Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A question of Semantics

There are many words in the English language that have such a heavy connotative meaning, but when used improperly, are useless. These words are used so often and become so casual, they lose all meaning and cease to become powerful.
One of the most over-used and improper phrases is the term Anti-Semitic. This phrase is used so often, at so many people, that it has ceased to carry the weight it once may have had. Anti-Semitic is a control term, a term used to bully people into believing a certain ideology, when the term in itself is just ridiculous. When a person criticizes the Israeli government, its policies, or its politics, they are branded anti-Semitic. If one states a true fact such as the majority of the Media and finances are run by Jews, or that Jews in government are highly over-represented when compared to their number in the population, they are regarded as anti-Semitic. First, it's helpful to dissect the term anti-Semitic. A Semite is a person who's background is generally Middle Eastern. Groups such as Arabs, ethnic Israelis, Assyrian's and Druz' are all considered Semitic people. Thus, the term anti-Semitic as associated with only Jews is incorrect, when in reality, any discrimination towards the Semitic groups mentioned can be considered anti-Semitic. Another very important concept to understand is that not all Jews are Semites. In fact, the majority of Jews are of European descent, and not originally from the Middle East. A statement made by an Arab against a Jew being called anti-Semitic sounds as strange as if an Englishman calls a Spaniard anti-European.
Once one understands that most Jews are not Semites, and not all Semites are Jews, then we can begin to discuss the objective truth. There is no such thing as being anti-Jewish (which is the term I shall use from now on), when one discusses their displeasure with Israeli policy. In fact, there are very few people in the world that can look at Israel's conduct and agree with the heavy handed tactics used. Also, the claim that Israel is a Democracy or a free society is absurd. Israel is as much a democracy as South Africa was during Apartheid. If one would try to understand the plight of non-Jews in Israel, then the state policies would be all but evident. How many supporters of Israel have ever talked to the minority Christian populations, Palestinian, and non-Palestinian alike. For at least 3 decades now, Israel has put more and more pressure on churches and mosques within its borders. They have instituted unfair practices in which they raise the price of land or rent for non-Jews, and when it's sold to Jews, the price comes back down to normal. The truth behind the facade is that Israel has a highly stratified and caste society. The people at the top are the Ashkhenazi Jews (European descended, especially from Russia), they are the most militant and hawkish. Below the Ashkhenazi are the Israeli Jews, and below them on the caste system are the American Jews (those that have moved to Israel from America). Following this, there are the Ashkhanazi Jews married to Sephardic Jews(those Jews with roots in Spain who actually have Semitic blood), and below this, are the Sephardic Jews themselves. On the lowest rungs are the Christians, Muslims, and Druz'. If you do not believe any of the statements made here, please find the time to talk to any of the lower groups, especially the Christians and Muslims. The justification for this nationalistic and stratified society is that Israel is a refuge for all Jews so that events such as the Holocaust can be prevented. Now in theory, this may seem like a sound idea, but in practice, the ethnic cleansing and the heavy-handed tactics used to achieve the intended results all but encourage dissatisfaction, resentment, and anger. Israel can act on its own accord, with no regulation. Unlike most countries on Earth, Israel can pretty much do as it pleases, and the worst they get might be a mockingly half-serious rebuke from the US government. However, the amount of money invested in Israel by the American Government is in record proportions, yet there is no authority to control this spending. Israel is the only country in the Middle East with a nuclear arsenal, yet they get away with it, due to "nuclear ambiguity". This is just another play on semantics to allow Israel to receive foreign aid. A country that has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, yet has an arsenal in excess of 200 nuclear warheads is not a joke. I mean, think about it objectively, how ultimately outlandish can a country be. Yet, these policies run unchecked because any possible criticism of Israeli policy is branded as anti-Semitic. Disliking Israeli policy does not make one anti-Jewish. In fact, there are many Jews who are appalled at the policies instituted by the Israeli government.
A question of semantics indeed. Words can have such an overwhelming influence over thought that the whole world can be bullied over a simple misnomer such as the phrase anti-Semitic. Absolute truth is the formula for a thorough understanding of the world that we live in. When this truth is shaded before our eyes, and the facts of history are altered, or words are played with in such a manner as to influence thought, then this in effect destroys all that we strive for (excluding politicians, since they purposely implement measures to change the course and direction of history for their malicious benefit).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

3rd essay I have read. I haven't researched much about this topic at all, but the Holocaust amazes me immensly; to think that one whole race can be denounced as mere firewood or target practice is just so rediculous that it stands out and shocks those who hear stories about it. But amazingly well written essay. I agree thoroughly. My english teacher last year did a whole lesson on words that have lost their meaning. She got very angry with the word "awesome." She explained that a hot dog, or other trivial thing, can not inspire awe, therefore is not awesome. Oh well, random tangent. Good essay!

~Fellow Agnostic