Thursday, August 31, 2006

Landes on Gaarder

My sister posted a couple of times on Jostein Gaarder's unfortunate and quite shocking self-expression during the Israel-Hizbollah war - one post is here and another on his qualified apology here.
The estimable medievalist, and scholarly expert on fakery, Richard Landes, has seen fit to respond with a close reading of what Gaarder chose to say and the results are not pretty in terms of the possible interpretations.
The first two parts (he has more to come!) are thorough and fascinating. You can start here and then go here.
It is a lot of work but well worth it in terms of the historical breadth and knowledge of the ways of thinking behind many arguments.
I look forward to the work of reading future parts.
This effort certainly explains the title of Landes' blog.
The other good thing is I will never feel bad at not investing time in Gaarder's novels. (I will stick to Stephanie Plum.)


At 1:07 PM, Blogger Martin said...

This whole thing smells of European antisemitism.

The US urges Israel to bomb Lebanon and supplies them with limitless arms. Put Israel in the bad spot. And of course Israel begins to push. They kidnap a few civilians, blow up a family on the beach and then when Hamas captures on of their soldier, they proceed to destroy the infrastructure of Gaza.

When an Israeli raid is caught by Hizbollah in Lebanon they capture a couple of soldiers. Now Israel responds by bombing civilian targets in Lebanon. Israel was like a drunken sailor bashing people in a bar. But it can only go as far as the US lets it go. Not even that far thankfully--international pressure stopped them...but they will do it again.

This is all documented by Human Rights watch, AMnesty International, etc.

So what part of war crime does Landes not get? Or are we to keep the discussion only to Landes' dissection of a straw man?

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Alan Adamson said...

You have your narrative. I have friends from Haifa (and Lebanon) and know how off the mark it is. I gave the link to Landes to encourage a debate over there.
Please go try to debate Landes.
He wants to devote his time to this, as you seem to want to. Seems to me that is the right model.
I look foreard to reading it.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Martin said...

We all have friends from these places. It doesnt make either of us experts, Al. ALthough Haifa didnt see the action Beirut did because lets face it Katyusha dont do much damage compared to Israeli missiles. The military losses were actually quite high amongst Israeli casualties whereas civilian losses overwhelm the Lebanese numbers---but your friends in Haifa wouldnt know about that.

All due respect to your Haifa friends, I still rate Amnesty International above those friends in determining what happened. It is the US (and hop-along Canada) that is in the dark on this. The rest of the world knows what the Israelis did.

Are you denying the cluster bombs ? or do you have an interpretation that makes them acceptable? DO you think the logical response to having one's soldiers captured (again, not kidnapped, captured) is to unleash cluster bombs, blow up water treatment plants, bridges, UN obervation posts? Or do you simply deny they happened because your Haifa friends assured you.

You do realise that Arab Israelis in Haifa are not entitled to the support Israeli Jews have been given for their bombed out buildings? Perhaps your Haifa friends could let you in on that one.

I am less interested in chasing the straw man that Landes presents us with. Yes I read his diatribe but it isnt about me or any of the Lebanese people I know. It also isnt about the Lebanon-Israeli conflict. I am no anti semite but I am profoundly anti-Israeli as long as Israel continues its racist activities. To maintain Israel as a Jewish state seems to require an extreme revision of history and a racist policy towards Arabs.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Alan Adamson said...

OK don't engage him.


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