magicsoap (magicsoap) wrote in semeticxgirls,

Mah Nishmah? Keif-il-cheil?

Hello gilrs!
Just stumbled on this community and I thought it was the coolest thing I'd seen in a while.....I'm Jewish and my roommate of four years is Egyptian and we have often talked about how the term "antisemitism" is strange in that semantically it applies to Arabs as well. I am about to graduate with a bachelor's in religion, and one of the things that has been a source on constant fascination to me is the incredible similarity between Judaism and Islam - both structurally and ethically. I'm interested in learnig more.....I don't mean to be trite, but I really do believe in peace through understanding.
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The "anti-semitism" argument is usually made by folks who a) don't understand the history of the word, or b) people who want to downplay anti-semitism. You clearly fall in category A, so I'll help clarify the issue.

Here's one link that gives a bit of an explanation:

The fact is the word was defined specifically to mean hatred against Jews. Just as there's, hopefully, no dog in a hotdog or ham in a hamburger, parsing a word is not always the way to define the meaning of a word.
Thank you for providing that article; I was glad to see some of those references.

However, from an European racial point, antisemitism also meant all Semitics in a way, sort of. All Semitics were considered inferior to the Nordic race. Jews were Semitics, and therefore inferior, but many Europeans especially disliked Jews and so the word is just in reference to Jews, the "invading" Semitics of Europe. Being a foreign, inferior race and converting "Nordic" peoples was seen as a perversion and a gain for power.

Interesting. You reply to a post that gives clear linguistic history and points to the very well documented origin of the word with the semantic equivalent of "nuh uh!"

There's no "also meant". The phrase did not exist until it was created to describe hatred of Jews. It's why you couldn't provide any evidence to back up your rationalization.

BTW: How much butter is in a butterfly?
I'm not disagreeing with the article, but I am saying that the author is leaving out the discussion of Western thought in Germany at that time. I'm not questioning the what, but thinking critically on the how and why. And there may not be an answer. But using 11 definitions of the word isn't answering the question nor does the article prove that it wasn't at one time. Just that it is now.

I'm also not saying I'm right, but I do believe it is an important view to consider. It is clear, in text, that the term was only used against Jews. But who knows what they were saying back in the 1800's when they first used it, other than to describe hatred of Jews. I'm simply stating that because the term was coined in Western society, it could have carried a level of hatred of all Semitics/Arabs to begin with. The key word being "could".

The author they talk about clearly distrusted the Jews on religious and political principles. Did he get the word from people who hated Jews? Was it used by people that hated Jews and all other Arab peoples? Or did it just come from a very conservative Christian power group that saw Jews as a threat? Also, even if a word is used incorrectly, it is possible that it came from a correct use. That's why I'm thinking and questioning the origin. One of the first authors, in coining this, admitted to using the term long before he ever wrote it down. Definitions change over time with wide spread use. Think about the game telephone.

Personally, I believe the word got twisted. I wouldn't be surprised if the German authors, most likely conservative Christians who studied old Judah, just labeled the whole Arab world as old Jewish to play up nationalism. Nationalism I might add that wouldn't have been fond of anything but Christianity.

Studying history can be frustrating because many times we simply don't know why people did the things they did. Why did they build the pyramids? We don't know, but there's a ton of theories. Is this one of those times or do we really know why they said it that way?

As for the butter in butterfly question, it's old English. The butterflies there were butter-colored and it's an old kid's tale that butterflies stole milk and butter. The hamburger is called such because it came from Hamburg, NY. As for the hotdog, rumor says that they were called "little dogs" in Germany because they looked like the German wiener dogs.