Friday, July 22, 2011

Boaz Yakin's Logical Fallacy

Well the Huffington Post has dug deep and managed to produce yet another anti-Israel blogger, a filmmaker named Boaz Yakin who doesn't have a bio but according to Wikipedia is America and married to an Israeli. So I guess that makes him qualified to talk about the boycott law, as he does on the HuffPo. As for the article itself, I don't mind it so much, it is simply the usual boilerplate anti-boycott stuff. There is one thing I wanted to mention somewhere in the middle of the article though:
"Let's say an influential individual -- a businessman, an artist, a politician -- publicly disagrees with the law because, in fact, ideologically he is favor of some particular boycott or another. Bang! An aggrieved party, in tandem with the government itself, can step forward and claim that by publicly stating his opposition to the law this individual is, in effect, promoting a boycott against the aggrieved party. So let's change this influential individual's motivation for a moment -- let's say he is against the law not because of a support for any particular boycott, but because he believes the law to be undemocratic. Bang! An aggrieved party, in tandem with the government, can still come forward and say -- 'Who cares what his reasons are for opposing the law? He's a prominent figure, and by openly opposing this law he is influencing those who might be outraged by such a law to actually call for a boycott!'"
This is what is known as the slippery slope logical fallacy. Although it is quite common for politicians and other debaters to warn that if (x) passes legislation, then (y) will inevitably follow. But the truth is that there is no evidence that a boycott law in Israel will lead to a police state, any more than there is evidence that the Patriot Act would lead to a police state in America (though their opponents used the same rhetoric).

And this is why the above paragraph is annoying: The boycott law is not a desirable law, as most of us agree. It should be criticized on its own merits. It's not like there is not enough material in the law itself to criticize. But for some reason Mr. Yakin feels like it's reasonable to conclude that the government will use twisted logic to silence everyone who disagrees with the law, just because Mr. Yakin thinks that might happen. Bang! It's stupid. There is no evidence that this will take place, and considering the extreme reaction of Israeli opponents to the law, the likelihood that such a thing will happen decreases by the day. I just find it annoying that critics of Israeli laws like Bradley Burston and Mya Guarnieri can't seem to play any card besides the slippery slope fallacy. You're in the right, most of the time! So start acting like it!

1 comment:

  1. The boycott law merely creates a tort for private individuals to sue if they have been harmed by a boycott. As for the government, anti-Israel groups won't be eligible for public funds. They can still use their own money if they wish. Israel's anti-boycott law won't send any one to jail in Israel now or in the future.


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