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Re: The Mother of Modern Terrorism
by Threehegemons
10 August 2003 12:02 UTC
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In a message dated 8/10/2003 5:01:40 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Jay@Fenello.com 

> Blaming Jews for the actions of Zionists,
> is like blaming Americans for the actions
> of the Bush administration :-)
> Jay.

Although I don't believe 'blame' is a useful form of social analysis, to the 
extent that I'd be willing to use that language, I'd blame lots of Americans 
for the actions of the Bush administration (as well as a number of 
non-Americans--Blair, Berlusconi, Sharon, etc).  About half the electorate 
voted for the guy.  Many happilly join in with the bullying 'you're with us or 
against us' rhetoric.  There are some small elites who do a great deal to shape 
policy, but they can't do anything without substantial popular support.

Zionism cannot be easily seperated from contemporary Judaism.  In the US and 
elsewhere, most Jews have quite tenuous 'religious' beliefs, in the 
conventional meaning of that term.  Jews constitute a highly disproprotionate 
(possibly majority) number of American atheists and Buddhists.  Jewish 
institutions find their coherence not through rhetoric about God and the bible, 
but by talking about support for Israel.

That said, I have growing reservations about the way the term 'Zionism' is 
thrown about among groups sympathetic to the Palestinians.  It seems to me that 
it parallels closely the way 'whiteness' is talked about in many multicultural 
circles.  It is demonized in a way that sounds very radical within the group, 
but makes actual political work in the larger world practically impossible.  
Furthermore, in both cases, a psychological subtext is not difficult to spot.  
The demonization of the other reduces the likelihood of painful 
self-examination, as it always does.

Finally, I find prefacing criticisms of Israel, and policy networks linked to 
Israel, with 'some of my best friends are Jewish' to be deeply offensive, and I 
think it actually feeds the belief (not really widespread on the wsn in the 
first place) that criticism of Israel and anti-semitism are one and the same 

Steven Sherman

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