What do we know about Rachel Roberts?
Using her own words, from her Twitter account we can learn that she considers New York's Celebrate Israel parade "the most horrible day of the year".
We know she considers vandalism an appropriate response to a message she doesn't agree with.
We know she rejects a 2 state solution.
And we know she's obsessed by the "Jewish question"
And we know she has an almost juvenile assessment of the situation in the Middle East- regarding it as a zero sum game where there can only be one "winner". (and apparently "victory" is measured by the number of bumper stickers you have supporting your side.)
We also know that Rachel Roberts, working for CAIR wrote an op-ed in the Oakland Tribune, libeling a local human rights activist, and distorting the dialog regarding Palestinian Cultural Day in Alameda County.
Let me digress for a moment.
Our friend Jon from the Divest this! blog has written an excellent series on rhetorical techniques that dominate the Israel Palestine issue. Read his post Rhetoric- Avoidance and see how the CAIR op-ed has strategically bypassed the message of activists opposed to the wording- not to the principle- of a Palestinian Cultural day resolution- wording that specifically reduced the Jewish people to a religion, denying them peoplehood and a connection to their ancient homeland.
"This avoidance of debate works in direct opposition to one of the most important notions behind sound argumentation: the Principle of Charity. This principle says that in any debate you are better off engaging with your opponent’s strongest points, rather than just pouncing on his or her weakest...
This choice to “engage” only with someone who could be characterized in negative terms while pretending that this was the only criticism they received was no oversight, but instead represents a BDS rhetorical strategy we see time and time again.
We see it whenever the boycotters studiously ignore all criticism until someone finally accuses them of anti-Semitism (an accusation for which they have a ready store of answers) which causes the boycotters to rise in indignant attack mode, insisting that any and all criticism they ever receive consist of nothing but similar accusations. This has become such a well-worn strategy that even if someone doesn’t make such an accusation, the boycotters will still argue as though this was the only criticism they have ever heard.
If the Principle of Charity requires you to engage your opponents at their strongest, what are we to make of a movement that will do everything in its power to wait for, ferret out or (if need be) make up talking points for their opponents that consist of arguments they do feel comfortable answering, and then pretending these is the only challenges they ever face?"
In her op-ed, co-written by Sameena Usman, also of CAIR, Rachel ignores the Principal of Charity and hurls out spurious charges of Islamophobia and prejudice, all the time ignoring the arguments of those opposed to the resolution- which addressed the Jewish people solely as a faith, and denied their history and cultural ties to the land of Israel. Never once does the CAIR op-ed address the stated concerns of the activists towards the language of the proclamation. Rather than work with the Alameda Board of Supervisors to rework the proclamation, removing the offensive wording, CAIR has chosen instead to embrace the cult of victimhood. Its not about achieving a solution- its about licking their wounds and crying victim.