Tuesday, June 18, 2013

T.A. Ridout's One-Sided and Pointless Contribution

I expected a lot from Huffington Post blogger T.A. Ridout because he has an impressive background and is not a college student. However, his recent polemic about Israel and the Palestinians says very little ("Israel is wrong") and has very little advice or thoughts to share, besides "the situation is bad." As we will demonstrate, he basically just repeats what everyone else already knows and occasionally tossing in shots and Israel and its supporters (from which the Arabs and their supporters are exempt). He makes his prejudices clear right from the start:
"As long as the United States is complicit in maintaining the unjust status quo, Americans will continue to have enemies across the Middle East and elsewhere..."
Yep, screw holding the people involved accountable for their actions. Everything is America's fault and America's business, unlike everything else happening across the world. I also see that Ridout is holding fast to the now debunked theory of linkage that groups like Al Qaeda exist not because of radical Islam but because Israel and the Palestinians haven't made peace. I say debunked because the Arab Spring alone proved that the Middle East will due what it does regardless of Israel, and the only people I see continuing to hold to that worldview are the Huffington Post readership. And now, apparently, their bloggers do as well.

He then attacks Israel's supporters, while simultaneously "forgetting" to do the same with those who support the Palestinians.
"Unfortunately, there is a tendency for some who are vehemently pro-Israel to brand as anti-Semites anyone who may question the policies of the Israeli state. Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, and President Jimmy Carter are a few notable recent victims of such attacks. Though questioning the strength of their arguments is warranted, no one has presented good evidence that these men are anti-Semitic."
I don't even know why he is getting into this since it doesn't actually have anything to do with the conflict directly. Anyway, although I do agree that the "anti-Semite" card does get used too often, he picked some bad freaking examples this time. Walt and Mearsheimer are critics of Israel's policies but that wasn't why they were accused of anti-Semitism. They were accused of anti-Semitism because they wrote a book that basically said Jewish people control America. Check out Ridout's own link above, because the author actually agrees:
"Why have two such serious students of United States foreign policy written so weak a book and added fuel, inadvertently, to the fires of anti-Semitism?"
As for Carter; for the millionth time he was accused because he attacked Israel and slandered it, not because he merely "questioned the policies." I expected some intellectualism from Ridout but this is nothing more Electronic Intifada dishonesty. So you tell me whether this is "good evidence."

Obviously the Palestinian supporters (with their frequent cries of "racist," "AIPAC shill," and "hasbara") are exempted from Ridout's scathing criticisms, because that isn't what the Huffington Post wants to read. Instead he just continues to make personal attacks on what he calls "such people:"
"Such accusations tend to stifle reasoned debate. By generating broad fear and anger through defamatory attacks on personal character, those who do so shut down civic discourse...Powerful emotions are understandable in this debate, but they are often unhelpful. Anger tends to lead to snap judgments and misperceptions about danger."
I would invite Ridout to watch this video and then tell me that it is the pro-Israel people who have a  problem with "anger." But as we can tell by some of his other articles, he clearly has the worldview that Mulims are always the good guys and everyone else is just being mean to them. So no criticism of any Palestinian or pro-Palestinian person is going to happen in this article, as I think it was fairly obvious right from the beginning.

I think this next paragraph in which he tries to be more "fair" is very telling.
"With these pitfalls in mind, it is important to distinguish between Israel and Jewish people. It is also important to distinguish between the policies of the Israeli state and the existence of the state itself [This would be the part in which another blogger, one who is unbiased, would criticize those who are against the existence of the state itself. Obviously Ridout does not]. Careless talk can elicit the kind of anger and fear that lead to accusations of anti-Semitism. Likewise, those who would accuse others of anti-Semitism must be careful, lest they engage in slander and libel."
You'll notice that he is more interested in whining about accusations of anti-Semitism, while being quick to claim that many are false, and not the anti-Semitism itself. You know, priorities. We can't linger too long about the fact that some anti-Israel people aren't as great as he is.

Skipping ahead a bit, he engages in the classic tactic of blaming Israel for the anti-Semitism inflicted on Jewish people, while simultaneously trying to distance the two. He then handwaves away the murders inflicted on Israelis by Palestinians by engaging in the classic leftist rhetoric that because there is an "enormous power imbalance" the Palestinians are exempt from acting like human beings. As always. But then he gets into some really unbelievable claims (what he calls "key observable facts" but in reality are anything but):
"Today, Palestinians in the West Bank are treated as second-class citizens. Israel curtails their freedom of movement, expression, and action, despite years of peace and cooperation in the West Bank. Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's peaceful statebuilding efforts were stymied by Israel, America, and inept Palestinian leadership."
List time!

1. The Palestinians in the West Bank are not citizens of Israel but citizens of an enemy nation. So if they are being treated like "second-class citizens," that's actually a compliment to Israel.
2. Israel "curtails" what Palestinians do because as mentioned before, they are citizens of an enemy nation who have killed thousands of Israelis. An honest blogger would point that out, but again Ridout does not.
3. "Years of peace and cooperation" is a joke. Every single day the West Bank Palestinians destroy Israeli property and try to kill Israelis. There are violent protests there all the time, and such measures as checkpoints are put in place specifically to keep them from getting out of hand. There are always two sides to every story and Ridout can't be bothered to tell both.
4. I like how he thinks that Fayyad did everything to build a Palestinian state with his own two hands. Hilarious. Of course, Israel and America were right there helping him do it, not that Ridout can give them any credit. That's against leftist indoctrination, don't you know?

But he does make it clear that, as always, nothing that happens to the Palestinians is their fault. That's truly a Huffington Post motto.

Finally he moves to Gaza and here is where the propaganda becomes even more ridiculous:
"Gaza, though no longer occupied by Israel, is essentially a massive outdoor prison. Israel's ongoing blockade of Gaza amounts to collective punishment; it impoverishes Gazans and is an act of war under international law. Some Gazans sporadically fire rockets at Israel, and Israel typically responds with greater force. Hamas foments violence and refuses to recognize the Israeli state."
As always, Israeli violence is "unjust" and "unilateral," while Palestinian violence is "sporadic" and only carried out by "some" people. Hamas doesn't actually participate in any violence (like rocketing a school bus) it only "foments" it. I also like how Ridout says that the blockade of Gaza is an act of war. Yeah, no kidding. The two sides are at war and have been for decades now. Are we supposed to be impressed that you figured that out all on your own? Or was it included with the SJP collection of talking points?

Here is his pretentious (and borderline anti-Semitic) conclusion (emphasis mine):
"Whoever bears more blame for getting us to where we are, whatever the resolution may be, the status quo cannot continue. Unless we can honestly and openly debate American, Israeli, and Palestinian interests from a place of reason, it is hard to see how any of us will know peace."
Gee, and who would Ridout be thinking was preventing an "honest and open debate" in America? I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not the Muslims.

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