Atheist defends Dawkins. Shock, horror. (OK, not.) Still the Times has an unpleasant piece by Daniel Finkelstein in which he distorts something Dawkins said in the Guardian in order to misrepresent Dawkins as anti-semetic.
So Dawkins, a liberal hero, believes, er, that Jews control world power. And, judging from the Guardian, it is now a part of mainstream debate to say so. Perhaps you think I am over-reacting, but I am a little bit frightened.
Well no. What Dawkins actually said is that atheists need some organisation analogous to the Jewish lobby, which had proved its success by the fact that it had managed to
more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see.
It seemed obvious to several commentators that
(a) US foreign policy seemed more than a little pro-Israel;
(b) this is not even explicable in terms of the US’s own national interests (oranges versus oil, as one commentator remarked);
(c) it reflects the influence of pro-Israeli American lobbyists and people in power.
This is a huge leap away from saying that Jews monopolise world power, as the blog headline and comments said. However, this misrepresentation of Dawkins was taken by some Times commentators as a given. And stuck together with a self-evidently ludicrous claim that Dawkins wanted to take children away from their parents if the parents taught them religion. To make a general attribution of Dawkins really being a Nazi.
I know. I know. This sort of thing doesn’t even bear recognising as a rational discourse. But still, I think it is worth repeating ad nauseam that opposing Israel does not make one a Nazi.
The Jews suffered terribly in Germany. Why didn’t they get given Germany? They didn’t suffer anything at the hands of the Palestinians. Why did they get Palestine? Well, partly because they carried out a prolonged terrorist campaign against the British government to get it.
Terrorist campaign, note. The British government gave in.
If the USA had not been committed over decades to supporting everything that Israel did, ignoring the complaints of the Palestinians as their land was taken and they were turned into refugees in their own country, there would be no insane jihadists now.
The only quarrel I would have with Dawkins in this is that atheists don’t have an agreed agenda beyond removing religious influence from the public sphere. What else would be the point of atheist lobbyists? Remember the herding cats thing? The capacity to think independently is the strength of rational people, not their weakness.