Enforcing the GWV* through Misrepresentation – Addendum #2

* GWV = Guardian World View
This is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman.
In the first addendum I detailed how Tony Lerman misrepresented Robin Shepherd’s new book when he wrote this:

And Robin Shepherd, of the Henry Jackson Society, in a thoroughly wrong-headed book out this month subtitled Europe’s Problem With Israel, uses the concept to explain why leftwing Jews “publicly turn against Israel”.

But such is his obvious dislike for Shepherd’s book that in the thread beneath his article, he misrepresented the book a second time.
In his comment at 3.06pm on 6 October, Lerman first insulted poster peterthehungarian who had spotted (as I did) that Shepherd did not (as Lerman alleged) use the “self-hating” concept to explain why leftwing Jews turn against Israel. (Insults are a violation of the Guardian’s community standards (“personal attacks”)).

This, of course, is not really surprising because even without heroes, you, and others of your opinion, appear to be singularly incapable of reading and understanding a text. It’s so much easier to invent the words you want to hear and put them in the mouth of the person you wish to vilify than to read and understand what they are actually saying. Why let the truth get in the way of a good screaming fit?

Lerman then writes that Shepherd “endorses the validity of the concept” of the self-hating Jew – but look how he does it. First he quotes Shepherd’s purely descriptive (not judgmental, note) passage on pages 42-43:

….it is often suggested that some Jews actively and aggressively turn against the majority view of Israel inside their community due to the much discussed problem of self-hatred. They, like their predecessors in the centuries before them, internalise the anti-Semitic mantras of their oppressors, yield to them and eventually propagate those mantras with the passion of the convert in order to ingratiate themselves.

Note that Shepherd is purely reporting. No-one can deny that ‘it is often suggested’ that some Jews are anti-Zionists due to ‘self-hatred’. It’s a fact. It is ‘often suggested’ and ‘self-hatred’ is ‘much discussed’. Lerman himself has written about it. But to call this passage (as Lerman does) a “crystal clear approval of the idea of Jewish self-hatred” is utterly mendacious. It’s like accusing the journalist who reported that Ahmadinejad said “Israel should be wiped off the map” of himself wanting Israel wiped from the map. It’s completely absurd.
Lerman then quotes more of Shepherd’s text on page 43:

the accusation that Jews who publicly turn against Israel are motivated by self-hatred is commonplace. This may be part of the story. But there is another explanation, running parallel and sometimes overlapping with it.

The ‘other explanation’ is that many of Israel’s most vociferous Jewish opponents are ‘Old’ Left and that that identity dominates their Jewish identity.
Shepherd writes that this second explanation could well be more convincing in most cases’. But it doesn’t suit Lerman to quote those eight words – his ‘reportage equals opinion’ statement is – after all – preposterous enough already!
Look what he does next to twist the truth still more:

Given what has gone before, it’s perfectly clear from this that his ‘may be’ means ‘probably is’, a conclusion confirmed because it is ‘paralleled’ and ‘overlapped’ by – in other words entirely consistent with and complementary to – the explanation that ‘Israels Jewish opponents . . . are almost all identified with the political Left.’

Look at that “Given what has gone before”. The reader is supposed to take it for granted! (Of course many CiF readers are predisposed to do this, when it comes to Jewish matters). And look at the utterly mendacious phrase which follows: “it’s perfectly clear from this that his ‘may be’ means ‘probably is’ …” Since when does ‘may be’ mean ‘probably is’? Remember also that Shepherd’s eight word opinion that the Leftist explanation is more likely (‘could well be more convincing in most cases’) has mysteriously vanished.
Now Lerman moves to page 105. He says Shepherd “attacks ‘anti-Zionist Jews’ again”.
This is familiar. It’s the ‘reportage equals opinion’ tactic. Shepherd is merely observing that Jews in the Diaspora who are both secular and anti-Zionist have little identity left as Jews. Many would agree. Now take a deep breath. Shepherd concludes ‘They may or may not be self-hating Jews but they are certainly self-negating Jews.’ Lerman twists this into “he’s saying its 50 per cent likely that they are self-hating” and uses his own earlier argument – see above for the gaping logical chasms in that – to support this assertion.
Try this one: “Drunken drivers may or may not be alcoholics but they certainly cause danger”. Does that statement imply that drunken drivers are 50 percent likely to be alcoholics? Of course it doesn’t!
To summarise:

  • Lerman takes Shepherd’s reportage about the ‘self-hate’ concept and tries to put into his mouth the statement that the reason leftwing Jews turn against Israel is because they are self-haters.
  • To try to bolster this blatant misrepresentation, Lerman pretends that Shepherd (i) never posited ‘Old’ Leftism as the explanation for Jewish anti-Zionism and (ii) never wrote the eight words ‘could well be more convincing in most cases’
  • Lerman wrongly says that Shepherd ‘attacks anti-Zionist Jews’
  • Lerman makes a complete non-sequitur (the ’50 percent’ comment).

And it is Lerman who accuses another poster of being “singularly incapable of reading and understanding a text”!

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