Sunday, January 25, 2009

Finkelstein's Fallacies

Normal Finkelstein, a controversial 'expert' on the Israeli-Palestine conflicts recently gave a lecture at UBC. I avoided these lectures because I didn't believe such a lecture would be balanced or unbiased, and I'm disappointed that I was correct.

Some quotes highlighted by a generally favourable Ubyssey article were such (my comments are below the quotes):
"How can it be a war when the ratio of death was 100 to 1?" he asked the crowd. Instead, he decided to refer to it as a massacre, bloodbath or a slaughter
Quite frankly, because that's how many wars and battles occur when one side is vastly superior to the other. The first Gulf War for example had a 100 to 1 death ratio. The battle on Okinawa had a 10 to 1 death ratio.
"Israel is a Spartan-like society consumed by blood loss. Killing Arabs is a sure crowd pleaser. Killing Arabs is a way to garner votes."
There's so much wrong with this statement that I can't even start. This is simply an example of Finkelstein's blind and irrational hatred of Israel and underlines the fact that nothing he says can be taken seriously.
"Israel broke the ceasefire by killing Hamas soldiers on the flimsy excuse that they were digging a tunnel."
First of all, the ceasefire was over and Hamas was firing hundreds of rockets and shells into Israel and promised to fire more and expand their attacks deeper into Israeli territory. In response, the Israelis allowed more aid to be sent to Gaza and even delivered a televised 'last minute warning' to warn Hamas to stop their attacks. (Which they didn't)

And as for the 'flimsy' excuse that Hamas was digging a tunnel, first of all Egypt has closed their border with Gaza and Israel's border is guarded by a wall and turrets. If you're digging a tunnel under either border to smuggle goods or people, then one should expect trouble.
"The [Israel Defence Force] has no mercy for children in Gaza nursery schools."
Of course, because the IDF intentionally fired on nursery schools in order to kill schoolchildren. Right? Even he doesn't believe this nonsense.
"No one intended to kill children ..."
Unlike Hamas and other Palestinian groups which actually targets children in their suicide bombings.
He stated that Israeli press "gives prostitutes a bad name, but there is no press more shameful than the Canadian press. I read the editorials in the Globe and Mail and my inards churn."
Okay, so the Globe and Mail writes an editorial you don't like and suddenly every Canadian newspaper are shamefully biased. Wonderful logic, no wonder he was refused tenure.
He also said, "The Nazis were the best thing that happened to Germany. That defeat broke the back of German racism and German Militarianism."
Of course before Finkelstein ends he comes up with a Nazi comparison. Isn't there a rule that the first person to invoke the Nazis loses the argument?
He concluded his main speech by saying , "That's the facts. If we just learn to wield truth and justice, that despite all the money that the other side has, that [we could win]."
Yeah, well.. as I've just outlined, Finkelstein has neither truth nor justice on his side. He has hatred and anger though.

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