April 16, 2007

"Dr. Maxtor" and Anti-Semitism

Some time ago I wrote about an argument often used to defend Arabs charged with anti-Semitism: pretending to think that "anti-Semitic" refers, as its etymology suggests, to hatred of Semitic people in general and that therefore Arabs, as Semites themselves, cannot be anti-Semitic. I say "pretending" because much of the time one can reasonably infer from the speaker's education and experience that he or she knows perfectly well that "anti-Semitic" refers specifically to hatred of Jews, but we generally can't be certain that it is a rhetorical ploy rather than ignorance. I just chanced upon a case in which there is no question that the writer knows the true meaning of "anti-Semitic".

In this post a blogger who goes by the name "Dr. Maxtor" makes the familiar fake argument. When a commenter points out that:

The word "anti-Semitism" was coined in Germany to mean "hatred of Jews". Sure, Arabs are the most numerous Semitic race, but the term "anti-Semitism" is too firmly established to redefine as "hatred of Arabs".

"Dr. Maxtor" responds (emphasis mine):

I'm aware of that George, but its time the word was redefined to include all semites.

This is an admission of dishonesty: he knew that the argument he made was invalid but made it anyway. Ironically, his post is entitled "Detoxing the lies of Mona Eltahawy" and is devoted to the theme that Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy:

is known for writing some very dishonest and unintelligent articles.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black...

Posted by Bill Poser at April 16, 2007 12:04 AM