Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Norm-Wan and Tony Judt:

'The force can have strong influence on the weak minded"

Norm of Normblog explains, patiently and gently, why Tony Judt is not a brave dissenter, when he claims that:

"... conscious of the cultural prohibition unique to America, whereby "all Jews are silenced by the requirement to be supportive of Israel, and all non-Jews are silenced by the fear of being thought antisemitic"; the result is that "there is no conversation on the subject".

No, says Norm. No one is silenced in the US for speaking against Israel and her supporters. To be silenced means that one might be "keel-hauled, given a sound thrashing or subjected to some other reasonably severe and unwelcome penalty" for expressing such unfavourable views.

There are many examples of people who do speak out and the only harm coming to them is the vigorous criticism and rebuttals of of their positions: "Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Kushner, Daniel Boyarin, Judith Butler, George Soros, Joel Kovel, Howard Zinn, Lenni Brenner, Michael Walzer, Mitchell Cohen, Leonard Fein ...Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, Alexander Cockburn, Justin Raimondo, Pat Buchanan, Juan Cole, and how many more."

"..All Judt really means is that in the US there is more opinion favourable to Israel than there is in some of the countries of Europe. "

Norm here gives speculative due where due is merited: "if there were a prohibition, those like Tony Judt who defy it would, of course, be very brave individuals."

But there isn't, so they are not.

Norm's surgical knife is nothing if not razor sharp when he attempts to remove the malignant tissue:

"1/ Judt is a historian who knows something of the history of Europe and what it means for a set of views really to be prohibited.

2/ Just think how much better a place the US would be if it resembled the comments threads at Comment is Free."

"Comment is free", for those unfamiliar with it, is the Guardian's blog, which brings to mind the pirate city of Mos Eisley, described by Obi Wan as "a wretched hive of scum and villainy." The comments section is the cantina where we actually get to meet the Mos Eisley crowds: weak minds, fractional knowledge, and a strangely unselfconscious type of intense antisemitic hostility, masquerading as "criticism of Israel".

Examples of what passes for "criticism of israeL" on a recent "Comment is Free" post:


Al-Nakba is an ONGOING catastrophe. And in fact - it is a DOUBLE NAKBA...
Israel is a CRIMINAL STATE - and only its citizens can steer it away from the abyss of total moral corruption.

It's interesting how only the deaths of Israelis are remembered - But the recent deaths of Hundreds of Women and children starving to death earlier this year in the Israeli enforced famine in Gaza is completely ignored or fully 'justified'. I'm sure that its fine for Israel to justify the deaths of hundreds of people in the face of their poor victim dozens.


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