I sometimes talk about Israeli Immoral Exceptionalism. It's my own term, though I won't guarantee that no one else has ever come up with it independently. In case you don't find the term self-explanatory, what I mean is finding any given action to be more morally egregious (offensive, awful) if done by Israel/Israelis than by anyone else - 

That the morality of an action is more dependent on the actor than on the action. 

In other words, that moral standards are not universal but apply more to one population than to another. This, in principle, is the exact opposite of equality under the law, universal standards, rule of law, rather than persecuting someone based on identity, aka bigotry. 

I am not saying that an unequal application of moral standards excuses the behavior of an actor acting immorally/unethically. I am saying that an unequal application of moral standards is in and of itself immoral/unethical. The normal term for this is Double Standards. 

I have repeated the above point in different words countless times over the six years I have been blogging and it still amazes me how many people do not understand it. 

I'll try putting it more simply: If you criticize Israel for actions that you do not criticize anyone else for, that doesn't make Israel right, it makes you wrong, and it makes Israel less exceptionally wrong than you are portraying Israel. 

Why am I bringing this up now? Because I've had a conversation with a couple of people over a pair of posts (it began on Daisyjane's and continued on mine) that illustrate this point better than I could unassisted. 

A conversation went to the Settlements in the West Bank. As an answer to someone, I pointed out that most American Jews do not favor the settlements. 

The reply:

And to me the fact that "Most American Jews do not favor the Settlements" equates to "Most Germans in nazi Germany would not favor gassing Germans who happened to be Jews" .
and stealing their expensive paintings
stealing their rings, fillings, jewelry and bank accounts,, capitalism as it meant to be,, without "leftist" first, then without 'the homeless', irreligious gypsies; then,, why not,, without Jews then and without Palestinians now?

As you can imagine, I found the comparison less than apt; in fact, I found it inappropriate enough to suggest that perhaps the blogger shouldn't talk to Jews.

I thought you might find some solace in the fact that I affirmed your claim 'Most American Jews do not favor the Settlements', since I not just affirmed it, but went out on a limb and called it a fact.

I replied:

No, I didn't really need your affirmation on that. I know that population considerably better than you do. 

However, I'd be glad to address the logic. There are two parts to the issue. 

The first has to do with the specified populations being related to the issue. Most American Jews are not Israelis, do not have Israeli citizenship, and do not vote in Israeli elections. On the other hand, most Germans in Nazi Germany were German citizens. 

If you do not differentiate between Jews and Israelis, you can not differentiate between antizionism and antisemitism. 

The second has to do with comparing two, I don't know, let's say "crimes" for argument's sake. You are equating the formation of settlements with mass murder and yanking gold teeth out of the mouths of corpses with pliers. 

I don't know what you know about settlements. I do not favor them, but I have now at least seen one, not from the inside - my bus drove past it while going through the West Bank between Northern Israel and Jerusalem. It consists of a bunch of tightly packed buildings on semi-arid open land. They found open space, which I would argue was not theirs, and started building on it. 

Though I should mention something else: I recently read a story about a radical Jew who helps the PA with an interesting project. It seems there are a lot of Palestinians who want to sell land adjacent to settlements to the Israelis. Unfortunately for them, if the PA finds out, they're executed. This radical Jew posed as a land broker, wrote agreements with these guys who were very protective of their identity, and turned their names over to the Palestinian Authority, who murdered them. I've just gone looking for the article..................here:


I am not justifying what I view as national (almost national - there's not a nation per se yet). land theft; however, to suggest that it compares morally with an extreme episode of mass murder is beyond absurd. 

Easy enough, right?  "Settlements wrong but comparison wildly inappropriate." Check.

The immediate reply, as the blogger is entitled to my including it:

Kosh, I guess if Muslim neighborhoods in Europe declare themselves Muslim 'settlements' inside of parts of what ever community of peoples their 'settlements' may be, empowers Muslims to have as much right to say they are extensions of their homeland in a manner analogous to the creation of Greater Israel whose boundaries are about well defined as an amoebic mass.

Yes Kosh, I perhaps "do not differentiate between Jews and Israelis" the way you do since I differentiate between Jews, Israelis and Zionists.  You say you are two of three, not being a dual citizen.  If I say to a Zionist Mormon I do not care for Zionism, the first thing a Mormon says to me is not that I hate Jews.  Only Zionist Jews and Zionist Nerds say that to me.

Now, given that I have said that the settlements are wrong, which I have been saying with absolute consistency since I started blogging six years ago and have continued to say in the course of the conversation I'm quoting from, and given that my issue is not who cares or does not care for Zionism, this reply doesn't make any sense to me, but OK. 

Here's where another blogger weighs in:

"It consists of a bunch of tightly packed buildngs on semi-arid open land." 

It has nothing to do with the buildings.  It has everything to do with the gun toting, brutal, murderous, terrorist settlers who occupy them.

Oh, and the reason those Palestinians are so avidly trying to sell their land adjacent to the settlements is because they know that, at a whim, a bulldozer will show up to demolish their homes (if a settler doesn't fire bomb them first) and their fields will be declared a "IOF training area" (after settlers have spent the previous few months burning their olive trees and crops) and they will be left with nothing AGAIN.  It is called desperation.  

That you dare try to whitewash the settlers real actions explains just how much of a Zionist hasbara bullshitter you truly are.

What I find interesting here is that this blogger clearly finds my stating that the settlements are not quite as awful as portrayed - which I am doing specifically because of the comparison to Nazi mass murder, given that I have expressed my opposition to those settlements consistently for as long as I've blogged - is far more egregious than the idea that Israel's seizing land is the moral equivalent of anyone else packing people into cattle cars, taking them to death camps, gassed to death, and having their gold teeth yanked out of their dead mouths with pliers. Average Palestinians aren't exactly living their daily lives like Anne Frank. 

The comparison does not rate so much as a mention by the second blogger, in spite of the fact that the comparison is the topic of the conversation in progress. That Israelis should be found to be less than the worst humanity has to offer for any reason under any circumstances is beyond the scope of acceptable conversation. 

Maybe I am a propagandist, though I certainly wouldn't characterize myself as such. In spite of my avatar and my name, the vast, vast majority of my posts have nothing whatsoever to do with Israeli politics and the ones that do often find fault with Israeli policy. 

However, I would rather be a propagandist than someone who views any national population as so intrinsically unremittingly evil that any assertions that they are less than the worst humanity has to offer for any reason under any circumstances is beyond the scope of acceptable conversation. 


You'll notice that I don't use names, even though who is involved is obvious. My reasoning is not that I am attempting to pretend that I am somehow protecting them. I have zero reason to protect either of them, and I take their viewpoints quite personally because it is no secret in anyone's mind why Israel would be subjected to a standard that exclusively applies to them because there is one overwhelming thing that differentiates Israel from anywhere else. Yes, that is an accusation.

My reasoning is that my issue is on what they are doing rather than on who they are. The phenomenon I am writing about is Israeli Immoral Exceptionalism. They illustrate the phenomenon brilliantly. I am not using Israeli Immoral Exceptionalism to get at them, I am using them to illustrate Israeli Immoral Exceptionalism.  They are less important to me than the phenomenon is. 

For those of you with long memories, this is exactly why I left names out of my infamous Open Salon Racism post. The actors weren't my issue there either, even the actor who functioned as target; my problem was with the actions. It still is. 


Views: 647

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 31, 2016 at 8:03am

The comment was also factually wrong:  the idea that a majority of German Second War civilians were complicit in the Holocaust 

-bc they "didn't know",

-bc they were fine folks who feared for themselves and their families and so remained silent

by now has been shown in painstaking scholarship since the 1990s to be, largely, bunk, a comforting but nearly wholly untrue myth.

Among the studies in that sub-genre of Holocaust Studies, among the very best is Daniel Goldhammer's HITLER'S WILLING EXECUTIONERS. It's eye-opening for what it shows, in detail and throughout Germany and then the extended Reich, that ordinary citizens in great majorities needed no threats, no prodding, omly the chance for state-sanctioned and welcomed collaboration in genocide. 

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 31, 2016 at 8:07am

(I realize that his and all such studies are nothing more than 'hasbara bullshit) but I get paid for 'shilling' this stuff, and paid very well, and I have my eye on a mint Hank Greenberg Bubble Gum Card on Jew-Bay.)

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 31, 2016 at 8:15am

What I find interesting here is that this blogger clearly finds my stating that the settlements are not quite as awful as portrayed -

Nice try at self-excusing your whitewashing of the actions of settlers.  The fact of the matter is that the actions of Israel settlers, or more correctly called "Invading Colonists", is far worse than you stated.  They randomly shoot people, they fire bomb their homes (often with the people inside), they destroy and burn their crops and steal their land.  You try to cover this by talking about the damn building (conveniently leaving the illegal, murderous, terrorist settlers out of it).

As for the killing of Palestinians who "collaborate" with the enemy?  I do not agree with it, but the people/land in question is OCCUPIED by a hostile enemy force.  Collaboration with the enemy is treason is punishable by death.  

Guess where else "collaboration and treason" are punishable by death???

18 U.S. Code § 2381 - Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 31, 2016 at 8:18am

Kosh   Amy has no intention, nor has she likely the ability, to grasp, let alone take on, the thesis of your piece.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 31, 2016 at 8:28am

Way to address the issues, Wolfman.  Maybe SOMEDAY you will actually deal with the topic of Israel's war crimes instead of your VERY sad attempts at humor or personal attacks (because that is ALL you've got).

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 31, 2016 at 8:32am

No. I also have the Hasbara income.

(You really cannot name, and therefore cannot address, the thesis of this piece, can you?)

Comment by koshersalaami on March 31, 2016 at 8:48am
There are times I really, really hate to be right but God, did I ever hit this nail on the head.
Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 31, 2016 at 8:51am

uhmhmm    btw   sure you don't want your handle to be Kosherhasbara?

Comment by JMac1949 Today on March 31, 2016 at 9:10am

I am fairly familiar with the exceptionalism of Israel, from the advent of Zionism in the late 19th Century through the British government's Balfour Declaration of 1917 which endorsed the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, as follows:

His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

In 1922, the League of Nations adopted the declaration, and granted to Britain the Palestine Mandate: The Mandate will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home ... and the development of self-governing institutions, and also safeguard the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.

Jewish migration to Palestine and widespread Jewish land purchases from landlords contributed to landlessness among Palestinian Arabs, fueling unrest. Riots erupted in Palestine in 1920, 1921 and 1929, in which both Jews and Arabs were killed. Britain was responsible for the Palestinian mandate and, after the Balfour Declaration, it supported Jewish immigration in principle. But, in response to the violent events noted above, the Peel Commission published a report proposing new provisions and restrictions in Palestine.

After WWII and the revelation of the Holocaust, Zionists understood that a Jewish Homeland capable of defending itself was self evident, hence their struggle to force British rule out of the Palestinian Mandate and the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948.

In the over 50 years of struggle that has expanded the territory and population of Jews in Israel, native Palestinian and Israeli Arabs have suffered both humiliation and abuse at the hands of the governments of Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, and all of the players in this surreal conflict that has evolved into many people see in the Israel as apartheid analogy.

I won't go into details except to say that the hard reality of what has happened over the nearly forty years since the Camp David Accords and the Israel–Egypt Peace Treaty  demonstrates that both sides are wrong and both sides are right.  I believe that the only solution is a two state solution that recognizes the human rights of all, that and the encouragement of Joint Venture capitalism where Jews and Arabs have equal stakes in economic prosperity for everyone involved.  How we manage to arrive at that solution I do not know, but I expect that it will have a lot to do with how future generations of Israelis and Palestinians are educated.

Comment by Zanelle on March 31, 2016 at 10:31am

I heard the word 'apartheid' applied to the situation.  Jews in Israel have an eliteness that I find offensive.  When I saw your term...' immoral exceptionalism'....i thought maybe you were going to acknowledge the way Israel has put herself before others instead of inclusion.  I guess not.   Back to the same old arguments and not naming the bloggers is just odd.


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