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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 28, 2003

Junk science, big lies, and consensual reality

For a fascinatiing batch of exchanges about the so-called "Israeli weapons being developed for genocidal purposes", see Kesher Talk (link in title), and especially look over the comments of this exchange of views on the topic
Junk science, big lies, and consensual reality. This is a chronological record of a controversy which arose this week over Aziz Poonwalla's post about Israel's WMDs.

Initially, Aziz Poonwalla poses a simple question, with a complicated answer about which reasonable people can disagree: Why does Israel need WMDs? And indeed, some of the commenters attempt to respond to that question, pro and con. However, near the end of his post he inserts a bit of unsupported rumor that recalls the centuries-old pattern of blood libel: and perhaps even more alarmingly, Israel may be developing what can only be called a Weapon of Mass Genocide (WMG) - a bioweapon targeted at Arabs which would leave Jews unaffected.

If you don't understand the reference or think the comparison is overblown, you are not alone. But keep reading, because that's what Joe, Diane, Aziz, Ikram, Charles, Meryl, E. Nough, Tacitus, Laurence, and many others started arguing about. Ultimately - as Joe Katzman and Armed Liberal point out - this controversy is about consensual reality: if we do not live in a world where verifiable facts have the same influence on everyone, what do we have left?

(In this debate which ranges over at least five popular blogs and many commenters, most of the action is in the comment threads, so be sure to read them. And if you want to know what I think, look for comments by "Yehudit.")

Aziz's original post: Why does Israel need WMDs?

Comment thread on Aziz's post.