Thursday, October 21, 2010

In Good Faith and Bad

David Hirsh is one of those folks who makes me despair of getting tenure, for he's always already said what I was planning to write on. His recent article, Accusations of malicious intent in debates about the Palestine-Israel conflict and about antisemitism The Livingstone Formulation, ‘playing the antisemitism card’ and contesting the boundaries of antiracist discourse, 1 Transversal 47 (2010) is just such a paper (though I'm sure I could have come up with a better title). The piece, which discusses deployments of the "Livingstone Formulation" (basically, that claims of anti-Semitism are bad-faith efforts to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel), is extremely well-done and well-put-together, and is a must-read for anyone who cares about accusations of "card-playing" in racist discourse of any stripe.

1 comment:

N. Friedman said...

Mr. Livingstone's employed a form of argument that is normally termed tu quoque - which, I trust you know, is an invalid form of argument. That strikes me as the be all and end all of it, with Mr. Livingstone marking himself no differently than, if history is any guide, the vast, vast majority of Antisemites have always done.

Hirsh does a good job collecting species of the language in question. However, he is, I think, barking up the wrong tree and employing academic gobbledygook to make the trite seem profound.

One might ask: were the Antisemites to polish up their language - as, for example, a great many racists have done in the US - so that it is difficult to pin the word "Antisemite" on the speaker, what then? Would that be sufficient for Hirsh and you?

My view... The Antisemites will still be Antisemitic and will still spread their venom and, as has been the case from the beginning of Antisemitism (apart from the Nazi racial species of Antisemitism), the Antisemite will deny hating Jews, hating only this or that supposedly bad thing that Jews do. And, one does not need a BS article to understand the obvious.