I've answered a question about the Israeli law of return, which was accepted by the OP and was upvoted by others.

However one user decided to put a derogatory remark claiming that somehow Israeli law of return is discriminatory and wouldn't exist in any other country. After rebutting that argument and showing that not only similar laws exist in other countries, including the (I think) OP's United Kingdom, I also explained that as opposed to these other laws that are based on ancestry or ethnicity, the Israeli law is based on religion that anyone can convert to.

In response I've been called "a troll", the moderators decided to school me, and the derogatory comments remained there despite my explicit request from the moderators to remove them.

According to the moderator Scott Earle I was in the wrong to stand up to antisemitism and was warned that if I do this again I'll be blocked from the site. Is antisemitism protected on this site? Am I really wrong to stand up to antisemitic remarks?

2 Answers 2


I've kind of sat back on this. I'm going to give my own opinion which is rather sideways from either of yours, but I think may be important to state given where this has headed.

Israel bases citizenship (and even residence) on religion.

Israel's policies for citizenship and residence are discrimination.

In my opinion, any sovereign nation has the explicit and unchallenged right to allow in who they want, for any reason at all or no reason at all given. They can alot citizenship accordingly and do not have to defend the basis for decision, except to say that they are sovereign - and that's the end of the discussion.

This means to me that if Israel wished to only allow Jews in for the purpose of settlement and only grant citizenship to such people, that's their business and none of the rest of ours (and none of mine), as long as they are a sovereign nation. They have that sovereign right. Period. This also means that I accept Trump disallowing people from certain Muslim countries into the United States. This also means that while I was vehemently Remain in the Brexit vote, I did think that accomodations should be allowed for countries to curb immigration temporarily until their infrastructure can support the extra numbers - the lack of such control for the UK directly had an impact on Brexit occurring. I likewise felt that countries such as Romania and Poland should have been allowed to put policies in place to curb emigration, as they were losing vast amounts of population, especially young people, to other EU countries.

If a nation cannot decide who gets to enter, who gets to reside, and who gets the priviledge of citizenship, then it cannot by definition call themselves a sovereign nation.

I don't agree with a policy of religious discrimation.

You're anti-semitic!

Sorry, I can't abide this strawman/ad-hominem/false-dilemma kind of reasoning. It's a specific policy he doesn't agree with, not a religion. There are plenty of reasons why someone might consider a policy of citizenship based on religion a kind of discrimination. It's not exactly a secret that there many Jews who do not agree with the policies and actions of Israel. Are they 'anti-semitic' if they think that Israel's policy towards citizenship should be more diverse and open to other religious and ethnic backgrounds? Indeed many countries have lots of different policies regarding citizenship that any of us might not really agree with or understand without knowing fully the history and culture. Saudi Arabia only grants citizenship if it's bestowed upon that person by the king. Malaysia doesn't allow some ethnic minority groups to ever get citizenship, even for third and fourth generation native born descendants.

If I criticize these policies, that doesn't mean I'm 'Islamaphobic' or 'anti Malaysian'. It just means I don't agee with those specific policies.

I feel that Israel's policies for citizenship and residence are discrimination.

Well sorry you feel that way. But unless Israel signs up to some sort of agreement akin to the EU or something like that, or unless some other nation is able to subjugate the nation of Israel and force them to follow their rules instead, then it's really irrelevant, and frankly kind of none of your concern what Israel decides to with their citizenship as a sovereign nation. All we are here to do is know the rules and help others know the rules and give practical advice.

The OP is obviously shopping around for a country where they can settle and never have to work or worry about housing. They heard about Israel's policies and came up with the idiotic idea that they could simply convert and they'd have their nest sorted for life. They came on here and instead got realistic practical advice. Whether any of us agree with Israel's policies or not, our job on Expats here was done the moment they got that advice and bailed. Probably they will not be seen here again unless they come with another misinterpretation or misunderstaning of some other nations' immigration/settlement rules. In which case, we'll probably straighten them out there as well.

  • Thank you for clearly explaining my point about sovereign rights. As to why I think the comment was antisemitic - it wasn't because "any criticism of Israel is antisemitic", but rather "criticism of Israel for something everyone does - is antisemitic". I provided examples to that person from numerous European countries, including his own (the UK), and my own (the US), both on exclusionary/preferential citizenship laws and religious intolerance, yet he chose to double down on his claims.
    – littleadv
    Oct 10, 2022 at 6:48
  • @littleadv, "criticism of Israel for something everyone does - is antisemitic" Sorry, but that is still just as illogical. Someone criticizing the United States for 'something everyone does' doesn't make the critic anti-American. I go back to the example of Jews who criticize Israel for some of their policies- while possibly their home country does the exact same to a far greater extreme. That person may even criticize both nations for the same exact kind of policies (as you've pointed out with your citizenship examples).
    – ouflak Mod
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:20
  • @littleadv, There is simply no logical way to extrapolate that to anti-semitic or anti-American. Not without introducing a logical fallacy or two (most easily ad hominem or false dilemma, but strawman is easy pickings as well).
    – ouflak Mod
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:21
  • I'm struggling explaining how I see the situation. A drive by deragotory comment specifically targeting Israeli policy as "discriminatory", denying that Israel has that sovereign right you went to such a great length explaining, and then explaining how his own country is perfectly within its right to discriminate its own citizens in its own government positions because reasons, ironically religious reasons... How is it not antisemitic?
    – littleadv
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:33
  • And just to point out the obvious - there are most definitely self-hating jews, it's not news to anyone. You're trying to argue that an opinion cannot be antisemitic if you can show a jew holding it - that's just as fallacy as anything you are attributing to me. There are Jews members of the PLO, there were Jewish Nazi sympathizers early on, that doesn't remove the stink of antisemitism or justify the bigotry.
    – littleadv
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:37
  • @littleadv, Let me put it like this. You've pointed out specific examples of other countries that have similar policies - the UK and the US. If somebody called you anti-American or 'Anglophobic' (sorry had to make that up) for pointing out those policies and describing them (correctly btw) as exclusionary, would you consider that blanket labeling valid? I'd think you'd see through that fallacy instantly and naturally reject such a label without hesitation. And you'd be right to do so. That's far beyond your criticism.
    – ouflak Mod
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:38
  • I pointed out these policies, described them as exclusionary - but not as discriminatory. Because as you said and as I said in that thread - each country can decide who they want to let in and its entirely their right. Traveler argued that there would be uproar, that it is impossible that his country would do that, but immediately when I pointed out he came up with the excuse "oh, but our religion", completely ignoring the fact that he negated his own argument when talking about Israel. How can't you see that?
    – littleadv
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:40
  • @littleadv, I myself am borderline nationalist in my Amercanism. That doesn't mean I can't be critical of some of their bungling policies, especially with regards to the economy. And I wasn't talking about 'self-hating' Jews, which I consider an extreme. I was just referring to regular people having a diverse set of regular views and opinions that might not all be the same - who just happen to be Jewish. (Updated my previous comment to 'exclusionary').
    – ouflak Mod
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:41
  • That's beside the point. My argument that scolding me when pointing out someone's bias only emboldens the bias. Next time Traveler will spew his hatred and you folk will punish me for standing up to him because "I've been warned". So I'm asking again - why am I being punished when I pointed out someone's bias? You're trying to convince me that it is OK to be biased, and my question is - is it OK to be specifically biased against Jews?
    – littleadv
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:43
  • @littleadv, "is it OK to be specifically biased against Jews" - To which I ask: "Is being critical of a specific on-topic-for-this-site policy such as citizenship (which c'mon, this is expats right?), the same as being -ophobic/-ist/anti-"? I'm a bit surprised you don't see the obvious conflation there. I don't necessarily agree with the criticism as I've pointedly explained, but if we can't avoid such blanket extreme generalizations, there is literally not a single nation's immigration/citizenship policies we can discuss on this site.
    – ouflak Mod
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:56
  • @littleadv, You yourself pointed out that every nation implements these kind of policies to some degree. We might as well just cease to exist because we're sure to offend somebody.
    – ouflak Mod
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:58
  • Last time I check this wasn't a discussion forum, it was a Q&A site. Personal opinions are not welcome, especially when they're factually incorrect. Personal opinions that are not answering the question are furthermore irrelevant. Am I misunderstanding this? So I ask you again: someone who chose and deliberately left degrading comment against Israel, no other country, and doubled down even when shown he's factually incorrect both about Israel and his own country is in the right and calling him out is wrong?
    – littleadv
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:58
  • I'm not even talking about abusive behavior, calling me troll, and demanding that I let his abuse and bigotry left unanswered which was completely ignored by the moderators.
    – littleadv
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:59
  • 1
    @litteadv, Then I guess we better start with cleaning out all of the posts that ask about American visa policies, which are laced with valid criticism. Then the UK.... and so on.
    – ouflak Mod
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:59
  • Why don't you? It is not relevant. I'm here to share my experience and what I've learned in the process, not to air my frustrations. Isn't that the goal?
    – littleadv
    Oct 10, 2022 at 9:00

Is antisemitism protected on this site?

No, just as the slandering of other users is not protected.

This whole sorry affair started with:

Which country offers citizenship based on religious conversion?” Probably none except for the example in your question, as such an approach would likely be considered discriminatory.

I disagree with this opinion (i.e. it is not likely), because religious discrimination is based in treating a person or group differently because of the particular beliefs which they hold about a religion. The Law of Return is also about ethnic background ('people with one or more Jewish grandparent').

Had you pointed this out at this point, the discussion would have probably ended.

Instead of that an immature, childish, tit for tat starts with half baked historical samples (which are factualy correct, but beside the point) that leads nowhere.

At this point, you start making unfounded claims about the other users supposed motive:

The only reason you think the Israeli law of return is discriminatory is because it is Israeli.

As I mentioned before, similar laws exist in many countries, including many countries in Europe. In fact, the UK gives preferential immigration rights to people with British ancestry as well. So I really don't understand why, other than antisemitism, you'd single out the Israeli one. But... antisemitism is a strong force for many.

Had you read the link that yourself supplied in your answer properly (The Israeli Law of Return), all of this could have been avoided.

I agree with your answer and many of your initial statements:

There are some countries with similar laws (Italy, Ireland, Germany - to name a few), but their criteria is based on ethnicity and ancestry, not religion

but disagree with your conclusion, because the Law of Return is also about ethnicity and ancestry.

So it is your lack of knowledge that has brought about this situation, just as it was you that introduced the antisemitism sediment.

Moved to chat - sorry I didn't notice this for a couple of days

I will ask that @littleadv be nice. I have already been on the receiving end of this user to a small extent, and others have also mentioned him/her. It doesn't hurt to be nice to people

And criticising one country's policies based on religion does not make someone "anti" that religion or "anti" that country. And accusing someone of antisemitism just because that country is Israel is a very unpleasant thing to be accusing someone of

So again - I will ask @littleadv to tone it down a bit. He/she is openly arguing with people in a public forum, and doing that can get people blocked from that forum

Oh and also - @littleadv you enjoy being unkind to other people, but you flag people's comments as being unkind more often than I would expect

I agree with this.

  • As I commented to you in the answer, your interpretation is incorrect. Religion is crucial for Jewish identity. There are no "Christian Jews" or "Muslim Jews". There are only Jewish Jews. There are Jewish people of many ethnic backgrounds that converted into Judaism. Ivanka Trump, for example, has no Jewish ancestry, but is Jewish nevertheless. The Law of Return explicitly excludes children/grandchildren of Jews who have converted into a different religion. And while being a practicing Jew is not required - belonging to Judaism is very much the central part of the law.
    – littleadv
    Oct 7, 2022 at 6:27
  • That said, my point was not about whether the law is based on religion proper or anything else, but whether it is discriminatory. Whether your interpretation is correct or mine, either way - the law is in no way discriminatory. My argument is that Traveler made that comment, which we both agree was factually incorrect, for no reason other than being it about Israel. I stand by that claim, and your answer didn't provide any other insights into why Traveler would have made such a claim.
    – littleadv
    Oct 7, 2022 at 6:30

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