Let's try to discuss this with civility and without namecalling.
This is what, on Dailykos.com, they call a "meta" article, about considerations regarding the website. It's also a discussion on what some very hot, HOT words mean to different people.
What are appropriate uses and meanings for the words Zionist and Zionism, islamofascist or islamofascism?
Is it appropriate to express hate for Zionists, or for that matter, right wingers, republicans, "Islamofascists," gays.... or whoever.
It is a fact that there are bigots who use the words Zionist, Zionism, islamofascist, gay, homo, etc. to express hate. They go beyond reasonable and appropriate use of these words, hiding behind them to vent their hate and intolerance.
We'd like to have the community set some standards for what is reasonable use and what isn't, that extends beyond discussion of ideas into bigotry and hate. Is it reasonable to reject discussion that fits this category of bigotry and hate? Or should rejection of such discussion be considered censorship?
Our goal here at OpEdnews.com is to keep as open a forum as possible for discussion of as wide a range of ideas as possible, but to keep it civil, without tolerating hateful content or violations of commonly accepted netiquette standards, like the rule against ad hominem, personal attacks.
Regarding Zionism and Zionists, I've made it clear, I'm born and raised Jewish. But I oppose many of the actions and policies of Israel. Still, I support Israel's right to exist and would want the US to defend Israel if it was attacked by a foreign force.
Does that make me a Zionist?
Polls show that 80% of Jews vote Democratic. I would venture to guess that at least 50% of those Jews are not happy with the way Israel treats Palestinians. But I'd also bet that 90% of those Jews also support Israel's right to exist. They have an ancestral (not racial, not national-- ancestral) memory of the Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany, being rejected by every nation. Are those Jews who support Israel's right to exist Zionists? Should writers have the right to talk about these liberal Democrats with hate and contempt?
I'm not saying that this is right. Actually, I think it's really screwed up. But the truth is, if any US candidate shows less than full support for Israel, his or her opponent will use this to attack the candidate in an effort to cut support by Jewish constituents. It doesn't matter in some backwoods district in Tennessee, where there are few if any Jews, but in large metropolitan areas-- NYC, LA, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco-- the position matters. Want to know what happens to a candidate who comes out against Israel? Look at Cynthia McKinney. She was destroyed by AIPAC and other Israel supporters.
I don't like AIPAC. I've written about my dislike in this article-- *****. Like I said, probably half the Jews who vote Democratic don't like the way things are in Israel, in terms of the treatment of the Palestinians. But there seems to be this quantum gulf on how to handle it. A politician would face certain death in many districts if he or she even broaches the idea of less than 100% support. I think part of the problem is the intense, hateful rhetoric that supporters of the Palestinian cause produce.
As the Middle East lurches towards peace, the hate and contempt, the meanness must dissipate. We should look to South Africa for an example. There, peace and reconciliation hearings continue to be held. No, I am not saying the final solution is to do what was done in South Africa. It seems like an unlikely outcome, though some advocate for it. But eventually, the hate and recriminations must come to an end. Advocates for peace would serve the peace and justice process best by seeking truth, justice through peaceful, civil efforts. It is important to call abusers of peace and justice on their abuses. But that can be done without hate.
Then, there are those who really are haters and bigots. They expand the meaning of Zionist to include all Jews, while denying that they are actually doing that. They usually throw in a denial that they are anti-Semitic, challenging people to claim it.
To me, those challenges are usually signs that they are defending themselves in advance. Maybe they already have plenty of experience of being accused in other forums, and they think if they bristle with hostility and combativeness, they will get away with their hiding behind words.
I won't let it pass. Frankly, I think it is easy to talk about the issues of Israel and the Middle East without first reciting a long history-- a litany of complaints.
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