Barrigar’s Middle East Dualism Devoid of Nuance

Barrigar’s Middle East Dualism Devoid of Nuance

As published in Unpublished Ottawa: August 26, 2016.

Humanist Perspectives Winter 2015 Issue featured an article by retired patent lawyer Robert H. Barrigar that may be a response to my Fall 2015 article: “Gaza’s Agony – An Alternative Perspective on Recent Events.” I reached this conclusion based on Barrigar’s choice of title, references to my quoted sources and the fact that his article appeared in the issue following mine. As well, his comments indicate that he seems to have misread my article.

“How the Grinch Stole Peace or Yes, Gaza has Suffered Agony-But Muslims Could Have Prevented Most of I” is full of cautious advice for “lay readers” and those who would comment on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; a subject he considers “highly-emotional.” Since human behaviour is easily understood by the average teenager, I assume Barrigar’s “lay reader” is anyone who dares to research or write without academic affiliation or a formal (paid) relationship with the corporate media.

Rather than offer his own thoughts; he immediately advises us to read someone else’s book, The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan. To this I would add Ilan Pappe’s “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People” & “The Invention of the Land of Israel”, Benny Morris’ “Righteous Victims”, Norman Finklestein’s “The Holocaust Industry”, Miko Peled’s “The General’s Son”, Seymour Hersh’s “The Sampson Option”, Edward Said’s “The Politics of Dispossession” and the work of Avi Uverny and other Israeli journalists who routinely criticize the conduct of their government.

Barrigar is particularly critical of Noam Chomsky and juxtaposes him with Canadian commentator Ezra Levant; as if their respective accomplishments and status are equivalent. Chomsky, like all Jews who dare to criticize Israeli government policy; is routinely dismissed as a “self-hating Jew”, a term thankfully absent from Barrigar’s piece. Barrigar’s misleading use of the concept of pro/anti-Israeli bias suffers from the weakness of any dualistic approach to an issue with many layers of nuance.

Barrigar’s minimization of the role of violent Jewish terrorism during Israel’s formative years misses my original point that valorizing one’s past terrorism while condemning the present terrorism of others leaves a nation open to justified accusations of hypocrisy. Therefore, Israel’s current high-tech state terror differs from Hamas’ only in degree.

Finally, Barrigar blithely shifts responsibility for Palestinian refugees of the 1948 and 1967 wars to those Arab countries who chose not to accept them as immigrants. This fallacious reasoning excuses Israeli violation of international law regarding people displaced by conflict and the disposal of their land possessions.

Since Israeli matters inevitably lead to Holocaust references; I must ask, as King Hussein senior did: Why should Palestinian Arabs continue to suffer for European anti-Semitism?

My article: