Haviland Smith uses the latest outbreak of violence in the Middle East to construct a convoluted diatribe against Israel in the Sunday, Sept. 23 Rutland Herald and Times Argus. He does so by ignoring the facts about who actually made the film deemed insulting to Muslims, and then by building a misleading case around a lie.
Mr. Smith pretends that no one knows who made the film. He implicates “fundamentalist American Christians, an Israeli American, assorted Israelis, fundamentalist Muslim terrorists and God knows what else ... The fact remains that we have no idea.” In fact, as he and the rest of the world well know, the responsibility was directly traced to an Egyptian Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula some two weeks before his commentary appeared.
Then, Mr. Smith reasons, since we don’t know the perpetrators (which we do), we should look at who stands to gain from the fallout, and thereby uncover the guilty party.
Muslim fundamentalists who “seek to stay in permanent conflict with America,” are promoting the violence, he says. But the group that clearly has the most to gain are — you guessed it — “Israelis who have struggled against Palestinian interests … (for whom) anything they can do to turn America against Palestine, against Arabs and Muslims in general … is by definition a good thing.”
Then, to bolster his faulty logic, Mr. Smith repeats the lie, first perpetrated by the actual filmmakers and within a day discredited by every responsible U.S. and international news media, that it was an Israeli-American real estate developer backed by 100 Jewish businessmen (not 99 or 102) who produced the film. And, even if this were true, it would be scurrilous to condemn an entire country’s government and half its population for the deeds of 101 individuals.
To use an analogy: If a wife is murdered, and it turns out her husband had a large life insurance policy on her, surely suspicion would fall on him. But if another party who could benefit equally from the murder confesses, surely one would expect the husband to be exonerated. By Mr. Smith’s biased logic, however, we would ignore the confessed killer and continue to blame the husband.
Unwary readers should expect a more rational presentation from a person with Mr. Smith’s credentials.
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