RE: Islam and Europe and Joe

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Fri 22 Nov 2002 - 17:37:41 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "RE: Islam and Europe"

    Hi, Scott, By 'anti-Semitic' I mean bigoted against any or all Semitic races, including Arabs. Islam, being a religion, would not be included, though of course many Muslims are Arabs and vice versa. My experience of bigots is that their bigotry can swing around at anytime to attack anyone who is 'different,' so it should not bring much comfort to Jews - or anyone else - that Joe has so far focused his anti-Semitism on Arabs and Muslims.
    {Someday, when we have nothing else to talk about, we can explore whether the support of US Christian fundamentalists for Israel's territorial aggrandizement is _support_ for Israel, or an odd and powerful form of anti-Jewish anti-Semitism. Not that would be an interesting discussion!) One of the insights of the US civil rights movement is that until there is tolerance for all, there can be tolerance for none, and in Joe we see the quintessential bigot: a raging anger against things and people he cannot understand; a recourse to binary, simplistic 'me-good, you-bad' thinking; and a biased selection of 'facts' for obsessive repetition; and, a pervasive paranoia - 'they are out to get me.' It is sad, really, for a couple of reasons: Joe is not stupid, so there is in principle a waste of intellectual capability going on, and it occupies time and space on our list. Joe will never understand that we are here to study memes as objects, because instead he gets caught up inside them. And Joe's raging bigotry is toxic; to the extent that anyone buys into it, it impedes the ability of the US to form intelligent and effective views of the world, and so to find our way to effective international policies. The consequence is that the US alienates itself from a world in which we need all the friends possible. It is ironic, too. Joe makes President Bush look like a model of insight, understanding, tolerance and leadership. Joe lines up with the Falwells and Pat Robertsons of our country, and only make the job of the President harder. Joe will rush to say that he is anti-religion, but his bigotry is on a par and with and of the same nature as Falwell's and Robertson's. Having said all of that, I will also say that Joe's presence here on this list is interesting and not without value: it gives us our own case study of memetic warfare, and reveals a dark side of the American soul, a dark side that harks back to the foundations of our country - the dispossession of native peoples by Europeans colonialists, slavery, anti-black prejudice, religious fundamentalism, and now, international bullying in the form of power-based relationships. I know that not everyone here is interested in this memetic battle, and sympathize. As with the battles that attended these other dark issues, we can't always choose our case studies. Sometimes they choose us <smile> Best regards, Lawry

    Scott: In what way are you using the label "anti-Semitism"? The term has a specific application AFAICT, meaning "hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group" [from MWCD10]. Is your application broader than this (ie- hostility etc. against Arabs or Muslims) or has Joe posted diatribes against Jews? I realize that Semites include the groups of Arabs and Jews but thought anti-Semitism had a more specific application.

    Joe may be posting stuff that goes a little far in neagative attitide towards Islam, but he could see himself as countering apologetics seen in the attitudes of others.

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