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View Diary: BIG NEWS: For First Time, Britain & France May Recall Ambassadors to Israel | U.S. Red Line Crossed (393 comments)

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  •  It bothers me too, comparing Jews with (9+ / 0-)

    Nazis is a hallmark of antisemitism, but even more so, it's a kind of cheap shot. If they think of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany when they think of Jewish people, it's because of the horrific experiences we went through that are not even out of the memories of many who are still alive. For those of us who have family members who were in the Holocaust, to hear that there is an automatic association between "Jewish people" and "Nazis" is an inversion, and a very, very hurtful one. This is not history for me. It's still alive because I have living family members who were interred by Nazis. Can those reading imagine how I feel when reading through this, and then I read a comparison between the only Jewish state in the world and Nazi Germany?

    It is offensive.

    And I am Middle Eastern Jewish, so Israel is not my "homeland" (at least not in my mind). It's not thus political. I am pro-peace and generally interested in Middle Eastern politics all around. But I wish people could be a bit more sensitive to this because it is much like saying that African-Americans who are misbehaving in some way are "lynching" white people... it has that same sort of truly bad and hurtful cultural resonance to it.

    "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

    by mahakali overdrive on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:27:15 PM PST

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    •  Sincere attempt to engage, (3+ / 0-)

      respectfully take issue with a couple of points and promote constructive dialogue:

      I find language surrounding I/P issues troublesome.  I think some people use imprecise terms without thought and that some use them very deliberately.  Why am I addressing this to you?  Because you provide an example and because you seem to be a reasoned and cool headed member of this community.  
      You are (very rightly, IMO) taking issue with anybody equating Jews with Nazis.  Nevermind if the OP was really talking about Weimar Germany or not.  Even if the OP was hoping to invoke images of Nazi Germany, he would not be equating "Jews" with "Nazis", unless of course he was very mistaken in making comparisons or a real a-hole.  

      He (or rather someone who really was talking about the Third Reich) might, however,  be trying to make a comparison between "The Likud Party" and the "The Nazi Party" or even "Zionism" and "Nazism"   I'm not saying that those comparisons are valid, but when people respond to comparisons  that are not being made, two things seems to happen: charges of, and denials of Antisemitism and a lack of engaging with opposing viewpoints, which stymies progress.  

      I think the poster is trying to compare "Israeli Jewish voters of the 21st century" And "German Germanic voters of the early 1930's".  This is statement that one could argue with.  It may be wrong, but is at least valid in that compares similar items.  Is this offensive and if so, why?  Again, I am not trying to shit stir, but when reframed that way, is it palatable enough to agree or disagree with the comparison of two ethnic populations with political dominance destroying their own democratic state because of fear and racism?

      There are people who feel that there are actions taken by the Israeli gov't are akin to some taken by South Africa under Apartheid or Germany under the Third Reich.  What can be done to promote discussion that acknowledges that reality without either side being dismissed as an Anti-Semite or an Israeli (or even Jewish) Exceptionalist*?

      Finally, I am with you 100% that any references to African Americans lynching people today are unwarranted, offensive and wrong.  However, if the time came when mobs of African American murdered members of another ethnic group in order to: enforce their dominant position in society, sow terror in a target group, and gratify a bloodthirsty racism that bonded them together, I WOULD call that lynching.

      *I have to get going, which means I don't know if that is the most precise term available, but it's the best I have given the time.  (It also means I will be delayed in any response to my "sincere attempt to engage", which I apologize for)

      "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars" --Casey Kasem

      by netop on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:37:04 PM PST

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      •  Thanks for the dialogue (0+ / 0-)

        If a group tells you that something offends them, some type of metaphor or language, then one must find another term that is not similarly offensive.

        I am an academic. I work with language. In the same exact vein that George Lakoff would suggest, all language creates meaning through indirect or direct metaphor (in a nutshell). So language is metaphoric, by nature. If language is metaphoric by nature, but someone is not responsive to understanding what connotations -- or associations -- are bound to arise if they say a certain word, the onus is on them to take note of any further objections to it.

        Also, because language reflects cognition, and it reflects metaphoric and associative cognition, it stands to reason that in the vast majority of cases if someone is talking about Jewish issues, and then they refer to "Europe in the 1930's" being like these, this is a case of association between the most immediate group at hand. This is how language works. Unless the person writing has a stronger association between "Jews and Weimar," it is more likely that their cognitive association is between "Jews and Nazis." This is how the mind pairs language: through sets, often binary sets. Through these sets, we understand much of human cognition.

        But even setting aside the immediate neurocognitive association of the poster, if the poster HAS previously engaged in I-P diaries, and yes, this person has, then they will be familiar with the association between "Jews and Nazis" as a contested one which is socially offensive. It would never be relevant to use this comparison unless Jews became Nazis. Whether some Israeli Jewish Governmental leaders are participating in apartheid or colonialism, this is not more similar to Nazi Germany than any other wide set of more obvious associations with the notions of apartheid or colony. My immediate associations will vary slightly from others, but they are socially and culturally situated. I can say that, for me, my first associations are "South Africa" and "Native Americans," respectively, but that is from being an American who came of age during the late Apartheid era.

        Once a group of people explicitly state that a certain association is profoundly hurtful, insulting, or offensive, ethical people have a responsibility to try to avoid harming people with needless language use which is easily avoidable. Because language is implicitly metaphoric, overt metaphor is particularly extraneous and thus especially easy to avoid.

        So instead of being vague -- which keeps open the possibility for those who would find this statement offensive to find it offensive -- the poster (and all posters) should attempt to be specific using concrete language to avoid negative associations. In this case, had the poster said "Israel is sure acting like the Weimar Republic these days," that statement would not have the same insulting tenor. Still, that is a bit of a Hegelian nightmare with a comparison of oppressor-oppressed. To avoid that entirely, why not just say "Israel is enacting an apartheid regime which is functioning as a colony, and this has historically proven as bad." Hey, one could probably even say "Israel is treating Palestine with all the respect that France has treated Bora Bora," and it would be an earnest expression of concern rather than a very loaded statement.

        Don't compare Israel to Nazis or Germans. That's too loaded and is a very inflammatory thing to say.

        I hope this makes sense. Sorry to bring up neurocognition, but to discuss metaphor and association, it's hard not to.

        Click the <3 to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:19:32 PM PST

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