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US and Israel oppose UN anti-racism summit

by shergald Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 05:21:44 PM EST

Sometimes the writing on the wall is insufficient for some allegedly democratic countries to appreciate a hint that their ways of governing is not exactly ideal when it comes to the issue of racial or ethnic equality.

The U.S. and Israel walked out midway through the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, because of a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and compared Zionism to racism. Although the resolution was never adopted, there was an implication that Israel's internal laws, twenty of them, which discriminate against Palestinians ("Arabs," as they are called in Israel) and non-Jewish citizens are not really discriminatory (?). And at that time, Jimmy Carter's book concerning the racial discrimination in the Palestinian territories: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid was not even written.

Sadly, that any American administration, Democrat or Republican, given the advances the US has made with respect to racial equality and voting rights since 1964, could avoid such a conference to protect a discriminatory society such as Israel's is highly hypocritical, and turns our back on our own democratic principles.

The Associated Press reported this piece today, which was picked up by the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz: UN human rights chief tries to sway Israel, U.S. on anti-racism summit

The UN's new human rights chief said Monday she hopes to persuade the United States and Israel to drop their opposition to an upcoming global racism conference. "My instinct would be to get as many countries to participate as possible," Navi Pillay said on her first day as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The so-called Durban II meeting in Geneva next year will review progress in fighting racism since the global body's first such conference seven years ago.

Israeli officials say their country will likely stay away from Durban II because of anti-Semitic excesses at and around the first meeting. The United States has not yet decided whether to take part, but used a vote in the UN General Assembly last year to protest the conference.

Libya chairs the preparation committee for Durban II, and Iran and Cuba are also involved, indicating that there will be more bashing of Israel, Itzhak Levanon, the Jewish state's former UN envoy in Geneva, told The Associated Press last month.

"The High Commissioner should fearlessly focus on protecting the victims around the world, and that does involve speaking out against the violators as well," she said. "I intend to do that without the application of any double standards."

Well, the first question one asks here is: since when is criticism of racial discrimination, e.g., anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic? Given that racial discrimination is at the bottom of anti-Semitism itself, and the evils that resulted from it especially in Europe, but also America during the 19th and 20th centuries, how can it be anti-Semitic? And so how can the claim that the UN's concern with racism around the world, even in Israel, be anti-Semitic?

Isn't it really a question of "double-standards" that is at issue here? Israel just wants to be excused for its own racism. One is reminded here of the appeals of the southern Dixiecrats in the 1960s, who wanted to apply a double standard in judging equality under the Jim Crow laws that prevailed in the south at the time.

Israel needs a Kennedy or Johnson in its midst, and America needs an administration that will further democratic principles of equality around the world irrespective of politics. Being Israel's puppy dog just doesn't work for America any more.

Canada, by the way, is the only country that has explicitly said it will not take part in the summit (the right wing Canadian PM is again caught kissing America's ass).

There's no doubt that the Israeli state is deeply racist, but it is equally clear that for countries like Iran to proclaim that "Zionism is racism" or to even try to condemn Israel's discriminatory practices is the height of hypocrisy.

The Heathlander
by heathlander on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 07:26:57 PM EST
Why ? Iran has many many issues and problems, but I'm not aware that it is a racist country. And please don't say that Ahmadinejhad wants to wipe Israel off the map cos I gonna presume you know as well as I do that's not what he said at all and is just used by aipac apologists to excuse all militarist actions of Israel towards any shi'ite nation or grouping.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 10:58:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First of all that is not completely true. He is on the record calling for the ethnic cleansing of Israel. Secondly there's the Holocaust denial stuff.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 11:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where is he on record calling for ethnic cleansing ? I refer you to the fairly comprehensive wikipedia entry on the controversy.

I agree with Juan Cole's view that what he actually said was stupid and ignorant, but he didn't say what he is accused of. He said that the zionist regime (not israel) would vanish from history (ie die out). This is more or less what we discuss here in shergald's other diaries where the actions of the settler-state makes the two-state solution increasingly impossible, leaving a single state which will destroy zionism as an ideology. This is actually what the Ayatollah Khomenei used to say when he was an ally of Israel's. In context it makes sense, but has presented such a gift to Iran's enemies that it was monumentally stupid to repeat it. But it was not a threat.

However, Shimon Peres was making a threat when he responded that Iran too could be wiped off the map. This seems to remain in place despite that he was heavily criticised within Israel for saying this at hte time.

However, his holocaust denial is true and was a pathetic response to the furore created by the misinterpretation of the earlier comment. Again, it has just been a gift to Iran's enemies and attracted considerable criticism within Iran.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:05:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interview with Ahmadinejad

I'd call ethnically cleansing the place of its Jewish population rather more than just 'regime change'.

Secondly, you said there's no racism, Holocaust denial is racism.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:28:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Holocaust denial is racism.

It is? Often motivated by racism, sure. But intrinsically racist?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:35:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, always racist. It can't be anything but by its very nature. Think about it for a second. A holocaust denier has to explain why basically every single historian accepts it, why there are a gazillion witness testimonies, why the Western countries treat it as very real.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:41:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why "always racist" by "its very nature"?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:43:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, think about the question I just asked, and you'll have your answer.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No I won't, unless I start with your desired answer.

The denier could claim it was a huge conspiracy by aliens. Why is that racist? Or the denier could be a gay neo-Nazi who was motivated by wanting to deny the Nazi state's mass murder of homosexuals.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:49:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, if we're talking about someone who is genuinely schizophrenic or otherwise severely delusional in the clinical sense, that's true. So my apologies to all those holocaust deniers who are getting signals from aliens - now please get back on your meds.

As for the gay example - I'm speaking of the Jewish holocaust.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm speaking of the Jewish holocaust.

Ah. I hadn't realised they were separate.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:54:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:58:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't realise there was a gay one, a gypsy one, a jewish one and whatever. I thought they were all one event "the Holocaust".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:03:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They actually had different scopes, different ideological bases, and different mechanics. The gypsy one has a fair amount of similarity to the Jewish one, though the ideological basis and centrality to the Nazi project are different. The gay one is just very different.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Needless to say, for a university professor now PM, Ahmadinejad, whose purpose was to deny Israel its raison de etre, actually in some ways stupidly did the opposite. He's apparently not a particular bright man when it comes to Middle East politics.

However, Israeli politicians have been making hay out of mistranslations of his statements, and nothing he said corresponds to ethnic cleansing or wiping Israel or its people off the map. The issue has always been Zionism and its effects, since 1948, on the Palestinian people, and the use of the Holocaust to justify it all. Hence, the even more inappropriate attempt at Holocaust denial. The Palestinians are in truth the only ethnically cleansed population in Israel-Palestine and now the much diminished Palestinian territories.

Ahmadinejad's foolishness is that he opened his mouth at a time when Iran is developing nuclear power and with it the belief that Iran wants to become the next nation with nuclear weapons. In so doing, he opened the door to incredible antiIranian propaganda, especially Israel's latest meme, the "right to exist," which replaced the "recognition" meme that preceded it, after the Arab League and everyone else gave that to Israel. "Right to exist" seem to be only the latest red herring for Israel to avoid peace initiatives and continue its military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian territories.

The fact that the Iranian government is supported by Iranian Jews who have been living in the Tehran region for over 3,000 years support the government would seem to say much about the absence of antiSemitism in Iran. Zionism is the issue, not Judiasm or Jewishness.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:55:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Palestinians are in truth the only ethnically cleansed population in Israel-Palestine and now the much diminished Palestinian territories.

Actually, like many of the Palestinians, many of the Israeli Jews are also descendants of folks who were ethnically cleansed, be it from Europe or the ME.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:00:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't get up the references for it at this time, but there was no ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa after 1948, except in one country, either Iraq or Yemen, not certain. In contrast to the myth of a Jewish ethnic cleansing in response to the Palestinian ethnic cleansing is largely false. Jews from Arab countries largely emigrated voluntarily to Israel and were not forced out. There was an increase in antiSemitici incidents in some of these countries, but by and large, it was induced by incentives from Israel, and in some cases, through allegedly antiSemitic incidents propagated by Israeli agents. This emigration lasted from 1948 until about 1968.

In 1948, Israel had enthnically cleansed about two thirds of the Palestinian population, roughtly 800,000, but there were still about one third, or 400,000 Palestinians living within the confines of the newly born state of Israel. At that time there were only roughly 550,000 Jews in Israel. It created the first demographic threat to Israel's being a Jewish majority state. Increasing the Jewish population was first line business, and it did so by encouraging Jews from all over the world to emigrate, including of course Jews in Arab majority countries.

The myth of the Jewish Nakba or ethnic cleansing is just that, a myth, given the proviso that life became difficult in some countries. Forced emmigration was limited to one country as stated above, and may in fact occurred during or after the 1967 war.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PS: No disagreement whatsoever with the European ethnic cleansings in Germany and other european countries in the 30s and then the Holocaust, but we were discussing ethnic cleansings in the Middle East, specifically.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're going to argue there was no ethnic cleansing of the Arab Jews you're also going to have to reject the notion of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The Arab Jews emigrated 'voluntarily' under an atmosphere of intensified discrimination and violence, mass arrests, confiscations of property, and alternating calls for expulsions with bans on emigration. There are exceptions, like Morocco, but even there dozens were killed in the late forties.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:24:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Palestinian ethnic cleansing occurred over a period of about 3 months. It began with the adoption of Plan Dalet by Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv around March 15, 1948, two months before Independence. In the two month period before Independence, 250,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed forceably and through fear stemming from village massacres of which Deir Yassin is the best known, by the Haganah and the terrorist groups, the Irgun, Stern Gang, and others. The remaining Palestinians were ethnically cleansed after Independence.

The so-called Jewish "ethnic cleansing" from Arab countries, by contrast, would have had to occur over a period of 20 years, and if you include the period of the Iran revolution, it is 30 years. The events you said occurred did occur, but they were sporadic, occurred over a 20 year period, may have been in some cases induced by Israeli agents, and in only one country was there a government sponsored forced emigration (again, I don't recall the country). At the same time, Israel provided incentives to induce people to emigrate because it needed population.

I know that there is an effort to create a Jewish Nakba, an ethnic cleansing, in order to justify the Palestinian Nakba that occurred long before it, but I don't believe that most people would use the term ethnic cleansing to characterize the emigration of Jews from Arabic countries over two decades. It use of course is an attempt at tit-for-tat, which then justifies the Palestinian ethnic cleansing and a nonclaim by Palestinian refugees. In fact, it is quite evident to most that the Palestinian Nakba did increase antiSemitism in Arab countries, but there was always some around anyway.

And yes, there were attempts to stop Jewish Arabs from leaving for Israel for the very reason that Israel was inducing or encouraging their emigration. It was believed that the emigration was assisting in the further disenfranchisement of the Palestinians of their homes and land. No doubt that it was widely known that Israel then proceeded to attempt to erase the memory of the Palestinians by bulldozing most of the 470 villages emptied of their residents, into the ground, and just changing the names of the others that were then populated by Jewish emigrees. In many cases, Palestinian family homes were just appropriated. I have heard of complaints by Israeli Palestinians, citizens, who are not permitted to visit their villages, who know that their family home was taken over by new Israeli emigrants. Many of Israeli Palestinians, citizens, are actually internal refugees from their family villages. Jewish emigrees can take their homes, but they cannot even visit them.

There is no tit-for-tat

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:46:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The emigration did take place over an extended period of time, but it was far from evenly spread. What you saw was a wave of violence accompanying the first Arab-Israeli war. At that point a great many wanted out, but many countries refused permission. Under international pressure, certain countries at certain times opened their borders at which point there was mass flight.

There were also those who first tried to stay, given that they saw themselves as Jewish Arabs and who had no interest in becoming Israelis, but later decided that it simply wasn't worth it, leading to second waves. There's also the understandable fact that faced with  pogroms and intense government anti-Jewish propaganda and discrimination just a short period after the Holocaust, most Jews weren't interested in gambling.

Sure the pattern wasn't the same as the Naqba, but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen. Nor does the Israeli government's use of the events in its propaganda change the reality of what happened. I personally happen to think that Palestinian refugees outside the 1967 borders should have no claims on Israel (or any other refugees in any other place after a couple decades). However, I'm not going to go running around claiming the Palestinians left voluntarily under Arab encouragement - a myth long propagated by pro-Israeli propaganda.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 04:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And isn't this the point you are trying to make all along: that the Palestinian refugees, thrown out of Israeli in 1948, have no rights to their homes and lands?

I personally happen to think that Palestinian refugees outside the 1967 borders should have no claims on Israel (or any other refugees in any other place after a couple decades).

Well that is the very point of this propagandish notion of a Jewish Nakba that somehow mullifies the Palestinian right to their homes and lands. Israeli can just keep it all, in spite of the fact it was stolen by force. Over 10 thousand Palestinians died during the Nakba.

This kind of thinking requires that one comflate Palestinian and Arab, to see Palestinians as just Arabs who might be from anywhere in the Middle East, and that being so, they sinned when in Iraq or Yemen, a forced exodus was mandated, albeit not in all the other countries.

Sorry that kind of thinking doesn't fly very well because Palestinians are Palestinians and not Iraqis or Yemeni. It is part of western prejudice to see all Arabs alike. It just doesn't work.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 06:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This has nothing to do with what happened in 1948, nor the nationality of the Palestinians, nor what happened to the Jews in the Middle East or in Europe, nor really anything else but when it happened. I also don't think the huge populations of 'refugees' in Poland or Germany, or Greece and Turkey or Pakistan and India have any rights.

The Naqba and the subsequent forced exodus of the Arab Jews are linked only in the sense that the latter was in part a retaliation for the first. They neither excuse nor compensate for one another. The only claim the Palestinians have on the Israelis with respect to the Naqba is in terms of historical memory and acknowledgement of that foundational crime.

There's a reason why ethnic cleansing is regarded as a form of genocide under the Genocide Convention, regardless of the amount of bloodshed that accompanies it: what it does is kill a society. If the individuals that made up that society aren't killed as well, it is potentially revivable for some time. But that point has long since passed. Another society now lives in that territorial space. Furthermore, the current Israeli society is no longer the same one that committed the ethnic cleansing (other crimes yes, but not that one).

So what we're talking about here is the descendants of perpetrators being punished, on the basis that that will somehow resurrect the long deceased. Forcing Israeli society to accept mass immigration of anyone against its will would be a crime in itself. I know it's a cliche, but two wrongs really don't make a right.

The current inhabitants of Israel have a right to their land, Palestinians in the occuppied territories have a right to theirs. Neither has any rights vis a vis anyone else as refugees because they are not. Nor is the land you're talking about 'their' land. Not any more.

Or do you really believe that Vilnius isn't legitimately Lithuanian because back in 1939 Wilno happened to be about 2% Lithuanian, or Wroclaw Polish because Breslau was some 99% German in 1944? How about Izmir/Smyrna and the rest of Greek Asia minor? What rights do the Turkish descendants of all those who fled the various independence and Balkan wars have? How far back do you want to go?

I can sympathize with the Palestinian feelings about this, they've been horribly fucked over. I can also sympathize with the extreme paranoia of the Israelis that is such an important factor in what they're currently doing to the Palestinians. But I want the Israelis out of the Territories and I don't want to force the Israelis to accept an influx of Palestinians into their own land.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 06:58:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the end it will not be what you or I want, but what the participants will agree to. Whatever is agreed upon will obviously have to include 5 million Palestinian refugees waiting in numerous UN camps around the Middle East. At the present time, however, it is evident from its actions that Israel does not want a two state solution, and continues on a trajectory of military occupation and colonization that is happening NOW.

That's why I'm here: to publicize an ongoing crime by the current government of Israel against the Palestinian people, which from all appearances is a continuation of the Zionist project implemented in 1948. The Israelis now control 42% of the West Bank. Some like Jimmy Carter say it is actually 58% but however much control is involved it is in the form of poured cement and a half million transplanted Israelis. Ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians continues every day.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 09:51:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, effectively, ethnic cleansing is rewarded as long as a country has the military and political might to delay a just and equitable resolution for a few decades, or until the cleansed die off, so that their descendants have less of a hold over the losses.

I would agree that this is the reality.

But... I would also say that international law bans "settling" for precisely these reasons.

by Upstate NY on Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 09:58:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that the Iranian government is supported by Iranian Jews who have been living in the Tehran region for over 3,000 years support the government would seem to say much about the absence of antiSemitism in Iran. Zionism is the issue, not Judiasm or Jewishness.

First of all the majority of the Iranian Jewish population fled. Secondly, what else can they say? It's not like expressing pro-Zionist sentiment or attacking the Iranian state ideology is legal in Iran.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:08:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I may question your term "fled" without an authoritative reference, but there are today about 25,000 Iranian Jews living in and around Tehran. They are not interested in emigrating to Israel, or so I understand from the words of one of their leaders. Jews have been living in Persia-Iran since 1,000 BC, I understand.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fled in the aftermath of the revolution. As for the spokesperson, again what else can they say? Though those that stayed are clearly a self selected population. Nor does a minority population indicate lack of discrimination - are you really going to say that Israeli Arabs aren't discriminated against?
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:08:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Khomeni was very supportive and tolerant of Jewish Iranians, so while what you say is apparently true, I don't understand the origin or motivation behind that emigration. From 1948 to 1969 then, one cannot find a source for what you would call an ethnic cleansing as none apparently occurred. Also remember that there are at least 22 Arab countries in the wider Middle East. Iran, of course, is 55% Persian with most of the remaining population, Arab.

Do you have any unbiased sources/links that might enlighten on your point?

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:26:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wiki Iraq Jews

Wiki Egypt Jews

But I'm not going to do your homework for you. If you honestly don't know anything about the situation that Jews in various Arab countries faced from the late forties on, then perhaps you should avoid commenting on it. Nor do I think that there is anything that could be called an unbiased source on this or related subjects.

As for why Iranian Jews emigrated following the revolution: In addition to the reasons that led a great many Muslim Iranians, particularly urban educated ones to emigrate, there were also specific ones - e.g. the death penalty for the expression of sympathy for Zionism or Israel, de jure second class citizen status, and severe penalties for contacts with Israel. Add in the existence of a decent option in terms of emigration, and of course they left.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not going to do your homework for you.

Sorry but it has been a couple of years I went through that material. However, if you are going to quote WIKIPEDIA, I suggest to you that you find other sources of evidence, valid ones, supporting this "Jewish Nakba," the concept of which is just what I said it was.

I suggest that you go over to Muzzlewatch, a subsidiary of Jewish Voice for Peace (I could also refer you to the Electronic Intifada for similar information) about CAMERA, an Israeli propaganda org, that attempted to change WIKIPEDIA history about the IP conflict and all else associated with it, but was caught in the act. Perhaps WIKIPEDIA is why you hold the views you do.

However, I don't really want to go on with this in this diary, which is about racism in Israel and the Palestinian territories today.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 04:06:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's rather stretching things. He didn't call for "ethnic cleansing" - he was making a rhetorical point about the injustice of 'repaying' Jews for the Holocaust at the expense of Palestinians, as opposed to Europeans.

He wasn't actually threatening to do anything about it. That's the key point. Just like how he often expresses the prediction or the wish that the 'Zionist regime' will fall, but, hostile as that statement undoubtedly is, it's clearly not a threat of regime change.

The Heathlander

by heathlander on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 04:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry for taking so long to reply - I completely forgot I made the comment. Iran is clearly in no position to throw stones when it comes to racism - just ask an Iranian Bahá'í, for example - or indeed when it comes to human rights generally.

Perhaps the conference will be used to productively work towards ending racism in all countries. If, however, it just becomes a place for countries like Iran to grandstand and proclaim "Zionism equals Racism", then I doubt it will be a worthwhile venture. Indeed, if this happens it will just allow Israel to proclaim once again how biased the UN is against it (a ridiculous charge, but that is beside the point).

The Heathlander

by heathlander on Wed Sep 3rd, 2008 at 07:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just a question. Are you still crossposting at DKos? Just haven't noticed you or anyone from the old cabal around.

I noticed that on some days DKos visitor numbers are actually reaching two million, probably due to the conventions.

by shergald on Wed Sep 3rd, 2008 at 08:04:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I still cross-post there, but I haven't had the time to write anything recently (either at DKos nor anywhere else).

The Heathlander
by heathlander on Thu Sep 4th, 2008 at 04:18:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks as if you are the only one left from that old left wing cabal, the Evenhanded Democrats, that was once around in full force, and before Kos began to fear the right wing.

Unbelievably, DKos is now getting upwards of 2 million visitors daily, although part of the interest is just seasonal.

by shergald on Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 09:58:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree about human rights in general, but racism? The treatment of the Baha'i is religious hatred, clearly unjustified, but not racist: there's no racial difference between them, after all.

I'm not even sure that their attitude to Jews counts as racism. The question would be how they would deal with Jews that converted. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think they would be treated any different from other Muslims (at least if they chose  the right branch of Islam). This is not the case in the West (think of the Spanish Inquisition or the Nazis), so we really cannot seriously regard antisemitism in the West as anything other than racism, but I'm not sure if the same applies to Muslim countries.

I don't mean to justify anything the Iranians are doing, just to point out that the term racism does not apply. One could of course ask why the U.N. is having a summit on racism, rather than on human rights in general.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 4th, 2008 at 02:39:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Under some definitions of racism, religious bigotry qualifies either in general or in certain specific circumstances.

There is a case for merging the two because very often religious bigotry is just a bad cover for old-fashioned racism - and because in many ways the causes and effects are similar. And there is a case for keeping them separate, because there are important cases where they are conceptually different.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Sep 4th, 2008 at 11:44:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think that's a bit of a superficial distinction in this case. It's still discrimination and persecution of a group of people based on a totally arbitrary characteristic, be it "race", religion or eye-colour.

The Heathlander
by heathlander on Thu Sep 4th, 2008 at 04:21:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
since when is criticism of racial discrimination, e.g., anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic?

By the same logic that says you can't question anything John McCain does cos he was a POW. Didn't you know that Israel was built from the ashes of the holocaust ? cos of that Israel gets a free pass excusing it from humane behaviour ever after.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 11:01:48 AM EST
I've been staring at a form which I received last week from the Montgomery County (MD, USA) Public Schools administration. In correspondence distributed at the end of the prior school term, the administration informed parents of forthcoming data collection. It did not give an explanation of the purposes of the census. The correspondence merely described how the form's elements are designed to capture greater variance in race and ethnicity designation.

To Parents/Guardians:
Complete and return this form to your student's school by September 2, 2008. Please complete Parts 1 and 2 by completely darkening the circle beside your answers using a #2 pencil or a black or blue pen.

The form itself "discriminates" responses. Each is identified by a numerical student ID, given name, and home address. So this data collection device, for statistical purposes, is not "blind", and one's personal ability to assert or to recover anonymnity within a central knowledge base, whose data may be distributed to third parties irrespective of permissions (cf. bio-ethics of "informed consent"), is void.

Directions: Part 1-Ethnicity Designation- Read the definition below and completely dareken the circle that indicates this student's heritage.

Is this student Hispanic or Latino? (Select one answer)
Persons of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race, are considered [by who?] Hispanic or Latino.

Directions: Part 2-Race Designation- Read the descriptions below and completely darken the circle or circles that indicate this student's race. You must select at least onerace, regardless of ethnicity designation. More than one response can be selected.

While "ethnicity" ostensibly discriminate national origin of importance to immigration policy formulation, these "race" identities seemingly require respondents to conform to continental classifications of "subspecies" by professional biolgists and some genetic researchers.

American Indian or Alaskan Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North or South America (including Central America) and who maintains a tribal affiliation or community affiliation

Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peopples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent incuding Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippin Islands, Thailand, or Vietnam.

Black or African American: A person having origin in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

"A person having origin in any of the <s>black racial</s> groups of Africa," that would be everyone.

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or South Africa. [?!]

Native Havaiian or Other Pacific Islande: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

"Other" is not a choice retained from the national census, 2000. In fact, respondents are required to certify by signature.

I verify the information on this form is accurate.


I refuse to re-identify the race and ethnicity of this student.

In the case Parent/Guardian refuses to "re-identify," a school employee will select designation(s) for the student.

FOR SCHOOL USE ONLY: I am the observer who completed this for due to parent/guardian refusal to re-identify.

Beggaring the political question, What is the purpose of classifying persons accordingly, given dubious scientific validation of "origin" in the methodology itself and "racism" generally?

Any one of us who claims to be "anti-racist" or human rights advocate must stop --by civil disobedience, voluntarily-- this insidious business of institutionalizing race ideology and cultural conflict.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:38:40 PM EST
Is this an attempt to discriminate the children of illegal immigrants in the school system? I know that some school systems, at least those near the Mexican border, have been complaining of increase costs associated with teaching such children.

Boy, will many of us be happy when the damned Republicans leave office.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:54:45 PM EST
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Is this an attempt to discriminate the children of illegal immigrants in the school system?

The face of it, the design of a form that conflates designations of race and nationality, suggests that discriminating immigrants is one objective of the census. Whether or not the survey designers intend to correlate this information with DoE (e.g. English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and matriculation), DHS, and ICE data sets to detect likely legal status of a named respondent known for certain unless of course one happens to be a agency employee manipulating the data.

My objection is the necessity of racist schematics, in any case, and then methodology to a create biometric database accordingly. It's difficult for to imagine that the survey results --number of permutations-- have any administrative value. And the error rate attributable to "observer" designations or alterations is mind-boggling.

Nevertheless, federal law permits agencies to share data with contractors and to market data products to employer clients. Data types include finance, electronic medical records (EHRs), and genetic material ostensibly scrubbed of personal identifications.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Sep 3rd, 2008 at 11:33:24 AM EST
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Thanks for clarifying the "purpose" of the survey, which seems obvious otherwise. McCain had a good idea about the immigration problem, proposed with Kennedy in the Senate, then backtracked on it for political reasons, the security wall. I hope that Obama, if elected, will put a stop to this kind of intrusion into privacy and attempts to round up immigrants, that we now apparently depend on economically.

by shergald on Wed Sep 3rd, 2008 at 03:38:35 PM EST
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