Tolerance for Intolerance?

|

According to today's Globe and Mail, Canadian Jews (well, at least one guy from B'nai Brith Canada) are dismayed that Prime Minister Jean Chretien did not follow President Bush's example in personally rebuking Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for his anti-Semitic remarks last week. The White House says Bush took Mahathir aside at the APEC summit in Bangkok to let him know that his comments were "wrong and divisive" and "squarely against what I believe."

Mahathir, who complains that his remarks were taken out of context but has nevertheless repeated the gist of them, got a standing ovation at an Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting after telling his audience that Muslims had better wise up if they expect to beat the wily Jews. "The Europeans killed six million Jews of 12 million," he said, "but today the Jews rule the world by proxy."

At least he's not one of those Holocaust deniers.

NEXT: Gun-Happy Dems

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The issue is why does faith-based Prez Shrub travel thousands of miles just to hang out with riffraff like APEC?

    At least at OPEC meetings the sheiks look at them more realistically simply as opportunities to get a little (R&R?) away from their uptight hometowns.

  2. Mahathir’s antisemitism was abhorrent. On the other hand, he got quite a bit right about the need for the Muslim world to come out of the dark ages.

    We can’t expect that the people who bring about advancement and development in Muslim societies are going to have a belief system that is 100% acceptable to contemporary Americans. How many signers of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves? How many supported women’s suffrage?

  3. Joe,

    Sure, but so what? I don’t think anyone is saying that Mahathir should be executed or something, just that the antisemetic portion of his speech be condemned, for being abhorrent as you say yourself.

    That said, I’m not that big into heads of states being in the business of rebuking other heads of states’ comments, so I’m ambivalent on the matter myself.

  4. Mahathir is a sanctimonious windbag. These kinds of comments are just typical of the drivel that he spouts on a regular basis. He gives special attention to we Aussies, to which he seems to reserve a special kind of rancour. To my mind, he has no legitimacy since he got some trumped up charges against Anwar and got him put in jail. Malaysia and and the countries around them would be a lot better off if he was to step down.

  5. “How many signers of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves? How many supported women’s suffrage?” Joe – do you mean compared to their contemporaries here and abroad? In that case, very damn few.

  6. The notable thing about this speech (one of them, anyway) is that it’s all about power and domination. He’s not saying, “We must emerge from the dark ages in order to be happy and prosperous,” he’s saying “We must emerge from the dark ages so we can be powerful and influential, like these Jews”.

  7. All these big, important international gummint meetings always degenerate into gripe sessions by the “downtrodden.”

  8. Us Canadians will take any opportunity to criticize our Prime Minister. He would have got just as much flak for toeing the same line as GWB, regardless of the issue.

    Besides, we’re much better off when Chretien opts to say nothing, considering the number of times he’s opened his mouth and humiliated himself and the country.

  9. Mahathir’s tactical advice is right on – education, etc. is needed in the Muslim world. It is his strategic aims that are abhorrent. He is reading right out the Wahhabist playbook when it comes to those.

    Basically, he says that the Muslims need to modernize around the margins so they can achieve their god-given destiny of global domination, which incidentally will involve (wink wink) finishing off the Holocaust.

  10. Am I the only one who thinks he also credited the Jews with inventing tolerance and freedom so that those who injured Jews would feel guilty? I can’t find a full copy to refresh my memory.

  11. he did

    and he is correct

    those bastards!

  12. “Basically, he says that the Muslims need to modernize around the margins so they can achieve their god-given destiny of global domination, which incidentally will involve (wink wink) finishing off the Holocaust.”

    Yes, but…when people work to achieve prosperity and freedom in order to carry out some whacked political crusade, once they become free and prosperous, they tend to get distracted.

  13. Joe,

    True, and good point. But conversely, when your goal is achieving your god-given destiny of global domination, you become distracted from modernizing.

  14. I thought it was the most logical thing authored by a Muslim that I’ve read since 9/11. Besides the intellectual laziness about those world wide jews dominators, of course.

    Wouldn’t you be into getting some of that power stuff if the US was the ones on the bottom of the pile?

    Sounds like the Japanese at the end fo the 19th century, but it only took them a few yeasr to figure it out, as oppossed to 6 decades for the arabs.

    Also, I’ve been hearing about the world running out of oil. I’m actually beginning to look forward to it, since the rest of the world will be able to forget about the middle east!

  15. “True, and good point. But conversely, when your goal is achieving your god-given destiny of global domination, you become distracted from modernizing.”

    Yes, agreed. Which is why Mahathir’s exhortations to concentrate on modernization and political reform are so welcome.

  16. He’s no racist, I’m sure he has “lots of Jewish friends”…

  17. Don’t get me wrong – his statements about Jews were classic paranoid antisemitism. But then, so were Martin Luther’s.

  18. Im confused here, antisemite, doesnt that mean your against semites???

    Arnt Semites decendants of Abraham?? Wasnt Muhammad a decendant of Abraham?? Therefore arnt Muslims Semites, or at least Arabs, a large portion of the muslim faith.

    So, how exactly is a Semite bashing a Semite an Anti-semite??

    all this talk about antisemites, its just doublespeak for ‘guy that doesnt agree with us, but we will sprinkle a little antisemite on for good measure’. Its bullshit.

    a semite calling out another semite isnt an antisemite…

  19. R.C. Dean,

    Efforts at modernization have often had abhorrent goals; often the goals are short-circuited however by said modernization, sometimes they are not.

  20. Gene-6-Pack,

    Well, he’s wrong; the Englightenment was hardly a Jewish project, though it did benefit Jews in the long run (well depending on how you view the Englightenment at least).

  21. “Arnt Semites decendants of Abraham??”

    Not exactly… Semites are descendants of Noah’s eldest son Shem. Abraham was one such descendant. So some but not all Semites are descendants of Abraham.

    This of course has no impact on the essence of your argument, since all descendants of Abraham (including Arabs and Jews) are Semites.

  22. Thanks for that Russ, I have waited for an answer to that question for quite a long time. Its something I ask everytime Im told how antisemetical Arabs are…of course, I started this line of thinking ever since I married my wife, who is Arab, and I began getting hate email and mail from those pesky semites who somehow think Im Antisemetical since I married an Arab.

    Anyone care to answer? How is a semite an antisemite??

  23. Pirate,

    Because, regardless of the dictionary definition of “semite,” the term “anti-semite” has taken on its own vernacular meaning, i.e. “one who hates Jews.”

    The English language is funny that way. Saying, “but an Arab can’t be anti-Semitic! Arabs are Semites!” is engaging in semantics.

  24. “The English language is funny that way. Saying, “but an Arab can’t be anti-Semitic! Arabs are Semites!” is engaging in semantics.”

    Ah yes, that pesky semantics argument, the one where you get to make up the meanings of words so that we get to debate the meaning of IS rather then debate the issue.

    It still doesnt change the fact that a semite cannot be an antisemite. I dont care how YOU decide to define the fucking word… a semite is a semite…. or can I start defining christians as satanists, you know how the english language is funny like that and all…

  25. a pirate,

    According to dictionary.reference.com, anti-semite is defined as “One who discriminates against Jews.” So you are wrong and those who use it that way are right. That you cannot accept the fact that the English language is sometimes not consistent is your own problem.

  26. I think the term semitic was first used by linguists to designate the family of languages that included Hebrew, Arabic, Canaanite, and several others. They named it for the biblical Shem, but speakers of semitic languages do not correspond exactly to the peoples named as descendants of Shem in the Old Testament. The Canaanites are supposed to be descended from Shem’s brother Ham.

    The Arabs are, of course, semitic in both senses. Their language belongs to the semitic family, and the Old Testament indicates they are descended from Abraham, hence from Shem.

    The term “anti-semite” was invented by the anti-semites themselves. They were purveyors of pseudo-scientific racial theories, and probably thought “anti-semitic” sounded more scientific than “anti-Jewish”. In Europe it made no difference, since the Jews were the only significant semitic population there.

  27. Yes fyodor, I guess you could always just take one of the 3 meanings of anti-semite found here http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=antisemite

    to back up your claims, but I guess you missed this entry

    Anti-Semitism An`ti-Sem”i*tism, n. Opposition to, or hatred of, Semites, esp. Jews.

    or this one

    anti-semite adj : discriminatory especially on the basis of race or religion

    or we could just start with the definition of semite and work our way from there

    A member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians.

    but of course, when it comes to talking about Jews logic and common sense fly right out of the door, they are after all gods people.. which gives them some sort of special treatment…. right??

    It still doesnt change the fact that anti means against, semite means A member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians. so an anti semite would be someone against A member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians. right??

    but of course english is funny that way right?

  28. Wow, pirate, you’re a moron. Is it that hard to grasp that sometimes the same word has two different meanings or that the English language is (again) not consistent?

    But how about this: If an Arab says Jews drink little babies’ blood, we won’t call him an “Anti-Semite,” OK? We’ll call him a Jew-hater. Except me, I’ll call him a fucktard. How’s that?

  29. a pirate,

    All three definitions stress Jews. You do know that “esp” is short for “especially?” And the third definition you quote is actually part 2 of a two part definition, the first part of which explicitly states, “hating Jews.” But no matter, even if only one of three definitions mentioned Jews at all, that would still directly contradict your claim that a semite cannot be anti-semitic.
    As for Jews deserve special treatment, WTF??? I thought I was arguing semantics with you. How I view the definition of a word has bascially zilch to do with how I use it.

    As for english is funny that way, well yeah, at least you’re right about something! 🙂 I never disagreed about the meaning of semite, only that anti-semitic can and usually does refer to having a beef with Jews. And I said already, the dictionary backs me up and proves you wrong. BTW, just looked up anti-Semitism, and all four definitions explicitly single out Jews.

  30. anon @ 6:43 PM,

    Ha-ha, that’s the spirit! I decided to take on a pirate over this for my own personal reasons, but you’re absolutely right! What difference does it make?

  31. Pirate

    You’re too clever by half–walk the plank!

    And to provide a too-clever retort, although the Malays are Muslims, they are not semites at all (someone’s confusing religion with ethnicity here); they generally fit into what are known as the mongoloid races (along with the Chinese, Mongols, Thais, Vietnamese, and Burmese).

  32. Why should modern English speakers want to cling to a confusing usage, borrowed from the Nazis and their ilk?

  33. nobody’s confused by it except pirate. he ain’t so smart.

  34. Is English your first language, pirate, or are you learning it?

  35. 5000 years ago, Egypt was a collection of chiefdoms ruled by strongmen who seized power. There was near-constant internal war. The imposition of a hereditary monarch was a great step forward for peace, freedom, and culture.

    Half a loaf is better than none.

  36. In 1879 the Arabs were politically passive, and the Jews were the only semitic people who were politically problematical for Europeans. Since this is no longer true, I think “anti-semitic” in the sense of “anti-Jewish” is obsolete and should be phased out.

  37. In 1879 the Arabs were politically passive, and the Jews were the only semitic people who were politically problematical for Europeans. Since this is no longer true, I think “anti-semitic” in the sense of “anti-Jewish” is obsolete and should be phased out.

  38. hey anon!

    “fucktard”. nice. “unclefucka” is another nom de preference…

    awaitin’ the coffee to set in,
    drf

  39. Wow…zero to flamewar in 2 seconds.

  40. From:

    http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/myths/mf15.html

    “The term “anti-Semite” was coined in Germany in 1879 by Wilhelm Marrih to refer to the anti-Jewish manifestations of the period and to give Jew-hatred a more scientific sounding name.”

    Now, if you can find someone who hates both Jews AND Arabs, especially because one group is related to the other, feel free to call them antisemitic (Type II?) also. But the original intention was to legitimize Jew-hatred.

    Kevin

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.