I recently received an e-mail from a correspondent in Toronto, who was having a very difficult time debating through e-mail with an individual who was quite anti-Israel. The antagonist’s debating points were well stated, well written and well presented.
But; more than that. They were exceptionally dishonest. What this antagonist, his name being Andrew had accomplished in his debate against my correspondent, Lou, was classic. He had Lou trying to disprove a negative. In this case many negatives.
People who are insincere, dishonest and cunning will usually stoop to that level in a debate. Such as: Prove that you don’t hit your wife and kick your dog. To prove, that you do not do these horrible things is impossible. Regardless of how hard you try. Therefore; why even try? It’s a mug’s game.
That’s why, when a person is publicly accused in the media of committing a nefarious deed, innocence usually goes out the window. Usually the story is all that is needed to charge, convict and sentence a person. Perception becomes the reality. If it was covered by the media. It must be true.
The legal remedy for this is a suit filed for slander and/or defamation of character. This keeps the press more or less honest. And certainly careful.
But; what happens when one plays this game against countries, cultures and groups without necessarily being individually target specific? It becomes much harder to disprove the negatives. Where is the liable? Who has been defamed? What is the value of the damage and redress?
These are issues that are more or less covered in anti-hate laws. However; the bigger the “negative”, the more difficult it is to disprove. That’s also why cultural and religious groups very often maintain anti-defamation offices.
So; to this disingenuous debater named Andrew, who is so quick and smug to crap all over Israel for perceived guilt in his mind’s eye by asking Lou to disprove the negatives; let him try this on for size:
Let Andrew prove that Arafat wants peace. Especially after he walked away from the most generous peace offer ever made by an Israeli leader (Ehud Barak).
Let Andrew prove that Yasser Arafat is not the grandfather of modern day terrorism.
Let Andrew prove that Arafat and the PLO didn’t support Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War.
Let Andrew prove that the Palestinian people living on the West Bank and in Gaza did not cheer as Scud missiles struck Israel. And even their own homes.
Let Andrew prove that the Palestinians under Arafat didn’t try to overthrow the late king of Jordan, King Hussein in 1970.
Let Andrew prove that Arafat’s PLO wasn’t principally responsible for the death and carnage in Lebanon’s civil war.
Let Andrew prove that most of the world’s terrorist attacks and terror networks are not created, financed and supported by the Moslem Arab world. Even attacks outside the Middle East by non Arab terror groups.
Let Andrew prove that Arafat and his cohorts have not stolen hundreds of millions of dollars, given in foreign aid mostly from Free World Countries for the benefit of the Palestinian people he is leading.
Let Andrew prove that Islamists are not all terrorists deep down inside.
Let Andrew prove that Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Kuwait, Libya, Egypt, Jordan et al are not all Islamic despotic police states governed by tyrants.
Let Andrew prove that the UN is not anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.
Let Andrew prove that democracy is not a good thing. And if not. How then, can he support the Arab alternative?
Let Andrew prove that suicide bombers and other terrorists are not part of the overall Arab mind-set. Especially when the parents of “martyred” children are celebrated after their “kids” die in the commission of state and religious inspired murder.
Let Andrew prove that it was a good thing for the Palestinians to recreate the bombing scene of the Jerusalem Sbarro Pizza restaurant as a museum art-form to celebrate and immortalize the murderers.
Let Andrew prove that the Arab press is justified in publishing, airing and televising hateful anti-American, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate propaganda.
Let Andrew prove that Arabs and Islamists don’t teach their children from birth to hate Jews. Even, and especially in their schools.
Let Andrew prove that constant religious calls from the Islamists for the destruction and death of Israel and Jews is acceptable behavior.
Let Andrew prove that Arab children don’t go to terrorist camps like we send our children to outdoor and academic learning camps.
Let Andrew prove why education, the arts, science, medicine and the humanities are not foremost on the Arab Agenda.
Let Andrew prove that Islamic states, which also hate the West are justified in their mistreatment of women.
Let Andrew prove that it is not the fault of the Arabs themselves, that Palestinians are in refugee camps of their “own” making. Even in the West Bank and Gaza. Controlled by the Palestinians.
Let Andrew prove that Palestinians can be called “refugees” in their own territories, when native North American’s living on Indian Reservations are not.
Let Andrew prove that the Arab world hasn’t used the Palestinians as cannon fodder in their own racist war against the Jews for over 50 years.
Let Andrew prove that the Arab world hasn’t totally abandoned the Palestinians, who they themselves exhorted to leave their homes in 1948.
Let Andrew prove that Arabs haven’t slaughtered more of each other, in just one of their many confrontations; too many to count; than Israelis have killed in total, in self defense over a time frame of 50 years.
Let Andrew prove, that even with the enormous oil wealth showered upon the Arab and Moslem world, that the Arab and Moslem people living outside of democracies do not live in abject poverty, filth and degradation.
All the assertions I made in the preceding are honest negatives that I would want this creep Andrew to disprove. He can’t. Because to a point they are all true. So where do you start the debate when the antagonist is disingenuous?
It is easy to make a blanket statement about anyone or any group without including the facts, circumstances and background behind the debating point. It is in fact a debate one can not win. However; in essence, it is also a debate the antagonist will absolutely lose if the other side does not take the bait.
The perfect example of losing by trying to force the other side to disprove a negative are the Palestinians themselves. For years they’ve been asking the Israelis to disprove negatives, to the encouragement of the world body except the USA. And for years, the Israelis have refused to play that game, and as a result have more or less fared very well in their quest to survive with security.
However; since Oslo in 1993, the Israelis have begun to play, and the result has been disastrous for them. And now that they have finally “learned” not to play; it seems that the Palestinians are now the one’s facing disaster and their own moment of truth.
If you are going to debate and negotiate in private, corporate or political life, it has to be from an honest position. Otherwise; there is no sense in even bothering. Imagine how long a personal relationship would last if one partner expected the other to disprove negatives. The relationship would never last.
And If the Palestinians are not real careful. Neither will they. As for Andrew and Lou. Lou should stop wasting his time trying to deal with someone who obviously has too much time and too little ethics.