Facts and Opinions and Cognitive Dissonance
The UAE blogger Buj Al Arab, to whom I introduced you here and whose further contributions you can also read here, posted a critique of the website "Palestine Facts" which I linked to during our discussion to explain to him that there was no such defined and separate polity as a Palestinian people before 1964.
He makes a good case about the anonymity of the editorial stuff:
"No one seems to want to claim responsibility for this website, as this paragraph quoted from the FAQ section demonstrates:
"There is no one individual editor. The site has been prepared by a team of writers and editors who are knowledgable of the history, politics, economics and military situation in the Middle East, based on information compiled from the best available sources. They have developed Palestine Facts to provide much-needed factual information to everyone who may be interested in the current situation in Israel, how it evolved to today's status, and what might be reasonable policies for the future."I wonder how many of those "team of writers" are Zionist? or Arab? Would you trust the opinion of someone without a name?
However, I have a quibble with his objection. The source "Palestine Facts" provides facts and interpretation (Or, what Buj calls "propaganda"). "Opinion" belongs in the latter category.
Opinion need not be trusted. That is why it is called an opinion. An opinion can make sense if it relies on good arguments and verifiable facts. For example, when Ahmadinejad states that the Holocaust never took place, then he is obviously offering his opinion on the matter. Since his opinion is neither based on facts or knowledge or rationality, then of course all intelligent people reject it out of hand.
Facts are a different species. According to John Adams, the second president of the United States) “Facts are stubborn things,” and, as Simon Schama, in a very recent article, further elaborates here "democracy stands or falls with the courage of its history... .History beckoned ... to be brave, eloquent and indignant on behalf of the imperishable truth."
Facts can be checked, scrutinized, rebutted or verified. So, when the website under discussion refers to the area known as the West Bank as Judea and Samaria, it is basing its reference on historically verifiable facts and records. The region was politically renamed by the Jordanians "West Bank" after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, when the territory was unilaterally incorporated as Jordanian-controlled territory . The areas of Samaria and Judea conquered by Jordan were renamed the West Bank (of the Jordan river). (wiki)
In other words, whether the authors of this website are anonymous or not does not affect the status of the facts the provide. Those facts will not be any differentwhether the editors choose to name themselves or not. Why they prefer it this way, I have no idea. However, I know I prefer to preserve my anonymity and I suspect that Buj Al Arab is not the blogger's name, hence, he too prefers anonymity.
As you can infer from his bad-tempered comments, Buj Al Arab seems to have a problem separating fact from fiction, and continues to substitute inclination for opinion, and invective for argument.
You can check out Buj Al Arab's blog here. His latest post, comparing Israel and Iran is a case in point.
I could make these points on Buj al Arab's blog but as you can see from the overflow of sarcastic venom in which he and his guests couch their opinions when it comes to Israel, it seems like an exercise in futility. Somehow he doesn't seem to follow his own demand for civilized discourse when it comes to the Jewish ("Zionist") members of the universe. And considering how and what Arabs are taught to think of Jews, I am hardly surprised. To paraphrase one commenter here: Most Arabs view the existence of an independent Jewish State as a "cosmic insult".
Update: A link, automatically generated to the post under discussion, which was there last night, disappeared this morning. A blogger can delete any unwanted links and the link to this post of mine was deleted, probably by Buj al Arab. Apparently, he cannot bear his arguments and facts to be challenged. It is a strange type of cognitive dissonance, after the promise of fairness and responsibility he makes:
"...we're not perfect.. but we have a responsibility to be fair towards ourselves and those we disagree with."
Update2: The link has been restored.