On 28 February 2017 we organised our first seminar on the subject “Can I criticise Israel without being Anti-Semitic?” One of the participants took notes, which we reproduce below with thanks.
We will be running the workshop again on at least 2 futher dates – the next one will be on Tuesday 7 March in Friedrichshain. Anyone interested in taking part should contact us at email@example.com.
“Can I criticise Israel without being anti-Semitic” Neukölln, 28.2.2017
Stage One: why are we here?
Terms that were used in the introduction round:
“access to the terms” “lets try to figure it our together” “Meta level” “civilized and productive” “delicate topic” clarify the myths” “the role of the U.S” “the proper way to discuss this” “maybe its a bit more compicated” “german racism overshadows other forms of racism in Germany” “if you are left wing then you are aggainst the occupation” “there is alot of confusion” “Palestine solidarity” “you can talk like this because youre a Jew from Israel” “feelings of guilt”
Stage Two: Defining our terms
Then we defined ZIONISM and ANTISEMITISM using Wikipedia. Gal read the definitions out loud and asked if we can agree on these definitions. We did and were also allowed to add to them if we needed to. Here:
Antisemitism is is hostility, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. *Here we used the term “Jews are” as a tool to define this generalizing
Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel (roughly corresponding to Palestine, Canaan or the Holy Land). *Here we added that Zionism today also includes the idea of a national ethnical Jewish majority in Israel.
Stage Three: what do we think about the following statements?
Each one of us wrote down a sentence or question and then the questions were analized by the group using our two definitions as guiding tools. Here are the questions and discussions.
Question: The Israeli lobby is most powerful and influencial in the USA
- ask yourself how you can measure power and influence.
- traditional anti-Semitic stereotype- Jews control world economy
- differentiate Isreali lobby- who exactly are we talking about?
- political vs. commercial- these are all interest groups that kill people
- smells of Antisemitism or lack of facts (reminds us of” “a few groups of jews are controlling the economy”
- sounds like the US supports Israel against its own interests which is not true
Question: Is Zionism a positive or negative term?
- Zionism was defined by the UN as a racist movement.
- it is a national term. If you are not a nationalist or a racist then you are an antizionist
- zionism is a political stradegy separating Jews from non-Jews.
- but if this is nationalism and I am against it how can I support the wish of the Palestinians for a nation state?
- self determination is not the same as nationalism.
- the fight against national oppression is not the same as nationalism.
Question: What is “structural anti-Semitism- institutional anti-Semitism?
- Socialists who confuse Capitalism with Jews.
Question: Disempowerment through “youre anti-Semitic” (when you are a German being told this)
- Turn to facts. Define the term together so that the discussion doesn’t go on forever about everything besides the point.
- speak clearly.
- unfortunately you have to think before you speak.
- say it in a way that cant be taken out of context. Full sentences.
Question: Israels policies in the occupied territories is Apartheid.
- what does wiki say?
- Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa between 1948 and 1991, when it was abolished. The country’s first multiracial elections under a universal franchise were held three years later in 1994. Broadly speaking, apartheid was delineated into petty apartheid, which entailed the segregation of public facilities and social events, and grand apartheid, which dictated housing and employment opportunities by race.[
- so what was the Apartheid based on? Racial segregation. Institutionalized discrimination. Freedom of movement, voting, building, bypass roads for Jews in the occupied territories. So yes, we recognize clear similarity to Apartheid.
Question: When did the occupation start? 67 or 48?
- depending on who you talk to. If you say 1948 be prepared to give an explanation for this though this is a legit thought.
- there are three topics we are trying to make legitimate to talk about (not having to agree but be able to talk about) in the left: what are the alternatives to the 2 state solution, bds, and when did the occupation start.
Question: What should the Germans today learn from the Holocaust?
- Germany has learned from the Holocaust that this should never happen again to the Jews. We say that they should have learned (and everyone else aswell) “this should never happen again to anyone anywhere ever”.
Question: Israel is a white colonialist.
- what is colonialism on wiki?
- Israel is an outpost of whiteness in the middle east
- Israel is an outpost of non muslimness in the middle east.
- read Ilan Pappe