Friday, September 10, 2010

Daoud Kuttab's False Dillema

Daoud Kuttab, along with many other Huffington Post bloggers, recently published an article about the upcoming peace talks. I'm not going to analyze the whole thing (it was about the "inevitability" of a Palestinian state) because I wanted to focus on one clear logical fallacy from the last paragraph:
"Palestinians have good reason to be hopeful about the eventuality of an independent state. If its creation is a result of peace negotiations, good. But if the talks fails because of Israeli obstructionism, Palestinians will have no choice but to declare their state unilaterally and hope the world will recognize it. Those Americans who witness Palestinian conduct in the negotiating room over the coming year will have to decide whether to recognize the state or keep this conflict festering."
 This is what we call a false dilemma. As you can clearly see, Kuttab has set up a fallacy in which the Palestinians always "win" (so to speak) and the Israelis always lose. If the peace talks succeed, everybody is happy. But if the peace talks fail it must be because of "Israeli obstructionism." There is no third alternative: That the peace talks fail because the Palestinians cannot deliver on their promises, for example.

To use another example, it would be like me talking about the possibility of war with Iran and saying: "If there is peace, awesome. But if there is a strike due to Iran's aggressive posture, bummer." I don't think that kind of logic would get very far.

And the worst part is that by HP standards, Kuttab is relatively moderate. I guess even he can't accept even the hypothetical possibility that, should peace talks fail, it might not be Israel's fault. Very informative.

1 comment:

  1. The PalArabs' biggest problem is their egocentrism. They cannot or will not see or understand the world from others' perspective.

    That is why I expect the peace talks to fail.


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