-10

I've been repeatedly told not to post comments under the guise of it not being a discussion forum. Yet, under almost any answer related to Israel there's a slew of antisemitic and anti-Israeli posts, usually written by the same group of people, and I don't see moderators taking any action against them.

For example here, the OP is justifying his claim that because Israel is party to the war then certain actions must be seen as a crime and a violation of the law (without basing it on anything but their own bias), and another commenter making a claim that the Israeli government targets children despite the historical facts not only showing it to be false, but also that the Palestinians are in fact known to deliberately target children.

I've been repeatedly told not to respond to such vile antisemitism, but I would also expect it to be promptly purged and the offenders (especially the repeat ones) suspended.

Why isn't it happening?

Note that I'm not arguing against criticizing the policy of the Israeli government. I'm arguing against making up something that doesn't exist ("mass starvation"), attributing it to Israel under false pretenses ("Look what Galant said in a speech delivered internally for raising the morale right after the attack, don't look at the Palestinians maraudering the incoming aid or preventing the war from ending!"), and then vilifying Israel because of that straw-man argument.

9
  • 14
    Can you cite some specific statements that you wish to discuss here? Antisemitism should be removed but comments that criticize actions by the state of Israel or discuss how Israeli actions may or may not violate international treaties are not antisemitism per se. I don't see where on that page someone claims that Israel is targeting children specifically.
    – JJJ Mod
    Commented Mar 10 at 2:54
  • That comment has been conveniently deleted before you left your comment here. But do note the patronizing "note to Israelis".
    – littleadv
    Commented Mar 10 at 3:24
  • 1
    Don't close this question. We as a community need to hash out this antisemitism vs censorship issue. Commented Mar 10 at 16:44
  • 1
    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica, given the lack of any plausible examples of antisemitism in the question I think it is reasonable to close.
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Mar 11 at 9:18
  • 1
    @BenCohen Disagree. I have deleted my edited-by-moderator answer that removed the "offending" content and trimmed it down to all-is-well-nothing-to-see. That is is precisely why this question should remain open. Commented Mar 11 at 15:08
  • 1
    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica, I see you underwent the Philipp treatment. Perhaps you have a point.
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Mar 11 at 19:28
  • @BenCohen I am not interested in pointing fingers at specific individuals but rather at figuring out what the policy basis is for determining what constitutes acceptable criticism of a government's - Israel's in this case - policies vs what constitutes racism - antisemitism in this case. From the now deleted comments under my answer, no matter how much I support Israel on other aspects of its unfortunately necessary operations in Gaza, any criticism of how it is meeting Geneva obligations wrt food is antisemitic, according to the OP. Backed by moderation, but it doesn't really matter whose Commented Mar 11 at 23:33
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica well.. Your "note to Israelis" was rather offensive, but it does show your seeing your answers as a way to preach to Israelis, as you imagine them (which I doubt are reading your posts on this forum in any measurable mass). What defense are you referring to? Are you finally admitting that there is actually food aid coming from Israel, and your previous comments and posts were based on false information?
    – littleadv
    Commented Mar 12 at 0:01
  • @littleadv I wont engage with you any further on this thread, but if other people wanna chip with how they view acceptable/not acceptable criteria, we might get something useful out of it. Which is why I'll reopen if it closes. Bye. Commented Mar 12 at 0:02

5 Answers 5

9

I see one self-deleted comment saying

you don't get it, but I'll break it down for you. Governments who bomb children in mass quantities, are not trustworthy. People who defend that crap aren't trustworthy either.

That was in response to your

When you hate Jews more than you love your children - that's what happens.

Which was in response to yet another user who wrote:

I do wonder if any Gaza residents now regret supporting Hamas. No electricity, barely any food, risk of getting kicked out into Egypt, bombs flying in every day, your whole life in complete ruins… All for the sake of what, killing 1500 Jews?

What followed after was more discussion / disagreement. I'd say you are as responsible for getting the discussion started and keeping it going. Half the comments in the thread are yours and the one comment of your I cite above was pivotal in getting other users to respond.

I don't think the comments (including the deleted ones) in the thread have an antisemitism issue to them. They are merely discussing the facts of the conflict and pointing out that the Israeli response (bombing with excessive civilian casualties and severely limiting aid into Gaza) leaves a lot to be desired. Again, criticizing actions of the Israeli government is not antisemitic per se.

Indeed, the comment section isn't meant to host these discussions, but they don't violate the code of conduct. If you don't want these discussions to happen then you shouldn't fuel them.

Instead, you could flag comments that are trying to get a discussion going as 'no longer needed'. That way, we would deal with one or two flags which can be handled easily. That's in contrast to the current situation where you run a whole discussion (you posted more comments in that thread than any other user) then decide you don't like where it's heading and flag almost all the other comments as abusive and complain on meta. Rather than just pressing one button to purge all the comments in the thread, we now have to go through each comment carefully deciding if they violate the code of conduct.


You left one more comment under the post in which you argue a specific point of antisemitism:

I have flagged all of the mind-boggling antisemitism evident in these comments for the moderator review. Not that I expect anything, clearly, but at least I want to make it clear that both this answer and a lot of the comments under it are motivated by pure hate and antisemitism. The fact that you put "mass starvation" in your answer while stating that exactly 15 people died of malnutrition in a war involving millions shows your antisemitic bias and inability to remain objective.

The underlying fact that would lead one to mention mass starvation is the intensified blockade of the Gaza Strip. That blockade is an action taken by the Israeli government. Constructive comments critical of a policy like that are not antisemitic.

More than two million people live in the Gaza Strip. If food is lacking for about 50% of those people then mass starvation is inevitable over time.

1
  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, or in Politics Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Mar 14 at 10:34
4

TLDR: One can't shut down ALL inconvenient criticism of Israel as antisemitic.

Applying double standards by requiring of it (Israel) a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

If the same criticism would be clearly justified, if directed towards a different country than Israel in the same circumstances, then the onus is on the complainer to substantiate their case , rather than just slinging accusations. And, especially, in such a strident and harassing manner as has been on display in the comments.


First, downplaying the gravity of possibly ongoing war crimes

I stated, "you seem to have come quite close to stating that siege and starvation tactics were acceptable".

To which you replied:

never once have I said anything even remotely resembling what you "misunderstood"

That is indeed a harsh claim on my part, so what do I base it on? Well, let's start with your answer on the, contentiously phrased, "starving Gaza" question. That answer, btw, looks a lot more reasonable absent your comments, deleted by mods.

@ItalianPhilosophers4Monica why would limiting aid if Hamas gets it be problematic? Hamas is literally the fighting force against Israel. – littleadv

(sigh) because using starvation against civilians is against the Geneva Conventions. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica

@ItalianPhilosophers4Monica but Hamas is the military force. Again, why is limiting aid to Hamas a problem? – littleadv

For those thinking I have no reason to reach this conclusion, please consider the context of the question this exchange of comments was taking place under and reread those comments carefully.

On the thread that motived this question, I also asked you to clearly state if you thought starving enemy civilians was acceptable or not and you dodged the question by answering with something that started with:

It doesn't matter what I think or not.

And continued to call me antisemitic every time I had "the audacity" - your words - to expect that a nation my government backs respects the Geneva Conventions.

Second - not all criticism of Israel is equal.

(dated 10/7) Joint Statement by Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups on the Situation in Palestine We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.

This is utter hogwash and is antisemitic and/or overwoke. Israel hadn't done anything in response.

What about

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — China, Iran and a multitude of Arab nations condemned an Israeli minister’s statement that a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip was an option in the Israel-Hamas war, calling it a threat to the world.

Granted, the minister in question got canned and this is not Israeli policy. But would it be antisemitic to criticize it if it was?

Where does limiting starving people access to food on this spectrum? Would it be antisemitic to criticize that?

Oh, but I am making this up?

Biden also addressed Israel’s actions in Gaza, saying that Netanyahu is “hurting Israel more than helping Israel” by disregarding all of the “innocent lives being lost” in Gaza.

Israel faces mounting pressure for inquiry into Gaza aid deaths, US to air drop supplies

Israel Gaza war: EU says starvation being used as a weapon

The quickest, most effective way to get aid into the territory is by road, but aid agencies say Israeli restrictions mean a fraction of what is needed is getting in.

Third - I get called antisemitic.

Repeatedly, and in an harassing manner, such as when you state that I "must be talking to an imaginary Israeli in my head". Deleted comment, but apparently, not worth any more actions from the moderator.

I'll plant my flags clearly, as far as my own position on these events go:

  • Hamas is a terrorist entity. Post 10/7, much more on the ISIS end of things than say something like the IRA. Attempts to justify Hamas, minimize their crimes on that day, or to incite doubt about them need robust rebuttals, each and every time.

  • Hamas cannot remain in power in Gaza and Israel is justified to defend itself. Yes, there will be civilian deaths, for a number of reasons: city battle, Hamas is not obviously trying to minimize civilian deaths, and the IDF may not be restrained enough.

  • To end this war, Hamas could surrender, rather than being handed a permanent ceasefire on its own terms.

  • BUT to retain Western support Israel needs to respect the laws of war. FULL STOP.

If that last point makes me antisemitic, then we have a problem with its definition here.

Yes, lets' look at my posting history on this war.

Examples of military operations that Israel could have followed after October 7?

Are there laws about conflating civilians and fighters in a conflict?

In what cases are counter-terrorist operations justified?

What is Hamas' strategy in attacking Israel?

Is there any evidence that supports the claim that IDF killed their own citizens on 7th October?

https://politics.stackexchange.com/a/84243/21531

Or on Israel in general

Sure, you can also see "audacity questions" where I am concerned about the rules of warfare being followed.

How have Israel, and Western governments, responded to the ICJ's Jan 26th order to provide necessities in Gaza?

How can Israeli compliance with the Geneva Conventions be tracked in Gaza in the coming weeks?

I guess having the same expectations from Israel as I would have from my own government seals the deal: I am obviously antisemitic.

Basically, no matter how much I support Israel removing Hamas from power for its horrible crimes, if I dare to voice any criticism about Israeli policies: I am obviously antisemitic.

p.s.

For what it's worth, I could have reworded the original question. Instead of that "note to Israelis", yes, it would have been better to rephrase the structure as:

  • No, there are no "missing casualties" as asked here.

  • But, while there aren't that many starvation deaths, that's unlikely to remain so.

The key is that I felt it was wrong to just answer the question with an "all is well" under the circumstances *. But attaching blame to Israel wasn't the point - merely warning that the numbers were unlikely to remain so low. In fact - based on a comment made about Hamas being the cause - my last revision basically said that it didn't matter who was really to blame, Israel would still get blamed for it, and that was reason enough to avoid limiting, or being seen as limiting, aid.

That's where, constructive comments come in. If our roles had been reversed, I would might have done you the courtesy to make suggestions to make that answer less "blamey", even if I had disagreed with some aspects of it. You didn't bother.

At the least, I would have criticized the post itself. Nope, why not go for the jugular and attack the person instead?

Thanks for downvoting, it does show a clear count of users who consider these opinions as legitimate and should be removed from the site.

Summarizes your position quite well, doesn't it?

Last... blame, hatred, hate?

Quite a few people push back on posts criticizing Israel with things like..

you hate all Jews

you blame Israelis for everything

stop demonizing Jews

This Q has been tagged antisemitism so I will finish by addressing that.

I avoid using the term "Jewish", let alone "Jews". I do not blame "Jews". But that got me to think, do I blame "Israelis", as a group? I had to think to myself a bit, but no, I usually have positive sentiments towards Israel and Israelis and, Palestine aside, I still do.

How to articulate whom I blame?

9/11 happened on George Bush's watch, a politician whom I do not like and forced military retaliation to defend Americans. He did not do great job overall, no, and his wars are justly criticized. But he did recognize that he needed the American people not to lose their moral compass in return. He repeatedly stressed that the war was against terrorism, not against Muslims, not against Islam. He understood the risk of vigilantism and national hatred.

Bush provided clear moral leadership in that and is, still, recognized for doing so. That's a leader's job, to channel the hurt of their people away from unrestrained revenge.

Sadly, Netanyahu is not rising to the occasion. Politicians like Smotrich or Ben-Gvir are worse, far worse. I blame them, unreservedly.

However, we also need to recognize I have no dog in this fight. I support removal of Hamas. I am not Muslim, I am not Palestinian.

There are people writing on this site that are Muslim or Palestinian , with a war going on. I don't recall ever hearing an expectation that "you need to love your enemy", only that you need to be civil, not push your viewpoint and not aim to discredit.

If people can mount a reasoned critique of Israeli policies and actions, sticking to facts, while leaving diatribes about "Jews" out and not trying to justify Hamas' actions, should they be censured? Vilified?

As a political Q&A site, we've had discussions about incendiary subjects like George Floyd. Plenty of harsh arguments. But generally, people talked about racists and white supremacists. They did not, on repeat, call each other racist and white supremacists. Not unless given serious reasons to do so. And the moderators kept the peace.

Yet, in this instance, ad hominem attacks are allowed to stand. Even incitation to hatred doesn't seem evenly enforced. Read around this Q's comments and you'll see a well-deserved mention of the code of conduct prohibition on denying newsworthy events. Moderation gets applied, but unevenly so. We had an answer suggesting one approach to 10/7 would have been executing Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails - stood for 10-15 days, until an outside mod stepped in to delete it.

This site needs to determine how to police contents pertaining to this war in a balanced, fair and transparent manner, especially given the massive death toll on both sides. But, lacking a clear policy on what constitute antisemitism in the context of an ongoing conflict where both sides can justifiably be criticized, it is so far not rising to the occasion either.

* which is precisely why I deleted it after the moderator edit. That version of the answer, as it stood, was minimizing the risks of human catastrophe.

3
  • "pressured" by whom? And more importantly - "settlement" with whom? If the Palestinians wanted a two state solution they'd have it already, they had ample opportunities. They never wanted it and don't now.
    – littleadv
    Commented Mar 10 at 17:10
  • I will admit: though my expectations are low in that regard, after Hamas gets booted from Gaza, Israel should get pressured from the international community to pursue a just settlement based on a proper two state solution. That's in the best interests of both peoples, long term. That doesn't change my, conditional on Geneva Conventions respect, support for removing Hamas from power, post 10/7. Commented Mar 10 at 17:11
  • Sorry this was so long. I'll crib my reponse to a meta comment elsewhere, asking why antisemitism is of special concern: I think we, at least Western countries, have very good historical reason to be extremely vigilant towards antisemitism. All racism is bad, but in our societies antisemitism has been a long time cancer. I just don't like it being abused to harass people without any guardrails. And many organizations will have guidelines towards racism _and_ antisemitism, which means they don't just subsume the second into the first. Commented Mar 13 at 16:48
3

The first quote in your response is what I was referring to.

I see no reason to delete an answer because someone posted a comment under it, comment that may have been problematic. (Was it even the same person who posted the answer?--I can't tell from my level of rights). Sure, you've accused people several times in your comments of being antisemitic, so your working theory appears to be that SX tolerates posts by antisemites.

Generally speaking, people who truly posted stuff like that repeatedly were banned. But their [already posted] answers are generally not deleted en masse. So, there's that.


Next thing you're gonna post something about 'self-hating Jews' (like Lavrov did)? Because let's compare what the 'OP' (of the answer) wrote with what I can read in an opposition newspaper in Israel. OP:

The starvation deaths that have happened so far need not have happened. But their PR impact to Israel are as nothing compared to the results if Israelis do not re-engage their sense of humanity - which they have, unlike 10/7's perpetrators - and allow aid to flow, with the appropriate level of scrutiny for weapon smuggling, all the easier if aid is Western-sourced.

Mass starvation, were it to happen, would be an existential risk to Western support for Israel and should be handled accordingly, even if purely for reasons of self-interest.

Haaretz:

To some senior officers in the IDF, it was clear that, as the occupying power, they would have to take responsibility. "Of course it's our obligation," said one general in a closed discussion. "It's obvious that if we're now in operational control of an area, we have to make sure those living there have all they need for their basic existence. It's not just our legal obligation but our moral obligation as well. What's more, if we get the order to supply the Palestinian population, we have the plans and capabilities to do so." Until now, five months into the war, that order hasn't come.

[...]

"Ultimately," [another defense] official continued, "the policy should be decided on the political level – and we've seen how bad they've been at making policy in this war. These are decisions no politician wants to take, and certainly doesn't want to be seen by the public as taking. So nothing gets decided and there's no policy, and we're just reacting to pressures on the ground. The problem is that maintaining supplies is a key element to our international legitimacy to continue fighting this war, and the politicians are afraid to explain that to the Israeli public – let alone make the moral argument."

0
-3

Let's be absolutely clear about a couple of things. Evidence based criticism of:

  1. Israel, or
  2. Judaism (just to make absolutely clear, I am referring to the set of religious beliefs)

is not antisemitic. Now can you provide an example of antisemitism that has not been removed that does not fall into either of these categories? I rather doubt it.

4
  • I’m not going to argue wether evidence based criticism of judaism is antisemetic but I don’t see how it could be on topic on this site. Commented Mar 18 at 13:32
  • @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica, for example, if someone to post an evidence based answer showing that Jewish extremisim was behind the perpatration of atrocities, that is relevant.
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Mar 21 at 9:05
  • I don’t think there is a question that isn’t a push question to which that response would be appropriate, but maybe it’s possible, idk. Commented Mar 21 at 14:32
  • I find it wierd that this answer has been downvoted. What part of it to do people disagree with?
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Mar 22 at 10:20
-5

Because many people are primed to believe that Jews would do something nefarious.

It's how demonization works.

Once enough negatives are attributed to a population, people stop paying attention to details and become accustomed to believing anything else negative about the same population.

Some people are primed to believe negatives about the Jews, but they can't say it out loud because that's sounds too obviously bigoted. But because they are primed to believe any negatives, when those negatives are buried under layers of complexity, it's easier to dismiss concerns over demonization as "not caring about the details" or caring only about the worst-sounding details.

1

You must log in to answer this question.

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