.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What she said was pretty awful and, as far as I know, historically inaccurate.  Aren't most Israelis from other parts of the Middle East?

Nonetheless, it's sad to lose one of the few real reporters left.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The country of origin for Israelis is a politicized question. Here are the 2008 statistics from the Israeli government: CBS, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF ISRAEL 2009 (pdf). As I read the report, the majority of Israeli Jews as of 2008 were born in Israel.

3,884,600 Israel born
1,639,000 born abroad

For a historical view, I'm looking at the numbers compiled by Paul Burstein, Professor of Sociology, at University of Washington, for a lecture: WHO ARE THE [JEWISH] ISRAELIS? (pdf). Between 1919-5/1948, 90 percent of Jewish immigrants to what would become Israel came from Europe and the U.S. Between 5/1948-1961, 47 percent came from Europe and the U.S.

I think the answer to why more European Jews didn't immigrate to Israel after statehood is pretty obvious. During the Holocaust, 90 percent of the Jews living in Germany, Austria, Poland, and the Baltic nations were murdered by the Nazis. Overall across Europe, an estimated 67 percent of European Jews were killed by the Nazis.

by Magnifico on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 01:58:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other I/P news, it's somewhat comforting to know that an entire group of Israeli commandos is apparently no match for an unarmed, retired Marine.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:56:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anti-semetic this and anti-semetic that. The label is used in such a way as to devoid it of meaning.

When people get angry they sometimes respond in inappropriate ways - like Jews should be subject to what Palestinians are subject to. All such comments are "anti-semetic" as what Palestinians are subject to is extreme racism.

Just out of curiosity, how many Jews are legitimately inside occupied Palestine? There are certainly some.

For those Jews who are illegally inside occupied Palestine,  I would have guessed that they come from Israel, United States, and Russia mostly, perhaps in that order.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 01:32:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Umm, she suggested that the Jews should go back to Poland or Germany.

Those may be the ethnic background of some Israelis but, even if unintended, it's hard to avoid the assumption that there is an insinuation there that is unsavoury.

Plus, it's irrelevant where they came from. Israel as a geographical and mono-religious entityis and can't/won't be undone and we have to deal with where we are. It's more important where we go and that's where important and useful discussions should be directed. The fact that the Israelis themselves have no interest in such discussions is disastrous for the interests of both them and their allies, let alone those of the people they oppress by occupation.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 01:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are correct, the location does have overtones - I was thinking that she said Europe. Indeed she is referring to the situation immediately after WWII - where some Jews went directly to Palestine because there was no other place for them to go. True refugees, not settlers.

(The reasons for this are in themselves not at all straight forward.)

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 01:53:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Helen Thomas, on her own time, NOT in a professional capacity, speaks here mind, accurate or not.

  2. This old lady loses her livelihood, associates, etc. because she speaks her mind.

  3. Conclusion: Let this be a lesson to everyone.  Speak your mind against the beloved Jews and they will CRUSH YOU, regardless of who you are.  They have control of the US govt., therefore the US military, and they will do WHATEVER THEY WANT.  Today Helen, tomorrow ... who?


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 03:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For every one's peace of mind, could you please avoid references to Jews in a discussion about the I/P situation unless the reference is relevant and specific.

Reason being that you (and us) can get derailed by accusations about anti-semitism.

When I used it it was in reference to what Helen thomas said.

As for her losing her livelihood, not quite. She's well provided for, but having said what she said, anything she says on any subject is gonna get attacked. Now the extent to which your political media and process is entirely subjugated to the needs of a small country a long way away is something worth discussing in a different way. But never mention jewishness when doing so, it ain't worth the hassle.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 03:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not a historian nor social scientist.  I always thought human history was boring.  All those dates to memorize, and wars, etc.  To me the word "Jew" is a more inclusive and accurate term than "Israeli" as this morning's Washington Journal demonstrated ... American Jews sounding very Israeli.  And this whole anti-semitic bullshit.  What does "anti-semitic" supposed to mean, either by direct definition or with associated connotations?  What is the big deal?  To tell you the truth, with this whole British Petroleum fiasco, I'm not too high on the Brits right now.  And I wasn't gung-ho on the Russians during the '60's cold war. So?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 04:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
c'mon, don't be deliberately dense. If you criticize Israel, you are talking about the policies of the government of Israel. The fact that they happen to be jewish is neither here nor there in that discussion, no more than the fact that most of the government of the USA is Christian is relevant to any discussion of their policies (whatever anyone thinks). It's about how people in power treat people who are not powerful.

the moment you start talking about jews with regard to the I/P situation you are into a whole world of grief of what it says about you and the baggage of attitudes you bring to the discussion. and people can use it against you, so if you want a serious discussion about Israel, refer to Israelis.

But if you just want to mess about and pretend to be gratuitously anti-semitic, then do it elsewhere. Please

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 04:15:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My association with the term "Jew".

  1. I come from a non-religious family.

  2. My best friend in high school was Dave W; his family was Jewish (like being Italian; I'm 1/2 Italian; So?).

  3. I went to Union College in upstate NY in the early '70s.  A lot of the students were from Jewish families in the NYC area.  So?  They're still just human beings like me, from more affluent families possibly (doesn't take much considering the poverty I came from), but who gives a rat's ass.

So what does "But if you just want to mess about and pretend to be gratuitously anti-semitic, then do it elsewhere. Please" mean?  I'm lost on that one.

Here, let's try this.  Can you give me a word in another context which would cause a similar problem?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 04:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I too was raised in a non-religious environment, what's that got to do with the price of tofu ?

It ain't what you think, it's got everything to do with how your argument is perceived by others based on the words you choose to express it with. And in a discussion about how the Israeli government behaves, it just ain't worth mentioning their religion because there's far too much negative history involved. And that gives others an excuse to not hear you when you speak about it. Gives them an excuse to start a ruckus about something you didn't even mean.

To the extent that if anyone mentions the religion in relation to the I/P situation, I immediately assume that either they're anti-semitic and have a bug about it or they don't have anything serious to say so stop reading; I don't actually which is true cos I'm not gonna engage.

I really can't believe you have lived in the US and missed all of the implications here.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:02:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, implications, let's see.

I'm reading Lehninger's Biochemistry 5th Ed.; I was thinking the other day, "my bible", next to my bed.  Can you believe this?  Nowhere in this important text have I come across the term Israeli or Jew?  Go figure.

If I actually get my truffles project going here in order to help right the CA ship (I've got a prospective "operative" for the actual hands-on;one of my former student's who's currently doing Master's work at Davis) and I'm zeroing in on getting into the Jerry Brown for Gov. camp.  And get this.  ANYONE who can help me with my project is welcome ... I don't care about your color, whatever.  Problem solving is problem solving.  If it gets people jobs, if it puts food on the table, that's what counts.  

That's who/what I am, and I ain't changin'.  I guess I haven't been paying attention to all the useless bullshit most people do.  I"M BUSY!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:39:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been a fan of Thomas for a long time, but:

(1) How you behave, even on your own time, can impact others;

(2) Helen Thomas is almost 90 years old and probably wealthier than a good number of us here combined (I don't think her reporting is really a necessary component to her livelihood anymore); and

(3) Really?  The JewsTM?  I don't know why you insist on saying these offensive things, whether it's some need for attention or just you being genuinely flaky as fucking hell, but in either case, lose it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:39:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's poisonous atmosphere of hatred present in many I/P debates - that's why many reasonable people I know prefer to steer away from them. But such atmosphere is more common in Muslim world (naturally), Israel iself, Europe (because of Holocaust), Russia (because of memory of pogroms) and US and Canada (due to affluence of Jewish diaspora there).

Here in Asia many people are unaware of complexities of Jewish question or even Nazism in those regions of the world. "Fascist" is abuse hurled by political opponents, especially at the door of right wing nationalist parties BJP and Shiv Sena. I saw in Indian magazines cartoons of their leaders depicted as Nazis. I remember my teacher on Buddhist philosophy, famous lama-rinpoche from the line of hereditary governors of Kham, Eastern Tibet, was preaching Buddhist values and taught how to avoid all unnecessary conflicts. One girl in audience (from Prague in Czech republic) asked him "How we should not argue with the followers of Hitler?". "Hitler who?" asked in turn rinpoche and added "even with followers of Hitler you should not argue unnecessary". Students from Europe were not satisfied and on the next lesson after conversation with European translator he backtracked somewhat. But I was thinking how inadequate "words" may be in teaching, it was his whole personality, radiating happiness and seemingly simple and problem free way of life which taught students more about Buddhist values.

by FarEasterner on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 04:34:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True. I knew an Iranian Jew whose father when to Berlin for medical treatment in the late 1930s without having any idea what was going on there (thanks to an Iranian name, the Nazis had no idea he was Jewish). If even the Jews had no idea back then, I'm not surprised that many non-Jews are ignorant about it these days.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 02:48:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone should tell Helen Thomas that her people should go back to Europe, too...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:06:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Her ancestors are from Lebanon. You don't want to get into that....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:10:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, her husband's people...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:28:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She's a lesbian.  How presumptuous are you?

(Kidding, kidding!)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:39:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, a Lebanese with Thomas for a last name...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:43:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She might live in Massachusetts.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:47:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doood... that's a pretty funny riposte.

Brooks, David.

Thomas, Danny

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 06:18:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you are naturalized you have a choice to change your name, no questions asked. Some opt for "American" names.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:47:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
who died a couple of years ago, he was always "most popular Frenchperson" according to opinion polls (at least since the death of Jacques-Yves Cousteau) for his outstanding humanitarian work

... and who, in his nineties, publicly made anti-Semitic statements in support of a negationist friend.

I don't care how lucid this Thomas person is (I know nothing about her), but I note that old folks tend to go back to their roots. In both these cases, I find it hard to hold it against them (in the case of the abbé, he's from old Lyonnais bourgeois stock, and they are uniformly anti-semitic once you scratch the surface...) However it disqualifies them from public debate, necessarily. I think it's quite right she got the sack. Being "anti-"anything in the terms she used is completely beyond the pale.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 06:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lyonnais bourgeois... are uniformly anti-semitic once you scratch the surface

Talk about sweeping (and insulting) generalisation!

Otherwise, I agree with your view: once such statements are made, they disqualify the person who made them from public debate.

BTW, Henri Grouès, a.k.a. Abbé Pierre, was my mother's cousin... ;-)

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 07:56:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweeping (and insulting) generalisations are the spice of life... and meant to be taken with a grain of salt.

It's true that I don't get out much, but I honestly can't say that I have met with common-or-garden antisemitism except among bourgeois Lyonnais... twenty years ago I found it deeply shocking, these days I just make fun of it.

But I willingly replace "uniformly" with "often", OK? ;o)  

I have undoubtedly met non-anti-semitic bourgeois lyonnais, other than your good self... but how to be sure, unless one has actually discussed the subject with them?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 15th, 2010 at 05:15:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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