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The Danger of Jeremy Ben Ami and J Street

September 1, 2013

Watch the video of this debate between Daniel Gordis and Jeremy Ben Ami, and note how Ben Ami tries to get Gordis to concede that he would never advocate population transfers. The fallacies are three:

Ben Ami does not distinguish between a  provoked and justified response, and an act of aggression; reductio ad hitlerum; and “the we must do something” fallacy.

1. First, why is it a wanton murderer is thrown in jail, whereas his executioner or soldiers who kill many of the enemy in battle are absolved? Because the latter are responding by preventing the bad guys from doing more harm. It is the same principle behind the justification of self defense. He intended to hit me, but I instead hit him. Am I not just as guilty? The answer is that he was an aggressor, and I was merely reacting justifiably. Thus, what Israel does to its enemies would typically be justified, even if it entails killing them in battle. If Israel then goes and takes the unnecessarily humane and likely foolish step of driving way its enemies instead of killing them, why is that not justified? (See here for one historical example where by the victors, after turning the tables on their oppressors, annexed the oppressors’ territory and expelled them. And no one demands that the Poles return the territory to Germany, by the way.)

2. He answers with his second fallacy: because that is what the Nazis would do. Now lets get this straight. That which Hitler and the Germans would do to their enemies, namely deporting and killing them, was not in and of itself wrong. What was wrong is that they did it to an imagined enemy, millions of innocents who posed no threat to them. Had the Germans done what they did to those who were actively working to destroy them, they would have been justified.

3. How will surrendering to the enemy allow us to live in peace with them if they continue to work toward our destruction? Well, he replies, you have to take a chance. “Risks for peace,” and other such nonsense. Jeremy, why has no one suggested that you and your friends all chop off your thumbs for the sake of peace? Or if risk taking is the way to go, why not take other risks that having nothing to do with getting the savages to behave like humans? It’s also a sacrifice, no? And once your Arabs, excuse me, Palestinians, see that you are willing to take that step, they will respond positively, right? What is the connection between any concession, be it territorial, personnel, or bodily, that somehow makes the sworn enemy safe?

After I read this book I came to two conclusions. Firstly, that Dawkins had stumbled upon a new meaning for Torath Hayim, the Living Torah,  and secondly, that some bad ideas are the most succesful creatures on this earth. Idolatry and “peace” are the best examples. That is why I like to say that bad ideas have to be killed from the get go, lest they catch on.

A prediction: Ben Ami’s deluded rantings will be mainstream in thirty years, and the fashionable left will be arguing for the end of the State of Israel  and the expulsion of its citizens.

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From → logic

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