Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Well, here's my first entry.Travelling Shoes highlighted a supposed connection between Ted Rall, Noam Chomsky and "former" Klansman David Duke.

Here's his summation:

It's a fun game to play, putting David Dukes' words along side those of Chomsky, Rall and others of that ilk. Not just fun, but instructive. Instructive because it illustrates an old axiom, that once you get far enough out there, the political time-space continuum starts to bend, so that the far, far, far left eventually meets up with the far, far, far right. Usually the two sides find common ground on the issues of state authoritarianism (they're both for it) and Israel (they're both against it). The celestial conjunction of Duke and Rall and Chomsky completes the circle in a predictable way, and in doing so it validates everything we'd always suspected about all three.

Nonsense. It proves only one thing: that these three people dislike Israel. The reasons that they dislike Israel (or, crucially, the Israeli government) can and do vary wildly, and drawing these sorts comparisons based on nothing but conveniently de-contextualized comments is Godwinning of the worst sort. Duke dislikes Israel because he's an anti-Semite, sure, but Rall and Chomsky's own quotes show that their criticism of Israel as a state is due to the actions of Israel as a state. I have little doubt that Chomsky would criticize any other state in the same position. He certainly has in the past, and it takes some significant twisting to actually paint Chomsky as an state authoritarian. Not that that's uncommon nowadays.

Why on earth do conservatives continually argue that to be a critic of the Israeli occupation or the Israeli government is to be anti-Semitic? You don't need to hate the religion or the race in order to argue against the actions of a government you believe is oppressive. Are their arguments so fundamentally weak that they need to resort to this sort of juvenile tactic? Why would it even matter where the argument comes from or who it resembles? An argument lives or dies on its own. The person who says it doesn't matter.

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