What is anti-Semitism?

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Anti-Semitism has many forms. Some are blatant, others subtle. Defining an anti-Semitic statement is not always easy. Here are some preliminary thoughts on working towards a definition:

A pro-assimilation stance is sometimes anti-Semitic, and sometimes not.
Apparently it depends on:

Who said it.
When they said it (micro context as well as macro context - that is, the
immediate context as well as the historical context).
Who the speaker or writer was (what other views they held, either when they made a statement, or prior to making the statement, or afterwards).
What nationality or ethnicity the speaker is or was.
What the speaker or writer intended (though innocent intentions are not enough escape the charge of anti-Semitism).
What the speaker or writer "meant" (by whatever standard the accuser decides to apply).

From this point of view, it is hard to defend any pro-assimilation stance against charges of anti-Semitism. The definition appears to be so ambiguous that it boils down to, "Anti-Semitism applies to any pro-assimilation stance that the accuser chooses to apply it to."

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This page contains a single entry by Daniel Hindes published on March 9, 2004 7:52 PM.

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