March 08, 2009

Engage rounds on Lerman again

I checked Engage a few times today to see how they would inevitably misrepresent Anthony Lerman's article in yesterday's Independent. They got round to linking to it but the original post, by "professional sociologist", Dr Hirsh contained only a childish personal attack on Lerman (apparently he's a new conservative - not a neo-conservative) without mentioning what he had actually written. I'm guessing it's because the last time that I'm aware that Hirsh crossed swords with Lerman, Lerman wiped him out.

But anyway, all Hirsh did this time was hang a pointer to the article and insult the man to let the faithful know that "we" don't like this Lerman character. But what's all this? The Doctor has delegated the task of misrepresenting what Lerman said to someone who doesn't even have a whole name, just a first name, unless his surname's Saul. So what does this Saul say?
Where Arendt, Katz and Baron differ from Lerman, of course, is that whilst they offer a critique of “eternal antisemitism”, they do so in the recognition of the real existence of the antisemitism of their day. None of them, as Lerman does, denies its existence or blames the Jews for its existence. On the contrary, their critique of “eternal antisemitism” is made so as to bring into relief the specific contours of the antisemitism of their day so as to understand it all the more clearly and, as a consequence, to oppose it all the more effectively.
So Lerman has said that there is no such thing as antisemitism, that is he "denies its existence" and he "blames the Jews for its existence", er, in spite of the fact he denies its existence. How does he deny something exists whilst blaming people for its existence? Saul doesn't even note, still less does he explain the paradox.

Here's a little chunk of what Lerman actually wrote since Saul didn't actually quote anything that he wrote:
It's perfectly possible to acknowledge the pain caused by increased anti-Semitism but reject wild scenarios and counterproductive ways of dealing with the problem – such as demonising strong criticism of Israel. We should be able to have a dialogue about alternative ways of interpreting what's happening and what needs to be done. Sadly, the Jewish establishment here and other self-appointed gatekeepers of Jewish dignity see this as traitorous and a denial of anti-Semitism.
He seems to have read Saul's critique before Saul wrote it. I tell you, those Jews, they've got such uncanny powers.


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