Friday, October 19, 2012

Reuven Has Some Words

Mike L.

I very much want to thank Reuven for dropping by because I know how difficult it can be to engage in a place that might seem unfriendly.

In an earlier piece concerning Barack Obama's support for the anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood, Reuven, a "progressive" Jewish supporter of the president, asked the following:
Just curious if you have anything to say about a national co-chair of Arab Americans for Romney having been an attorney for a Hamas-linked group, a fact they were undoubtedly aware of prior to the appointment.
I do, in fact, have a few things to say.

I would say that Reuven's comment represents a deflection of the issue at hand, an attempt at a false moral equivalency, and an attempt at guilt by association four times removed.

Let's take these one by one.


The question that Obama, the Brotherhood, and the American Jewish left raises is just why it is that progressive-left Jewish supporters of Barack Obama would back an American president who is supportive of a genocidally anti-Semitic organization like the Muslim Brotherhood?

Instead of addressing the actual issue, Reuven deflects.

Deflection, btw, is not automatically an unfair tactic if it points to a true double standard. Reuven wants you to believe that I am holding Barack Obama to a double standard. He wants to suggest that if Obama did X then, well, Romney has also done X, gosh darnit! The problem with Reuven's implication of double standard is that he must sneak in a false moral equivalency in order to make it work.

False Moral Equivalency:

The fact of the matter, of course, is that there is not the slightest moral equivalency between promoting the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that now controls Egypt, that has called for the conquest of Jerusalem, and in which high ranking members regularly call for the genocide of the Jews, and the fact that some organization, Arab Americans for Romney, has a co-chair that was a lawyer for the Holy Land Foundation defendants. The degree of guilt of Barack Obama, in this case, is like a ton of bricks compared to Romney's mere whisper of guilt about anything around the issue of political Islam.  Reuven is, thus, trying to sell us on the idea that what might be a small mistake for Romney is the moral equivalent of ushering an organization into power in Egypt, a country with ten times Israel's population, that has called for the genocide of the Jews.

That simply will not wash, because it simply makes no sense.  The one is not even remotely equivalent to the other.  Obama has threatened the well-being of the Jewish people in the Middle East.  Romney has not.

Guilt by Association Four Times Removed:

Reuven is trying to smear Romney with an association to Hamas. The problem is that while Obama does, in fact, have an association with the Brotherhood, Hamas's parent organization, Reuven fails to demonstrate any actual Romney association with the Little Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip.  Reuven is trying to sell us on the idea that because Romney has an association with Arab Americans for Romney (an organization that doesn't even seem to have so much as a website) and this group has an association with this lawyer and this lawyer has an association with the Holy Land Foundation defendants and the Holy Land Foundation defendants have an association with Hamas, that Romney is thus guilty of something.

Just what he is guilty of is entirely unclear, but if he is guilty of something here, it is not just guilt by association, but guilt by association 4 times removed. 1) Romney's association to the organization. 2) the organization's association with the lawyer. 3) the lawyer's association with his clients. And 4) his client's association with Hamas.

False accusations of guilt by association do not come much flimsier, I am afraid.

Finally, everyone has a right to a lawyer in this country and the lawyer cannot be held responsible for the behavior of his clients. To suggest that Romney is guilty of something here is nothing more than a transparent attempt at deflection from the actual issue.

Although I think that Reuven can do much better, his question also shows how much false reasoning can be economically embedded into so few words.

I would also think that someone like Reuven, a practicing Jew who genuinely cares about the well-being of the Jews of the Middle East, might actually do a better job of considering legitimate criticisms of this president when this president's behavior undermines the well-being of his fellow Jews in Israel.

One can hope, anyways.

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