Race, Culture, Nationality, Religion and Citizenship – Tiptoeing Across a Minefield

I’ve decided to tiptoe as tactfully and thoughtfully as I can across a very dangerous minefield, the minefield of racism and other forms of discrimination, and, in particular, the minefield of anti-Semitism and attitudes to Israel. But in doing so, I’m also seeking your advice. Sometimes I really don’t know what to think.

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Over the last ten days anti-Semitism has become a hot topic in the United Kingdom, following the suspension from the UK’s Labour Party of two of its members on the grounds that they have expressed anti-Semitic views: Naz Shah was suspended for her, now disowned, view that Israel should be ‘relocated to the United States’, and Ken Livingstone for suggesting that Hitler once supported Zionism ‘before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.’

In the panoply of appalling opinions, anti-Semitism has a special place, because its terrible consequences occurred in our lifetimes and our parents’, and were witnessed first-hand, and even experienced, by many who are still alive. As far as we know, the industrial scale and cold dispassionate inhumanity of these atrocities are unmatched in the whole of human history. It grew in our midst and it’s an ever present occurrence and danger that we must guard against continuously. But we must also do so fairly and intelligently.

I am not, here, concerned with the question of whether the views expressed by Naz Shah and by Ken Livingstone are objectionable, or whether they contain false factual claims. The question is, are they anti-Semitic in nature? If they are anti-Semitic then there’s no question that suspension is deserved, and, whether they’re anti-Semitic or not, they may yet be good cause for suspension on other grounds. But these are issues for the Labour Party and whether such views are consistent with their overall policy objectives. Here. in this post, I am simply concerned with how these remarks might be described.

On matters of fact, you can either be wrong in good faith, or you can be wilfully wrong, prejudicially wrong. The first position I’ll describe as at least a ‘respectable’ position, even if, in some cases, it may be hard to excuse ignorance of the facts. ‘Respectable’ means that a position is worthy of argument, amenable to argument, indeed, one where there are facts that might determine the case and persuade an opponent to change his mind. The second position is a ‘prejudiced’ position, and when there is prejudice there is little scope for constructive, ‘respectful’ argument or persuasion.

To take an example, David Irving, once a ‘distinguished’ amateur historian was shown, in a legal judgement that went against him in 2000, to be wilfully selective in his treatment of historical evidence. He lost a libel case against Penguin Books, and Deborah Lipstadt, an author who accused him of being a Holocaust Denier, a term applied to a man who adopts a wilful evidence-denying, ‘prejudiced’ position on the question of the Nazi extermination of the Jews. His view was shown to be a view that I call ‘unrespectable’, a view that cannot be defended by a man of good faith. (In my opinion most conspiracy theories also fail the test of ‘respectability’, though not so much because they don’t fit the facts, as because their accounting for the facts is unreasonable, improbable and implausible. But that is another issue.)

So, what is it to be anti-Semitic? Anti-Semitism is usually understood to be a negative example of racism, though whether being Jewish is a matter of race may itself be a subject of dispute. Judaism may be culturally defined, or defined in terms of religion, or genetics. I doubt that everyone, including those who call themselves Jews, could agree on a single definition. Would the Nazis have murdered a blue-eyed Aryan German who had converted to Judaism? I simply don’t know.

There is also pro-Semitism, which is also a form of racism. Pro-Semitism (a term that might (controversially or not, correctly or incorrectly)) be applied to the policies of the State of Israel) is another, indisputably better, side of a similar coin. In general, racism can be described as ‘positive’ as well as ‘negative’, as for example, ‘positive racial discrimination’ is discrimination in favour of a disadvantaged group defined in racial terms (the Malaysian State’s discrimination in favour of the bumiputera (people of the soil) favours Malays at the expense of the Chinese and Indian minorities and might be so described).

And, of course, ‘positive’ racial discrimination can be a good or a bad thing depending on your point of view. It is sometimes necessary as a temporary measure to right historical wrongs. I have met many white South Africans who understand and even approve of the South African Government’s policy of enforcing quotas for black South Africans when it comes to employment. In all cases racism is an action or belief undertaken or held in virtue of, a person’s perceived racial identity. Anti-Semitism (conventionally applied only to one group of Semitic people) is an action or opinion formed ‘in virtue of’ a person’s perceived Jewish ‘identity.’

This definition doesn’t go far enough, though. Racism is a pejorative term, in that, when we say someone or an attitude is ‘racist’, we’re saying two more things. Racist remarks are, by implication, remarks we disapprove of, and they are remarks, I think, that we regard as unsupported, perhaps even unsupportable in principle. Perhaps there are people who are ‘out and proud’ racists but let’s leave that ‘unrespectable’ position aside for the moment. When we apply the term ‘racist’ we’re generally being critical and disapproving.

It’s not always easy to ascribe specifically anti-Semitism or racism to an individual. Was the composer Richard Wagner anti-Semitic? He believed that great art is founded on national identity, and that national identity is founded on race. Jewish composers, he believed, with no homeland (then), and therefore no sense of national identity, were incapable of writing profound music, even if they possessed a strong sense of cultural or religious identity. Did he believe that an ‘assimilated’ German Christian ‘Jew’ could be a good composer? I think not.

Wagner’s prejudice was founded on racial belonging and the absence of a Jewish ‘nation’ – a homeland. He would probably have believed that a post-1948 Israeli Jew with a strong sense of national identity and destiny could write great music, but that is a fanciful supposition. I think he was wrong about great art and nationhood, and I would regard his views on this issue as unsupported, insupportable and therefore ‘unrespectable’. Was he an anti-Semite or a Nationalist? I’m not sure. Did he believe that Jews couldn’t be great composers in virtue of their race or in virtue of their situation? Would he have approved of the expulsion or annihilation of the Jews? No, certainly not. Did he subscribe to and exploit ‘mocking’ racial stereotypes (Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger, for example)? Probably. Yes, on balance, he was probably anti-Semitic as well as a Nationalist. And then there is the question of whether his music should be played in the State of Israel. But let’s leave that alone!

But what is race? We describe ourselves in many different ways. I am a culturally Christian atheist of the Protestant strain. I am white, male, gay, politically liberal, English, British, European, a resident of the Czech Republic, of remote French Huguenot descent, able-bodied, middle class, middle-aged, and so on. None of these can be exact descriptions. In respect of an infinite number of characteristics that human beings might possess, we exist somewhere on a continuum established by our shared use of linguistic terms and our purposes in making distinctions. Even so, one man or woman’s application of a term may differ subtly from another. Even gender isn’t black and white. So we describe ourselves, for different purposes, in a wide variety of ways that include, at least these:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Colour
  • Culture
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Political affiliation
  • Sexual orientation
  • Residency
  • Ancestry
  • Prosperity
  • Beliefs
  • Physical capability or incapacity
  • Mental capability or dysfunction
  • Etc.

Most of these terms aren’t susceptible of exact definition, by which I mean that it isn’t always possible to define a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for their application. The whole issue has become even more complicated by the idea of ‘self-identification’. Rachel Dolezal ‘identified as black’ without being black by descent and found herself in very hot water as a consequence. But let’s not go down that path either.

To be ‘ageist’, ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, ‘homophobic’, etc., is in general to adopt a ‘prejudiced’ view, to take action or to advance a negative and unsupportable view about an individual or group of individuals identified in respect of one or more characteristics or by membership of a group so identified, in virtue of that characteristic or that membership of a group.

But context is also important. When someone makes a statement or expresses a view it mustn’t be seen in isolation. We should put a statement or view into the context of what the speaker has said or how she or he has acted, on numerous occasions to build a complete picture, if we can. Words taken in isolation are slippery. What does he or she mean by ‘English’, or ‘British’, or ‘Israel’, or ‘Israeli’, or ‘supports’, or ‘mad’?

There’s also the issue of how much prejudice matters, of how pernicious it might be. An ‘unrespectable’ view about stamp-collectors is less likely to do harm than an ‘unrespectable’ view about race. Government policy is unaffected by issues of philately. What worries us most is prejudice expressed for the purposes of negative discrimination – the denial of equal rights to education, health care, justice, residency, freedom of action, and so on.

Let’s consider a few examples of typical generalisations that may or may not be ‘respectable’:

‘The Dutch are a tall nation.’

We know, more or less, whom we mean by ‘the Dutch’ (though we might perhaps include the Flemish population of Belgium under that description). We know what it means to be tall – we probably mean ‘taller than the average’. I’m not entirely sure what we mean by ‘nation’, and we might, reasonably ask for clarification, but once we’ve got that sorted out, It is a supportable view, and it may be right or wrong, supported by the evidence or not. This, to my mind, is not a statement of prejudice, in itself. But if you go on to express an unrespectable view of tall people (that, for example, they should all have their heads cut off) that would be a different matter.

‘Tall people are stupid and should have their heads cut off.’

This is a clear statement of prejudice. Though ‘stupid’ is subject to multiple definitions, I think it highly unlikely that there is research, or indeed, could be research, to support either the factual claim or the remedy.

‘The English are a cold people.’

‘English’, here, is probably being used, loosely, as a cultural definition. I’m inclined to think this isn’t necessarily a prejudiced statement. Of course, we would want anyone who makes such a claim to go on to adduce examples in its defence, to accept that there must be exceptions, and to clarify its scope, but we’re all inclined to make bold and sweeping generalisations about cultures that are based on our experiences, on what we’ve read or seen, or what others have said. And in most cases we plan no denial of rights in consequence of our views. There are, I am happy to say, differences between cultures. We’re also ready to revise such views if evidence accumulates to contradict them. It is an important characteristic of the kind of prejudice we’re considering here, that it is not susceptible to revision in the light of what is generally held to be evidence.

So, which of the following statements are ‘ageist’, or ‘racist’, or ‘sexist’, or ‘homophobic’. Which are ‘prejudiced’ in general, and therefore can’t be regarded as ‘respectable’ views that could, whether right or wrong, be held in good faith? And, in respect of what dimension of human description (nation, race, culture, religion, gender, political affiliation, etc.) is the claim being made?

Feel free to express your views and please forgive me if I use some ugly statements as examples. They do not reflect my views, but I’ve heard or seen many of these views expressed either first hand or in the media, and often all too recently.

  1. Asians take education more seriously than Europeans
  2. Christians are guiltily obsessed with sex
  3. Muslims should be treated with suspicion
  4. Arabs are lazy
  5. Germans have no sense of humour
  6. Americans are stupid, blinkered imperialists
  7. The French don’t wash
  8. Americans are arrogant
  9. Gays shouldn’t be allowed near children
  10. Women drive cars less well than men
  11. Italians make the best lovers
  12. The Kurds should not be given their own homeland
  13. Israel should never have been created where it is located today
  14. Gays should be flung to their deaths from tall buildings
  15. The Jews take education very seriously
  16. There’s a gay mafia in the film industry
  17. Gypsies (the Roma people of Central and Eastern Europe, for example) should never be trusted
  18. Hitler for a time supported Zionism. It was an aspect of his anti-Semitism.
  19. Gays have no place in the military
  20. Asians are less inventive than Europeans and Americans
  21. Zionism is racist to the extent that it favours Jewish immigration to Israel.
  22. Women shouldn’t drive cars
  23. There is only one true faith and it is Roman Catholicism
  24. Israel’s policy of settlement in the West Bank is wrong and in breach of international law
  25. There aren’t enough actors and actresses of colour nominated for the Oscars
  26. Black people are less intelligent than white people
  27. Gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt
  28. Mexicans are rapists
  29. African Americans commit more crime than white Americans in proportion to their population
  30. African Americans are more criminally inclined than white Americans
  31. Immigrants are spongers
  32. European civilisation is in decline
  33. The Swiss have never invented anything more interesting than the cuckoo clock

I’m not interested in whether you agree or disagree with any of these views. The question is whether any of these could be a ‘respectable’ view, one that we might argue reasonably about, even if we believe it wrong, or whether, on the other hand, it is a statement of unsupported and insupportable prejudice, and, further, if it is, against what is it prejudice (gender, race, culture, nationality, sexual orientation, etc.)?

It’s difficult, isn’t it? First it’s hard, when a single statement is ripped from its context or from the whole history of the person who might have said it or written it, to know what’s meant. What does ‘support’ mean? What does ‘intelligence’ mean? What does ‘Chinese’ mean? What groups are being singled out and what prejudices asserted?

I won’t, for now, give my own views on each of these examples, but I will say what I think about the statements made by Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone. I know little about Naz Shah’s wider views, and I cannot say if I like her or not. As for Ken Livingstone, I don’t like him (he is a ranting bully too often for my taste) but I have admired some of his positions and achievements.

Naz Shah

My own views are these: I disagree with the view that Israel should be ‘relocated’ to the USA. I disagree with the view that Israel should cease to exist. But I do hope that one day Israel might be a state that doesn’t need to be defined in terms of culture or religion or race.

As for Naz, I believe that when she expressed the view on relocation she knew very well that she was adopting an utterly impractical position. But I think it is far from certain that her views were anti-Semitic. You can oppose the policies of the State of Israel without being anti-Semitic. You can make a ‘respectable’ argument as to whether the state of Israel should even have been created by the UN in 1948 (many at the time thought it should not and voted against the resolution, without being anti-Semitic), just as you can make a ‘respectable’ argument for the creation of a Kurdish state, or a Roma state come to that. You may win or lose each argument, and you may make your case passionately or quietly, and find yourself in a tiny minority or a large majority. As for ‘relocation’, everyone knows that’s impossible, and she knew it too when she expressed the view. It was, I suppose, a kind of rhetorical flourish, akin to saying ‘I wish the Middle East had never existed!’ But, in my view, it’s a view about Israel, a geographical political entity, and its policies, rather than a view about race, or culture, or religion. But of course I would have to look at everything she’s written to come to a definitive conclusion.

Ken Livingstone

Neither do I believe that Ken Livingstone’s remarks were anti-Semitic. I don’t know whether he’s anti-Semitic in general, but I doubt it. Taking the view for the moment that to be Zionist is to believe that there should be a homeland for the Jews, I can believe that, in spite of, perhaps entirely because of his virulent anti-Semitism, Hitler might have supported the view that the Jewish community should be encouraged to emigrate, perhaps even be forcibly evicted, to a Jewish homeland far from Germany. Whilst he might have ‘supported’ Zionism, in this sense, it is still entirely possible that Hitler’s preference, at one and the same time, was for the complete annihilation of the Jews but that he was prevented, at that stage of the development of the totalitarian Nazi state, from getting started on it. It is a matter of historical debate as to whether Hitler had one view or another, and I understand that Ken Livingstone adduces the views of historians in his support. So, Ken may be right or wrong on the issue, and I don’t think it’s necessarily an anti-Semitic view. Far more damaging, I believe, and wrong, though, again, not anti-Semitic, is the view that ‘Hitler went mad’. To call someone ‘mad’ is, to some extent, to claim that they are not responsible for what they do. I don’t think Hitler was mad. He was bad.

 

I hope my position is also a ‘respectable’ one and that I don’t offend  anyone, least of all my Jewish friends. Disagreements are welcome, especially if they are put reasonably. I am willing to be corrected, of course, if my logic is faulty, my history inaccurate or if my moral principles are themselves at fault. And I am aware that I have placed myself bang in the middle of a minefield, but the entire issue has been much on my mind and I wanted to put my thoughts into words.

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8 thoughts on “Race, Culture, Nationality, Religion and Citizenship – Tiptoeing Across a Minefield

  1. Adam, you have clearly put a lot of thought into this article, and I commend you for it.

    I will try to be as brief as I can be on such a complex subject and simply endeavor to answer your question with a few points.

    Let’s start with the definition of Zionism, which is quite simply the concept of there being a national home for Jews. This word has been deliberately corrupted by people with an agenda, to mean something else for those opposed to Israel, and some people equate it to apartheid and some form of Nazism. Certainly racism of some kind, which is like saying that if French people want a country called France they are racist.

    One can, for example, be non-Jewish Zionist if you believe Jews should have a national home which is Jewish, and you can be an anti-Zionist Jew if you think they should not. There are many non-Zionist Jews and also many non-Jewish Zionists. Most western leaders for example, who claim to support Israel’s right exist are thus de facto “Zionist” eve if they prefer not to be so labelled.

    Why should Jews have a national home at all? Well, the decision was made towards the end of the 19th Century, when many people accepted the fact that centuries of well documented persecution of Jews all across Europe and the Middle East needed a solution where they could be “safe.” THis was because they would be able to govern themselves, rather than be at the mercy of non-Jewish governments who used them for scapegoats when things got a bit tough or who were religiously dogmatic and thus unable to accept Jews in their society.

    Again this idea for a national homeland was not just recognized by Jews, but Christian politicians who were sympathetic to the Jews’ situation.

    English Jewry was more or less wiped out by Edward 1, Crusaders routinely attacked European Jews as the marched through Europe to the Holy Land, pogroms were a regular occurrence for Europe’s and Russia’s Jewry, and Jews had to live in ghettos, subject to curfews, and restricted trade for centuries. As for you comment on Wagner, there is a wonderful book about Germany’s Jews, in which it is clear that despite German Jews trying to assimilate into German society since the 16th Century, they were constantly blocked by the “establishment” and I would be happy to lend you this book.

    Antisemitism is and was rife throughout the history of Europe and is still evident today as we can see and I will try to explain why Jews see this especially today as Israel is singled out constantly for censure, and BDS movements try to expunge her from the world.

    So, accepting that Jews needed a Jewish home, why the Middle East, which was Arab territory? Except it was not always Arab territory. Nor was Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia. Arabs are a nomadic people and much of Palestine was deserted and scarcely populated, and for the last 300 years before World War One, was part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

    Then it was under the British Mandate. But Jewish presence in Jerusalem has always been a fact of life well before Israel became a state. You may know that every prayer by the devout Jew used to end with the mantra – “Tomorrow Jerusalem.” What you may not know was that at the turn of 18th Century, a census taken in Jerusalem showed that the majority of the population at that time was Jewish.

    The Holy sites for Jewry are all in Jerusalem. Despite the latest PR war, Islam’s holy sites were never in Jerusalem and in fact the Koran never mentions the place at all.

    So why not Palestine?

    When the British government set up a Jewish homeland in the region of Palestine (not a country but a region) it was designed for European Jews to join the Jews already living there. It is a little known fact that 70% of Israelis today are descended from the Jewish population living in the Middle East. Most anti-Zionists like to pretend that Israel consists of mainly European Jews who descended on Palestine and therefore have no connection to the region. They are wrong.

    Just as most anti-Zionists like to ignore the fact that while the creation of Israel made 600,000 Palestinians into refugees (mostly their decision) it also created 800,000 Jewish refugees kicked out of Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon at the point of a gun . No one talks about the Jewish refugees’ need for financial compensation because the State of Israel took in those that wanted to come, thus their refugee status disappeared.

    For the Palestinian Arabs, they were not so fortunate. None of their neighboring states wanted to accept them and they were put into refugee camps, where many still remain today.

    Yet despite all the displacement of people as a result of World War 2 with 35 million refugees in Europe alone, there is only one group of refugees in the world that UNESCO has extended Refugee Status beyond the first generation. Palestinian refugees.

    Why. we Zionists would like to know, are the Palestinian refugees alone in the world, given this extended status? So that even though 600,000 refugees left what is now Israel, the Right of Return, claimed by Abbas, as non-negotiable in any Peace agreement, is 5 million?

    Hardly any of those who left or were forced out during the War of Independence in 1948 lived in what is now Israel, because most have died? But for some, their descendants, and only their descendants, deserve to be re-instated and paid compensation by….the only Jewish state in the world.

    And if you think that is paranoia, then why does the UN constantly pass sanctions on Israel?

    The U.N. General Assembly’s 2015 session adopted 20 resolutions singling out Israel for criticism — and only 3 resolutions on the rest of the world combined.

    All but one of the texts were approved at the initial committee vote.

    Incidentally, the three that do not concern Israel were: one on Syria, a regime that has murdered more than 200,000 of its own people, one on Iran, and one on North Korea.

    Not a single UNGA resolution was expected to be adopted on gross and systematic abuses committed by China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Yemen, Zimbabwe, or on dozens of other perpetrators of gross and systematic human rights violations. Saudi Arabia has now the worst record of Human Rights abuses in the world.

    Can this be anything other than institutionalized antisemitism? What else explains how only Palestinians get special refugee status and the UN constantly persecutes Israel? As for the voting, until now, mostly it was the USA that blocked these sanctions. The UK usually abstained and France usually voted for.

    Now the Labour Party. Yes I am a Right of Center person, fiscally conservative but socially liberal, but I recognize the need for a strong Labour party to counter some of the crazies in the Conservative Party.

    But to pretend there is suddenly antisemitism in the Labour Party is to be disingenuous. Attlee appointed a notorious antisemite as Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin – this at a time when Britain was putting survivors of the death camps into new camps on Cyprus, rather than let them in to Palestine.

    Bevin was convinced that a Jewish conspiracy existed, supposedly in alliance with the Soviet Union and he made a number of antisemitic statements. He made remarks about Jews trying to jump to the head of the queue even after Auschwitz and the Holocaust. His attitude was also recorded by people who knew him well. The young Labour MP Richard Crossman, who was close to Bevin, emphasized that he was ‘obsessed by the Jews’ and wanted to teach them a lesson they would never forget.

    The “sudden” discovery about Shah and Livingstone and Diane Abbot and the 50 Labour Councillors is also a myth. Nothing that we are reading now was ever hidden. All these comments were sitting out there for 2 years! It was the blogger Guido Fawkes who suddenly put them out into the public domain. Then like the rats they are these people started trying to make a distance from themseleves and their remarks. Frankly I would have more respect for them if they had stood by their remarks. At least it would have been honest.

    Hitler was not a believer in a Jewish homeland, he wanted Jews gone from Germany and then from Europe. Any reading of Mein Kampf, written well before “he went mad” will prove that. Livingstone has form when it comes to putting Israel and Nazis together and there is a reason for that, just as there was a reason he accused a hostile Jewish journalist of being like a Nazi prison guard in a concentration camp. I guess you have to be Jewish to understand how spiteful and hurtful that is, and that is why Livingstone said it.

    As for Labour. Well there is a huge demographic in the UK now which they would like to have vote for them. It is the Muslim population and sadly, but not exclusively, it is happy to be known as antisemitic. And anti Israel.

    Even the future Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has stood on the same platform as Hamas and Hezbollah supporting clerics who have called for Jews to be exterminated. Does that make him antisemitic? Perhaps not. Does that make him a suitable candidate for Mayor of London? Depends whether you think standing next to a Nazi if you were Goldsmith qualified you, which I don’t. If you stand next to a racist and sit and say nothing as he calls for the wholesale destruction of a society of men, women and children simply for being Jews (not Israelis) but Jews, then I don’t think you are qualified to run the proverbial whelk stall.

    So then, is Corbyn an antisemite? Personally I don’t think he is. But for his choices, I don’t think he is fit to run what used to be great political institution for the Left.

    Like many anti-Zionists, I believe his choices are through ignorance and a desperation to attract the Muslim vote. How Jews might feel about that does not really interest him. He is on another mission. To take the UK back to far Left socialism with as many votes as possible. How Jews in the UK might feel about that probably never entered his head. We are too small a demographic to matter and contrary to popular opinion, we neither control the banks, the governments or the media of this world, or if we did we would not always have to rely on the USA to get us out of trouble at the UN!

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    • Stephen, thanks for your thoughtful reply. I tried to make my article more about words than things, but I accept that they are inextricably linked. I agree with most of what you say and would probably only take issue with you on your comparison of, say, France and Israel. I think Israel is exceptional in that it defines itself as a Jewish state (after all, Zionism is, as you define it, a movement promoting the idea of a homeland for the Jews), whereas France is defined, these days, in terms of citizenship (not language, or religion, or culture, or descent). I suppose I am not a Zionist and would want Israel to feel safe enough and established enough to define itself without reference to Judaism. But I think that must be a long wait!

      The Kurds want a country too, and perhaps the Roma could do with one (I suspect that many of our acquaintance in this part of the world would ‘support’ a homeland for the Roma in just such a way as Hitler is alleged to have ‘supported’ Zionism!).

      I oppose all forms of prejudice, and when there is demonstrable prejudice on unacceptable grounds it must be fought. But I see a distinction between anti-Semitism, which is, as all forms of racism are, loathsome, and opposition to Zionism and, separately, to Israeli policy. On the latter two, heated but reasonable debate is possible!

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      • Let’ me make some revisions. Khan just visited a Holocaust event in London and welcomed a delegation from Tel Avid next year with some complimentary remarks about that city. So maybe I have misjudged him.

        That was brave.

        I actually believe the Jury’s do deserve a homeland of their own and I am shocked NATO and the UN don’t do more to punish Turkey and Iran for their persecution of the Kurds. Incidentally one of the few countries providing the Kurds with weapons to defend themselves is Israel.

        Kurds and Israel get on fine.

        So long as Israel defines itself as a Jewish state it places itself as a home for Jews.

        That is important. If Judaism dictates how the State is run then I will have an issue.

        For now it is secular. Arabs are in the Knees et and the Judiciary. They fight as soldiers in the IDF.

        But it is important that a majority balance is Jewish because if Jews become a minority in their own state they would be back to square one.

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  2. Also on the question of France, I could have said any sovereign country. Right now the debate is on migrants.

    Let’s say Holland announced that France will take 2 million refugees next year from the Middle East and Africa.

    Demographic surveys show an aging France where French families are producing so few children that Muslim migration will turn France into a majority Muslim population within 2 generations..

    Supposing Hollande put this to a referendum and a majority of French voters rejected this policy preferring to keep France secular and predominantly ethnically French, are they racist or nationalistic?

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    • That;s a good question. I think I would call them racist, nationalist or ‘culturalist’ if their immigration policy favoured one group over another. That’s not to say that they should not prefer speakers of French, since that’s a legitimate requirement in France, but otherwise they should not select in favour of religion or race or culture. Tricky questions! For example, the ‘White Australia’ policy that was abandoned many years ago, was blatantly racist.

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      • We need to have a good talk about this next time we meet! Assuming you still want a racist, nationalist Zionist as your friend!

        Also please excuse my spelling errors in earlier texts, I made the comments on my “Oh So Very Smart Samsung Supa Dupa” phone and it’s predictive text thinks it knows better than me.

        On the other hand my OSVSSSD is neither racist or nationalist, so perhaps it does.

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      • Yes, of course, it would be great to talk about it. I could never think of you as a racist and I fully understand why you are, in a limited sense, a nationalist, and, of course, a Zionist. I just hope one day that Zionism isn’t necessary, that everyone could feel safe everywhere, and that Jews didn’t need the special protection of Israel, but that is very wishful thinking! There’s a very funny bit in a book by Boris Akunin in which he satirises the political correctness of George Soros, by describing a country that is only for gays and lesbians. I would, of course, have no wish to live in it, perhaps even if my life were threatened!

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  3. Acceptable, Respectable or Prejudiced – Adam Bager

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