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August 11, 2015


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"ignorant" does not mean "stupid" ... it means uninformed.

Nothing wrong with saying someone is ignorant, if, when referencing uninformed argument, the term applies.

Derek Tokaz

Ignorant doesn't just mean uninformed, it also carries a particular insulting connotation.

However, attacking someone's argument for being born of ignorance is not ad hominem. Ad hominem is saying someone is wrong because of their identity rather than on the basis of their argument. Saying someone is ignorant is essentially saying their argument is flawed because it is based on flawed assumptions or false information. That speaks to the substance of the argument and is thus not ad hominem, even if it is impolite or insulting.



Fair enough. Some of us have been eagerly waiting the comment policy and this sort of discussion might help.

I will note that the style in legal academia is to insult in special ways: "Well, I admire your passion but" means the same thing as "you are foaming at the mouth and I think you're an idiot"; "you think you are the smartest person in the room" means "I've lost this argument, so I guess I'll just insult your motives and call you names"; "you won't sign your name" means "I can't think of any way to refute what you are saying, so I'll just say you must be a very bad person because you won't reveal your name."

THe last point is important. If the FL continues to allow anonymous comments, then I believe faulting such comments should be subject to "editing" and removal. Likewise, ANY question of a commenter's motives, instead of the points addressed, should be subject to "editing" and removal. And, ANY comments that do not address the subject, but rather the commenter or the way of commenting (if the comments are moderated) should be subject to "editing" and removal.

A thread discussing this topic would be helpful, Prof. Brody.


I want to assure Prof. Lubet that being called "ignorant" by a random pseudonymous fool on the Internet does not greatly concern me, but I appreciate his attempt to maintain some decorum. I would encourage both Prof. Lubet and said pseudonymous fellow to learn what an ad hominem actually is, since I did not commit one.

On the merits--this is certainly a usesful tweet for illustrating the fabrications and misrepresentations used by Lubet and others to smear Salaita--let's look at the tweet just prior to the one about Zionism and anti-Semitism which has been adduced as evidence of Salaita's alleged anti-semitism. This tweet read:

"If it's 'antisemitic' to deplore colonization, land theft, and child murder, then what choice does any person of conscience have?"

Salaita is here referring to the tendency of apologists for Israeli crimes to label the critics anti-semites at the drop of a hat. But it is morally correct, indeed, honorable, "to deplore colonization, land theft, and child murder," all acts of which Israel has been guilty. If that, in the eyes of some, makes one an "anti-Semite," one will have to, alas, live with the charge. So the real point of the tweets is, rather transparently, to chastise some Zionists for their grotesque cheapening of the charge of anti-Semitism, something of which Prof. Lubet is guilty as well. Or, to quote Salaita's tweets, again: “the discourses of Zionism … cheapen anti-Semitism by likening it to principled stands against state violence." And describing Salaita's moral horror at the suffering during the assault on Gaza as a case of "anti-semitisim," as Prof. Lubet has done, is part of this cheapening.

Second Try-Response to Brian Part I


Here Brian shows his true colors. He is an ideologue and apologist for anti-Zionism. That is certainly his prerogative. Indeed, the Salaita quote he uses to divert the argument is certainly not anti-Semitic. It is a one sided perspective that doesn't acknowledge Israel's efforts to broker peace by Barak at Camp David, Olmert, and Netanyahu recently by accepting Kerry's plan as a starting point. Moreover, Salaita (and Brian) equivocates terrorism with national defense. While misguided, the statement Brian quotes is not anti-Semitic.

What Brian stealthily, but not so subtly and definitely dogmatically, does is avoid addressing the significant anti-Semitic and inciteful tweets Salaita posted. We need only start with the one I offered above:

"Zionists: transforming 'anti-Semitism' from something horrible into something honorable since 1948." Here’s another of Salaita’s tweets in the same vein: “By eagerly conflating Jewishness an Israel, Zionists are partly responsible when people say antisemitic shit in response to Israeli terror.” As I said above this actually defends anti-Semitism.

Had Brian done some research he would have further found that Saliata’s profession writing (ie. non-tweets) also does much to confirm his anti-Semitic perspectives: as for instance the one in his book, Israel’s Dead Soul, where he claims most anti-Semitic crimes are committed by Jews; a claim that upon examination winds up being completely falacious with only 0.6 of violent anti-Semitic crimes being committed by Jews.

Elsewhere Salaita asserts that any “Jewish civic organization” (he names Hillel) is responsible for “Israel’s violence”, which is a modern-day form of blood libel. This blood libel appears in Salaita’s tweets as well: “Zionist uplift in America: every little Jewish boy and girl can grow up to be the leader of a murderous colonial regime.”

Second Try-Response to Brian Part II


I offer just one more post from a Salaita paper published in the Int’l J. of Critical Indigenous studies: “Their oppressors, the Jews, not only manage to cast themselves as vitim in the Israel-Palestine conflict, they have justified that self-image through an assiduous emphasis on specialness, which rants them access to special privilages.”

These, I believe, are well within the U.S. State Department examples of anti-Semitism:

“"Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities." --Working Definition of Anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia
“Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism

“Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion).
“Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
“Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
“Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
“Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.”


Now, Prof. Lubet, I hope you'll also allow me to address Brian's personal attack and questions about my use of anoynymity:
Brian's post demonstrates how personally he takes discourse and argumentation. I assume this is Brian Leiter because the style is so resembling of his defenses of Norman Finkelstein, but may be wrong. If so his ad hominem attacks, and his lack of facility to recognize them are part of a pattern that was best demonstrated in the recent Carrie Ichikawa-Jenkins affair ( It's his penchant to email and threaten people with reprisals that let me to write anonymously.

Second Try-Response to Brian Part III

I apologize for adding another post but my hyperlink from the previous one does not work. Here it is again: ,
and if it still doesn't function properly just do the following search on a web server: Jenkins september statement, 624 philosophers'. You might also be interest in the following, which further explains my desire to remain anonymous in this post:; the title of that piece is "Sometimes an apology doesn’t help" and it was published on the feministphilosophers blog on September 24, 2014.

Second Try-Response to Brian Part III


Much as I detest the individual you are referring to (I would reserve urine if he were part of a conflagration) - I have to say that trying to judge what Salaita has said by what seems to me to be highly selective and out of context quotations is pretty challenging. And it is fair to say that defenders of Israeli policy have:

(a) conflated Judaism with being Israeli (and implicitly require all Jews to support Israeli policy on pain of being "self-haters);
(b) accused pretty automatically all critics of Israeli policy of being anti-Semites;
(c) denied (b) when confronted (as they rarely are) despite plenty of examples;
(d) frequently engaged in casual racism against Palestinians and Arabs;
(e) conflated being muslim with being anti-Semitic;
(f) regularly taken statements out of context to support (a)-(e)
(g) when cornered invoked the holocaust as a debate silencer;
(h) regularly offered demonstrations of Godwin's law

And Steve Lubet has managed to demonstrate (a)-(h) - not to mention Second Try-Response to Brian Part. That does not make Lubet or Second-Try wrong, but it certainly makes both pretty unreliable, partisan and ...

Now those who criticise Israel are (i) not automatically anti-Semites, (ii) but far too many are, (iii) and far to many are too unwilling to recognise that anti-Semitism is the worm in the apple of their case, it threatens to consume it, and (iv reflexively discount the anti-Semitism of many of Israel's critics because of the bad faith displayed by deployers of the stratagems of (a)-(h). And if Steve would admit for even a moment that many accusations of anti-Semitism are false (but then ....) Other are so angered by the quiet dismissal of Israel's excesses that they lose control (an aside here, I knew an Irish UNIFIL peacekeeper Lieutenant who was deliberately murdered (with his sergeant) by the Israelis firing a heavy tank gun point blank into his bunker - to stop him seeing what they were doing in at that moment Southern Lebanon- they denied it but quietly paid both widows' substantial compensation. A squib on page 8 in the New York Times was as far as that story made it in the US (with an "oops" and a hint of well, you know, on the part of the dead.))

I have read a lot of what Salaita has said, and he has certainly engaged in rhetorical excess, and been very unwise in a world where people are looking for out of context quotes to belabour him with. But is he an anti-Semite. I do not think the case is proven. Or if it is, well, I could tear through a lot of things Steve Lubet has said, and with neat little out of context quoting I could get a lot of mileage.


I just checked the spam filter and discovered four comments that had been caught -- three from Brian and one from Second Try.

I would have deleted at least one of them, although maybe not all, in the first instance (I do not get notice of trapped comments). In any case, I think this disputation has gone on long enough, so I am not going to release them.

Just wanted to let everyone know what is going on.


The "three from Brian" were different versions of the same comment that did not appear. But now that Crazy Colm is back, I'm checking out. I hope, Prof. Lubet, you will do better going forward.



If the participants are as stated, this is one strange exchange indeed, both on this and another thread.

In any event, I agree that "this disputation has gone on long enough."

Neither Brain nor Brackets has addressed the point of the op ed, and neither has contributed anything meaningful to the discussion of the hate speech at issue. This is all just warmed over rehash.

The thread about the legal issues is more interesting.

You might want to consider closing this thread.


Ah Brian, how does the fundraising go for you little suit. Discovered the realities of security for costs...was that before or after you dug the security hole deeper with the intent of the suit is to make medical records public argument. Did you counsel quit? Most with integrity would.

As I recall your argument that "my wife is a lawyer" does not actually make you skilled in the subject you teach...

A petty, petty little fellow aren't you.

And by the way, you do know calling people crazy is such a cliché on your part that it's how people realized you were Aduren. You should discuss projection with a shrink or three.

Second Try

Thanks for your thoughtful comment on Salaita's intellectual leaning. I agree with you that we don't actually know whether Salaita is an anti-Semite. I am not making that claim, but, rather, that his writings were prominently anti-Semitic and that on that basis Chancellor Wise could concluding that offering him a tenured contract would cause a hostile environment on campus that might put the University in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

You believe that I meet all the criteria of a-h, but that's just inaccurate, and you simply don't know enough about my positions to make those aspersions:

(a) conflated Judaism with being Israeli (and implicitly require all Jews to support Israeli policy on pain of being "self-haters) (I certainly don't think this);
(b) accused pretty automatically all critics of Israeli policy of being anti-Semites (definitely don't think this);
(c) denied (b) when confronted (as they rarely are) despite plenty of examples (ambiguous (when confronted: I don't think anyone has ever confronted me of this));
(d) frequently engaged in casual racism against Palestinians and Arabs (This, I must say, I would deny in the strongest terms, and should I have any subconscious prejudices, I will work throughout my life to correct them. I believe Israelis and Arabs (including Palestinians) can live in peace and mutual respect;
(e) conflated being muslim with being anti-Semitic (no, definitely not);
(f) regularly taken statements out of context to support (a)-(e) (not applicable)
(g) when cornered invoked the holocaust as a debate silencer (??);
(h) regularly offered demonstrations of Godwin's law (why would you think this of me, I've said nothing to indicate it in this post, and have diligently avoided the mistake of comparing all nefarious social movements and politicians to Hitler)

I can't comment on the Southern Lebanon point you made. I simply don't know anything about it.

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