Apologies to my readers for my long absence during several important events. A brief update and list of articles worth considering for discussion. I am now in a better position to both post and pay attention to the excellent discussions some of you readers have been maintaining while I lurked.
Swedish article on Organ Transplant
Among the most significant items on which I need to post has been Aftonbladet controversy, the Swedish article accusing the Israelis of engaging in harvesting organs from dead Palestinians, what many — justifiably to my mind — consider a modern blood libel. By now, it’s clear — and avowed — that the author has no evidence for his claims, and even the families involved admit that they never made the claims. Barry Rubin has some excellent remarks on Facebook about why, even though the media openly admits to holding Israel to a higher standard, it’s equally if not more important for the media to be careful with Israel, given the long history of libels against it.
So if you say that you hold Jews to higher standards remember equally that they have been treated, misexplained, misunderstood and lied about to lower standards. That there are people–often the main supposed witnesses to the things you denounce Israel for–who have a vested interest in making Israel look bad and who are willing to lie, along with reporters and others who have an antagonism to Israel. What are you doing to correct that side of the balance?
I’m going to hold you to a higher standard in your coverage of Israel for the same reason.
Israeli spokespeople have hit back hard on this, both officially and unofficially. Below is Mordechai Kedar’s responses to the author of the piece, Donald Bostrom, in which he mentions al Durah and invokes Pallywood. Note how Bostrom starts by saying, “It’s not up to me to have any evidence…” How do you think Kedar comes off?
One of my correspondents shudders at Kedar’s performance.
This TV interview with Kedar and Bostrom is a disaster. Bostrom comes across as the calm, reasonable speaker. Kedar is overheated and makes unsupported allegations that Palestinians are “compulsive liars” and have a conspiracy—these remarks make him look like a racist. Kedar is right, but his delivery completely undercuts his own message.
Bostrom, on the other hand, is a poster-boy for Pallywood, as it manifests in journalism. Not only are Palestinian witnesses “as good as anyone’s”, but the work of the NGOs and other journalists in having Israel as a daily human rights violator, make anything the Palestinians claim perfectly believable.
Yale University Press and the Danish Cartoon Book without Danish Cartoons.
The appalling decision of Yale U. Press not to publish the cartoons out of concern for the sensitivity of Muslims is, among many issues, a perfect illustration of the role of experts (the unanimous 12 who recommended not to publish the cartoons) of the role of an anomalous consensus among our elites whose opinions matter. All twelve? No one i respect who thinks on the issue of how we deal with militant Islam would have recommended so pusillanimous a course. Was there not one person in the bunch to say something like this?
This is absurd. Of course you publish the cartoons. Their almost entirely anodine nature is part of the story.
It attests to the nature of the violent response, which was the bullying of a newly empowered advocacy community: global Jihadis who feel that Muslim sharia should rule the planet. Not to publish would be to act like dhimmi. It would replicate all the errors that were made at the time of the event, in which America’s failure to publish the cartoonbs in every paper at once betrayed Europeans behaving bravely, and signaled to the Islamist triumphalists that indeed the whole world was vulnerable to their demands.
Or just a simple, “don’t be ridiculous.”
In any case, the “unanimous 12″ strike me as the most significant elemnt in this lamentable story. It’s testimony to the Emperor’s New Clothes effect. The court has so taken control of the discourse that the simplest and most obvious responses are not merely “voted down,” but excluded. Let’s not forget that the emperor and his court carried on the charade even after the crowd had turned against the hegemonic discourse in which the emperor’s clothes were dazzling.
But this issue is not confined to Yale alone. This essay, by Yale senior Matt Shaffer, about his time at Yale gives an intellectual backgrtound to this court consensus.
Condemning prejudice is great, but devoting the keynote speech of Yale orientation to a finger-wagging lecture against bigotry, as Professor Yoshino did, was like opening a conference of physicists with a warning on the dangers of astrology. In short, Despite Dean Salovey’s assertion that, “We will help you learn how to think rather than tell you what to think,” it looked more and more that they were going to teach us neither how to think nor what to think, but rather, what to feel.
That evening, things went from mere disappointment to sheer farce. Tedious lectures turned into indoctrination. We were required to attend ‘discussions’ with our freshman counselors about Professor Yoshino’s speech. The freshman counselor set the tone, and then student after student performed a series of variations upon a single theme: white men are bad, Islam is fabulous and judgment is bad. We need to be eternally vigilant and morally courageous in the face of the innumerable male WASP bigots around us. (Why we are allowed to judge white people as bad and Islam as good when judgment is supposedly forbidden is beyond my ken.)
This article — despite it’s somwhat archaic conclusion about truth beauty and goodness — supports the folllowing lllustrated metaphor in some detail. When I first read this cartoon (HT Michelle Saltzman) I confess to feeling uneasy. The packaging is harsh; the insights, given Shaffer’s reflections, seem quite accurate. Is it Kedar-style? Or something else.