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"...the most extensive survey ever on anti-Semitism."
May 14, 2014 7:46 AM   Subscribe

In the survey to be released Tuesday, which covered 101 countries plus the Palestinian territories, 26% of respondents agreed with at least six of 11 negative statements—what its sponsor called stereotypes—about Jews. The questions included "Jews are more loyal to Israel than [their home] country," and "Jews have too much power in the business world."
[Anti-Defamation League] Poll Says Anti-Semitism Is Global Matter
posted by griphus (135 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just read about this as well and South Koreans of all people did surprisingly poorly.
posted by ChuckRamone at 7:54 AM on May 14


There's a telling bit all the way at the end of the WSJ article: "Of the poll's 26% of respondents who held anti-Semitic views, 70% had never met a Jewish person."
posted by griphus at 7:57 AM on May 14 [23 favorites]


Relatively low in Iran, which I attribute to two things: the long and important presence of Iranian Jews, and the lack of solidarity with Arab countries and the concomitant enmity against Israelis that comes from occupation.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:59 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Also, someone wanna explain Laos?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:01 AM on May 14


Laos has a lot of experience with young Israeli travelers.
posted by grubby at 8:07 AM on May 14


Some interesting tidbits:
-A plurality of West Bank/Gaza respondents (39%) have never met a Jewish person.
-Over half of South Africans (51%) believe that more than 20% of the world population is Jewish.
-Seven percent of Germans haven't heard of the Holocaust.
posted by theodolite at 8:08 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Laos has a lot of experience with young Israeli travelers.

I expect their antisemitism is not caused by Jews.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:10 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


I just read about this as well and South Koreans of all people did surprisingly poorly.

Note what was said in the article, though:
Rabbi Osher Litzman, who has lived in South Korea for six years, told Korea Real Time that the statements assumed to be negative in the West may not apply universally.

Mr. Litzman said that in his experience, the Jewish stereotypes related to wielding influence in politics, business or media are viewed as positives in South Korea, with some expressing a will to emulate. The Talmud, he noted, was one of the bestselling books in the country, and is available in convenience stores and train station kiosks.

“Koreans love the Jews. I’ve only seen admiration, appreciation and love.” he said.

As for anti-semitism, he said he hasn’t experienced it despite his beard and black religious garment, even in rural areas.

While caution is needed in interpreting the results of the survey responses from South Koreans, it does appear to show relative ignorance among South Koreans with regards to Judaism and the history of anti-Semitism.

Close to half said they haven’t heard of the Holocaust, while 64% said they couldn’t rate whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Jews.

But those fighting prejudice may be reassured by one result: that 70% agreed to the statement, “Jews are like everyone else.”
Now, positive stereotypes are still stereotypes (and can affect those being stereotyped negatively), but nothing in the FPP's linked pieces seems to reflect Litzman's sentiment. I have no idea whether this is the fault of the survey or a misreading by Litzman, but it should certainly push the ADL to release all of the data they collected.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:10 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


I think the conflation between Zionist Jews and Jews as a whole is partially to blame for some of these numbers.

Lack of education is certainly to blame for far more of those numbers, unfortunately.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:11 AM on May 14


What's the deal with Panama? I wonder if there's some cultural subconscious link back to the Panama Scandals?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:13 AM on May 14


Mr. Litzman said that in his experience, the Jewish stereotypes related to wielding influence in politics, business or media are viewed as positives in South Korea, with some expressing a will to emulate.

Yeah, they're unfair stereotypes, which are always dehumanizing, but in Korea, they're largely philo-Semetic stereotypes. To the point where books with titles like "Meet A Jew Before You Die" and "How Jews Created Economics" are best-sellers through the country, and even in Korean-American diasporas.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:14 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm really surprised at the low percentage for the U.S. (Yes, American Mefite makes it all about the U.S., news at 11.) Have American antisemites gotten that good at hiding it, or have we really come that far?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:14 AM on May 14


As I said in an earlier thread, the positive stereotypes of Jews in Europe that led them to being invited into, say, Poland were the exact same stereotypes that led them to be murdered later.

Positive stereotypes don't comfort me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:16 AM on May 14 [23 favorites]


zombieflanders: "Rabbi Osher Litzman"

Rabbi Litzman is a Chabad "emissary." Which is shorthand for a husband and wife team that proselytize to other Jews, and possibly also to non-Jews. Mainstream Judaism is not a proselytizing religion and does not seek converts.

So Litzman should not be considered mainstream, and when he speaks about Koreans and antisemitism, he most likely has an agenda. Something to keep in mind.
posted by zarq at 8:19 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


I have had some bizarre Judaism-related encounters in the last couple of places I've lived/worked, where I have often been the first Jew people have met, or lived with.

In Peru (38%), it was a way for the men who worked at the research station I was based at to hit on/proposition me ("You know, men here are not cut. You'd probably like it a lot.").

In Cote d'Ivoire (22%), I was working with a combination of evangelical Christians and animists. They had all heard that the Jews were very "fierce in their faith" and were pretty disappointed when it turned out I was not particularly fierce (the local priest was particularly unhappy because he wanted to invite me to speak at their church). They had not heard of the Holocaust. I watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (dubbed in French) with the guys I worked with, and they really enjoyed it. The week after, I was going through some data that my field assistant had collected, and found that he had doodled swastikas all through that week's data. When I asked why, he said he thought that the bad guys' flags had a cool symbol. So I explained what swastikas represent, we talked about the Holocaust, and he was pretty horrified. He said it reminded him of the political situation in Cote d'Ivoire.

In Kenya (35%), when the men I worked with, who were all very religious Christians, found out I was Jewish, their response was, "You killed Christ?!?" and then they wouldn't talk to me for the next few days (my response was, "it wasn't me!"). Once they all calmed down, one man told me he wished God would make the Jews suffer for what they had done. I told them that, in fact the Jews had suffered because people believed incorrectly that they had killed Christ. So we talked about the history of persecution and the Holocaust, and they were pretty horrified. It also reminded them of the political situation and ethnic tensions in Kenya, so I asked if they'd heard of the Rwandan genocide. They had not. This horrified me more than anything else because if any gencide is a teaching moment, Rwanda offers a lot more relevant lessons for Kenya (and Cote d'Ivoire) because of the way the post-election violence/ethnic cleansing was carried out (this was in 2008). Of course now, the situation with Somali-Kenyans makes 1938 Germany more relevant again

And, in Ohio, my first roommate had never met anyone Jewish before we lived together. As she told me, her grandmother told her to make sure I paid my rent on time, because you never can tell with those people. Woo!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:21 AM on May 14 [94 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: "As I said in an earlier thread, the positive stereotypes of Jews in Europe that led them to being invited into, say, Poland were the exact same stereotypes that led them to be murdered later."

Seconding this. False stereotypes are dangerous.
posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Have American antisemites gotten that good at hiding it, or have we really come that far?

I had a similar reaction, but when you drill down, it says 21 million people hold anti-Semitic views, so 9% of a big number is still a big number (assumes numbers are accurately extrapolated, of course).
posted by yerfatma at 8:22 AM on May 14


Also, I'm really surprised at the low percentage for the U.S. (Yes, American Mefite makes it all about the U.S., news at 11.) Have American antisemites gotten that good at hiding it, or have we really come that far?

Neither, really. American antisemitism was long ago overtaken by the enormous upswing in Dominionism amongst American Christians (mostly evangelicals) that believes that helping the Jews reclaim the Holy Land would bring us closer to the end times, and therefore bring all good Christians into heaven. It's really just a cherry on top that Israel is America's BFF and therefore a bastion against the dirty Mooslems that all hate us for our Freedoms. All of which we can add to the list of "positive" stereotypes that are actually really fucked up versions of antisemitism in their own right.

Litzman should not be considered mainstream, and when he speaks about Koreans and antisemitism, he most likely has an agenda. Something to keep in mind.

Ah, thanks. His reading did seem a bit weird, even if parts of it (books about Jews and Judaism being bestsellers, for example) rang true.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:24 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Laos has a lot of experience with young Israeli travelers.

I expect their antisemitism is not caused by Jews.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:10 PM on May 14 [+] [!]


People in Laos were almost all not antisemitic (or at least did not agree with or recognise traditional anti-semitic tropes).
posted by dng at 8:24 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


They had all heard that the Jews were very "fierce in their faith"

Huh. As an American that's a very surprising stereotype to hear about people having.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:24 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Seconding this. False stereotypes are dangerous.

I'll have to third this. What may be a "positive" stereotype now could easily be flipped on its head in a different political climate into something very negative. Today's model minorities could be portrayed as tomorrow's fifth column or other domestic threat.
posted by ChuckRamone at 8:25 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Jews think they are better than other people

This question is kind of unfair. I hear about it every Friday night when they recite the Kiddush that they're god's chosen people.
posted by Talez at 8:25 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Check out Jon Ronson's "Secret Rulers of the World" documentary about David Icke, if you want to see more analysis from the ADL.

There was one voice of reason in that room. It's a wonderful scene. You'll know exactly what I'm referring to when you've seen it.
posted by davemee at 8:26 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


From a religious perspective, Jews do not believe they are superior to any other group. Nor does being the "Chosen People" mean that we are somehow better than anyone. Judaism 101 has more info.
posted by zarq at 8:27 AM on May 14 [9 favorites]


"-A plurality of West Bank/Gaza respondents (39%) have never met a Jewish person."
The diagnostic value of the survey also seems like it would break down in a place where within living memory non-Jewish businesses were seized, the lack of value placed on Palestinian lives is demonstrated daily, the clear lack of value placed on Palestinian lives by the US must be puzzling at best, both racist and eliminationalist rhetoric towards non-Jews are simmering underneath the surface and explicitly tolerated in government coalitions, and almost all of the local wars in living memory are a direct consequence of Zionism. This also is written pretty dramatically to an American and European context, where in East Asia the stereotypes are mixed with admiration rather than jealous hate or vain fear, while in South America they're mixed with either a manifest indifference or occasionally much older brands of antisemitism.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:28 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


From a religious perspective, Jews do not believe they are superior to any other group. Nor does being the "Chosen People" mean that we are somehow better than anyone. Judaism 101 has more info.
fa·ce·tious
fəˈsēSHəs
adjective
treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.
synonyms: flippant, flip, glib, frivolous, tongue-in-cheek, ironic, sardonic, joking, jokey, jocular, playful, sportive, teasing, mischievous;
posted by Talez at 8:30 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


zombieflanders: " Ah, thanks. His reading did seem a bit weird, even if parts of it (books about Jews and Judaism being bestsellers, for example) rang true."

Related MeFi post: "smart, rich and very cunning"
posted by zarq at 8:30 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Sorry, Talez. Didn't realize.
posted by zarq at 8:31 AM on May 14


Chosen to be hated by the rest of the world, apparently.

I was taught that being chosen meant that we were required to follow a much larger set of rules in order to live up to god's expectations, while non-Jews basically had to be good people and that was enough for him.

Reading these numbers makes me sad all over again. Living in Texas, I've had a surprisingly high number of these kinds of interactions. Being a Jew here, even a non-practicing one, is uncomfortable.

(I laughed, Talez.)
posted by blurker at 8:33 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


fa·ce·tious
fəˈsēSHəs
adjective
I think its worth at least being a little extra cautious with hamburger stuff in a thread about stereotypes that appear to empirically still be depressingly common. Where even appearing to confirm our own partial acceptance of this shit as a community is maybe not the best response to it.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:35 AM on May 14 [9 favorites]


their response was, "You killed Christ?!?" and then they wouldn't talk to me for the next few days

I've never understood this perspective. If you believe that Christ had to die so that you might live, why would you be upset at those you perceive to be responsible for His death?
posted by Slothrup at 8:36 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


I've never understood this perspective. If you believe that Christ had to die so that you might live, why would you be upset at those you perceive to be responsible for His death?

People get really uncomfortable when I point out that Judas ought to be a saint.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:38 AM on May 14 [29 favorites]


Also, I'm really surprised at the low percentage for the U.S. (Yes, American Mefite makes it all about the U.S., news at 11.) Have American antisemites gotten that good at hiding it, or have we really come that far?

It's going back a ways, but there have been a couple things in the US that suggested to me that maybe we have some underlying issues still, although we know intellectually that antisemitism is silly and wrong.

One was the whole deal with Madeleine Albright finding out that she had some Jewish ancestry, and the media seemed to just about shit themselves with stories about "OMG, Albright is a Jew!!!!" in a way that seemed incredibly disproportionate.

The second, more insidious example was with 9/11, when there was a ridiculous meme going around with the Truther segment that seemed to gain far more currency than it should have, about how all the Jews stayed home from work that day...so they must have been warned ahead of time! As if there's some central Jewish organization that has all Jews' phone numbers or something, and that they'd call out and say "hey, your building is totes getting blowed up tomorrow, maybe stay home" and whoever they're calling will say "OK!" and then not warn any of their co-workers? Even beyond the whole ridiculousness of Truther theories in general, that aspect revealed that a lot of people still don't think of Jews as actual people. I'm still really confounded that anyone would think that theory bore repeating.
posted by LionIndex at 8:38 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


You must be great at parties, Pope Guilty.
posted by Melismata at 8:39 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Interesting, thanks griphus.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:39 AM on May 14


I can understand (but not excuse) the animosity if that's really the reason for it. "Hey, you guys killed the Son of GOD??" But, in my experience, that is just an excuse for underlying bigotry/racism.

(Yeah, yeah, I've had the race-not-a-race debate before, but the word ethnicism just doesn't roll off the tongue.)
posted by blurker at 8:40 AM on May 14


Pope Guilty: " People get really uncomfortable when I point out that Judas ought to be a saint."

I want to favorite this, but am afraid of perpetuating a negative stereotype. :D #firstworldproblems
posted by zarq at 8:40 AM on May 14


People get really uncomfortable when I point out that Judas ought to be a saint.

People get really uncomfortable when I point out that God became a man completely, a man to the point of infamy, a man to the point of being reprehensible - all the way to the abyss. In order to save us, He could have chosen any of the destinies which together weave the uncertain web of history; He could have been Alexander, or Pythagoras, or Rurik, or Jesus; He chose an infamous destiny: He was Judas.
posted by theodolite at 8:42 AM on May 14 [11 favorites]


One was the whole deal with Madeleine Albright finding out that she had some Jewish ancestry, and the media seemed to just about shit themselves with stories about "OMG, Albright is a Jew!!!!" in a way that seemed incredibly disproportionate.

That's pretty much the response I get, since I look Irish and have an Italian last name (thanks, blurkerspouse!). Of course, that means I get to hear the anti-Semitic comments from the folks around me all the more.

#stealthjew
posted by blurker at 8:44 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


One was the whole deal with Madeleine Albright finding out that she had some Jewish ancestry, and the media seemed to just about shit themselves with stories about "OMG, Albright is a Jew!!!!" in a way that seemed incredibly disproportionate.

It was a little more dramatic than that, in that it was her parents who had converted, that three of her four grandparents died in the Holocaust and that she didn't learn any of these things until well into adulthood. Or maybe it was just a slow news week. By contrast, John Kerry's barely-more-distant Jewish roots drew next to no attention.
posted by Slothrup at 8:45 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Huh. What's up with Malaysia?

I wonder if part of this is a testing effect where people in some countries know that it's considered poor form to admit certain views.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:46 AM on May 14


One was the whole deal with Madeleine Albright finding out that she had some Jewish ancestry, and the media seemed to just about shit themselves with stories about "OMG, Albright is a Jew!!!!" in a way that seemed incredibly disproportionate.

The best thing about George Felix Allen's meltdown was when, in the middle of his trying to deal with a national narrative of "George Allen is a racist shithead", people discovered that he had some Jewish ancestry and his initial response was not "So? Who cares?" but instead to scream and sputter about how people were defaming him. Classic "than open your mouth and remove all doubt" situation.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:48 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Of course, that means I get to hear the anti-Semitic comments from the folks around me all the more.

My wife -- who is not Jewish and does not look Jewish -- took my very, very Jewish last name when we got married. She has been having a ball responding to people's casual anti-Semitism with "...my name is [very, very Jewish last name]" and watching them stutter out retractions and apologies.
posted by griphus at 8:48 AM on May 14 [15 favorites]


(I laughed, Talez.)

I laughed, too, but then I did a double-take and said, "Wait, was I supposed to do that?"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:48 AM on May 14


#thingsivehadtosaymarryingintoajewishfamily

"No mum... She doesn't typically celebrate Christmas. She's Jewish. That's why we had to buy a new Christmas tree."
"No mum... Easter coloring books aren't a good thing to send to the new nieces. The thought is noted and I know it's a holiday gift but it's kind of a sore spot between Jews and Christians"
"No mum... We don't have a Hanukkah bush"
posted by Talez at 9:00 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I think Anti-Semitism in the USA has gotten very good at hiding.

Take the example of my mom's church. It's in a very small city in the southern part of Georgia. Serving an older African-American Baptist congregation, it's beautiful in its own way, funded and maintained by nothing more than the collection plate and some loans for most of its lifetime.

I think many folks here would dig it: the choir is quite good and the Preacher Man can lay it on pretty well in that groovy Southern Black Baptist style.

But then you go down into the basement where they hold Sunday school for the children, and among the various papers hung up on the wall reminding the kids that Jesus is their friend and protector, you see flyers pointing out how The Jews (sic) are not going to heaven because they haven't accepted JC as their personal savior and how this pretty much makes them the worst thing ever. If not for the fact that I was in a church when first I laid eyes on that, I would have let out a loud, "WHAT. THE. FUCK." From the outside that church is the very model of small-time center of faith, but look closer and you find something vile like that. Unbelievable.

Here in Texas, I've not seen much overt Anti-Semitism in the way I've seen over racism towards blacks and Hispanics, but I've heard more than a few "jokes" about how rich the Jews all are and seen some "oh, of course" eye rolls when it's revealed that some white collar criminal or corrupt politician is Jewish.

Definitely Anti-Semitism is still there and probably all the more dangerous because it's hidden. That's why I'm sometimes grateful, in an odd way, that so much of the virulent racism against blacks is out in the open.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:01 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Huh. What's up with Malaysia?

Islam, maybe.
posted by jpe at 9:06 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


"You killed Christ?!?"

There is always Andy Zaltzman's response: "To be fair, he was guilty".

I don't have the nerve to use it, but I admire the idea.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:08 AM on May 14 [23 favorites]


The Jews (sic) are not going to heaven because they haven't accepted JC as their personal savior and how this pretty much makes them the worst thing ever.

I think that's pretty much baked into New Testament theology, making the notion of a common Judeo-Christian Heritage laughable and making me cry over the recent USSC decision.
posted by mikelieman at 9:11 AM on May 14


I think Anti-Semitism in the USA has gotten very good at hiding.

Yeah, it's definitely still there. Just wait until one of the presidential nominees from either the Dems or GOP is Jewish, it's going to come roaring out of the woodwork then. :(
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:12 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious: "Huh. What's up with Malaysia? "

Old news.
posted by zarq at 9:12 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


About Laos: this is going to sound weird, but I think it's probably due to Laos' relative insularity and the fact that it is still an overwhelmingly rural, agrarian nation. 40% of all Lao villages aren't even on a road, for instance. Ideas about Jews in a country where there aren't any would have to come from the outside, and due to the fact that lots of people don't read, don't have access to the internet, etc., anti-Semitic ideas probably just haven't penetrated.
posted by lunasol at 9:12 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


There is always Andy Zaltzman's response: "To be fair, he was guilty".

Lenny Bruce admitted to it but argued for a statute of limitations on the crime.
posted by griphus at 9:13 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


>> Huh. What's up with Malaysia?
> Islam, maybe.


Then why not The Islamic Republic of Iran too?

I'd admire the hell out of the ADL if they included anti-Islamism in their poll too. I'm sure a lot of their supporters would argue that that's not their job, but what a great way to broaden the conversation.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:13 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Huh. What's up with Malaysia?

Islam, maybe.


More specifically, Islamic solidarity with Palestinians and Arabs.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:17 AM on May 14


Yeah, it's definitely still there. Just wait until one of the presidential nominees from either the Dems or GOP is Jewish, it's going to come roaring out of the woodwork then. :(

Nobody in great numbers seemed to care that Lieberman was Jewish.
posted by Talez at 9:20 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think the thing to remember about antisemitism, like a lot of hateful ideologies, is that it isn't so much a product of a lack of education, which is passive, but a product of active miseducation. The killing of Christ thing, as an example -- you wouldn't just meet a Jew and know that. You couldn't even read the Bible and get that. That's something taught and reenforced. It's why I am uncomfortable with so-called positive stereotypes, because while "good with money" is the positive construction, "stingy," "greedy," and "controlling the economy" are the negative constructions. We're miseducating exactly the same old tropes, and it just takes a different spin to make them dangerous.

If you want to know why this sort of antisemitism exists nowadays, in such numbers, you have to ask "who is teaching this" and "how do they benefit." Because antisemitism has a long history of being a useful hatred, as have many hatreds. They don't exist because people want to hate each other -- I mean, perhaps people do, but this doesn't inspire two thousand years of active, ongoing, aggressive miseducation.

No, that exists because of utilitarian reasons, petty reasons, and almost always the same reasons. Because if you can get people to be angry at the Jews, and to blame the Jews, then they won't be angry at the people who actually make their lives miserable. There is a reason why antisemitism has been dubbed the 'socialism of fools."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:20 AM on May 14 [21 favorites]


>> Huh. What's up with Malaysia?
> Islam, maybe.

Then why not The Islamic Republic of Iran too?


Iran has had many more Jews than Malaysia for a much longer time.
posted by Etrigan at 9:22 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I've never understood this perspective. If you believe that Christ had to die so that you might live, why would you be upset at those you perceive to be responsible for His death?

“You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.”
posted by signal at 9:23 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


I think Anti-Semitism in the USA has gotten very good at hiding.

Er, a guy shot up a Jewish center this year. Not that I want Abe Foxman protecting me...
posted by gorbweaver at 9:25 AM on May 14


I would like to have everything Bunny Ultramod just said cross-stitched onto 10 million pillows and delivered across the globe.
posted by blurker at 9:30 AM on May 14


I find it interesting that the poll excluded Pakistan and Afghanistan.
posted by bardophile at 9:32 AM on May 14


I am saddened that the "Christ-killer" label is still being applied to Jews. As somebody who was educated Catholic after Vatican II, this was never part of the curriculum. Blame was laid specifically on the Pharisees as those whose holiness was outward and not inward, focussed more on observing rules than knowing god. There was a strong emphasis on the idea that Pharisees as Jews was coincidental and that Christians can be Pharisees too--it is a mistaken state of faith rather than a specific people or religion. I don't recall any hatred directed against Jews.
posted by Thing at 9:45 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Once taught a class at a local college and the course was on the Holocaust. At the end of the semester, a young Polish girl came up to the desk and said it was very sad about all those deaths but after all the Jews killed our Lord...test: how would you have responded to her?
Korea is a very Christian country. Also has very high suicide rate.

to all those who openly remark on their anti-Jewish views, I say:: thank you. You have made the State of Israel possible.
posted by Postroad at 9:55 AM on May 14


At the end of the semester, a young Polish girl came up to the desk and said it was very sad about all those deaths but after all the Jews killed our Lord...test: how would you have responded to her?

"You believe that the sins of the parents are borne by the children? How certain are you that no one in your family tree has done anything horrible?"
posted by Etrigan at 9:58 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


>Then why not The Islamic Republic of Iran too?

Iran has had many more Jews than Malaysia for a much longer time.


That's true. But Iran is Islamic too, at least as much as Malaysia. Which is why "Islam" isn't a good one-word explanation for the amount of anti-semitism in Malaysia.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:00 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I think the conflation between Zionist Jews and Jews as a whole is partially to blame for some of these numbers.

This statement bothers me a lot. I think it represents one of the very pernicious ways that anti-Semitism is allowed to survive (in countries were there are actually Jews, ignoring Asia and Africa).

First of all, I think there is a difference between "Israeli settlers" or "right wing Jewish nationalists" or whatever, and the term Zionists, historically used (in the Soviet Union and elsewhere) as a euphemism for the notional disloyal Jews and their rootless cosmopolitanism. This even leaves behind the issue that, in the real world, there are many strains of Zionism. It is not inherently a right wing ideology, it is a widely held belief among Jews of many stripes that there should be a Jewish homeland, and Zionism includes many liberal views as well, such as J Street. Obviously, anti-Zionism is not always anti-Semitism, but I think assuming that it is more okay to hate "Zionist Jews," whatever they are, allows anti-Semitism to be excused.

This especially true if you look at the 11 questions, 6 of which needed to be agreed to to consider someone as holding anti-Semitic tendencies. Maybe you could apply 2 to 3 of them to right wing Israeli nationalists (and even that seems dangerous), but 6 of them? And these questions clearly ask about Jews, not Israelis, not right wing Israelis, not settlers, or whatever group people think is okay to hate.

1 Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/the countries they live in]*
2 Jews have too much power in international financial markets
3 Jews have too much control over global affairs
4 Jews think they are better than other people
5 Jews have too much control over the global media
6 Jews are responsible for most of the world's wars
7 Jews have too much power in the business world
8 Jews don't care what happens to anyone but their own kind
9 People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave
10 Jews have too much control over the United States government
11 Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust

Seriously, look at that list - you need to agree to six of these! Something is very wrong here.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:01 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


"Hey, you guys killed the Son of GOD??" But, in my experience, that is just an excuse for underlying bigotry/racism.

I was raised Catholic, and I remember my younger brothers coming home from school one day having had the opposite experience. They found out that Jesus wasn't actually a Christian, and they were extremely upset. Not because Jesus was Jewish, but because they weren't. If we're Christians who believe in Jesus, then obviously we should believe in the same religion as Him, right? They were very concerned about this, and insisted for days that they be allowed to convert to Judaism.
posted by compartment at 10:04 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Seriously. If you haven't recoiled in horror by question #3 then the rest of the test itself is not even necessary.
posted by elizardbits at 10:04 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


As if there's some central Jewish organization that has all Jews' phone numbers or something, and that they'd call out and say "hey, your building is totes getting blowed up tomorrow, maybe stay home" and whoever they're calling will say "OK!"


The Shabbat-phone?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:06 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Thing: "I am saddened that the "Christ-killer" label is still being applied to Jews. As somebody who was educated Catholic after Vatican II, this was never part of the curriculum. Blame was laid specifically on the Pharisees as those whose holiness was outward and not inward, focussed more on observing rules than knowing god. There was a strong emphasis on the idea that Pharisees as Jews was coincidental and that Christians can be Pharisees too--it is a mistaken state of faith rather than a specific people or religion. I don't recall any hatred directed against Jews."

The Church spent just shy of a couple of thousand years openly blaming the Jewish people for deicide. Nostra Aetate happened in the 1960's. Changing people's mind on the topic won't happen overnight. It will likely take generations of re-education. Nor does the Nostra Aetate apply to the Eastern Orthodox Church or Greek Byzantine Catholic Church, both of which still have at least a couple of ritual prayers that vilify us.
posted by zarq at 10:06 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


Help me out here on this one:

"People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave."

Well... shouldn't they? I mean, shouldn't people be viewed based on how they actually act, rather than how you might think they act? Or is that just a flat reading, and I'm supposed to infer "the way Jews behave" is code for some nasty activity that "everyone knows" the Jews do? Is something to do with lumping a diverse but related group of people as simply "the Jews", or some sort of guilt-by-association?

The more I look at it, the more problems I'm seeing with this. Who are the "People"? Are we supposed to see "people" as everyone, or just the sub-group who hate Jews? Am I thinking way too much about this? I just don't see an answer there that provides any useful information about the respondent's position.

I don't like the either/or proposition of most of the questions, either. If you answered, "probably false" to the statement, "Jews have too much power in international financial markets", does that mean you think Jews have too little power in international financial markets? Am I to read that as "the collective Jews" or "People who just happen to be Jewish", and does that distinction even have any importance?

It's like the survey presupposes that everyone acknowledges some international cabal of Jewish people is real, and they want to know if it's seen as a force for good or ill. If you asked me if Christians have too much control over the US government, as an atheist I'd have a hard time answering that. Am I answering about people who happen to be Christian, or people promoting a Christian agenda?

I guess it mostly bothers me that there's some mythic "the Jews" out there who apparently all think, look, and act the same that we're being asked to pass judgement upon. Isn't that just feeding into the "other" stereotype that mostly causes this sort of problem to begin with?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:06 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Well... shouldn't they? I mean, shouldn't people be viewed based on how they actually act, rather than how you might think they act? Or is that just a flat reading, and I'm supposed to infer "the way Jews behave" is code for some nasty activity that "everyone knows" the Jews do? Is something to do with lumping a diverse but related group of people as simply "the Jews", or some sort of guilt-by-association?

The question is 'Antisemitism is justified by the way Jews behave: agree or disagree?'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:11 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


It is entirely possible, if not probable, that the Americans sampled are not particularly anti-Semitic. And, as noted, those are pretty high, or is it low, criteria. My experience--limited to North America and Europe--is residents in the U.S. hold and/or express fewer anti-Semitic beliefs.
posted by rmhsinc at 10:13 AM on May 14


"People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave."

Well, if the Jews, as a special monolith, all behaved in some terrible way, maybe. But it's a myth that "the Jews" behave in any particular way much less some terrible one that deserves hatred, and if you agree with this statement what you're essentially saying is that Jews bring anti-Semitism on themselves.

If you disagree, there are multiple ways you can disagree with it, but agreeing with it is straight anti-Semitic.

The "international financial markets" question is getting more or less at the same thing -- you can disagree because you don't think Jews control it, or because you think no one controls it, or because you think Jews are being unfairly kept out of the top echelons of banking and finance or whatever: saying false to that doesn't necessarily mean anything, but saying true is hard to do without anti-Semitism.
posted by jeather at 10:15 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Or what shakespeherian said.
posted by jeather at 10:15 AM on May 14


Yeah, they're unfair stereotypes, which are always dehumanizing, but in Korea, they're largely philo-Semetic stereotypes. To the point where books with titles like "Meet A Jew Before You Die" and "How Jews Created Economics" are best-sellers through the country, and even in Korean-American diasporas.

Yes. In Korea, the stereotypes of Jews don't really apply in the same way that they may elsewhere.

Also, those book titles should really be translated as: "Meet A Jewish Person At Least Once In Your Life: How Jewish People Attain What They Desire", and "The Story of Jews: How They Created Their History of Wealth". The teaser text contains: "By examining the beliefs and philosophies of Judaism day by day, the book offers you valuable daily lessons that are applicable to your own situation and place in life." and "This book examines how Jewish people, who have greatly contributed and influenced the history of economics, have been able to attain their current success."

Positive stereotypes aren't good, I agree ("all Asians are great at math!") but in my experience, as someone who grew up in Korea and goes back pretty often, stereotypes about Jewish people by Koreans have very little to do with anti-Semitism. In Korea, there's a similar general understanding that Jews are intelligent, hardworking, and good at business -- in the way that people in the US believing that Swiss people are generally efficient and on time.
posted by suedehead at 10:18 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


I think that in general american bigots are way more worked up over the kenyan muslim in the white house, they simply don't have enough time in their day to hate the jews. Maybe an hour or so before bedtime could be scheduled for jew hating but really they'd rather just get a good night's sleep.
posted by elizardbits at 10:19 AM on May 14


in the way that people in the US believing that Swiss people are generally efficient and on time.

That'a just stupid. If they were efficient they'd be able to get their cheese out of the vats before it bubbled up like that.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:21 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


As I said in an earlier thread, the positive stereotypes of Jews in Europe that led them to being invited into, say, Poland were the exact same stereotypes that led them to be murdered later.

Positive stereotypes don't comfort me.


Positive stereotypes are a bad thing too, that much is clear. But the first statement needs revision in light of history: "[...]the positive stereotypes of Jews in Europe that led them to being invited into, say, Poland[...]"

Jews were invited into Poland (and many other countries in Europe) not because of positive stereotypes - that's just not historically accurate. They were invited because of very real economic and developmental considerations. Jewish merchants had extensive experience in international trade and contacts with traders in other countries and brought with them skills and education. This was recognized in a very utilitarian way and reflected the reality of those times. The history of how Jews of those times acquired those skills may have been anti-Semitic (for example in banking), but anti-Semitism (positive or negative) was not the motivating factor in inviting Jews into less developed countries. In fact, laws were passed protecting Jews from ignorance driven bigotry of the local population, where applicable. However, subsequent to that - once Jewish communities were established - the rulers or their descendants, or other centers of power (RCC) most certainly used anti-Semitism to victimise, rob, exploit and otherwise persecute Jews.

We can speculate that perhaps positive stereotypes may have played a role in the minds of some of those who invited Jews into their countries, but we don't have any historic evidence of that, and in any case, per Occam's Razor, those stereotypes weren't necessary in order to motivate the rulers to issue such invitations. There is a long history of inviting foreigners into one's realm in order to develop economically, and Jews are a part of that history. For example, the Volga Germans were invited into Russia in order to develop agriculture in those regions, but there was no nationality-based positive stereotypes involved, in fact, the original invitation by Katherine the Great was open to all Europeans with those skills - and great irony here from the point of view of this discussion, is that there was in fact direct negative (not positive) anti-Semitism in that invitation, as it was open to all except Jews(!). Going back even further, Scandinavians were brought in to help establish state power in the region of today's Ukraine and Russia proper. And Vikings were sometimes invited (or reluctantly accepted) into European countries in order to insulate those countries from their Viking brethren depredations.

In other words, positive stereotypes were not necessary in order for Jews (or other peoples) to be invited into a given country. It does remain true, however, that positive stereotypes can be quite harmful and should be opposed - I'm just trying to keep to historical accuracy in the particular cases mentioned.
posted by VikingSword at 10:26 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


GhostintheMachine: " I guess it mostly bothers me that there's some mythic "the Jews" out there who apparently all think, look, and act the same that we're being asked to pass judgement upon. Isn't that just feeding into the "other" stereotype that mostly causes this sort of problem to begin with?"

Anti-christian stereotypes don't present all Christians as acting a particular way -- just a subgroup. By contrast, anti-semitic stereotypes regarding Jews present a singular image of an entire demographic group with unifying, universal characteristics, joined together by ritual and conspiracy and other traits that maintain control over and oppress non-Jews. You can read a summary of them in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This is what the question is addressing.

In my experience, Jews who are the subjects of anti-semitism often find that they hear the same things, repeatedly. I've been asked where my horns were, for example. Etc.
posted by zarq at 10:30 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Interesting how well correlated Catholicism is with antisemitism. I can't say it's really something I've explicitly noticed before, but it's pretty striking in this map. I know people who have had troubles (serious troubles) traveling in Central and South America, but it's still surprising to see how high the numbers are for those countries.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:43 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm really surprised at the low percentage for the U.S.

Relatively low in Iran, which I attribute to two things: the long and important presence of Iranian Jews, and the lack of solidarity with Arab countries


Can America at least get the same benefit of assumptions that Iran does? It's not without qualifiers, but having the second-highest (proportional) Jewish population in the world has probably familiarized more Americans with actual Jewish people and counteracted some unfounded stereotypes.
posted by psoas at 10:52 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]




Can America at least get the same benefit of assumptions that Iran does? It's not without qualifiers, but having the second-highest Jewish population in the world has probably familiarized more Americans with actual Jewish people and counteracted some unfounded stereotypes.

I'd be very interested in seeing the survey results broken down by US regions, with Jewish population figures for those regions also provided.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:56 AM on May 14


It's not without qualifiers, but having the second-highest (proportional) Jewish population in the world has probably familiarized more Americans with actual Jewish people and counteracted some unfounded stereotypes.

I dunno, I have met just as many Americans in the US as foreigners in foreign lands who have never met a jew irl. There are entire states in the US that have fewer jews than on a single block in a large coastal city.
posted by elizardbits at 10:59 AM on May 14


"Lenny Bruce admitted to it"

Didn't he find a note buried in his basement reading, "We did it. (signed) Uncle Morrie"?
posted by Chitownfats at 11:06 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Positive stereotypes aren't good, I agree ("all Asians are great at math!") but in my experience, as someone who grew up in Korea and goes back pretty often, stereotypes about Jewish people by Koreans have very little to do with anti-Semitism

This might not be exactly true, though I think I understand and appreciate where you're coming from. The problem is that although stereotypes about Jews in Korea don't necessarily have any direct historical connection with the anti-Semitism that exists in Europe or the US, they're so substantively similar that it would absurd to suggest there's no connection between what Koreans think of Jews and the history of our persecution. It's not that far a leap from "they're all very successful and very good with money and they're extremely cunning" to "they have far too much power and they control finance" when we're talking about stereotypical perceptions that dehumanize a group of people and attribute to them fixed characteristics. So while it's arguably true that the Korean stereotypes aren't anti-Semitic, I don't think it's true that they have very little to do with it.
posted by clockzero at 11:07 AM on May 14


It's not without qualifiers, but having the second-highest Jewish population in the world has probably familiarized more Americans with actual Jewish people and counteracted some unfounded stereotypes.

Sort of. The U.S. has the second-highest number of Jews in the world but most of them (us?) are in a small number of metropolitan cities, which are basically a list of cities that are quite often contrasted to Real America every time that argument comes up.
posted by griphus at 11:10 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I'd be very interested in seeing the survey results broken down by US regions, with Jewish population figures for those regions also provided.

Me too. I looked up Canada and was surprised to find just over 1% of the population is Jewish. Where I grew up, easily 25-30% of my school cohort and circle of friends was Jewish. The classrooms seemed empty on Jewish holidays. I always assumed this was normal, but judging by the numbers it was apparently fairly unique to my neighbourhood.
posted by Hoopo at 11:18 AM on May 14


I think it's also worth noting that here in the US, when they break down hate crimes by religion, anti-semitic attacks make up 66% of the total .

People may have better attitudes here when they respond to polls, but we're not a post-anti-semitic society any more than we're a postracial one.
posted by Mchelly at 11:32 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


The U.S. has the second-highest number of Jews in the world but most of them (us?) are in a small number of metropolitan cities, which are basically a list of cities that are quite often contrasted to Real America every time that argument comes up.

I was stationed in South Carolina with an Israeli exchange officer a few years back. He mentioned off-handedly one day that he was sick of being vegetarian because he couldn't get kosher food. I pointed out to him that the U.S. has more Jews than Israel, and he literally said, "Yes, but they're all in New York, right?"

He absolutely lost his shit when I took him to an ethnic market with a kosher section.
posted by Etrigan at 11:50 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


But the first statement needs revision in light of history:

I am familiar with Jewish history, yes. I would appreciate it if you did not presume that a Jewish person needs to be taught about their own experience or the origins of antisemitism.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:07 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


I don't believe I've ever known a Jewish person--I live in Maine--and antisemitism always confused me growing up, since the Jews on television were pretty much indistinguishable from non-Jews. It seemed, and still seems, like a case of active mis-education.

Several years ago I became interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict after reading some things Chomsky had written. I picked up a copy of A Case For Israel by Alan Dershowitz and Beyond Chutzpah by Norman Finkelstein. The latter is a refutation of the former, and in fact, Finkelstein goes so far as to say Dershowitz plagiarized much of A Case For Israel, lifting extended arguments from a academically debunked book called From Time Immemorial. I came away from these books with an appreciation for the complexity of the history of the Jews in the second half of the 20th century, but also with the belief that alleging antisemitism has become both an industry and a shield protecting Israel from criticism. I began following Jewish media for a while, and this perspective really seemed to resonate with what I saw. Over and over, I saw anyone who criticized Israeli politics was accused of antisemitism. A Jew who criticized Israeli politics was called "another example of a self-hating Jew". Even writing what I'm writing now, which I do with all the good faith and attempted rationalism in the world, I'm fairly sure someone will call my comments antisemitic, which is what people have been calling Chomsky and Finkelstein for decades, even though Chomsky grew up in a community rife with antisemitism and actually worked on a kibbutz, and Finkelstein's own parents were Holocaust survivors.

Stereotypes, positive or negative, are bad, no question. That much should be banally true once you achieve a certain level of awareness of the world. "Jews do [x]" and "Jews are [y]" are dangerous ways of describing anything. Unfortunately, "Jews have too much control over Washington" sometimes becomes shorthand for "The Israeli lobby has too much power in Washington", and it seems that Israeli propagandists and cynical, hack writers are, as much as anyone, responsible for promoting this blurred usage.
posted by jwhite1979 at 12:39 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I have met just as many Americans in the US as foreigners in foreign lands who have never met a jew irl. There are entire states in the US that have fewer jews than on a single block in a large coastal city.

I spent 18 years of my life in North Carolina and met four Jewish people. If I had stayed in that town, I would not have meet more than a couple more. My wife grew up on the East Side of Providence, RI; if you had asked us to estimate the percentage of the population that's Jewish when we met at 18, we would have differed by an order of magnitude. It's crazy how different the experience is.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:42 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I am familiar with Jewish history, yes. I would appreciate it if you did not presume that a Jewish person needs to be taught about their own experience or the origins of antisemitism.

??? Wow, I honestly don't understand - genuine question - have I done something wrong? I don't believe anything I wrote indicated I presumed anyone needs to be "taught" about anything, and certainly not anything as loaded as addressing a Jewish person in particular. And there was absolutely nothing - zero - about anyone's experience of anti-Semitism, or indeed about the origins of anti-Semitism.

I addressed a statement, part of which struck me as not historically accurate. And I addressed that aspect, and nothing but that aspect - I did not speak to who you are, your need to be taught by me or anybody else, your experience of anti-Semitism, or the origin of anti-Semitism. You may have a different understanding of that history and so disagree with how I portrayed it in my post, but that's a factual matter that can be settled. Was I wrong on the facts? If so, I am happy to be corrected. If my understanding of that aspect of history is correct, as I believe it to be, then I don't understand where the objection is coming from. That's it.

If you think I have addressed you as a Jewish person, presumed to teach you, expressed an opinion about the origin of anti-Semitism, or addressed your experiences of it, I am genuinely interested to see where I have done any such thing in that statement, for I honestly don't see it - if I nonetheless have done so, it would be very important that I learn from this, so as not to offend, as that is definitely something that I would like to avoid. Thank you.
posted by VikingSword at 12:44 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


jwhite1979: "Several years ago I became interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict after reading some things Chomsky had written. I picked up a copy of A Case For Israel by Alan Dershowitz and Beyond Chutzpah by Norman Finkelstein. "

Both men are basically extremists regarding Israel, the Palestinians and the Occupation. You're not going to get a balanced view of anything by reading just one book by both men and nothing from moderate authors. Respectfully, what you're doing seems similar to reading a book each by say, Ann Coulter and Keith Olbermann and declaring that their views and attitudes are universal to everyone on either side of a political conflict.

There are Jews who feel that criticism of Israel is de facto antisemitism. There are Jews who don't. There are Jews who are Zionists and Jews who aren't. And plenty of Jewish media and Israeli media, including say, Ha'aretz, don't treat criticisms of Israel as automatic antisemitism.
posted by zarq at 12:56 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


I feel zero sympathy with people who use the word "Jews" to mean "some of the right-wing Israeli lobbying groups in the US". There are good criticisms of Israel's current policies which are entirely off topic here, but there is also a significant use of those criticisms in order to fig-leaf antisemitism.
posted by jeather at 1:00 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


New Republic - Anti-Semitism Is on the Rise in Russia—and the Kremlin's TV Network Is in on It
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has demanded that Russia Today publicly apologize for a video that aired on its channel, which the Center said was "eight minutes of raw Jew-hatred and unambiguous group defamation." The video, made by an Australian media company, purports to rap its way through the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the process marshalling quite a few classic anti-Semitic stereotypes.
posted by rosswald at 1:10 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Respectfully, what you're doing seems similar to reading a book each by say, Ann Coulter and Keith Olbermann and declaring that their views and attitudes are universal to everyone on either side of a political conflict.

Okay, except that Ann Coulter and Keith Olbermann are media personalities without academic credentials. Dershowitz is [was?] a professor at Harvard Law, and Finkelstein at a number of institutions. It's not remotely the same, but I can see how the analogy holds.

Could you recommend a less extreme synthesis of the various positions on Israel, something that doesn't neglect the salient points of the Finkelstein-Dershowitz debate?
posted by jwhite1979 at 1:19 PM on May 14


...but also with the belief that alleging antisemitism has become both an industry and a shield protecting Israel from criticism. I began following Jewish media for a while, and this perspective really seemed to resonate with what I saw.

I mean what you saw is the result of what some particular people with particular views wanted you to see, and wanted you to pay your money to see. No Jew elected Chomsky or Finkelstein or the writers of Ha'aretz and the Jerusalem Post to speak on their behalf. Plenty of Jews agree with one or the other or whatever, but there's no Lorax, Who Speaks For The Jews, and who makes sure that the self-admitted hacky and propagandist media you've absorbed paint an accurate picture of the real world. Which they very much do not.

There are many Jews for whom the nation of Israel as it exists today is what stands between the continued survival of the Jews -- which, if you're not terribly familiar with Jewish culture, is a Really Big Deal and has been a Really Big Deal long before the Holocaust -- and the threat of genocide. Of course they will conflate anti-Israel speech with anti-Semitism, and anti-Israel speech from other Jews as self-hate.

But at the end of the day, "Jews have too much control over..." was around long before the state Israel was, and it will never be a closed case as to whether ignorant people are saying anti-Semitic things because they meant Israel instead of Jews when the say that the Jews do this or that, or if anti-Semites, who genuinely believe the assorted anti-Semitic tropes that are out there, are using the quite convenient Israel-Palestine conflict as an excuse for their views.
posted by griphus at 1:20 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


David Schraub has recently made interesting posts on "what if you claim you aren't antisemitic but people are saying you are".
You make a statement. Jews say they believe it is anti-Semitic. Now you have a decision to make. If your response is "it's probably just Jews being pathological liars and/or delusional, as usual", you can hardly claim in the next breath to not be anti-Semitic.

[...]

I have on many occasions said what I take to be the heart of counter-anti-Semitic method, borrowing from Christine Littleton's description of the heart of the feminist method: it begins "with the very radical act of taking [Jews] seriously, believing that what we say about ourselves and our experience is important and valid, even when (or perhaps especially when) it has little or no relationship to what has been or is being said about us."

And that's the central point. We shouldn't need the smoking gun of neo-Nazis. We deserve to be treated as credible witnesses regarding our own condition. It might require you to reassess some core beliefs. But if your "anti-racism" never causes you to alter anything of value to you, it's not much of anti-racism at all.
I am not, to be clear, accusing anyone who has posted here of being antisemitic.
posted by jeather at 1:29 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


I don't actually think we're disagreeing about anything. Everything you've written seems completely sensible, yet I haven't come to any new understandings. I certainly don't believe "Jewish thought" is a monolith. My only point was that Israel, and hack writers, have both cultivated and exploited an environment that makes any criticism self-negating. Yes, clearly there are lots of Jews who do not succumb to the propaganda. I've mentioned two.
posted by jwhite1979 at 1:32 PM on May 14


Talking about "Israel" as a monolith that has cultivated and exploited any sort of environment is necessarily wrong in exactly the same way as if you talked about "America" as a monolith that all felt exactly the same way. Israel is a political state that contains multitudes and many different varieties of thought in exactly the same way as all modern states. Talking about a certain variety of Jewish political thought as "propaganda" is pretty damning right out of the gate. Seriously. I don't agree with the political right in Israel, but I know they're coming from a sincere place not from propagandizing.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:52 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


jwhite1979: " Okay, except that Ann Coulter and Keith Olbermann are media personalities without academic credentials. Dershowitz is [was?] a professor at Harvard Law, and Finkelstein at a number of institutions. It's not remotely the same, but I can see how the analogy holds.

No, you're right. It's just that they're quite biased.

Could you recommend a less extreme synthesis of the various positions on Israel, something that doesn't neglect the salient points of the Finkelstein-Dershowitz debate?"

There have been three questions posted to AskMe for reading recommendations that have all had excellent suggestions. A good starting point.

* Help me know more about Israel.
* What is a good history of the Israel/Palestine conflict? (The 50 Years War PBS documentary mentioned in a comment is available on YouTube.)
Less material here: * 1949, 1967, etc

There are probably others. If I find any, will post in a subsequent comment. I'm a big fan of Mark Tessler's work, but at this point his definitive text on the subject is 20 years old and woefully outdated.)

Also, I strongly suggest you read Ha'aretz regularly. Most of their content is publicly available. They are a mainstream Israeli paper who publish editorials from people with perspectives on all sides of the conflict. Background on them can be found in this New Yorker article. When it came out, I created an FPP for it.

Back to your original point, Peter Beinart had a great critique of the American Jewish establishment and Zionism. MeFi thread.
posted by zarq at 1:55 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Why is it easier to believe that the pro-Israel lobby is "cynically," "industrially" promoting the idea that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic than to believe that they actually think the statements they criticize are anti-Semitic, and are merely expressing that view? People have knee-jerk defensive reactions to all kinds of things, and Jews are no exception.
posted by ostro at 1:58 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Okay, but I just clicked the Ha'aretz link, and Dershowitz is on the front page. But yeah, I'll keep it in my feed reader.
posted by jwhite1979 at 1:59 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


LOL! :) Yeah, he has a regular column. You'll definitely get a full picture from that paper, though.
posted by zarq at 2:05 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Why is it easier to believe that the pro-Israel lobby is "cynically," "industrially" promoting the idea that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic than to believe that they actually think the statements they criticize are anti-Semitic, and are merely expressing that view?

The two aren't mutually exclusive. Learning how to hold the opinions you know will make you wealthy or powerful is much less stressful than believing yourself to be a liar. I use the word "cynically" like I would apply it to Bill Clinton walking around with a Bible. Yes, he probably likes that Bible, because it's easier than not.
posted by jwhite1979 at 2:05 PM on May 14


jwhite1979, your comment is practically a textbook case of how this problem (conflating anti-Israel sentiments with anti-semitism) begins and self-perpetuates. You say that " Israel, and hack writers, have both cultivated and exploited an environment that makes any criticism self-negating." Criticism of Judaism? Or criticism of Israel?

If you are saying that because many people find anti-semitism in anti-Zionist writings (ignoring all the evidence that much outright unapologetic anti-semitic materials are also anti-Zionist), that therefore criticism of Israel is "self-negating", then what does this have to do with anti-semitism itself? We're talking about people's attitudes toward the Jewish people and the Jewish religion, not Israel. If you hear "Jews _____" and you immediately think, "Well, yes, look at what's happening in Israel" as your refutation or confirmation point -- when Israel has nothing to do with the conversation -- you personally are conflating the two. There is far more to Jewish heritage, culture, and especially religion than whatever is happening politically in Israel this week. This is a study and a conversation about attitudes toward Jews around the world. Saying "Israel's actions may contribute to people's opinions" is not automatically anti-semitic, but it should go hand in hand with the understanding that anything a country does, does not (and should not) actually reflect on any individual citizen, let alone on all the members of a religious group who by and large do not even live there. Yes, 42% of the world's Jews currently live in Israel, but another 39% are in the US - yet I think you would agree that blaming America's actions on the Jews would be problematic at best. If it helps as an experiment, pick any country whose policies you disagree with, and then say, "no wonder so many people hate [predominant ethnic group of that country]". Doesn't fly, does it?

If you are saying that because people often point out that criticism of Israel often crosses the line into anti-semitism, then therefore any criticism of Judaism or Jews is self-negating, then I am not sure how to respond.

And for the record, I am not aware of any responsible organization or spokesperson who says that all criticism of Israel is anti-semitic. In fact, the only people I regularly hear making that statement are people who use it as a tactic to preempt the conversation and silence criticism of their own anti-Israel statements.
posted by Mchelly at 2:24 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


I'm now in my early 50's and have spent all but six months of my life living in the US, for whatever that's worth. The only times I've encountered anti-Semitism that was personally directed at me -- all of it pretty mild -- it came from individuals who had almost certainly never (knowingly) met a Jew before. In one instance I worked with a guy who would repeatedly say things like, "he tried to Jew me down, but I didn't let him." When I finally told him I was Jewish and didn't like that phrase, he literally didn't know what to say to me. Eventually, he sputtered something like, "well, I didn't mean anything bad by that." But he did stop using the phrase around me.

Another instance occurred at my first post-college job, when my manager asked me if I had gotten my Christmas tree yet, and I reminded her that I was Jewish (which she already knew from a previous conversation) and, y'know, wouldn't be getting one. Her terse-but-adamant, "Well, you're wrong, you know," was delivered with so much conviction that being able to say that to my face was clearly the real point of her question. Which was unpleasant, but did have the benefit of spurring me to find a better gig, which was ultimately very good for me.

Like I said, pretty mild stuff, especially in when viewed against the backdrop of Jewish history.

My brother and his family recently moved to Canada, and one of the more interesting things he's commented on is the difference between his former life in L.A.'s large and diverse Jewish community and the relative rarity of Jews in his new life in Canada. He's a rabbi, so his interest in this is professional as well as personal. For example, in his kids' current school there are only six Jews out of the school's total student body of 400+ students, whereas in their school in L.A. Jews made up 15% or more of the student body, and there were Jewish teachers as well. His kids are now a novelty and, to some degree, "Jewish ambassadors," and they need to behave accordingly. It's definitely a shift, and he feels that lack of day-to-day interaction with Jews does tend to reduce Jews to stereotypes vs. seeing them/us as individuals.

Which is a long, rambling way of saying that I guess I'm not surprised by the results of this survey. There aren't a lot of Jews in the world, and without encountering Jews in regular life on a regular basis, it is very easy to buy into a number of stereotypes about us. It's a convenient shorthand to view an unknown group as monolithic, whereas the reality of diverse beliefs within the Jewish community makes us anything but monolithic. And yes, I'd agree that "good" stereotypes are ultimately just as damaging as bad ones.
posted by mosk at 2:28 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


It was a grammar oversight on my part. I should have said, "Israel, and hack writers, have both cultivated and exploited an environment that makes any criticism of that environment self-negating." The argument seems to go as follows: the claim that antisemitism has been systematically exploited politically and commercially is itself evidence of antisemitism. I found this opinion expressed explicitly in reviews of Finkelstein's books.
posted by jwhite1979 at 2:47 PM on May 14


But it's a myth that "the Jews" behave in any particular way much less some terrible one that deserves hatred

Not All Jews!

It is striking how concentrated Jews are in the US, and how different that makes people's experiences. When my (Jewish) brother was in high school in a very small Northwestern town, where he was the only Jew within the county limits, he had a locker next to a self-declared Nazi. Dude drew swastikas on every surface, talked up Hitler, the whole deal.
But he never had a problem with my brother. Because he literally had no inkling that Nazis hated Jews. He had no concept of "Jews" as a group, because he simply hadn't known enough for it to be a category in his head. He thought being a Nazi meant hating black people.
As you might imagine, he was not much of a reader of history.

This does get at something important about bigotry: though it thrives in conditions of ignorance, there has to be *some* exposure, at least in the media, for bigotry to take hold. For example, while the Hmong have been terribly persecuted in their own country, most Americans have no negative stereotypes of Hmong. Because they don't have any idea that there are such a people. Only in the parts of America where there's a significant diaspora do negative stereotypes take hold. It's like some kind of Laffer Curve of hatred.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 3:15 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Not All Jews!

Jesus, man.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:34 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Jwhite1979, the context here is a survey showing that about a quarter of people globally agree with most Western antisemitic stereotypes about Jews. I take it you don't disagree with the substance of the survey.

I would say that someone who recognises the existence of discrimination against African Americans, but who obsesses over perceived benefits that consequently flow to them, is racist. The same goes for someone who recognises discrimination against women, gays, Asians, or any other group. The discrimination is the primary issue; any alleged benefit must be secondary; and a rational person would focus on the cause and not its hypothetical effect. In this case the supposed benefits (what you call "wealth and power") are either false or pale in comparison to the burden of antisemitism, and in any event the benefits would disappear if their cause was eliminated.

So yes, I would say that anyone whose concern isn't with antisemitism itself, but with some tendentiously hypothetical benefit that might accrue to the victims of antisemitism is blaming the victim and expressing an antisemitic view.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:43 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Benito.strauss wrote: I'd admire the hell out of the ADL if they included anti-Islamism in their poll too.

From the NYT article:
The only religious group with a higher unfavorability rating in the survey than Jews was Muslims. While 38% rated Jews favorably and 21% unfavorably, both numbers were higher for Muslims, with 47% rating them favorably and 24% unfavorably. In comparison, 62% rated Christians favorably and just 15% unfavorably, the survey found.
So I take it you'll be sending them a donation ...?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:50 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Joe in Australia, I am not saying that Jews themselves, the victims of antisemitism, in any real sense gain disproportional benefit from the push-back against antisemitism. That is absolutely not what I'm saying.
posted by jwhite1979 at 4:01 PM on May 14


As has been eloquently stated in this thread by several people, positive stereotypes are still hurtful and should be opposed. One of the ways in which hatreds and stereotypes - including anti-Semitism in all its flavors - thrive is when wrong information is asserted as fact that is then unchallenged. That is the reason why I objected to the statement that 'positive stereotypes of Jews in Europe [...] led them to being invited into, say, Poland' - this is historically wrong, and must be challenged, just as we would challenge wrong information about Israel. If you make a statement that implies something negative about a country or population (say, that Poles invited Jews into Poland, based on positive stereotypes), you better be right about the historic facts. Poland - or Israel, or any country - is not your punching bag to be randomly dragged out in examples and pounded regardless of the truth.

For those who are interested in the history of Jews in Poland, there is a lot of information widely available, and which, ironically makes abundantly clear that if you wanted to point to anti-Semitism in any form (including positive stereotypes) as a motivating force in the invitation to Jews to settle in Poland or immigrate to Poland, you could not have picked a worse example than Poland, given that "from the founding of the Kingdom of Poland in 1025 through to the early years of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth created in 1569, Poland was the most tolerant country in Europe. Known as paradisus Iudaeorum (Latin for "Paradise for the Jews"), it became a shelter for persecuted and expelled European Jewish communities and the home to the world's largest Jewish community of the time." They fled from all over Europe, particularly Western Europe to Poland in such numbers that "according to some sources, about three-quarters of all Jews lived in Poland by the middle of the 16th century."

Claiming that this was the result of 'positive stereotypes' is ahistorical in the extreme. Instead, economic development and legal protections were the key factors:

"The first extensive Jewish emigration from Western Europe to Poland occurred at the time of the First Crusade in 1098. Under Bolesław III (1102–1139), the Jews, encouraged by the tolerant regime of this ruler, settled throughout Poland, including over the border in Lithuanian territory as far as Kiev. Bolesław III for his part recognized the utility of the Jews in the development of the commercial interests of his country. The Jews came to form the backbone of the Polish economy and the coins minted by Mieszko III even bear Hebraic markings. Jews enjoyed undisturbed peace and prosperity in the many principalities into which the country was then divided; they formed the middle class in a country where the general population consisted of landlords (developing into szlachta, the unique Polish nobility) and peasants, and they were instrumental in promoting the commercial interests of the land.

Another factor for the Jews to emigrate to Poland was the Magdeburg Recht, or Magdeburg Law, a charter given to the Jews, among others, that specifically outlined the rights and privileges that Jews had coming into Poland. For example, they could define their neighborhoods and economic competitors, and set up monopolies. This was very attractive to Jewish communities to pick up and move to Poland.[38]
"

Anti-Semitism did not become a significant force in Poland until centuries after Jews settled there, and it was not insignificantly correlated with the loss of Poland's independence and the partition and occupation by powers with highly anti-Semitic policies, as well as religious conflict (where as I said before, RCC was a factor).

I would hope, that in a thread that deals with ethnic hatred, we can agree that adherence to historical truth is important, and that inaccurate and wrong historical statements that cast a negative light on a nation or a people must be challenged. The response to such a challenge is to either counter with facts or back away from the wrong statement, i.e., properly "focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand" and certainly should not be focused "at other members of the site" instead.
posted by VikingSword at 4:09 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


From the NYT article

The online copy of the article I found doesn't seem to have that bit, but I found the questionnaire that has a bit more than just the eleven negative statements, and then I clicked around a bit more on the site and the data from the other questions are hiding under "choose a subject" (which in turn is hidden under "see more" for the global and continent views). I might be the only one who didn't figure that out until now, but mentioning it just in case.

(other questions include how often people interact with Jewish people and attitudes towards Israel, to mention a couple of topics discussed earlier in that thread.)
posted by effbot at 4:42 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


And for the record, I am not aware of any responsible organization or spokesperson who says that all criticism of Israel is anti-semitic. In fact, the only people I regularly hear making that statement are people who use it as a tactic to preempt the conversation and silence criticism of their own anti-Israel statements.

This, a thousand times.
posted by Behemoth at 7:28 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


The Orthodox Christian liturgy is usually the one by Saint John Chrysostom from around 4th c, and it is translated into the local language. The one at Easter/Pascha has the most clear statements against the Jews, and I have heard it with those lines and without by different priests. While the original text is kept, every time a liturgy is performed, there are decisions made by the serving priest on what to follow and it is possible, and I think increasingly common, to not include the anti-semitic lines, or to translate them differently.

Orthodoxy is not quite like Catholic or Protestants in that there is no single authoritative source, either the Bible or the Pope, but a shifting consensus braided together from Church elders, the Bible, Church traditions, the Liturgical texts and arts. St John Chrysostom is a particular example - he was famously anti-semitic and has a series of homilies against the Jews. And at the same time, we have saints who have died to protect Jewish people (St Grigol Peradze and St Maria Skobtsova are most recent). There are very strong anti-semitic movements in the Orthodox church, particularly in Russia, but the Orthodox church has a very complicated relationship to Judaism and Jews that includes pro-semitic voices too.

Man, Malaysia was depressing. They still have the thing about your passport not being acceptable if you have an Israeli stamp, so people who go to Israel for work (a lot of defence-tech travel) from Singapore need to get stamped separately on a piece of paper.

Malaysia bans travel to Israel, and I think vice-versa - they have no diplomatic relationship. You have to apply for special travel permission for religious etc reasons.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:38 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


This Wikipedia page doesn't list Malaysia as one of the countries that deny entry to people with Israeli visa stamps (the ones it lists are Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen). But even if Wikipedia is correct on this, the actual practice of immigration officers may be different.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:39 PM on May 14


Other wikipedia page. In 2011 they amended it so it's easier to travel, but it remains a hassle. We were organizing a group trip from Singapore to Israel, and it was complicated with Malaysian passports for some of the participants - one work around is to go to a nearby state like Jordan and then go in with the stamp on a separate piece of paper as the Israeli government is fine with Malaysian passports.
posted by viggorlijah at 8:52 PM on May 14


[A couple of comments deleted. jwhite1979, this is becoming a somewhat insistent derail. Maybe you can drop the "but antisemitism can be used for political capital!" thing?]
posted by taz at 10:26 PM on May 14


I have a tendency to derail conversations without realizing I'm doing it. Apologies.
posted by jwhite1979 at 11:09 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


I just noticed something weird. The ADL report shows an overall figure of 74% anti-Semitism in "North Africa and the Middle East". If you look at the countries, most of them show rates in excess of 74%, sometimes greatly in excess. The outlier is Iran, with the lowest reported level, 57%, followed by Turkey, with 69%.

The thing is, most of those countries have basically had no Jewish population for fifty or sixty years. In fact Iran and Turkey have the largest Jewish populations in the area. So anti-Semitism in those countries must be basically cultural or religious in nature; most young people will never have met a Jew; they just know that they hate them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:45 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


So anti-Semitism in those countries must be basically cultural or religious in nature

There's some research that indicates that bigotry can hang around in a local area over very long periods; a paper I read a few years ago found a correlation between black plague pogroms and 20th century events such as violence against Jews in the 1920s, Nazi Party support and anti-semitic rantings in media. Areas with higher levels of trade and travel were more resilient.

(I assume this may work in both directions; e.g. few Jews lived in the Nordic countries around the time of the great plague so blaming them for it didn't really work, and these countries have lower levels of anti-semitism today than many other parts of Europe, with an inverse correlation to the size of the current Jewish population in otherwise relatively similar countries. Switzerland, in contrast, had the Basel massacre and are at the global average...)
posted by effbot at 1:39 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


(so "both directions" might have made some sense with my original phrasing of that paragraph, but less so after I changed it. I clearly need a longer edit window... That, or coffee.)

(and yeah, the paper I mentioned is this one from 2012 by voigtlander/voth.)
posted by effbot at 1:52 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Laos has a lot of experience with young Israeli travelers.

My former roommate, a Jewish American, thought many Israelis were jerks and poor travelers and had seen signs saying "Jews Welcome, Israelis not welcome." Of course he hated our half-Israeli roommate, who, admittedly, was not well liked in the house.

Before he had told me, I had never heard about Israelis on vacation having such a reputation. Even the Israeli roommate agreed. I personally have not seen this.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:09 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


The Israelis I encountered in India in the mid-90s were nightmarish. Apparently a big thing to do was to go on a trip to India to celebrate getting out of the army, and they were ready to party and didn't care how obnoxious they were. They were really bad, even by the standards of Western young adult travelers, many of whom acted like assholes. But India has very low rates of antisemitism, which my experience in India and subsequent experiences with Indian people has suggested was true. It's not quite as low as Laos, but it's pretty low by world standards. I would be surprised if bad experiences with Israeli tourists were a driving factor in antisemitism.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:19 AM on May 15


I was just wondering something.

Say I’m taking a survey. I’m asked if I agree with a statement, and the statements are phrased like, “[Group X] has [Characteristic Y].” If I believe that there is so much diversity among [Group X] that they couldn’t possibly all share [Characteristic Y], even if I truly believe some (or even, say, for argument’s sake, many) members do, I always answer, “No.”

Do you suppose a lot of people answer that way, or am I just a weirdo?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:34 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Addendum to my previous comment: Even if there's a ranking system, such as "Agree," "Somewhat Agree," and "Disagree," I still choose "Disagree," because I disagree with the statement as it's written.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:36 AM on May 15


Was that supposed to be an ask.mefi post? For this survey, the framing was:

"I am now going to read out a series of statements, some of them you may think are true and some of them you may think are false. Please say which ones you think are probably true and which ones you think are probably false."

followed by a series of negative stereotypes/conspiracy theories of the form "Jews are like this/do this/control this."

I would say that most of the statements are phrased in a way that if someone goes "well, I'm sure some Jews are like this" they might be a bit of an anti-semite -- but in this survey, you have to think that six out of eleven statements are true to count as one.
posted by effbot at 10:10 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Hmm.

Nazi Apologist’s Essay on Austrian School ExamTwo administrators resign after 1947 text appears on high school German test

The report came about a week after this: California School Asks 8th Graders To Debate Whether the Holocaust Happened
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:09 PM on May 15


"You will read and discuss multiple, credible articles on this issue."

where one of the "credible articles" is some revisionist nonsense? Groan.

The Austrian case seems to be a bit more complicated; if I'm reading things correctly, the author was one of those morally ambiguous individuals who kept working for whatever government there was, and never apologized, but wasn't an outspoken nazi. The bulk of the complaints there seem to be more about the lack of proper framing than that the text was obvious racist crap like in the other case (but this is from skimming only some possibly biased sources, so I could be missing the bigger picture here -- more details from more knowledgeable MeFites are welcome).
posted by effbot at 11:18 AM on May 18


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