Comments

This will no doubt come to bite me in the butt, but until I can figure out what’s wrong with the CAPTCHA utility I installed a couple months back to keep the site from being flooded with comment spam from various pants and Viagra salespeople, I’ve decided to turn it off so that anyone can contribute without going through a wall that seems to be keeping out almost everyone.

Speaking of comments, I’ve officially collected enough data points to describe a meaningful trend with regard to those dialog-starved, tough-lovin’ BDSbyterians who want everyone to know that their behavior over the last year simply demonstrates their faith-based virtues, something we’d understand if we only grasped their outstretched hand.

The trouble is, when I’ve reach out for that supposed “hand of reconciliation” by providing responses to over a half dozen entries on blogs run by Presbyterians in favor of last summer’s divestment vote, in five out of six cases the creators of those blogs deleted what I had to say (one going so far as to delete the entire comment thread – including his own responses).

The most recent example of this had to do with someone who made an appearance in the BDSbyterian piece linked above: Reverend Mark Davidson of the Church of Reconciliation (!) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

If you recall, Davidson was the fellow who decided the best way to show his devotion to justice and interfaith dialog was to plaster busses in the Chapel Hill area with those egregious “Be With Us” ads that have confused the public and appalled Jews and non-Jews across the country. And when he and his fellow BDSers were subjected to criticism for their thoughtless behavior, he decided that interfaith dialog could best be served by spreading this campaign across the country.

Recently, Rev. Davidson joined with a fellow NC BDSbyterian to write this piece which called for the church to stop pretending to not take a stand on the Arab-Israeli conflict and to be upfront with what everyone else can plainly see: that PCUSA has become a partisan in a hotly contested political conflict, favoring one side over the other (which, in this case, includes accepting the Arab characterization of events as the only acceptable truth).

In an odd way, I applaud Rev. Davidson’s honesty, just as I applauded John Spritzler who stumbled into stating plainly what others in the BDS brigade are trying to obfuscate: that the goal of BDS is the end of Israel as a Jewish homeland. And so I wrote the following comment to inform the authors and readers of that “Take a Stand” piece of the implications of such a decision:

“The problem (and the reason why so few take PCUSA’s opinion on the Middle East seriously) is that when there are two sides in a human conflict, then selecting to stand against one side means by definition that you are standing with the other. So by opposing the Israeli “side” (or, more specifically, standing against Israel and its allies, notably the US) in the conflict, you are embracing the Palestinian “side” (which must include *its* allies in the larger Arab and Muslim world).

But once someone starts probing how your choice of a side makes you complicit with the actions of those whose side you’ve chosen, suddenly there is an immediate retreat to the language of neutrality (often taking the form of claims that the church is simply embracing Christian love and peacemaking for all concerned). In other words, the notion that a church which has chosen a side must then take responsibility for that side’s behavior (including kidnapping, indiscriminate missile firing, use of human shields, killing of its own people – not to mention the repression of religious minorities: including Christians) is totally alien to an organization that wants all the benefits of taking a stand (including praise for its “bravery”) without having to live with any responsibility for its choices.”

Now you will notice that this response contained no obscenities or insults, no accusations of anti-Semitism or bigotry, but simply described what “taking a side” would actually involve (and cost).

And within minutes, my comment was deleted.

Stop and think about this for a moment. In a story specifically about “taking a stand,” the authors demonstrated an unwillingness to actually take a stand by defending their beliefs (although they did allow a couple of “you’re so wonderful” comments to appear below their posting). And, like other BDSbyterians who have been claiming since June that they are dying to engage in dialog with Jews (and non-Jews) who disagree with the divestment policy they stuffed down the throat of PCUSA, when it comes time to actually engage with critics, they do everything in their power to avoid the very dialog they constantly claim to crave.

While hypocrisy is always the easiest (and most obvious) explanation of such behavior, another explanation might be the fantasy bubble that BDSers routinely blow around themselves. For within this bubble, they can only hear the voices of those who shower them with praise and critics who shout vulgarities and accusations at them, which allows them to separate the world into the white-hatted, virtuous “we” and the right-wing-y, hysterical “they.” But when voices appear that ask challenging questions to which they have no answers, the response is to shut those words out and disappear them from any else’s view.

Anyway, I just discovered that this “Taking a Stand” piece was part of a series which also includes this piece which takes aim at the censorship (or “book burning”) represented by Zionism Unsettled being removed from the official PCUSA web site, to which I commented:

“Given how much the writers of this piece despise censorship (or “book burning at the courthouse steps”) in any form, you may be shocked to learn that the authors of another piece in this same series on the ecclesio web site (Taking a Stand, by Reverends Davidson and Shive) have repeatedly censored my comments, despite the fact that they contained no vulgarities or irresponsible accusations, just challenging questions that (I must assume) the authors were not comfortable confronting.

You can read about the issue at http://divestthis.com/2014/09/comments.html.  And, given the churches call for genuine dialog (no matter how difficult), I hope you will convince contributors to this site to not shy away from difficult issues going forward.”

I’ve got a stop watch going to see how long it takes for them to wipe those words from existence as well.

UPDATE: That comment I posted failed to appear, which would imply the site may not be accepting comments generally or has blocked yours truly.  Now it may be stuck in moderation, but I’m choosing to not hold my breath until it appears.  Nuff said.

7 Responses to Comments

  1. fizziks September 29, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    I’m glad you took the filter off because I had given up on commenting here.

  2. Herb Glatter September 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Boo-hoo, i am crestfallen, blocked from commenting on the vile Mondoweiss site. i still comment on their FB page. I have created Mondodreck on FB. If you visit and approve, please like, comment and share

    • Barbara Mazor October 3, 2014 at 3:30 am #

      Good for you, Herb. I liked it. You must have an iron constitution if you can follow Mondoweis. It makes my head hurt and my stomach churn.

  3. Mike Harris September 30, 2014 at 5:07 am #

    Jon– just tossing this is so I can follow any new comments. I’ve missed the attempts of BDSbyterians, Jewish Voice for BDS,and similar groups to make their case on your site, so I’m hoping some will choose to comment. Because for people supposedly interested in dialogue, they dodge almost any opportunity to engage in a fair debate.

  4. Bor October 2, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    The barring and erasing of comments happens all the time on numerous venues. It’s actually laughable because they never ban for any good reason. Rather, they ban and erase because they don’t approve of the positions of the commenter. Most recently this happened to me on the Chronicle of Higher Education site (!!!!!!!) where in conversations about Salaita and BDS, they simply remove polite and salient comments if they feel like it.

  5. Barbara Mazor October 3, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    Great post, Jon. Good for you for following their sites and calling them out. It is amazing how they manage to tune out all criticism. I am very disheartened as I see an increasingly violent gestalt.

  6. Fred Milton Olsen October 5, 2014 at 12:04 am #

    >>>”The trouble is, when I’ve reach out for that supposed “hand of reconciliation” by providing responses to over a half dozen entries on blogs run by Presbyterians in favor of last summer’s divestment vote, in five out of six cases the creators of those blogs deleted what I had to say (one going so far as to delete the entire comment thread – including his own responses).”

    Censorship must be opposed by all moral, thinking peoples. Censorship removes conversation, even heated conversations, from the table. Non-violent conflict resolution is always preferred, and that’s much more difficult when censorship occurs. Censors think they are controlling things, but they will always be gotten around and eventually defeated.

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