Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MJ Rosenberg Strawmans Again

Infamous anti-Israel HuffPo blogger MJ Rosenberg struck again last night, this time with a buzzword-loaded article titled, "Harvard Prof Seems To Urge Genocide of Palestinians." Notice the "seems to." Funnily enough, I thought that words like "genocide" should only be used when it is a sure thing, and that someone "seeming to" advocate for it wasn't sufficient. Just another example of dumbing down the word I suppose.

As I am sure I probably did not need to tell you the professor in the story, named Martin Kramer, did not advocate for any such thing. Dr. Kramer has recently spoke about the problem in the Middle East where the nations had too many young men and not enough to work to occupy them. So when men are young, angry and bored, that is when they turn to extremism (of any kind). His theory is therefore that measures should be taken to try and increase the average age back up to manageable levels. The example that Rosenberg points to is that Kramer advocates that the nations who fund UNRWA should cut off pro-natal care to the Palestinians in Gaza. You can read some more about it on Kramer's blog.

This is definitely a controversial viewpoint, but there is no way that lobbying for population control is anywhere close to "advocating genocide," and someone as well informed as Mr. Rosenberg ought to be able to tell the difference. Nor is Kramer even advocating that the nations of the world "cut off" pro-natal care to the Palestinians, he is just saying that they should stop subsidizing it. Even so, do people who pass out condoms in Africa or lobby for population control for environmental reasons advocating for genocide? Is the Chinese government advocating for genocide when they force their people to only have one baby? It seems like once again Mr. Rosenberg is ignoring what Kramer is saying (a legitimate point or otherwise) in favor of using an emotionally charged buzzword.

Between this and the David Sable video MJ Rosenberg is beginning to build a reputation as a strawmanning journalist. Is this what the anti-Zionist brigade is reduced to?

UPDATE: Rosenberg has taken it to the next level with his latest comment:

Dr. Kramer made it very clear that he wanted to reduce the youth of the Palestinian nation, not it's overall numbers. That was Rosenberg's interpretation. But it is really the "Passover story" comment that I think is interesting. Not so much because it is at all a legitimate comparison: Of course it is not. Why did Mr. Rosenberg decide to compare Mr. Kramer to the "angel of death" in one of the most famous stories of Judaism while we just so happened to be talking about Arab-Israeli issues? I can't help but wonder why he chose that particular point to make. Perhaps he has some sort of grudge against that particular story?

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