In honour of Warren Kinsella’s article (propaganda campaign for the CIC? CJC?)** we thought we should disassemble the dissembling. Leo Strauss coined a new logical fallacy some years ago, well at least a subspecies of a more general logical fallacy: reductio ad absurdum. Strauss, an ardent defender of Israel, coined his fallacy reductio ad Hitlerum. The basic mechanics of this fallacious argument works like this. Hitler built public roads therefore all those who advocate building public roads are evil. Surprise, surprise Warren Kinsella used a version of this fallacious argument today in his Post column.
Now as Warren freely admits he is connected to the CJC via one of its affiliated politburos the CIC. The CJC is the primary lobby group for some of the the Canadian Jewry (sometimes right, sometimes left, and sometimes inconsistent although we think these days more right than left).* Keep in mind that just as the Canadian Tax Payers Association does not speak for all tax payers, the CJC does not speak for all Canadian Jews. Indeed it would be anti-Semitic to argue that it does—why does the CJC claim this then?
Kinsella also freely admits he, among others, runs an image conservation / destruction shop called Daisy Communications. A professional group of people dedicated toward bending reality so it casts a favourable light on one of their clients and negative light on one of their targets. Now we are not going to get all moralistic about this, this is simply the art of deception. Yet as much as we enjoy any good magic show we have to remind ourselves that all the tricks involve a subtle diversion. This is to give Kinsella and Daisy too much credit: if they were magicians they would be out of work. But let us return to Kinsella’s article in the Post.
Kinsella starts out by showing that the NDP is reaching out to the Canadian Jewish community. Although there seems to be rather crass suggestion that Broadbent’s wife did all her work so as to help the NDP’s image among Canadian Jews. Let us leave that to the side for moment. Kinsella claims the NDP is reaching out because Jewish Canadians are relatively estranged from the NDP. No evidence for this claim is given of course so it is remains an un-substatiated claim. All the Jews we know either support the NDP or are much further to the left of the NDP. But hey we are pretty selective about who we run with so we might just have a classic sampling bias here. In any case, it is probably safe to say that most of Warren’s friends (clients?) at the CJC are estranged from the NDP. And “good thing too” some would perhaps say. But then he introduces the name of Lewis. A big symbolic place holder indeed. Perhaps some reader could remind which Lewis never ran for the head of the NDP because he felt the Libs and Cons would use anti-semitic tactics to defeat the NDP? The times sure have changed.
Warren’s second move is to not so subtlety introduce the argument that Canadian Jews are alienated from the NDP because of its anti-Israeli bias. Of course we are never told if this bias amounts to a critical and at times outright condemnation of Israeli behaviour in the occupied territories or is Anti the existence of a nominally Jewish state. No matter, for Warren the object is to get us to think that there is no light between being critical of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and denying the right of Jews to homeland. There is of course some considerable light between these two positions in fact and in the Canadian Jewish community. For convenience sake lets just follow Jason Cherniak’s lead and call all those Canadian Jews that take former but not the latter position Bad Jews. (We swear the South African contingent of the Toronto Jewry had something to do with this nomenclature but then again all the South African Canadian Jews we know are called Bad Jews: To which they always reply “if it were enough for the Nazis why ain’t we good enough for you Cherniak?”). The times sure have changed.
Warren’s third move is to then introduce Robert McClelland of which he writes:
“For years, McClelland has posted some of the most offensive — and stridently anti-Semitic — material in the Canadian blogosphere.”
Stridently anti-Semitic? The way Kinsella makes it sound Robert is a member of some Nazi organisation, or a Catholic from thirty years ago or a Tory from fifteen years ago, or Mel Gibson after a hard night at the bottle. Now we don’t know the man but we have read the material in question and even if we were to grant that one of his latest comments was anti-Semitic in form all we could conclude is that at this level we are all Strident anti-Semites. Indeed, Warren himself has written some pretty racey things about Jamaicans but we do not think he is Stridently Racist. In fact, Warren has some good anti-racist credentials as we understand so to does Robert. But then it is a messy world and Warren’s job is of course to cleans it. But enough about this back to the main disassembly of the main dissembling.
The whole point of introducing Robert is so that Warren can now shift subtly from criticism of Israel back to anti-Semitism. And this is the main event because the whole project of the CIC (Daisy Communications and the CJC?)* and similar such organisations is to equate criticism of Israel with being Anti-Israel and equate being Anti-Israel with being Anti-Semitic. A=B=C QED.
The last move and the confirmation of our analysis comes in the penultimate paragraph wherein Kinsella writes:
So far, Robert McClelland has not apologized to anyone — but that matters less. Robert McClelland is a nobody, and deservedly so. What matters, here, is that the left — and the media which are associated with the Canadian left — have seemingly started to recognize the need to exercise some restraint when commenting on, and criticizing, the Jewish state.
Wow. Beautiful hey. Now Israel is the “Jewish State” and by definition all criticism of the Jewish State is anti-Semitic. Wow, Warren is onto something here: we think the the Palestinians need to get one of those ethnic containers no? Perhaps Daisy can help them out.
So in honour of this little peace of propaganda and in honour of Leo Strauss (you know its cold day in hell today) we have coined a new fallacy well really just a subspecies of a more general fallacy: reductio ad anti-Semitum which can be defined as any argument which equates being critical of Israel with being anti-Semitic. We have a little poster for you all so you can remember this fallacious form of argument.
*Note in our original post we called the CJC right-wing. We have been persuaded that they are more of the mushy middle save when it comes to criticism of Israel. See our comments section. The relationship between the CJC, the CIC and CIJA is fuzzy, although the CIJA, which the CJC links to on their main page, claims to strategically coordinate the activities of the CJC and the CIC among other Jewish organizations. We are sending an email to the CJC to see if we can have their affiliation to or with the CIJA and CIC clarified. Please see our comments section for clarification; in particular see the posts from St.Paul. Also given Kinsella’s constant invocation of the CJC we are going to ask the CJC for a clarification of their relationship with him and his company Daisy Communications.
**What is however clear is that there is sufficient overlap between past and present executives of the CJC and CIC; most obviously Mr. Moshe Ronen on the Board of Directors of the CIC and as a member of the Board of Govenors of the CJC, to conclude that not too much light passes between these organizations. And given that the likes of Ezra Levant sit on the CIC. Our initial claim that the CJC has increasing become a home for right wing Jewish Canadians is not to far off the mark; nor is our claim that the issue of silencing criticism Israeli foreign policy has increasingly become the ideological litmus test for mebership to far off the mark.