Thursday, May 26, 2011

How Omar Baddar Takes Criticism

Along with many other Huffington Post bloggers, Omar Baddar has decided to weigh in on the last round of discussion between the US and Israel about making peace with the Palestinians. This time he is upset. Very upset. At Representative Eric Cantor, who has made what Mr. Baddar calls "disgraceful" and "shameless" criticism of "Arab culture." Before anything else, we should probably take a look at exactly what Cantor said. After telling a story about a Palestinian woman who tried to blow up the Israeli hospital that had been treating her (very informative), here is the quoted section used by Mr. Baddar:
"Sadly it is a culture infused with resentment and hatred. But it is this culture that underlies the Palestinians' and the broader Arab world's refusal to accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. And this, this [repeated for emphasis], is the root of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, it is NOT about the '67 lines."
This doesn't sound like hatred to me, it sounds like very legitimate (though harsh) criticism. It is not Israelis who came up with the phrase "love death more than you love life." And although there are things to criticize about the Arab culture (just like every other culture), this isn't the point of this post. The questions is how Mr. Baddar responded to this pointed and cutting criticism of the Palestinians and their Arab allies.

As you might expect, he used the classic defense known as the red herring. Uh oh, Cantor is criticizing the fact that we won't accept Israel's right to exist? Hey, look at these polls of high schoolers! Or these settlers honoring Goldstein! Quick quick! Don't pay attention to us! Don't criticize us, criticize the Jews! And then he switches to a strawman:
"We can either engage in this distasteful, useless, and purely emotional competition of which side suffers from more hatred..."
Classic Palestinian supporter defense. Hey guys, we don't want to talk about who is suffering more (even though it's totally us, and don't you forget it) so stop criticizing us! Instead, let's talk about why the conflict takes place. Here's a spoiler: It's your fault, not ours. It can never be ours:
"The root cause of the conflict is political injustice. That political injustice has many aspects, but its primary aspect is Israel's illegal and ruthless occupation of the Palestinian territories...."
And et cetera. At this point you practically know what Mr. Baddar is going to say. There can be no peace without justice, Palestinian hatred is a result of being occupied and not because of brainwashing, nothing at all of any consequence happened before 1967. You get the picture. Still, this article is informative because it shows how willing the Palestinian supporters are to hear criticism from the other side: In other words, not at all. And then they wonder why nothing changes on the ground.