May 2, 2012 12:00 AM

Local actions target Israel – but land squarely on area Jews

I read an article about Norwegian immigrants facing discrimination in Iceland. Not surprising. As an anthropologist I know that humans in social groupings over 12-15 individuals stratify themselves. For a group to justify control, someone has to be oppressed, and that requires a rationale. They look different, have a different religion or nationality, but somehow they must represent the “other.” In one of my favorite examples, a friend told me, as a Catholic growing up in Minnesota he wasn’t allowed to play with the Lutherans. My response: “how did you tell each other apart?” The answer: “We just knew.”

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