Ethnic origin and political views: SF and JJ

From: JJ
Category: Life
Date: 03 August 2005


The debate has raged on worldwidereview.

"JJ, unlike your fatuous and stupid assumptions, my only assumption relates to your identity. If my assumption is correct (which I suspect is the case) then I know you are Jewish through your genealogy as you have expressly acknowledged this. Rather than wasting time posing germane questions, why don't you just make clear to WWR readers whether or not you are Jewish? ... So, are you Jewish? "

The answer is not pertinent to a debate on an exhibition of bad photos. And has no relevance to these arguments.

"In response to your remark that you find it annoying that "Jewish people's views on Israel are often discounted as biased and not worth listening to" and your question as to what "research" I have done into such bias, my experience of the majority of Jewish people I spoke with in Israel (which was a fair number) is that their views are strongly biased. In England, my experience has generally been the same except that the bias swings in both directions, that is, views have been critical as well as supportive of Israel."

Well SF seems to be saying that the defining reason for people's views on Israel, is their ethnic origin. And that if they are Jewish then that is enough explain their views. Bias mean favouring one side of an argument (as defined by the Chambers dictionary). Israel and Palestine bring out strong views in most humans, and therefore most humans could be said to be biased in their views about Israel. It seems very close to racism, to focus so strongly on someones ethnic origin, rather than dealing with their arguments. The first thing people should ask is whether what your saying has any truth or interest, rather than finding out your ethnic group so assumptions can be made about the reasons for your arguments. Effectively SF is saying we should judge people's views on their race or religion, not their words. A very dangerous concept, and one better employed with subtlety by biographers and history writers..

In a civilised society I expect a discussion to be about my arguments, not to be told to confess my ethnic group and its so-called invalidating bias, because I have olive skin. Surely ideas are worth what they are worth regardless of race, nationality, or religion. (and responses should go beyond: you think that because you are a woman/gay/black/Jewish, Palestinian, white.)

(and the analogy about Chinese communism stems from SF's insistent attempts to dismiss people's views based on their Jewishness, and its inspiration was in fact an article I read in a magazine about Chinese architects. I never drew any connection between her race and her ideas. I was attempting to explain why that was such a stupid link to make.)