Thursday, March 12, 2009


In comments over at WWPD, PG writes:
I don't feel confident in saying that what happened to Freeman was unfair (though obviously it was unpleasant for him, but "unpleasant" is hardly a moral indictment unless you're Leon Kass). But I feel pretty confident in saying that his nomination was derailed in large part due to his views on Israel. To the extent that those views were characterized accurately, and that those views are not appropriate for the role he sought, there's nothing unfair nor unjust here, even if there were a massive teleconference for all American Jews to talk about how they would spread the message against him.

An Israel Lobby or a Jewish Lobby can be inherently unfair only if one believes that all positions or ethnicities in a democracy ought to have equal political weight regardless of either their popularity among citizens or their intrinsic worth, however that is measured. I don't consider it at all unfair that the pro-secularism lobby is larger than the pro-sharia lobby.
Of course, people might disagree on how to characterize his views and whether they are appropriate for the role he sought. It's really amazing how much people disagree on all sorts of things, and this case is no different - except that here Jews are accused of being unfair for disagreeing. See also, where I wrote:
Most anti-racists, I think would be thrilled if the complaints of minorities could affect advertising so effectively. Isn't that a major point of talking about racism in advertising?

Yet when Jews complain about something, this isn't the attitude. Jews "silence debate." For us to complain effectively is somehow unfair.
Yet what is criticized is rarely the reasoning of specific complainants, or even specific complainants (Morton Klein?), but more generally the process of Jews complaining about antisemitism. (And in doing so, Jews are typically described as scheming and disingenuous, either explicitly or implicitly in the assertion that they knowingly aim to stifle debate over Israel with an irrelevant claim.) This will not do.
With Freeman here again, there was a pointed failure to engage with what his critics said.

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