Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Talking of specious...

The reasoning on display in this LRB post by Zinaida Miller is ludicrous, not least because one absolutely knows that in almost any other context those that deploy it would hear the nonsense in their heads and self-check before it comes out. 

So...Jews who imagine intifada involves destructive barbarism, that Jihad means something more violent than personal growth and that 'from the river to the sea' could actually be a call to remove all the Jews from the one place they enjoy self-determination need to be educated. Really?!

Nobody who has seen the texts and the public addresses of the Hamas leadership is in any way 'hallucinating genocidal speech". And I have also seen material shared by members of the protest movement outside the Middle East and the call to wipe Israel off the map is often explicit.

Yet this 'conversation' about genocide is one Miller fails to flag up in her opening paragraph, instead suggesting that use of this term in any way other than in relation to Israeli treatment of Gazans would be somehow improper.

"From the river to the sea" might signify my future travel plans, for me, but most serious academics in the humanities surely understand that meanings are not constructed and transmitted on an individual basis.

I knew someone here in Guatemala who greeted every German he came across with a friendly Nazi salute. Here was someone who was very much saying something other than what he imagined he was and needed to be brought up to speed. 

It thus involves completely back to front logic when one suggests that the people who intuit the unpleasant collective meanings need to be re-trained rather than the innocent fools. 

And it is disingenuous to the point of dishonesty (and frankly disgraceful) to claim that the aims of Hamas can be said to represent, in any way, an "aspirational call to freedom". 

As to that infamous interrogation in the US Congress, I watched it on the day and there seemed to be no suggestion that in the end Stefanik was contextualising her enquiry. On the contrary.

And if she had, the three women on the spot could have contextualised back, given that "it depends" was their collective answer. But in the key moment the question was absolutely simple and stark. "Is calling for the genocide of Jews contrary to your internal rules for student conduct?" 

“When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.” > David Hume

“Does a man of sense run after every silly tale of hobgoblins or fairies, and canvass particularly the evidence? I never knew anyone, that examined and deliberated about nonsense who did not believe it before the end of his enquiries.” > David Hume




norm said...

intifada is a form of tribalism as old as the we are human, mabe even older if you have seen any of Goodall's film of the chimps she documented. A very primitive way of thinking that has to be set aside or we'll never have peace. The response of the jews to the attack by their neighbors was predictable, poking a bigger person in the eye would provoke a similar response and would be expected.
What we have here is two ultraconservative polites banging heads, Iran's mullahs and Israel's current government-bone heads both, mired in outdated tribalist thinking. The interesting thing is how the two parties have co-opted many who would call themselves liberal. They are playing us like a drum, Mr. Howard.

Inner Diablog said...

Exactly, the 'liberals' or in UK terms metropolitan elites don't want to see the pre-modern elements. So intifada becomes 'uprising', which can be mapped onto "peaceful, if somewhat right-on, demonstration". And then when you point out the disingenuity/dishonesty this interpretation implies, they answer with this bunkum: "you cannot tell me what I believe" which they think is fool-proof. It's the Megan Markle-style 'my truth". If I believe it to be true, it must be!