Anti-justice? Wow.

Television and radio host Glenn Beck has, as Steve Benen puts it "doubled down" on his opposition to Christian churches that speak of "social justice."

Yesterday, Beck told his radio listeners to "look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. … If you find [them], run as fast as you can. … They are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!"

As Joe Carter noted at First Things, taking Beck's advice would require all Roman Catholics to leave that church, since "Social Justice" is — for Catholics as for almost every longstanding Christian denomination — an integral aspect of the church's teaching. ("Social Justice" is, in fact, the title of Section One, Chapter Two, Article 3 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

Glenn Beck continued his attack on "social justice" today, arguing that it entails "a perversion of the gospel" and is "not what Jesus would say" (MediaMatters has the audio).

This is an astonishing claim to anyone who's ever had a Bible and their eyes open at the same time. Justice is an inescapable, relentless, pervasive, nearly omnipresent theme of that entire volume. It is impossible to read the law and the prophets, the Gospels and epistles, the histories, wisdom literature and apocalypse without being confronted incessantly with the theme of justice, justice, justice, justice, justice, justice, justice.

That accounts for justice, in the Christian teaching of every Christian church, being regarded as a cardinal virtue and an attribute of God.

I'm guessing that Beck would argue that he's not opposing justice per se, only "social justice" — which he sees as a "code word" for Nazicommunism or something. But this is nonsense. Not just the slander that every Christian from the original disciples on down is a Nazicommunist, but the very idea that it's possible to speak of "justice" as distinct from "social justice."

Justice is, by definition, social. Justice, by definition, is something that exists only between and among individuals and groups of individuals and groups of groups. One might argue that "social justice" is redundant, but one cannot oppose "social justice" without opposing justice itself.

(I can't even imagine what "individual justice" might mean. Perhaps some kind of self-help therapeutic babble — "You need to be fair to you …" Or maybe the title of a violent action movie starring Vin Diesel as a judge whose daughter has been kidnapped by drug dealers.)

That trailblazers of wingnuttery like Glenn Beck would explicitly condemn justice itself shouldn't be surprising. You'll recall that just a few months ago, Beck and his allies (including most of the Republican caucus in Congress) were loudly railing against a related prerequisite virtue, empathy.

Yes, that's right, they said empathy was bad. Once they decided that, then it was only a matter of time before they were bound to come out against justice as well, because empathy is the foundation of justice. (See if you can arrive at some conception of justice that does not rely upon empathy. No philosopher, ethicist or religious genius ever yet has managed to do so.)

Let me be clear: When Glenn Beck asserts that justice is incompatible with the Gospel and with the teachings of Christ, he is not following the Pauline/Augustinian argument that perfect love transcends justice ("Justice that is only justice is less than justice," in Reinhold Niebuhr's phrase). He is, rather, saying that justice itself is a bad thing.

Glenn Beck is anti-justice. And he's telling his radio audience that Jesus Christ was anti-justice. It's hard to see how that doesn't make Glenn Beck anti-Christ. (The word there is an adjective, but the noun would also seem to fit.)

  • http://www.kitwhitfield.com Kit Whitfield

    Plenty of other countries have similar immigration laws favoring diaspora communities without creating much of an uproar. Ireland, Germany, Japan, and Spain to name a few. To me all the criticism aimed at the Law of Return seems to be nothing more than a double standard.
    Those countries aren’t engaged with land wars for space with their neighbours. Again, you really need to find more apposite comparisons if you want to cry ‘double standards’.

  • Anton Mates

    Lee Ratner,

    I really fail to see why so many people are upset about Israel’s Law of Return. Plenty of other countries have similar immigration laws favoring diaspora communities without creating much of an uproar. Ireland, Germany, Japan, and Spain to name a few. To me all the criticism aimed at the Law of Return seems to be nothing more than a double standard.

    That overlooks the critical difference between Israel’s Law of Return and almost all others: it applies only to a particular, ethnically-defined subset of its diaspora community. Japan’s immigration law applies to any 1st-through-3rd-generation descendant of a Japanese citizen; it doesn’t matter whether you and your ancestor are ethnically Japanese, or Ainu, or even African or European (assuming your ancestor somehow managed to be a black or white resident of Japan in the first place.) Ireland’s law doesn’t favor a Catholic immigrant over a Protestant one; if your grandparent was born on Ireland, it doesn’t matter if they were ethnically Irish, Ulster-Scots or Zulu. And where such laws do refer to “ethnically X people”, they usually define “ethnically X” as “having ancestry from region X.” Thus Serbia, for the purpose of immigration law, defines “ethnic Serbs” as anyone with ancestry from the region of Serbia, and Germany similarly defines “ethnic Germans” as anyone whose ancestors lived in various German-controlled territories of the past.
    Israel, almost uniquely*, has a Law of Return that covers one group of Palestinian descendants–the Jews, some from lineages which haven’t lived in the area for almost 3,000 years–but excludes all others, including about 10 million living Muslims and Christians whose ancestors inhabited the area until less than a century ago. That’s what makes it explicitly racist.
    *Spain is another exception…but, ironically, it’s an exception that also discriminates in favor of Jews and against Muslims. Sephardic Jews have a right of return to Spain, but moriscos–the descendants of Spanish Muslims, who were expelled by the Spanish government just as the Jews were–do not.

  • Anton Mates

    Spain is another exception…but, ironically, it’s an exception that also discriminates in favor of Jews and against Muslims.

    Um, I don’t know why I said “ironically” there. Sorry.

  • Rebecca

    Okay, I’m a bit behind, so I’m not responding to everything in as much detail as I’d like, but if there’s something you particularly want my input on, do point it out!
    Spearmint: Well, it depends on the degree of injustice, surely? I mean, if you have an injustice worth 10 injustice points and you replace it with an injustice worth 6 injustice points you’ve reduced net injustice. To go back to the bread example, if I’m starving and I steal your bread, I’ve wronged you but compensated for the wrong society did me by putting me in a position where I was starving. Isn’t this is a more just scenario than me starving to death?
    No; it’s not a zero-sum situation, nor is this conducive to any kind of justice in the future.
    Lee: The Israeli government recognizes interfaith marriages, I’m not exactly sure of the mechanics of it but they are recognized. Non-Jewish and children of Israeli citizens can get Israeli citizenship through their spouces. Its rare but Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have gotten Israeli citizenship by marrying Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews. Children of said marriages are Israeli citizens. If Jewish person with a non-Jewish spouse and children immigrates to Israel under the Law of Return, the non-Jewish spouse and children also receive automatic Israeli citizenship.
    None of which eliminates the fact that they cannot marry in Israel. There is no legal mechanism for them to do so.
    Ross: good point.
    Jeff: If Israel isn’t a “legally-enforced” Jewish state, it won’t be a Jewish state at all.
    Which brings up the same question I’ve been asking Spearmint: is having a “Jewish state” so important that it makes it okay to oppress other people?
    Lee: The reason why I think that a one-state solution is not going to be particularly friendly toward the Jews and would lean towards excluding the Jews in national narrative was that historically even the secular Palestinian nationalists, and this goes back before the Balfour Declaration, have defined Palestinian as basically being the non-Jewish parts of the Land and that a Palestine state by nature must reduce Jewish connections to meaninglessness.
    I disagree, and I would appreciate citations. I think a one-state solution would not work because Jews would never stand for it (not having a majority state).
    Another Chris: Because people losing touch with their traditions is the same as genocide. That’s one of the most trivialising statements I’ve heard about the Holocaust, coming from the last people I would expect.
    This reminds me of the “LOL BLACK WOMEN HAVING ABORTIONS IS TTLY GENOCIDE” thing. No, it’s not. It’s just not.
    Lee: Plenty of other countries have similar immigration laws favoring diaspora communities without creating much of an uproar. Ireland, Germany, Japan, and Spain to name a few. To me all the criticism aimed at the Law of Return seems to be nothing more than a double standard.
    The Law of Return is explicitly for Jews, not Israelis. Converts with no Jewish heritage and no Israeli heritage can avail themselves of it. And, of course, it excludes people who are actually from the land, or first-generation descendants of people from the land.
    Hamas charter wants to declare Israel/Palestine to be a waqf and make non-Muslim land ownership and possibly land rental illegal.
    The Hamas charter comes up a lot, but I don’t think it’s as relevant as what politicians actually say. (If every politician with a D after his name followed the Democratic party platform, healthcare reform would be less of a clusterfuck.) One of the other times we discussed this, I cited the Likud platform, which has the equivalent position. I think it’s more important to look at what Netanyahu actually says and does than to look at his party’s platform.

  • Rebecca

    And I see that Anton Mates got to that before me, but better.

  • Spearmint

    No; it’s not a zero-sum situation, nor is this conducive to any kind of justice in the future.
    Well, obviously the way to maximize justice would be to have you give me the bread voluntarily, but let’s assume you’re Glenn Beck.
    Is it more or less just for me to steal the bread than to starve to death?
    Which brings up the same question I’ve been asking Spearmint: is having a “Jewish state” so important that it makes it okay to oppress other people?
    It seems to me that if one is not willing to conditionally answer “Yes” to this question, one is not willing to defend the existence of Israel at all, because it couldn’t have been founded without denying the Palestinians the right to determine who gets to immigrate to their territory. (Which, I realize, you are not- your own position is totally consistent. But there does seem to be a fair amount of willful blindness on the pro-Israel side.)
    Hamas charter wants to declare Israel/Palestine to be a waqf and make non-Muslim land ownership and possibly land rental illegal.
    This strikes me as something that would be hard to implement. The people with the tanks get to decide how the property is allocated, and for the near future that’s going to continue to be the Jews even with a one-state solution.

  • Anton Mates

    Rebecca,

    The Hamas charter comes up a lot, but I don’t think it’s as relevant as what politicians actually say.

    Especially because the Hamas government makes no claim to be bound by that charter, and multiple Hamas officials have said its contents are out of date and need to be revised. As one pointed out, if you judged US policy by our Constitution as it was written when the country was founded, you’d conclude that we permit slavery. (There are Hamas politicians who endorse the charter, admittedly, but Strom Thurmond didn’t die that long ago here either.)
    Also, there’s a bunch of other guys in Palestine besides Hamas. Fatah has little or no interest in Islamism, and they were ahead of Hamas in the polls until the Gaza conflict. They’ve also been consistently favored over Hamas by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia; Israel’s Arab neighbors don’t particularly want Islamic extremists taking over.
    For the result Lee’s worried about to occur in a one-state scenario, every Muslim in the unified state would have to suddenly throw their full support behind Hamas–which is exactly the opposite of what’s happened, historically, whenever the conflict cooled–plus Hamas would have to return to being the hardest-line it’s ever been, plus (as Spearmint says) the Jews’ initial economic and military advantage would have to be have been completely stripped away, plus US and all of Israel’s neighbors would have to suddenly stop caring about this. That seems unlikely to me.
    Spearmint,

    It seems to me that if one is not willing to conditionally answer “Yes” to this question, one is not willing to defend the existence of Israel at all, because it couldn’t have been founded without denying the Palestinians the right to determine who gets to immigrate to their territory.

    Not necessarily. There are many countries that I think were founded in morally unacceptable ways–probably the majority of them, actually. It doesn’t follow that I’m unwilling to defend their current existence. Modern Israelis have the same ties to their land and the same right to self-determination as anyone else, whether or not their parents and grandparents “deserved” to move there and set up shop.

  • ako

    There are many countries that I think were founded in morally unacceptable ways–probably the majority of them, actually.
    Yeah. I definitely don’t support wiping out most of the native population with disease, massacring many of the survivors, and forcing the rest off their land, but I don’t think that means the United States as it is now should be wiped out.

  • lonespark

    Dammit, ako, I was going to say that.

  • Lee Ratner

    Quite frankly I find nobody in Hamas credible when it comes to the subject of Jews in general or Israel in particular. Listen more than a few years ago, Egypt, officially at “peace” with Israel turned the Protocols of the Elders of Zion into a television mini-series. In 2003, the Prime Minister of Malaysia made a Jews run the world at the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The textbooks of Saudi Arabia have been known to teach Jew-hatred among other forms of intolerance. (Source Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present by Mark Weston, pgs. 409-411. The conspiracy theory that 9/11 was a Mossad plot is also common belief (see same book, pg. 408, and numerous other places). Saudi Arabia is known for funding extremist education in other Muslim-majority countries. Its also been documented that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is widely published through out the Muslim world. Jordan at peace with Israel since 1994 still bars Jews from citizenship and has laws declaring the Jewish landownership is a crime punishable by death. Keep in mind that during the War of Independence and the period between 1948 to 1967, it was the Jordanians who destroyed the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and desecrated the ancient Jewish graves to make hotels, etc. Yet somehow, we are supposed to share our holy city with these people.
    To be blunt, I believe that widespread Jew-hatred has been more than thoroughly demonstrated in Muslim-majority countries that cites should not even be necessary. Somehow, its the Israelis and the Jews are the ones with the problems. How much evidence of wide-spread Jew-hatred is necessary before you admit that it is a problem? Yet it is always the Jews who have to do something. The Muslims get to go on their merry way hating.
    Israel My worry is that that every Palestinian would start supporting Hamas, its that hardline Muslim states like Saudi Arabia and Iran would contribute heavily to the most hardline of the Muslims and their institutions in Palestine. It is also that the Muslims would contribute to drowning out the Jews via regular membership in the Muslim World by participating in its institutions and by referring to Palestine. A Palestine that regularly participates in the institutions of the Muslim world like the Organization of Islamic States excludes Jews from the national life and narrative because their are no equivalent international Jewish bodies for a unified Palestine to participate in. I fail to see why Jews should even have to tolerate the most minor, symbolic form of Muslim or other Gentile domination.

  • Lee Ratner

    Another reason why I’m not so confident about the position of the Jews in a unified Palestine or in Middle East without Israel was how the Arab Christians faired since World War II. The Arab Christians were just as anti-Zionist as the Arab Muslims and they haven’t faired terribly well under many if not most of the post-WWII Arab states. There populations have been dwindling rapidly. This to me is strong evidence that many Arab Muslims, at least in the leadership, approach Middle Eastern identity through a Muslim exclusive view even if they are not strictly speaking believers in Political Islam.
    Its also well-noted that father of modern Political Islam, Sayyad Qutb, was a ranging anti-Semite. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qutbism#Jews. Yes, I know wikipedia is not the best source to cite but its all I have available to me at the moment.

  • hapax

    I believe that widespread Jew-hatred has been more than thoroughly demonstrated in Muslim-majority countries that cites should not even be necessary.
    Absolutely. Agreed. I haven’t seen anyone saying differently.
    Somehow, its the Israelis and the Jews are the ones with the problems.
    Because when we are TALKING ABOUT THE STATE OF ISRAEL, it is not the Palestinians who are bulldozing houses and delaying ambulances at checkpoints.
    This is only a difficult concept to those who were absent the day “two wrongs don’t make a right” was taught in kindergarten.

  • Lee Ratner

    The Palestinians are part of the wider Muslim world and identify themselves as part of said world. One reason why Israel is reluctant to let the Palestinians go is because of the said Jew-hatred in the Muslim world, which the Palestinians consider themselves to be part of. Since the newly independent Palestine would form diplomatic links with other Muslim countries as is their sovereign right and the hardline Muslim countries would provide a lot of funding for extremist anti-Semitism in Palestine.
    Frankly, I’m tired of the sayings “two wrong don’t make a right” or “an eye or an eye makes the whole world blind.” The usual routine is that Jews get slaughtered by not seeking revenge or vengeance. Our enemies have rarely been impressed with gentleness or non-violence from us. The common response, is “see the Jews are weak, when we smash their shrines and beat them bloody, they don’t do anything back, so lets go slaughter them.” Fighting back does not make our enemies respect us but it does prevent Jews from dying and it does stop our rights from being abused. Maybe if the Jew-haters from low to high are actually held accountable and punished en mass for once, they will at least stop trying to kill us.
    BTW Anton Mates: Jews do not see themselves as Palestinian descendants because Jews do not refer to that place as Palestine. To Jews, has Eretz Israel. The Jewish title for the Palestinian Talmud is the Jerusalem Talmud. From a Jewish POV, to call Israel Palestine is problematic because the word Palestine was imposed on Israel by Emperor Hadrian as an attempt to disconnect the Jews from their homeland. To many Jews, including myself, calling Israel Palestine already excludes Jews from the national narrative and life because the word Palestine was imposed on Israel just for that purpose. Of course, from the Christian-Muslim perspective, the word Israel is too Jewish to include the Christian-Muslim narrative in a realistic fashion.
    This issue is really complicated. Basically, I take my positions because I identify as a Jew and I’m tired of the Jews getting screwed. I really believe that even without Zionism the Arab nationalists would pretty much treat their Jewish populations the way Eastern European nationalists did, badly. I really believe that nobody except the Jews would really care and some excuse would be found for this behavior. Certainly other Arabs and Muslims won’t yell at them for kicking out the Jews. The Western right won’t care because (a) they only kicked out Jews and (b) the Arabs have oil. The Western left won’t care just like they didn’t care about what happened to the Algerian Jews or how they ignored Soviet anti-Semitism. If their was a better track record when it came to Jewish rights, individually and collectively, maybe I’d be convinced otherwise but I’m not.

  • Lee Ratner

    I realize that I have been most likely unnecessarily rough and uncivil with several people on this thread. I’d like to apologize for that.

  • hapax

    Lee Ratner, I’ll apologize also for the harsh tone of my previous post. I read the post I was responding to right after reading my priest’s blog about traveling through Jerusalem this week, and well… the contrast was stark.
    I can empathize with (if not personally identify with) your frustration and fears about the potentially horrific consequences of anti-Semitism. But it is equally frustrating to us who point out “these things were not well done in the past; these things are not being well done now” to be repeatedly told that “Yeah? Well, he was WORSE! And I’ll bet he would be even WORSTER in the future!”
    This sounds an awful lot like the arguments from hypotheticals and the clinging to fear that we (including you) are decrying on the other thread.
    I haven’t heard anybody here say that Israel should not exist. I have heard a lot of people say “Israel’s current policies are unjust, unsustainable, and counter-productive.” There may be very cogent, persuasive responses to that position. But “the usual routine is that Jews get slaughtered by not seeking revenge or vengeance” and “nobody except the Jews would really care and some excuse would be found for this behavior” are not among them.

  • ako

    Basically, I take my positions because I identify as a Jew and I’m tired of the Jews getting screwed.
    Did you see the movie Munich? Because this reminds me a lot of Daniel Craig’s character. And not in a good way. It’s not on the same level as “The only blood I care about is Jewish blood”, but it feels uncomfortably close.
    On complicated issues, “I don’t want my people to get screwed” isn’t a bad instinct, but it’s one that needs to be tempered if there’s ever going to be any success in terms of things like peace and justice. I can tell you care a lot about peace and justice in general, and I get the sense that in your less angry stretches, you care a lot about peace and justice in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The angry-sounding posts and weird and kind of unsettling, though. Not just in terms of how you treat people on this thread, but the assumptions you make about the world.

  • Lee Ratner

    Ako: Yes I saw Munich, yes I’m aware that I sound like the Daniel Craig character in my less coherent moments.

  • Anton Mates

    Lee,

    Quite frankly I find nobody in Hamas credible when it comes to the subject of Jews in general or Israel in particular.

    I find very few ruling bodies in the area credible on any subject having to do with interethnic relations, but you work with what you have.

    To be blunt, I believe that widespread Jew-hatred has been more than thoroughly demonstrated in Muslim-majority countries that cites should not even be necessary. Somehow, its the Israelis and the Jews are the ones with the problems. How much evidence of wide-spread Jew-hatred is necessary before you admit that it is a problem?

    Who has said it isn’t a problem? The question is, are Israel’s current policies making it any less of a problem, or are they exacerbating it?

    Israel My worry is that that every Palestinian would start supporting Hamas, its that hardline Muslim states like Saudi Arabia and Iran would contribute heavily to the most hardline of the Muslims and their institutions in Palestine.

    Okay, but far as I can see, the best way to thwart this is to have more liberal states and institutions contributing to the more liberal Muslims and their institutions. If Israel and Palestine were merged and international aid continued at anything like its current level, the combined contribution from the US and the EU would dwarf that from the entire Muslim world.
    And again, Saudi Arabia doesn’t like the hardline Muslims in Palestine. They like Fatah. They’re willing to play ball with Hamas so long as it controls Gaza, but they vastly prefer to have a comparatively secular and non-militant organization in control, and they bitch out Hamas every time hostilities with Israel escalate. The Saudi government has no interest whatever in human rights or religious freedom, of course, but they’re very interested in having a stable Western-friendly regime and making obscene amounts of money, so they really don’t want a bunch of crazy jihadists next door.

    A Palestine that regularly participates in the institutions of the Muslim world like the Organization of Islamic States excludes Jews from the national life and narrative because their are no equivalent international Jewish bodies for a unified Palestine to participate in.

    This makes little sense to me. In the first place, a unified Palestine wouldn’t necessarily be a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference. Much of the Jewish population would oppose membership, some of the OIC’s other states probably wouldn’t want to admit a state with a ton of Jews in it, and it might even be against OIC rules to admit it unless a unified Palestine managed to have no conflicts with other member states like Iran.
    In the second place, the OIC already contains at least ten member states that aren’t even majority-Muslim, let alone official “Islamic states.” Plus a bunch more states with large, high-status non-Muslim minorities, like Albania and Lebanon. And Thailand and Russia have OIC observer status, and India recently applied for it. Russia, Thailand and India are not known for their gushing love for all things Muslim. OIC membership is simply not an indication that the national life and narrative is focused on Islam.

    I fail to see why Jews should even have to tolerate the most minor, symbolic form of Muslim or other Gentile domination.

    No offense, but I’m an atheist and I live in a country that invokes God in its pledge of allegiance and on its dollar bill. Most European countries have state churches. People all around the world tolerate minor symbolic forms of domination by the predominant cultures and religions of their states. And Muslim and Christian citizens of Israel right now have to tolerate major and non-symbolic forms of domination by Judaism. So Jews can deal with it like everyone else. (And they are dealing with it, in the aforementioned European countries.)

    Another reason why I’m not so confident about the position of the Jews in a unified Palestine or in Middle East without Israel was how the Arab Christians faired since World War II. The Arab Christians were just as anti-Zionist as the Arab Muslims and they haven’t faired terribly well under many if not most of the post-WWII Arab states. There populations have been dwindling rapidly.

    As a matter of fact, Arab Christian populations have dwindled more rapidly in Israeli-controlled territories than in Syria, Lebanon or Jordan. According to just about every survey I’ve seen, Christians in Palestine are consistently and strongly critical of Israeli policies, report closer social ties to Muslims than to Jews, and place the lion’s share of the blame for their own plight on the Israeli government. For their part, Israeli Jews are more likely to criticize Christians than are either Israeli Arabs or Palestinian Muslims, and about half of Israeli Jews don’t believe that Arab Christians in Israel have any national loyalty.
    So when it comes to Arab Christians in the Levant, I think the Muslims have shown considerably greater ability to reach across faith lines than Israel’s Jewish population has. Which is not terribly surprising, since they are Arab Christians, and have been living in moderately integrated societies with Arab Muslims for centuries. So have Mizrahi Jews, of course, but the Mizrahim in Israel and Palestine have lost most of their social connections with Arab Muslims and Christians due to assimilation into Israeli society, plus indiscriminate anti-Semitism, plus Israel’s total lack of interest in preserving Palestine’s preexisting multi-ethnic communities. (I know a couple of Israelis with family from Acre, which has traditionally been one of the best cities in the region for Christian/Jewish/Muslim relations. They say the Israeli government basically treats it the way the US government’s been treating New Orleans.)

    The common response, is “see the Jews are weak, when we smash their shrines and beat them bloody, they don’t do anything back, so lets go slaughter them.” Fighting back does not make our enemies respect us but it does prevent Jews from dying and it does stop our rights from being abused. Maybe if the Jew-haters from low to high are actually held accountable and punished en mass for once, they will at least stop trying to kill us.

    And has that strategy worked, after sixty years of Israel’s “fighting back?” Does it look like people are going to stop trying to kill you anytime soon?

    To many Jews, including myself, calling Israel Palestine already excludes Jews from the national narrative and life because the word Palestine was imposed on Israel just for that purpose. Of course, from the Christian-Muslim perspective, the word Israel is too Jewish to include the Christian-Muslim narrative in a realistic fashion.

    So call it the Republic of Canaan, or Isralestine, or the Holy Levantine Funland, or Latveria. Coming up with an evenly (in)offensive name is probably the easiest of the tasks at hand, so far as I can see.

    Basically, I take my positions because I identify as a Jew and I’m tired of the Jews getting screwed.

    Which is totally understandable. But everyone else is tired of getting screwed too, and that’s also understandable. Folks in Israel/Palestine/Judea&Samaria/Levantine Funland have been taking revenge for previous screwages of their communities since writing was invented. It hasn’t been terribly productive.

  • Anton Mates

    Oh, and:

    The common response, is “see the Jews are weak, when we smash their shrines and beat them bloody, they don’t do anything back, so lets go slaughter them.”

    That certainly is not the common response of radical Islam. As you yourself pointed out, Muslim anti-Semites don’t think the Jews are weak. They think that the Jews control the world, and have the world’s most powerful countries wrapped around their little finger. They think Israel responds to any insult with brutally disproportionate force. They fetishize martyrdom and not only expect to be killed battling their enemies, but have embraced suicide as a military tactic. Some of these guys intentionally attacked the United States, to bait us into going to war in the Middle East. They know they’re totally outmatched in temporal power, and believe they’re destined to win only because God is on their side.
    For the Jews to fight back and demonstrate their strength does nothing whatever to deter these guys. It’s exactly what they expected in the first place.
    I’m not saying that Israeli Jews have no right or good reason to defend themselves with proportionate force, of course. But if your specific goal is to impress hardcore anti-Semites with your strength and resolve and get them to back down…well, that one’s not gonna happen. In fact, it’s pretty obvious that hardline Israeli policies have only assisted the rise of antisemitism and hardline Islam within the Palestinian liberation movement, because the Islamic extremists are better than anyone else at not backing down in the face of overwhelming force and disproportionate retaliation. If people would have to be crazy to stand up to you, your opposition’s going to be dominated by craziness.

  • Lee Ratner

    Anton: I was speaking historically. Until recently, Jews had no choice but to react non-violently to all sorts of persecution whether it came from a Christian crusader, a Muslim holy warrior, a peasant mob, cossacks, or anybody. We did not have the numbers to defend ourselves physically and even if we did, one act of self-defense could result in a lot more dead Jews by infuriating our attackers. This early use of non-violence did not help us and our enemies saw us a weak and cowardly, unwilling to fight for even our most minor rights. Using violence caused how enemies to see us violent and hasn’t improved their perception of us but it at least it kept us alive. Its a damn if we do, damned if we don’t type thing.

  • Spearmint

    Prime Minister of Malaysia made a Jews run the world at the Organization of the Islamic Conference
    That speech was actually pretty flattering. Apparently Jews invented the concept of human rights to protect themselves from Christians, and Muslims need to follow their example and outsmart the West instead of blowing it up. I was like, “Okay, that’s not quite how I remember the Enlightenment, but we can work with this.”
    the Holy Levantine Funland
    This is clearly what the Levant should be called from now on.

    How much evidence of wide-spread Jew-hatred is necessary before you admit that it is a problem?

    Who has said it isn’t a problem? The question is, are Israel’s current policies making it any less of a problem, or are they exacerbating it?
    Okay, there are two questions here that I think are getting conflated, leading to confusion.
    1. Are Israel’s existence and/or policies causing world anti-Semitism to increase/causing Muslims to attack Israel?
    Yes. Duh.
    2. Are Israel’s existence and/or policies causing the effects of anti-Semitism to decrease by, in essence, being a huge ghetto defended by golems?
    The answer to this question is debatable, but I think it’s also yes. And that’s why I don’t find the repeated comments to the effect of “If the purpose of Israel is to protect Jews from anti-Semitism, it clearly hasn’t worked because they’re constantly having mortars fired at them” to be particularly germane. The measure of the efficacy of a defense isn’t whether you get attacked, it’s in whether or not you get hurt. And by and large Jews are not getting hurt.
    Now, you could argue- and in the case of most of Israel’s occupation policy I’d agree with you- that the price paid for this comparative safety is too high. But claiming that the safety doesn’t exist because of the mere existence of Hezbollah is just factually untrue.
    @Lee: “Is it good for the Jews?” is a valid and important question, but not the only question we need to ask here. “If we’re only for ourselves, who are we?” might be a good one.

  • Anton Mates

    Lee,

    Anton: I was speaking historically.

    Ok.

    Until recently, Jews had no choice but to react non-violently to all sorts of persecution whether it came from a Christian crusader, a Muslim holy warrior, a peasant mob, cossacks, or anybody. We did not have the numbers to defend ourselves physically and even if we did, one act of self-defense could result in a lot more dead Jews by infuriating our attackers. This early use of non-violence did not help us and our enemies saw us a weak and cowardly, unwilling to fight for even our most minor rights.

    Why do you say it didn’t help you? If you didn’t have the numbers to defend yourself and attempting to have done so could have brought down lethal retaliation, then surely not attempting to do so was the right choice under the circumstances. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to defend yourself by force now that circumstances are different, of course.
    Spearmint,

    2. Are Israel’s existence and/or policies causing the effects of anti-Semitism to decrease by, in essence, being a huge ghetto defended by golems?
    The answer to this question is debatable, but I think it’s also yes. And that’s why I don’t find the repeated comments to the effect of “If the purpose of Israel is to protect Jews from anti-Semitism, it clearly hasn’t worked because they’re constantly having mortars fired at them” to be particularly germane. The measure of the efficacy of a defense isn’t whether you get attacked, it’s in whether or not you get hurt. And by and large Jews are not getting hurt.

    I’d still disagree, because I would measure the efficacy of a defense slightly differently: it’s in whether or not you get hurt more than you would be if you weren’t employing it. Yes, by and large Israeli Jews are not getting hurt. But, to that same degree, Jews aren’t getting hurt anywhere at the moment. (At least due to anti-Semitism. Ethiopian Jews have certainly been better off moving to Israel than staying in Ethiopia over the last few decades, but that’s less about Ethopian anti-Semitism and more about the fact that Ethiopia’s staple food is rocks right now.) It’s my impression–and feel free to correct the hell out of it–that among countries with large Jewish populations, Israel’s currently one of those where you’re most likely to be killed or injured for being Jewish. Either by a mortar or a suicide bomber, or by an Israeli neo-Nazi.
    Now it’s true that this might change in the future–there could be a major sociopolitical shift in Russia, say, that leads to outright pogroms–but on the other hand, some antisemitic organization might set off a nuke in Israel. So I don’t think Israeli policies are particularly good insurance on that score either.
    Furthermore, to the degree that Israel’s existence and/or policies cause anti-Semitism around the world, they’re also making non-Israeli Jews more likely to get hurt, without any corresponding increase in the ability of those Jews to protect themselves.
    So that’s my contention: not only are Israel’s existence (as an apartheid state) and current policies causing more attacks on Jews, they’re causing sufficiently more attacks to outweigh the ways in which those policies improve Israelis’ safety.
    But as you say, all this is a separate question from whether Israel’s policies are worth their cost to non-Jews.

  • ako

    Yes I saw Munich, yes I’m aware that I sound like the Daniel Craig character in my less coherent moments.
    Okay. Because when you’re not sounding like Daniel Craig in Munich, you sound like an intelligent person with strong moral convictions.

  • http://www.theminicircle.com/ Mini

    I think he may have done a bad job equating the need to stop sociological justice meaning unequal treatment under the law for minority or poor people. It’s true that money can by you advantage in the legal system. We have forgotten that Justice is Blind, but it really never was in this country.

  • http://www.gettvproducts.com/mini-circle/ Shayna

    Ya know, I really haven’t heard much about Glen Beck since the this incident. I kinda figured we were paying a little too much attention to this guy.


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