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How do you politely criticise the Israeli Government? (Ken Livingstone Scandal)

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Gathursty

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In a week where Naz Shah MP and Ken Livingstone let their words fail them somewhat, I'm keen to seek out the correct, legal and dignified way of criticising the Israeli Government without being classed as anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist.

I do feel that when this crops up around friends, I just have to bite my tongue as I can't say what I really feel for fear of it being taken out of context.

This BBC article is somewhat useful ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36160928 )

What's the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?

The UK Labour Party has been at the centre of a row over anti-Semitism, including its relationship to anti-Zionism. What do these terms actually mean?


-Anti-Semitism is "hostility and prejudice directed against Jewish people" (OED).
-Zionism refers to the movement to create a Jewish state in the Middle East, corresponding to the historic land of Israel - anti-Zionism opposes that.
-But some say "Zionist" can be used as a coded attack on Jews, while others say the Israeli government and its supporters are deliberately confusing anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism to avoid criticism.

I make this thread as someone concerned at the Western default position of 'we back Israel' and the large pro-Israeli lobby in the US and sadly in our country too.

I'm neither for Israel or Palestine to replace one another, more to coalesce in a secular nation with an end to the constant retaliation for previous incidents on either side since time immemorial. I strongly feel that Western Governments need to step back massively from supporting one side over another as any attempt at a peace process has and will continue to fail repeatedly.

PS: I'm very aware that both Israelis and Palestinians have done particularly nasty things and do not think Palestinians are whiter than white either.
 
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Bevan Price

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I think we need to distinguish between the Israeli government and the Israeli people. Personally, I think Israel should have a right to exist - within its 1948 borders, and that Palestinians need to recognise that right.

But equally, I think that Palestinians have a right to exist within their own country, and the Israel government needs to accept that right.

And I am not being anti-Jewish when I think this will probably not happen unless the Israeli government withdraws from settlements on the "occupied lands" on the west bank, etc.

Both sides need to recognise that killing solves nothing - it only breeds more distrust & hatred.
 

Barn

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(A) Criticise actions rather than existence.

(B) Talk about the "Israeli government" and not Zionists or Jews.

(C) Consider also criticising other countries that do things you don't approve of.
 

Baxenden Bank

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You can't.

As with so many things in life, as soon as someone says something that the hearer doesn't agree with, there is an explosion of 'offence', thus putting the person with the initial opinion on the defensive.

Instant rebuttal is an effective PR tactic.

The Israel / Palestine situation tends to cause inflammation due to entrenched views. As mentioned, many people simply stay away from the issue, which proves that the PR tactic works.

You could ask the question why, say, (some) Muslims are so offended, vocal and indeed murderous when a person criticises their religion. Just as (some) Jews, or supporters of the "Jewish state / nation / UN contrived legal entity" are so offended when its actions are criticised.

Israel is in contravention of international law by continuing to develop settlements in occupied territories. I see no-one pursing this unlawful behaviour!

As to the comments or behaviour of Shah or Livingston, I haven't observed, heard or read them so have no opinion on them.
 
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AndrewE

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I think the simple answer is that you are not allowed to. Full stop.

It's not a taboo (which usually had (has?) a sensible reason behind the cultural forbidding of something, like eating pork at a time and in an area where tapeworms were endemic, but hygiene and the importance of thorough cooking weren't understood.)

Instead it's a hysterical onslaught in case the expression of a balanced view reveals the embarrassiing reality.

Attack is the best form of defence, or something like that.
A
 

swj99

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I don't know, and to be honest, I don't care whether my criticism of anything is considered polite or not. I don't subscribe to political correctness, or cultural marxism as it is also known.

http://www.marylandthursdaymeeting.com/Archives/SpecialWebDocuments/Cultural.Marxism.htm

If I was going to criticise the Israeli government, I'd just say what I thought they'd got right and wrong, the same as I'd do if I was talking about any other government. If people don't like it, it's their issue not mine.
 
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Xenophon PCDGS

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Look at events that took place to forcibly remove Israel as a state in the Middle East:-
1948....Arab-Israeli War
1967....Six-day War and War of Attrition
1973....Yom Kippur War

If Britain had faced three such major wars since the end of the Second World War to destroy it as a country, I very much doubt if this forum debate from a British perspective about Britain in such a case would be one where the luxury of viewing matters from afar would take a different course.

The phrase "reap what you sow" springs to mind.
 

GrimsbyPacer

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Although the term anti-Semitic now seams to be used exclusively for a anti-Jewish term, it was originally a geographical term which should also include hatred for Palestinians too, but it never does.

The solution to many of the problems in the area is the 1960s UN plan for 2 states and Jerusalem as a international zone.
As far as I'm concerned the situation in Israel/Palestine is not unlike Aparthide South Africa, Gaza City is in a mess after wars, and blockades prevent rebuilding at any rate. The death figures during many recent conflicts suggest the Israeli government responce to rocket attacks etc has been dis-proportionate.

If Northern Ireland was largely made peaceful, the same should be attempted here, and the old UN plan should be used as a starting point.
 

Baxenden Bank

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A country was created by UN Mandate. That state decided it wanted more land so it went out and stole it. It then filled the stolen land with settlements hindering any return of that stolen land to its rightful owners. The world (generally) stood by.

Is the preceding view anti-Jewish, anti-semitic, semitic, Zionist, anti-Zionist, racist, polemic, a diatribe or merely an expressed opinion (such opinion being informed, mis-informed, correct or incorrect).
 

Spamcan81

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Zionism is a political movement/philosophy so perfectly acceptable to criticise that. Remember that not all Zionists are Jewish and not all Jews are Zionists.
 

D6975

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A country was created by UN Mandate. That state decided it wanted more land so it went out and stole it. It then filled the stolen land with settlements hindering any return of that stolen land to its rightful owners. The world (generally) stood by.

I put forward a hypothetical situation.

If the 'promised land' had been Kent and East Sussex, or Texas and New Mexico, what chance would there have been of Israel being created there??
What would have happened when West Sussex/Arizona was invaded?
 

yorkie

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Indeed.

They're allowed to get away with oppressing the Palestinian people, and bizarrely people can't criticise them without being labelled.

It's madness.
 

12CSVT

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It seems that some people will accuse you of being 'anti-semitic' just for criticising the way the Israeli government and military oppress the Palestinians. And earlier this year the British government even accused some councils of being 'anti-semitic' just for boycotting Israeli products.

It is my view that the following are not anti-semitic
1) Demanding that Israel complies with all U.N. resolutions that it has ignored over the years.
2) Demanding that Israel adheres to its 1948 borders
3) Demanding that Israel ends all hostlities against the Palestinians and that it acknowledges the right for a Palestinian state to exist
4) Calling for economic sanctions against Israel
5) Boycotting Israeli products
 

Johnuk123

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Whatever your views on the situation, bringing Hitler into it is bound to end badly.

Livingstone has an absolute obsession with Hitler they had a list on the tv last week of the countless times he'd mentioned Hitler either in a speech or in print.
 

DarloRich

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Both sides are as bad as each other. The Israelites perpetrate and are victims of crimes, the Palestinians are perpetrators of and victims of crimes. Both require and deserve criticism.

There should be no issue with crticising the state of Israel and their actions. That is not antisemitic.

Look at events that took place to forcibly remove Israel as a state in the Middle East:-
1948....Arab-Israeli War
1967....Six-day War and War of Attrition
1973....Yom Kippur War

If Britain had faced three such major wars since the end of the Second World War to destroy it as a country, I very much doubt if this forum debate from a British perspective about Britain in such a case would be one where the luxury of viewing matters from afar would take a different course.

The phrase "reap what you sow" springs to mind.

what does that have to do with criticising the actions of the Israeli state? We fought some wars in the past so we can do what we like? Using your logic I say we invade France!

Indeed.

They're allowed to get away with oppressing the Palestinian people, and bizarrely people can't criticise them without being labelled.

It's madness.

Lets not pretend the Palestinians are angels in all this. They are not. For instance, they fire unguided rockets into Israel with the express intention of killing Jews at random.
 

yorkie

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Both sides are as bad as each other...
Hmmm... loads of holes to pick in that one. You talk as if it's a level playing field. It is not.

Lets not pretend the Palestinians are angels in all this. They are not. For instance, they fire unguided rockets into Israel with the express intention of killing Jews at random.
If we were invaded, denied the right to our own country's existence, and impoverished, I think we might just react somehow!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
It seems that some people will accuse you of being 'anti-semitic' just for criticising the way the Israeli government and military oppress the Palestinians. And earlier this year the British government even accused some councils of being 'anti-semitic' just for boycotting Israeli products.

It is my view that the following are not anti-semitic
1) Demanding that Israel complies with all U.N. resolutions that it has ignored over the years.
2) Demanding that Israel adheres to its 1948 borders
3) Demanding that Israel ends all hostlities against the Palestinians and that it acknowledges the right for a Palestinian state to exist
4) Calling for economic sanctions against Israel
5) Boycotting Israeli products
Totally agreed.

And if we were oppressed in this way, we would be fighting back. We wouldn't stand for it. Why should they be expected to?
 

Johnny_w

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Indeed.

They're allowed to get away with oppressing the Palestinian people, and bizarrely people can't criticise them without being labelled.

It's madness.

Spent much time in the region or is this all from the BBC and the internet?
 

DarloRich

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Hmmm... loads of holes to pick in that one. You talk as if it's a level playing field. It is not.

It clearly isn't - The Israelis have a modern, menchainsed army. The Palestinians do not. That doesn't seem any impediment on awfulness and nor does that stop the violent cycle of action and reaction from both sides and nor does it stop either side committing vast crimes against the other.

If we were invaded, denied the right to our own country's existence, and impoverished, I think we might just react somehow!

Totally agreed.

And if we were oppressed in this way, we would be fighting back. We wouldn't stand for it. Why should they be expected to?

We might not, however, resort to sending brain washed people to blow themselves up in bus stations or railway stations with the express aim of killing as many innocent civilians as possible.

We might not, however, respond to such acts by rolling into the "enemy" neighbourhood in our tanks and machine gunning small children in the street or blowing up innocents homes with cannon fire.
 
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