Plausible Denial: Reflections on rekaB Street

Participated in an interesting conversation yesterday between someone trying to make the point that the political culture of the Arab/Muslim world was far to the “right” of anything we Westerners can understand, that a majority of the public holds opinions that we would consider fascist, war-mongering and racist if it were a Westerner holding such opinions, and someone trying to deny the evidence as best he could, to preserve an image of the Muslim world that corresponded to what we liberals would like to hope existed over there.

As I listened to his responses, I realized that he kept coming up the plausible (and not-so-plausible) counter-arguments, basically anything that could deflect the evidence brought to bear. For example, the citing of a poll of Palestinian opinion immediately brought skepticism about its reliability. In fact, if anything, the poll is probably unreliable in understating rather than exaggerating the degree of radical “right-wing” attitudes (“what was taken by force can only be taken back by force”).

Al Durah Mural. Underneath: “What was taken by force can only be regained by force.”
(This is also what is written on the wall above the father and son at Netzarim Junction.)

As I thought about it, I realized that he was not at all interested in figuring out what’s going on, but only in defending his position (which was not so much a liberal position as a liberal projection). Now, he has an excuse: he’s young, and for him, every argument is a contest he needs to win. But this same technique also describes one of the main ways our journalists contribute to our being on rekaB Street: they’re not looking for real explanations, for real understanding, they’re looking for the explanations that support a “liberal” outlook — e.g., the Gazans voted for Hamas not because it’s a genocidal hate-mongering organization that promises to restore Palestinian and Muslim honor by exterminating Israel (let’s not talk about that), but because of Fatah corruption. They, like my young friend, are looking for the least implausible explanations, not looking for a real understanding.

CAMERA has an interesting list of resolutions for journalists in 2013 in which they suggest journalists cease to systematically misinform their readers about the Middle East conflict. As I go down the list, two things occur to me: 1) in your dreams will journalists stop doing this since it would make them too “pro-Zionist” (no matter how accurate most of the requests are); and 2) what an extraordinary list of examples in which journalists are so committed to getting the story wrong… repeatedly, consistently, perversely.

But since journalists consider themselves a force of nature, they just think we should learn to live with it.

Of course, that may seem okay to journalists when the only people they’re sticking it to are the Israelis. But… what about the Western public they’re misinforming? What about the Jihad they’re enabling?

60 Responses to Plausible Denial: Reflections on rekaB Street

  1. E.G. says:

    But… what about the Western public they’re misinforming? What about the Jihad they’re enabling?

    What do they care about these things? What do they care about the genocidal agenda they’re promoting? Au contraire, these are going to be great stories to cover! And imagine the op.-eds. such as “Did the Zionists cause their own demise or was there another factor?” or “New data emerge: Israelis held themselves to too stringent interpretations of the Laws of War – it became their Achilles heel”.
    Meanwhile, knowing too well where the incentives lie and where threats come from, it’s only too convenient to do one’s useful infidel’s job.

  2. Martin J. Malliet says:

    “Denn aus irgendeinem imponderablen Grund sind ja die Zeitungen nicht Laboratorien und Versuchsstätten des Geistes, was sie zum allgemeinen Segen sein könnten, sondern gewöhnlich Magazine und Börsen.” – Robert Musil

    For “imponderable reasons” the MSNM are never “laboratories of the spirit”, just “warehouses and exchanges”. I think Robert Musil likes to make himself appear inscrutable: why else call the reasons “imponderable” when they are included in his own description? There’s nothing imponderable about the working of exchanges: they’re there to facilitate exchanges of ideas, not to produce them. That must happen elsewhere.

    The reframing of the narrative through which the Western MSNM understand the Israel-Palestinian ‘untractable’ conflict (or Israel-Islamist conflict now) is something that will not happen gradually. It may be prepared gradually outside the MSMN in the minds of some relevant people, but it will only appear in the MSNM after some significant shift in the ‘political system’. The Iranian nuclear threat should bring it about, although Martin Kramer fears it may well become the “major foreign policy failure ever” of the US.

    (This is a diversion, but as I had already written it out.) On Islam and Muslim people and beliefs I tend to follow Martin Kramer’s attitude and be very careful about ‘essentialising’. (On that single point Edward Said was indeed right, but, unlike Martin Kramer, he then did not remain faithful himself to ‘methodological individualism’.) But I am thinking about it, here’s just a sneak preview.

    Western natural law tradition and Islamic jurisprudence and political thought

    http://www.martinkramer.org/sandbox/2005/02/mr-sharansky-ease-my-doubts/

    This is a post by Martin Kramer explaining his ideas on ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom to’ in Muslim societies, which I would like to take as a starting point for understanding how the Western natural law tradition could be connected to Islamic jurisprudence and political thought, and on how this could be used to understand the obvious difficulties in the Muslim world to maintain or develop a ‘civil polity’ (or lawful democracy). Martin Kramer has another article on ‘minority rule’, which made me think of Frank Van Dun’s thought experiment on a constitutional arrangement by which the majority is confined to the legislative power whereas the executive power would always go to the minority, so that they would be bound to scale each other down to their common denominator and thereby approach his idea of a lawful democracy.

    Martin Kramer, I believe, also states the obvious, namely that the development of a civil polity in the Arab and Muslim ‘world’ must start from the existing ‘structures’ of social trust and loyalty, i.e. kinship, clan, and religious sects (I myself don’t really know about these things). Could the mistrust between these smaller ‘structures’ not become the foundation for a constitutionally ‘limited central government’?

    Quotes and my notes:

    “It can well be argued that democracy’s concepts of freedom began with this more basic concept. The concept of “freedom of” begins with the desire for “freedom from.” But this is where there is a blockage in the Arab-Muslim world, an obstacle, and it brings me to my third doubt.”

    “It has to do with a certain understanding of Islam, sometimes called Islamism. Muslims who are under its sway uphold divinely-revealed Islamic law as the blueprint for the just society. I will spare you the details, but this law is not compatible with democracy, or even with a plural society. It is predicated on a set of dichotomies, primarily between believer and unbeliever, secondarily between men and women. Some of its provisions are open to interpretation, but it is not infinitely elastic.”

    “Most importantly, Islamic law does not recognize the autonomous sovereignty of man, only that of God.”

    This is the central point, but is it true? I would say that it is only true in what Eric Voegelin called the literalist derailment (of Islamic law), i.e. ‘the possibility of making immanentist nonsense of symbols that express the experience of divine presence in the order of man’s existence in society and history’.

    “To those who want freedom from oppressive government, the Islamists offer as an alternative not the collective will of the people, but the divinely-revealed message of God. And that is the blockage that prevents the transition to democracy. There is a widespread desire for “freedom from” in the Arab-Muslim world, for an end to tyrannical government. But the Islamists warn that “freedom of” is even more dangerous than tyranny, because it will unravel the entire social order. They offer a different alternative, which might be called “submission to”—submission to God. (Islam means submission.) This alternative has great appeal. Every single polity that has opened itself to free and unencumbered elections in this part of the world has seen Islamists make tremendous gains, or even take power.”

    I would say that Islamists are not entirely wrong in believing that the ‘collective will of the people’ is a doubtful solution in the quest for freedom from oppressive government.

    Frank Van Dun’s reading (in “The Perfect Law of Freedom”) of Genesis and the Ten Commandments in the context of his ‘naturalistic’ theory of natural law arrives at the opposite conclusion: that the sovereignty of God can only translate into the sovereignty of man. (What “divine revelation” means to Frank Van Dun, you can take from his analogy of the machine and the manual to the machine. The Hebrew Bible, New Testament, or Quran may be the manuals to the natural order of the human world (the law), but “it is not the manual that makes the machine what it is”.)

    In summary: after God had created Man in his image, he came to realise that he could not go on governing Man like his subject creature, but had to let him free (in his own image). Obviously, if the relationship between God and Man is ordered on the basis of mutual respect for each other’s rights and freedoms, the relationships between men cannot be ordered differently: no man has the privilege to lord it over other men when even God thinks he must abstain from it. And that’s all there is to it.

    As Martin Kramer repeatedly points out, the distinction made so readily in Muslim thinking between believers and unbelievers is a huge obstacle. One should really insist on asking them how they can know with certainty who the infidels are. And as they cannot know with certainty, what they think must follow from that.

    Frank Van Dun is one of my other teachers. As he is ignored and not discussed by others, I can only rely on my own judgment. But I rank him higher than Ronald Dworkin. The strange thing with Frank Van Dun is that when you follow his reasoning it all looks so easy, so that it becomes difficult to see what a remarkable achievement that is. His article on “Human Dignity: Reason or Desire? Natural Rights versus Human Rights” (2001) is a good entry point, and it contains a short explanation of his ‘plurality-diversity-scarcity-access’ schema that is at the basis of his ‘naturalistic’ theory of natural law. You can find his bibliography with links here: http://rothbard.be/artikels/350-bibliografie-van-dun

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      A quote from Sayyid Qutb should help to illustrate what I’m having at the back of my mind: “… we understand the true character of Islam, and that it is a universal proclamation of the freedom of man from servitude to other men, the establishment of the sovereignty of God and His Lordship throughout the world, the end of man’s arrogance and selfishness, and the implementation of the rule of the Divine Shari’ah in human affairs.” Force, or ‘jihad’, is permitted in order to achieve this. He continues, “When Islam strives for peace, its objective is not that superficial peace which requires that only that part of the earth where the followers of Islam are residing remain secure. The peace which Islam desires is that the religion (i.e. the law of the society) be purified for God, that the obedience of all people be for God alone, and that some people should not be lords over others.”

  3. E.G. says:

    RL,
    I just read a discussion among Israelis a propos Shirley Temper, that turned around the use/abuse of children by “freedom fighters” (in this case, also by the Turkish Pres.).
    Some are shocked by the parental “education” and choice to send their children to the front lines (instead of protecting them), whereas others argue that these children are involved anyway and venting their frustration is only natural.

    Children/”youth” were also the heroes of the 1987 Intifada. I don’t remember whether they were so active/activated beforehand (I think they weren’t).

    I also don’t recall whether you devoted a post to the role of age in the Cog-War. Did you?

    • Richard Landes says:

      did not do anything on age and the cog war, although it plays big in the al Durah blood libel.
      what strikes me is how the same people who find it abhorrent that settlers would put their children in harm’s way (eg hebron), find it natural that the pals wd use their children in the confrontations with israelis.
      is this a double peace of HRC? on the one hand we expect more sensibility from israelis than pals, on the other we know that israeli kids are in real danger from pals and pals not from israelis?

  4. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Don’t know anymore where I got it from:

    “Der Knirps will vor allem jenen Uniformierten erwischen, der den 12-jährigen Mohammed al-Dura im Gaza-Streifen erschossen hat. Das Bild des verzweifelten Jungen, der vergeblich hinter dem Rücken seines Vater Schutz suchte, hat sich in Alis Bewusstsein eingeprägt. Immer wieder zeigt das palästinensische Fernsehen die Aufnahmen – jeden Tag.”

    Google translations:

    “The little boy wants to catch, especially those in uniform that has the 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura killed in the Gaza Strip. Image of a desperate boy who sought in vain behind the back of his father’s protection, has impressed in Ali’s mind. Always again shows Palestinian TV recordings – every day.”

    “Le petit garçon veut attraper, surtout ceux en uniforme qui a Mahomet de 12 ans al-Dura tué dans la bande de Gaza. L’image d’un garçon désespéré qui a cherché en vain derrière le dos de la protection de son père, a impressionné à l’esprit d’Ali. Toujours montre à nouveau des enregistrements TV palestiniens – tous les jours.”

    Another not altogether unrelated age-question is the underlying problem of uncontrolled population growth, the overload of ‘superfluous young men’. Martin Kramer (www.martinkramer.org) got a bashing for talking about it. Yes, denial all around, it’s worrying, alright.

  5. mika says:

    Given the lies and disinformation in the media regards Israel and Israelis, I think I’m very safe in saying that same applies to Arabs. The Vatican/CIA propaganda matrix is a hologram of lies, misrepresentation, incitement and provocation to hate and war. This should be starting point in any informed analysis and discussion. I do not believe for a second that Arabs are represented by “their” media and political representation, anymore than we Israelis are represented by “our” media and political representation. The whole thing is contrived theater and a false dialectic designed by “our betters” to thieve from us, enslave us, and kill us on mass.

    See: Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu by Maurice Joly
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/93645549/Dialogue-In-Hell-Between-Machiavelli-and-Montesquieu-by-Maurice-Joly

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Mika: Do you have connections to the Mossad, or the Vatican? Or the Palestinian film industry? Well, sorry for asking, I know you cannot tell us that. So what follows isn’t a request either. But over at the other blogpost we’re trying to reconstruct the secret story of how the Palestinian strategists of the Second Intifada may have been involved in the alleged Pallywood fake of Al Durah. The question to which we would like to find a plausible answer is whether they deliberately sought out France2/Enderlin (aka as Scoopy), or if it was just random. Evidence, in the form of a memo from inside the Palestinian bureaucracy sketching out the operation, would be the big prize for us.

      • mika says:

        “The question to which we would like to find a plausible answer is whether they deliberately sought out France2/Enderlin (aka as Scoopy), or if it was just random. ”
        ==

        I’m pretty sure it’s the other way around. I’m pretty sure that Enderlin (who’s no doubt a Sabbatean Vatican agent) was sent to film the setup knowing it was a set up. EVERYONE involved in the MSM today knows they are paid propagandists. That’s the prerequisite to working in the MSM. You don’t get hired unless you produce what is expected from you to produce.

  6. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Mika: And have you also read the book edited by Richard Landes on: “The Paranoid Apocalypse: A Hundred-Year Retrospective on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion “(Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies)

    I haven’t, and from the table of contents it is not clear whether Maurice Joly’s “Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu” is discussed (there’s talk of a French connection). But I always thought it was the actual original text from which the Russian hoax of the Protocols was eventually derived (with several intermediate steps).

    And I’m not saying that to disqualify Maurice Joly, quite to the contrary, his dialogue is a very insightful book on how democratic constitutions, institutions and procedures can be put, by smart politicians, to the service of, well, many things probably, but in this case, the politics of Emperor Napoleon III.

    Mass Killings? Well, Napoleon couldn’t stop his environment from pushing him to the 1870 war, and that was in a way the start of the whole story for WWI, Bolshevik power grab, Versailles, Hitler power grab, WWII, Shoah, and on, and on.

    I recommend it, too.

    You are some Moishe Pipik, Mika! Cheers!

    • mika says:

      Martin, I did not call you names and I ask that you extend the same courtesy. I haven’t read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but from what I understand it originates with the Jesuits/Vatican. (See: Eric Phelps). What I am certain of, our media is completely corrupt, as our politicians, as our other institutions, even the hospitals. You don’t know this, but they are conducting open experiments on people, and among other things they are injecting kids with poison vaccines that cause cancer, autism, and other irreparable biological damage. When you look deeper as to who is behind it all, it doesn’t matter where you turn, what you get is the Vatican. I know you’re emotionally resistant to hearing this, but I hope you’ll investigate this for yourself.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Sorry if I offended you. That was not the purpose. But then you should also stop selling us ‘inverted holograms’.

        I wasn’t asking you to read the Protocols. It was the other book, the one of which Richard Landes was the editor.

        What else do you think we’re talking about on this blog, than ‘corrupted MSNM reporting practices’. And of course their consequences, and why they’re disturbing the ‘natural social order’ of people who respect each other’s rights and freedoms. We’re also quite in agreement with you on the point that governments cannot be trusted, they must be held under scrutiny. But you seem to mix that up with a lot of other stuff, and that is not helpful. Moreover, you often use words like ‘truth’ and ‘certainty’. To be sure, we love them, too. Only ‘truth’ is a tricky concept, of which only one thing is certain: the ‘truth’ is not of our making, it stands on its own, how could it otherwise be shared between people? You cannot simply decide in your mind what the truth is, and then start selling it as an inverted hologram’. Go back to Dostoyevsky, and forget about the Shabak or whatever you were going on about. I mean it.

        • Martin, a thought that occurred to me: what would you think about us (you, E.G., me) joining forces and entering the debate on Israel in the comment sections in a popular site (e.g. huffington post, or the Guardian, or the New York |Times, or the Telegraph, or… you name it)?

          There are plenty of posts that attract debate, we may chose one, enter it, and attempt to dispel the usual anti-Israel lies that are heard in such debates. It will be a good opportunity not just to defend Israel, but to exchange views afterwards as to how we could have better tackled the issues that arose in the debate.

          I do this by myself anyway, but if we do it together we will be able to point to each other what were our weaknesses in our defense of Israel. A hands-on cooperative experience will provide us with real-case examples that we may base our discussion on, and ultimately will enrich all of us with regards to maximizing our effectiveness.

          As i said, just a thought.

          • mika says:

            DM,
            Engaging the Huffington Post, Guardian, New York Times, etc., is an exercise in futility and stupidity. The way to deal with these Vatican/CIA propaganda outlets is to disenfranchise them, de-legitimize them, and deprive them of patronage. Same with the other Vatican controlled institutions. You do this by complete disengagement and boycott. Without your participation these parasites cannot exist.

          • mika says:

            DM, these are the people you’re dealing with. They know exactly what they’re doing:

            http://youtu.be/hcZ_0T7rni8

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Dionissis: The way this civil society discussion works best, I believe, is as follows: (1) some write pieces that are potentially interesting to many people, (2) people who discover the pieces make the links go around. I think I have done my part on (1) on this blog of Richard Landes. Now it’s up to others to circulate it. What you propose doesn’t really appeal to me, there’s too much risk of the red herring chase in it. And just think about it: if for every 100 snippets people write in endless discussions, they would sit down and write one article, in full sentences, working out 1 full thought, the overall quality of the debate would go up considerably, and the quantity of debate to sort through would be much easier to handle. Progress on two fronts!

        • mika says:

          Martin, I go where the truth leads me. SHABAK has been caught too many times with its pants down. I know they are directly involved in the murder of Israelis, including Prime Ministers.

          It’s VERY obvious to me that the Labour Zionists are an offshoot of the underground Sabbatean cult, and it’s also VERY obvious to me that the leadership of the Labour Zionists worked together with the Nazis — before the war, during the war, and after the war. The MOSSAD is a subsidiary of the CIA, which in turn is a subsidiary of the Vatican. The Yale Skull&Bones boys financed the Nazis and behind the Skull&Bones is the Illuminati/Vatican. The highest level of the “Jewish” leadership worked to sabotage any effort of European Jewry rescue from the Nazis. Today they are busy with the Oslo Process and the systematic destruction of any kind of Israeli defense against its Vatican sponsored Jihadistani enemies.

          ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME.

          • E.G. says:

            Beware of Roman Mossad mosquitoes. They’re after you.
            You may go back to your mental institution now.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Mika, you do not listen to anything I say. Therefore I will do the same, and go on calling you a Moishe Pipik. (Google it, you’ll discover that it’s not offensive.) Cheers. And no more ‘inverted holograms’ for me, please.

        • mika says:

          I read what you wrote. And I answered you. You don’t like my answers, that’s your problem.

          Btw, if you were sorry for your behavior, you wouldn’t keep doing it. The fact that you persist, tells me all I need to know about you and your character, Martin.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Mika: About the ‘inverted holograms’, I made that up, alright. You tried to sell them as just holograms. But holograms are beautiful things, if only we had more of them to understand our history. The ‘inverted holograms’ on the other hand make you blind for “what is good in the world”. That’s what the Pope said at Christmas. Now he would say that, wouldn’t he? Being a Sabbatean in the Vatican and all that. But what if he’s right?

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          From the Pope’s hologram: “Kindness and truth shall meet; / justice and peace shall kiss. / Truth shall spring out of the earth, /and justice shall look down from heaven. / The Lord himself will give his benefits; / our land shall yield its increase. / Justice shall walk before him, / and salvation, along the way of his steps” (Ps 85:11-14).

        • mika says:

          I’m not a salesperson, Martin. I’m just an observer. I’m not selling anything. I don’t need to sell anything. Your parapraxis was very telling. It’s out, you can’t take it back.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          It’s a figure of speech, Mika. To me it felt like you were trying to sell me something I hadn’t asked for. ‘Insufficient demand’ which you then explained to me as coming from my emotional resistance to accept the truth. I grant you that you were in fact offering it for free, no problem. And don’t you see the difference between you and me? Sure, I attack you (gently). But I leave you a way out. You don’t.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Mika: You may also have noticed that I don’t call you Moishe Pipik anymore. And that’s because I have started to believe that you are no Moishe Pipik. Which makes me a bit sad, really.

  7. E.G. says:

    Dionissis Mitropoulos,

    A few years ago, when this blog used to be a platform for vivid and mostly intelligent discussions, I got prompted by a commenter and delivered my experience and lessons learnt from a few days’ commenting at CiF. I gained a few more since then.
    I’m not sure this is the place to share, and not only because of what it’s become. Furthermore, you’ve probably realised, at least from a few exchanges here, that messing with a Greek is not like messing with an Israeli – and I tend to believe that the differences in approach, attitudes etc., are a force rather than a weakness vs. the usually monolithic anti-Israeli “arguments”.

    What you do is, as I see things, more trendy than the past decade’s talkback/comment “defence forces”. Whether they like it or not, MSM are going to have to publish more fair and balanced articles about Israel.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      And what about messing with a Belgian? If you go on like this, I might be tempted to write you a letter in the style of the one I wrote to Ahmadinejad (old stuff which I now finally have had the courage to put up at the Al Durrah blogpost). Cheers E.G. (laugh a little bit). (Please?)

      Ou aide-moi à trouver la bonne expression en français pour cette manière de persister dans l’erreur dans l’espoir qu’un jour l’erreur se transformera en …, euh, je ne sais pas vraiment quoi, comme je n’ai jamais compris le concept. J’en suis à la v5, mais toujours pas content: “Nous faisons fausse route depuis si longtemps déjà, autant continuer!”

      • Martin, the full thoughts you referred to which would raise the quality of debating can be posted in the comments section too. And the quantity of debate to sort through is not up to us, the other side keeps on disseminating their lies again and again in the comment sections. Leaving them undisputed only lets both the neutral and the unprejudiced but misinformed readers conclude that what our opponents have been arguing is true, after all, since no one confronted them. It is us that should be avoiding to put forth red herrings, but, when our opponents do so, we have no choice than engage them in dialogue to expose what they say as red herrings, otherwise we will be perceived as having nothing to retort and the aforementioned readers (our target market, so to speak) will be left with anti-Israel slanderous info in their brains.
        Sadly, the endless discussions (usually with very rude interlocutors) are a big part of the game of educating the still-non-committal or anti-Israel-but-open-minded public. You can’t change them if you don’t talk to them.

    • E.G.

      Was your answer a reluctant “maybe” or a polite “no” to my suggestion? I couldn’t discern!!!

      I am afraid the MSM will not report properly on Israel unless they are constantly under the threat of losing face due to their lack of credibility. And the way to make this threat a reality is by our engaging their readers (and i can think of no other place to engage them than the comments section of the medium in question).

      I have noticed that both Politico and Mondoweiss are extremely afraid of outsiders commenting on their posts (Politico deleted 40 comments of mine and let just 3 of them stand, and Mondoweiss deleted the most damaging 50 comments of mine, although it let some 100+ intact, mainly the ones that didn’t really hurt their propaganda). If i am allowed to extrapolate, i say that this is the general attitude of all the so-called liberal media.

      They are lying, E.G., and we have truth on our side, but we must speak up, or no one will listen.

      • E.G. says:

        Dionissis Mitropoulos,

        Yes, they’re lying.

        I’m far from sure that this is the appropriate forum to exchange on (how to) “speak up”, avoid censorship, etc.

        And there are (not enough) media watchdogs (such as http://www.camera.org/ )who accomplish quite a lot. The Israeli one just published an interview with a former Haaretz chief editor analysing the main reasons that have sunken that newspaper in recent years (its Israeli readership is bottom low, that is).
        I think commenting (as a private person) and prompting corrections (as a watchdog) are going to evolve into actually publishing articles, in a more “preemptive” perspective: sometimes the best defence is an attack ;-).

        • E.G. says:

          P.S.
          A tip or two about commenting.
          Usually, the anti-Israel gangs frame their discourse in Human Rights terminology. Challenging the very terms (for ex. racist – are Israelis/Jews/Palestinians a race? ) is usually effective. Don’t forget moral and rational considerations: these notions are oft used in a very twisted, highly questionable meaning.
          Just don’t bother them with facts, they’re virtuously above such trivialities.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Google ‘language bias detection engine’ for written MSNM reporting on the Middle East

      One could ask the Google language division whether technology would not already permit to build a ‘bias detection engine’ that would flag and highlight text according to the following colour scheme:

      (P0) in fluorescent RED for the missing origin of the conflict (the rejection of the Jewish State of Israel by Arabs and Palestinians);
      (P1) in fluorescent GREEN for the missing presumption of accountability for the Palestinians (A2);
      (P2) in fluorescent BLUE for the missing presumption of sympathy for the Jews of Israel (A3).

      That would certainly alleviate the task of the ‘Talkback/Comment Israeli Defense Forces’ and save them time for more rewarding pursuits.

      • Martin,Google is not going to do anything of the sort. That’s the whole point in engaging the public directly through comment sections, i.e. that lots of issues that reflect favorably on Israel (including the important ones you have mentioned) are not known to people due to the Media’s suppression.

        And i disagree with you that it is not beneficial (rewarding) for Israel to inform the public through the comment sections of the Media: someone who reads, say, the Guardian has probably never heard of CiF Watch, so the bias that characterizes this newspaper is not known to her. The comment/talkback volunteers can bring this info right into her lap and hopefully let her see the truth on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

        The big problem now, as i see it, is how to circulate (and make understood) the pertinent information to those that are not already pro-Israel. Those on our side have enough sources of info and perspective, it is the other side (neutrals or open-minded anti-Israel folks) that need to come in touch with the relevant facts on Israel.

        The staff of CAMERA, Honest reporting, EoZ etc. are doing great work, they set the proper strategy for the cognitive war for the truth on Israel, they are the Generals in the intellectual battlefield. But this truth must reach the general public, and i can see no other way than the comment section rapprochement.

        My feeling is that we have enough good Generals, but are awfully short on volunteering soldiers.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          Dionissis: The Google ‘bias detection engine’ was just a ‘wild’ thought of me I found amusing to contemplate. I do not want to argue with you (I said ‘more’ rewarding pursuits, not that talkback was worthless), and I admit that I’m not volunteering as a soldier. Unless it is for a decisive battle with the EU governments themselves, accusing them of aiding and abetting a crime to which they are accessories (be it before, during, or after the fact) since 1947-48, then I would be volunteering.

          You’re still young, I suppose. Don’t forget to study over your talkback operations (e.g. Plato’s Dialogues). So that in 10 years time you can be way far ahead of the others who forgot to study.

          • Martin
            Yes, i agree with keeping up with studying. It’s good not just for arguing about Israel, but for our personal improvement (i finally started reading Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”, i have been too busy recently collecting and categorizing talking points that i had neglected reading some philosophical works that i wanted to).

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Glad to hear you talk like that. I’ve never read Nozick. Frank Van Dun talks about him in his “Fundamental Principal of Law” (1983), which unfortunately is only available in Dutch as “Het Fundamenteel Rechtsbeginsel”. The principle is simple: “every human person is a sovereign subject of law”. And then there are 600 pages of proof for that, very much in the style of classical philosophy grounded in logic. He isn’t all that convinced by Nozick, but it isn’t easy to explain why in just a few sentences. So I won’t try.

            Another hidden political scientist is Anthony de Jasay. His book “The State” (1985) is a gold mine, including the footnotes. And it is available online.

            A few quotes to give you an idea:

            “Planning, industrial policy and distributive justice are promising yet imperfect substitutes for state ownership; the essential, almost irreplaceable attribute of the latter is not the power it lends to the state, but the power it takes out of civil society, like the stuffing you take out of a rag doll.”

            “The whole “entitlements” theory of justice is going about it the wrong way round. The point to prove is not that each individual is entitled to the fruits of his efforts (or to what he has exchanged them for), but that somebody else is entitled to take such fruits away from him. This and the implicit presumption of good title unless it is proved to be vitiated, is the proper logical order for conducting a trial of the market.”

            “If the state finds society “ungovernable,” there is at least a presumption that it is its own government that has made it so.”

            “Politics is just vector geometry. To quote Rawls: “We may think of the political process as a machine which makes social decisions when the views of representatives and their constituents are fed into it”. We may indeed, but it would be better not to.”

            http://www.econlib.org/library/LFBooks/Jasay/jsyStt.html

    • E.G., here is how the MSM respond to complaints about their coverage on the conflict:

      http://honestreporting.com/israel-daily-news-stream-01092013/

      Haaretz takes a look at Australian media bias, talking to local activists and revisiting past controversies surrounding Michael Leunig, Paul McGeough, Ruth Pollard, and The Promise.
      “Delegations of Jewish leaders make intermittent visits to Fairfax’s editorial offices in an attempt to thaw the frosty relations. But the rapprochement never seems to last long. As one senior Jewish official conceded to Haaretz: “For all the engagement, the overwhelming slant is negative – and unfairly so.””

      That’s why i am pessimistic as to whether they will publish more fair articles on Israel, unless threatened with loss of their credibility.

      • E.G. says:

        Of course. Though loss of credibility (and of subscribers) is a necessary but not sufficient condition: Haaretz suffers both (in Israel), but goes further astray in its self-assigned mission of reforming (not informing) the public. At least, it often weighs in determining the subjects discussed in the MSM. It does have several “right-wing” authors as a fig leaf (pretending to be liberal), but that’s all.

        Don’t ask me what the sufficient condition(s) might be – I don’t know.

      • E.G. says:

        Dionissis

        There’s another example, specifically concerning children, at CiF watch.

        They too conclude that the articles are not journalism but arranging facts and fiction to advance a perception (i.e., IDF deliberately kills “Palestinian” children).

  8. sshender says:

    Ever since mika showed up here the comments section has turned into a cesspool of conspiratorial drivel. If banning him is not an option because he did not actually violate any of the blog’s terms, please at least fight the urge to feed the troll…

    Signed: The head priest of the Jesuits/Vatican/CIA/NWO/Illuminati order.

  9. mika says:

    Richard, I’m extremely disheartened by your censorship. There’s a thread to history. You refuse to see and understand that the same people that corralled Jews into ghettos and extermination are the same people that corralled Jews into the Israel and are setting the Jews there for extermination. I don’t know why it is taboo to talk about this. If you don’t believe what I say, I’ll be more than happy to supply material to back up everything I say. To dismiss what I say without any consideration, in my judgement, is suicide. We are seeing the 1930′s repeat, and the same people behind the Nazis of the 1930s are playing the same script again. WAKE UP!!

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      But Mika, are you also a diasporist, like Moishe Pipik in Philip Roth’s book on Opertion Shylock?

      About Israel as a concentration camp: I noted the following (when reading issue 34 of Reason Papers on the Sari Nusseibeh Symposium):

      The essential goal of the Zionists project always was to achieve Jewish sovereignty on a part of Palestinian territory, with the main purpose of controlling Jewish IMMIGRATION to that territory (or homeland). The Jewish State of Israel was always meant to be a Jewish concentration camp, albeit with two features that radically distinguish it from the ghettos and concentration camps Jewish people have known for so long in their history (and that had a tendency to be transformed into extermination camps): (1) it would be governed by the Jews themselves and not by their enemies; (2) admission to it would not be forced upon them by their enemies but free to all the Jews who needed to flee from somewhere else. And that goal can never be achieved with a one-state-solution, only an “ethnically” Jewish state (i.e. a state in which only the Jews decide on who gets citizenship) in a two-state-solution offers that guaranty. It may not be up to universalist standards, but then the persecution of Jews in other states wasn’t either.

      That’s not altogether wrong, is it?

      Symposium: Sari Nusseibeh’s What Is a Palestinian State Worth? – edited by Ifran Khawaja

      http://www.reasonpapers.com/pdf/342/rp_342_1r.pdf

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        It’s from reading Irfan Khawaja that I came to Richard Landes. I find Khawaja quite an interesting philosopher. He still has trouble with Israel, though, but that’s a very common ‘phenomenon’ with outsiders to the conflict: the assumption that in creating a Jewish state in Israel ‘were it didn’t exist before’ (as Ahmadinejad would say) the Jews took the land from somebody else, and by implication, from the Arabs.

        It’s when reading the material on Richard Landes’s blog that I really started to put two and two together, and to reach the conclusion that you cannot reason on the question in ‘positives’ (e.g. the Jewish ‘right’ to Israel or the Arab ‘right’ to the whole of Palestine), but only in ‘negatives’. References to UN resolutions, the international community, the UN partition plan are also somehow beside the point, and not the true foundation for a justification of the State of Israel.

        The ‘negatives’ on the other hand are very clear when you start thinking about them: when the Jews have no right proven beyond any doubt to Israel, the Arabs have no right proven beyond any doubt to the whole of Palestine either, and by implication, no right proven beyond any doubt to reject the State of Israel. It follows that only by negotiated agreement could the question of the conflicting views of ‘rights’ be solved.

        And here the real (as opposed to theoretical) conflict originated: the Jews were willing to negotiate, the Arabs refused to negotiate. And more importantly still, the Arabs started a war in defense of their unproven right to refuse negotations. That’s the choice between ‘life’ and ‘death’ to which Richard Landes sometimes refers. And that choice between ‘life’ and ‘death’ is a self-evident choice. The self-evidence of that choice cannot be reasonably denied. It can only be denied by godforsaken madmen such as Ahmadinejad.

      • mika says:

        “The essential goal of the Zionists project..”
        ==

        Labor Zionism was a counter-revolution to true Hebrew nationalism. Just as the foreign financed Bolshevik revolution was counter-revolution to the true Russian revolution. Both of these counter-revolutions were financed and sponsored by those whose headquarters is in Rome, but I’m not allowed to mention who they are by name on this blog. Btw, this same organization was also responsible for the American Civil War, which again was a counter-revolution to the Protestant American revolution.

        So when you say goal of the Labor Zionists project is to settle Jews in Israel, that is incorrect. The goal of the Zionists project is to destroy Judaism and Jews as a Jewish people. The goal of the Labor Zionists is to turn Jews in Israel into Americans and turn Israel into yet another Roman slave plantation modeled on the US.

    • Richard Landes says:

      look, mika, if you have something to say (and i agree with at least the possibility of the analogy you’re making to the 1930s), say it without mentioning the vatican (name names) and the sabbateans. speak to the uninitiated in language they can understand, and not language that makes all our eyes roll in our heads.

  10. E.G. says:

    Re: the role of age in the CogWar.

    I think the double standards were most visible in the Itamar assassinations. Too many “moral souls” asked what the Fogels had been doing there anyway. As if their “punishment” (being savagely murdered) was due to their “moral fault” (colonial choice). It’s obvious that dead or injured “settler kids” (and women, incl. pregnant) are not innocent in media eyes (the J’lem AFP coined the term “settler-baby”), whereas the Al-Durah case strikes because the axiom (also guiding the laws of war) is that a child is inherently innocent.

    So the CogWar formatted hearts and minds into the Orwellian notion that all children are innocent, but some are more innocent than others.

    Furthermore, it’s okay and normal for those more innocent “youths” to provoke and play war games with IDF soldiers (even in the absence of the latter – Pallywood) both on account of their “Other” culture, and their “oppressed”/”resisting” tagged identity. (Just like it’s okay for other Arab “youths” to rape Western female journalists).

    Age, like gender, is identity-politics used to infecting descriptions and judgement of events.
    And it’s very successful – we’ve seen it in the staged Cana (Lebanon) and Gaza fauxtos. Even more in the recent Syrian-turned-Gazan ones.

    • Richard Landes says:

      and it leads to this amazing ghoulish spectacle of Qundil and Haniyah kissing a dead baby that Hamas killed in front of the camera to provoke sympathy for them, the bereaved leaders, and anger against the israelis, the targets of the lethal narrative whose props must be found at all costs. and the west feels duty-bound to have their empathy so maliciously manipulated. how morally insecure must people be to allow this kind of manipulation of their humane feelings just so they can feel morally superior to israel? shades of Baudrillard and 9-11.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        And Mika is right in calling them ‘inverted holograms’: they’re like the ‘Satanic Verses’ of the MSNM. Blinding us completely to what Voegelin called the “experience of divine presence in the order of man’s existence in society and history”. The key to understand Voegelin is to take him litterally: there’s nothing supernatural about the experience. Our human soul is something we have right under our nose. Try making love to your woman while watching the news. You’ll see how it helps to give you a perspective on things that does NOT exclude a “tension toward the divine ground of being” (another of Voegelin’s standard formulas for what he thinks is completely lost in the humanities due to the “positivist destruction of science”).

  11. E.G. says:

    Both Soviet and Nazi propagandists used children as figurants in their staged newsreels. At the time it was live children.
    Now, it’s rather dead/dying “Palestinian” children that are used, more as props, to convey the message.

  12. E.G. says:

    More on children, from PMW:
    PA mayor: Israeli army shapes explosives like toys to target Palestinian children

    The irony is that since 1968 Israeli children (and adults) are constantly reminded not to touch any suspicious object for it might explode — given the campaign launched by the different “liberation of Palestine” movements, including posted parcels and envelopes. Here’s one of the clips used a bit later on to warn and prevent:
    http://flix.tapuz.co.il/v/watch-923697-.html

    • E.G., there is one more angle to the PMW link you posted: the PA Mayor did not make his statement in order to inform the Palestinian public of the (nonexistent) danger of Israeli explosives left on purpose, but in order to vilify the Israelis. He spoke about it during an interview, not in an official address to the Palestinian people. This means that his intention was to defame the Israelis, not to inform the Palestinians public on possible dangers (otherwise there would have been detailed mentions as to how the children should react upon finding the purportedly laden with explosives stray pens, toys etc.).

      It is all part of the incitement that is perpetrated every day by the PA, an incitement that perpetuates hatred against Israelis and, therefore, guarantees that the two-state solution will not be implemented (at least as long as the already brainwashed Palestinian children grow too old to carry a rocket), because there can never be peace between two parties when one party is being brought up and nurtured so as to hate the other party. Instead of opting for a compromise, hate-indoctrinated Palestinians will pursue war, no matter the cost to them and their families.

      Unless the international community places incitement at the top of its list of hindrances to peace, and forces the Palestinians to end it, there will be no progress in the peace process, nor any chance of the two people coexisting.

      Of course, the MSM never refer to this root cause of the persistence of the conflict – it’s too inconvenient to assign blame to the underdog, let alone that messing up with what Palestinians teach their kids might reveal the religious element of the conflict, and we wouldn’t want to be considered Islamophobes, do we?

      • E.G. says:

        The incitement and denigration is all the more conspicuous given the backgrounder I provided.
        The additional facet is the reversal of acts and responsibilities.

  13. E.G. says:

    The “new historians” are dedicated to a “higher truth,” even if it isn’t supported by the historical record, in which Israel is always the villain, mainly because the alternative is to admit that the real problem all along has been the Arab refusal to make peace, something they can’t blame on their political enemies in Israel.

    Source (this otherwise illuminating piece): http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/01/07/the-real-wmd-the-walt-mearsheimer-documents-a-retrospective-seven-years-later/

    Applies to the “new journalists” as well.
    PoMo mindset is a major hindrance to even consider the possibility that the Noble Savage may not really be Noble. And if one adds the false belief that it’s the winners of WWII who, driven by guilt, allowed the Jews to have a state, to that cognitive blockage, one concludes that Justice and Fairness require that the same guilt should be felt about the Noble Savages whose rights got forsaken because the enlightened powers were concentrated their attention on the Jewish suffering only, and even more so because the Noble Savages have been suffering for so long. The re-enlightened West should repair the damage it(we) has caused — and that’s the moral way into which people need to be herded leaded towards. Such noble ends justify all means.

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