Sunday, June 6, 2010

RE: New comment on Helen Thomas' comments and apology.

Undercurrent posted the following comment in regard to my post "Helen Thomas' comments and apology":

First let me admit to not having read all of Lawrence's bravura trouncing of Helen Thomas. In truth I'm not actually sure who she is, though I have this vision of an octagenarian spinster sitting on the front row being laughed at by the 'press corp'.

I'm happy to admit that because my purpose isn't so much to defend Ms Thomas, but to have a good punt at Lawrence's established position on Israel and her many enemies.

Here's Lawrence's usual technique - create a strawman, burn him down. For instance, Lawrence will usually examine Qutb and use his views to establish a definition of Islamist viewpoint. He'll also use Qutb to define the left's stance on such matters, thereby linking the two together - Islamists and Leftists. Then, by pinning Qutb to the ground, he will also claim victory over those associated with him.

He uses a similar technique in a recent post when he refers, perhaps ironically, to 'peace-loving arabs' (in the guise of a leftist's view of the Israeli opposition). Naturally enough, such a description is quickly put to the sword.

What we don't see Lawrence do engage with the facts that aren't espoused by the Israeli-supporting establishment press. He won't, for example admit that there were such a thing as Jewish terrorists enagaged against the British after WWII. Likewise, he won't entertain the notion that the Israeli Navy fired upon the flotilla before they boarded it (in International Waters). Such facts are very uncomfortable for a person who likes to position himself against terrorism while forgetting that it has been a method used by poeple of very different political persuasions.

I'd like to add that I think Lawrence is actually a very interesting person and I like to read about his dog-walking escapades.

LAWRENCE'S RESPONSE:

I'm glad you enjoy my dog-walking stories.  And I'm sorry you don't appreciate my Islamist stories as well.  But, yes, I do defend Israel as I do any nation attacked by Islamism.  Israel is a Western Nation filled with mostly-European refuges -- refuges who were mistreated in their European homelands probably more than anyone else in modern times.  (It is Ironic as one of the Israeli sites pointed out that Helen Thomas wants them to return to the lands where so many of them were killed.) They are now in the midst of a people who share much with the German Fascists who exercised considerable effort in trying to burn as many of them as possible in ovens.  It isn't a "strawman" to describe Islamists as they are.  What the Left likes to do is to describe Islamists as the vanguard of a burgeoning Worker's Revolution -- not a strawman, but not true either.  Leftists who mourn the demise of Communism are especially inclined to do that.  One of the great champions of the Palestinians, Edward Said, couldn't set aside his Marxist prejudices.  He utterly misread the people he tried to defend.  They could care less about his Marxism or Class Revolutions. 
            I mention Qutb as often as I do because I am typically debating a Leftist who doesn't credit Religion as a motive, and who can't abandon his prejudice that Marxism-Leninism can somehow explain the Middle East and all its problems. When I began studying Islam, Islamism, and the history of the various Middle-Eastern nations, I was open to a lot of possibilities, but Marxism wasn't one of them.   I listened to and read the actual Islamists.  I listened to what they believed rather than in what the Marxists said they believed.  And they intend just what I describe in the note you are taking your punt at. 
            Terrorism is a tool that has been used by many different people's and forces.  The fact that some Jewish groups used terrorism against the British doesn't seem pertinent to me.  The other groups rejected that approach and the other groups won out.    We can't say that about the Islamists.  It is a mainstay of their Jihad.  But I'd like to hear you develop an argument that is contrary to what I've written.  Show me that the actions of the Jewish Terrorist group you describe was the unforgivable sin that condemns all Israel to all the abuse the Arabs (not the British) have subsequently heaped upon them.

1 comment:

Undercurrent said...

The big error in Lawrence's analysis, as it always has been, is to assume that there is an alliance between the Left and the Islamists. That somehow the 'friends of my enemy' approach is far reaching enough to use as rigid argument with which to denounce the left. That Islamicists require denouncing is not at issue, that it is safe to denounce Leftists because of an assumed alliance between the two is not at all safe.

Israel must be a headache for those on the right who think in terms of the 'enemy of my friend' approach because it means going along with the notion that Israel is somehow anyone's friend. It isn't. It's only concern is self-perpetuation and that means lying when it's necessary. Fortunately for them, the Western media is happy to take Israeli propaganda at face value -

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/04/israel/index.html

And yet all too often, Israeli lies are exposed and that must be a real problem for those Western governments that offer up their support. It means, for example, maintaining a hypocratical stance against the UN - supporting UN decisions when it suits, ignoring them when it doesn't.

Conversely, the counter arguments used by apologists are easy. Anti-semtimism in all and any form is the primary weapon. Equating critical views to Ismalicist apologies is another. Likewise, the justification that somehow the holocaust excuses Israeli actions is also false.

From a logical standpoint none of this will wash and I'd think that must be a real problem for Lawrence.