No, I don’t concede it at all, since the cross is the central emblem of Christianity, not of particular historic events of the mediaeval period, let alone the fumbled words of a twit like George Bush. My use of the word mediaeval was not really meant literally. My suggestion was that in ‘responding’ to the tragedy of 9/11, your choice to display a cruciﬁx could be taken the wrong way by someone who viewed the world from an islamic perspective. Irrelevant of your intentions. In the same way that people of the Jewish faith (or sympathetic to it) may take certain indirect critical observations/comments as antisemetic, while others (myself included) made no such leap. I don’t see the crescent moon and think of all those centuries of religious warfare, and more than I think of a couple of decades of Israeli history when I see the Star of David. I know exactly what you mean, and in time I’d like to think that the west will be able to look past a decade* of the swastika’s misuse. However, I am oﬀended by the suggestion that, in the name of not oﬀending other religions, we should supress all public religious expression. I apologise if you were oﬀended, I meant to suggest no such thing. All I tried to do was make a logical extension (or two) of some statements posted, and see where it took me. Jordan * of it’s ‘oﬃcial’ misuse anyway.
My use of the word mediaeval was not really meant literally. My suggestion was that in ‘responding’ to the tragedy of 9/11, your choice to display a cruciﬁx could be taken the wrong way by someone who viewed the world from an islamic perspective. Irrelevant of your intentions. It is possible, but seems to me unlikely. More to the point, it is speculative. If a Moslem reader had written to me at the time and asked why I had the cross there I would have told him, or if he had written to complain I would have explained why. I’m not inclined to police my actions just in case they might possible oﬀend some person who might just possibly see them. In the same way that people of the Jewish faith (or sympathetic to it) may take certain indirect critical observations/comments as antisemetic, while others (myself included) made no such leap. I have trouble reading the equating of Jews with Nazis as ‘indirect critical observation’. If you miss the antisemitism in that, then I’m concerned. Only last Sunday, the French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray commented in an interview on ‘the return of antisemitism in our Old Europe’: ‘[Not] to recognize it, not to call it by its name, is an unconscious way of accepting it. …Its contours are vague and are not reduced to the Palestinian-Israeli conﬂict. …The path that leads to Auschwitz is always before us and it starts with little weaknesses. Hence,’ he insisted on the need for ‘constant vigilance and frank solidarity with the Jewish communities.’ As I mentioned earlier, there is a long established discourse of antisemitism, that uses stock phrases and associations to engender double standards and prejudice. The nature of this discourse is that individual phrases come loaded with a history of deliberately manufactured hatred that cannot be easily unloaded. There is, of course, anti-Moslem sentiment in both Europe and North America, but it has neither the antiquity, reﬁnement or consistency of discourse that one ﬁnds with antisemitism. In North America, most anti-Islamic sentiment is attached to the so-called war on terror. In Europe, it is an issue of immigration and identity. But even in the current anti-Islamic discourse that surfaces in our societies, the cross is not an emblem or a rallying symbol for hatred; it is not, in fact, part of the discourse at all. Sure, idiot Bush mentioned the word ‘crusade’ once, and then quickly apologised and made sure it didn’t happen again. The Pope’s very strong condemnation of the American-British adventure in Iraq was a much more prominent statement of the orthodox Christian position regarding the war and made it clear that in no way could the invasion be considered a crusade in the mediaeval sense.
Anti-semitism certainly does exist (just like racism against any ethnicity). I agree it’s old (Jews are old) and sophisticated, but that’s just a quantitative issue. But a concern for the reckless behavior of the Jewish lobby in the US as well as Israel itself also exists. One does not preclude the other. It’s pretty obvious to any objective and observant person that Israel is using the US like a big dumb cyclops to get away with the opression of Palestinians. What the “Jewish communities” need most of all is advice: that they get over it, and back oﬀ, if only for their own good. Many Israeli Jews are realizing this more and more, but their US “brethren” (not being at any risk of life themselves) are much thicker and fundamentalisic. In the same way that the victors of WWI took too many spoils and thereby laid a solid foundation for WWII (and the Holocaust!), there has to be fairness for anybody to live on this planet safely. And lest you resort to the buzz phrase “don’t blame the victim”, know that I’m not interested in justifying genocide, just reducing it. I don’t want more Jews to die. The best way to this is for things to be more fair than they are now. The only other option is annihilating everybody else. hhp
I have trouble reading the equating of Jews with Nazis. John, would you have trouble equating Christians with Nazi’s?
So I can see why Microsoft, upon ﬁnding an actual swastika in their software, would excrete masonry. Ah, so the Masons are to blame. Figures.
a letter from the Senior VP to go along with the CNN article
I wonder if the poor slob who let that slide is going to be expelled to Rafah or Gaza City. hhp
Or better, Guantanamo — duh. hhp