Name Calling and the Law of Diminishing Returns

The law of diminishing returns (LDR) is a very interesting one indeed. As you might be aware, this law has transcended its original economic context and is now used to describe a plethora of situations and contexts. I would like today to discuss it and continue a sort of thread that has appeared in the last 4 posts. I didn’t mean for it to be there but circumstances have led to me thinking about it a lot for the past few days.

So I’ve been talking about the way in which the zionist movement uses terms like anti-semitism and the imagery of the holocaust in order to score cheap political points, or in order to dismiss any criticism of israel. I’d like to expand on that a bit, and use a few examples from my own experience to illustrate this. I won’t talk about the use of the Holocaust imagery in order to justify crimes and dismiss criticism, since my post of two days ago deals with the subject adequately, I think. I will however point you to this video, it was shot in the house of commons, here in the UK, during operation cast lead in Gaza (which left more than 1400 Palestinians dead and thousands injured and homeless), and this book by Norman Finklestein on the subject.

So as I said a few days ago the JIDF had put me on a list and an RSS feed called anti-semites/anti-israel or something like that. The point is, that this list’s title conflates two very different terms and attitudes. The first, anti-semitism, describes an attitude which is racist, and refers to people who hate Jewish people for being Jewish. Even though, if one wants to buy into the flawed racial imagery, arabs are semites themselves, so an arab cannot really be an anti-semite. Of course that means nothing to the zionist movement since, as you’ll see bellow, even Jewish Holocaust survivors can be branded anti-semites. The second, anti-israel, is not very clear and describes a host of political attitudes. It could refer to an anti-zionist attitude that describes a stance that refuses to accept the zionist ideology and its basic principles, particulary the idea that Palestine was “a land without people for a people without a land”. This of course could refer to a plethora of positions, ranging from the idea that all Jewish people who have emmigrated to historical Palestine in the XXth and XXIst must leave, to the idea that Palestine must become one democratic state for all its inhabitants (that’s me). Anti-israel could also refer to an attitude that rejects some of the israeli policies but does not reject the israeli project as a whole. Finally, it could refer to any position in between these two. However, I suspect that he, JIDF, would like to add to this any one who criticises israel in any way. I say this because of the people on that list.

Now, this list includes neo-nazis and neo-fascists on twitter. It also includes what he wants to call islamic activists, but that’s not exactly right, since these people range from the extremists to users that simply describe themselves as muslim (Now this is not surprising since the JIDF describes islam as a violent ideology that stands against civilisation and humanity). The list also includes various left leaning tweeters, a host of LGBT activists, Feminists, human rights activists, and many Jewish and Christian users who are critical of israel to varying degrees.

What is interesting here is that in this man’s mind all of these people can be clumped together under that title. So for him an LGBT activist, a left leaning Jewish zionist, an anarchist, a neo-nazi, or a muslim are all pretty much the same. Also, they are all unequivocally “the enemy”. They all hate israel and the jews, and thus must be named and shamed and then bullied and harassed. There are many problems with this and I won’t go through all of them. One of the major ones is that a lot of these people would never ever accept to sit together in the same room or even talk to each other, let alone be described as sharing the same political stance. Yet in his mind they are all part of this anti-Jewish conspiracy, that he believes he is fighting. Also, by conflating the terms anti-semitism and anti-israel, he is trying to discredit a host of political positions that might otherwise be rational and thought -through. Finally, the problem with these lists and this name calling is that it suffers from the LDR.

Indeed, the term anti-semitic has been used so many times by the zionist movement against anyone who dares criticise israeli policies that it doesn’t mean much today. This article is a good example of that. Now, I am not always comfortable with drawing parallels with WWII. I think that there are many parallels but there are also many differences. But the point here is that this is a Holocaust survivor who is branded an anti-semite by the zionist movement. Do you see the irony here? A man who survived “the final solution” equated with the perpetrators of that awful crime because he dares to criticise israel’s attitude towards the Palestinians.

There is also an interesting point made in that article, and that is how the definition of anti-semitism has changed. Dr Meyer writes: “Formerly an anti-Semite was somebody who hated Jews because they were Jews and had a Jewish soul. But nowadays an anti-Semite is somebody who is hated by Jews.” I would slightly change that to say that now an anti-semite is somebody who is hated by zionists. This is because, as I said in an earlier post, I belive that most zionists are not Jewish and most Jewish people are not zionist.

But to go back to the idea of the LDR. We can see this with the term nazi. Today, anyone who shows any form of authority, or who is demanding, or who seeks some form of order, is called a nazi. We have terms such as fashion-nazi, health-nazi, and others. To be called a nazi today does not carry the same weight as it did in 1950 say. This is a classic example of the LDR working. The term has been so overused and abused that its meaning has been trivialised to the point where it doesn’t carry the same moral weight it did when it was first used.

The term anti-semite, suffers from the same moral fatigue. The zionist movement keeps throwing it around and using it to discredit certain people. Today it seems that when a zionist cannot carry a rational argument anymore he/she reverts to name calling and brandishing the anti-semitism card. On Tuesday, Ali Abunimah, who is the co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website, and author of One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, was accused of being a “Jew-hater”. He wrote this on twitter (his user name on twitter in avinunu): “Hasbara hate factories in overdrive, like @NaiveAbroad defaming me, others as “Jew haters.”http://bit.ly/awoA0W” I re-tweeted this, as I felt it was outrageous to call him a “Jew-hater”, since he is one of the foremost advocates of a one-state solution where Arabs and Jewish people live side by side. I also, found it quite funny because it showed the desperation of this NaiveAbroad and the movement he represents.

Within a few minutes I got this tweet from NaiveAbroad: “@avinunu @hocinedim I accept the possibility a defender of a #Jew hater may not himself be a hater of Jews, but I doubt it.” Followed by this: “@avinunu @ritapang @hocinedim Surely you realize hatred of #Jews puts you in bad company. Denial is pointless.” And just like that I was branded a “Jew-hater” and was told that “denial is pointless”. I actually laughed out loud when I saw this. Because it encapsulates everything I tried to say in this post. Here is someone calling me and others a jew-hater, putting us all in the same bag as nazis and other real jew haters, and then telling us that the company we keep (which remember he created for us) is a bad one, and then believing his own lies told us that we could not deny it, because it was pointless. It is really interesting to see how low the zionist movement is sinking, and how little of the moral high ground they have left (although I think they never had much of it to begin with) that they need to operate through this type of low and dirty tactics in order to try to silence any dissent. Well you know what? I’m still writing.

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One Response to “Name Calling and the Law of Diminishing Returns”

  1. Clément Says:

    I had not read any post for the past few week, so I caught up today, only to finish with this very interesting and disturbing one.

    I’ve just learnt, thanks to one previous post, about Rachel Corrie and what she’s been through. I’m really touched.

    Thanks for all this unvaluable information and for taking a viewpoint the media don’t seem to be keen on taking.

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