Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite, then what are we to make of Barack Obama?

National Center for Science Education blogger Josh Rosenau seems to find some kind of solace in thinking I am "upset" whenever he engages in overstatement, fallacious reasoning, and blatant falsehoods. "Cothran was very upset ..." (4/21/09); "Martin Cothran, presumably upset..." (4/22/09) .

Not to deprive him of the comfort he seems to derive from the thought, but I don't generally get upset by silliness, and actually find it quite fulfilling to point it out when members of the self-appointed Science Truth Patrol get it wrong.

After referring to me as a "supposed logic teacher" (is this different from, like, an "actual" logic teacher?), supposed graduate student at the University of Kansas Rosenau, under the apparent belief that repeating an unfounded charge makes it true, says I have "now sunken [sic] to defending Holocaust denial." Now I'm trying to figure out which is worse: actually defending Holocaust denial, which I never did, or falsely charging someone else with defending Holocaust denial, which he did do.

Falsehood clearly is not uncharacteristic of Rosenau. He says I "objected" to "my calling him a 'stooge for Focus on the Family,' even though he works for that group's Kentucky affiliate."


Well, first of all, I never "objected" to anything. Again, I am quite happy to have Rosenau make wild, baseless charges, as long as I get the pleasure of pointing them out. It doesn't reflect badly on me. And, secondly, the group I have worked for is not an affiliate of Focus on the Family, and never has been.

Not that it would matter if it were, but it is a false statement. Let's see if Rosenau has the integrity to admit it is not true.

And, of course, the wrecklessness he employs on this matter is practiced throughout his entire post. He spends the majority of his time contorting himself into various interesting ideological knots trying to justify calling someone an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier who clearly is not.

Rosenau's arguments are a collection of guilt by association arguments and half truths, mixed in with a few demonstrable falsehoods. The only solid point he makes is about a factoid Buchanan used in one of his columns from an e-mail someone had sent him that he apparently had not checked out. But if careless use of sources is a crime, then why is Rosenau walking the streets?

One of Buchanan's claims, concerning the reliability of survivor testimonies in Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem came from the Jerusalam Post. I can't wait to hear Rosenau accuse the Jerusalem Post of Holocaust denial. The story's quote was questioned by Shumel Krakowski the director of the Yad Vashem Archives in Jerusalem who the reporter quoted, but, as far as I can discern, the reporter has stood by her story.

But even if it is not true, and there is certainly grave doubt about it, the interesting thing about this particular story is that these statements by Buchanan were made in the context of the trial of John Demjanjuk, a retired American autoworker of Ukraine descent who was charged by overzealous Nazi hunters with being "Ivan the Terrible," the notorious prison guard at the Treblinka Concentration Camp, partly on the basis of survivor testimony--all of which turned out to be false when the real identity of Ivan the Terrible was discovered.

But obviously Rosenau doesn't care about evidence, since he still refers to Demjanjuk as a "war criminal," despite the fact that he was acquitted by ... The Israeli Supreme Court. Which means that, according to Rosenau's reasoning, the Israeli Supreme Court must be made up of Holocaust deniers too.

Virtually all of Rosenau's charges against Buchanan have to do in one way or another with the Demjanjuk case--a case in which Buchanan so far has been proven right. I don't share Buchanan's extremely low view of the OSI, but I can certainly understand why he has it given their sorry record on the Demjanjuk case.

Rosenau apparently thinks that in order to be a believer in the Holocaust you have to support false charges against alleged war criminals. He also doesn't seem to understand that defending someone against charges of being a war criminal that prove to be false is not the same thing as denying the Holocaust.

What is it about the fact that you have to actually deny the Holocaust to be a Holocaust denier that Josh Rosenau doesn't understand?

Then there are the charges of anti-Semitism which Rosenau levels against Buchanan on the basis of ill-chosen associations like appearing on a questionable radio show to promote one of his books, and defending a war criminal. Oh, and let's see, who was that war criminal again? Oh yeah, John Demjanjuk, who they can't even convict for war crimes in Israel.

Now, let's see, if Buchanan is some kind of anti-Semite because of a bad choice of radio shows and because he questions Israeli foreign policy, then what would we day about a person who hangs with people who say things like "Israel is a 'racist' state with an 'apartheid system' and that America has been 'brainwashed' by Israel"?

A person who served on the board of an organization that considered the existence of Israel "a catastrophe"?

A person whose appointees have been members of the radical Muslim Brotherhood?

Who went to a church in which the pastor used rascist and anti-Israel rhetoric?

Who was endorsed for political office by and attended events sponsored by Louis Farakhan?

And who was endorsed by the leader of Hamas?

Apparently, Rosenau didn't notice that the arguments he used to try to establish that Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite apply to the very person he set out to defend in his post of April 21st: Barack Obama.

Here's another fine mess Rosenau has gotten himself into.

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