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The Middle East morass and its side-effects of muzzling opinions

So far, I’ve managed to avoid commenting on the Middle East morass. It was once said you should never discuss religion, sex, or politics around the dinner table. Let me add a subset to that by saying it’s apparent you should consider possibly staying away from discussion of Middle East politics, if you want to maintain friendships, because anything you say will be hotly disputed by 50% of the population. That’s particularly true in the case of political blogs, as it’s become a hot topic – too hot in my view.

I will break my silence on the Middle East briefly because of 2 events that have caught my eye today:

1) If this blogger has good sources and is accurate in reporting that Liberal MP’s have been expressly told to “not to speak at Gaza solidarity rallies with the threat that if they do their nominations forms will not be signed for the next election.”, that to me is called muzzling and it doesn’t bode well for Liberal renewal efforts for our party if our leadership is engaged in Harperite tactics. It’s an explosive topic, but I think it’s wrong to be muzzling free speech on this issue. That being said, I’ve sent an inquiry in to one of my journalist friends to see if they’ve heard anything about this report.

2) I’d advise Jim not to give Ezra Levant any more publicity then need be. Ezra is using the George Bush reasoning of “either you’re with us or against us”, but if he’s going to accuse anyone who opposes the Israeli incursion into the West Bank as anti-Israel or anti-semitic, there will be a few Jewish organizations lumped into that as well. The bottom line is that Levant is an extremist, even by Conservative standards, and I wouldn’t be wasting too much energy worrying about him.

UPDATE: If you’re wondering whether I’m leading into anything with those 2 points on what my views are on the whole Middle East mess, I’m not really. I’m just making the point I’m a bit dismayed at the hyperbole being thrown around, as well as the possibility that a political party I’m a member of is going to the extremes of muzzling its MP’s by use of threats. My overall opinion is probably closest to this blogpost in the Washington Monthly, and its quoted material from some other columnists done a week ago.

It’s deja vu all over again, and it’s dismaying.

UPDATE 2 @ 3:05 pm: Jeff thinks along the same lines as I do:

I’ve learned a few things over my three years as a blogger: funny is good, rum and coke + live blogging=great blogging insight, and don’t feed the trolls. If there’s another rule I’ve adhered to, it’s that you don’t touch the Middle East with a 10-foot poll. You can’t win, and there’s little appetite for nuance on either side.


3 comments to The Middle East morass and its side-effects of muzzling opinions

  • lawlibrarian

    “It was once said you should never discuss religion, sex, or politics around the dinner table.”

    No longer true. Sex and religion are big topics when I meet relatives (and potty-mouthed scatological jokes involving God and sex top the list). Politics bore us more and more (though we all wish Harper will be overthrown).

    Middle East, not so hot on the topic. It just brings out the most intransigent intolerant people.

  • @ – Sam:

    If you want to post a link to that article with a brief snippet giving a description of what it talks about, so people can go read it, I don’t mind… but I’m not going to let you repost the entire article on here.

  • sam

    A good article.


    The Tragedy of Dogma at All Costs

    By Rabbis Reuben Poupko and Chaim Steinmetz, Co-chairs, Canadian Rabbinic Caucus

    (snipped by blogowner)

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