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Crossing over: Anti-Zionism & Antisemitism on Campus

November 21, 2010 – 5:44 pm124 Comments

Very little subtlety here.

As the ADC releases its report on Antisemitism on Campus in Victoria, Deborah Stone reflects on the increasing grey area between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

I’m a Jew. I’m not an Israeli. I could have been an Israeli. Like many Jews of my generation I had the gap-year Israel experience and chose, for all sorts of reasons, to live in the Diaspora.

Though I love the place, my feelings about Israel are inconsistent, rather like my Hebrew-language skills that include the odd sophisticated metaphor while balking at simple verb-preposition constructs.

But I’m quite clear on my Jewish identity and my rights as a Jew to be free from hate speech. I’m also clear on my responsibility, as a Jew and as a human being, to advocate for respectful pluralism in Australia. So when an opportunity to use my media and research background came up at the Anti-Defamation Commission, it seemed a good fit.

Opposing antisemitism and racism is a task I can approach with moral clarity, particularly so as I am by nature a bridge-builder with a genuine belief that interfaith engagement and shared experience is the way to handle differences. For the same reasons, I can stand firm against vilification of any sort.

I don’t have the same moral clarity about Israel. I care about Israel. I care about Palestinians too. I care more about Israel for the same reason I care more about my son than yours, but that doesn’t give me the right to advocate for my son at the expense of yours.

I believe in the right to a Jewish state and I get a buzz out of the place that’s unparalleled by any other place on earth. But my positions on given issues may be wildly at variance with the decisions of the Israeli government of the day – not to mention some of the decisions of the past.

My ambiguity is caused by the fact that advocates for Palestinian causes and opponents of Israel’s policies outside the Jewish community rarely make such distinctions. Attacks on Israel are habitually vilifying and their targets are anyone with Israel attachment of any sort. Read Jews. So although I’m in my role to defend Jewish people from vilification, I often find myself criticising Israel’s critics – even when I think they have a point.

It would be easier if our interlocutors were clearer in their discourse. When they yell “Israel is a terrorist state” do they mean “Israel made some wrong decisions in Gaza” “or do they mean “Israel is an illegitimate entity – Jews have no rights to self-determination”? Are they critics of Israel or antisemites?

I’m happy to be a voice of moderation and to argue that we need to be very clear about what constitutes legitimate criticism and the ways in which attacks on Israel are now frequently used to stereotype, demonise and delegitimize  – tropes which any student of antisemitism will recognize.

But I’m struggling to put the boundaries on the grey area of antisemitism and anti-Zionism because so much of the criticism of Israel is intemperate, delegitimizing and comes so close to the essential experience of being Jewish in the 21st century.

There was a time when political Zionism was a controversial ideology within Jewish thought. History has moved on and Israel is now a key part of Jewish identity and experience for most Diaspora Jews.

Certainly it is possible to be a cultural or religious Jew with no attachment to Israel. But Bundists and Neturei Karta are marginal sects. Their existence says little about the experience of most Jews.

It is also possible to be a biological Jew and dedicate a successful media career to a narrative that paints Israel as pure aggressor. But if being Jewish means anything it’s about being part of a historical and continuing community and such a position puts one outside the community.

The real experience of most Diaspora Jews is that Israel is a significant, though not necessarily a defining part of our Jewish consciousness. While there’s clearly a continuum here, the language, religious, and historical connections are deeply ingrained. For many of us, these links are reinforced by gap year or summer programs, attachment to family or friends living there, engagement with Israel-based charities, business or cultural interactions. We begin to feel that that “when they say Israel they mean us”.

My recent work on antisemitism on campus has made it clear to me that most Jewish university students experience attacks on Israel as if they were traditional antisemitism. In response to increased reports of antisemitism on campus and intimidation of Jewish students, the ADC recently invited Jewish students in Victoria to fill in a questionnaire about their on-campus experiences. Fifty respondents completed the questionnaire. This group is clearly self-selecting and it is probable that students who have experienced antisemitism or who more strongly identify with the Jewish community were more likely to respond.

But the results, available in the ADC’s Antisemitism on Campus report, give a clear indication that Jewish students do feel intimidated and attacked and that Israel is at the core of that experience. Their reports range from informal harassment – for example, verbal abuse of a student wearing a souvenir Israel t-shirt – to more considered political attacks – for example, academics using their positions to deliver polemics attacking Israel, sometimes in courses unrelated to political issues.  Students in settings as diverse as architecture and psychology have reported being subject to anti-Israel harangues during classes.

More than two thirds (68 per cent) of respondents reported experiencing or witnessing some form of antisemitism. The students defined as antisemitism many broad anti-Israel messages such as “Israel is a terrorist state”. The situation was particularly bad at La Trobe University, where all the respondents said they had experienced or witnessed antisemitism.

In an effort to judge whether students saw these attacks as purely about their attachment to Israel or also about their Jewishness we asked students whether they or their friends ever hid their Jewishness or Israel views. Few students admitted to hiding themselves (possibly this smacks of disloyalty) but many said their friends did. Significantly students were just as likely to hide their Jewishness as their Israel views.

There are, of course, a number of other reasons that students might hide their views about Israel: they may disagree with Israel’s actions but feel disloyal expressing this disagreement; they may be ambivalent; they may agree with Israel but feel insufficiently competent to defend their position; or they may wish to avoid conflict.

But the consistency of their willingness to identify as Jews and their willingness to identify as having opinions on Israel suggests none of these factors is overriding the perception that being Jewish and supporting Israel will attract pretty much the same degree of opprobrium on campus.

The tone of protests that characterise Israel as a violent and oppressive regime create an increasingly uncomfortable environment for Jews because most of us feel attached to Israel, whether or not we agree with a given policy. We feel uncomfortable or worse because Israel is on the outer and that puts us on the outer. That sense of being unwelcome in the wider world is the experience of antisemitism.

Deborah Stone is executive director of the Anti-Defamation Commission

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  • Mohan replies says:

    What on earth is a biological jew ? Biological Christians, Zorastrians, Buddhists and what else ! Unless there is something like a special “Jewish” race !

  • Ilana Leeds says:


    With all due respect Deborah Stone, to make a statement like this you must be deluded about the real intention of the interfaith meets which I personally think are not what they are presented as. Usually they have a very clear agenda and it is to show how warm and cosy X Christian sects are and how ‘forgiving they are of the ‘Christ killers’ that they will even open a dialogue with them and have these supposedly ‘benign meetings’ where everyone shares….HO HUM their faith. But they have their purpose, I guess and if it gets disfranchised Jews to think more closely about their own faith, then that is good. However one hopes they will understand what the real deal is and come back to their roots and the truth of the matter.

    ‘so as I am by nature a bridge-builder with a genuine belief that interfaith engagement and shared experience is the way to handle differences.’

    What do you think of Trojan horses Deborah, or are they just an invention of the Greeks? Personally I am wary of ‘Greeks’ bearing gifts. Everything has a price and there is no free lunch in this world.

    And a ‘biological Jew’ well, well, that is an interesting concept, I must say. I guess someone one like myself, a convert with far flung Jewish ancestry is possibly not even a Jew in your book. Look I have learnt to deal compassionately with people like yourself who would rather tattoo the word CONVERT on my forehead (and snigger behind their hands at me as a person who had so deluded herself in being a Jew that she has undergone an orthodox conversion) but I view them the same way as I view Nazis and if that sort of mind set takes hold of the world then we are all lost. Being a Jew is more than being born to a Jewish mother and unfortunately there are many of those roaming around who do a lot of harm to the Jewish nation by their behaviour. There are not only converts who are considered thorns in the side of am Israel. However, being all said and done. my compassion is extended to those who do not view me or other converts despite it all as ‘true Jews’.

    I may be controversial in my views but I do have respect for reasonable viewpoints and respect all religions even though I do not and will never part-take in an interfaith dialogue because I do not believe they are genuine. I think bridges can be better built in other ways. The money spent on these should be better spent in Kiruv work with secular Jews and helping them to gain stronger connections to their spirituality and not having dialogue with people who are going to further confuse and muddle them.
    I think it does not take rocket science to understand that there has been a move to de-legitimize the state of Israel for quite some time in the world media. There is a lot of oil money and wealth out there and we all know that it is not being spent on the welfare of the ‘Palestinians’ who are realistically speaking Arab Israelis or non Jewish residents of Israel proper. Have you ever talked with some of them (Arab Israelis) and asked them to compare notes on living in the state of Israel or so called Palestine.
    Deborah more research and have you ever spent a week or two with a shomer shabbat family? Have you ever visited Israel and spent some time with the settlers in the Shomron instead of being like many media hacks, so prepared to demonise them and see them as fanatics?
    Who are you really Deborah, apart form being a biological Jew?

  • jonathan says:

    I’m not Australian so can someone please explain to me how ANY Australian is able to criticize Israel? I have visited both Israel and Australia on several occasions, often for months at a time and I have no doubt whatsoever that if the Israeli govt. treat their Arab population in the manner that you treat your indigenous peoples there wouldn’t be a foreign embassy left in Israel as they’d have all closed down in protest!
    I was in Melbourne a few months ago and read a damning article on Israel as an apartheid State, the hypocrisy was quite stunning, especially as it had been pointed out to me a day or so before that European immigrants have more rights than Aborigines the moment they step off the plane!
    Also the racist attitude of many Aussies is far, far worse than is found by the average Israeli.

  • frosh says:


    All your examples are fasle analogies.

    Traditionally, being a Jew refers to being part of a tribe or ethnic group, and is not so much related to religious practice. Of course, the Jewish tradition has always allowed for those who wish to take on Jewish practices to join the tribe (through the conversion process).

    Hence, we have the term “The People of Israel” rather than “The People of Moses”, since Jacob/Israel was the father of all the Jewish tribes, , even though as the law-giver, Moses could be said to be the father of the Jewish religion. And thus Judaism (i.e. the religion of the Jewish people), as distinct from the Jewish people itself) is often referred to as the Mosaic tradition.

    Your unhealthy obssession with Jews is perhaps a relatively new one, and so you could be forgiven for not yet understanding this.

  • Lynette Chazan says:

    Deborah Stone has presented Galus with an opportunity to discuss the results of an important and highly disturbing survey to which she has provided a link. I am puzzled by the responses so far which seem to be around the debate about “Who is a Jew?” As powerful as this question is, Deborah is asking us to think about the experiences of our young adult children who attend University, MOST of whom state they have experienced anti-semitism personally. Some of the incidents reported are truly hair-raising eg a lecturer allowing a Palestinian activist to take over a lecture for an entire hour, a student marked down when it was discovered she was Jewish (regraded up when remarked), a tutor who blamed rising oil prices on ‘Israel’, and someone who actually said “why don’t we sove it and just get rid of the Jews”

    When I read this I thought: you could not get away with speaking like this about gays, homosexuals, or any other group. Why is become OK to speak this way to/about Jews?

    Guys, can we please get our heads together (whichever road we took to the position of identifying as Jewish) and think about how to help our kids?

    Certainly, interfaith meetings will trigger positive effects in some, even if only a few people, that may have significant flow-on effects to others, and should not be so utterly dismissed. But what else can we do? In the US, leaders like Dershowitz turn up on troubled campuses. Where are the Australian Deshowitzes?

    When Abu Toameh, the Arab Israeli journalist was here recently, he said we should be very worried about the ferment he had witnesses in western Universities. Most worrying is the trend that marginal groups repeating slogans over and over, with energy and extreme emotion, even hatred, may be affecting mainstream thought.

    I fear there is also a trend to silence Jewish and pro-Zionist voices and that we have a corresponding fear of complaining or ‘making a fuss’, or the sense that we need to ‘get it right entirely’ ourselves before we say anything.

    I think we need to speak up – but how?

  • Lynette Chazan says:

    Sorry, I meant gays or Moslems!!

  • Shira Wenig says:

    Ilana I think you are overreacting to a benign comment of Deborah’s. I assume by “biological Jew” she means someone who was born to a Jewish mother but doesn’t demonstrate their Jewishness in any other way (and whose “Jewish genes” serve only to make their attacks on Israel that much more pernicious). This is an indictment on that sort of Jew, and the use of the word “biological” is not in any way relevant to the status of a convert. In fact it is particularly irrelevant to extend this comment to converts, who have already demonstrated their commitment to Judaism!
    I have no idea why you felt the need to bring a comparison to Nazis into this. If I were Deborah I would find this extremely offensive.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    With respect, Deborah, you’re overthinking this. Suppose you met someone who was constantly denigrating France; someone who joined the Anti-France League and went on rallies where people talked about banning Camembert and Bordeaux. Would you presume that their position was based on some sort of sophisticated political rationale? I wouldn’t: I’d think they were a bigot. I’d still think that, even if they presented me with a dossier of French crimes from the War of the Roses to the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. The same goes for anti-Israel types. They’re bigots. The precise nature of their bigotry may vary, but the nature is the same.

  • Shira Wenig says:

    Joe, I don’t understand your point. Bigots can do tremendous harm, especially if there are a lot of them. Even if we are “only” dealing with bigots, why dismiss them? This is a good article on an extremely important issue.

  • Malki Rose says:

    Congratulations Deborah, on what is a long overdue piece on this alarming phenomenon.

    While many bad decisions on the part of the Israeli Military garner sometimes deserved criticism from Jews and non-Jews alike, it is the rising wave of disingenuous criticisms of Israel which are cause for concern.

    As the picture provided with the article illustrates, as it does with every anti-Israel rally, anti-zionism is fast becoming the most popular, best selling, scot-free, academic-approved, politically correct version of ‘anti-semitism’ of our age.

    To condemn Jews as a people or even Israel as a nation when particular choices are made by sectors of government is socially and morally irresponsible.

    Criticism if genuine, and intended as constructive, should be targetting appropriately.

    Jonathan, your comment is brilliant. And I wish someone would point this out to the quick-to-judge ‘equality loving’ and ‘humanist’ Aussies, who somehow seem to forget the revolting hatred they display in their own front yard, while they criticise Israel (as a whole rather than specifically or fairly) which they have never visited and know very little about.

    It is a shame that even in this age of cultural freedom, a Jew in a free-thinking, academic and allegedly non-partisan enviroment still needs to be ashamed of his own cultural identity.

    Once again congratulations Deborah!

    (May I ask what the ADC’s thoughts are on how best to combat this problem?)

  • Malki Rose says:

    Shira and Joe,
    Sadly, this is no longer a sentiment limited to ‘bigots’.
    Even sadder, this is most likely because we’ve spent too long dismissing it as harmless views held by ‘only a few dumb bigots’.

  • Marky says:

    Jonathan writes “Also the racist attitude of many Aussies is far, far worse than is found by the average Israeli”

    You just need to walk around the city or other busy area at night, wearing a Kippah to understand.

  • Semite says:

    IMHO The very first thing we can do is unite and make peace with ourselves. If we were able to overcome our differences and unite as a community we would be in an infinitely stronger position to tackle this and many other problems.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Joe in Australia
    with respect, you seem to be underthinking it!
    how does labelling something as bigotry diminish its impact or seriousness-
    and when bigotry threatens your freedoms and safety what difference does it make whether it reflects a sophisticated world view or stupidity-
    and your analogy with french cheese is trivialising and a bit on the nose- and entirely misses the blurred boundaries between anti-Israel and anti-semitic behaviour on campus which is the subject of the ADC report

  • Kovi Rose says:

    To be short an sweet like a candy bearing midget, i feel like this issue could ideally be solved with education.

    If the wider Jewish community was involving in courses teaching the facts about Israel – or even if they would simply educate themselves via the brochures of an organisation like StandWithUs -, i feel that they would be better prepared to defend Israel on campus.

    And if this was the case, they would be able to educate their peers at universities, and create a more informed and hence more Israel-friendly environment.

    I feel like this may solve a few of the issues you brought up Deborah.


  • Shira Wenig says:

    Kovi, your solution is important but it would only change the attitudes of a small proportion of the culprits. What we are seeing is largely a manifestation of anti-semitism, not of ignorance. Some people are not interested in changing their views, no matter how much information you bombard them with.

    My sister worked for AIPAC’s campus section, and she tells me their strategy is to focus on student leaders (who are likely to be the future leaders shaping US policy) by taking them to Israel, giving them positive experiences etc, rather than trying to influence the masses. This strategy might seem a bit elitist, but it’s probably more useful.

    Malki, that was exactly my point.

  • Mohan replies says:

    Jonathan very interesting “argument”. Sorry what right does that give Australians to criticise Iran, Iraq, Hezbollah, Hamas, PLO, Fatah, Turkey, the BDS campaign, peace Now, Gush Shalom etc etc ? After all members ZCV, AIJAC,etc do not live in Israel, Iran, Turkey et al. Next time you read Rubenstien call for sanction or Iran, you know what to tell him!

  • philip mendes says:

    Ilana: Deborah is quite obviously referring to Antony Loewenstein and his sidekicks like Michael Brull. They are the Jews who make careers out of reinforcing the anti-Zionist fundamentalist prejudices of some on the far Left.


  • Ian Grinblat says:

    Kovi Rose is a stereotypical Jewish optimist in thinking that education will solve everything.
    Ben-Gurion, some years before the 1967 war, said that war would very soon be impossible between Israel and her neighbours as the number of educated people on each side of the divide was increasing rapidly. Yeah, right.
    Just look around – the most subtle and vicious (and effective propagandists) are highly educated.

  • ariel says:

    I notice you capitalise the term “Israeli Military” as though this is a pronoun. It is not.

    The media constantly refer to the said entity as the “Israeli Army”. This is innaccurate.

    The correct pronoun to use is Israel Defence Force.

    The Australian Defence Force is always refered to as the ADF, so the Israeli counterpart should be the IDF.

    The British military is called Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and the American is called the United States Army/Navy/Air Force.

    There is a specific reason why the IDF has its name, just like the ADF and we should refer to the correct pronoun.

  • Malki Rose says:

    You’re right Ariel, and my use of the word ‘Military’ (and in capitals) was unintentional.
    (Perhaps referring to it more accurately as the IDF (as per the ADF) would aid in curbing the view that Israel is an oppressive state run by martial law.)

    You’ll note there was quite a different contention to what I wrote, and it was relating to disingenuous criticisms of Israel which are thin veils for anti-semitism.

  • frosh says:


    Once again you use false analogies.

    It is quite natural for Jews to be particularly concerned about their homeland. However, it is quite another thing, when, for example, an Australian of Pakistani origin devotes all their time focussing on a little conflict Israel, while everyday extremists in Pakistan are slaughtering a mosque full of Sufis etc.

    That’s a bit like obsessively worrying about the pimple on the cheek of your neighbour’s cousin, while your own parents, children, and siblings are infected with the Ebola virus.

  • Ilana Leeds says:


    Maybe I am hysterical. Maybe I am mad. (Most probably am) Maybe I am just damn sad about the whole mess that Israel has gotten itself into by this constant capitulation to the Israeli leftists who dream in their deluded way of peace with the ‘Palestinians’ and a two state solution which will end up going no where fast. I get really gutted by the fact that there are Jews, Orthodox Jews who are living and building (correction there – trying to build) homes and lives in Eretz Israel and they are undermined again and again and demonised as violent and aggressive savages even in the Israel press. It is like we haven’t taken on the Palestinian propaganda machine and just allowed it to spew out its hatred and bitterness everywhere. People believe them because there is nothing to counter. I don’t need Deborah’s link or research to understand what is happening on campus. There are Jewish kids bearing the brunt of all that warped and poisonous propaganda out there. It was already starting in the eighties.
    Think how the Israelis must feel with all this negativity from their fellow Jews in the Diaspora? People are entitled to their opinion, but there are some more constructive ways to criticize. Go and live in Israel yourself if you think you can do it better, otherwise shut up.
    Oh and @ Shira if Deborah is offended by my comment and comparison with the Nazi mind set, so she should be. It was intended to offend and get the person to rethink what they said. She’s a journalist, she should know better than to make such a comment. Hitler and the Nazi mindset was and is still one of the most hideous attitudes around.
    I think differences of opinion and lifestyle can be celebrated and cherished so long as they do not hurt others in a negative way. I respect and honour people for being who they are and people should believe in what they believe so long as it does not entail murder, discrimination or abuse of some form or another. People may not like what I have to say on some things, but then should I or anyone have to agree with the majority opinion just because the majority holds that opinion. Be ok if I went BA BA BA BA Black sheep (stremiel even) how many bags full? Oh three sir, one for me, one for the you and the little boy in blue! However I think for myself and I would hope we all do.
    There needs to be a much more proactive push for Israel on campus and a push to de-legitimize the lies of the Palestinian propaganda machine in the media. There is so much to be positive about Israel and we are not doing it.Instead the settlers who are really doing the hard work in the Shomron and beyond the Green line are demonised and made to appear as though they are in the wrong. Stand up for them and do not allow Israel to be given away lock stock and barrel. This is not funny what is happening. It is a tragedy.

    Here you go. This is a start. It is all there, if you have the time and the patience and are committed to understanding the situation.


    When Deborah writes a good and supportive article on someone like David Ha’ivri and the Shomron settlers and castigates the disgusting attempt underway to de-legitimize Israel through things like having Kever Rochel declared a mosque site, I will eat humble pie and apologize.

  • Shaun says:


    Being pro-Israel does not mean accepting your right-wing interpretation of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

    Pretending that Israel’s situation has been caused by ‘the capitulation of Israeli leftists’ and that somehow the heroes of Israel are the the settlers doing ‘the hard work in the Shomoron and beyond the green line’ strikes me as a tad naive (and what’s with putting Palestinians in inverted comaas – I presume you don’t see them as having any valid national rights?).

  • DA says:


    I do not think that a convert – A CONVERT – has any right to tell a bona fide Jew that they are not thinking as they should about their Judaism. Your writing is largely impenetrable and quite disturbed, however the bigotry and nastiness shines like a beacon in the night. Well done. You must be proud.

  • philip mendes says:

    DA: Let’s not attack people on the basis of their religious beliefs or origins. Ilana has chosen to join the Jewish people, and she deserves credit for that. But her political beliefs are toxic. If my memory serves me right, she was the organizer of the visit to Melbourne a year ago by that nutty leader of the Shomron Liaison Office Ha’ivri who wanted the Gazan settlers to return to Gaza. And in the note above, she refers to Jews like David Ha’ivri settling in Israel. The problem is precisely that they are not settling in Israel, they are settling in foreign territory, and only by the force of the gun. These people are deliberately – and disingenuously confusing Jewish religious teachings with far right political views.


  • Kovi Rose says:

    Mr Grinblat, i feel it entirely unfair of you to assume anything about me based on an 8 line comment; specifically to presume that i carry some sort of mindless optimism because i suggest something simple and positive.

    I did not say “that education will solve everything”, those are your words not mine. To be quite honest Ian, i also feel like your Ben-Gurion example is looking at my suggestion on a slightly superficial level.

    To both Ian and Shira, i am not looking at changing the minds and opinions of the Noa Chomsky’s, Anna Baltzer’s, Hanna King’s, and whoever else is already a “subtle…vicious [and] effective propagandist”.

    I was simply proposing that by educating the highschool and post-highschool youth who are both Jewish and non-Jewish, on the truths about Israel; and doing so in a way that makes Israel country that people can relate to.

    This true issue in my eyes, is educating and opening the minds of ALL adolescents BEFORE they can develop biased, misinformed and hypercritical opinions about Israel.

  • Marky says:

    To DA. Re convert no having a right to tell a bona fide Jew. Your comment is “below the belt”. You have a right to disagree, but not get personal(especially as she has the guts to publish her full name and you don’t). Not nice.

  • Malki Rose says:

    DA, while I too disagree with most of Ilana’s opinion, you need to remember that a Ger (convert) is just as bona fide as any other Yid, despite your personal prejudice.
    וְגֵר, לֹא תִלְחָץ; וְאַתֶּם, יְדַעְתֶּם אֶת-נֶפֶשׁ הַגֵּר–כִּי-גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם, בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם

  • Malki Rose says:

    (sorry this site doesn’t seem to like Nekudot!)

  • Malki Rose says:

    וגר לא תלחץ ואתם ידעתם את־נפש הגר כי־גרים הייתם בארץ מצרים

  • Homar Simpson says:

    There is a bit of a catch-22 in trying to deal with Anti-Semitism on campus (some of which is cloaked in ‘Anti-Zionist’ terminology).

    The Socialists/Students for Palestine feed off of controversy, histrionics and irrationality (one can still theoretically be Anti-Zionist and have cogent responses and self-respect).

    They often say that ‘we are not anti-Jewish, just anti-Zionist and we oppose all forms of racism’ which is cute, but their odd fixation with Jews and the ‘Zionist entity’ says otherwise.

    Responding and reacting to these groups only empowers them, but ignoring them doesn’t exactly achieve anything in terms of improving the atmosphere on campus.

    I do not think that (obnoxious) counter-rallies with Israeli flags and chanting actually achieves anything other than further inflaming the situation. Though the question then becomes – is the purpose of counter-action to appease the Jews on campus, oppose the anti-Israel groups or provide another perspective for the undecided/indifferent masses?

    On a side note:

    The Socialists attract a lot of Muslim students to their anti-Israel events but don’t have as much luck attracting them to same-sex marriage rallies. In this case it is hard to tell which group is the other’s ‘useful idiot’.

  • Marky says:

    There is even a Parsha in the Torah which was added by a convert, where he changes the way things work. His daughter married Moshe Rabbeinu. How many “bona fide” Jews can match that!

  • Mohan replies says:

    Frosh The analogy is true. Israel is homeland to the residents there and people with an organic connection to it – the palestinians. There is no organic connection between being Jewish and Israel any more than there is between being Muslim and Saudi Arabia.

  • Marky says:

    But what about your relatives who are infected with the ebola virus?

  • Mohan replies to Frosh 2 says:

    Sorry you mislead . The argument was about living in Israel, not a “homeland” based on mythical stories.

  • Alan says:

    What do most of these comments have to do with the article?

  • ariel says:

    I suppose your last statement applies equally to Aborigines and Australia?

  • Mohan replies to Ariel says:

    I meant them to apply universally. I do not accept exceptions from universal rights on the basis on religion, creed, skin colur or
    “natural superiority”. Australia is homeland to Australians and that includes aborigines.

  • Semite says:

    Alan, Mohan is giving us some examples of what jewish people may encounter on campuses and elsewhere and how easily people will blur the lines between anti israel(no organic connection between jews and israel…) and anti semitic (special jewish race…).

  • DA says:


    I know what I said was below the belt, and was written in fury and haste. Indeed, the Nazi comment so riled me that I deliberately went as low as I could go. Wrong, nasty and probably not useful, not really reflective of my real beliefs about converts. So sorry Ilana. I don’t know if it is just me, but although I rarely if ever comment here (though I enjoy the banter, I lack time and lucidity to give to write anything worthwhile), there something that I really, really dislike about what you write and how you go about saying it. Not because you’re a convert, but because of the outrageous and dangerous way that you correspond with others. I apologise for the convert bit though – I don’t really mean that.

  • ariel says:

    you obviously don’t know what the difference between a homeland and a country is.

  • frosh says:


    Is the problem that, despite my patient explanation, you are too obtuse to recognise any distinction between the Jewish people (i.e. עַם יִשְרָאֵל, The People of Israel) and the religion of Judaism?

    It is your prerogative to classify Judaism as based on a bunch of mythical stories, but it is plain fact that the People of Israel’s homeland is the Land of Israel

    If you continue to act this thick-headed, don’t be surprised if people here start to simply ignore you.

    Your absurd attempts to try to delegitimize the fundamental existence of the Jewish people certainly crosses over to anti-Semitism, and provides an example of what Ms Stone was referring to in her article.

  • Marky says:

    It’s getting like that nutcase Igor with his ridiculous statement(The eternal Jew-A short Ashkenazi) telling me that from my facial features he can tell that I am from the Scythian tribes of Ukraine and that the true Jews are the Moslems in Palestine…..

  • Mohan replies to semite says:

    Hello Semite

    Thanks for your comment. If you think there are distinct races, please put forth your argument and we can examine it. And if you object to the statement about organic connection, you are welcome to debate it as well.

    Please state your arguments and I will refute them. Slander and smear only reveal intellectual and moral bankruptcy. Incidentally, the term semite includes Arabs as well.

  • Marky says:

    So anyone who is an anti semite is automatically anti Arabs. Interesting.

  • Mohan replies to marky says:

    Hello Marky. Semite also includes Arab. A statement of fact. Interesting that you should place a perverted twist on it to mean “anti-Arab”.

  • Marky says:

    I didn’t place any twist. If an Arab is a semite, then an anti semite must be anti Arab. You say this is fact. So my comment is quite straightfoward.

  • Thank you to all who commented on my article and to most for your support. A few responses:
    Mohan: “Biological Jew” is shorthand for a someone born into a Jewish family who does not engage with other aspects of Jewish community – religious, cultural or social.
    There is no such word as “Semite”. Semitic refers to a speaker of one of a group of languages including Arabic, Amharic and Hebrew. “Antisemitism” is a term coined in 1879 in opposition to “Germanism” referring to Jews and has retained that meaning.
    Ilana: I was raised that a convert is 100 per cent Jewish and find the comments about your background deeply offensive. Your experience of interfaith and your beliefs about Israel differ greatly from mine. Fair enough but I’d appreciate polite criticism. On interfaith, the ADC runs a positive program which engages young leaders from all faith communities. See http://www.antidef.org.au On Israel, see below
    Jonathan: My right and responsibility to criticise Israel derives from two basics (1)my attachment to Israel (2)my belief that as a Jew and a human being I must engage with issues of justice. I believe I have less right that someone who lives there but I still have a right.
    Malki” Thanks for your support. The ADC is engaged in responding on several levels including interfaith work; an education program called Click Against Hate to skill students to respond to antisemitism: research & public affairs lobbying. See our site for more details.

  • P. Dant says:

    There is no such word as “Semite”

    Wikipedia has a comprehensive entry for “Semite”.


  • I just searched “Semite” on Wikipedia and got “Semitic” only. But as an old language professor of mine said “If enough people use a word wrongly it becomes rightly”. The point is “semitic” derives from a language distinction and that antisemitism refers to anti-Jews. It’s spurious to argue that an Arab is a semite so cannot be “antisemitic”. We need to judge a comment or act (about Israel or anything else) on its merits to consider whether it is antisemitic.

  • P. Dant says:

    From this Wikipedia article:

    The term Semite means a member of any of various ancient and modern Semitic-speaking peoples originating in southwestern Asia, including Akkadians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Arabs, and Ethiopian Semites. It was proposed at first to refer to the languages related to Hebrew by Ludwig Schlözer, in Eichhorn’s “Repertorium”, vol. VIII (Leipzig, 1781), p. 161. Through Eichhorn the name then came into general usage (cf. his “Einleitung in das Alte Testament” (Leipzig, 1787), I, p. 45). In his “Gesch. der neuen Sprachenkunde”, pt. I (Göttingen, 1807) it had already become a fixed technical term.[1]

    The word “Semitic” is an adjective derived from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah in the Bible (Genesis 5.32, 6.10, 10.21), or more precisely from the Greek derivative of that name, namely Σημ (Sēm); the noun form referring to a person is Semite.

  • James says:

    Hold on. Let me get this straight, seven students were surveyed at La Trobe University and based on that you conclude that the campus is anti-semetic? I have never seen a survey of 7 people taken seriously. I would also like to know how these 7 people were chosen. I am Jewish and I studied at La Trobe this year. No one asked me for my opinion and I didn’t see the survey advertised anywhere.

    As a Jew who goes to passover every year at my grandparents, attends the Jewish film festival and who lost family in the holocaust I can tell you I do not believe La Trobe is anti-semetic.

    I was also active in Students for Palestine at La Trobe (this doesn’t make me any less Jewish). Actually the only anti-semitism I have felt at La Trobe is from zionist students who accuse me of being a self-hater.

    Come back with a proper survey (idealy one that seperates peoples position on Israel to their Judaism).


  • Sir Vey says:

    James raises a very valid point. Looking at the data, the sample size of the survey is n=50. That is a very small sample size, and whilst I’m not a statistician, I have studied statistics and I would question if a sample that size is statistically valid.

    The breakdown of responses per campus is even more alarming: Deakin=4, La Trobe=7, University of Melbourne=7, Monash=24 and other=8.

    Can substantial results be drawn from these minute sample sizes?

    What are the relevant academic qualifications of the surveyors with respect to this statistical analysis?

    Eds: Please don’t comment using multiple pseudonyms. It creates the appearance of a false concensus.

  • frosh says:

    It seems almost every time there is a discussion about anti-Semitism here, someone uses the same silly reasoning to try to redefine the term.

    To back up what Deborah Stone has written concerning the definition of anti-Semitism:

    If the government passed a resolution allowing motor-cycles to ride in the cycling lanes/ways, one would say that such a resolution would be bad for cyclist, as we understand the term cyclist to mean those who ride pedal-powered vehicles. Only an idiot would argue that it can’t bad for cyclist because motor-cyclists are also “cyclists.”

    Guinea Pigs are neither from Guinea, nor are they pigs. As with many terms, the whole cannot simply be understood by the sum of its parts.

  • philip mendes says:

    James (as in James Crafti presumably) I thought you were still in Canberra running the youth section of the Socialist Alliance.


  • frosh says:


    As a researcher, I agree with you concerning the sample size. Given the small sample size, I would favour a qualitative approach (e.g focus groups) rather than quantitative questionnaires etc.

    However, on separate matter:

    The most effective strategy for avoiding being a direct victim of “the new” anti-Semitism is to become visible member of an anti-Israel organization, as you have apparently done.

  • Marky says:

    PM, Seems his name is also Sir James Vey. Also seems to be very agreeable(with himself)

    [Eds: “Sir Vey” was another pseudonym for a different commenter (not James) – sorry if we gave that impression]

  • Marky says:

    James writes: “I was also active in Students for Palestine. ….the only anti semitism I have felt is from zionist students….”

    Makes sense. I suppose it would be the same of any Jew at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, if he converted to christianity and joined forces with the inquisitors, he would not feel any anti semitism. Although the feelings of Jews may not be so kind to him.

  • James says:

    Hi Phil,

    I didn’t think there was a need to out people on this list but yes I am now in Melbourne again. People want to do a qualitative or bigger quantitative study on Jewish students sign me up.

    I think Marky’s comments are unfortunate. It may be painful for some of you but people like me are Jewish. My family are Russian, Austrian, German and Ukranian. The language of my culture is yidish not modern hebrew and I am PROUDLY Jewish. I do a lot of work with theater and I am proud of the Jewish theatre tradition. I think Jews have a rich history, the warsaw uprising was lead by jews like Mark Edelman who remained staunchly anti-zionist and in the face of REAL anti-semitism chose to stay in Poland.

    The Palestinians and others I work with at La Trobe know I am Jewish and have no problem with that. I haven’t converted to anything. I am Jewish. And what probably scares you more is that I am part of a growing trend of Jews http://politics.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/john-farrell/2010/5/25/Israel-In-Danger-of-Losing-Americas-Jewish-Youth.html .

  • Marky says:

    James, I never said you’re not Jewish. A Jew cannot become “not Jewish”. For the Palestinians it is better if you don’t convert “see even Jews agree with us”. Being “staunchly anti zionist” is one thing. But to join up with our enemies is in my opinion disgusting.

    If Sir Vey and James are not the same poster, I apologise for my last comment to PM.

  • Marky says:

    This Marek Edelman was strange and definitely the exception to the rule. A hero can be a nutcase. Other survivors of the Warsaw getto were furious with him for some of the things he wrote.

    He was a staunch Polish nationalist, when Jews were killed by Poles, not only during the war, but even after.

  • The critics are entirely right that the antisemitism on campus report involves a small sample size. I have never referred to our questionaire as a “survey” – statistically it is not. When/if the ADC has the resources (donate!) we would love to run a proper survey. However in the interim, the initial information we have does give genuine cause for concern. It’s not as if a 20% level of experiencing antisemitism is “okay” but a 60% rate is not – we should be working for zero cases. The information we have tells us that there are cases and something of how they occur. That’s the issue we need to discuss.

  • James says:

    “Being “staunchly anti zionist” is one thing. But to join up with our enemies is in my opinion disgusting.”

    Who are “our enemies,” and why? You make me sound like a race traitor. If you were a white christian would you be wearing a white hood and placing flaming crosses on lawns.

    I side with the oppressed over the oppressor (something learned through my Jewish upbringing). If the Palestinians had checkpoints in Tel Aviv and were driving around Haifa with tanks then I would be sideing with the Israelies.

    Would you also call Germans who hid Jews from the Nazi’s race traitors?

    “He was a staunch Polish nationalist, when Jews were killed by Poles, not only during the war, but even after.”

    He was a POLISH Jew. Why shouldn’t he identify as Polish? I am still an Australian even though I am extreemly critical of the Australian government and its treatment of Aboriginal people. I am also critical of how Jewish refugees have been treated by the Australian government. Edelman’s criticism and identiy can sit side by side. I remember an Afghani refugee commenting, “your home is your mother, and even if things get bad there it is still your mother and you still love her.”

    Displacing the Palestinians may have been “convienient,” but the real struggle people like Edelman and I are taking up is the fight against racism (including anti-semitism) in our own countries.

  • James says:

    “When/if the ADC has the resources (donate!) we would love to run a proper survey.”

    Can you let me and my anti-Zionist Jewish friends know when this is occuring so we can take part?

    “However in the interim, the initial information we have does give genuine cause for concern. It’s not as if a 20% level of experiencing antisemitism is “okay” but a 60% rate is not – we should be working for zero cases.”

    You don’t have “cases” you have the opinion of a few people on each campus. I am currently Assistant directing a play about violence towards Indian students:

    http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/theatre/racial-vilification-as-poetic-licence-20101118-17z9q.html. We have long transcripts, court cases, expert testemony etc. of violence, intimidation and structural oppression against Indian students. The violence against them is obvious and quantifiable.

    What you have is a few people crying foul because people (including Jews like me) don’t like what Israel is doing. Meanwhile Indian students are being stabbed at a rate 2.5 times higher then that of non-Indian students. If people are going to donate towards ending discrimination against a minority I can think of better places to send your money.

  • Boychick says:

    On the topic of who is having a tough time on the campuses, where it seems from what James has to say, there’s a definite anti-Indian sentiment, check out this revealing survey just out of the USA that paints an interesting picture of the victims of hate crimes, broken down into various ethnic/cultural groups.



    [Eds: Once again, please don’t comment using multiple pseudonyms. It creates the appearance of a false concensus. Consider this a final warning. If, on the other hand, this is multiple people using a single internet connection, please notify the editors by email: editorial AT galusaustralis.com]

  • Marky says:

    James, when calling the Palestinians “our enemies”, I forgot that they didn’t charge us for the Kassems they sent or how there was no charge for all those explosive belts which must have cost them an arm and a leg etc. Yes, usually friends are the ones that don’t charge.

    Re opressor and opressed, there are a few threads on this blog that talk about all that, many postings, and it’s going around in never ending circles. However, I remember, when in 1967, before the six day war, how Arabs from all stripes, were huffing and puffing about how they will be taking over the lovely buildings of Tel Aviv, once they won that war, and they would get all the Jews out(I shudder to think how). Well they then had all the current so called occupied territories. But were they satisfied?? No way! They just kept on threatening, constant provocation. So why on earth should I think that if we gave it all back, it would be all hunky dory?

    Your comparison of being Polish to being Australian, is ridiculous. In the former our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters,sons and daughters, uncles and aunts were slaughtered. Whereas here it is freedom for all . When were Jewish refugees treated badly here?

    “You make me sound like a traitor” There are more than enough non Jews trying to harm us. When a Jew is doing it to his own people it’s disgusting. I can tell you that the great majority of your people-the Jews- would agree with that.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Hi James don’t know you but you may recall that I stumbled upon a truly shocking comment you made on Facebook. It was in response to a post about some Israel born Australian residents setting up a communal residence and farming operation in rural NSW.

    Your comment was along the lines that now Israelis are colonising Australia as well as the occupied territories! I am not sure why you felt that it was appropriate to single out Israel born Australian residents (as opposed to the rest of us non indigenous residents of Australia ) as colonists. Perhaps you need to examine some of your own prejudices on the basis of birth place or national identity , before holding forth on racism and anti-semitism.

    Mandi Katz

  • Mandi Katz says:

    oh and by the way James shame on anyone which calls anyone else a self hating Jew or in any way questions the value and quality of someone else Jewish identity .

    I agree that is nasty and I think it’s an approach used by people who don’t want to deal with the issues and find it confronting that there is enormous diversity of views on all matters in the Jewish world. I recommend you ignore it and don’t engage with people who position themselves as the Jewish identity police.

  • James says:

    Marky. I am not going to defend everything done or said by “Arabs” or allegedly said. The Palestinians and Israelis I support are the ones who want to live side by side in a multi-cultural country which is not a Muslim, Jewish or Christian state but a democratic one with one vote one value.

    And yes Poland was an extreme example. But you talk to Afghani refugees (also an extreme example) and most of them will tell you no matter what happened to them in Afghanistan it is still their home.

    And Mandi my comment on the farm was ironic (and I indicated so at the time). I have no problem with Israelis or anyone else setting up farms, communes or whatever else. I don’t think they are the same as settlements and I was being tongue and cheek.

    At the same time personally I think setting up communes or any other sort of organisation based on a single nationality is pointless. As a member of a socialist organisation (Revolutionary Socialist Party, no longer with Socialist Alliance :)) I don’t understand why young Jews join Skif as there is no basis for Jewish socialists to be politically separate from other socialists (especially as most socialist organisations have many Jewish leaders).

  • Homar Simpson says:


    Do you think there is any grey area between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Hi James – still not sure why you would make a comment on the basis of birthplace. And yes you did say it was ‘tongue and cheek’ but only after the ..umm…..quality of your comment was pointed out.

    As to why people identify in culturally specific groups – now things are getting interesting. People love the particular not the universal . It’s human nature. Deborah said it well in her piece.” I care about my son more than I care about yours”. That’s how it is. It is essentially human to love your own family and community more than you love the world, and therefore to identify in that way and arrange communities in that way. It doesn’t make your behaviour less humane unless justice – and indeed social justice – are compromised on that basis.

    Thats why John Lennon’s song Imagine is a little…well, silly.

    Homar (?) – of course there is grey and anyone who says otherwise has their head…in the sand. I was struck by these words byRaymond Gaita (in the intro to the volume on Gaza which he edited) which express the complexity here: “One can denounce as criminal the actions and policies of successive Israeli governments while not being an anti-semite. One can be an anti-Zionist while not being an anti-semite…As obviously true as all that is however, none of it tells us how often anti-Zionism is an expression of ant-semitism…”

  • Homar Simpson says:

    Thanks Mandi. I want to hear what James has to say on the matter – that seems to be the crux of the issue from my perspective.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    yep fair enough. Didn’t mean to comment instead of James. Im also interested in his view.

  • ariel says:

    James says:
    “I support are the ones who want to live side by side in a multi-cultural country which is not a Muslim, Jewish or Christian state but a democratic one with one vote one value.”

    We already live in such a country. It’s called Australia. It’s one of the reasons many of us choose to live and remain here.

    The raison d’etre of Israel is to be a Jewish country (whatever that means). Just like the raison d’etre of Japan is to be a Japansese country.

    (Speaking of which, Japan is far more racist than Israel or Australia. Did you know it’s impossible to ever obtain Japansese citizenship unless you’re actually Japanese?)

  • James says:

    Mandi you do realise that when making a sarcastic comment one does not generally highlight the fact that they are making a sarcastic comment? It was only when you didn’t get it. That I actually needed to point that out.

    Homar I think there is an overlap but I think the main blame for that is Israel. Let me give you a good example of that, in 2006 I was in Balata refugee camp (West Bank) during an Israeli invasion. During that time I worked with a medical team helping Palestinians injured by gunfire and checking on people held hostage by the Israeli army (so they could use their houses as bases of operation).

    During that time to work out where to go, in my limited Arabic I would ask “where are the soldiers,” the response I would often get is “the jews are that way.” Sometimes I would correct them and say “no they are soldiers… I am Jewish”, but it is a bit difficult to do so amidst Israeli gun fire and when the Star of David’s on the tanks. If I was in the Palestinian’s shoes and had to choose which was true between a jewish international with no credentials and a Tank, I would probably believe the Tank :). Israel creates anti-semitism because it ties my identity to this murderous regime (as many of you do). The association of Jews with Israel enhances anti-semitism but given Israel and the Zionist Jews (like those on this list) create that link, one can understand why Palestinians may make that same error.

    Yes Ariel, Israel is “Jewish” which means it discriminate against non-Jews and forced out 750,000 natives in order to do so. I think that is wrong.

    Finally Mandi I am with John Lennon. “And you may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one. I hope some day you will join us and the world will live as one.”

  • frosh says:


    When you start blaming the Jews for anti-Semitism, you don’t so much as explain it anti-Semitism, as you do replicate it.

    But I can forgive that, as you are such great value (as I’m sure most readers here will agree) with your earnest undergraduate-ness, and your raw naiveté on display for all to see.

    Although, like Mandi, I too find it disturbing that you long to live in a completely homogenous society.

  • Mohan replies tofrosh says:

    How patronisng – earnest undergraduateness. of course opposed to cynical spin and disregard for the truth. If you disagree with the substance of what james wrote, please refute them without distoion.

  • Mohan replies to ariel says:

    So Japan’s racism justifies Israeli racism ? Of course the one blindingly obvious difference is that Japan was not created by expelling an indigenous people – at least not in recent history.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    hey James – first you said your comment was tongue in cheek (I think you called it tongue AND cheek – here and on facebook), now you say it was sarcastic. They mean very different things. If you dont know what your tone is, you’ll have to forgive me for not being able to read it.

  • Marky says:

    Mandi says: “shame on anyone which calls anyone a self hating Jew”

    May I add two or five words in your name, as what you say seems to include it? “Everyone criticising the ‘netura karta people-kissing with amedijinad etc.-‘ is nasty and I think..it is used by people who don’t want to deal with the issues.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Hi marky

    first, apologies. What I meant to say was “shame on anyone WHO calls anyone a self hating Jew”

    So Neturei Karta – I could call them names like filthy mamzerim and I could say a pox on all their houses. Or better, we could address the issues.

    Seriously I dont agree with or like what James says about Israel but I think its wrong to question the merit of his identity rather than the merit of what he says. I have also seen the name calling and identity questioning done far too often and with seriously vicious intention.

    What is the upside of name calling and identity one-up-manship, over a proper discussion?

  • frosh says:


    What is your motivation for frequenting this website?

    Most people who frequent this website fall under one of three (non-mutually exclusive) categories:
    1) Jews
    2) Philo-Semites
    3) Anti-Semites

    I’m pretty sure you’re not falling under category 1 or 2.

  • Marky says:

    Author: Mandi “….name calling…..with vicious intention”

    What about “shame on” and “is nasty” is not name calling?

  • Marky says:

    Also (for a Jew)to team up with Palestinians against Jews may have Din Roidef and Moser(I suppose that would not bother the ones that don’t believe in the Torah R”L)

  • Marky says:

    James writes: “I am not going to defend everything done or said by Arabs…… The Palestinians and Israelis I support are the ones who want to live side by side in a multicultural society”.

    This is all la la land(“raw naivete” as Frosh calls it). There may be some Arabs like that, but they are even struggling to live in peace with their own people. As I wrote, looking at history, this is fantasy.
    Then there are those who want to live side by side with their 72 virgins…after doing
    a great “mitzvah”

  • Marky says:

    I meant as follows-: …even they are struggling are struggling to live in peace with their own people.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Marky – this is getting more personal than necessary.

    There is a big difference between calling what someone says “nasty” (As in “thats a nasty thing to say”) and calling someone a “nasty” person.

    Yes, of course some behaviour is shameful and sometimes it has to be said.But I did not name call and describe any specific person in that way.

    I was responding to James’s description of his expereince at La Trobe uni where I can well imagine he was called a self hating Jew. What does that achieve? I do thinks that’s out of line and I think the tendency to question people’s Jewishness is shameful.

    But my comments were absolutely NOT addressed at anyone in this discussion, or indeed anyone specific.

    The tendency in blogland to use pseudonyms and even false identities seems to make people who use pseudonyms forget that name calling and personal attacks in public discussions have real implications for real people, and are unacceptable.

  • Marky says:

    I thought you were targeting me for saying that lining up with the Palestinians against Israel is disgusting. I couldn’t find any other comments that could have been targeted by your line of fire.

    I will accept your explanation that it was what you were imagining happening in Uni.

  • Michael says:

    Mandi: why don’t you think that what Marky’s saying is disgusting? Do you not realise that when he wrote “Also (for a Jew)to team up with Palestinians against Jews may have Din Roidef and Moser(I suppose that would not bother the ones that don’t believe in the Torah R”L)”, he was offering religious justification for killing James?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    No I didnt read it that way – I skimmed it (there were several responses in a row) – and meant to look up exactly what din rodeif is about but I have had to work today (long and difficult day…)

    Marky – are you able to explain exactly what that post means and what you are saying there?

  • Michael says:

    They were the grounds offered by Yigal Amir for murdering Yitzhak Rabin.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    yes but Marky’s sentence is not at all clear and I dont believe that thats what Marky is saying…he talks about the issue of din rodeif ‘bothering’ people – or not.

    Let’s hear what he has to say on this.

  • balderdash says:

    I have little doubt that those surveyed experienced “anti-Zionism” as “anti-Semitism”, just as I would expect that radical feminists have experienced sexism on campus. Only, if I was writing a report on this, I would expect it made clear that I’d gone the the student unions women’s collective to get a response (‘100% of female students at X University have experienced sexism!’). This is to say, were the seven people surveyed (or whatever you want to call it) the committee members of AUJS at La Trobe?

    But please, do you really believe in an “essential experience of being Jewish in the 21st century”? And why do you feel so threatened by “marginal” points of view? Are these points of view illegitimate for the sole reason that they are marginal? How far will you take such logic?

    In any case, James, I don’t know why I would do this to my self (even bothering to write here, that is). But I would suggest you not bother trying to engage people who will either spit at you or laugh at you. I don’t mean to be patronising when I say I think you’ve got a lot to learn, but personally I would be interested in hearing what you have to say – yiddish, jewish theatre, internationals, etc sounds great!- in a blog or other such media. You should consider it. But do be careful, people intent on negating diaspora, will want to tear you down, and they will attempt to ridicule and condemn you for being “marginal” (just watch philip and frosh froth at the mouth). Good luck.

  • Mohan replies to Frosh says:

    Hello Frosh, this seems smear as usual. Debate the issue on merits not on personalities. That is my motivation, to open up a debate on the merits of views. If all you wish is repititive mantra, you are welcome not to read my posts.

  • James says:

    Actually I would have thought given the Palestinian death toll Din Roidef can be more easily used to justify Palestinian armed resistance against Israel then Zionists have to threaten it against me. Israeli soldiers have killed a lot more innocent civilians then Palestinians have.

    Anyway balderdash thanks for your words of support. Actually sites like this provide some interesting mental stimulation before writing anti-zionist articles. For those that are interested I have written an article for the latest direct action on some of Israel’s new apartheid laws http://directaction.org.au/issue28/israel_introduces_sweeping_apartheid_legislation

    If you are interested in getting in touch with me (as another supportive person on this list already has), that would be great.

    And as for all you pro-apartheid people here thank-you for being so amusing and helping get my creative juices flowing.

  • Michael says:

    Israeli soldiers have killed a lot more innocent civilians then Palestinians have. says James.<<<<<<<<

    Its not that Palestinians haven't tried to kill more Jews . and I think you will find Palestinians have killed more Palestinians than Jews have .
    Just as Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed more Muslims than Americans and coalition forces.

    I believe you would have to include all the failed attempts of Palestinians to kill Jews in the equation.

    I guess by your weird analogy James because more Japs and Germans were killed in ww2 the Americans, Britt's , Aussies and allied forces were the bad guys?

    Perhaps what James and others like him are thinking if only more Jews were killed perhaps we can then think of Israelis as the underdogs.

  • frosh says:


    It’s not our fault that the Green Left Weekly doesn’t have any robust debate…

  • Mandi Katz says:

    James – Jerry Haber – significantly to the left of me on Israel, says some wise things here:

    “Zionism, was and is a movement to achieve Jewish self-determination (there are other elements as well). For most Zionists, the place for that self-determination was and is the Land of Israel.”

    “Thinking people… realize that “Zionism” and “racism” and “colonialism” are complicated terms, and that terminological sobriety is a virtue.”

    But I get it, it’s so much easier to go with slogans and propaganda…

  • Marky says:

    Michael writes: (re roidef) “They were the grounds offered by Yigal Amir for murdering Yitzchak Rabin”

    Only in Amir’s warped mind. No one in their right mind can say that Rabin teamed up with the Arabs against Israel. Whatever he did, he did(in his own mind) for the good of Israel. Although there are many who didn’t agree with his methods.

    I mentioned din roidef because I saw in letters by respected Rabbanim against the netura karta, saying they have din roidef. I said “may” as in discussion. I suppose Michael thinks that when these Rabbanim said they(NK) have din roidef, they said this to justify murdering them. And when, just recently Rav Elyashiv pronounced din rodef on the mosdos taking money for non existent students(if it is indeed true), that he was justifying their murder.

    So thanks Mandi for being dan be lekaf zechus and “thanks” Michael for……..

  • Mohan replies to mandy Katz says:

    Hello Mandy katz. Thanks for your contribution. The best way to understand reality is to look at facts and see if concepts concur with them. Zionism can be defined in any way possible. But what it has come to mean (political Zionism, not spiritual Zionsm, I hasten to add) is colonisation.

    Mincing words serves only to conceal reality not reveal it. Isarel began as a colonial project as even Herzel’s or Jabotinsky’s writings will tell. And for all linguistic obfuscation, there was no Jewish nation in Palestine to seek self-determination. There was a Palestinian nation of Muslim,Christian, Jews and Druze – that was indigenous and sought freedom from both the Ottomans and the mandatory rule.

    The history of Israel is similar to the history of Australia, an immigrant people dispalcing the indigenous people and colonising their land – expanding settlements show that the process has not stopped. One could choose not call it colonisation on the basis of myths and dogma or weasel words such as “disputed land” but that does not disprove the fact tha Palestinians are being displaced from their homes and lands to make way for israeli settlements.

    There can be two responses to this, rational counter-argument or smear, slander and abuse. I wait to see which is forthcoming.

  • Shaun says:


    I find it disingenous to say that Zionism can be defined in any way possible, and then you go and define it and claim that what it means today.

    As for your claim for colonization, the Zionists at the beginning of the 20th century were not a major power that had colonised parts of the world for its own benefit (England, France etc), but was a small group of people trying to secure a small piece of land for themselves due to the pogroms, antisemitism they were experiencing in Europe. Quite a different case to Australian colonists for example.

    To say as you did that ‘there was a Palestinian nation of Muslim, Christian, Jews and Druze – that was indigenous and sought freedom from both the Ottomans and the mandatory rule’ strikes me as just a little historically inaccurate. I am not quite sure that it is correct to say that the Arabs sought freedome from the Ottomons and mandatory rule, rather it was a response to the Zionist’s claim for a jewish state, which is what spurred Arab antagonism, and helped contribute to the development of its national identity.

  • Minuet says:

    “a small group of people trying to secure a small piece of land for themselves due to the pogroms, antisemitism they were experiencing in Europe. Quite a different case to Australian colonists for example.”

    Shaun, are you claiming that antisemitism experienced by the Jews in Europe some how excuses them from invading and displacing another indigenous population? Especially one who had no part in the bad treatment experienced by Jews in other parts of the world?

    The reasons for colonization are completely irrelevant.

    Zionists may not have been a major power before but they are now and now is all that matters. The international community will not be able to ignore this situation for much longer. Combined with the ever growing ‘demographic threat’ it is inevitable that Israel will be forced to withdraw at some point and acknowledge the wrongs committed against the Palestinian people.

    Hopefully sooner rather than later…

  • Mohan replies to mandy Katz says:

    Hello Shaun

    Thank you for your reply. I said what Zionism has come to mean in practice – not an academic definition of the term. And incdentally, the Zionist colonistion began in the 19th century as a colonial project.

    As for the 20th century – pause to ask yourself why the Palestinians who had no role in the European/nazi genocide should pay the price for Jewish suffering ? Even by the standrds of this excuse, settling a piece of bavaria or Prussia would be recompense.

    And seking freedom is a process and a national identity could emerge through that – incdentally, the Arabs aided the British in their war against the Ottomans and the Sense of Palestinian nationality was sharpened in the struggle against the mandatory power – Reality emerges first and the consciousness of it follows – a struggle in which the Zionist actively supported the mandate rule even through military means including Orde Charles Windgate’s paramilitraies.

    And colonisation need not be directly by a major power, the East India company and Cecil Rhodes were not states when they colonised India and Africa – Herzl was an ardent admirer of Cecil Rhodes – and adopted his methods.

    You don’t have to take my word for this, read Herzl’s praise of Rhodes or Jabotinsky’s celebrated “Iron Wall”.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Hi Mohan – you keep challenging people to slander you – why?

    Sure, a lot of the same political forces that shaped the development of Australia shaped the development of Israel. There are differences too. And as Shaun says, one response to Zionism has been the development of Palestinian nationalism.

    But unless you are proposing to use this blog as a history book (and I think the complexity of the history makes that a bad idea), this discussion should focus on what could happen in the future, and specifically how that discussion is framed in the context of political activism on campus (given the subject of the article).It’s worth noting that many, perhaps most, people commenting on this site recognise the legitimacy and justice of Palestinian nationalism and the case for a Palestinian state- leaving aside for a nanosencond the many political obstacles.

    There may well be a case based in idealism for what James says about one person, one vote rather than two different nation states. Let me paraphrase what I heard academic Ghassan Hage say, at a lecture a few weeks ago: the last thing the world needs is another Arab nation state.

    So one secular liberal state where Israel and the OPT are now ? nice idea but I am deeply sceptical.How can you be sure Mohan that it would not be an Islamic theocracy? Would that be just? We all know that one state would create a whole new raft of injustices. The PA – not Hamas, not Fatah, the PA – denies that Jews have a historical connection to the Western wall. Forget politics, forget national aspirations, this is purely and simply about acknowledging religious and historical connections. What might it be like for Jews to live under the rule of the PA – not to mention Hamas? No better I’m imagining than life under Israeli military occupation for Palestinians.

    Given the history of Jews and Palestinians, a two state solution that gives expression to those two nationalisms provides the best chance of security, peace and self determination for both peoples.

    Sadly the political reality – because of both ‘sides’, including an unwillingness within some camps in Israel, to put human rights ahead of land, and willingness on the part of some Palestinian factions to use terror against civilians, means this remains elusive.

    This discussion was founded in the complaint that the approach to this issue – in so many fora – pertinently university campuses – has no appetite for a balanced perspective and prefers sloganism, use of labels and casting blame all on one side. The lack of balance is of course in part a compassionate response to the treatment of Palestinians under military occupation. But it is also often a convenient way to express good old fashioned hatred of Jews through the denial of the legitimacy of Jewish national aspirations in a world – and region – of nation states. I have no doubt that some of the strongest anti Israel feeling is motivated by – not really anti semitism – but a real ambivalence about a strong, living Jewish presence in the world.

  • Mohan replies to mandy Katz 2 says:

    Hello Mandy Katz thanks for you civility. I did not challenge people to slander me or anyone else – just observed the general practice.

    History is not irrelevant to understanding the present – as the apology by Rudd might show-. And varying accounts of history do not merely co-exist, they clash until the more true account emerges.

    I agree that one should not be a prisoner of history. And you will no doubt observe that there is a near-total consensus on a two-state solution among Zionists – while the reality is that settlements exapand apace and while the “peace-process” runs its course.

    As for another Arab nation state, it is not for others to dictate whether there should be another Arab state or not. Incidentally, I did not write about a single state – if Israel is prepared to withdraw to its 1967 borders and allow a sovreign Palestinian state that will meet the aspirations of most Palestinians. The reality, however, is that Israel is making that impossible with continued expansion of settlements and the barrier while the USA provides economic, military and diplomatic backing.

    Religious nationalism could be stream in politcs in a unified state as it is in Israel now, and it will be confronted by secular nationalism and internationalist ideologies. But it also ignores the largely secular history of Palestinian nationalism whether under mandatory rule or in the PLO of PFLP et al.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    hi Mohan – Not ignoring the history of Palestinian secularism but thinking specifically of Gaza…

    As to the comments about another Arab state, it wasn’t my comment; it was a comment made by the Hage who is Lebanese, and an extremely interesting voice in Australia.

  • Zeev says:


    Have you ever carried your apartheid logic to other countries?

    It seems you say: If Israel is a Jewish state, there must be discrimination against non-Jews, hence apartheid. Is there more to it?

    Hence: India, as a Hindu democratic state, must discriminate, hence apartheid? England with its sovereign as the Head of the Church of England too? Turkey as a Muslim democractic state, must discriminate, hence apartheid? US, whose constitution is built upon Christian biblical notions must discriminate – there is lots of evidence that Christians are privileged above all else, Apartheid?

    It seems, only secular, democratic states, with Christian majorities, with Christmas and Easter as official secular holidays, are free of apartheid. Or is yours merely an Israel issue?

    Democracies, with a particularistic identity, are not precluded from granting and protecting the rights of others who are not of that identity. Israel as a Jewish democractic state is not a contradiction, but just one of many democratic models that persist. Australia permits Jews, and Muslims, to take paid leave for their holidays, while Christians and everyone else, automatically get their big holidays.

    But I understand, as a Jew, Israel is closer to home, so the criticism of others is not warranted by you. Yours is a passion for better democracy, and nothing else!

  • Mandi Katz says:

    whoops not the Hage, Hage.

  • Mohan on Zeev says:

    Zeev is either mistaken or is delibaretly speaking untruth in at least one case. The preamble to the constitution of India states that India is to constitued as a “Sovreign, Secular, democratic state. One only has to look it up on the net.

  • Mohan to Mandy 3 says:

    Thanks for the information about Hage. Whether he is Israeli or Lebanese or Australian is of no great importance. It is not for him to make the decision.

  • Zeev to Mohan says:

    If India is your sole concern, just read the rest of the 471 page constitution to discover the privileged position of Hindus.

    India is democratic, with a majority culture that does not exclude the space for others. Ask Muslims, there is discrimination against them.

  • Mohan toZeev says:

    Thank you for the link.

    Page 471 is the index of schedules, weights and measure, waterways etc.
    I wrote about India because I saw its consitution. I was prepared to give you the benifit of doubt when I said you could be mistaken. Now I can see you are not mistaken.
    I did not say anything about discrimination against Muslims. There is discrimination against Aboriginals in Australia and against Turks in germany etc. The countries are legally secular.

    So an index of schedules proves that a country is not secular!

  • Mohan toFrosh says:

    Thank you for your comment on my intelligence. Could you explain to an obtuse persons whether there were conversions into and out of Judaism ?

    Are we to accept as factual the stories of Genesis, garden of Eden, Sodom and Gomorah, Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the Whale et al whic are part of the dogma ? If so what happens to evolution ?

  • Mohan toFrosh abot GLW says:

    GLW does have robust debate. Though I do not remeber you being part of it. Philip Mendes was invited to write and argue his case but he did not.

  • frosh says:


    Anyone who has read an edition og GLW will not only be more stupid from the experience, but also be aware that it is far from a pluralist publication.

    As to you other comment about conversions and your display of your sub-kindergarten level knowledge of biblical texts, I fail to see the relevance to this article.

    Are you suggesting Australian indigenous people aren’t really indigenous because some members also have European ancestors? That’s an appalling suggestion!

  • Mohan toFrosh says:

    Hello Frosh I have sought a debate not slander about kindergarten knowledge. The Aboriginals are Aboriginal even with European parents and Englishpersons are English even with Aboriginal parents.
    Jews are Jewish so long as they follow the faith and of the background if their parents follow the faith. That is what I understand. ?

    The Biblical stories are like the Aboriginal dreamtime myths – myths not facts. So where does that leave your slander and obvious intelligence and non-kindergarten knowledge ?

  • frosh says:


    Your understanding is wrong. I have explained this to you numerous times!
    Like Indigenous Australians, the Jewish people have traditionally based identity on tribal membership, not religious observance.

    See one of my many comments where I have explained this to you in more detail, some of them on this very thread, for example:


  • Mohan to Frosh says:

    Thank you for your clarification.Accepting your view even for arguments sake, will show that it is not representative of contemporary reality – it is highly probable that it represented the reality of communities in a small region two/three thousand years ago – accepting that as representing contemporary reality will lead to the corollary that Christians, Muslims and Druze are Jewish as well.

    I have no great interest in getting into archeology and debates about Cohanim genes et al. Have a good day.

  • Marky says:

    “….Muslims and Druze are Jewish as well…. ”

    Oh well, I am sure no one will complain when Jews start building settlements in Gazza… it anyway all belongs to the Jews..(can’t then see what the problem is with settlements in the west bank)..

    And if the mens toilet is occupied, it will be ok if I use the ladies(no doubt some two piece will lead to the corollary that we are all women as well..)

  • Mohan to Marky says:

    Yes marky you are so correct. Now to allowing the Muslims, Christian “Jews” in refugee camps to return home. Recognising the settlements of Druze “Jews” as villages, Not demolishing the homes of Muslim, Christian “Jews” to build settlements for Jewish “Jews”.
    Letting Muslim,Christian, Druze “Jews” to lease, buy land from the land administration. Allowing the married partners of Muslim,Christian “Jews” in the West Ban join their partners in Israel. Allowing the “right of return” to Muslim,Christian and Druze “Jews” in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Yemen,Iran, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Europe to do “olim” to Israel — that is what is the problem.

    And incidentally about women it is so edifying to note the ability to detect irony.

  • Marky says:

    …..and building new Synagogues to accomodate Jews relocating to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Lebanon. And of course all the Jewish armies from U.S.A and U.K. in Iraq and Afganistan being welcomed by their Jewish brothers such as al quida in those countries..

    Just make sure not to pinch yourself, you may wake up..

  • Mohan to Marky says:

    Yes marky great perception there. That is the outcome of the”tribal identity” theory.

  • Mohan to Marky2 says:

    Try convicng them with the “tribal identity” theory and you might be successful.

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