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Are Human Rights Watch Officials Just Thin-Skinned? (No!):

In a previous post, I criticized Human Rights Watch Director Ken Roth's characterization of the criticism HRW receives regarding its coverage of Israel. Roth wrote, in an email to Jeffrey Goldberg, "We report on Israel. Its supporters fight back with lies and deception." I've also noted that (at least according to NGO Watch, and to my knowledge), HRW has never officially recanted or apologized for any of the errors or distortions critics have identified in its reporting on Israel.

There are two possible explanations for the above. One is that HRW is implicitly hostile to Israel and its supporters. The other is that Roth and colleagues are just arrogant you-know-whats who don't take criticism well, and would react the same way regardless of the source of the criticism.

It was therefore enlightening for a reader to point me to a prior controversy involving HRW and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. HRW criticized Palestinian officials for urging civilians to serve as human shields. Anti-Israel commentators, led by rabidly anti-Israel activist Norman Finkelstein, went ballistic.

So how did HRW react? Did Ken Roth say, "We report on Palestine. Its supporters fight back with lies and deception." Did Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson accuse HRW's critics of racism? Not exactly. HRW instead issued an abject apology. In fact, if you try to find the original press release on its website, you instead find a page that first has the lengthy apology, and only then republishes the original press release.

You can't make this stuff up!

Mike1830 (mail):
Thanks David for posting this. The world is full of hypocrites, and we need to call them out, especially when their purport to be speaking in the name of good and righteousness.
7.25.2009 9:12pm
Justin (mail):
I urge readers to read HRW's "apology," which does not at all apologize for its criticism of Palestinian officials. Not sure if DB is being intentionally misleading or simply failed to read HRW's statement - the statement clarified that the criticism was directed at Palestine officials and not at the civilian human shields themselves.
7.25.2009 9:18pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Justin, which part of "It has also become clear to us that we erred in assessing the main incident described in the press release," did you not understand?
7.25.2009 9:22pm
cirby (mail):
HRW used to highlight the human rights abuses in Iran under Saddam. He was one of their favorite boogeymen, with many calls for people around the world to do something about that horrific regime.

...until right before the US and our allies went in and deposed Saddam and his murderers, shut down the torture rooms and children's prisons, et cetera. Suddenly, now that someone was going to do something about actual human rights abuses in Iraq, Human Rights Watch didn't see anything to complain about. They didn't actually delete the references on the HRW website, though - they just unlinked all of the Iraq pages, so they could point to them and say "hey, look, they're still here," while not mentioning that you couldn't get to those pages from the main page.
7.25.2009 9:33pm
Mitch500:
Reading the HRW press release and subsequent apology, one might get the false impression that the Popular Resistance Committee is some sort of legitimate organ of the Palestinian Authority, not a terrorist group funded by Hezbollah.
7.25.2009 10:02pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

One is that HRW is implicitly hostile to Israel and its supporters. The other is that Roth and colleagues are just arrogant you-know-whats who don't take criticism well


Yes.
7.25.2009 10:05pm
Displaced Midwesterner:
After reading the HRW statement, I think it is pretty unfair to call it an "abject apology."

The full paragraph that DB is singling out reads:

It has also become clear to us that we erred in assessing the main incident described in the press release. We said that the planned IDF attack on the house of a military commander in the Popular Resistance Committee, Muhammadwail Barud, fell within the purview of the law regulating the conduct of hostilities during armed conflict. We criticized Barud for reportedly urging civilians to assemble near the house in order to prevent the attack, in apparent violation of that law. Our focus was not on the civilians who assembled, their state of mind, or their behavior (such as whether they willingly assembled or not), but on Barud for risking the lives of civilians.


The statement then goes on to admit that HRW was wrong "to characterize the IDF’s planned destruction of the house as an act of war."

HRW, like many human rights NGOs, has its share of blind spots and failings. But this criticism also seems slanted. It looks to me like another example of how the Israeli-Palestinian issue seems to have a supernatural ability to make anyone who talks about it unreasonable.
7.26.2009 2:57am
BGates:
The statement then goes on to admit that HRW was wrong "to characterize the IDF’s planned destruction of the house as an act of war."

They admit they were wrong to criticize the Palestinians, and they admit they were wrong to not criticize Israel. How much more even-handed can you get?
7.26.2009 3:09am
Pseuss (mail):
Israeli-Palestinian issue seems to have a supernatural ability to make anyone who talks about it unreasonable.

If there's anything supernatural here, it's that HRW's defenders refuse to believe that it doesn't carry a halo.

The initial report characterized the IDF's attack on the house as a legitimate military action, and Barud's use of human shields as illegitimate.

The clarification states that the IDF's attack was illegitimate. Hence there is no "law" which Barud can be criticized for violating.

Got it?? Israelis are to blame for everything according to HRW. Even when a terrorist herds civilians into a house where he is hiding out - it's the Israelis who are to blame. The terrorist and the human shields are "non-violent resistors" according to HRW. Support HRW and you support blaming the Israelis for everything.
7.26.2009 3:27am
Pseuss (mail):
After reading the HRW statement, I think it is pretty unfair to call it an "abject apology."

It absolutely is an abject apology. It even avoids criticizing Barud's abhorrent action on the basis of a legalism.
7.26.2009 3:30am
Wilpert Aloysius Gobsmacked (mail):
The ethically impaired will not see what they choose not to see. HRW has about as much street cred for "openness" and "objectivity" as Dan Rather.
7.26.2009 3:44am
eyesay:
HRW's thinking here is extremely muddled, and one problem is that HRW does not seem to understand the issue of human shields.

There is a strong moral objection the use of human shields, which I understand as when one side in a conflict launches attacks from houses of worship, hospitals, elementary schools, or other places full of non-combatants. It happens that in the Israel-Palestine conflict, Israel locates its military targets far from population centers, so that if its military targets are attacked, civilian casualties will be minimized. The Palestinian tend to locate their military targets in population centers, precisely to create a moral dilemma for Israel: Don't respond, and allow the attacks to continue, or do respond, and martyrize children, the sick, and non-combatants.

Human Rights Watch should have criticized the Palestinian use of human shields by this definition.

Instead, Human Rights Watch criticized something entirely different, which is Palestinian civilians surrounding a house to protect it from destruction by Israel. Regardless of the past behavior of Muhammadwail Barud, I don't have a problem with Palestinians trying to protect him or his house. It's a legitimate tactic in a conflict, especially when used by the weaker party. And I think it's also legitimate for those whose homes are targeted to inform their community and ask for solidarity. That doesn't mean I welcome it, and it doesn't mean that I think Barud is a good guy or a bad guy. It just means that Palestinians have a right to vote with their feet, whether I like it or not.

Human Rights Watch apologized for criticizing this legitimate tactic, but completely failed to clarify that the real evil of human shields is what I explained above. Human Rights Watch started with one muddle and its apology compounded the muddle.
7.26.2009 4:10am
bender:
mr. bernstein. how about we all talk to our friends and make an effort to orchestrate a trade, whereby AIPAC agrees to objectively present israel to the media and to washington in exchange for HRW doing the same.

i'm all for it.
7.26.2009 4:13am
Pseuss (mail):
HRW's legalistic acrobats to avoid criticism of Barud is reminiscent of the clinical language and maximum "benefit-of-the-doubt" that HRW used when treating Hezbollah rocketing on Israeli towns:

While Human Rights Watch has not yet conducted a field examination to determine whether any of these attacks aimed to target a military object, preliminary information suggests that rockets fired by Hezbollah may be so inaccurate as to be incapable of being targeted, but are rather used to target a generalized area. .

So does HRW view it as outrageous that Hezbollah's standard operating procedure is to fire rockets into Israeli towns? They can't be bothered to even think about that.

Also see here:

Coupled with statements of Hezbollah's leadership about targeting Israeli civilians (even if only in "retaliation"), these cases were more than enough to conclude, as we did in our July 18 press release, that such attacks were "at best indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, at worst the deliberate targeting of civilians."
7.26.2009 4:27am
Pseuss (mail):
bender writes:

how about we all talk to our friends and make an effort to orchestrate a trade, whereby AIPAC agrees to objectively present israel to the media and to washington in exchange for HRW doing the same.

Snarkiness aside, this fellow seems to think that HRW is a pro-Hamas and pro-Hezbollah lobbying group - just as AIPAC is a pro-Israel lobbying group.
7.26.2009 4:30am
Displaced Midwesterner:
It's interesting how the same words can be interpreted so dramatically differently.


The statement then goes on to admit that HRW was wrong "to characterize the IDF’s planned destruction of the house as an act of war."

They admit they were wrong to criticize the Palestinians, and they admit they were wrong to not criticize Israel. How much more even-handed can you get?


The statement said they were wrong to criticize some of the Palestinians. And then they said they were wrong to call the IDF's plans an act of war. How this becomes "They admit they were wrong to criticize the Palestinians, and they admit they were wrong to not criticize Israel" is a mystery to me.


After reading the HRW statement, I think it is pretty unfair to call it an "abject apology."

It absolutely is an abject apology. It even avoids criticizing Barud's abhorrent action on the basis of a legalism


It took my about two or three times reading the statement to even realize that HRW was apparently withdrawing criticism of Barud. The statement begins: "We regret that our press release below (“OPT: Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks”) gave many readers the impression that we were criticizing civilians for engaging in nonviolent resistance. This was not our intention." It goes on to say that it meant to criticize Barud, but not the civilians. And then it says that maybe no law would be violated, talking about the IDF, but arguably referencing Barud's actions, who is not mentioned at all in the paragraph. Given the circumlocution, it remains hard for me to view this as an abject apology and it still seems unclear to me whether the HRW was saying it was simply wrong to call the IDF's action an act of war or whether this was a roundabout way of saying it was wrong to critize Barud without actually saying it was wrong of them to criticize.

The issuance of the statement itself is something of a message, as is its cryptic meandering. But the rhetoric of abject apology is overblown.

In general, the vocal factions on both sides of the Israel-Palestine debate don't strike me as having much credibility. Maybe I'm being unfair, but regardless of which side is talking you hear a lot of rhetoric and righteousness that makes you feel pretty skeptical about whether they are right. The only people who don't get emotional about it seem to be the ones who don't really know anything about what is going in. That about sums up the issue I think. We will see peace in the region when our robot overlords take over.
7.26.2009 5:46am
Pseuss (mail):
The issuance of the statement itself is something of a message, as is its cryptic meandering. But the rhetoric of abject apology is overblown.

The HRW message is a legalistic apology that straightforwardly backtracks on what was probably a proforma attempt at even-handness - and explictly adopts the Counterpunch/Norman Finkelstein view that Barud was merely a guy exhorting others to Gandhian nonviolence.
7.26.2009 6:10am
Raoul (mail):
Interesting how the poster himself sometimes does not provide for a comments section in some of his postings-perhaps he is imperious to criticim or maybe he is just a hypocrite. Let's get real about Israel reporting, there is an obvious semite bias in this country; few Americans know the harsh conditions many Palestinians live by.
7.26.2009 8:52am
circuit splits:
Shorter Raoul: Americans are biased Jew-lovers!
7.26.2009 9:25am
/:
Let's get real about Israel reporting, there is an obvious semite bias in this country; few Americans know the harsh conditions many Palestinians live by.

The underdog is always right.

Truth is oppression.

Jews are scurrilous.
7.26.2009 9:41am
Oren:

The underdog is always right.

No, he's often wrong. The problem is that the overdog has all the tools and power (hence his status).
7.26.2009 9:51am
/:
The problem is that the overdog has all the tools and power (hence his status).

That would explain why they keep nuking those poor arabs who couldn't possibly go Egypt-wise.
7.26.2009 10:24am
11-B/2O.B4:


few Americans know the harsh conditions many Palestinians live by.



This means exactly zilch. As one of the (admittedly few) Americans who understands (through experience) the living conditions in quite a few of the nastier areas in the world, I have to say that this statement is a red herring. Yeah, not many americans "get" how hard life is for the palestinians. Few also "get" how hard life is for the israelis, or the albanians, or the muk'tary tribes of Bora Bora. That has precisely no bearing on whether HRC is being hypocritical, or whether americans (you know, because all of us think the same) are biased in their view of the middle east. Yes, the palestinians lives suck. No, that is not an implicit indictment of Israel. If you have an agrument to make, make it, but this wasn't even that. It was a nonsense statement, a truism. Allow me to demonstrate:

"Republicans are evil bastards"

"Why?"

"Because Democrats are misunderstood"

Does not follow, eh?

You have committed a grave logical fallacy, and I suggest you stow your "empathy" and look into something more substantive.
7.26.2009 10:25am
MCM (mail):
Hypocrisy is just another form of ad hominem attack. Even if you're right and someone is a hypocrite, it doesn't make them wrong about anything.
7.26.2009 11:24am
Oren:

That would explain why they keep nuking those poor arabs who couldn't possibly go Egypt-wise.

They can't possibly go Egypt-wise, the Egyptian border patrol shoots live bullets. At least if they try to terrorize Israel they get rubber bullets!
7.26.2009 11:28am
/:
They can't now. They had their chance, and they rejected Egypt. Now Egypt doesn't want them (can't blame them).
7.26.2009 11:35am
Ken Arromdee:
Regardless of the past behavior of Muhammadwail Barud, I don't have a problem with Palestinians trying to protect him or his house. It's a legitimate tactic in a conflict, especially when used by the weaker party.

If you consider it a legitimate tactic, you're also obliged to consider the people doing this to be combatants, and therefore believe that Israel has a right to kill them.

(Actually, I don't see why normal human shields aren't treated as combatants, specifically as draftees. You are allowed to kill the enemy's draftees, even if they didn't want to be there.)
7.26.2009 11:38am
Ken Arromdee:
The statement said they were wrong to criticize some of the Palestinians. And then they said they were wrong to call the IDF's plans an act of war. How this becomes "They admit they were wrong to criticize the Palestinians, and they admit they were wrong to not criticize Israel" is a mystery to me.

Admitting they were wrong to call the IDF's plans an act of war means, in context, that they consider the IDF's plans to be the massacre of innocent civilians rather than a legitimate military operation, and that they were wrong to fail to criticize it for being a massacre of innocent civilians.
7.26.2009 11:41am
hospis (mail):
11B's recent post provides an example of sophistic deceptive Jewish-American argument. 11B observes many tribes' lives to "suck (evidently 11B accepts diction from popular Jewish-American TV like MTV or MSNBC)" and then neglects to discern any various causes for these tribes' conditions ("sucks" [sic]), and 11B then--having defined no terms and proven nothing--then simply pronounces:

"Yes, the palestinians lives suck. No, that is not an implicit indictment of Israel."

I argue here that not only is Israel's conduct implicit in Palestinians' conditions but also even intrinsic (Bernstein above demonstrates his ignorance of the difference between "implicit" and "intrinsic"). First, "implicit" derived from Latin "implicatus" denotes "involvement" or "entanglement", so Israel's de iure control of Gaza's northern southern eastern borders together with its de facto control of Gaza's western border necessarily implicates Israel in Palestinians' conditions; second, "intrinsic" derived from post-Augustinian Latin "intrinsecus" denotes "inward" or "essential", so Israel's creation of Gaza necessarily defines Israel as an intrinsic part of Gaza. Two discrete entities could be involved or implicated in each others matters yet not be intrinsic to each other's developing; Israel is both intrinsic to and implicated in all Palestinian matters, which fact was recently illustrated by the hostile arrest and detention of a US Congressman on attempting peaceful entry into Gaza.
7.26.2009 11:58am
AJK:
Hospis, the best parts of your post are simply wrong. Most of what you say isn't even that good.
7.26.2009 12:44pm
Mike1830 (mail):
MCM: What HRW does is wrong because they apply different standards to different groups, regarding human rights. Human right should be universal, and whether an act is a violation should not depend on the name of the violator. They are hypocritical in their approach to different groups, favoring some over others in their treatment. When they purport to be the world's monitor, where they get to label some as human rights violators, this is indeed a wrong and to call it out is not merely an ad hominem attack.
7.26.2009 12:44pm
bender:
Snarkiness aside, this fellow seems to think that HRW is a pro-Hamas and pro-Hezbollah lobbying group - just as AIPAC is a pro-Israel lobbying group.

I think you're confusing me with Bernstein. I tend to agree with some of the above posts that the Israeli perspective enjoys lopsided coverage in the media, for various historical reasons. That's why you're more likely to have heard about this alleged Saudi co-opting of HRW being bandied about in the media of late then to know about the recent reports about the Israeli military's use of white phosphorus (which seems to have provoked this attack). You'll have to forgive me if I don't really buy the 'they started it' defense to war crimes. Escalation is escalation on any side, and terror is terror.

The insinuation seems to be that those ivy league law school kids at HRW are secretly colluding with the Saudis to slander Israel. I think it's a stretch. Money is fungible. If we really can't trust any money coming out of Saudi Arabia, then Bernstein should at least be happy that Saudi money is going toward media campaigns instead of funding terrorist organizations (or is the implication now that HRW is becoming a terrorist organization?). I would also take issue with the apparent other implication of the attack on HRW, which is that no Saudi could possibly actually support human rights for their own sake.

Even if I did believe that HRW was lopsidedly 'anti-Israel,' (a very loaded accusation indeed), if the point of posts such as the one above is really to restore objectivity to this debate--as Bernstein would have you believe by way of his high-minded criticism of HRW's bias, then perhaps it is time to give some airtime to some voices willing to question some of Israel's actions (especially since the American taxpayer is arming Israel to the teeth, apparently largely without condition). I think its taken for granted in this country that our interests nearly always overlap with Israel's, and also feel strongly that the US is the only one with any sway to push Israel to peace.

From here, Bernstein's posts seem less about "correcting the record" about Israel and more about destroying HRW's credibility. Isn't the point of objectivity to get a better sense of what's really going on?

I would also mention that at least when the human rights organizations release their reports, they put their names and reputations on the line. Would that AIPAC did the same with its media campaigns.
7.26.2009 1:05pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

We will see peace in the region when our robot overlords take over.

Close. Actually, the only thing that can bring peace to the Middle East is an immediate, widespread outbreak of atheism. I recommend dropping pallets of "The God Delusion" and "God is Not Great" on both countries.
7.26.2009 1:18pm
yankee (mail):
Actually, the only thing that can bring peace to the Middle East is an immediate, widespread outbreak of atheism. I recommend dropping pallets of "The God Delusion" and "God is Not Great" on both countries.


You're certainly optimistic! I don't think there will be peace until we've turned the region into a radioactive scrap heap.
7.26.2009 1:39pm
neurodoc:
bender: mr. bernstein. how about we all talk to our friends and make an effort to orchestrate a trade, whereby AIPAC agrees to objectively present israel to the media and to washington in exchange for HRW doing the same.

i'm all for it.
Are you acknowledging the "HRW does NOT objectively present Israel to the media"? (When a true partisan makes such an acknowledgement, it may be seen as an admission against self-interest; when the same partisan accuses the other side of the same thing, it is what it is, simply an accusation made by a partisan.)
7.26.2009 2:23pm
neurodoc:
This exchange between David Bernstein and Kevin Heller, with contributions from others, is informative:

http://opiniojuris.org/2009/07/26/
another-bernstein-post-attacking-human-rights-watch/
7.26.2009 2:48pm
11-B/2O.B4:


11B's recent post provides an example of sophistic deceptive Jewish-American argument. 11B observes many tribes' lives to "suck (evidently 11B accepts diction from popular Jewish-American TV like MTV or MSNBC)"



Wow, way to miss the entire point. My point was not to take or defend any side, though I do have one. The point was that the "argument" I was replying to wasn't an argument at all. Your post actually was an argument, just a bad one. Israel borders Gaza on three sides, therefore, everything that happens there is Israel's fault? Now, there are things that are definitely Israel's doing, but everything? I live in Michigan currently, bordered on two and a half sides by Canada, therefore I blame them for my rent getting raised. Simply controlling one's own border is not responsibility. Your assertion is absurd, and your attempted attack on me for being jewish (untrue) and watching jewish TV (also untrue, I don't own a TV) simply reveals your own deep seated bias. According to you, the simple statement from me that a non sequitur is not an argument is enough to put me in some imaginary group controlled by another imaginary group via an impossible means. The aliens in your teeth called, and they want their robo-hamster back.
7.26.2009 2:51pm
D.R.M.:
Bender — Just because there are a bunch of people who get their panties in a bunch about white phosphorous, or cluster bombs, or whatever the evil weapon du jour is, doesn't magically transform the use of such weapons into war crimes. They are still perfectly legal weapons of war under all applicable international law.
7.26.2009 3:01pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'few Americans know the harsh conditions many Palestinians live by'

I know them and at one time used to feel bad for them. Their behavior in recent decades purged me of that.
7.26.2009 3:08pm
bender:

Are you acknowledging the "HRW does NOT objectively present Israel to the media"? (When a true partisan makes such an acknowledgement, it may be seen as an admission against self-interest; when the same partisan accuses the other side of the same thing, it is what it is, simply an accusation made by a partisan.)


I think you've misunderstood me. I'm suggesting that if HRW is as anti-israel as Bernstein would have you believe, then this would be a fair trade.

And you can't impute any 'admission' to someone who has no affiliation with HRW. Please read my second post if you're interested in further elaboration.
7.26.2009 3:23pm
loki13 (mail):
I came across a bottle. Not thinking, I rubbed it when a genie appeared. Thanking me for releasing him from captivity, he told me would grant five wishes.

"Five!" I exclaimed. "Why not three?"

The genie replied he was the greatest of genies and was not limited to three...

First, I wished that the politicians in Washington could get together and reform social security and medicare.

Smiling broadly, the genie said it was no problem and my wish was granted.

Then I wished for riches more than any man ever knew.

The genie laughed and said, "Now I give you more money than Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and the Sultan of Brunei could dream of!"

Wanting time to spend this money, I asked the genie that I might stay young for 10,000 years.

"That's easy!" remarked the genie.... "Only the idiots ask for immortality."

Thinking in terms of how I could help the world, I asked the genie for the knowledge of a non-polluting source of cheap renewable energy that would solve all the world problems.

Laughing, the genie produced schematics for some device and said, "Show this to your scientists... mankind will never want for energy again!"

Feeling emboldened, and on my last wish, I asked for peace in the middle east.

The genie looked around for a while. Finally, he remarked... "Eh... um..... how would you like to be able to teleport!"
7.26.2009 4:08pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The statement said they were wrong to criticize some of the Palestinians. And then they said they were wrong to call the IDF's plans an act of war. How this becomes "They admit they were wrong to criticize the Palestinians, and they admit they were wrong to not criticize Israel" is a mystery to me.
Because you misunderstand the issues. Calling it an "act of war" is a defense of the action, not a criticism of it. They retracted their defense of it by arguing that it really wasn't an act of war.
7.26.2009 4:14pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
It seems to me however that there are substantial human rights issues that need to be addressed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (on both sides) and international tribunals might well be the place to start. However, Israel is the only real state entity involved so if an organization is going to criticize a state entity, there is only one target there.
7.26.2009 5:52pm
EH (mail):
It seems apparent to me that there's plenty of thin-skin to go around in Middle-East issues. It's hard to even comment outside of Tu Quoque.
7.26.2009 5:55pm
MCM (mail):
MCM: What HRW does is wrong because they apply different standards to different groups, regarding human rights. Human right should be universal, and whether an act is a violation should not depend on the name of the violator. They are hypocritical in their approach to different groups, favoring some over others in their treatment. When they purport to be the world's monitor, where they get to label some as human rights violators, this is indeed a wrong and to call it out is not merely an ad hominem attack.


Assuming this is true (I disagree that it is, but, arguendo...), maybe they would argue that they only have so much effort, and they ration it accordingly? Maybe based on where they think they'll have the most impact. Maybe on where they think the abuses are worst. Whatever - that alone can't make them wrong.

Regardless, even if HRW is guilty of hypocrisy, it doesn't mean that Bernstein's or any one else's "tue quoque" is any less irrelevant or childish.
7.26.2009 6:27pm
MCM (mail):
ahaha. "tu quoque", obviously.
7.26.2009 6:27pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
MCM,

You're correct, Bernstein's "tu quoque" doesn't imply that the Palestinians aren't in fact suffering the abuses apparently detailed by Human Rights Watch. But it does imply that we should assign HRW little credibility in the future, so that the next time they do bring evidence in any other sphere, we certainly shouldn't take it at face value, as an example of simple Bayesian inference. We should trust the word of other, less biased, NGOs over HRW, because obviously the organization cannot be trusted to inform us about real human right abuses, as they are unfairly biased to support authoritarian and inhumane regimes.

I'm glad you seem to understand all this!
7.26.2009 6:43pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Cato:
Which human rights groups should we be watching?

ICRC? PRCS? Others?

I don't think there are ANY such groups that Bernstein actually accepts as legitimate.
7.26.2009 7:00pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Just my own perspective on this piece:

In one hand, David Bernstein seems to be on a general mission to discredit human rights organizations generally because, well, just about all of them are heavily critical of Israel. In general, I do not see Prof. Bernstein as a credible voice regarding the hypocrisy or lack thereof of human rights organizations. See his past criticism of the ICRC for example and in that case many of his criticisms were disproven by other posters (for example, his argument that they never criticize the Palestinians-- a quick search of the ICRC site showed that to be wrong).

On the other hand, Human Rights Watch has tended to be an organization which I have never found credible anyway.

On with the mud wrestling, I say!
7.26.2009 8:34pm
Gary Altman (mail):
Bender,

Can you please stop comparing HRW to AIPAC? They're not guided by the same principles.

AIPAC is a group created and funded for the sole purpose of advancing Israel's interests in the US. (I mean nothing sinister by this, to be clear, it's just the truth). Therefore, if they spin facts for their arguments, or are one sided in their coverage, it's because that is their mission. They don't hide this fact. It's in their name and it's why people give them money.

HRW is so supposed to be about human rights protection, without bias and prejudice. That's how they present themselves to their stakeholders.

When AIPAC spins in favor of Israel, it's doing its job.

When HRW spins against Israel, it's going against it's mission and stated values and is doing a bad job.

It's the difference between a defense lawyer (AIPAC), and a judge (HRW). Defense lawyers are supposed to defend, and judges are supposed to run the court fairly.
7.26.2009 8:44pm
MCM (mail):
MCM,

You're correct, Bernstein's "tu quoque" doesn't imply that the Palestinians aren't in fact suffering the abuses apparently detailed by Human Rights Watch. But it does imply that we should assign HRW little credibility in the future, so that the next time they do bring evidence in any other sphere, we certainly shouldn't take it at face value, as an example of simple Bayesian inference. We should trust the word of other, less biased, NGOs over HRW, because obviously the organization cannot be trusted to inform us about real human right abuses, as they are unfairly biased to support authoritarian and inhumane regimes.


Actually, wouldn't that first require us to go through every human rights abuse claim HRW has ever made, as the more evidence we gather, the more accurate the inference?

If that's the case you'd like to make, then by all means, start counting.
7.26.2009 8:45pm
Anderson (mail):
problem is that the overdog has all the tools and power

"I teach the Overdog. Man is to be overcome!"

--Thus Barked Zarathustra, prologue.

... I think TSZ might actually be a better book subbing "overdog" for "overman."
7.26.2009 9:01pm
Anderson (mail):
11B's recent post provides an example of sophistic deceptive Jewish-American argument. 11B observes many tribes' lives to "suck" (evidently 11B accepts diction from popular Jewish-American TV like MTV or MSNBC)"

Speaking of which, the foregoing passage, by its stilted idiom, betrays translation from the original German.
7.26.2009 9:08pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

I don't think there will be peace until we've turned the region into a radioactive scrap heap.

Sadly, I predict they will some day accomplish that task all by themselves.
7.26.2009 9:32pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
See his past criticism of the ICRC for example and in that case many of his criticisms were disproven by other posters (for example, his argument that they never criticize the Palestinians-- a quick search of the ICRC site showed that to be wrong).
What are you talking about?
7.26.2009 9:40pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

Actually, wouldn't that first require us to go through every human rights abuse claim HRW has ever made, as the more evidence we gather, the more accurate the inference?

If that's the case you'd like to make, then by all means, start counting.

That is not true. A systematically biased model is not necessarily better than the null, arbitrary, model - it just deviates further and further away from the Truth. That's a Type II error.
7.26.2009 10:56pm
PLR:
Oh dear. Topic number 8 on Human Rights Watch.

I have a modest proposal. Since HRW seems unable to satisfy certain people that it applies uniform standards across all populations, it could simply limit its mission to the United States and Israel. (Do you really care about the rights of Turkmenistanis? Thought not.)

Magically, the hypocrisy card is gone from the deck. That will force us to consider (a) whether the factual information provided by HRW is accurate, and (b) whether the conclusions of HRW are supported by the information.

Obviously this is a radical approach, and perhaps not for all tastes.
7.27.2009 12:22am
MCM (mail):
I'm sorry, I'm having trouble seeing how that applies here. Are we no longer skeptical of HRW because of their past work?
7.27.2009 12:26am
MCM (mail):
(My question was for Cato Senior)
7.27.2009 12:27am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Gary Altman:

I agree with your points and have never found HRW to be on my list of human rights organizations I pay attention to. The ICRC I do pay attention to closely though I am sure Bernstein doesn't like them either.

Really, though, Bernstein's pieces come across almost entirely as defence attorney rhetoric as well.....

For example, see his past attempts to discredit ICRC complaints.
7.27.2009 12:48am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I don't recall blogging about ICRC, but perhaps I have. Could you please point me to a link where I wrote, as you claim, that the ICRC never criticizes the Palestinians? I don't think that ever happened.
7.27.2009 8:16am
Floridan:
HRW: "We continue to urge all parties to this conflict to respect international humanitarian law, whatever their share of its violations, and most important, to keep civilians out of it as much as possible."

Outrageous!
7.27.2009 8:17am
lol:
But I enjoy Bernstein's posts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! Anyway, Fafarman, as a Holocaust denier your credibility is shot.
7.27.2009 9:23am
Ken Arromdee:
Lots of people would like to be co-bloggers or guest bloggers here and would like to post real law articles here, but don't get the opportunity.

Also, lots of people would like to go to his house and drink beer from his refrigerator. But then, he's hijacked his house and selfishly kept that eber to himself.
7.27.2009 9:27am
MCM (mail):
But I enjoy Bernstein's posts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! Anyway, Fafarman, as a Holocaust denier your credibility is shot.


Here people go again with the irrelevant bullshit. Yes, he's wrong in denying the Holocaust. Yes, it makes him a sad human being.

That doesn't mean that Bernstein isn't getting a little old with this HRW thing. Of course, that's his privilege as a blogger here. He should blog about whatever he wants; the internet audience will react accordingly.
7.27.2009 9:39am
yankev (mail):

Speaking of which, the foregoing passage, by its stilted idiom, betrays translation from the original German.
I wondered about that Anderson. I was somewhat impressed that Hospis remembered, not once but twice, to append "ish-American" when using "Jew" as a perjorative.
7.27.2009 10:14am
Anderson (mail):
I was somewhat impressed that Hospis remembered, not once but twice, to append "ish-American" when using "Jew" as a perjorative.

Glad *someone's* using the Preview button.
7.27.2009 10:33am
Anderson (mail):
OTOH, I looked at Fafarman's linked post in the other thread, and I think the point is a bit subtle to call "Holocaust denier" on. F. wrote:

A "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews.

This is true to a point; Nazi race science was hokum, and the Nazis could never work out thoroughly how to classify the so-called mischling, etc.

Of course, the Nazis were just fine with their "unsystematic" Holocaust, which seemed plenty systematic to many of its victims. They didn't let their theory impair their practice to any great extent.

Now, whether Fafarman had some nastier point in mind, I dunno.
7.27.2009 10:36am
DangerMouse:
HRW is fighting a losing battle by trying to spin things against Israel. Most people aren't so easily fooled, and won't forget the Palestinians cheering for 9/11, and their overwhelming support of suicide bombers.

Are you going to believe HRW, or your lying eyes?
7.27.2009 11:08am
yankev (mail):

I was somewhat impressed that Hospis remembered, not once but twice, to append "ish-American" when using "Jew" as a perjorative.
Glad *someone's* using the Preview button.
Was my post unclear? Here's the longer version.

Hopsis could have written "sophistic deceptive Jew argument" and "diction from popular Jew TV." Instead, he remembered his manners, appending "ish-American" both times, so as to write "sophistic deceptive Jewish-American argument" and "diction from popular Jewish-American TV". The second way is considered a more socially acceptable way of using "Jew" (or "Jewish") as a perjorative.
7.27.2009 11:09am
[insert here] delenda est:
Wow.

Anderson have you taken leave of your senses? The quote you comment on is pure sophistry and of the most sinister kind. How can you consider Fafarman's comment indicative of anything other than a perverted desire to minimize Jewish suffering in the holocaust?

Sure, there was a 'holocaust', but it was not 'systematically' anti-Jewish, because in fact the Nazis couldn't be sure who was Jewish. To restate the point: The Nazi's systematic eradication of the Jews was not 'systematic' because there system was subtly flawed.

In what way did the Nazi attempts to eradicate the Jews not meet the definition of 'systematic'???

The point may be a bit subtle to call '"holocaust" denier' on, but the point is easily blunt and heavy enough to bludgeon beyond recognition Fafarman's claims to be an intelligent and functioning human being.
7.27.2009 11:19am
Anderson (mail):
Was my post unclear?

No, evidently mine was; I was amusing myself by imagining the goof's having hit "preview" and thought, "Hm, 'Jew' sounds too obviously anti-semitic ....'"

In what way did the Nazi attempts to eradicate the Jews not meet the definition of 'systematic'???

In the way that Fafarman's comment mentioned? Of course the Holocaust was "systematic" in general, even if Germany efficiency can be exaggerated. The specific issue was how to determine who was a Jew, and the Nazis were famously confused about that subject. God only knows what being a front-line veteran was supposed to do with having been Jewish; the confusion in the Nazi mind on that point would be comic if the subject weren't so tragic.

"Holocaust denier" is very ugly indeed, so I would want to hear a bit more from Fafarman before tagging him with that label. I note that the thread where that comment appeared, timed out right after the comment calling him a Holocaust denier.
7.27.2009 11:30am
Pseuss (mail):
That doesn't mean that Bernstein isn't getting a little old with this HRW thing.

Yes, there is among many people lack of interest in the details of what HRW does.

Unfortunately, that lack of interest is sometimes coupled with a belief in the goodness and necessity of transnational organizations.

Put those 2 together, and you get people who treat HRW as infallible and have little interest in knowing the reality.
7.27.2009 11:32am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Anderson:

Of course, the Nazis were just fine with their "unsystematic" Holocaust, which seemed plenty systematic to many of its victims. They didn't let their theory impair their practice to any great extent.


I think this sort of analysis misses the point. The Holocaust didn't just function as an attempt to wipe out allegedly inferior groups, but it was a major component of the Nazi social control structures.

The Holocaust didn't have to be perfectly systematic to accomplish its larger goal (the perpetual ideological domination of the Nazi party in all nationalist discourse), and indeed it was more effective for it not to be. Otherwise it would be hard to throw folks in death camps on Himmler's say-so and use death camps as a way of threatening those who were even *potential* political opponents (i.e. those who were not interested in, say, joining the SS but, say, wrote abut the value of German nationalism).

The number of folks killed in the holocaust is reasonably irrelevant. If the number was off by an order of magnitude or two, it wouldn't make the holocaust that much better or worse. The fact that the institution existed is the cause of most of the horror regarding it. Unfortunately the harder, deeper questions are ones which are carefully avoided in school books on the subject and a lot of emphasis is placed on trying to differentiate ourselves from the Nazis rather than taking a closer look at why it happened.

BTW, the single greatest contributing element to the holocaust was the fact that Christianity had spread hatred of Jews for centuries. The Volkisch and Pan-Germanic Revival writings from the 1930's may be somewhat racist and antisemitic, but they are less this way regarding the Jews in particular than the popular and more Christian-themed writings on the subject. The furthest any of the pan-Germanic Revival writings go is Runenmagie by Sigfried Adolf Kummer who accused Jews of stealing language and religion from the ancient Germans. This is a far cry from asserting that Jews are guilty of deicide.
7.27.2009 11:32am
Anderson (mail):
Oh, and the photo + caption at the top of Wikipedia's "mischling" article should not be missed. Click through on Mr. Goldberg's name too, a fascinating story.
7.27.2009 11:34am
Anderson (mail):
The Holocaust didn't have to be perfectly systematic to accomplish its larger goal (the perpetual ideological domination of the Nazi party in all nationalist discourse), and indeed it was more effective for it not to be.

Ooookay, let's take a step back. My point was simply to examine this comment --

A "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews.

-- as to whether its author was thereby demonstrably a Holocaust denier. I am not trying to make any larger point about the Holocaust, Jewish identity, etc. Fafarman's statement, appearing in isolation as it did, could be taken as mocking the Nazis, not denying the Holocaust.

... Now, that said, Einhverfr is correct that the regime's genocidal policies had their pragmatic advantages -- even Himmler, recall, was willing to bargain with Jewish lives for his own advantage -- but I would not push that too far. Stalin's terror and the GULAG functioned much more in the manner depicted -- Stalin was to some extent not concerned with *whom* the NKVD rounded up and shot, provided it was lots of people, and the effect was that no one felt safe.

Whereas Hitler and the Nazis were much more serious about their goal -- the extermination of the Jews was NOT undertaken for any "larger goal" of "the perpetual ideological domination of the Nazi party in all nationalist discourse." It was undertaken for the extermination of the Jews, who were considered a mortal threat to the German "race."

(Even if Hitler did have his own list of "good Jews" who were protected to the end; their fate in the event of a German victory is difficult to imagine.)
7.27.2009 11:49am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Anderson:


Whereas Hitler and the Nazis were much more serious about their goal -- the extermination of the Jews was NOT undertaken for any "larger goal" of "the perpetual ideological domination of the Nazi party in all nationalist discourse." It was undertaken for the extermination of the Jews, who were considered a mortal threat to the German "race."


Well, it is more complex than that of course.

The death camps didn't just function to get rid of Jews or even Jews, Gypsies, and other groups found undesirable. They also functioned as a core part of an infrastructure of intimidation aimed at wide swathes of the German people. For example, I referenced Vokische and Pan-Germanicist groups as often getting blamed for the holocaust but members of these groups were often put in death camps as well. The goal was different of course-- you put folk in death camps, threaten them with gas chambers if they don't join the Party (or often more specifically the SS), and offer them freedom when they join. Take a careful look at the biography of such individuals as Fredrich Bernard Marby sometime.

The fact that racial persecutions often dovetailed in with ideological persecutions shouldn't be overlooked either. One element that needs to be understood is that the killing of the Jews served intimidation purposes as well, and there may be a more complex interactions between those purposes than typically makes the history books.

The Holocaust is taught as "Hitler trying to kill all the Jews" with no mention of any other groups persecuted. The reality is more complex and the scope of the death and work camp systems were far greater than that implies though.

I attribute this distortion though to two factors. The first is that you have a number of Jewish historians who are driven by the legitimate desire to understand the Jewish experience of the Holocaust, and thus focus on one element of the larger system. None of the rest of this is mentioned because it is irrelevant to the question of the Jewish experience under the Nazis. However, the second factor is a desire on the part of historians looking at the bigger picture to have easy answers. Thus one doesn't have to ask "why were the Gypsies nearly wiped out by the Nazis? How did these groups' persecutions interact with the closely related ideological persecutions which also used the death camp system?"

I will grant that the ideological persecutions may have occurred on a different level-- AFAICS these were all ordered specifically by Himmler and there seems to have been some real disagreement between Hitler and Himmler over which religious groups were to be persecuted. However, AFAICS, the ideological and religious persecutions that occurred all had the approval of top party officials including Hitler.
7.27.2009 12:26pm
Anderson (mail):
also functioned as a core part of an infrastructure of intimidation aimed at wide swathes of the German people.

I don't think that's true of the death camps. The average German was afraid of going to Bergen-Belsen or Dachau, not to Auschwitz or Treblinka.

The Holocaust is taught as "Hitler trying to kill all the Jews" with no mention of any other groups persecuted.

This is true, and of course Gypsies and other groups were persecuted and murdered, but the focus was pretty clearly on the Jews. (Of course, our focus has tended to be on some Jews as opposed to others; I wish everyone would read Timothy Snyder's article in the last NYRB.)
7.27.2009 12:36pm
[insert here] delenda est:
I agree entirely with your penultimate paragraph. The acceleration of the massacre and the devotion of more military resources to it even as the war was lost proves this beyond any argument or logic.

But I still cannot comprehend this sophistry around the word 'systematic'.

sys·tem·at·ic
Pronunciation: \ˌsis-tə-ˈma-tik\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin systematicus, from Greek systēmatikos, from systēmat-, systēma
Date: circa 1680
1: relating to or consisting of a system
2: presented or formulated as a coherent body of ideas or principles [systematic thought]
3 a: methodical in procedure or plan [a systematic approach] [a systematic scholar] b: marked by thoroughness and regularity [systematic efforts]
4: of, relating to, or concerned with classification ; specifically : taxonomic

What part of this definition did the Holocaust and the Nazi prosecution of it not meet? Remember that the definition does not mention perfectly flawless and impeccable methodology in all aspects, anywhere.
7.27.2009 12:39pm
[insert here] delenda est:
Sorry, didn't refresh. I agree with Anderson's penultimate paragraph at 11:49 am, but also generally with his 12:36pm comment.
7.27.2009 12:41pm
Anderson (mail):
Well, of course the Holocaust was "systematic," like anything else a modern state does; however, for it to've been fully "a coherent body of ideas or principles," etc., a clear definition of "Jew" would've been necessary. I mean, if you're trying to kill all the Jews, that would seem to be a fairly important element.

Which, on the level of interpretive charity appropriate to blog comments, is all I took Fafarman to be saying. Not that there was no system to the Holocaust.

... Anyway, happy that we have some areas of agreement.
7.27.2009 12:47pm
yankev (mail):
No, evidently mine was; I was amusing myself by imagining

the goof's having hit "preview" and thought, "Hm, 'Jew' sounds too obviously anti-semitic ....'"
Okay, sorry to have clikced on the "Obivious" button then.
7.27.2009 1:33pm
yankev (mail):
And not to have pre-checked my reply for spelling.
7.27.2009 1:38pm
Anderson (mail):
Okay, sorry

It was too weak a joke to make clearer.
7.27.2009 2:03pm
Gonzer Maven (mail):
einhverfr:

Is this an amateur version of "Springtime for Hitler"?

Let me get this straight: according to you, Germans were threatened with gas chambers to force them to join the SS which was the Nazi elite???!!!

I'm reminded of Wolfgang Pauli's line after he reviewed someone's proposed physics paper: "This isn't good; it isn't even bad."
7.27.2009 2:32pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Gonzer Maven:

Let me get this straight: according to you, Germans were threatened with gas chambers to force them to join the SS which was the Nazi elite???!!!


There are documented cases of this. There are also documented cases of Germans refusing this for 10 years while imprisoned in Dachau.
7.27.2009 3:17pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Anderson, Snyder somehow forgot to mention the Croats. Pound for pound, they killed more than anybody.
7.27.2009 5:25pm
Mark Washeim (mail) (www):
The thing that's lost on me after all this 'comment' is how the legal problem of Israel being a state (regardless of what some claim, the contention is not a majority issue in the UN) and 'palestine' being an 'occupied territory. I'd like some legal wiz to explain to us how the rules of war can be applied? As for weighing a judgment, how is that possible when Israel holds all the cards (since circa 1967) ... regardless the perfidy of acts against civilians (I don't believe these exist in Israel since they have a permanent mobilization of the whole populace) or any humans for that matter, since the laws we instate require parties to have rights in some 'sphere', it seems to me all these arguments are mute until palestine is a state...??
7.27.2009 6:05pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Anderson,

OTOH, I looked at Fafarman's linked post in the other thread, and I think the point is a bit subtle to call "Holocaust denier" on.

Denier, revisionist, tomato, tomahto, I take Larry at his word.
7.27.2009 7:59pm
Gonzer Maven (mail):
einhverfr:

"Documented" by whom? Published where? How many such people were supposedly involved?

Since many readers were not alive in those days, I should reiterate: the SS were the elite of Nazi Germany, and the Waffen SS were the elite of the German army. They ran an intelligence service that rivaled Kanaris' Nachrichtendienst. The SS ran the concentration camps. SS were the ones who assassinated Ernst Roehm and the leadership of the SA. If that does not establish their status as Hitler's select henchmen, what does? During the war, they were entrusted with all sorts of special forces functions and assorted deeds of derring do (e.g., the rescue of Mussolini). The idea that they were forced to serve in this fashion against their will is on its face absurd.
7.28.2009 12:13am
lol:
Nice try at a longwinded apologia, Anderson. Unfortunately for you Larry has already affirmed that he is a Holocaust denier.

You are only selectively 'charitable,' that much we know.
7.28.2009 1:57am
lol:
There used to be a name for Anderson's sort of drivel: sophism.

Yawn.
7.28.2009 1:58am
Ursus Maritimus:

regardless the perfidy of acts against civilians (I don't believe these exist in Israel since they have a permanent mobilization of the whole populace) or any humans for that matter


Look! Someone who makes a point out of being German claims that "No Israeli is a Civilian!"

They really are crawling out of the woodwork...
7.28.2009 3:29am
yankev (mail):

They really are crawling out of the woodwork...
With the current state of the economy, the press's lazy acceptance of ahistorical nonsense, the weakening of certain taboos here and even moreso in Europe, the populist pablum fashionable on many campuses, and the attitude of various public figures, we had better get used to it.
7.28.2009 9:37am
yankev (mail):

First David Bernstein hijacked this blog, and now some trolls have hijacked this thread to argue about the holocaust.
I don't expect logic from Farfarman, but can anyone explain to me how DB can hijack his own blog? (Unless, of course, like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, this URL was Palestinian from time immemorial until Prof. Bernstein came and occupied it . . . )?
7.28.2009 9:40am
Anderson (mail):
I take Larry at his word.

Ah, well, that does seem more definitive, doesn't it? That's the trouble with interpretive charity -- sometimes, people really are just senseless, or worse.

I can accept that the Nazis had some rough edges, but obviously, when they rolled into town and required "the Jews" to assemble, (1) the self-identifying Jews generally complied with the order, and (2) the local authorities generally had a pretty good idea who "the Jews" were, and were not typically inclined to protect them.

Where either (1) or (2) failed to obtain is where one finds a goodly proportion of those Jews who managed to survive the Nazis.
7.28.2009 11:55am
Anderson (mail):
Erk, "rough edges" on the efficient nature of the Holocaust, not "rough edges" on Nazis generally -- sounds a bit like I'm saying Hitler wasn't quite a gentleman.
7.28.2009 11:57am
neurodoc:
yankev, first, you are allowing yourself to be manipulated by a nutter (term of art, avoids DSM-IV requirements for diagnostic precision). The individual in question has been banned in the past, but apparently was still able to post a comment earlier in this thread, which then got taken down. Though taken down, subequent posters followed the nutter down into and through his labrynthian warren (mix metaphor alternating between squirrels and rabbits?) in pursuit of his "systematic" nonsense, trying to determine whether he should be seen as a "Holocaust denier" or a "Holocaust revisionist." (Ever so coy, the nutter teases them with his own version of a fan dance, beckoning them to his own blogspot to read more of his weirdness.)

Second, yankev, I would advise you, as I did LM a while back when he was doing his psychiatry clerkship, to detach yourself clinically when trying to understand this nutter. (see the link provided at 7:59PM yesterday by Leo Marvin with the colloquoy there between me and LM about LM's efforts to understand the nutter and his psychopathology) And consider the possibility that you, and anyone else who would respond to the nutter, directly or indirectly, is being toyed with by him. (The last post to that previous thread was the nutter's with advice not to feed the trolls. We can agree with him on that, can't we?)

Just because you see some "logical" (really "illogical") implication to something the nutter says, you don't have to go after it, even if the absurdity of it is tempting. All the world may be seen as a stage, but not all the world can be seen as a courtroom in which logic is trump over illogic.
7.28.2009 12:40pm
neurodoc:
If this were a clinical case conference with the patient present, we would say that LF had just "demonstrated" himself.
7.28.2009 4:50pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
lol:

There used to be a name for Anderson's sort of drivel: sophism.

Holocaust Deniers are widely and properly scorned, so it isn't sophistic to be cautious about applying the label. Better to occasionally feel silly for having mistakenly defended a Denier than to have wrongly rung a bell that can't be un-rung.
7.28.2009 5:24pm
neurodoc:
Leo Marvin, what is subtle or nuanced about Holocaust Denial such that one should be especially cautious before calling someone out as a Holocaust Denier? David Irving? Hutton Gibson? LF with his "not systematic" dance, and allowance that he is a mix of "denier" and "revisionist"?
7.28.2009 5:52pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
neuro,

No, of course there's nothing subtle or nuanced about Irving or Gibson, or, with a large enough data set, LF. But from the limited information on which Anderson equivocated, I don't think he was unreasonable to be cautious.
7.28.2009 6:45pm