OPEN DISCUSSION – SEPT 2018

39

This thread has been created for open discussion on themes relevant to Reason and Science for which there are not currently any dedicated threads.

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OPEN DISCUSSION – JUNE 2018

OPEN DISCUSSION – JULY 2018

OPEN DISCUSSION – AUGUST 2018

39 COMMENTS

  1. The September open discussion thread is now open.

    If you wish to continue any of the discussions from earlier Open Discussion threads, please do so here rather than there.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  2. I am a Sri Lankan Sinhalese person who “lost faith” in my religion quite some time ago, back when I was 15 years of age and now I am 19 years of age. I wish to promote science within Sri Lanka, exactly what a developing nation like our’s needs at the moment. I realize that there are quite a few people championing a skeptic worldview(though mostly not in mainstream media) and I wish to join them in the future, after completing my education. Despite the fact that certain groups of people in the western world look at Buddhism and think of it as a “good religion” my conservative parents have shown me that it isn’t so… by being very close minded and hateful about any group other than the “Traditional Sinhalese Buddhists”. There is much hate towards the west as we were under the rule of Richard Dawkins’s own country, not so long ago. Those who question Buddhism and other respected religions publicly are shunned and thought to be in support of the “evil west” as apposed to the “cultured east”. To make things worse I am also a member of the LGBT community. I guess I now am one of the most hated people in Sri Lanka… despite the fact that not many know about me. Many people in those two communities are disowned by their families, even the police and social workers here do not care for most of the injustice faced by our communities. Everyday homophobic videos spring-up some mocking our community and some bullying people belonging to it. To have no religion is mostly unheard of in most areas except near the capitol in Colombo and those who do have such beliefs, lose even their jobs and friends. As you can see I must keep all of who I am to myself. What can I do to become an activist successfully, when I finally am able to come out and help others like me in a conservative culture like mine?

  3. Akila #2

    I’m afraid I’ll have to leave it to others to answer your specific question – if indeed there is an answer. It’s clearly not going to be easy. But I just wanted to thank you for your post and welcome you to RD.net and say how much I hope you’ll stick around and join in the discussions. Sounds as if you don’t get much contact with like-minded people in your day-to-day life, so perhaps simply being able to speak/write freely here will be something of a relief. But in any case, it will be invaluable having your perspective on the topics we discuss here.

    Just one thought – given your concerns about it not being safe to be too open about who you are, I’m wondering if it might be an idea to go to your profile and change it so that only your first name is displayed next to the comments you post? Displaying your full name (assuming it’s your real one) does leave you more exposed, and it sounds as if that perhaps isn’t a very good idea.

  4. Akila #2

    Hello, Akila! Nice to have you here at RDFRS.

    First, I agree with Marco that it would be prudent for you to use only your first name here (without the middle and last name), to protect your privacy and keep yourself safe.

    I have no idea of social conditions in Sri Lanka, but you mention that you are nineteen years of age and still to complete your education; which suggests to me that you are at present studying at a university or other kind of tertiary institute. If this is the case, I wonder how much freedom of thought and expression is valued on campus, and whether it is easy to find others of similar mind as yourself there. Perhaps you can form some kind of group or club on campus that promotes a secular, skeptical, evidenced-based approach to the issues of life and politics. As a body of likeminded individuals dedicated to some such cause, you and your associates may be able later on to become a public association that addresses social issues from a secular, rational, evidential perspective.

    Whatever your circumstances may be, it is saddening and salutarily sobering for me to learn of your plight in Sri Lanka. I hope there is some possibility of finding others of like mind with whom you can work to promote more secular humanist ways of thinking in Sri Lankan society. That will require courage (along with much else) and prudence. Do take care. I wish you every success.

  5. Marco #6
    Sep 3, 2018 at 8:06 am

    So many treasures lost, including the oldest fossil ever found in the Americas.
    The fact that there were no effective fire prevention measures in place just makes it all the more awful.

    It seems this results from the sort of goverment economists, who have a “price for everything, and know the value of nothing”!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-45398084

    Brazil museum fire: Funding cuts blamed as icon nearly destroyed

    Officials in Brazil have blamed lack of funding for a huge fire that has ravaged the country’s National Museum.

    One of the largest anthropology and natural history collections in the Americas was almost totally destroyed in Sunday’s fire in Rio de Janeiro.

    There had been complaints about the dilapidated state of the museum. “We never had adequate support,” its deputy director said after the fire.

    Presidential candidate Marina Silva also criticised lack of investment.

    “Given the financial straits of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and all the other public universities the last three years, this was a tragedy that could be seen coming,” Ms Silva, a left-wing politician standing in next month’s election, tweeted.

  6. I joined the site today and guess i may not see tomorrow here , thrown out perhaps. Still to speak of REASON at a platform shouting itself a biosphere reserved for reason is my prick, i cant stop myself.
    Not so pleasing to find most posts about
    ” Bishop Apologizes For Groping Ariana Grande At Aretha Franklin Funeral
    Muslim Court Canes Malaysian Women for Same-Sex Relationship
    Watch This Woman Call Out Her Alleged Mormon Rapist in His Own Temple
    Trump’s evangelical pander: a sin or a violation of law?”
    WHEN
    At the top left hand corner, I see ” blah blah blah FOR REASON AND SCIENCE ”
    I may be wrong . May be those who think they are ambassadors of reason , who advocate to place reason on a higher place in public debate platform (may be right )think that observing and researching into phenomenon of BIG BUSINESS -Religion and its increasing or decreasing effect on its consumers around the world constitute a major study in the field of science and reason.

    If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry, then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion?

  7. Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry, then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion?

    Part of the study of “reason”, is examining and analysing examples of flawed and irrational thinking and behaviours! – Just as examining reliability in engineering involves testing flawed prototypes which fail on test – thus revealing the flaws which are in need of correction.

  8. Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry, then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion?

    What kind of posts would you like and expect to see here?

  9. …If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry, then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion…

    I suspect you do not live, for example, in the US (let alone in its south-easter side, AKA the “bible belt”), where concerted, systematic attempts to undermine the public perception of Science have been made over the last few decades by presenting religious dogma, often covered with a pseudo-scientific veneer, as a “reasonable” as well as respectable alternative to Science and reason themselves.

    Unfortunately, and very worryingly, this agenda has been partially successful.
    I think it is not too much of a stretch to claim that we are in the midst of a cultural war.

    In this context, it is not enough to just focus on reason and Science alone. One must systematically expose the limits of religion any chance one gets.

  10. Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I joined the site today and guess i may not see tomorrow here , thrown out perhaps.

    I think that unlikely, as anyone can make a reasoned argument and quote evidence here without censorship, regardless of personal viewpoints.

  11. Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I joined the site today and guess i may not see tomorrow here , thrown out perhaps. Still to speak of REASON at a platform shouting itself a biosphere reserved for reason is my prick, i cant stop myself.

    At the top left hand corner, I see ” blah blah blah FOR REASON AND SCIENCE ”

    I’m not sure how the “blah blah blah” analysis of reasoned deduction works!
    As an example from a self nominated critic of “reasoning”, it seems to be an unconvincing argument!

    I may be wrong.

    . . . . but have not been back to read responses, discuss the issue, or find out.

  12. Devesh #8
    Sep 4, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    If your website is a sacred place for reasonable and rational inquiry,
    then why you encourage so many posts and discussions on subjective experience of consumers of the business of religion?

    If you prefer discussions on “reasonable and rational inquiry” into the more physical sciences, why not comment on the many science articles presented for comments, available on this site; – and discuss them with the numerous scientists here who have given detailed comments and analysis on so many scientific issues and past discoveries, as recorded in the archives of earlier discussions on the site?

    It seems a fairly futile move, to join in a discussion on the psychology of religious beliefs, and then complain that it is not one of the listed range of scientific discussions on other topics, which you have ignored!

    If you look at the top of the RDFS “News Contents page”, (see link), you can click on the “SCIENCE heading Button”, pick out the list of all the latest discussions on scientific topics, and exclude other topic headings on subjects in which you do not wish to participate.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/news/

    ALL ATHEISM EDUCATION POLITICS RELIGION SCIENCE SKEPTICISM TECHNOLOGY

  13. And another thought-provoking article here, this time from The Atlantic:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/08/what-trumps-supporters-think-of-corruption/568147/

    Why Trump Supporters Believe He Is Not Corrupt

    What the president’s supporters fear most isn’t the corruption of
    American law, but the corruption of America’s traditional identity.

    “In a forthcoming book titled How Fascism Works, the Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley makes an intriguing claim. “Corruption, to the fascist politician,” he suggests, “is really about the corruption of purity rather than of the law. Officially, the fascist politician’s denunciations of corruption sound like a denunciation of political corruption. But such talk is intended to evoke corruption in the sense of the usurpation of the traditional order.”

    Worth a read – personally I find this article more convincing than the Irish Times one I posted above.

  14. This (corruption of purity) sounds exactly like one of Jonathan Haidt’s five right wing moral “virtues”.

    If the right wing view is that mankind is corrupted from some ancient more virtuous time, modern laws may seem of little value.

    Of late I am finding, by contrast, particularly in the US, an unusual fetishisation of and trust in the law and legal process. Civil disobedience is shocking to contemplate. This is allowed to pre-empt potentially more moral evolutions. Its making me think this might be gutting the left’s ability to fight back…..

  15. Phil #18

    Of late I am finding, by contrast, particularly in the US, an unusual
    fetishisation of and trust in the law and legal process. Civil
    disobedience is shocking to contemplate.

    The same has struck me about the UK, though, too, in the context of Brexit. It’s not so very long ago that there were near-riots in France because Nutella stocks had run too low. Here in the UK, the majority of us (now) see that Brexit will be a disaster for our economy (and more besides) yet, despite feeling passionately about it, the anti-Brexit campaigns are entirely polite and peaceful. It’s no coincidence that it’s a violent backlash from the Right that politicians fear, while apparently feeling free to totally ignore the now more than 50% of the country who have come round to the view that Brexit is a terrible idea. It’s not that I want Remainers to get violent (or that I could do so myself – it’s just not in me). I just suspect we might make more progress if anyone in power were remotely worried that we might.

  16. Marco #19
    Sep 9, 2018 at 5:40 am

    It seems to me that what we have is rebels (some with legitimate grievances), looking for champions of their diverse pet causes, and a mixture of politically correct ignoramus rebels looking for causes to lead, plus the usual posing bought stooges and charlatans, who worm their way into politics.

    In the UK it is relatively easy for rogue millionaires and charlatan intermediaries, to fund candidate deposits and media campaigns, so that easy-money, free-story, journalists in the gutter press, and ignorant politicians, can parrot the empty rhetoric of campaign slogans. – Slogans which are then taken onboard in the false balances of heavier-weight media, simply because they are circulating widely – with the stupid ignorant being lovers of the superficiality of “two opposing viewpoints”!
    (eg. Using the claim to use the £multi-billion financial deficit of the “brexit dividend,” to fund the NHS)

  17. Marco #19

    Yes!

    This deference to a single data point glorified by the term Referendum is exactly the same problem.

    The left have not only been zero threat to Brexit, they appear pussycats, latterly chasing their own tail, whilst the rats prevail.

    Active talk from more politicians (ideally cross party) of collecting more data points and the referendum as serving its purpose of igniting debate and real fact finding is needed to galvanise a new plan A. Not brexit but a plan to fix the old ills, keeping the baby but not the bath water…

    (I know to stop writing once I hit two metaphors….)

  18. NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE AGNOSTIC ATHEIST FREETHINKER HUMANIST SKEPTIC NATURALIST FILM FOR OUR SEMIANNUAL FALL (VS FEBRUARY) FREETHOUGHT FALL FILM FESTIVAL

    Our UU Humanist Group in Annapolis Maryland has been screening appropriate films twice a year
    We posted on RichardDawkinsNet in 2013. Got the following suggestions Do you agree? Can you suggest others?

    2013 SUGGESTIONS:
    TITLE YEAR SUMMARY ROTTON TOMATOES
    “Bedazzled” 1967 Faustian Legend 90% 81%
    “Brazil” 1985 Visionary Orwellian Fantasy 98% 90%
    “Breaking the Waves” 1996 The Power of Love 84% 91%
    “Dogma” 1999 Jay & Silent Bob Prophets 67% 85%
    “Gattaca” 1997 Science vs Humanism 21st C 82% 87%
    “God on Trial” 2008 Auschwitz 83%
    “God Loves Uganda” 2013 Christian Evangelicals 100% 77%
    “Holy Mountain” 1973 Individuals Out to be God 81% 89%
    “La Dolce Vita” 1960 Federico Fellini 97% 90%
    “Life of Pi” 2012 Reality vs Belief 86% 84%
    “Melancholia” 2011 Depression Destruction 79% 67%
    “Microcosmos” 1996 Bug’s Eye View 97% 91%
    “Osama” 2003 Women under Taliban 96% 87%
    “Persepolis” 2007 9yo Girl Iran > Austria 96% 92%
    “Requiem” 2006 Mental Illness vs Possession 86% 66%
    “Serious Man” 2009 Coen Brothers 89% 68%
    “Sleeper” 1973 Woody Allen 100% 81%
    “Solaris” 1976 Reality vs Perception 96% 90%

    2011
    “Avatar” 2009 Human Mind Alien Body 83% 82%
    “Crimes & Misdemeanors” 1989 Woody Allen 93% 91%
    “Decalogue” 1989 Ten Commandments 97% 92%
    “The Gods Must Be Crazy” 1980 Kalihari Bushman and Coke 95% 84%
    “Letting Go of God” 2008 Julia Sweeney 86%
    “Life of Brian” 1997 Monty Python 97% 93%
    “Man from Earth” 2007 Immortality 85%
    “Meaning of Life” 1983 Monty Python 88% 83%
    “Seventh Seal” 1957 Ingmar Bergman 93% 93%
    “Tree of Life” 2008 Terrence Mallick 84% 60%
    “Waking Life” 2001 Arthur Linklater 80% 87%

  19. Agora. Alejandro Amenábar (2009)

    Hypatia and the power struggles of rising Christianity and the sack of the library at Alexandria. Noting religion’s indifference to knowledge and asking the question what wisdom may we have already lost through it. (Hypatia very credibly posits a theory 1,000 years ahead of time, before being killed.) Stylish, what if, film rather than historical account.

  20. Alan4discussion #15
    This is in response to ALAN4DISCUSSION…
    You say ” If you prefer discussions on “reasonable and rational inquiry” into the more physical sciences, why not comment on the many science articles presented for comments, available on this site”
    Even the name associated with this website, The respected richard dawkins refrain from commenting on the same theory he is originally famous for The Selfish Genes.
    If you think ” and discuss them with the numerous scientists here who have given detailed comments and analysis on so many scientific issues and past discoveries”
    then here’s my doubt- Why Mr Dawkins deliberately leaves over PURSUIT OF MONEY / PURSUIT OF POWER as one of the important factors influencing the spread of Memes?
    When even if dont read a lot of inquiries and experiments as to how ideas spread in a group, I can see around myself that whatever exists in my environment with its source being human, it is something for which somebody in individual or organized, spend money to sell it , popularize it and worked towards its acceptance in a business manner by the members of a group. And that spirit to spread the Idea was not born out of desire to help someone or any group at large, but on the simple business motive to earn monetary profit.

    If the computer through which I am working is available to me, its not simply because it was an good idea and it spread by itself. It’s not here because the makers of computer wanter to help people in general. It is here because businesses who are engaged in making computers are interested in making money.

    Same is with Ideas. They dont spread by winds or by rains. They spread because some organisations profit by the spread of particular Ideas. And the prime beneficiary in the business of Ideas is the ruling group at any place, called the Kings in earlier times and Governments of today.

  21. Alan4discussion #15
    I should present an example for an Idea as well.
    Democracy If you agree , the institutions and the public opinion andd behaviour that includes the phenomenon called democracy can be traced back to the idea of Democracry with its definitions.
    Now this idea called democracy doesnt spread from some person or group who thinks it is an useful idea for many to believe and behave accordingly and organization in groups to be arranged according to this Idea.
    It spread and for now, its here to stay because some groups already placed in positions that control power discovered that this idea can be used to hide the actual process of selection of Power over groups by involving people in such a way that remain under illusion that they are the ones who have chosen men in power.
    And these resourceful groups spent money on the spread of Idea, make necessary regulations to modify offices to suit the idea , and into indoctrination of people to accept and behave according to this Idea.

  22. Devesh#26

    What you refer to as the ‘phenomenon called democracy’ is regarded by the vast majority of people on our world to be the fairest method of achieving a governing system.

    Can you suggest another (equally fair) way of achieving the same?

  23. Erol #27
    Sep 13, 2018 at 4:00 am
    If you read the two threads together, My highlight or probe is not about the best method of governance.
    But about How this perception becomes what you describe as ” is regarded by the vast majority of people on our world”? the process.
    If you assume that you have something to ask , then at least question within the limits of speaker’s content .

  24. Devesh #25
    Sep 12, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    I see you need to quote sections cut from earlier comments.

    On this site, these can be highlighted by placing a > at the beginning of the pasted comment, and leaving a line-space before adding new commentary below it.

    here’s my doubt- Why Mr Dawkins deliberately leaves over PURSUIT OF MONEY / PURSUIT OF POWER as one of the important factors influencing the spread of Memes?

    The mechanisms for spreading money and power in complex societies, are memes. (ie. over time, they are replicated and inherited – but with some “mutated” features evolving.)

    The other factor is the distribution of food/resources/energy as part of a complex food chain. There are similar structures in all ecosystems.

    The political – economic structure is about who comtrols these mechanisms.

    Same is with Ideas. They dont spread by winds or by rains.
    They spread because some organisations profit by the spread of particular Ideas.
    And the prime beneficiary in the business of Ideas is the ruling group at any place, called the Kings in earlier times and Governments of today.

    Ideas spread, by humans copying actions from parents or role models, which they identify as successful, status enhancing, or providing solutions to problems. This is sometimes formalised into apprenticeships to particular trades.

    What you are describing is a two part feature of productive ideas being seized upon by tribes, guilds, or corporations, with attempts to monopolise these, and their promotion of particular ideas for profit.

    The basic copying of ideas in tool-use etc. can be observed in young children, and to a limited extent in the more mentally capable social animals – such as Capuchin monkeys.

  25. Devesh #26
    Sep 13, 2018 at 2:00 am

    Alan4discussion #15
    Democracy If you agree , the institutions and the public opinion andd behaviour that includes the phenomenon called democracy can be traced back to the idea of Democracry with its definitions.

    Democracy has as many definitions as the number of ideologies which claim to promote it. Many of the definitions and claims are pure deception!
    (A bit like the current Brexiteer claim in the UK, that a second refendum – now the public are more aware of brexiteer fantasy finance, empty rhetoric, and lies, is “undemocratic” when it corrects a vote based on earlier deceptions!
    There were similar ludicrous claims that the parliamentary representatives having a normal, informed vote, on what was finally agreed would be also “undemocratic”!)

    The vague term “democracy” is dishonestly bandied around by sleight-of-hand politicians, who are seeking some badge of endorsement for dubious their schemes!

    Now this idea called democracy doesnt spread from some person or group who thinks it is an useful idea for many to believe and behave accordingly and organization in groups to be arranged according to this Idea.

    Democracy, is essentially a method of input of useful ideas and constructive criticism on those in government or management. That is why repressive dictatorships which do not listen to criticisms, or seek wider inputs of ideas, fail due to incompetence, lack of imagination, and denial of required actions.

    Democratic votes are also a measure of political support in the wider population – as the manipulative propagandists know only too well!

    Many “turkeys”, are easily persuaded to vote for Christmas – with a promise of a spendid dinner in the company of elite celebrities!

    It spread and for now, its here to stay because some groups already placed in positions that control power discovered that this idea can be used to hide the actual process of selection of Power over groups by involving people in such a way that remain under illusion that they are the ones who have chosen men in power.

    There are certainly many forms of perversion of political processes by those seeking power and influence by clandestine means.
    These are enabled by corrupt individuals, nepotism, pressure groups with ideological or finacial interests, and widespread apathy in the wider population.
    Many people make no effort to engage in political processes, have no contact with their representatives, take no interest in what their representatives are actually doing, and many do not even know who their representatives are – or don’t bother to vote at all! The media tends to concentrate on sensationalist stories and publicity-gimmick stunt-men, while ignoring constructive work by more conscientious representatives, on running and improving the functions of government.

    There is also the media manipulated- ignoramus-factor, of opinionated “know-nothings”, chanting garbage propagandist slogans, spoon-fed to them by the gutter press, or ideological or religious fanatics, and then shouting down the expert opinions they should be consulting to form informed opinions!

    In its crudest tribal form, this results in vigilante groups attacking scape-goats on the basis of malicous gossip and rumour, or the slaughter involved in religious crusades!

  26. Devesh#28

    But about How this perception becomes what you describe as ” is
    regarded by the vast majority of people on our world”? the process.

    Plainly, because it is the most logically fair method! Each person in a group will have their own point of view about who should govern, and in the democratic system those that have the majority viewpoint will win and elect their chosen candidate.

    Under what circumstances would that not be an acceptable system in your opinion?

  27. Currently I am trying to form some coherent legislation to replace the almost unusable near incoherent “hate speech” legislation, which I …er… dislike with a passion. As often framed it is a weapon as usable by the hateful as by the compassionate.

    A legal test for hate is almost impossible to frame without limiting fair comment. An ancient supernatural tribal entitlement used by the near Fascist (IMO) Benjamin Netanyahu to allow the ongoing theft of others’ property, and disproportionate unjudicial killing needs regular and vigorous calling out and to those who could be brave and vote against it.

    (By contrast the brave others have my undying gratitude from Myriam Margolies and Professor Norman Finklestein, very many Ashkenazy and even Hasidic and Haredi Jews.

    As ever this link

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0CulhsQkTA

    Google images of anti-zionist jews.)

    Many other areas are compromised with bizarrely formed terminology like “Islamophobia” seeking, all too often to silence debate with irrational hate testing, hiding the people actually harmed and by what mechanism harmed. “Anti-Muslim-Bigotry”, identifies the harmed, those able to suffer, and the mechanism.

    Once I proposed hate speech legislation be abolished for its almost impossible test and infrequent application as a result, and be replaced by “incitement to violence” very assiduously policed with a much easier testing and chance of conviction. The kinds of inflammatory (and super-judicial) speech we may want to put an end to can be moderated, but the debate of ideas remain unharmed.

    Recently I wanted to hold Pastors and all of shaman-kind legally responsible for the damage they inflict directly or indirectly on children through speech. Their speech is harmful even if it is transmitted via collaborator parents to say pray the meningitis away, shun the blood transfusion. Doctors have professional insurance for the advice they give, and they are held institutionally accountable and bound by the Hippocratic Oath. Pastors have none of these.

    So now I want broader than incitement to violence and call it incitement to bodily harm and a more restrictive version “bodily harm to a minor”?

    Can we see a new overarching principle here? Am I trying to bundle too much together?

    Cheers, mods. Please delete my two posts in the gene mutations thread. Thanks.

  28. phil rimmer #32
    Sep 13, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Currently I am trying to form some coherent legislation to replace the almost unusable near incoherent “hate speech” legislation,

    The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, should confine its efforts to promoting education about the holocaust, instead of discrediting itself by attempts to gain partizan support for Israel in its abuse of Palestinians.
    It is simply dishonest to try to equate holocaust denial with criticism of Israel and Zionists!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Holocaust_Remembrance_Alliance

    The non-legally binding working definition includes illustrative examples of antisemitism to guide the IHRA in its work.
    These examples include classical antisemitic tropes, Holocaust denial and attempts to apply a double standard to the State of Israel.[9]

    This “application of a double standard to the State of Israel”, is a disingenuous ploy! – Claiming that some petty dictators or corrupt regimes, are just as abusive in other countries, is no excuse or justification!

    Likewise asserting that critics who are just as critical of other abusive regimes or cultures, are somehow biased against Jews or Israel, is simply a projection of their own fundamentalist bigotry on to the critics!

    Although internationally recognised by many groups, the working definition of antisemitism has been criticised by some as too broad, and conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism.

    Of couse it has – because as we have seen in earlier discussions here, Zionists will conveniently switch between religious views, political views, and support for the Israeli government, according to the agenda and argument of the day – with the usual expressions of being “offended” by criticism of reprehensible Zionist actions, and the usual attempts to divert the argument away from criticism of the real issues, and into an ad-hominem attack and debate on the (allegedly) “bigoted antisemitic” critic!

    There are clear parallels between this perverted Zionist thinking, and Trump’s labelling of all his critics (economists, scientists, university research teams, independent observers etc.), as “Democrat propagandists”!

  29. @#34 – Zionists will conveniently switch between religious views, political views, and support for the Israeli government, according to the agenda and argument of the day –
    with the usual expressions of being “offended” by criticism of reprehensible Zionist actions,
    and the usual attempts to divert the argument away from criticism of the real issues, and into an ad-hominem attack and debate
    on the (allegedly) “bigoted antisemitic” critic!

    Shortly after I wrote this comment, this example emerged!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45517094

    A trade union leader has been recorded suggesting that Israel “created” the anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party.

    In a recording published by the Independent, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka suggested the country had created the story to hide what he called its own “atrocities”.

    Labour Against Anti-Semitism said Mr Serwotka had brought the entire TUC into disrepute and he should resign.

    This is the classic “offended Zionist” diversionary ad-hominem attack, and trying to put the critic on the defensive while ducking all the real issues!
    It is to facilitate such attacks, that these dubious definitions of “anti-Semitism” are being promoted and accepted by Israeli stooges, and gullible “politically correct” politicians!

    Perhaps Mark Serwotka should go on to expose “Labour Against Anti-Semitism”, as the bunch of disruptive propagandist Zionist stooges, that they are!

    The Independent reported that Mr Serwokta had told an event organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign at the TUC this week that there was no place for anti-Semitism in the Labour movement.

    “I think it’s unfortunate that the Labour Party allowed a lot of this to drag on, in a way that actually didn’t help anybody,” he said.

    But he cited the controversial decision by US President Donald Trump to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the deaths of dozens of unarmed Palestinians killed by Israeli troops as among the real issues being distracted from by “a summer of asking ourselves whether leading Labour movement people are in any way anti-Semitic?”

    “Now I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’ll tell you what – one of the best forms of trying to hide from the atrocities that you are committing is to go on the offensive and to actually create a story that does not exist for people on this platform, the trade union movement or, I have to say, for the leader of the Labour Party,” he said.

    On Wednesday it was announced that [Mr Serwokta] had been elected TUC president for the coming year.

    “He made the point at the start of the meeting, that we need to oppose anti-Semitism in society and within the Labour movement.

    “But we should not allow the issue of anti-Semitism to be used by people who are attempting to silence Palestinian voices as they legitimately struggle for their rights and a sovereign state.”

  30. In her 2016 report into allegations of anti-Semitism within Labour, front bencher Baroness Chakrabarti wrote how the term “Zionist” is “used personally, abusively or as a euphemism for ‘Jew'”.

    This licensed Rabbi Jonathan Sachs to take a reference to British Zionists (lacking English irony) from Corbyn in 2013 as intending all British Jews and thus blatant anti-semitism*.

    This cheap silencing of political complaint, marks the Rabbi as a warmonger, disinterested in Middle East peace by default.

    *”At this event, he was referring to a group of pro-Israel activists misunderstanding and then criticising the Palestinian ambassador for a speech at a separate event about the occupation of the West Bank.”

  31. Here’s an interesting recent Haaretz article concerning Israel’s history in which these comments appear:

    “Zionist education has instilled in the Israeli consciousness a highly simplistic attitude toward that history: that this land has self-evidently been registered under the name of the Jewish people from time immemorial.

    “But all the talk about “Jewish history” in ancient periods is quite dubious”.

    “It’s important to understand that the scientific study of the history of the Levant in the Iron Age treats the term “ancient Israel” with considerable skepticism. Since the 1990s, many scholars have maintained that it would be best to abandon that term altogether, as it refers to an entity that is meaningless in historical terms. For example, the influential biblical scholar Niels Peter Lemche noted in a 2008 article that the kingdom of David and Solomon “nowadays may be considered a fairy kingdom rather than a historical fact.””

    I wonder if Netanyahu knows about Israel’s fairy connection?

  32. Phil

    (By contrast the brave others have my undying gratitude from Myriam Margolies and Professor Norman Finklestein, very many Ashkenazy and even Hasidic and Haredi Jews.

    There are a good number of Jews who have the moral chops to stand up for human rights even though it may put them in treacherous territory with their own community. I’ve been protesting for a fair solution for the Palestinians for thirty years now and I can’t emphasize enough how much I admire those Jews who were in the lines with us. This isn’t to say that they think Israel shouldn’t exist, just that the actions and policies of Israel are not in the best interests of Jews everywhere. They wished to distance themselves from the immorality of that state in their cruel oppression of the Palestinians.

    Some of them did state that Israel has no right to exist or no right to exist where it does (other locations were considered) or that if Israel had struck a fair deal right in the beginning and stuck to a two state solution then things would’ve been different and tolerable for all.

    As it stands now, some very bad actions are using accusations of “antisemitism” to hide behind and it’s been working well for quite a long time. Now with Jared Kushner having a carte blanche access to the situation at the highest level of the American government, the situation has become blatantly toxic. In combination with the Saudis, the strategy is to starve the Palestinians into signing away the rest of their former country and submitting to the Israeli/American policy of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

    Jews are people who have universal human rights. If they’ve suffered harm they deserve compensation and protection.

    Zionism is an ideology. Ideologies have no rights and we have the right and obligation to analyze and criticize them.

    Judaism is a religion. Religions have no rights and we have the right and obligation to analyze and criticize them.

    Muslims are people who have universal human rights. If they’ve suffered harm they deserve compensation and protection.

    People who hate Jews as a group are Jew hating bigots

    People who hate Muslims as a group are Muslim hating bigots.

    Pastors and Priests who hide behind their so called sacred religions to perpetrate crimes and inflict harm on others must be subject to the same legal system as are every other citizen. No more special privilege for religions. Many people in this world are suffering the effects of this special privilege because they’ve been brainwashed and threatened with hellfire, ostracism and other kinds of cruelty.

    The force of this special privilege is still formidable but we can speak out truthfully, defending strong ethical values while defending the suffering and harmed and insisting on a clear understanding of what can and must be criticized and what can and must be defended.

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