5

I asked a provocative and apparently politically incorrect question @ https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/253633/word-for-people-who-hate-some-but-not-all-jews

Even Encylopedia Brittanica agrees with my charge that the word antisemitism is inaccurate and misleading - http://www.britannica.com/topic/anti-Semitism

At any rate, I came under immediate attack after I posted my question. I flagged some of the worst insults, which were deleted by a moderator. But my question has been put on hold.

I have no problem rewriting the question (in fact, I edited it, adding a new question format), but it's hard when the people who claim it doesn't follow the rules won't specify WHICH rule(s) it violates.

I've posted several similar questions with no problem. This question is obviously being singled out for political reasons.

I think the word "hate" is a sore point, but I'm not sure how to reword it... "people who FEAR certain Jews"? "people who QUESTION some Jewish institutions"?

Can anyone tell me what rule(s) this question violates?

Thanks.

  • 2
    Wouldn't the same question "Word for people who hate some but not all women, black people, gays, Americans, Latinos, Europeans, Africans etc....) sound odious to ours and your ears? – user66974 Jun 22 '15 at 13:16
  • 1
    What about a word for people who are prejudiced against (a specific class of people)? – user66974 Jun 22 '15 at 13:28
  • 2
    It might be an objective question, but it's coming across as tendentious. Also did you find the question on this site already or this one? Those are good examples of both what 'antisemite' means and good non-tendentious questions and answers about a topic that tends to rile people up. – Mitch Jun 22 '15 at 14:20
  • I think your question is not necessary but I have no problem with it. – please delete me Jun 22 '15 at 17:42
  • This seems like an attempt at proactive moderation. While it might be nice to have a calm, academic discussion of a concept like this, and there's nothing wrong with asking, in practice it's probably impossible. This is the Internet, after all. Some of the comments suggest that asking the question is an attempt to provoke such trolling. – Barmar Jun 22 '15 at 19:02
  • @ Josh - Yes, the question you ask is very odious. However, there are people who hate certain classes of women (e.g. anti-feminists). Whether we like antifeminism or not, it is a common belief, and the word describing it is valid. – David Blomstrom Jun 22 '15 at 23:56
  • 4
    You seem to be asserting that the word feminist means something like "a woman who supports feminism [which Merriam-Webster defines as 'the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes']." I can't agree. The reason MW doesn't specify that feminism is "a theory or collection of views peculiar to women" is that men can be feminists, too. Consequently, an anti-feminist is someone who opposes feminism whether espoused by women or by men; the term doesn't work as a way of expressing opposition specifically and solely to a subset of women. – Sven Yargs Jun 23 '15 at 1:09
  • 1
    That's a red herring; the average person doesn't think about men when discussing feminism. Anti-feminists are generally assumed to be men who hate women that espouse "feminism," however one defines it. – David Blomstrom Jun 23 '15 at 1:16
  • 2
    I commented on that question but the same goes for here on meta. You seem to be looking for either a new word (since a single word doesn't currently exist) or a discussion and neither are good fits for stackexchange (ELU in particular). So I think it is either off-topic or primarily opinion based. – Mitch Jun 23 '15 at 1:35
  • @Mitch - That may be the best response yet. I've posted similar previous threads where it was discovered that the word I was looking for apparently doesn't exist. I then asked if people could suggest a possible candidate (i.e. coin a new word) - and some people obliged. There were no complaints, so I assumed it's OK to fill in the blanks where no appropriate words exist. Thanks for the tip. – David Blomstrom Jun 23 '15 at 1:41
  • Just an idea, considering the scope of this discussion, which I find interesting, you could edit your original question and ask "why" racist words cover a whole category of people. If a person declares to dislike/distrust a group of individuals, not an entire "race/creed/faith/sex etc.) are they still racists/intolerant/sexist/ etc.? But that question could still remain closed for being too opinion based, and perhaps too inflammatory. – Mari-Lou A Jun 23 '15 at 9:31
  • 1
    If I say I generally dislike and distrust men (not women, not children) who come from Glasgow, wouldn't I be still accused of being anti-Scottish? I could call myself "anti-Glaswegian men" I suppose, so use a similar construction for your OP! You/the post will attract criticism, resign yourself to this fact. It doesn't matter what sugar-coating term you use, racism (etc.) is a very sensitive issue. – Mari-Lou A Jun 23 '15 at 9:36
  • 1
    And I say this after someone implied I was racist when I posted this question, which received three downvotes, but 17 upvotes. I still haven't gotten over the shock! Perhaps racism is in the eye of the beholder...? However, I added a disclaimer, and clarified, and commented and it was exhausting. – Mari-Lou A Jun 23 '15 at 9:41
  • 2
    I have read your edited question, and I'm sorry to say but the question, as it is worded, strikes me as being quite racist. That's how it comes across to me, a person who does not live in the States, and who personally doesn't know anyone Jewish in a population of 90% Italian Catholics (rough estimate). – Mari-Lou A Jun 23 '15 at 9:50
  • @Mari-Lou A - You hit the nail on the head. How can people discuss these kinds of things without being attacked by thin-skinned individuals or people who have a political agenda? When you discuss Jewish sociopolitical issues, you're either pigeonholed as anti-Jewish or anti-Zionist, which many people are only too willing to interpret as anti-Jewish. There's a big need for some work in this area. In fact, I found some interesting terms at Urban Dictionary. – David Blomstrom Jun 23 '15 at 12:14
12

It seems to me that English speakers generally deal with objectively neutral categories or classes or identities of people at one level and with admirable or objectionable human traits at another.

In the case of an objectively neutral classification X, where X may be a person's gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, age, sexual orientation, social class, profession, etc., we tend to look at an expression of blanket opposition to everyone who falls into a particular class as a sign of irrational prejudice—as, for example, where X happens to be woman or Bolivian or Presbyterian or child or heterosexual or working class or geologist, and someone declares him- or herself to be "anti-woman" or "anti-Bolivian" or "anti-Presbyterian" or "anti-child" or "anti-heterosexual" or "anti-working class" or "anti-geologist."

At a completely separate level, we may speak admiringly of someone's positive quality Y (such as kindness, modesty, efficiency, respectfulness, generosity, friendliness, or honesty) or disapprovingly of someone's negative quality Z (such as rudeness, avarice, vanity, arrogance, belligerence, mean-spiritedness, or unhelpfulness).

But while we may refer to a particular person as "a kind woman" or "a respectful child," for example, expressions such as "an efficient Bolivian," "a generous Presbyterian," or "an honest geologist" seem oddly constructed—as though the speaker thought that there was something remarkable enough in the fact that a person from classification X possessed quality Y that it seemed appropriate to juxtapose the two. In any event, English speakers evidently see little need for "a single word that means 'pro-efficient Bolivians'" or "a single word that means 'pro-generous Presbyterians'" or even "a single word that means 'pro-kind women.'"

The same reasoning applies to juxtapositions of category X characteristics and category Z traits, and to the superfluousness of single words that mean "anti-Z X." If I strongly disapprove of rude, belligerent, unhelpful geologists, I might lament the absence of an English word that captures the precise notion of "anti-rude, belligerent, unhelpful geologists" and thus spells out the constellation of things that inform my objection to these particular geologists; such a word would provide a convenient way for me to clarify my position vis-à-vis geologists in general.

But if what I object to is the rudeness, belligerence, and unhelpfulness of a particular subset of geologists, perhaps my beef isn't with geologists at all, but with people—geologists and nongeologists alike—who are rude, belligerent, and unhelpful. And in that case, emphasizing that the people who bother me are geologists of a particular type may misdirect the reader's attention to a category of identity that is tangential to my central objection to them.

On the other hand, if the fact that certain rude, belligerent, and unhelpful people happen to be geologists strikes me as being a crucial element of their identity—rather than as being a minor detail that is merely incidental to the essential traits that they share with every other rude, belligerent, and unhelpful person—perhaps I'm not as impartial toward and comfortable with the category "geologists" as I might like to think.


This line of reasoning, at any rate, is what led me to vote to close the OP's question and to offer the following brief explanation for my close vote:

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because I don't think it is so much about English language and usage as about the poster's wish that [there] were a word that could sum up his sociopolitical position on a particular issue.

1

After reading all of the threads associated with user David Blomstrom’s “Jewish problem,” I couldn’t avoid the conclusion that all of his posted questions and comments were merely an exercise in disingenuous spamming – using EL&U, and Meta, as convenient platforms from which to indulge in the public exhibition of hatred and of scapegoating.

This exhibitionism is ironic and secret because, though the OP's hatred is publicly disseminated and visible, the author of these posts remains hidden and invisible, remains effectively anonymous and intangible, always at a safe distance from his audience, always removed from the real-life effects of his self-indulgence. This gives the OP license, emboldens him. Online philosophical discussion cannot rectify the OP’s problem because, in effect, it is the problem. All that is missing is the corrective measures only real-life consequences can provide the OP.

I believe that user Sven Yargs has provided the OP with a well-reasoned and articulate answer. I see, however, an additional and equally fundamental weakness with the reasoning undergirding Mr. Blomstrom’s “Jewish problem,” namely that, other than those who self-identify, there is no objective or reliable method of identifying who is, and who is not, a Jew. With this in mind, I attempted via commentary, to discover what criteria the OP used to determine precisely who he hated. The OP had no desire to participate in that discussion, which of course, was not surprising.


What follows is our brief dialogue (emphasis added):


Little Eva: I take it that you consider yourself to be a non-racist who is opposed, not to Jews per se, but to Jews who exercise excessive control of financial institutions, media, and the U.S. government (etc.)? So, let's define some of our terms, please. What constitutes a Jew?

Mr. Blomstrom: Well, there are people who are Jews because they embrace Judaism, and there are ethnic Jews. As I understand it, it's very hard to convert to Judaism, so the great majority of Jews are ethnic Jews. I don't want to get into a big discussion about that, but there are tons of resources on the Internet you can peruse.

Little Eva: David, it seems to me that the factors conferring “Jewdom” are limited to 1) some unspecified percentage of Hebraic genealogy. 2) Affiliation with Zionist ideology. 3) Affiliation with financial institutions, i.e., international banking, media corporations, pro-Israeli lobbies, etc. 4) Wealth. Anything I’ve left out? I’ve read all the threads associated with both incarnations of the EL&U OP, and the Meta OP. It seems that this issue is of some importance to you and I’d like to be of assistance. But first we need to establish our semantics. Please help me out here?

Little Eva: For instance David, if someone is Welsh, wholly without Hebraic blood and poor-off financially (as I am), but they convert to Judaism and endorse a Zionist agenda (2 of the 4 example criteria) do they qualify as a Jew? Or must the candidate ratio be 3 of 4?

Mr. Blomstrom: First point: Gentiles (non-Jews) can also be Zionists. Second, I think some of your other questions, though well-meaning, are a little too...esoteric? Jews have had a reputation for economic control for centuries. Obviously, some of those individuals could have been atheists or gentiles who converted to Judaism. But the great majority were "ethnic Jews," religious or not. A good example is Hollywood. It's no secret that Jews control Hollywood, and that fact has spawned a variety of concerns.

Mr. Blomstrom: Another avenue is to focus on the leaders, including the individuals who own Hollywood's major studios, along with people like Henry Kissinger, Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Singer, Alan Greenspan, etc. Most of these people are ethnic Jews. I suspect most are Zionists as well, though it's often hard to tell. On another tangent, this article in The New Yorker really hit the nail on the head - in just five paragraphs! New York Magazine.


What follows are some excerpts extracted from a Wikipedia entry:


Who is a Jew?

The question is based in ideas about Jewish personhood which have cultural, religious, political, genealogical, and personal dimensions. The definition of who is a Jew varies according to whether it is being considered by Jews based on normative religious statutes or self-identification, or by non-Jews for other reasons. Because Jewish identity can include characteristics of an ethnicity, a religion, or conversion, the definition depends on many aspects that must be considered.

According to the simplest definition used by Jews for self-identification, a person is a Jew by birth, or becomes one through religious conversion. However, there are differences of opinion among the various branches of Judaism in the application of this definition, including:

• The effect of mixed parents: i.e. whether a person of mixed Jewish and non-Jewish parents should be considered Jewish.

• Conversion: i.e. what processes of conversion should be considered valid.

• Historical loss of Jewish identity: i.e. whether a person's or group's actions (such as conversion to a different religion) or circumstances in his or her community's life (such as being unaware of Jewish parents) should affect his or her status as Jewish or non-Jewish.

• Diaspora identity: identity of Jews among themselves, and by non-Jews throughout the Jewish diaspora.

• Claim to Israeli citizenship: the examination of the previous issues in the context of the Basic Laws of Israel.

Contemporary Judaism

All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew either by birth or through conversion. According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother. Halakha states that the acceptance of the principles and practices of Judaism does not make a person a Jew. But, those born Jewish do not lose that status because they cease to be observant Jews, even if they adopt the practices of another religion.

Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism often accept a child as Jewish even if only the father is Jewish and if the child chooses to identify as Jewish. As the various denominations of Judaism differ on their conversion processes, conversions performed by more liberal denominations are not accepted by those that are less so.

Jewish by birth

All branches of Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism today maintain that the halakhic rules (i.e. matrilineal descent) are valid and binding. Reform and Liberal Judaism do not accept the halakhic rules as binding, and accept a child of one Jewish parent, whether father or mother, as Jewish if the parents raise the child as a Jew and foster a Jewish identity in the child, noting that "in the Bible the line always followed the father, including the cases of Joseph and Moses, who married into non-Israelite priestly families."

Converts to Judaism

All mainstream forms of Judaism today are open to sincere converts, with most subgroups accepting converts by the process accepted within the group. Not all conversions are recognized in different movements.

Controversies

The controversy [among those who self-identify] in determining "who is a Jew" concerns four basic issues:

1. One issue arises because North American Reform and UK Liberal movements have changed some of the halakhic requirements for a Jewish identity in two ways.

2. Secondly, Orthodox Judaism asserts that non-Orthodox rabbis are not qualified to form a beit din. This has led to non-Orthodox conversions generally being unaccepted in Orthodox communities. Since Orthodox Judaism maintains the traditional standards for conversion – in which the commitment to observe halakha is required – non-Orthodox conversions are generally not accepted in Orthodox communities because the non-Orthodox movements perform conversions in which the new convert does not undertake to observe halakha as understood by Orthodox Judaism.

3. A third controversy concerns persons (whether born Jews or converts to Judaism) who have converted to another religion. The traditional view is such persons remain Jewish. Reform Judaism regards such people as apostates, and states regarding "Messianic Jews": "'Messianic Jews' claim that they are Jews, but we must asked [sic] ourselves whether we identify them as Jews. We cannot do so as they consider Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah who has fulfilled the Messianic promises. In this way, they have clearly placed themselves within Christianity. They may be somewhat different from other Christians as they follow various Jewish rites and ceremonials, but that does not make them Jews." Regardless, such people do not count as Jewish for the purposes of the Israeli citizenship laws.

4. A fourth controversy stems from the manner in which the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has been handling marriage and conversion decisions in recent years. Conversions and marriages within Israel are legally controlled by the Orthodox Israeli Chief Rabbinate; therefore, a person not proven to be a Jew to the Rabbinate's satisfaction is not legally permitted to marry a Jew in Israel today...[N]on-Orthodox Jews born to Jewish parents, and some Jews converted by Orthodox rabbis, have been increasingly unable to prove their Jewishness to the Rabbinate's satisfaction, because they are unable to find an Orthodox rabbi who is both acceptable to the Rabbinate, and familiar with and willing to vouch for the Jewishness of their maternal lineage or the validity of their conversion... There have been several attempts to convene representatives of the three major movements to formulate a practical solution to this issue. To date, these have failed, though all parties concede the importance of the issue is greater than any sense of rivalry among them.

Non-religious definitions

The Society for Humanistic Judaism defines a Jew as "someone who identifies with the history, culture and fate of the Jewish people." In their view it is therefore possible for a non-religious individual to adopt Judaism and join a Humanistic Jewish community, and for the Society for Humanistic Judaism to adopt the person wanting to be part of the Humanistic Jewish family. As Israeli author Amos Oz puts it, "a Jew is anyone who chooses or is compelled to share a common fate with other Jews." Oz summed up his position more succinctly in a monologue published in Tikkun, saying "Who is a Jew? Everyone who is mad enough to call himself or herself a Jew is a Jew."

The modern genealogical DNA test of ethnicity is certainly a non-religious definition of 'who is a Jew?' as increasing numbers of persons discover their biological and cultural origins outside of the traditional religious setting. The top two Jewish halogroups for the priestly families, Haplogroup J-M267 and Haplogroup E-M215 (Y-DNA) have genetic origins in the vast Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, the Horn of Africa, and the Levant which indicates a more complex cultural genesis and potential identity.

Legal structure in Israel

Israel has no single document called a constitution (the Basic Laws of Israel function as an uncodified constitution), however the definition of "who is a Jew" has become an important issue in Israeli politics due to the involvement of religious parties in the Knesset.

The issue of who is considered a Jew has given rise to legal controversy in Israel. There have been court cases in Israel since 1962 that have addressed the question.

As of 2010, anyone who immigrated to Israel after 1990 and wishes to marry or divorce via the Jewish tradition within the state limits must go through a "Judaism test" at a Rabbinical court. In this test, a person would need to prove their claim to be Jewish to an investigator beyond a reasonable doubt. They would need to present original documentation of their matriline up to their great-grandmother (4 generations) (or, in the case of Ethiopian Jews, 7 generations back.) In addition, they should provide government documents with nationality/religion shown as Jewish (e.g., birth/death certificates, marriage documents, etc.).

In the case of people whose original documents have been lost or never existed, it may take a lot of work to prove their being Jewish. The court’s rulings are not final, and any clerk has the power to question them even 20 years later, changing one's citizenship status to "on hold", and putting them in jeopardy of deportation.

Sociology and anthropology

As with any other ethnic identity, Jewish identity is, to some degree, a matter of either claiming that identity or being perceived by others (both inside and outside the ethnic group) as belonging to that group, or both. Returning again to the example of Madeleine Albright – during her Catholic childhood, her being in some sense Jewish was presumably irrelevant. It was only after she was nominated to be Secretary of State that she, and the public, discovered her Jewish ancestry.

Ido Abram states that there are five aspects to contemporary Jewish identity:

1. Religion, culture, and tradition.

2. The tie with Israel and Zionism.

3. Dealings with antisemitism, including issues of persecution and survival.

4. Personal history and life-experience.

5. Relationship with non-Jewish culture and people.


What the Wikipedia article makes plain, is that even those who self-identify as Jewish are unable to reach anything approaching a consensus about what constitutes Jewishness. When those who self-identify as non-Jewish debate the issue of what constitutes Jewishness the issue becomes orders of magnitude less productive, degenerating into pure subjectivity.

If the concept of race ever had any validity, that time is long past. Race, for all human beings, is a non-biological fiction. Ethnicity, too, in the final analysis, is an imprecise and indeterminate category that ultimately comes down to those who self-identify as a given ethnicity.

While I cannot condone hate, I can at least logically accept that one individual can hate another specific individual. But one person hating some amorphous group of human beings - be they labeled a race, a religion, an ethnicity, a gender or non-gender - is logically impossible.

There is merely scapegoating. And that's the rule the OP in question violated.


  • You accuse me of "scapegoating"? I accuse you of spreading propaganda and disinformation. Seriously, my question was very logical, and if you can't make your point without writing a thesis, then you obviously don't have a point to make. Ironically, I just discovered someone who understands my question - a guy named Norman Finkelstein. He's Jewish. You should do some research on him. – David Blomstrom Jul 10 '15 at 12:23
  • It's also interesting that you're STILL trying to figure out what rule my question violated, two or three weeks after I posted it! And is there really a rule that addresses "scapegoating"? Anyone who glances at the responses to my question and the contrived explanations - some of them more than 30 paragraphs long can see what's going on here. – David Blomstrom Jul 10 '15 at 12:29
  • "One person hating some amorphous group of human beings . . . is logically impossible." That's absurd. There are people who hate Christians, others who hate NeoNazis or liberals. But what could be "amorphous" than liberals? And how does one define "Christian" or "NeoNazi"? There are many different groups and sects, different degrees of involvement, etc. – David Blomstrom Jul 11 '15 at 0:21
  • @David Blomstrom - you love labels, don't you David. – user98990 Jul 11 '15 at 1:40
  • The labels, these are not actual things, they are only conceptual handles, broad generalizations and abstractions humans use to facilitate communication, and that is where their reality and usefulness begins and ends. These labels, Jew, Christian, Conservative, Liberal, Nazi, Hippie - they have a relative value as experiential maps, but become counterproductive, even harmful, when these conceptualizations become confused with objective reality. None of the people who populate these labels are actually homogenous, each one is unique. – user98990 Jul 11 '15 at 2:56
  • You completely miss the point. Even if you were right (and you clearly are not), people can still fear, dislike or hate labels. Speaking of labels, how about SCAPEGOATING? I typed it into Search and found nothing about it in the rules. And it's simply amazing that you're still trying to figure out what rule I violated a month after I asked the question. I asked a perfectly logical, valid question. The problem is, no one can think of a logical reason to nix it, so you're just making up lame excuses. – David Blomstrom Jul 11 '15 at 4:29
  • No one will tell you the rule violated was 'scapegoating', that's just my term. The site most likely doesn't want to encourage the topic you find so stimulating. Things can be clear to you that are not so clear to others - there's a whole world of opinions out there, people will still be debating many of them long after you and I have left the stage. As to your perfectly logical question, if I recall correctly, you answered it yourself, and to your own satisfaction. All you're really up against here is that people, for the most part, don't want to give voice to hatred. – user98990 Jul 11 '15 at 5:03
  • Bingo. You hit the nail on the head when you said my question violated no rules; it was simply nixed because people weren't comfortable with it. I just wish people would have said that up front, rather than call me a racist and post the most convoluted, non-rational explanations for not accepting it. However, your last sentence once again misses the mark. The hatred is already there. My suggested word actually minimizes it, channeling it in the proper direction rather than broadbrushing an entire community. – David Blomstrom Jul 12 '15 at 0:39
  • You hear what you want to hear, I never said your question violated no rules. – user98990 Jul 12 '15 at 2:17
  • First you wrote, "There is merely scapegoating. And that's the rule the OP in question violated." Later you wrote, "No one will tell you the rule violated was 'scapegoating', that's just my term." Still later..."I never said your question violated no rules." That's a textbook example of a convoluted argument. If you think my question violated a rule, you should be able to specify the rule. If you can't do that, then it didn't violate any rules, period. You're just reaching for excuses to bash my question. – David Blomstrom Jul 12 '15 at 2:22

You must log in to answer this question.

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