That "But" Word…

Antony Lerman’s CiF article last month on the subject of the arson of a synagogue in Crete was obviously tailored for its anticipated audience in that it was strewn with undertones guaranteed to prompt specific responses below the line. Many of the reactions were of course predictable and basically can be summed up as ‘yes, the vandalism at the Etz Hayim synagogue was awful, but….’
‘But the Jews bring it on themselves by supporting Israel…’

28 Jan 2010, 12:29PM
The atack on the Synagogue is utterly inexcusable, and rebuilding serves notice you will not be cowed.
Good for you.
But as you build ponder the reasons that men will commit such vile acts.
Only in understanding why you were attacked will you find peace.

28 Jan 2010, 1:00PM
In mistaken reprisal for the actions of the State of Israel .
Are you hard of thinking.

28 Jan 2010, 2:32PM
a Judaism open to the world and not afraid to engage with people
I condemn anti-semitic attacks and ideology.
But that said, the Jewish community needs to take a good hard look at itself.
Because the day when the jewish community can turn as one to condemn and ostracise the racist, and the corrupt and powerful their midst will we see the day that jews can genuinely say that they, as a people and a creed, are open to the workd and not afraid to engage with people.
The fact is the actions of a few rich jews, who both have and continue to tanish the community as a whole. When we look at people like Bernie Madoff, many in the American banking community who let the economy burn, or the (largely) jewish russian oligarchs who made billions buying up russian assets at knockdown prices in return for Yeltsin being bankrolled by the same American Jewish financial fraternity (all while the russian population starved) – Because it is the actions of a few rich jews, who both have and continue to tanish the community as a whole.
Moreover, the inability of jews around the world to wholeheartedly condemn racist Israeli jews who treat palestinians as subhuman in their own land, only adds to the perception that all jews are guilty of this behaviour.

28 Jan 2010, 2:40PM
No mate.
Not less rich. Just more moral.
Like being able to turn round and say collectively as a community to the Bernie Madoffs, Abramovich’s, or Dick Fuld’s, or your average israeli settler – “your behaviour is beyond the pale; you embarass us and you are not one of us. we don’t want to be associated with you.”
That’s what I’m trying to say.

28 Jan 2010, 4:30PM
Ill explain why your comment is Racist/Anti-smitic .
In the complex world of thieves and ass holes you state that the Jewish thieves are worst then any other and so the people look at the Jews as Thieves . Thats Racism/ Anti-Semitism , or just 3 year old logic .
Not it’s not!
Though I’m glad to hear you admit, jewish people can be as corrupt and racist as anyone else. Rare to hear. Normally, it’s all about hearing about how anti-semitic everything/ everyone is.
The fact is:
– a community that talks the most about the oppression, discrimination and the holocaust has the biggest moral duty to prevent the suffering of other people (like the palestinians) or speak out when it happens. Like in Israel for example.
– a community routinely pilloried for the acts of its most corrupt members, owes it to itself to admit it and actually cast out those who bring the rest of them into disrepute. Especially, since they are the ones who carry the can for it.
The fact that the Jewish community has said nothing in respect of the treatment of the Palestinians in Israel or people like Bernie Madoff speaks volumes. And it is no different to the muslim community leaders who said nothing after 9/11 other than to preach “understanding for why it happened”.
At the end of the day, if they won’t do the right thing and condemn the immoral among them publicly, then their legacy is the community’s legacy. End of story.

Hmm.. Jewish bankers responsible for the global financial crisis….Bernie Madoff’s criminal scam equated with the ruthless murder of thousands of people…
‘But the Zionists use incidents like these to gain political capital…’

28 Jan 2010, 12:27PM
“Etz Hayyim is a kind of crucible where personal change and transformation can occur in what are both challenging and enriching circumstances. It’s at the frontier of modern Jewish experience.”
Well said, Tony Lerman – well said indeed. And here is an excellent example of just that:
“But even as we completed the prayers, the work of repair and cleaning up was going on all around us. A wonderful group made up of local Haniotes, Albanians, Israelis, a Palestinian, Germans, an American and more, were installing new electrics, sweeping up and stacking cushions, cataloguing the damaged books, making parts of the site more secure. If the local response after the first fire had been disappointing, there was a major change after the second. On each of the three days I was there, the local paper carried a full page on the attacks, marking the growing concern and support in the town.”
A shame that the ADL and Co. should jump in with their “self-serving politicised agendas”. But there we are – making political capital out of anti-Semitism is what they are all about.
I didn’t get the opportunity to comment on your Yoav Shamir ‘Defamation’ piece – but thanks for bringing his enlightening film to the attention of so many who visit this website.

28 Jan 2010, 1:44PM
“not signs of real concern for Jewish life in this place.”
I sometime feel antisemitism are calculatingly used not to the benefit of Jews but to suit the agenda and self-interests of a few people.
Ditto for anti-Muslim, anti etc etc.
‘But the Jews always exaggerate anti-Semitism anyway…’

28 Jan 2010, 12:17PM
Good article, it’s refreshing to see that not all Jewish people cry anti-semitism (still don’t like that term, it’s much broader than just Jewish people) when something unfortunate like this happens. And also nice to see another EPIC FAIL for the ADL. I’m just worried that when they release photos of the Greek, 2 Englishmen and 2 Americans, they’ll all look rather alike in their South Asian appearance and big beards. Hmmmm.

28 Jan 2010, 4:40PM
##the blame must go in part to the media which is complicit in promoting antisemitism by their depiction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ##
Moshe : Hey look .. the IDF are bombing the UNHQ!
David : I bet the press reports it
Moshe: Just the sort of anti Semitic trick they would pull! 🙂

28 Jan 2010, 4:56PM
Angus: Hey look…. Berchmans has another post.
Bannock I bet it’s like the two million others of his that came before.
Angus: Youre right, Laddie, but this time he’s aiming for some Humean irony!

Properbostonian, however, had that reply deleted.
‘But the Zionists do worse things…’

28 Jan 2010, 1:20PM
“The rebuilding of Crete’s Etz Hayyim synagogue after the arson attacks proves that Judaism is open, not closed, to the world”
The continued persecution of the Palestinian people by the ‘state of Israel’ proves that zionism is not open to anything.

Note the conflation of Jews and Zionists in that comment.

28 Jan 2010, 2:12PM
Since you have no problem with the persecution of the Palestinian people you are a racist bigot.
I am anti – the ‘state of Israel’ for its persecution of the Palestinian people. Zionism is the ‘philosophy’ behind such persecution.
Many jewish people are anti-zionist – because they don’t believe in such persecution.
Your shrill abuse on a forum such as this doesn’t hide the inhumanity of zionism.

28 Jan 2010, 2:39PM
In reply to the numerous comments which have been directed against mine I want to point out that the spirit of the above article and the communal tolerant multiculturalism it advocates is in stark contrast to the distorted interpretation that is used as justification for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people.
I fail to understand how a commenter here is allowed to call me a bigot because I state something incontrovertibe while my labelling him a bigot for a blase acceptance of racist persecution is removed.
Criticism of the inhumanity of zionism is now seen as a fair excuse for a torrent of abuse. In the space of an hour I’ve been called a bigot numerous times, ignorant , distasteful, irrelevant and more.
I have worked on the maintenance of at least one synagogue myself. I admire the ‘open-ness’ described in the article above. I see it as a continuing sign of the willingness of jewish people and others to rise above persecution and intolerance.

To which came this soon-deleted reply:

28 Jan 2010, 6:30PM
I have worked on the maintenance of at least one synagogue myself.
Voluntary or as part of your day job?
I utterly sympathise with you when you complain about being accused of obsession with Israeli treatment of Palestinians – totally disgraceful …. just a quick question though, can you explain why, when I googled “Spoutwell and criticism of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians” I got 2345595557595798578758 returns on sites as wide ranging as Aardvaarks, sexual reproduction in Drosophilla Melanogater (fruit fly) and the Manchester United Fanzine.. just wondering!

My old English teacher, Miss King, used to say that a ‘but’ always negates a positive statement made immediately prior to it, and indeed these crocodile tears for the damage inflicted on the Etz Hayim synagogue do not impress, especially when they are used as an opener to bigoted and antisemitic remarks. After all, when public antisemitic discourse becomes a daily norm as it is on CiF, it’s not such a big leap from there to antisemitic vandalism.

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