The WJW editorial entitled “Jimmy Carter’s lesson” (April 18) contained two common logical errors. The first error, sometimes known as the false analogy, was WJW’s deduction that since Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) spoke at Howard University, former President Jimmy Carter should be allowed to speak at Cardozo. The problem here is that the protests were against Carter receiving an award, not against him speaking. The second error is sometimes called selection bias, aka choosing not to see evidence. In this case, WJW said there was no reason to think Carter would be questioned less incisively than Paul. Actually there were two reasons. One, Carter got an award from the group that invited him which would naturally tend to more gentle questions. The other reason was that a contingent of pro-Carter persons attended the award ceremony (as reported by, for example, mondoweiss.net). This would also tend to more gentle questions.
In your editorial (“Jimmy Carter’s lesson,” WJW, April 18), you compared a reaction to a Republican speaker (Sen. Rand Paul) at a liberal university to a Jewish audience’s reaction to an accused anti-Semitic awardee (Jimmy Carter). The first audience, you opined, let him have his say, but weren’t easy on him, and the second audience threatened to end its financial aid and lashed out against [his] appearance.
But why compare the two? As far as I know, Senator Paul has never, in his public life, uttered a racist statement. Neither has he ever pushed or condoned a racist policy. On the other hand, Jimmy Carter makes no attempt to hide his opinions, which many feel are anti-Jewish, and, in his writings, he has pejoratively referred to Israeli policy as being on a par with South African apartheid policy.
At Howard University, the largely black audience was asked to open their minds to a world view they possibly disagreed with, and, all kudos to them, they sat and listened respectfully. The Cardozo alumni, however, were asked to tolerate views that would be harmful to the state of Israel and its people.
Well, it’s no wonder, then, that the reactions of the two audiences were so different. It’s much easier to listen to a new world view than it is to be assaulted by ideas which are as old as the hills and have been around since the beginning of our Jewish experience.
With one fell swoop, the editorial board of WJW carried out two of its fundamental raisons d’etre: smearing a Republican politician as a racist and telling Jews to keep quiet and let an anti-Semite have his say.
Critics of our April 4 WJW op-ed (“Medals are not given for being consistent”) caught us red-handed: we, as members of the National Jewish Democratic Council, enthusiastically support President Obama. Who would have thought that among the sweeping majority of Jews that voted to re-elect the president in 2012 that two members of our community would want to tout President Obama’s exemplary record following his highly successful and historic trip to Israel?
However, the assertion that President Bush is responsible for the Iron Dome is patently false. In November 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Bush administration passed on the Iron Dome in favor of another system. WSJ’s narrative referred to the Bush administration’s response as “frosty” and pessimistic on the science when pitched the program.
JTA’s Ron Kampeas wrote plainly in August 2012 that “Obama more or less owns U.S. backing for Iron Dome” because of his personal involvement in securing the initial and subsequent funding. President Obama has specifically allocated and delivered $275 million for the Iron Dome, with approximately $400 million more sought for the coming years. As Israeli missile defense expert Uzi Rubin told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in December 2012, President Obama deserves tremendous thanks for providing the funding because the Israeli government does not have the ability to move around that kind of money on short notice.
As we said in our op-ed, pro-Israel Americans should be thankful that we have such reliable pro-Israel leadership in the White House. Deliberately pushing false information about the current state of the U.S.-Israel relationship does not strengthen our ties and runs counter to the tried and true methods employed by the pro-Israel community to build broad bipartisan support for the Jewish state.
BARBARA GOLDBERG GOLDMAN,
Executive Committee member and Women’s Leadership Network co-founder, National Jewish Democratic Council
press secretary, National Jewish Democratic Council