Iraqi Bloggers Roundup

Friday, September 17, 2004

Is Raed an Anti-Semite?

Raed has been trying to secure a Visa to the US, but recently the organization which invited him has changed their minds. Why? They have accused him of being anti-Semitic. Raed's response:

"How can I be 'anti-Semitic' when I am Palestinian?I mean… I AM Semitic…"

The word Semite often refers to speakers of a subgroup of the
Afroasiatic languages including, among others, Arabic, Hebrew, and Amharic. Outside linguistics, the term's primary use nowadays is to refer to the ethnic groups who have historically spoken Semitic languages, although with the prefix anti- it most commonly refers just to Jews.

Definitions of anti-Semitism:

1. Hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group- Merriam-Webster

2. Hate or strong dislike of Jews, or actions that express hate or dislike of Jews- Cambridge Dictionary of Amrican English

So Raed is technically correct in his assertion that he is a Semite. However, his conclusion that being Semite precludes his ability to be anti-Semitic is not a logical one. The term anti-Semitic is not generally used in its literal translation. Modern use of the term has redefined its meaning to a negative position against Jews. So in this context, is Raed anti-Semitic? I doubt we will ever get a straight-forward answer on this one. We will just have to rely on our own interpretations of his words, such as this interesting excerpt from his blog:

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"Still studying, and translating my mother's blogs

the hate and anger that the one can feel and see in the eyes of men, can explain why tragic events such as what happened in the 11th of sep. happen.
one year on the occupation of Iraq, and the "man of peace" as Bush called him decides to supervise personally the assassination plan, against Ahmad Yasin.People were shouting in the demonstrations, here in Amman, and in Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Yemen, Damascus and many other capitals... sad and angry slogans is all what they can do. "We'll destroy Israel"they said, and I smiled :*)" [emphasis mine]