Monday, May 04, 2015

"All lives matter"

"All lives matter"
"Some of my best friends are Jews"
The problems of Charlie Hebdo in two stock phrases, one new, one old.

Writing and rewriting...
I've been sloppy with Hebdo, not always and not so much here, but often enough.

Max Fisher, on the attack in Texas.
But this was not principally a free speech event; it was an anti-Muslim hate event. Pamela Geller is not principally a free speech advocate; her activism has rather focused on curbing the rights, including the speech rights, of Muslims in the United States. The Garland event's most famous attendee and keynote speaker, the Dutch far-right political leader Geert Wilders, has taken similar positions, for example calling for banning the Koran
There is of course zero — zero — justification for the two attackers, who shot a security guard in the ankle (read more on the attackers here) before they were killed. No amount of hate speech justifies a violent retaliation, nor does it explain why these two men turned to violence. 
But before we elevate Geller and the event's attendees to free speech heroes akin to the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, we should understand what the event was really intended to support: hatred and marginalization of Muslims. 
The cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo are not heroes. The Jyllands-Posten cartoons were anti-Muslim as much as cartoons of the Pope are anti-Catholic, but only a fool sees European Muslims as the equivalent of European Catholics. No Jew would accept claims of the equivalence in Europe of Christians and Jews, and anyone else who would is suspect. Siné admitted being anti-Semitic once and then apologized. The second time he refused. He'd never said he changed his mind.

Pedants argue that double standards shouldn't exist, or absurdly that they don't. After the Holocaust and the founding of Israel European Jews and their descendants live fantasies no other minorities enjoy. They identify as white* and their ethnic nationalism is described by whites and by themselves as liberal.  No one in polite society questions if, "Jewish lives matter", is lacking in universalism. The question now in Europe is whether the double standard extended out of guilt to Jews and assumed by Jews regarding Europeans should cover Muslims and other non-whites as well.

The invention of an oxymoron.
French rationalism and political idiocy.
TPM (my highlighting)
One of the writers for satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the target of a deadly attack in January, said that the magazine's cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad are different from the contest to draw Muhammed in Texas over the weekend.

Jean-Baptiste Thoret, a Charlie Hebdo film critic, told PBS' Charle Rose that there's "absolutely no comparison possible" between the Charlie Hebdo attack and the shooting outside of the Muhammed cartoon contest held near Dallas by anti-Islam group American Freedom Defense Initiative.

"To be honest, I can’t imagine the kind of comparison you can make between the Charlie Hebdo attack January 7 and this event," Thoret told Rose when asked for his reaction to the Texas attack.

Thoret said the contest in Texas was part of a "very harsh movement against Islamization of the U.S."

He said that at Charlie Hebdo, the writers and cartoonists were "criticizing" religion, "not Muslim people in particular."
We're back to Aquinas and the doctrine of double effect. But it doesn't matter what Thoret thinks; it matters what Muslims think.

*See also Jason Stanley, and again in the previous post. In the introduction to his new book he refers as he has in the past to Judaism almost exclusively as a faith. It's as if he's never looked in the mirror.

Credit where credit is due: Arthur Goldhammer in AJA
Charlie’s approach to politics contributed to a confusion of the mundane world of political discourse with the sphere of ultimate values.

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