The Post that Wasn’t
When I wrote two weeks ago that I was “back,” and hoped to resume posting more frequently, I also wrote that I planned a post on “Michael Bloomberg, Barack Obama, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and telecommunications.” That post never materialized, simply because I waited to gather information. A good friend of mine is a strong left-winger, and I knew that once he had a moment he could fill me in on “the other side of the issue.” The result of that conversation is that the post I had contemplated won’t be written. My initial understanding of the subject was wrong; once corrected, I can’t see a particularly Jewish spin to one side of the issue over the other.
Not only information, but misinformation, can spread quickly once published. Yes, the writer can look foolish once shown to be wrong, but it’s also all too easy to “stick to your guns” and not publish the correction with nearly the prominence needed.
Just think for a moment about the damage done by the myth of the “shooting” of Mohammed Al-Dura, which I put in quotes because of the very serious possibility that he was never shot at all. It was published worldwide, and even Jewish “leaders” rushed to take Israel to task. [Even had a child been shot by Israeli troops, it would only have been an accident caused by the willingness of terrorists to use children (intentionally) as human shields.] But, in fact, if he was killed at all, the gunfire didn’t come from the correct angle to be Israeli. And the tapes now shown (we still have not seen it all) make it clear that this was a staged event, one of a series of staged events filmed that day.
It should be obvious that Cross-Currents won’t try to create a myth, especially on such an incendiary issue. But nonetheless, even inadvertent errors of fact can color opinions (personally, I don’t believe the myth that Senator Obama is Muslim has any “traction” and warranted Mayor Bloomberg’s comment, but here again, I could be wrong). It’s always worth it to wait a few days, and get the facts straight before wasting pixels on misinformation. On that, there is most definitely a Jewish side to the issue — one that speaks for patient, careful judgment.
“personally, I don’t believe the myth that Senator Obama is Muslim has any “traction” and warranted Mayor Bloomberg’s comment, but here again, I could be wrong”
The problem as I see it is that by perpetuating such inuendoes members of our community debase themselves. There are very good reasons not to support the candidacy of Obama and it is not worthy of people of calibre to participate in low brow rumor mongering.
This is true no matter who wins the election. It is an issue of integrity. However, no one has control over what people say and what they write on blogs. In our frum population there are those who like to spread this junk and they harm us. There is a better than 50% chance that Obama and his team will be in charge for at least 4 years. Shouldn’t we not burn our bridges?
I know people who believe that Obama is a Moslem. No facts will convince them otherwise. I don’t believe that they are unique. There must be a benefit to some people to hold fast to the belief that Obama is a Muslim.
This was a good post.
R’ Menken, awhile back you made a comment about how The Rav was never on the Moetzes. This is a burgeoning revisionism and I think it’s important to correct it as prominently as possible. The Agudah’s own house history, The Struggle and the Splendor makes the error of claiming that the Agudah’s Moetzes was started in 1948, but in actuality, it was started in 1941. The Rav was not only a member of America’s original Moetzes (see p. 16 of Hapardes, 1941); he was the American Agudah’s National Executive Director (see R’ Rakeffet’s The Silver Era, the chapter entitled “Agudath Israel”)!
An impressive post.
Human beings enjoy the feeling that they belong to some “team” and it’s impressive when someone who DOES generally appear to belong to a particular team is able to withhold judgement on some opinion until he has engaged in honest research and is then able to overcome his natural bias and to announce his anti-team conclusions in public.
Obama’s father was a Muslim, which makes him Muslim by Muslim law in the same way that a Jewish mother makes you Jewish.
Obviously his personal beliefs are Christian rather than Islamic. But to hundreds of millions of Muslims, that makes him an apostate rather than a legitimate Christian. That’s not Obama’s fault, but it is something to be kept in mind when choosing a president who will have to deal with Muslim countries.