A world on fire versus whatabouttery on Gaza
When I first read Sunny’s declaration against whatabouttery, I wasn’t convinced. Some of what he says, about the painting of ‘baddies’ and ‘goodies’ by the blogosphere made sense, but crucially it ignores that one side is creating far greater atrocities than the other. There might be an argument against measuring moral responsibility by body count on the basis of historical context, but there too, matters swing against the Israelis. Whether or not one believes Israel has a right to exist, in Gaza they are invaders.
I have been reading Harry’s Place today, which seems to be frequently ‘Recommended’ over at B4L, first for an article praising a leader of Die Linke for speaking out against pro-Palestinian protesters, and second for querying whether or not those of us who are anti-Zionist have the right to criticize the actions of Israel, without equally or more strongly criticizing the words of Al-Qaradawi who has apparently called for a second holocaust against the Jews.
Read the second article again, if you can believe your eyes. Is it possible for the words of one Muslim cleric (however important or irrelevant) to be equally or more reprehensible than the death of several hundred Palestinians, many of whom were not guilty of attacking Israel or supporting Hamas? I know it is traditional for HP to be provocative around the time of any Israeli conflict, but even I had trouble understanding how anyone can seriously pit those two occurrences against each other.
According to Sunny’s declaration, Harry’s Place are guilty of whatabouttery.
However, I have my own point of view on the subject, especially when considering the first linked-to article at Harry’s Place. Klaus Lederer, who, according to the Jerusalem Post, slammed pro-Palestinian protesters for providing an opportunity for anti-semitic sentiment to emerge, is a fool. That’s hardly the fault of the protesters, the vast majority of whom aren’t anti-semitic. They’re just not in favour of the wholesale oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli armed forces.
Pro-IDF sides may argue that oppression isn’t what goes on – and however mistaken I think that point of view, they are entitled to think I in turn am mistaken. They are not entitled to lump me and others like me in with whatever baying minority shout anti-semitic or Islamist slogans.
Isn’t this another descent into whatabouttery however? Our judgment even of secondary issues, such as this chap Lederer, rely upon our fundamental interpretations of the scenes in Gaza, Israel, southern Lebanon etc. This is why I can’t get on board with Sunny’s declaration; we need the space to criticize authors such as those at Harry’s Place not merely for being assholes about the death of several hundred people, but also because their viewpoint is wrong, it is biased and in order to say so, we have to show how.
This still involves whatabouttery, by Sunny’s definition, however less objectionable it may be to what sites such as Harry’s Place have posted.