Some months ago I offered the Argentinian fellow who hides his true identity behind the title Ibrahim ibn Yusuf the option of sharing a blog. The idea - or at any rate, my part of it - was to have a thoughtful, systematic discussion between two people who radically disagree about Israel. I intended to look into Ibrahim's methodology, his thought processes, his relationship to facts and sources, and eventually also his motives. I don't know what his intentions regarding me were, but it was a free platform and he could have taken his part of it in whatever direction he wished. Theoretically, he could have bested me, though I admit I didn't think he would. The little I'd seen of hs work and the much I'd seen of others of his ilk left me mildly confident that most careful readers of our blog would find him to be the second most convincing of the two of us.
Shortly after we started some serious doubts began to accrue regarding Ibrahim's honesty in presenting himself. He himself admitted that it would have been easy to dispel the doubts, had they been based on falsehoods, but he was adamant in his refusal to do precisely that, eventually telling me that in the meantime the whole exercise no longer interested him. Personally I felt at the time and feel still that he feared he'd gotten into something he hadn't reckoned on so he ran, but I can't prove that, obviously.
What I can do, however, is to point you at his new blog, The Hasbara Buster. In one of his recent comments he said he's glad he has pro-Israeli readers and commentators, because that way he gets to understand how they think. Interesting comment, given his past behavior, and I'd suggest that what he really means is that he looks forward to talking to such people in an environment that he controls.
There's a pro-Israeli blogger named Yitzchak Goodman, author of Judeopundit, who is doing an admirable job of responding to the Buster's posts. I wish him luck, though I ask myself if he's not wasting his time. The Buster is way out there on the fringe of anti-Israeli bloviating, and it's unlkely that he makes any difference in the world. People such as myself, and also Goodman, need to ask themselves each year if any of the following three things are happening:
1. Are there more Jews in Israel than there were the previous year?
2. Is Jewish cultural (or religious) creativity as strong as it was last year, or perhaps even stronger?
3. Is Israel's economy, and with it the condition of the Israelis, better than it was last year?
In any year where the answer to any one of these questions is positive, we're doing alright, no matter what the Busters of the world do. Since most years all three questions have positive answers, why care about what those feverish folks think or say? Enemies of the Jews have been spewing their ire for millenia, and the Jews keep on doing their thing; these days, their thing is pretty miraculous, all in all, in spite of the blemishes.
The question that does remain, however, is why. Why should an instructor of language (Catalan, I think) in Rosario have this urge to "bust" things Israelis say about themselves. It's not because he has a good case - you're free to go visit and see for yourself how sloppy and often silly he is. It can't be because Israel is uniquely worse than other societies, because it isn't. Sometimes he tells that he's compelled to unveil Israel's crimes because the Israelis claim they're better than others. OK: and the Israelis are the only ones in the world who claim they're better? And even if they were the only ones, why should this be such an obsession in faraway Rosario?
In a recent post the Buster said I'm engaging in character assassination for posing this question. I don't agree. Not given the history of the Jews and their detractors these past few millenia.