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Danny speaks his mind
Once again, this article has become a focus of paranoid hysteria. It is depressing to me, as someone who actually studies the historical phenomenon professionally. I have taken a vow of silence for a long time, not wanting to get into any edit wars over this, however, I think it is time for me to speak up again. First, let me state that anti-Semitism is a very ancient phenomenon that has evolved and developed over more than two thousand years. There was anti-Semitism in the ancient world and, unfortunately, there is anti-Semitism today as well. It is no accident that one author entitled a work on anti-Semitism The Longest Hatred.
Two millennia of hatred is a long time. There have, in that time, been many different manifestations of anti-Semitism: ideological and religious, socio-economic, and most recently racial. That is my problem with the article. It seems to give excessive coverage to current manifestations of anti-Semitism while practically ignoring historical anti-Semitism. It fails to classify the various forms of anti-Semitism and, instead, lumps them all together into some amorphous category. It fails to distinguish between victims, thereby diminishing the suffering of those who were killed, often brutally, only because they were Jews--the implicit comparison of an article condemning Israel with the gassing of a trainload of children is tendentious at best. Personally, I find it anti-Semitic because it trivializes genuine suffering. Obviously, the failure to distinguish between genuine political criticism and the Holocaust is no less objectionable. It is a clear example of misusing the Holocaust for political ends, and that is vulgar.
Here are some facts about the article. There are 25 external links, more than any other article I know of, yet all of them relate to modern (post-Holocaust) anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Not a whimper of a mention of the Crusades, the pogroms, the blood libels, Martin Luther's statement .. Nothing. There is no mention of the expulsions from England or France or of the Crusades (though the little that does cover the medieval period does have a couple of paragraphs about the 20th century). Nothing about ghettoization. Dreyfus is a redirect, as is the Pale of Settlement. Nothing about Kishinev in 1903, and nothing about Chmielnicki except a redirect tacked on at the bottom (the massacres decimated the Jewish community of Poland and the Ukraine). There is nothing about any of the anti-Semitic movements that led to the rise of Nazism, of Gobineau, of Chamberain (Houston, not Neville), etc. There is, however, a lengthy bit on anti-Semitism in the New Testament (What is that saying? That Christianity is essentially anti-Semitic? It says precisely that, as long as there is no debate there, and who wants to get into a flame war?). There is a decent piece on anti-Semitism in the ancient world (I know. I wrote it) but even there, the link is to Christianity--hardly relevant to Apion or Tacitus.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that once you take out the links, etc., the article has about 3,700 words. Of these, almost 1,400 are about contemporary "anti-Semitism." That is almost 40 percent for the last 20 years: 40 percent for a total of 1 percent of the time. Given that proportion, I can only assume that the writers think that the other 1,980 years weren't that important after all. The hell with the Crusades, the Black Death, the blood libels, the pogroms, the ghettos, the massacres, the expulsions, the degradations, the yellow hats and badges and stars, the Inquisition, the forced conversions, the Holocaust. A newspaper article condemned Israel, and someone threw a rock at a synagogue. Yidden shrei gevalt! That is all that really matters. That's what it all boils down to. To me, the very fact that all of these other instances are belittled like that is the real threat of anti-Semitism, not the ranting of a handful of neo-Nazi extremists.
I have said my piece and will go back into my self-imposed silence. I imagine that the Sicarii will continue to make a mockery of real victims, real atrocities, and real memories. Siyag le'chochmah shetikah. Danny 00:21, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)
- Thank you very much for your thoughts, Danny. I would just like to clarify that the section on "Modern Anti-Semitism" (I don't know who added it), which is causing most of the trouble, was made into a separate article that was gratuitously POV, and moved back here by me, subsections and all, in the hope of monitoring and condensing what was mostly a nonsensical collection of quotes. But even if one sticks to the modern era, one of the many points that also goes unmentioned is the fact that many Jews who were discriminated against may not have seen themselves as Jewish, or did not have a clear conception of Jewishness, which makes anti-Semitism and, by extension, all other kinds of racism additionally tragic, and that is a vital point people reading about racism should understand. Perhaps it is too broad for this article. In any case, in speaking of bodies of people as distinct and homogenous blocks one is already laying the foundation for racism, as you noticed, regardless of specific ordeals; arguments that cement elusive and quite artificial distinctions and attribute all criticism to prejudice obviate discussion, legitimizing extreme measures - such as violence - to people who are always seeking them. -- Simonides 01:18, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)
- Good points, Danny. I look forward to all of your contributions on the many important topics you have raised. Jayjg 04:27, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Danny, it is inappropriate for you to attack us as having written anti-Semitic material, for the "sin" of not writing about the specific topics that you want others to write for you. If you feel strongly that this article requires additional material on the points you make, then just write that material, and politely encourage others to help. You must not forget that we are volunteers on Wikipedia, and not just for this article. We are volunteers for every possible topic, in every article. RK
Get some perspective; on Wikipedia there are literally hundreds of articles on important social and historical phenomenon (such as anti-Semitism) and as of this writing, most of these articles are seriously lacking in multiple areas. That is only to be expected, since this is a brand new encyclopedia being written by part time volunteers. It would be the end of Wikipedia if we got rid of current material to gain some sort of "balance". The only way that Wikipedia can survive, and the only way it can grow, is if people point out areas in which we are deficient, and then add to these areas. That is productive. Insulting us for not writing what you want us to write is not productive. RK 02:17, Jul 11, 2004 (UTC)
Jayjg, I am getting the idea that Simonides is rather angry, and is going to delete all material that doesn't agree with hi politics; he also has a nasty habit of violating NPOV by pushing his own personal views as factual. Worse, he is rewriting this article with his personal view as equal to the view of all the stated authorities and authors. That is unbalanced in the extreme. RK 02:17, Jul 11, 2004 (UTC)
RK, Danny was making general points. I do not read his comments as attacking any one (yes, his comments are critical -- but criticism need not be personal, and it can be constructive. I don't think his remarks were personal; I do think they are constructive) and I don't think it serves any useful purpose for you to take them as attacks. I agree about Simonides, however. He clearly does not understand NPOV policy, and most of his edits are highly POV, and damage the NPOV of the article. Slrubenstein
- I agree with Danny's constructive criticisms, and I have again invited him to speak his mind on those issues within the article. I'd live to see him write about such issues. He just doesn't need to take us to task for not doing so already. RK
RK, I've asked for mediation on this issue. I'm not going to get too worked up about someone censoring stuff, I'm just going to patiently use the Wikipedia process to improve the article. Jayjg 04:27, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)
- Good. I am too am very concerned about the behaviour of Simonides; he has already declared himself an enemy of "Zionist" contributions to Wikipedia, (although he has little idea of what this word really means; he uses this word as slur word.) Simonides's outrageoys distortion of the content of this article and the anti-Zionism article, and his distortion of the views of Jewish groups, are straw-man attacks. As you know, no mainstream Jewish denomination, organization or group has ever claimed that a criticism of an Israeli policy or government is anti-Semitism; no on here on Wikipedia here is saying that either. They are saying that the anti-Zionism movement has many links to anti-Semitism, which is a view that is now being understood even in the UN and EU, something which Simonides' is trying to censor. RK
- Simonides' repeated claims about the Jews (e.g. that they consider all criticisms of Israel to be anti-Semitic)are Jew-baiting strawman attacks. They are not only factually false (and thus have no place in an encyclopedia), but will only serve to encourage open anti-Semitism. This isn't about a disagreement on how to phrase facts; this is about his manufactoring of false "facts" in order to hurt others whom he disagrees with. This behaviour is out of line. RK 13:50, Jul 12, 2004 (UTC)
- It's funny to hear you rail about strawmen because either 1) I have never said the things above or 2) you claim exactly the opposite of what you and your pals-in-POV editing have tried to insert or quote, thus contradicting yourselves and reaching a full circle of exercises in nonsense. Thank you for closing the arguments with a round of laughter. -- Simonides 15:18, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Robert & Danny,
If I organize a conference on anti-Semitism somewhere within driving distance of New York City, would either of you like to attend? I hope that if we meet it would help us cooperate better on our mutual goals. --Uncle Ed 13:56, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)