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Author Topic: Are Jews the only Semitic people?
Soul Rebel
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posted 17 November 2005 05:15 PM      Profile for Soul Rebel        Edit/Delete Post
I recall, many years ago, when I was just an 18-year-old university student and naively thinking that one of the purposes of education, particularly a university education, was to freely question established beliefs, writing a column for my campus newspaper. In that column, I made the following points:

1) an ojective reading of the Old Testament would show that, in parts, there is an arrogant disregard for the non-Hebrew tribes of the ancient Middle East and indeed clear expressions of support (with the sanction of the one God, of course), for genocide.

2) I also dared question how it came to be that a single group of Semites, the Jewish people, could some how have come to claim the sole label of Semite (notwithstanding that Arab peoples are Semites as well) such that any questioning or criticizing of Israeli foreign or defence policy could be construed as anti-Semitism.

A Jewish professor at that university wrote a long letter to the editor in which I was accused of fomenting anti-Semitism. The letter memorably began with the words: "As a Jew, I am perturbed...."

I was surprised by the reaction, to say the least. I recall an older guy I knew chuckled over the whole thing and said, "actually, the letter could've been edited so that the only sentence that remained was: 'As a Jew, I am perturbed.'

Any thoughts?


From: Calgary | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 17 November 2005 05:27 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As far as I know, no Jews have ever claimed they were the only Semitic people.

On the other hand, "anti-semitism" was a word invented by a German-speaking ... anti-semite (in the sense of Jew-hater. Think the nasty racist was from Germany, though he may have been from Austria.

This hoity-toity language was typical of the "scientific racism" of the day, a way of dressing up prejudice as learning. Jews were certainly not the only people to be victimised by such scientific racism - look at all the Aboriginal people from the Americas, Africa and Australasia who were actually subjected to taxidermy and exhibited as odd specimens (a long time ago I started a thread here on the sad story of the Hottentot Venus and the burial of her body as a measure of healing).

So there is a reason the term "anti-semitism" is usually reserved for hatred against Jews, though there is indeed a lot in common between the old hatred for Jews and hatred of other Semitic peoples, especially Arabs, who are also stereotyped at once as plutocrats and terrorists...


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 17 November 2005 05:38 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
For what it's worth: the Wikipedia entry on "Semitic".
quote:
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 form of that name, namely Σημ (Sēm); the noun form referring to a person is Semite. The negative form of the adjective anti-Semitic is almost always used to mean "anti-Jewish", specifically.

The concept of a "Semitic" peoples is derived from Biblical accounts of the origins of the cultures known to the ancient Hebrews. Those closest to them in culture and language were generally deemed to be descended from their forefather Shem. Enemies were often said to be descendents of his cursed brother Ham. In Genesis 10:21-31 Shem is described as the father of Aram, Asshur, and others: the Biblical ancestors of the Aramaeans, Assyrians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, Chaldeans, Sabaeans, and Hebrews, etc., all of whose languages are closely related; the language family containing them was therefore named Semitic by linguists. However, the Canaanites and Amorites also spoke a language belonging to this family, and are therefore also termed Semitic in linguistics despite being described in Genesis as sons of Ham (See Sons of Noah). Shem is also described in Genesis as the father of the Elamites and the descendants of Lud, whose languages were not Semitic.

The Proto-Semitic peoples, ancestors of the Semites in the Middle East before the break-up of the hypothesized original proto-Semitic language into various modern Semitic languages, are thought to have been originally from the Arabian Peninsula.



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Dex
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posted 17 November 2005 06:01 PM      Profile for Dex     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Soul Rebel:
I was surprised by the reaction, to say the least.
....

Any thoughts?


Not knowing anything else about the article and just going by what you wrote, I have to wonder how serious you are when you say you were surprised by the reaction.

What you wrote above reads to me as: the bible condones genocide. And btw, where do those Jews get off co-opting the word Semite?

My question is: why the juxtaposition? The way you put it out above (and remember, I have nothing else to go by) doesn't seem to have much at all to do with challenging ideas and seems to be all about yanking people's chains.

edited to change "that word" to "the word Semite". Otherwise, it didn't make a helluva lotta sense. And again and again because I suck. Sorry, my blood sugar is low.

[ 17 November 2005: Message edited by: Dex ]


From: ON then AB then IN now KS. Oh, how I long for a more lefterly location. | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Soul Rebel
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posted 17 November 2005 06:03 PM      Profile for Soul Rebel        Edit/Delete Post
Thank you Lagatta and Albrero for the informative posts.
From: Calgary | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
ohara
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posted 17 November 2005 06:21 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
This seems more mischievious than honest soul rebel. I hope you are seriously looking for answers not provoking.
From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Yst
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posted 17 November 2005 06:23 PM      Profile for Yst     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Dex:

What you wrote above reads to me as: the bible condones genocide. And btw, where do those Jews get off co-opting the word Semite?

My question is: why the juxtaposition? The way you put it out above (and remember, I have nothing else to go by) doesn't seem to have much at all to do with challenging ideas and seems to be all about yanking people's chains.


This is my reaction as well. I find the purported intention of this thread just a bit dubious.


From: State of Genderfuck | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Dex
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posted 17 November 2005 06:34 PM      Profile for Dex     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Yst:
This is my reaction as well. I find the purported intention of this thread just a bit dubious.
Thank you. I have to say that I'm pretty disappointed that albireo and lagatta chose to take the post seriously. I mean, come on, superimposing the condoning of genocide and complaining about Jews monopolizing the use of anti-Semitism? And then being surprised that a Jewish person would be upset about it? [aside]In other news, I was in Gary, Indiana and saw a group of African Americans dropping N-bombs back and forth with each other. Imagine my surprise when they got upset when I, a white guy, tried to start dropping N-bombs with them. [/aside]And then adding the gratuitous shot about the response letter? This is ridiculous. Any one of those taken out of context, I could maybe see granting the benefit of the doubt. The confluence of all those things makes my spider sense tingle.

From: ON then AB then IN now KS. Oh, how I long for a more lefterly location. | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Soul Rebel
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posted 17 November 2005 07:00 PM      Profile for Soul Rebel        Edit/Delete Post
Well I was honestly attempting to arrive at an understanding of basic human nature. On an individual level, if somebody is arrogant, acts offensively, is rude to other people, and acts superior to others, inevitably they attract negativity.

And if a group of people historically passes themselves off as superior to others, then is it not natural that...

Oh forget it. Carry on to Armageddon, I guess.


From: Calgary | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Dex
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posted 17 November 2005 07:18 PM      Profile for Dex     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

Plonk


From: ON then AB then IN now KS. Oh, how I long for a more lefterly location. | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 17 November 2005 07:48 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

[ 17 November 2005: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Dex
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posted 17 November 2005 08:00 PM      Profile for Dex     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
For those who feel I'm jumping to conclusions, here's a sampling of Sole Pebble's writing here:
quote:
From the gay man killed by a hammer thread:
"You know, I can't comment on how U.S. courts, especially those in "Talibama" (love that, btw ), would regard a "panic" defence but I do know that in Canada, at least until the 1970s, many courts were not unsympathetic to say the least when defendants in like cases argued they reacted with violence in "self-defence" because they felt threatened by a gay man who had made a pass at them. In a memorable case in Nova Scotia back in the early 1970s, a guy who had cut off a gay man's head managed to beat a murder charge when his lawyer successfully established a "homosexual panic" defence, i.e. "your honour, my client has latent homosexual tendencies but he is in extreme denial and when the victim said he loved my client, my client reacted in a panic-induced rage." Money bought some expert psychiatric testimony, and, well, so it goes.

I've often thought, you know, if women reacted so violently every time they received an unwanted pass and/or expression of love from a man, that there wouldn't be much of a non-gay male population left."
********************************************
He took the time to post this in BOTH threads about the high school sexual harassment case:
"A lot of schools, especially those in the inner cores of our cities, seem to be nothing but social cesspools in which young criminal gangs rule the hallways with teachers and principals powerless to do anything about it."
********************************************



From: ON then AB then IN now KS. Oh, how I long for a more lefterly location. | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
MartinArendt
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posted 17 November 2005 08:01 PM      Profile for MartinArendt     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Soul Rebel:
Well I was honestly attempting to arrive at an understanding of basic human nature. On an individual level, if somebody is arrogant, acts offensively, is rude to other people, and acts superior to others, inevitably they attract negativity.

And if a group of people historically passes themselves off as superior to others, then is it not natural that...

Oh forget it. Carry on to Armageddon, I guess.


It's true, it's all true! I'm so superior to everybody else, and I just can't stand it anymore! I'm tired of hiding it! You got me, Soul Rebel! I'm just better than you! Your brilliant investigative techniques and critical thinking skills have outed me! I'm a Jew, and I'm just superior! It just feels so good to finally be able to say that!

You need to be banned, like I need to eat some spaghetti right now!


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 17 November 2005 08:05 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
mmmm. Spaghetti. With arrabiata sauce. Some Chianti.

mmmmmm.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
MartinArendt
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posted 17 November 2005 08:09 PM      Profile for MartinArendt     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ah, or a nice ValPollicello.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 17 November 2005 08:38 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Soul Rebel:
2) I also dared question how it came to be that a single group of Semites, the Jewish people, could some how have come to claim the sole label of Semite (notwithstanding that Arab peoples are Semites as well) such that any questioning or criticizing of Israeli foreign or defence policy could be construed as anti-Semitism.
(...)
Any thoughts?[/QB]

I think you should look up the term "Semitic" and particularly, its etymology. It wasn't the Jewish community that declared itself to be "Semitic" but Ernest Renan, a 19th century German racist and Judeophobe who declared the "Aryan races" superior to the "Semitic race". Yes, the term is a misnomer, one coined by a racist who was too sloppy to get his definition straight.

Anyway, the argument "I'm not an anti-Semite because not all Semites are Jews" is incredibly vapid and fallacious reasoning and a rather transparent dodge of the accusation of Jew-hatred and racism.


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Hephaestion
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posted 17 November 2005 08:39 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Martin--

Give it up. It is a well-known fact that we gays are superior in all things that matter.

From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 17 November 2005 10:26 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Dex:
I have to say that I'm pretty disappointed that albireo and lagatta chose to take the post seriously.
To be honest, I didn't think much of that post, so I limited myself to posting a definition relevant to the subject line. And nothing in lagatta's post could be considered racist; quite the contrary.

From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
MartinArendt
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posted 17 November 2005 10:32 PM      Profile for MartinArendt     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Hephaestion:
Martin--

Give it up. It is a well-known fact that we gays are superior in all things that matter.


Oh really, now?

Who has an international media and business conspiracy? Who controls the banks? We do. Who are the "chosen people"? Us. We even have our own country (although I would've gone with the name "Jew-onia" over "Israel", but I was out-voted).

Most importantly, who's got Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Sammy Davis Jr.?


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Yst
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posted 17 November 2005 10:43 PM      Profile for Yst     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by MartinArendt:

You need to be banned, like I need to eat some spaghetti right now!

This is eminently quotable.


From: State of Genderfuck | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sunny Beasty
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posted 17 November 2005 10:47 PM      Profile for Sunny Beasty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Re:"Most importantly, who's got Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Sammy Davis Jr.?"

You left out Natalie Portman......she alone proves our superiority. The goys can have Winona Ryder though. LOL!


From: Toronto, Ontario | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Dex
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posted 17 November 2005 11:19 PM      Profile for Dex     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Albireo:
To be honest, I didn't think much of that post, so I limited myself to posting a definition relevant to the subject line. And nothing in lagatta's post could be considered racist; quite the contrary.
Actually, I do agree with that. I'm sorry if you felt that I was suggesting either of you was being racist; it definitely wasn't my intent. I guess I thought there were too many problems with the opening post (although I didn't think the thread would spiral downward so severely in such a short period of time!) to even warrant a serious reply. Perhaps I jumped the gun on it, but I do stick by my initial call on the first post. I apologize if I hurt your feelings.

From: ON then AB then IN now KS. Oh, how I long for a more lefterly location. | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 18 November 2005 12:18 AM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Not a problem, Dex.


If his first post raised eyebrows, that last one should even more so; he seems to be implying something very ugly here:

quote:
Originally posted by Soul Rebel:
On an individual level, if somebody is arrogant, acts offensively, is rude to other people, and acts superior to others, inevitably they attract negativity.

And if a group of people historically passes themselves off as superior to others, then is it not natural that...



From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
johnpauljones
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posted 18 November 2005 10:29 AM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Soul Rebel is not banned. Others who are not racists are banned. Why?
From: City of Toronto | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 18 November 2005 10:39 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by johnpauljones:
Soul Rebel is not banned. Others who are not racists are banned. Why?


Ah, jpj: Maybe because no moderator has been around during the time this thread has been running? Maybe because you haven't written to Michelle, moderator of this forum?

This line:

quote:
And if a group of people historically passes themselves off as superior to others, then is it not natural that...

I agree is a problem.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
josh
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posted 18 November 2005 10:59 AM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"Problem" is a rather charitable way to describe it. I am sure the offender will be dealt with in an appropriate manner by the moderator at some point today.
From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 18 November 2005 11:03 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I am trying not to be a hall monitor, josh. Michelle specifically told us not to play hall monitor.

Wanna have a competition about who can write more politely or evasively than the other?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
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posted 18 November 2005 11:07 AM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Is it time for a prayer?
From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 18 November 2005 11:13 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by josh:
"Problem" is a rather charitable way to describe it. I am sure the offender will be dealt with in an appropriate manner by the moderator at some point today.

Indeed. I just got home from a 3 day trip to find a bunch of e-mails and PMs about this. Thanks for the heads up everyone. Soul Rebel is outta here. And this thread is finished too.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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