Olympia Redux – We’ve Got Mail! (well, Comments)

We should all use recent visits by some “Sons of Olympia” to the comments section on this recent posting as a learning moment.

In one sense, it would be easy to dismiss one commenter’s throwing Rachel Corrie’s corpse in our faces and another commenter’s accusations of racism and Apartheid (coupled with an abject refusal to reply to responses to those accusations) as simply part of the deeply cynical strategy of “Accuse, Accuse, Accuse. Never Reply, Never Respond, Never Acknowledge Another Opinion,” with which we are all familiar from BDS-land. But, in this case, I believe assumptions of cynicism to be a mistake.

Rather, the motivation I see in this type of behavior is not cynicism, but fantasy, notably the fantasy these two people and their “movement” hold that they (and they alone) represent the Alpha and Omega of righteousness. Under this interpretation, our Olympian friends begin with but a single premise: their own unquestionable virtue. And while most of us would respond to evidence, claims and counter-claims by listening to that evidence and turning those claims into premises which can be evaluated for truth or falsehood, the fantasist uses logic that goes something like this:

A. I am a person of infinite virtue

B. Someone is describing what I said or believe in a way that implies those positions could not be held by someone of infinite virtue.

C. Therefore, whatever is being said in response to my statements and accusations must be false

Indeed, if you look at these recent exchanges, it is clear that this fantasy logic has been so internalized that it would never even dawn on the fantasist to listen to, much less think about, much less respond to anything anyone else has to say.

Much of what we have seen come out of Olympia (including the selfish desire to gain political advantage at the expense of one’s neighbors) makes perfect sense once you realize how fantasy fits into the equation. For while one Olympian visitor may come off as hysterical and the other as oafish, both are linked by a political identity motivated not by a desire for peace, not by a concern for others (including Palestinians, Israelis or fellow Olympians) but the all-consuming, all-critical, all-devouring “ME.”

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4 Responses to Olympia Redux – We’ve Got Mail! (well, Comments)

  1. Stop BDS Park Slope September 23, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    Jon –

    Once again you have so accurately described what goes on in BDS-land.

    I attended a so-called “open-conversation” about BDS last week, and it was a stupefying experience. So much internal contradiction, so much cognitive dissonance, so much distorted fact.

    Keep up the good fight.


  2. David H. September 23, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    i'm leaving this message on any pro-Israel blogs i come across. there is a blog site that is loaded with confrontations and demonstration Youtube videos between pro-Israel activists and supporters of terror in the San Francisco Bay Area. yes there is support for Israel here and you are not alone! the blog consists of minimal text with mostly just just preview photos and Youtube links. i will be updating this blog with more videos over the course of the next few days. leave a comment if you want to get in touch and network or otherwise just enjoy the videos as we stick it too the Israel bashers like we did recently at a pro-palestinian parade contingent in Berkeley CA. on the 10th Anniversary of 911

  3. Anon July 21, 2017 at 7:27 pm #

    It looks like they were offering an explanation and you’ve replied with a whataboutism. Way to miss the opportunity for a learning moment

    • DivestThis July 23, 2017 at 10:00 am #

      I’m curious – do you even know what “whataboutism” is? If not, here’s a refresher: http://divestthis.com/2015/07/whataboutism.html.

      The reason I ask is that while there are a number of things you could legitimately criticize in my response to those long-ago visitors from Olympia, “whataboutism” (which implies I’m asking critics to dedicate their lives to every other human rights issue before getting to Israel) isn’t one of them.

      Intriguing if Israel-dislikers like our visitor have gotten so out of shape from refusing to engage with opponents in any meaningful way that they now simply grab an excuse by it’s tag line (“false accusations of anti-Semitism!” “whataboutism, etc.) without even understanding what those terms/arguments mean.

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