13 August 2007

Yet another professor

I write as a Jew and as a synagogue member.

If I had a dollar (no, make it shekel) for every article that starts with these words, I would be able... wait, let me make a quick estimate... to replace our old TV set by a new-fangled LCD flat screen with myriad of new features.

So you can understand my reluctance to post anything about the predictably dreary and rambling article by another connoisseur of high moral ground. But an Hasbara grunt must do what an Hasbara grunt must do...

So, it is Andrew Benjamin now, Professor of Critical Theory in the Centre and at the University of Technology, Sydney. And a philosopher to boot - go argue with a guy like this. Fortunately (or not) the article looks like a cheese that was depleted by mice in a major way. To start with - the famous straw man, as usual built by the author for the author's enjoyment:
However what endures for many as an outrage is Israel hijacking the Holocaust for its political ends: the Holocaust is used to sustain a specific geo-political situation.
In general, this is eerily similar to the logical pirouette so beloved by modern anti-Semites: state of Israel defends its barbaric actions by accusing the critics of antisemitism, ergo we are not anti-Semites when we rightfully criticize Israel. This circular logic is used these days so frequently that the whole business of identifying an anti-Semite has become a new branch of science.

In particular, let us see how our professor illustrated his claim above - it is fantastic for a person with so impressive scientific credentials:
The other night in Sydney at the Great Synagogue a speaker defended the incursion into Lebanon on the grounds that it would prevent a further Holocaust.
You see: the state of Israel hijacks whatever it hijacks, because a speaker in a synagogue happens to be an idiot... sheesh. It truly looks like there are some nincompoops attending the Great Synagogue in Sydney, although it hurts me to say so. But it's not all, look at this:
Until Jews are prepared to argue that the Holocaust and its legacy is not the province of a nation state, let alone a justification for Zionism, our responsibility in relation to the dead will continue to be betrayed.
Who is it exactly that argues thusly, our learned professor does not say. Nor does he know, apparently, that Zionism predates the Holocaust by a few years, but this could be helped by some easy-reading leaflets.

I could explain to Mr Benjamin that the Israeli officials and the whole officialdom, while mentioning Holocaust frequently*, normally do not make it a habit to justify their usual misdeeds by Holocaust. And if he hears one doing so, it is most probably an idiot (see above). I, personally, do not invoke Holocaust more than two or three times a day, and this mostly when trying to jump a queue abroad, because here it does not work for some reason.

But this was only for appetizers, let's continue:
The consequence of this is that a critique of Zionism or a disagreement over the policies of Israel are taken at best as a criticism of Jews and, at worst, as anti-Semitic. The evidence is clear. Attacks on synagogues in Seattle and Parramatta underscore the results of this. These attacks are the result of the politics of a nation state.

Israel, in its present manifestation, sustains anti-Semitism.
You see, how easy it is? Another one of the "I do not support, but I understand" crowd. So, the attacks on the synagogues all over the world are not the deed of some Muslim folks, incensed by anti-Israeli (and frequently anti-Jewish) rhetoric of their leaders, but a sole result of the Israeli existence "in its present manifestation", whatever is the (quite sinister) meaning of this utterance. An elegant attempt of back-assward logic (see "philosopher", will you). But convenient to Israeli-haters and Jew-haters all over the world, just check the links to this article.

I could continue, but Mr Bagel here has already done a good enough mincemeat of the article, so I shall quote his reference to the article's "main" point:
Mr Benjamin quite early in his opinion piece states: "The source of the feeling is simple: Israel claims that it continues to act in my name." I'm sorry to burst your own self inflated bubble Mr Benjamin but I seriously doubt if the State of Israel has even any knowledge of you. Pray tell me where you find the evidence that Israel as a country acts on behalf of all Jews and especially of you?
The last worthy point is that "bulldozing houses" in Gaza. The last houses to be bulldozed were these of the leaving settlers (for some inexplicable reason this point has escaped many a bleeding heart). And we all know what is going on in Gaza and around it. Or do we? Probably the news have not reached yet some esoteric faculties in Sydney...

So, rest assured, dear professor: not in your name.

(*) Due to unhappy circumstances beyond my control, I have become a frequent visitor of a local cemetery lately. My (admittedly anecdotal) observation is that almost every other tombstone bears a text of the following contents: "In memory of ... and ... who perished in the Holocaust". Since this is an internal Israeli affair, hardly meant for Hasbara purposes, I do not think the text is a work of some sinister power. So I suspect that many of these officials do have a justification for mentioning Holocaust, even if the learned professor cringes at it.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.