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Jew Praise Followup

I recently asked bloggers to post praise of Jews. There are three takers:

Evangelical Outpost (well close enough)

Elegance Against Ignorance (who also write this)

fr0ggE (who updates like never)

The general response, as seen in comments, and here were far more negative. In short, people were outraged.

This is exactly what I expected. I made the request after being shocked by the inability of a few people to praise Jews. And true to conjecture, the scary trend continued.

People make all sorts of excuses. Commonly they try to draw a distinction between individuals and groups. But sheesh, we say people rock when we know perfectly well those people consist of a group of theories, some good, and some bad. But it's not symmetric. Just because someone is part good, part bad, does not make him morally neutral. He could be predominantly good, and then it would make perfect sense to say he rocked. So too with Jews.

Another trend was an appeal to moral relativism. Yeah, Jews rock, and so do Palestinians, and so do North Koreans. And sure Jews die, but people in Africa starve to death too. Hello? Since when is being murdered morally equivalent to starving? If I walk down the street and see someone hungry, I need not give him my money. (If you think I should feed him, and his children, let me ask: The more children he chooses to have, the more food I owe him? Or what?) But if I walk down the street and murder someone, this is an outrage, and there should be a public outcry, leading to the use of force against me. Murderers should be stopped. Anyone resistant to this is wicked.

Anyhow, anti-semitism really disgusts me. But I think you've caught that already, so I've give it a rest for the moment.

Elliot Temple on December 8, 2003

Comments (15)

But sheesh, we say people rock when we know perfectly well those people consist of a group of theories, some good, and some bad.

I don't really cotton to the idea that the people in some specified group of people "consist of a group of theories". Maybe that was the problem.

To be fair, I did sort of end up seeing your overall point, though. Jews do rock.

Name: at 10:55 AM on December 8, 2003 | #711

Who was outraged?

Gil at 11:04 AM on December 8, 2003 | #712

I meant single people consist of some group/set of theories. (a different set for each person). this is a group of things, with good and bad elements, that we sometimes say rocks.


Did you read the comments at s-train that i linked?

and what do you want me to concede? that people "only" opposed me and resisted the idea? oh dear, there goes my whole case....

Elliot at 11:30 AM on December 8, 2003 | #713

I meant single people consist of some group/set of theories.

Ok but...in my world people (single or otherwise) don't "consist of theories".

Name: at 12:35 PM on December 8, 2003 | #714

What's important about people is their minds.

Elliot at 12:39 PM on December 8, 2003 | #715


I suspect that you claimed that people were outraged to make it easier for you to characterize your critics are having emotional, rather than rational, problems with your suggestion.

Ok, now I've looked at those s-train comments (I thought you had been referring to the comments here). I guess that a couple of them could be considered "outrage", but I still don't think that's a fair description of the general reaction.

I believe that most people thought (as I do) that the problem is that you are committing the same error as those who think "Jews Suck" (well, one of them); namely that you're being collectivist in your appraisal of a disparate group of people.

I understand and agree with the idea that Anti-Semitism is wrong in many ways and it deserves strong responses.

I just don't think that saying "Jews Rock" is one of them.

I see your point about the way we refer to people with good and bad theories, but I think it would be much more awkward to avoid making these evaluations of people, than groups.

Gil at 2:06 PM on December 8, 2003 | #716

I read all of your post re above, and no where do I see any anti-semetic comments.

Just because people refuse to say 'Jews rock' doesnt make them anti-semetic.

Hell, if thats the case then most people are anti-everything

ByStander at 5:05 AM on December 10, 2003 | #717

I don't think Elliot was saying that there was anti-semitism in the comments.

I think he's saying that he thinks his "Jews Rock" suggestion is a reasonable response to anti-semitic messages we see elsewhere.

Gil at 9:30 AM on December 10, 2003 | #718

as to anti-semitism, there was a fucking blood libel in the s-train comments:

Have you ever heard of Ariel Sharon and his troops? They're killing more than terrorists.

Elliot at 1:05 PM on December 10, 2003 | #719


I don't think you're using the term "blood libel" correctly. It usually refers to an accusation that a group uses the blood of victims (usually children) in a ritual.

The comment you quoted only implied (to me) that innocents were being killed; not that their blood was being ritually used.

Gil at 7:16 PM on December 10, 2003 | #720

i think calling any accusation about The Jews Murder Innocents a blood libel is fine. it doesn't have to be literally using the blood in a ritual.

Elliot at 8:32 PM on December 10, 2003 | #721

I suppose you can call it a banana if you want to, but if you want to communicate effectively, I think it's a good policy to use existing expressions that have specific meanings in the standard way.

Gil at 8:40 PM on December 10, 2003 | #722

there's a book called:

Blood Libel: The Inside Story of General Ariel Sharon's History-Making Suit Against Time Magazine

so i'd say i'm not coining a new usage of the word. my usage also makes quite a lot of literal sense, in that i refer to libels about blood (murder). (though that's not my only criteria, i do use the historic meaning too, just not quite as narrowly as Gil wants me to)

Elliot at 10:38 PM on December 10, 2003 | #723

I suspect that that usage was an attempt to be clever rather than accurate (it involved an accusation against a Jew, as well as a legal case that was literally about Libel).

And see what came of that? It encouraged you to go and confuse the usage further.

Gil at 12:32 PM on December 12, 2003 | #724

your second paragraph begs the question.

as I'm sure you'd know if you stopped trying to be clever and worried about accuracy ;-p

Elliot at 12:35 PM on December 12, 2003 | #725

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)