[Marxism] Antisemitism and Racism

D OC donaloc at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 1 03:06:09 MDT 2006

Luko Wrote> The term "antisemitism" was coined by the antisemites, and did 
refer to Semitic peoples in general, but to Jews in the capitalist
societies of Europe.

Not according to Wikipedia...

The word antisemitic (antisemitisch in German) was probably first used in 
1860 by the Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider in the phrase "antisemitic 
prejudices" (German: "antisemitische Vorurteile"). Steinschneider used this 
phrase to characterize Ernest Renan's ideas about how "Semitic races" were 
inferior to "Aryan races." These pseudo-scientific theories concerning race, 
civilization, and "progress" had become quite widespread in Europe in the 
second half of the 19th century, especially as Prussian nationalistic 
historian Heinrich von Treitschke did much to promote this form of racism. 
In Treitschke's writings Semitic was practically synonymous with Jewish, in 
contrast to its usage by Renan and others.

German political agitator Wilhelm Marr coined the related German word 
Antisemitismus in his book "The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism" 
in 1879. Marr used the phrase to mean Jew-hatred or Judenhass, and he used 
the new word antisemitism to make hatred of the Jews seem rational and 
sanctioned by scientific knowledge. Marr's book became very popular, and in 
the same year he founded the "League of Anti-Semites" ("Antisemiten-Liga"), 
the first German organization committed specifically to combatting the 
alleged threat to Germany posed by the Jews, and advocating their forced 
removal from the country.

It is therefore Eurocentric to use the term in a way which excludes Arabs 
i.e. they weren't a 'semitic problem' whereas Jews were back in Germany in 
the late 19th Century. Anti-semitism as a racialist theory must refer to all 
semitic peoples.

luko wrote > The colonizer has racist contempt for the people he has 
subjugated to
his will by conquering his land, or by making him a slave.

>Antisemitism arose against a body of people who had constitued sort of
a caste in the feudal society, where people had their place because of
being born into it. In the christian-germanic feudal society of Europe,
Jews represented the element of money and capital, forming a separated
but intimately linked people-class, as Abraham Leon explained in his

Racist prejudices usually take the form that 'X are taking our jobs'. Your 
point is that because the Jews were more powerful this makes anti-Jewish 
prejudice qualitatively different to any other form of racism. I don't buy 
it. It's the outcome of racism that matters not the foolish constructs that 
justify them. The British used to think that Irish people's skulls were the 
wrong shape and that, consequently, we were more prone to murder and 
whatever. I don't care what motivates a racist or a racist society. I don't 
buy the Jewish holocaust as a qualitatively different event to the many 
holocausts of the past. They were all planned in one way or another - many 
on the list can detail of course. The Germans just did it a little more 
clinically (and 20th Century style) and most importantly they lost. The 
holocaust currently happening in the third world is just as real. Except 
they don't bother to gas them. They let them die out of sight or mind.

I also have serious reservations about the idea that somehow racism stems 
from imperialist conquests abroad. It encounters a whole pile of problems 
once we understand that fascism is imperialism turned inwards. What happened 
to the Jews is pretty much the usual operation of imperialism turned inwards 
in Europe. They were 'excess' population needing liquidation - much as the 
Scots were up in the Glens or in so many other cases.

Fighting anti-semitism is something we all have to do. The main type of 
anti-semitism I come across is anti-Islamic peoples prejudice (among some 
ignorant Irish people - typically those who have returned from England or 
the USA with their mentalities). Most Republicans have a natural friendly 
predisposition to Muslims however. I guess you're dealing with different 
priorities and a need to overbend the stick in Germany. Hence your different 
position - all the same salutations!

Le meas,

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