June 14, 2006

An Intriguing Solipsism

The front-page, above-the-fold story in the June 13 number of The New York Times shouldn’t surprise anyone who isn’t an anti-Israel propagandist; “Violence Erupts among Factions of Palestinians: Parliament Is Set Ablaze,” reads the piece’s headline. Ah: Violence in Palestine—who would have seen that coming? Not Robert Fisk, but everyone else on God’s green earth.

But the article, penned by Steven Erlanger, contains an interesting solipsism that may shed more light on matters than the Gray Lady intended. The second paragraph reads:

The attack by forces from the Fatah faction loyal to Mr. Abbas, who fired bullets at the buildings and set them on fire, came after Hamas gunmen attacked the Gaza headquarters of the Fatah-dominated security forces with rockets and grenades.

Perhaps you missed the error. As it reads now, the relative “who” can only refer to Mr. Abbas. Thus Mr. Erlanger is (unwittingly) suggesting that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas personally “fired bullets at the buildings and set them on fire.”

Clearly, the Paper of Record meant “which,” referring to the “forces from the Fatah faction.” A small gaffe, perhaps, but intriguing nonetheless.

Now, let it be said that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t put it past Mr. Abbas to shoot guns and set buildings ablaze. After all, he’s the leader of a group of people not exactly known for the pacifism that so many of their American supporters pretend to champion.

Still, Mr. Abbas has curiously emerged as a kind of Palestinian Good Guy by Default. That is to say, he’s hunky dory merely because he’s not as murderously unhinged as the loveable scamps in Hamas.

Ah, the joys of Palestinian power struggles, according to which a fellow who wrote a dissertation devoted to Holocaust denial can be fingered as the “moderate.” Pretty nice, eh?

And this gets us—meanderingly, we’ll admit—to the intriguing quality of the Paper of Record’s mistake. Finally, as the result of a grammatical misstep, the mainstream media have put blame where blame is due.

By which we mean, they finally admit that Mr. Abbas bears some responsibility for the violence among his people. He is not—as many Palestinian apologists would have it—doing his best to rein in terrorism. As such, in some way he is personally responsible for the carnage in Israel-Palestine.

O, if only the Times could make such a useful error in the future! Perhaps they’ll actually label Hamas a terrorist organization by mistake?

Posted at June 14, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack