Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Plain and Simple # 3 - Judaism

Judging from the letters in the Linewaiters Gazette, identifying BDS as anti-Semitic really upsets the Food Coop's BDS supporters.   They want to deny the charge, but they are unable to show that BDS is not anti-Jewish.  Instead, they redefine anti-Jewish to fit their position.

From the Coop's pro-BDS group's website:
Is BDS anti-Semitic?

BDS is not anti-Semitic. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – the Jewish religion, like this movement, supports social justice and rejects oppression. Unfortunately, many of the Israeli government’s actions violate basic tenants (sic) of Judaism (3).

Equating Judaism with the state of Israel is inaccurate and unfair. Many Jews involved in the BDS movement feel that it’s anti-Semitic to assume that, because of their religion, they must support a national project that violates their values.
Let's translate and analyze one line at a time.

"Is BDS anti-Semitic?" - Is BDS antagonistic to Jews and/or the Jewish religion?

"BDS is not anti-Semitic." - BDS's goal is the dismantling of Israel as a Jewish State. To claim BDS is not anti-Semitic, our BDS supporters would have to show that either this is not their goal or that this goal is not antagonistic to Jews.  Their proof:

"In fact, it’s quite the opposite – the Jewish religion, like this movement, supports social justice and rejects oppression." According to them, BDS and the Jewish religion support the same thing, namely "social justice", and reject the same thing, namely "oppression." Therefore, BDS isn't antagonistic towards Jews or Judaism. This is not a logical argument; two groups sharing a value does not imply a lack of antagonism. Not only have they not established that BDS "supports social justice and rejects oppression," but they do not demonstrate that BDS and Judaism share the same definitions of "social justice" and "oppression."   Yet, what follows is even more remarkable.

"Unfortunately, many of the Israeli government’s actions violate basic tenants (sic) of Judaism (3)." - I think they meant to write "tenets," not "tenants," but never mind.   I assume here they are identifying  "supporting social justice and rejecting oppression." as a basic tenet of Judaism.  By accusing Israel of violating their definition of Judaism,  they can conclude:  "Equating Judaism with the state of Israel is inaccurate and unfair." Once they have identified Israel as un-Jewish, opposing it is not anti-Semitic. In a final twist of logic, supporting Israel becomes anti-Semitic! "Many Jews involved in the BDS movement feel that it’s anti-Semitic to assume that, because of their religion, they must support a national project that violates their values."

They betray their ignorance of both history and Judaism.

Judaism, like all religions, mediates a relationship between the individual and the Divine. In Judaism, a covenant, the Torah, demands of Jews to worship God through particular rituals and to behave towards  others in a particular manner. In return, God will protect and establish the Jews as a nation in their own land, Israel. Some commandments - such as providing for the poor and establishing courts - correspond with our notions of social justice. Other commandments - such as living in the Land of Israel, building a nation, and protecting other Jews - illustrate Judaism's less universal aspects.  There is no commandment to capitulate to those seeking the destruction of the Jews.

Of course, each individual is free to choose what to believe.  However, characterizing any religion as supporting a particular view or opposing a particular view requires a familiarity with the scope of that religion's practices, history and theology.  Any claim regarding a religion's substance must be supported by actual references. Our pro-BDS members don't do that.  Plain and simple, they don't know what they are talking about.

4 comments:

  1. Barb: your posts are just getting better and better. Deconstructing their arguments exposing the fallacies/lies shows BDS for what it is a racist, anti-Semetic movement.
    Thank you and keep up the good work.
    avishay

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  2. Of course, plenty of BDS supporters are, in fact, Jewish. And, of course, Jewish people have many, many different views of the Israeli government.

    Stop me if I'm wrong, but the logical extension of your post is that these are quote-unquote self-hating Jews. I think when you reach the point where you're accusing people of hating their own heritage, you should step back and rethink things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jonathan -

      I am finally getting around to answering your comments. I hope you are still checking in. Let me know, please.

      As for your comment, I just reread your post. So, I will stop you and say you are wrong. I don't follow your logic in saying that I think my Coop's BDS supporters are "self-hating Jews."

      What I am saying is that whoever wrote the text wrote it from a position of ignorance about Judaism and Israel. You are the one who is accusing me, reading into my writing things that aren't there. Perhaps it is you who needs to rethink, or at least reread.

      Clearly, they don't believe their support of BDS is anti-Semitic. They say so! I am telling them that their logic is flawed. BDS is by no means benign towards Jews, Judaism or the Jewish People. If it were, it would not enjoy the support of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups, who are very clear about their malevolent intentions towards Jews.

      I believe the intention of BDS is to hurt Jews, individually, and the Jewish People in general.

      I write about this a little more fully in my post Come to the Conversation. You should look at some of the links about defining anti-Semitism.

      Barbara

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