Phi Beta Cons

Gerges’s Remarkable Relativism

Here from Winfield Myers at Campus Watch is part of a NPR interview with Fawaz Gerges, an ABC news analyst and Sarah Lawrence College professor. He draws a remarkably clear moral equivalency between the Holocaust and the “plight of the Palestinians.” It is remarkable, that is, for its boldness and stupidity. I’ve followed Gerges’s perorations for a long time. Usually he is quite slick – equivocating, “triangulating.” Until now. Here he is ham-fisted, for example, when he pronounces:

“When I talk to Muslims and Arabs, the first question, you say, ‘well look, this, say we are Semites ourselves; how can we be anti-Semites?” [I haven’t heard any such emphasis on common identity, have you?]
And: “[T]here have been a great many Arab and Muslim scholars who have made it very clear that denying the Holocaust does great moral damage to the cause of the Palestinians.” [Hardly a “great many,” I warrant.]

Campus Watch justifiably concludes:

Given the number of scholars and experts in the U.S. who could comment on the Middle East, it’s remarkable that an organization like ABC News would turn to a man so willing to engage in moral and intellectual relativism. Whatever one thinks of the Palestinian question, or of Israel’s policy toward them, to speak as Gerges speaks is to cheapen the horror of the Holocaust in an effort to deny Israelis any moral foundation for their state. It’s also extremely sloppy history, especially for a scholar, and a clear attempt to use the past for contemporary political ends.

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