3

My question was not only closed but also deleted for being antisemitic, according to the moderator.

The question was "do a majority of Israeli Jews want Palestinians in Gaza to die?", it was triggered by this survey which found that most Israeli Jews do not want humanitarian aid to be provided to people in Gaza. For the record, it was a good faith question: naively, I assume that people who don't have food often die, therefore I couldn't see any other explanation about depriving people of humanitarian aid.

I see why suspecting a specific group of people of something bad (here genocidal intent) is discrediting this group. However, in my opinion, if there is reasonable evidence to suspect the claim then it is not discrimination (and certainly not hate speech). For example, if one asks whether most white people in Southern US states before the 1960s were racist, there is ample evidence that the answer is yes: sure, it makes this group of white people look bad, but it is a historical fact that most of them were indeed racially prejudiced. Forbidding talking about racial segregation in the US would actually be racist, because it denies the injustice caused to Black people at the time and hides the true causes of this historical injustice.

In other words, would the below questions be closed and deleted on the basis of discrimination:

  • Were most White people in Southern US states before the 1960s racist?
  • Did most Germans want Jews to die in the 1940s?
  • Were most Serbian people in the 1990s racially prejudiced against Muslims?
  • Do most Russian people consider Ukrainians to be Nazis nowadays?

In each of these questions, a group is suspected of harboring violent feelings towards another group, similarly to my question. Are all these questions considered discriminating against the suspected group, and as such forbidden on PoliticsSE? If not, how is my question any different?

Same point expressed differently: assuming that humanitarian aid is successfully stopped by Israel and hundred of thousands of people die of starvation in Gaza, would the question still be considered discriminating?

14
  • 6
    There is a major difference between wanting a group of people to die and opposing aid being given to them which could be because they think it isn't going to help the civilians rather the people causing the conflict.
    – Joe W
    Feb 27 at 15:49
  • 5
    @JoeW as you said yourself below, meta is not the place to answer the original question. My question here is whether PoliticsSE has a consistent principle about questions judged to be discriminating because the question accuses/suspects a group of violent intent against another group.
    – Erwan
    Feb 28 at 16:40
  • 1
    I am making a comment on the issues with your question and why it was closed. You are suggesting that the opposition to aid means that they want them to die when I am saying that is not correct. It is that leap of logic which lead your question to be closed and deleted.
    – Joe W
    Feb 28 at 17:22
  • 1
    @JoeW What you describe is a reason for editing or closing the question until it's edited, not a reason for deleting. There are also answers which "frame challenge" a question, explaining the nature of the bias in the answer itself. Deleting a question for antisemitism is not the normal solution for a leap of logic in it.
    – Erwan
    Feb 29 at 23:14
  • 1
    Not sure what you are getting at as I had no part in closing or deleting the question. I am merely stating the major problem that I see with the question where it is making a large leap from not supporting aid to a group to wanting that group to die. You should be taking your complaints to the moderator who cast the final close vote and also deleted the question instead of another random person who took no action on that post.
    – Joe W
    Feb 29 at 23:51
  • 3
    Your example questions are just question titles. If, like your original question, the second example would be followed by a question body such as: "A poll showed that most Germans approved the forced deportation of Jews to concentration camps. So did most Germans want [all?] Jews to die?". Just as your original question, this is a combination of a gross misunderstanding of the prevalent views, and a very big leap that seems based on a lot of unstated assumptions. It is such an unhinged conclusion that it easily comes off as a very unsubstantiated attempt to insult Israelis/Germans.
    – user48943
    Mar 2 at 15:23
  • @Servaes it seems to me that what you could explain exactly this in an answer, if the question was not deleted. I certainly don't know everything and some of my questions may be very naive, but isn't this kind of the point of this site? For example I would be interested to know what are the 'prevalent views' and the numerous 'unstated assumptions' you're taking about... but the appropriate place to discuss this has been deleted.
    – Erwan
    Mar 2 at 19:18
  • @Servaes also there's the question of who decides what is insulting or not: is it insulting to say most white people in Southern US before the 60s were racist? Nowadays it is.
    – Erwan
    Mar 2 at 19:19
  • If a reasonable answer is to point out how many problems the question itself has, in fact showing that the question is pushing a political position, that question does not belong on Politics Stack Exchange. The appropriate place to discuss whether a question is acceptable is on the site meta, which is clearly open and available.
    – Nij
    Mar 2 at 21:30
  • 1
    @nij You're talking about closing a question, not deleting it. Closure can lead to a discussion on meta which can lead to re-opening or not. By deleting a question, mods decide that it is unacceptable, full stop. btw I'm still wondering why no mod replied here.
    – Erwan
    Mar 3 at 15:37
  • 1
    @Erwan I probably would have closed it rather than deleted it but I also don't think it's on-topic. As others said in comments under the question, you're making further deductions from an opinion poll and then it leads to an accusatory statement which can't really be answered. I assume deleting was preferred here so it's not going in close-reopen cycles.
    – JJJ Mod
    Mar 3 at 16:16
  • 1
    @JJJ Thank you for your comment. I understand closing, I've had many questions closed and I accept it. I don't accept being insulted by a mod who needs to badly misrepresent my question in order to justify an unfair 'antisemitism' judgement.
    – Erwan
    Mar 4 at 10:47
  • 2
    I have just made an edit to that question to make it more ontopic according to the suggestion in this answer. It is strange that editing is allowed for a deleted answer. Anyway, undelete voting is not possible due to the mod's delete hammer being used. Should I raise a flag about this?
    – Alexei
    Mar 9 at 6:14
  • 1
    @Alexei Thank you for taking the time to remove the antisemitism from the question and turning it into an objective question. I undeleted and reopened it. Hopefully it is not going to attract any antisemitic answers.
    – Philipp Mod
    Mar 11 at 11:06

5 Answers 5

13

TBH you could have asked that in less loaded form, e.g. instead of

Do a majority of Israelis Jews want Palestinians in Gaza to die?

Something like

Why do most Israeli Jews oppose food aid to Palestinians in the present circumstances?

After all, the quote you had in the Q was only explicit about the latter:

We asked our respondents for their opinion regarding the idea that Israel should allow the transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza residents at this time [...]

(Yeah, putting "in the present circumstances" in a Q title is probably too vague, but I don't want to spend time here finessing that issue.)

6
  • 1
    I think that's a different question. My critique of the question itself would be that that food aid is inconsequential to the title and question which is whether or not Israeli's wish for death and destruction, which is a pretty natural question (imho) that should be on topic here. Feb 29 at 4:32
  • 7
    If the main issue was the phrasing, isn't the usual procedure to suggest edits and/or close the question until it's edited? The question was deleted for antisemitism, which seems a very authoritarian option (it's also a serious insult to the author).
    – Erwan
    Feb 29 at 9:34
  • 1
    @Erwan editing works when it needs some minor refinement. You're saying "I asked something inflammatory, you could have changed my question to something different than I intended instead of closing it", but that's not what editing is for.
    – littleadv
    Mar 9 at 0:04
  • @littleadv who says the question was 'inflammatory'? Many Israeli officials use language which is much more inflammatory, so imho the question was relevant.
    – Erwan
    Mar 9 at 11:06
  • 2
    @Erwan are you saying Israeli officials should be our benchmark for decency?
    – littleadv
    Mar 9 at 19:27
  • @littleadv no of course, but if PoliticsSE bans questions related to existing extreme political discourse, the site would be very restricted. Besides, deletion for antisemitism is a much harsher judgement than closing a question, and the reasons given by the mod are dishonest.
    – Erwan
    Mar 10 at 9:56
9

For those without the privilege to view deleted question, here again the comment I posted to explain the closure:

This is a leading question, and one targeted specifically against an ethnic group. Sorry, but in my opinion this question crosses the line from being anti-Israel to being antisemitic.

Sorry, but I don't see what else there is to say. You cherry-picked a survey question among a demographic that just 4 month before was the target of an orchestrated campaign of terrorism, rephrased the question to make it sound more evil ("should allow the transfer of humanitarian aid" to "want them to die"), and then posted it as a question you perfectly know is rhetorical.

In case you aren't self-aware enough to notice it, I am sorry to tell you: This is antisemitism.

Now you probably think that I got to be either brainwashed or paid off by some "Zionist conspiracy". The word "bias" is probably going to be thrown at me a couple times again. Because anyone who is not on your side is the enemy. But I am not. I am not on anyone's side. The conflict in Israel is too complex to take anyone's side. That whole conflict is a FUBAR situation where there are no good guys or bad guys. So everyone please stop abusing Politics Stack Exchange for your propaganda that anyone in this conflict is clearly the evil side. And with that I mean both the anti-Israel and the anti-Palestine faction.

And especially if you belong to the subset of either faction that conflates "Israel" with "The Jews" or "Hamas" with "The Muslims". Because Stack Exchange is neither a platform for antisemitism nor for islamophobia.

7
  • 6
    "The conflict in Israel" the conflict (if you can call it that) is taking place in Gaza which is not Israel. I am afraid your post does a lot to undermine your claim to neutrality.
    – Ben Cohen
    Mar 3 at 23:52
  • 3
    Similarly "The conflict in Israel is too complex to take anyone's side" is a common Zionist myth. The conflict (if you can call it that) is actually a surprisingly straightforward story of colonialism, ethnic cleansing and Apartheid. See for example, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
    – Ben Cohen
    Mar 3 at 23:55
  • @BenCohen If you've choose to take that side, then I can not stop you. But please don't use Politics Stack Exchange as a platform for political activism.
    – Philipp Mod
    Mar 4 at 8:59
  • 6
    @Philipp (1) your use of the term cherry-picking is dishonest: I selected a specific question because it was especially shocking to me, but "cherry-picking" implies that this selection hides some other more representative evidence: which other evidence?
    – Erwan
    Mar 4 at 10:22
  • 2
    @Philipp (2) First I cited the original phrasing, so how why would my rephrasing matter in any way? Second, my actual rephrasing was "[..] would prefer that Israel prevents humanitarian aid to reach Gaza inhabitants" for "[whether] Israel should allow the transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza residents". You're completely misrepresenting my question, pretending that I stated as a fact something that I actually asked as the question: I asked about the interpretation of the poll question, whether it means what I suppose that it means.
    – Erwan
    Mar 4 at 10:26
  • 3
    (3) you say that the question is rhetorical, do you mean that the answer to the question must be 'yes'? If this is the case, are you sure you're not antisemitic yourself? For the record, I often ask questions when I doubt my own understanding. In this case my logical conclusion was so horrible to me that I had to check, like I must be missing something. for the record, I feel insulted that you call me antisemitic. I hope you know that defending universal rights, including Palestinians' rights, is not antisemitic.
    – Erwan
    Mar 4 at 10:35
  • 4
    @Philipp, instead of responded to my valid critiques of your post you accuse me of activism. I think you really need to have a good long hard look at how you moderate.
    – Ben Cohen
    Mar 4 at 16:45
1

As someone who voted to close the question, my reason was that the question, in the way it is asked, contains assumptions and insinuations that make it impossible to give an honest answer without buying into those first. Aka the "why did you stop beating your wife?" problem.

-8

This question is NOT antisemitic and CAN be answered

I don't see why this question closed, except that it is clearly not acceptable to speak about these things, and the term to die is always going to be somewhat incendiary. For example, did "most Germans" want Jews "to die" is going to cause a lot of problems, because in that case there probably isn't a poll covering any definition of most Germans and the conclusion of death would be very hard to substantiate. Making the cost of the question very high to the potential value.


Note, most of the people commenting on your question are not in express agreement with the deletion reason of "spam or rude or abusive and is therefore not shown". They merely believe that a sufficient poll hasn't be done. I disagree. And this site is here so we can have a forum to express different data, and can evaluate which conclusion is better substantiated. Here are some comments that I think wouldn't stand with this answer,

  • How likely are we to get honest answers in a poll like this? I mean on the death Q. Insert the quote about "Gaza sinking into the sea" or thereabout. Bibi said that Israel won't be paying for Palestinian welfare even after he closes the Rafah border. But that it would be other countries' problem to still do that. Countries which have be vetted by Israel too. So that's about as close to the truth as we'll get, government-wise, at least.
  • If you wanted your question answered by a poll, you'd have to ask that exact question, in a poll. We have tons of evidence that framing, and the exact wording, matters highly in polls. While I too find the poll extremely disturbing, and more evidence that food aid should be pushed into Gaza, without asking Israel's opinion, in the interest of avoiding mass starvation, that still doesn't mean your question can be answer on the basis of the wording in that poll. VTC, opinion-based.
3
  • 6
    I noticed that 8 users got removed, and most of them were people who asked questions on Israel, and I lost 300+ points for that. Most of those users were legitimate users, members of this community. I don't understand why their accounts got deleted instead of just being suspended.
    – Sayaman
    Feb 28 at 4:02
  • 1
    I removed the answer to the closed question. The meta-site is not for non-meta answers. I tried to retain the relevant meta-commentary. Even though I disagree with it.
    – Philipp Mod
    Feb 29 at 12:09
  • 3
    @Sayaman As I responded elsewhere, the reputation loss you experienced was due to the deletion of sock puppets of a network-wide suspended user. The accounts were not deleted because they posted questions about Israel. They were deleted because the person posting them didn't have the permission to post anything on the Stack Exchange network. The reason why that particular user earned their network-wide suspension is something I am not permitted to discuss due to privacy reasons.
    – Philipp Mod
    Feb 29 at 12:13
-10

In my legalistic view, antisemitism is a form of racism and racism is not, per se, against politics.SE rules.(*) I think legalism is right for two reasons. First, according to many scholars racism is pervasive in Western society, so attempting to remove all forms of racism from politics.SE would be a fool's errand. And second, I don't trust moderators to correctly judge what is racist and what is not. For example, asking whether mutilation and rape is part of Hamas ideology reeks of racism, but the moderators apparently disagrees. However, a question posted by "Mathematics Student" about why American Christians support Israel when Christians are persecuted in Israel was deleted for antisemitism.

Rather, I think transgressions should be pennalized by references to the rules, i.e. the Code of Conduct. The Code is extensive and explicitly states what is prohibited.

(*) The site's Code of Conduct does not explicitly prohibit racism, presumably because it is a difficult-to-define concept. Though, it does prohibit behavior and content that are forms of racism, but that is not the same thing.

3
  • 10
    "racism is not against politics.SE rules" What? What gave you that impression? Racism is very much against the Stack Exchange Code of Conduct. Besides, the issue here is whether the deleted question was antisemitic, not whether antisemitism is (or should be) allowed here.
    – F1Krazy
    Feb 29 at 11:37
  • Thank you for your kind comment. I've updated my answer to make my points clearer. Please also see the article my first link points to. Feb 29 at 13:00
  • 2
    The prohibition against racism and antisemitism are encompassed under the prohibition to post bigotted content, within the "abusive behavior" page of the CoC. Mar 1 at 4:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .