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World Association of International Studies

Post Anti-Semitism
Created by John Eipper on 03/31/16 3:38 AM

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Anti-Semitism (Robert Whealey, USA, 03/31/16 3:38 am)

In response to Luciano Dondero (29 March), I never heard of the term anti-Semitism until I was 18. My mother was a "fundamentalist" Methodist, who told me that the Bible says that the Jews are "the chosen people" of God. My best friend in grammar and high school disliked Jews, but he could not explain to me a rational reason why. I kept up with him after he went to college and retired as an orthodontist in Florida. In our occasional meetings since 1948, he dropped all negative comments about Jews and sold his dental practice in Pompano Beach.

During my Freshman year at Bates College in Maine, I became involved in monthly bull sessions, with three Jews, an Episcopalian, an Anglo-Saxon (either atheist or agnostic), one Greek-American, a Unitarian, and a liberal Protestant pre-Ministry student (who later became a campus minister). Perhaps 20% of the Bates student body was Roman Catholic, but two of them were silent in the bull sessions and mostly just listened.

Over the summer, I read a history of religion and announced in September 1949 to my roommate, "I am no longer a fundamentalist."

From the beginning, I could never understand a "so-called" Christian who said he was an anti-Semite.

How could he be an anti-Semite, when the founders of the Christian religion were both Jews, Jesus and Apostle Paul?

In the 1960s, the West German Catholic Church and Lutheran-Evangelical Church both repudiated anti-Semitism as a false Social Darwinist ideology.

Zionism is nationalist ideology. In 1948 European Zionists created the nation-state of Israel in the British Mandate of Palestine. That has become a problem for the State Department. The mass media have intensified this problem because they and most Democrats and Republicans are confused about the concepts of  "race," "nation," "state," "religion" and social-economic class. The 2016 election is becoming more intense. I plea to my fellow WAISers to read more law and history and turn off TV as much as possible.

JE comments:  And read more WAIS!  Unless, of course, we launch WAISworld Television (WTV).

Who can pinpoint the moment when US Fundamentalist Christians abandoned the crude anti-Semitism of yore, to become almost universally pro-Israel?  Sometime in the 1960s?  Incidentally, this was also the time the Catholic Church retracted the "Christ-Killer" label (Vatican II).

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  • Anti-Semitism; from Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA 03/31/16 6:10 PM)
    Ric Mauricio responds to Robert Whealey (31 March):

    WAISers, please correct me if I am wrong, but according to some reports, around 85% of Jews are not even Semites, rather they are descendants of Ashkenazi, Sephardic, or Mizrahi ethnicities. So the word "anti-Semitic" is an obsolete concept. In fact, one could be called anti-Semitic if one is anti-Arab, since some Arabs are Semitic.

    Robert Whealey's wrote, "I could never understand a 'so-called' Christian who said he was an anti-Semite. How could he be an anti-Semite, when the founders of the Christian religion were both Jews, Jesus and Apostle Paul?" Robert points out how illogically many people think. And I have discovered that arguing against the illogical often results in frustration. People will believe in the illogical even when faced with logic or contradiction.

    You see, it is much easier to not think than to think. It is easier to make sweeping generalizations than to give some thought as to what that generalization really means. This is why Trump said he loves the undereducated, because he can appeal to them through generalizations. An illegal immigrant kills an innocent bystander, therefore all illegal immigrants are bad and must be deported. The rioters in Baltimore and Ferguson are doing bad things, so they must be illegal (according to Trump). We have terrorists who are Muslim, so all Muslims must be terrorists.

    The same generalizations are made with regards to Jews. As Donald Trump put it, "we are all hagglers," stating the stereotype of Jews being hard-nosed negotiators worshiping the same golden calf that he worships. Oh, speaking to a Jewish group, this really ticked them off.

    While it is true that many Jews are financially astute, a trait that many of us should attempt to emulate, that trait is not an exclusive one exhibited by Jews. The overseas Chinese are often called the Jews of Asia for that same trait. There are anti-overseas Chinese feelings in many Asian countries (the Philippines, Malaysia). There are many people of many different ethnicities and nationalities who also are financially astute.

    But the problem is two-sided. Many of the above become arrogant and thus the anti-whatever begins. And there is a jealousy factor on the other side. The solution often calls for wealth equalization, which, of course, does not work.

    We just have to embrace our differences. After all, if all of us were blonde, blue-eyed, six footers, with above average IQs, what an absolute boring world this would be.

    JE comments:  I've seen the epithet "Jews of X" applied to the Catalans in Spain, the Regiomontanos (residents of Monterrey) in Mexico, and the Paisas (Medellín) in Colombia.  All of these are legendary for their business acumen.  We've touched on this topic in prior WAIS posts.  Are there other examples?

    Also, what real meaning does the term "Semite" have other than claiming some vague ancestry in Shem, the Biblical second son of Noah?

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    • Cubans as "Jews"; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 04/01/16 11:44 AM)

      Gary Moore writes:

      To Ric Mauricio's "Jews of X" post add Cubans, a characterization not entirely buried by
      two generations of communism (X in this case being "the Caribbean"),
      with an opposite stereotype said to mantle Puerto Ricans among Cubans.

      JE comments:  Perhaps Francisco Wong-Díaz can add to this.  One could counter that unlike Cubans, Jewish folks as a rule have not stood out in baseball, with the exceptions of Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg, and Rod Carew.  Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is also Jewish--as well as a fellow Dartmouth grad.

      I've long observed that Cubans and Puerto Ricans have surprisingly little affection for each other.

      (Please note:  this one is not an April Fool's joke.)

      Next up:  A post from FYI López.

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      • Puerto Ricans and Cubans; Cubans as "Jews" (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 04/01/16 6:47 PM)
        John E is correct about animosity between Puerto Ricans and Cubans, despite the fact that a Puerto Rican was a leader of Cuba's war of independence. I have encountered this negative attitude through my life in the USA. I do not know its cause, but will guess at a few socio-historical reasons:

        Despite the fact that they are US citizens, PRs feel that Cubans have been treated as special migrants while the latter look down at PRs for being underperformers.

        PRs by being US citizens have been viewed in Latin America as losers who who sold out after failing to free themselves with or without help from other Latin American countries.

        Many middle and upper-class Cubans left their island after the Castro takeover and settled in PR where they soon dominated some discrete parts of the local economy and hired low-paid PRs. Best example is the Bacardi family which moved its operations to PR.

        Some other reasons might exist, but the issue is real.

        Regarding Gary Moore's observation of April 1st, I remember being surprised decades ago at a social event by someone referring to Cubans as the "Jews of the Caribbean." He meant it as a compliment!

        JE comments: Yes, a compliment.  Paisas (citizens of Medellín or Antioquia in Colombia) boast of alleged Jewish roots, to which they attribute their entrepreneurship.   Paisas pride themselves as doers; they see Bogotanos as non-productive, elitist bureaucrats.

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        • Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Stereotypes; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 04/03/16 6:42 PM)

          Gary Moore responds to Francisco Wong-Díaz (2 April), concerning Cubans and Puerto Ricans as stereotypes:

          The Miami Herald once flew me into Cuba when it was
          generally off-limits, but a rare opening had been made.
          On the tarmac, the pilot of the small plane (I never asked
          his ethnicity--though clearly it wasn't Puerto Rican) launched
          into an instructive this-is-how-things-are-here monologue,
          faintly redolent of good ol' boy raps in the Old South.

          Studding his riff with helpful examples, he said that once
          he had worked for a utility company stringing wire in the
          back country of either Cuba or Puerto Rico, where the linemen
          were from both places. One day they were lined up military-style,
          he said, to hear a new proposal: a zesty job opening had come up,
          and would mean possibility for attractive promotion--but also a lot
          more work. Anyone who wanted to volunteer for this challenging new
          track should step forward, the troops were told.

          As if with one mind (said the good-old-boy of the palms) all the
          Cubans in the line then stepped forward. And (he added with a cocked
          eyebrow that might have been at home in Selma or Bastrop of Jim Crow)
          all the Puerto Ricans stood right where they were.

          These are very interesting stereotypes to explore, though often one has
          to wait for the right sage on the tarmac.

          JE comments:  I wonder if these same stereotypes existed in 1898, before Cuba and Puerto Rico embarked on very different political paths.

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    • Semites, Khazars, and Jewishness (Cameron Sawyer, USA 04/02/16 6:27 AM)

      I will accept Ric Mauricio's gracious invitation to correct him (31 March), on the question of the Semitic ethnicity of Jews.

      The debate about this started with Arthur Koestler's book, Darkness at Noon, where this writer asserted or hypothesized that European Jews are not related at all to Biblical Jews, but rather, to the Khazars, a Turkic nomadic nation of the Middle Ages which was briefly a regional superpower, dominating the Northern part of the Black Sea littorals, and which converted to Judaism.

      Koestler hoped that this entirely fanciful idea might reduce the tendency to anti-Semitism, but the effect of it was the opposite, as it was seized upon by neo-Nazis and other wackos.

      The Khazar theory has been thoroughly debunked by genetic research, which shows that the great majority of Jews in the world are in fact descended from the Biblical Israelites. Ashkenazis (by far the largest part of modern Jewry, representing 70% to 80%) are not really a separate ethnic group from the Sephardim, who are the very same people, but who developed certain differentiating cultural and linguistic characteristics from centuries of living in Iberia.

      So indeed the concept of "anti-Semitism" is not obsolete at all. It is a somewhat incorrect use of terminology, however, since no one is referring to hatred of the entire Semitic family of peoples, which of course includes Arabs, and other ancient and modern peoples.

      An interesting fact about the ethnicity of Jews is that modern Jews and Palestinians are very close to each other genetically, far closer than to other peoples of the region. "Arab" is, much less than "Jew," not an exact ethnic description, since the Arabs conquered and assimilated huge groups of peoples during their conquests.

      There is an excellent article in Wiki:


      JE comments:  WAIS conducted a particularly detailed discussion on the Khazars back in 2005.  Do a search at the WAISworld.org website.  I also came across this 2004 post from RH and Martin Lewis, which hypothesizes a linguistic and genetic connection between the Khazars and the Magyars (Hungarians).  It's worth a click:


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