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David Poland

By David Poland

Anti-Semetic Vs Anti-Zionist

As a jew, I find it profoundly disturbing that anyone uses “anti-Semitic” as a phrase referring to anyone who is anti-Israel.
I just want to make this point.
I am Semitic. And I am a general supporter of Israel. I believe that the sympathy for the Palestinian cause with a near-exclusive focus on Israeli behavior misses the mark. It is more complex than that.
However, it is my personal belief that since Meir Kahane’s extremely conservation and Jewish-protectionist views became a dominant force in Israeli politics in the 80s, that Israel has not acted as a straight-forward democracy. Since Kahane, a number of important Israeli leaders have died in the pursuit of turning the country back towards its best self.
I am sympathetic to the feeling of desperation inside Israel that by population, Israel would stop being a jewish state in the near future had they not changed the rules of what was once a pure(r) democracy. My generation and the next didn’t live through the jewish holocaust and do not carry the same fear of “never forget” and being a tribe without a homeland. We live in a world full of biases, including anti-semitism, and we do not see our oppression as being that much more important than the oppression of others. I see that as progress. Some see it as being short-sighted… that we should continue, as a culture, to fear the hatred that has been so much a part of our history.
So it is not an easy issue.
Still… having even severe anti-Israel views is not the same as being an anti-Semite. And listening to the views of severe anti-Israel views without leaving a room or throwing a drink in someone

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15 Responses to “Anti-Semetic Vs Anti-Zionist”

  1. Blackcloud says:

    Arabs and Palestinians literally cannot be anti-Semitic since they are Semitic peoples. Unless they are so in the same way a self-loathing Jew may be termed anti-Semitic. As Krusty said, “I thought I was a self-hating Jew, but it turns out I was just a plain old anti-Semite.”

  2. anghus says:

    It’s funny with so many jewish people in the entertainment industry, they lack any sense of humor on Israel. If you bring up the point that the Palestinians and Jews hardly need a reason to fight anymore, though the formation of Israel and the carving up of the territory by the Brits is what has led them to this constant state of tension.
    I just can’t figure out the logic of taking your people into a region where everyone at every border believes it’s a moral and religious imperative to wipe them off the face of the earth. They believe that land is their right and their privilege, and that will not change until someone finally detonates a nuke in the holy land. It’s only a matter of time. They say that it is diffcult to fight an opponent who is willing to die for their cause. The same applies to people of Israel and their leaders who put every one of their lives at risk at the hand of jihadists.
    In the first half of the twentieth century, the jewish people began to try and take back their land and through war and political manuevering were able to declare their sovreignty. But the people of that region have a long, long memory. I hear people say why the other countries in the region can’t ‘get over it’, and i tell them that Israel, as a country, hasn’t even been in existence for 100 years. That’s a grain of sand in the hourglass to the Arabs. And while I have no horse in this race, i often find myself wondering what would drive someone to carve themselves out a country where you are surrounded by nations who want to see nothing more than the streets littered with the dead.

  3. jeffmcm says:

    Probably emerging from the aftermath of a government-sponsored program to murder as many of your fellow co-religionists, after multiple centuries of pogroms and discrimination, would have something to do with it.

  4. mysteryperfecta says:

    DP- What exactly qualifies a person as “extreme right”?
    Do you consider yourself ‘extreme left’?

  5. anghus says:

    jeff, good point. still, after so much death and suffering, wouldnt you think you would look for someplace a little more peaceful?
    guess i’ll never get it.

  6. jeffmcm says:

    Like where, Alaska?

  7. anghus says:

    Michael Chabon had a similar idea.
    And honestly, i don’t know. A whole lot of persecuted people came to America. Seemed to work out a little better thus far.
    Fighting for grains of sand in the desert. Putting your life at risk for real estate. There are righteous battles, without a doubt, but it seems as if they are locked into a struggle that has no positive resolution.

  8. christian says:

    And the portions are so small.

  9. Noah says:

    “I just can’t figure out the logic of taking your people into a region where everyone at every border believes it’s a moral and religious imperative to wipe them off the face of the earth.”
    Anghus, nobody in that region felt it was a moral or religious imperative to wipe the Jews off the earth UNTIL they were given the land of Israel. If you read the Quran, which is the book of Abraham, you’ll see that there are a lot of similarities to the Torah. There is nothing in Islam that says they must hate the Jews more than they must hate any other religion.
    So, to say it was silly for the Jews to move to that region or whatever is kind of inaccurate because it’s only “silly” in hindsight.

  10. LYT says:

    mysteryperfecta — I’ll tell you what I think of as “extreme left”: Ward Churchill.
    Someone so political that he cannot shed a tear for the victims of 9-11, but rather regards all of them as part of a corrupt system worthy of destruction.
    I’m fairly left by U.S. standards, but that kind of belief loses me.

  11. mysteryperfecta says:

    And the extreme right, to my mind, are the segregationists, the clinic bombers (so rare), theocrats, etc. DP asserts that I support the extreme right, which tells me that he’s using a broad definition in an attempt to marginalize.

  12. christian says:

    I would say the extreme right is epitomized by Sarah Palin, hence McCain’s failure to capture moderate/independent vote. As well as losing some faithful GOP members.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    Palin’s problem isn’t that she’s too far to the right (which she is, although I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘extreme’, depending on the policy issue) but rather that she’s an arrogant lying demagogue with contempt for those more intelligent than her and a thin handle on the major issues.

  14. David Poland says:

    The extreme right in Israel is something completely different than the extreme right here.
    In Israel, I would define it, in this case, by pushing the agenda of actually diminishing the rights of non-jewish citizens by either devaluing their votes of removing them from the state.
    As for my politics in the U.S., no… not even close to being an extreme lefty. I am a left-leaning centrist. I am also a strict constitutionalist, though there are obviously some disagreements from me about interpretation. For instance, I do believe the is a right to be armed, but I do not believe that this means there can be no limit on the restriction of ownership or that registration is verbotten.

  15. David Poland says:

    Jerusalem is a very, very contentious piece of land for reasons that reach beyond anti-semitism. Israel has, mostly, been much more generous about the city to non-Jews than the arabs were to the jews when they controlled that land.
    But jews feeling a need for a homeland certainly wanted that piece of land as their homeland. This fuels the rage. But there is no doubt that Israel would be a target in that region no matter where the land was.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
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“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon