Talk:Left-wing antisemitism

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Merger proposal[edit]

This seems an awkward and weak page. The ideologies of the very varied European socialists in the 19th century, the east European Stalinist regimes of the mid 20th century and the pro-Palestinian left of the 21st century are very different. Moreover, their views were greatly affected by the prevailing attitudes of society and by the social and political position of Jews at the time. Also, the article does not recognise that the left were often the main or even only supporters of Jews against antisemitism. Given the enormous variation in left wing thought and in attitudes towards Jews over time, I really think that this complicated subject is better covered within the Antisemitism page. Jontel (talk) 13:55, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

I'm not sure if an AfD is warranted, but I do strongly support a merge. The article large rely on a single source, which is weak, and the sole purpose of the page seems to be using these historical accounts to launch WP:BLP-violating accusations against an active politician. Tsumikiria 🌹🌉 16:04, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, Israel and its supporters naturally do not want a pro-Palestinian UK government and Wikipedia seems to have become a battleground in consequence, along with the Labour Party, the media, social media, universities etc. Just today, two people who only asked a pre-approved question in the Conservative leadership TV debate have had their social media history analysed and have been suspended from jobs and positions, even though the questions had no connection to antisemitism. Lives are being irretrievably damaged. Jontel (talk) 17:57, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

It's a valid topic that has received a lot of coverage and has entire books written about it, such as those listed in the bibliography. Reliable sources do state that there is a coherent current of antisemitism in some of the left from the 19th century (or even earlier) to the present. If you can find equally reliable sources saying that left-wing antisemitism does not exist, then you might argue for the deletion of the article. However, dismissing an Oxford University Press book as "weak" is not going to get you very far. The main article, "Antisemitism", could of course be improved but it has many varieties that could not be covered in enough detail in any one article, hence spinoffs are appropriate. (No one is stopping you from starting articles on Nazi antisemitism, antisemitism in the alt-right movement, fascism and antisemitism etc.) Obviously, there is an overlap between today's left-wing antisemitism controversies and new antisemitism, but new antisemitism also exists in parts of the right, and left antisemitism existed long before the State of Israel. My intention is not to attack anyone or create a battleground but simply give an account of what is stated in reliable sources. Zerach (talk) 04:53, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

Support merge due to WP:POVFORK Pokerplayer513 (talk) 11:31, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
Zerach it's going to turn into a POVFORK for sure. There isn't a right-wing antisemitism either. It should just have it's own section on the main page. Pokerplayer513 (talk) 11:33, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
Zerach if it's a valid topic then it merits discussion on the main page for antisemitism which you have not attempted. Wikipedia is about collaboration not creating a page alone and then linking to it on a highly trafficked page. If left-wing antisemitism does exist then it should have it's own section on the Antisemitism page anyway. If that section becomes too large, then a new page can be created. There are other more substantive critiques I have, but I think the procedural problems are enough to merit a merge. Pokerplayer513 (talk) 03:20, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

Do we have consensus for a merge? If so can Tsumikiria or Jontel make the merge? I forget how to. Ping: Zerach. Cheers, Pokerplayer513 (talk) 20:54, 29 September 2019 (UTC) (Late edit): My first attempt to ping User:Tsumiki failed. Sorry, hopefully it works this time. Pokerplayer513 (talk) 02:10, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

Yes, I think so. Will do. Jontel (talk) 21:28, 29 September 2019 (UTC)

I don't think there's consensus for a merge. Pinging Jayjg Zerach (talk) 22:11, 29 September 2019 (UTC)

I can see that your point was not answered. This page comprises late 19th/ early 20th century socialists attacking the then relatively new phenomenon of finance capital, in which Jews played a prominent part, Stalin scapegoating Jews, albeit he also killed and deported large numbers of everyone else, and contemporary progressives siding with what they see as oppressed peoples and anti-US imperialism, in this case, the Palestinians. Whether these groups to some extent absorbed and reflected some prevailing antisemitism, often because it aided their cause, can certainly be argued. However, none of this is hostility based mainly on racial or religious difference per se. Nor do the three groups/ periods have much in common with each other. What is proposed is to move this material to the much more comprehensive pages or sections already on these phenomena. For example, there are already two articles on Stalin/ the Soviet Union and antisemitism, there is New antisemitism as you mentioned and the 19th century socialists are covered in the antisemitism page in several places albeit they were probably less antisemitic than everyone else. This page is really not adding anything; if anything, it confuses proper analysis. OK? Jontel (talk) 22:57, 29 September 2019 (UTC)

@Tsumikiria, זָרַח, Pokerplayer513, and Jayjg: Merger of Left-wing antisemitism into Antisemitism formally proposed. Jontel (talk) 15:51, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 16 August 2019[edit]

Change the word "Weath" to "Wealth" where it talks about the Occupy Movement. Cchu12 (talk) 16:16, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

Cchu12:  Done by Jontel. Thank you for the heads up! --MarioGom (talk) 17:21, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

Inaccurate Claims and Misleading Wording[edit]

The wording of the paragraph discussing criticism of Israel is worded so as to suggest that criticism of Israel and moments like BDS are inherently antisemitic. It does say that this is contested, but it has already undercut that with heavily biased wording. Additionally, and more blatantly and ridiculously inaccurate and biased is the claim that "Progressive campaigns such as the Occupy movement, which critique the weath and power of a 'global elite' of the top 1%, together with the general growth in the early 21st century of populism, inevitably have resonances with past and current material employing the antisemitic canard of associating such an elite with Jews." This is ridiculous and amounts to little more than a reactionary talking point. It does nothing except claim that criticizing the upper class sounds similar to antisemitism. It states that such elite are often associated with jews, however this is not relevant to OWS or similar groups since they have not done so. This serves to imply a nonexistent parallel between any sort of criticism of the financial elite and antisemitism. Cchu12 (talk) 16:22, 16 August 2019 (UTC)Cchu12

So improve the wording! Jontel (talk) 14:22, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

>>> criticism of israel isn't anti-semitic, but the BDS movement is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:13, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

BDS is opposed to colonialism, imperialism, apartheid, and oppression, so anti-racist, not anti Jew per se. Jontel (talk) 14:21, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
I think that the critics of BDS state that it is antisemitic, for example:
On the other hand, I don't think anyone says criticism of Israeli government policies is antisemitic. Jayjg (talk) 14:35, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
US allies may say this, but the US imposes sanctions on many countries without acknowledging that it has a racist motivation. Also, Boycott of South Africa not seen as racist. Jontel (talk) 15:25, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
Are you implying that Germany and Canada state that BDS is antisemitic because the U.S. pressured them to do so? Or threatened to sanction them? Jayjg (talk) 15:36, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
I am not implying anything that I have not said. I regret having been drawn on an policy issue on a talk page. Jontel (talk) 15:41, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

Removal of Laqueur[edit]

Why is this material from respected historian Walter Laqueur being removed from a specific section of this article?

In Western countries, right-wing attempts to purge antisemitism and a move of Jewish voters from the left to the political centre due to socioeconomic factors precipitated left-wing antisemitism. Although left-wing parties opposed the right-wing Israeli Likud government and Israeli policies after 1967, Laqueur says that this is not sufficient to explain the emergence of antisemitism on the left. (Laqueur 2008, p. 181)

The first reasons given were that Laqueur was a "Zionist" and "not a RS" and that the source was "not free to view". Regarding these objections:

  1. An author's having alleged political views is no justification for removing material.
  2. Laqueur is (was) a respected academic and historian, author of many books, and has been cited in ~200 Wikipedia articles, including several on antisemitism.
  3. Laqueur appears to be a reliable enough source for the article's first section, where he says pre-war antisemitism was mostly from the right, and where he has (therefore?) remained despite dozens of edits.
  4. The source itself is The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, published by Oxford University Press, so it's certainly on topic, and published by the largest, second oldest, and one of the most respected university presses in the world.
  5. Regarding "not free to view", I would quote WP:PAYWALL, which states "Do not reject reliable sources just because they are difficult or costly to access."

So, I think we can dispense with the first reasons given for removing this material.
The more recent reasons given for removal is that Laqueur provided an "absence of an explanation" and, once the citation was removed, that the material was "Unsourced, untrue". Regarding these objections:

  1. Noting that something is insufficient explanation to account for a phenomenon is not an "absence of an explanation"; explaining what something is not is clearly helpful in understanding what it is.
  2. Wikipedia does not care that an editor believes something is "untrue"; rather, WP:V demands that article content is cited to reliable sources.
  3. Once one removes a supporting citation, of course material is "unsourced", but that looks more like gaming the system than anything else.

So, I think we can dispense with the second reasons given for removing this material.
Now, are there any valid, policy-complaint reasons for removing this material? Jayjg (talk) 16:26, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

My principal objection is that these statements are so vague as to be worthless in helping to understand the issue. They are not defined as to period or to country, no causal mechanism is provided and no examples are provided. To take them in turn.
1."In Western countries, right-wing attempts to purge antisemitism ... precipitated left-wing antisemitism." As surveys attest, the right-wing is more antisemitic than the left. What right-wing attempts have there been to 'purge' antisemitism? Where and when? How would attempting to purge antisemitism actually precipitate it i.e. have the opposite effect to that intended?
2. "In Western countries, ... a move of Jewish voters from the left to the political centre due to socioeconomic factors precipitated left-wing antisemitism." I presume this vague formulation means that Jews, on average, have moved from being poor to wealthy relative to other communities. If so, it would be clearer to say that. Is it really the case that the relative wealth of the Jewish community as a whole has precipitated left-wing antisemitism. Where and when? What evidence is there for this?
3. "Although left-wing parties opposed the right-wing Israeli Likud government and Israeli policies after 1967, Laqueur says that this is not sufficient to explain the emergence of antisemitism on the left." The obvious answer to this is, yes it is. Most countries are critical of Israel. Certainly in the UK, people are much more hostile to Israeli policies than they are to Jews. Almost all examples of alleged 'leftwing antisemitism' relate to Israel. Why is it not sufficient?
To repeat, such vague assertions, lacking any justification, does not help in understanding the issue. If Lacquer is an authority, surely there are some explanations with justification and evidence in his work. Jontel (talk) 17:29, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
OK great, your objection is that it is "so vague as to be worthless in understanding the issue". So, we'll stick to that, and no more moving the goalposts. Regarding your specific objections:
  1. This is just an overview statement: after the Holocaust, fascism, Nazism, and antisemitism became so odious that most non-fascist conservative organizations and political parties tried to purge their ranks of anyone who espoused such views. As to how it could precipitate antisemitism on the left, I'm not sure. I could speculate that the author means that antisemites were no longer welcome on the left, and so gravitated to left-wing (particularly far-left) organizations. Perhaps the author means that with antisemitism no longer popular on the right, the proportion of antisemites on the left increased. Or perhaps it's more intended to modify the phrase you left out, "a move of Jews... to the political center". The latter mechanism is easy to understand.
  2. Perhaps relative wealth precipitated it, or no longer having common cause with socialist or communist Jews, or something else. It doesn't really matter in this case, though, because it's not up to us to challenge reliable sources on what they say with our own arguments and objections; that's original research. If you can find other reliable sources that object to this, though, that's great, and we'll add them in.
  3. Well, no, it's not really enough to explain this, particularly as the left is putatively anti-racism/anti-prejudice, as one of their fundamental values. Regarding what "most countries" do, or how people feel in the UK, that's the cart before the horse; how people feel about this now, 50 years later, is much more likely the result of things that happened in the 60s and 70s, not the cause. But again, you're arguing with a reliable source, and the arguments of Wikipedia editors aren't relevant; if you find reliable sources that oppose this argument, that's great, otherwise we just accept it and move on.
As for whether or not Laqueur is an authority, he's a reliable source working in exactly the right field, and getting published by the ideal publishers, so again, it's not up to Wikipedia editors to examine his work and raise objections to it. If you think he's wrong, you have to publish your own work in a reliable way; only then can Wikipedia use your arguments.
Regardless of all of the above, it's not an extraordinary claim that there is left-wing antisemitism, because many reliable sources have written about the phenomenon. You might want to start by reading David Hirsh's 2017 book Contemporary Left Antisemitism, Robert Fine and Philip Spencer's 2017 book Antisemitism and the left: On the return of the Jewish question (available for download), Dave Rich's 2016 book The Left's Jewish Problem (perhaps of particular interest to you, given your interest in British politics), William I. Brustein and Louisa Roberts' 2015 book The Socialism of Fools?: Leftist Origins of Modern Anti-Semitism, Stephen H. Norwood's 2013 book Antisemitism and the American Far Left (a pretty even-handed work), Robert S. Wistrich's 2012 book From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel, or for a quick (somewhat outdated) introduction, the sections "The Left-Wing Hegelians" and "Left-Wing Antisemitism" from William Nicholl's 1995 book Christian Antisemitism: A History of Hate. There are many, reliable, recent full-length treatments of this phenomenon; Wikipedia should be trying to document what they say, rather than Wikipedia editors trying to debunk them. Jayjg (talk) 20:01, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
While this is nothing to do with the point I made, I do not regard the sources you quote as objective, even if some are academics or have put their arguments in books: rather, they are typically strong supporters of Israel seeking to portray sympathisers of the Palestinians as having anti-Jewish sentiments in order to discredit them. Thus, Laqueur's studies have been on the Holocaust, Zionism and anti-Soviet studies and he has strong links with Israel, the CIA and the US defence establishment. Rich works for a Jewish defence organisation. Hirsh ran an anti BDS campaign. And so on for the others. People are portraying Jewish nationalists as subject experts, without also noting that they have a deeply ideological agenda. To go back to my specific point, it is that the three assertions in the passage are unsupported in the passage by any justification, explanation, evidence or situational context. There may not be a Wikipedia guideline against this: I am just pointing it out. I can certainly add contrary sources. However, it is harder to challenge arguments that are unclear. If you think the arguments have merit, it is in your interest to find an alternative, better expression of them from Laqueur or elsewhere. Jontel (talk) 07:05, 7 September 2019 (UTC)