Why Bloggers Avoid Writing About Israel, Ctd

by Conor Friedersdorf

Pejman Yousefzadeh says that I misunderstood and thus mischaracterized his post – that he wasn't at all using accusations of anti-Semitism to bully people who write about Israel and foreign aid. I'll take him at his word, adding only that a lot of others interpreted his post as I did. Doesn't mean we were right, though. Perhaps I'm jaded by having seen this sort of thing before. The last time Yousefzadeh appeared on the Dish, Andrew wrote, "In a response brimming with gratuitous hostility towards yours truly, Pejman Yousefzdeh nevertheless makes a few points worthy of response." That's about how I feel. I'm baffled by the gratuitous hostility, hyperbolic accusations and poor reasoning on display in the initial post.

But there is a nugget of useful debate that can be salvaged. What he and I still disagree about is whether bloggers have a responsibility to Google authors they stumble across, wade through their body of work, and assess their motives before linking or excerpting one of their blog posts. I don't know any blogger who employs that standard, and while I concede that known motives can be a factor in assessing whether something is worth linking, actively launching motive investigations would be a bad idea: it puts the emphasis of discussion in the wrong place, and the extra labor involved in highlighting unfamiliar voices would disincentivize it. The professional blogosphere needs more unfamiliar voices, and fewer link-policemen.