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I cannot help if you take offense at plain language. As I noted, "Germans killed the Jews" is standard English usage that carries no further connotation than an acknowledged historical fact. The claim that I must say "Nazis killed the Jews" is as ridiculous as the simplistic conclusions you draw. In history, the situation of Jews in Germany has varied over time and is not invariant. I could as well have said that the increasing influence of Indian/Pakistani culture in the UK is ironic given that the British imposed racist system of colonization on India. I suppose you would object that it was the East India Company and not the British as a whole or that my observation of the irony was tantamount to saying that all English people want to reimpose colonial rule on India.

In response to your original complaint, I have made the further argument that the denial of history is a commonplace in Europe and I think a dangerous one.

by rootless2 on Sat Jun 27th, 2009 at 01:16:49 PM EST
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So you are right because you say so. That's the end of the debate, then.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jun 27th, 2009 at 01:30:04 PM EST
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Look, I'm right because empirically, the words I used are correct and standard usage. If you want to read into them an indictment of all Germans past and present, I cannot stop you, but that's not what it means.
by rootless2 on Sat Jun 27th, 2009 at 01:33:25 PM EST
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When posters here (rarely) say "Jews kill Palestinians", there is an immediate reaction from members (editorial or not, and I will be very prompt to be among them) to refuse that generalisation to all Jews from the behaviour of Israel.

Are we right or wrong?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 08:54:56 AM EST
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But "Israelis killed Palestinians" is accurate. Look, the basic issue is whether "The Germans killed the Jews" is an acceptable statement - and I continue to note that it is common usage acceptable english and it neither requires a disclaimer nor carries the implication that all Germans are currently anti-semitic murderers.
by rootless2 on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 11:05:32 AM EST
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I continue to note that it is common usage

I think DoDo's point is that "common usage" is perhaps not the best language, and perhaps not even adequate language, for discussing these issues.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 12:59:45 PM EST
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And, to me, Dodo's objection is a demand for an excuse to be inserted in the language. The holocaust is part of German history, not part of some untethered Nazi history that exists on its own.

Of course, I do not believe, nor have I said or implied that Germany today is exactly the same as it was in 1940 or that most Germans are actively anti-semitic or that all Germans supported the Nazis. But I do not believe and will not say that "the Nazis" were some alien force from outer space - they came out of and reflected something in German culture and history.

We have the same demands here in the USA, from people who want to insist that "slavery was a long time ago" and nobody today is guilty - and therefore, apparently, nobody can speak about "the South" and black slavery. A generalization always involves some inaccuracy, but denying the essential truth of a generalization is a demand for obscurity.

by rootless2 on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 01:15:22 PM EST
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