I've been collecting material from the internet, from some of my favourite websites and other sites which I often visit, in an attempt to compile a glossary of terms most used these days in blogs and boards that discuss world affairs.
I'm going to post now the first term, as a trial balloon.
On the question of where criticism of Israel ends and antisemitism begins, a commenter on "Engage" provided this simple litmus test:
“If you can't criticize Israel without using an antisemitic stereotype then you are an antisemite.”
I think I can easily and credibly expand this wisdom into a more universal rule of thumb:
If you can't discuss political issues and/or persons without dragging in Jews or Jewishness, then you are an antisemite.
Of course, some people mention a person's ethnicity in a benign way, or as a necessary bit of information that add to our understanding the issue. That is certainly not covered by my definition. My idea refers to the time when a public person is deemed bad, or his politics evil, and within the argumentation is embedded an extra something - gratuitous and malevolent denigration - in giving pride of place to that "bad" person's Jewishness.
As illustrated in the following example:
"… now a misguided madman Jew Lieberman is saying we must bomb Iran.”
Apparently, only crazy Jews advocate tough policies vis a vis Iran, which is why it is necessary to include in criticism of this position the reminder that JL is a Jew when he talks about American foreign policy.
This formulation "Jew Lieberman" cannot be un-premeditated. It is intended to hit a raw nerve, to bait. That raw nerve is this.
Medieval bigots used "Jew" as a slur word, not a term of respect, when they addressed themselves to a Jew. As Shakespeare attests:
"Tarry, Jew: The law hath yet another hold on you."
"Art thou contented, Jew? What dost thou say?"
Now if only the utterer of this scinitilating analysis of foreign policy could produce a few Jewish friends, then of course he/she is automatically cleansed of any soupçon of harbouring any antisemitic sentiments . . .
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Thursday, June 21, 2007