I recently had a spirited interchange with a fervent advocate of “human rights” who dubbed those who agree with his politics “decent human beings,” and declared that I (and, by extension, others) who disagree with him, should “be ashamed” of ourselves. Since he could accuse me of nothing more than being right-wing (I’ve been called worse), and unfairly deleting his last tiresome, repetitious, and fact-free comment (an act he called “censorship” and “stifling debate”), I consider myself lucky.
I would like to make a few points about how I see the blogging enterprise. First, after consulting other bloggers, I am inclined to agree that my blog is like my living room. (The living room image is particularly espoused by Treppenwitz and Seraphic Secret.) You are invited, even if a stranger, to enter, read what I have to say, and participate in the conversation. You are allowed to disagree. You are allowed to present an alternative viewpoint. But one of the things I do not have patience for is hysterical, obsessive Israel-bashing.
This leads to my second point. I like to employ facts in my search for truth. As the reader, you’re allowed to disagree with me, but you’d better have some facts to back up what you say. If you’ve never been to Israel, only read the New York Times, listen to Pacifica, and make it a point never to talk to people whose politics aren’t in line with your own, you’re probably not very well equipped to comment on this blog. Even more so if your own inclinations are to dismiss any information compiled, recorded, or published by Israelis or Jews in general, since your view of Jews is that as a group they are devious, untrustworthy, and untruthful. This blog grapples with difficult issues, and I find that complicated issues lend themselves to greater understanding through the employment of science, history, and actual events. Wishful thinking, fantasy, sloganeering, idealism—these all have their place in our lives. But they have little purpose for the sort of exploration I attempt in this blog.
At the end of the day, this blog is an outlet for my own thoughts and opinions. I bring everything I am, where I’ve been, and what I’ve learned to my posts. I attempt to be circumspect, to see things from more than one point of view. I do read columnists and journalists I disagree with. But when I write a post, it’s going to be about what I think. It will in most cases be accompanied by links to sources I consider reliable, and include facts or observations from my own perspective. When you read this blog, you’re reading ME. You don’t have to like what I say. You don’t have to come back. But if you do, it’s still going to be MY posts you’re going to read. (Jimmy Carter doesn’t post here.) If you must have an outlet for your opinions and cannot do so on my blog within the constraints outlined here, start your own.
This leads me to my final point. This blog is not a public forum; just go to any talkback section after a news item, read the comments, and you’ll see what a free-for-all, low level of discourse exists in a public forum. I expect the level of discourse on this blog to rise above that. If you have information or a well-substantiated opinion to offer, please share. But as a schoolmarm and an academic (I have three master’s degrees), I will expect you to support what you say with verifiable facts or intelligent thought, not just shoot from the hip.
Now that I’ve said all that, welcome to Shimshonit.