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(53,978 posts)
Tue Dec 5, 2023, 02:53 AM Dec 2023

Anne Frank House page defining antisemitism

from Anne Frank House:

Holding Jews individually or collectively responsible for Israel’s policies and actions is also a form of antisemitism. No one is personally responsible for the deeds of their compatriots or fellow believers, or for governmental policies

"Collective guilt" is a bigoted, hate-justifying practice that takes many forms. When you hold people of a group responsible for the crimes of some of the members of that group, you're dehumanizing that group. It is the foundation of racism, bigotry, hate. It's the first step toward genocide. It's the start of the journey that can lead to genocide, or at least the killing of people for belonging to that group.

When you rationalize the killing of Palestinian families because the Hamas terrorists are using them as human shields, it's dehumanizing them, both in the rhetorical and the physical sense. It is holding them to account for the crimes of Hamas because they are Palestinians. There are, sadly, even Israelis and supporters of Israel who argue that Palestinians aren't really "a people" per se. I've started hearing this a lot from people in support of Israel's policies of isolating the Gaza Strip and settling in the West Bank.

A typical example of this is this editorial from the Jerusalem Post: "Debunking the claim that “Palestinians” are the indigenous people of Israel"
Everybody agrees that the current affluence of Israel, its modern infrastructure and economy were developed by the Jews. The Palestinian Arab narrative is that as the ancient, indigenous people of Palestine they feel dispossessed and they deserve to take over Israel’s riches. Jewish claims to their heritage in the land of Israel are supported by abundant archaeological artifacts and historical records.
Meanwhile, there are no records to support the Palestinian narrative. In history, art and literature there is no trace at all of any Muslim people referred to by anybody as “Palestinians.”

If you're an American, this type of argument might have a familiar ring to it. It's the same sort of argument that defenders of Manifest Destiny use to rationalize the stripping of American Indians of possession of North America and consigning them to a few reservations. The notion that Palestinians "feel they deserve to take over Israel’s riches" almost perfectly reflects the hysterical arguments against recognizing Indian heritage and grievances with hyperbole like "what are we supposed to do, hand the whole country over them?"

Such argument dehumanize everyone: Americans as well as American Indians; Palestinians as well as Israelis. Here's the human truth: history is replete with conquest. Conquest confers rights to possession. Americans' ancestors conquered American Indians in the past. American Indians groups fought over and conquered lands from one another for generations before European conquerors showed up. Israelis conquered Palestine, just like Palestinian ancestors conquered the land from the hodgepodge of Jews and Christians and pagans who dwelled in the Holy Land. Most Christian groups in the area spun off from the Jews there and the two factions fought over control under the Eastern Roman Empire which had spun off from the Western Roman Empire after it conquered the lands of Israel and Judah, which had spun off from each other after conquering the Promised Land from the Philistine and Canaanites whom they'd spun off from.

Of course all sides take the lazy way out and claim that God promised them their lands in the past. But the scripture that I think best explains the muddle is more recent:
"The past is never dead. It's not even past."
. ― William Faulkner

As long as the past is ever present in Israel and Palestine, and I say this with a loving and hopeful heart, those bastards are doomed to just go on killing each other.

Trying to solve the academic and irrelevant question of who is indigenous to the land, who the land "originally" belonged to, who deserves to be there, is a pointless endeavor taken upon by people who will never produce peace. Peace comes from hard work and compromise and only lasts if it's underwritten by justice. It doesn't come from historically slanted arguments and it doesn't come from bombing families who happen to live in buildings in the vicinity of terrorist rat tunnels. The current crisis brought to you by hate, from the barbaric hunting down and deliberate slaughter of Israeli families and international tourists to the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, and running back of relentless tit-for-tat grievances that will certainly self-perpetuate into the future, is a Gordian knot. It will not be and cannot be untangled. I say this as a near 30 year veteran history teacher: the past is useless to consider in Israel and Palestine.

If we are to be human and act humanely toward other humans, we have to make like Alexander and just cut through the knot. There is only one solution and it is a two-state arrangement. Hamas ought to be rooted out, but the IDF's current approach, the government of Israel's current approach is horrific and unjustifiable even by the barbaric slaughter of October 7. They're just tit-for-tatting one another. It's only going to continue until they reject the past and consider only moving toward the future.
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Anne Frank House page defining antisemitism (Original Post) Bucky Dec 2023 OP
It pains me tremendously that FL RWers (and others) have tried to ban Anne Frank's diary hlthe2b Dec 2023 #1
Anne Frank and her works have moral authority Bucky Dec 2023 #3
KnR n/t ChazII Dec 2023 #2
I don't agree "Conquest confers rights to possession". Conquest facilitates possession. David__77 Dec 2023 #4
Quite true, but then what? Happy Hoosier Dec 2023 #5
It's historical fact. Bucky Dec 2023 #6
I agree that conquest confers power of possession. David__77 Dec 2023 #7
Great post TxGuitar Dec 2023 #9
Thank you for this. Goddessartist Dec 2023 #8
Wow qwlauren35 Dec 2023 #10
I really hadn't thought about it in those terms. Thank you for that perspective. Bucky Dec 2023 #12
Kicking! Niagara Dec 2023 #11


(102,158 posts)
1. It pains me tremendously that FL RWers (and others) have tried to ban Anne Frank's diary
Tue Dec 5, 2023, 07:08 AM
Dec 2023

No book presented to me in early education had more of an impact and I have to think the failure for more to read it now has added to the ignorance and susceptibility to abhorrent "group think" among many.

That and agreeing with the definition post from the group that oversees the Anne Frank House were my first thoughts. And my second? Overwhelming concern that the latter has adequate protection against antisemitic extremists that might target them. sigh...


(53,978 posts)
3. Anne Frank and her works have moral authority
Tue Dec 5, 2023, 09:17 AM
Dec 2023

The one thing we know about the zealots is they hate anyone who has moral authority besides themselves. Yes, her museum and legacy must be protected


(23,355 posts)
4. I don't agree "Conquest confers rights to possession". Conquest facilitates possession.
Tue Dec 5, 2023, 11:06 AM
Dec 2023

That doesn’t, to me, make it “right” in the sense of justice.

History isn’t just a mish mash of random squabbles. Hitler’s conquest is not the same as that of the union forces in the Civil War.

Happy Hoosier

(7,222 posts)
5. Quite true, but then what?
Tue Dec 5, 2023, 11:32 AM
Dec 2023

"Right of Conquest" doesn;t make sense in the modern world, if it ever did, but at what point does possession become a Fait au complet. America is founded on conquest. Europeans stole the land from the people already living here. But it would make no sense for us all to leave. Where would we go?

Israel is in the same boat now.... several generations have been born there. They are Israelis... nothing else. And Israel has vastly developed the land and infrastructure. Surely no one thinks Israelis are just gonna pack up and move, and the "right of return" is simply not viable 70+ years later.

Regardless of whether or not you think Israel's founding was just, Israel IS, and so are the people living there, and all the development and infrastructure that is there.


(53,978 posts)
6. It's historical fact.
Wed Dec 6, 2023, 09:15 AM
Dec 2023

The notion that there's some kind of perfect and achievable societal "justice" for historically oppressed people is, forgive my bluntness, naive. We can't undo past wrongs.

The Jewish people lived in Palestine 2,000 years ago. That was your homeland by their calculus that was their basis for returning and setting up their own country. The Palestinian people live there 200 years ago and, although the land was possessed by the Turks, that was their home that is their basis for wanting to set up their own country. But all nationalities of the world don't get their own country, not the Druze, not the Uygers, not the Tibetans, not the Arapaho, even though justice says they each deserve it.

So how does a nation legitimately get a homeland? Historically, it's conferred when you pick up your guns and take it. I mean, if you can show me some exceptions to that rule, please do. I reckon South Africa is a counterexample. But even there, force was part of the equation.

In the case of Palestine, the world is asking Israel to give up some of the land it took from the people who took it from the people who took it from their ancestors. It's a little bit novel, but it's the best expediency towards achieving peace. Israel has a right to demand concessions and security assurances before relinquishing that control. I think most people would agree with that. They complicate the question by treating the Palestinians unjustly, particularly in the West Bank were they continue to colonize more lands under the threat of a gun.

But we shouldn't forget that the countries who have called the West Bank settlements illegal all have ancestors who did more or less the same thing... and did so more violently for the most part.

All these historical counterclaims are a bowl of spaghetti that can't be entangled by some objective standard of universal justice. There's no justice to be had as long as everyone is counting the scratches on the bones of the dead. It's an illusion and the historical rationalizations of Israel and Palestine are just decoration on the weapons they use to assert their mutually incompatible rights. At some point we have to say pushing forward is more important than keeping score. I say let there be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me.

The only workable starting place is where things lie right now. History is interesting, but it's bunk.


(23,355 posts)
7. I agree that conquest confers power of possession.
Wed Dec 6, 2023, 10:16 AM
Dec 2023

What’s unfolding now absolutely confirms this, and many people are receiving a lesson, the effects of which will impact future events.


(6,145 posts)
10. Wow
Wed Dec 6, 2023, 11:40 AM
Dec 2023

Your words are very powerful.

Extremely upsetting.

But powerful.

By your statements, Europeans have the right to be in Africa. That's really tough for me. Really tough. But I guess it just means that Africans have to conquer it back. I think they have tried. But it's just such a mess.

There's something very male about what you have written. No sharing. No collaborating. No compromise. Just conquest. I think that way of looking at things leads to war and pain. But if the psyche of a people is male-dominated, then it is possible that conquest is the only thing that is up for consideration.


(53,978 posts)
12. I really hadn't thought about it in those terms. Thank you for that perspective.
Wed Dec 6, 2023, 09:11 PM
Dec 2023

I actually got the phrase "by right of conquest" from an editorial by Frank L Baum (author of the Oz books) from the 1890s. It's a tough way to look at human matters. But I'm just so frustrated with people saying "God gave us this land" as an excuse to drop bombs on families. I'm sure the Palestinians' God told them the same thing and it inspired those Hamas fuckers to gun down people at a music festival. All these people are worshipping violence and hate... and are only calling it religion.

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