Sunday, April 08, 2007

Resisting Falsehood: a reply to "Resisting Apartheid"

Hooray! John Palmer has, as promised, posted Menachem Kellner's Resisting Falsehood and Protecting Integrity, in its entirety, at EclectEcon! It's a rather lengthy post, but well worth the attention. The essay is a response to Omar Barghouti's "Resisting Israeli Apartheid: Why the Academic and Cultural Boycott?", a call for just such a boycott. Kellner responds:
Mr. Barghouti seeks to convince his readers that Israeli Jews are inveterate racists, and that Israel is an apartheid state. In the space allotted to me, I cannot possibly correct all of the deceptive falsehoods he uses — as the Hebrew expression has it, it is easier to throw mud than clean it up. By characterizing more accurately than Mr.
Barghouti the true nature and history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and then addressing his two main charges, racism and apartheid, I will undermine his call for a boycott.

Central, of course, to the cries for boycott, are the arguments that Israel is racist, cruel and inhumane toward the Palestinians... putting up a wall, and all that, so that suicide bombers just can't get in to play. The double standard is blatant and lethal. As Kellner points out
Israel is held to standards of behavior to which no other country in the world is held, and when it fails to live up to those standards, it is condemned in absolutist, Manichean terms as thoroughly depraved and corrupted. In the eyes of its enemies,[xi] the Israeli cup must be brimming over with goodness; otherwise it is empty of all redeeming value. Palestinians, on the other hand, are consistently forgiven their excesses. Often this forgiveness is on the grounds that the Palestinians, being militarily inferior, have no choice but to use means which, if used by any other group in the world, would be condemned (and rightly so) as uncivilized war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Kellner's essay continues to quite effectively shoot down the primary "logic" behind the current propositions for boycott. (I had a sneak peek at Kellner's piece, when John e-mailed it to me several days ago, & I'd been waiting for him to post it so we could share it around). Please, go read the whole thing. Share it with friends. It's worth it.

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