Re: “Supressing debate: Ontario’s language politics” by Max Silverman (2.3.10)
In his article, Max Silverman relies on two ad hominem arguments instead of critically analyzing the relevant issues. To me, and clearly the Ontario legislature, Peter Shurman’s judgment of the event “Israeli Apartheid Week” was accurate.
The fact that the Ontario Government united in this message condemning IAW does not, by virtue, make it true. Rather, it is an expression of the belief that comparing Israel – a democratic state – to Apartheid South Africa is a blatant misuse of the word “Apartheid.” Instead of challenging Shurman’s or similar analysis of the issue (e.g. – Michael Ignatieff’s condemnation of IAW), Max Silverman insinuates that Shurman’s view is inaccurate because he is a “white, Jewish Conservative man.” For a more trustworthy judgment, he claims that we should believe Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s analysis of the Middle East crisis because of his involvement with true Apartheid in South Africa. The point is, however, that nothing about Shurman or Tutu implies whether or not their arguments about Israel are true. That is a fallacious use of the ad hominem argument. The fact is labeling Israel using the word Apartheid should not become comfortable in our everyday lexicon, lest we forget what real Apartheid means. Certain words were created to describe unique tragedies in human history and should not be thrown around callously.