Society

“As is often the case with fringe organizations who take on targets with significant more social capital than their own, their campaign is a tapestry of misinformation, disinformation, and a theory of cross-contamination which imagines that decontextualized anecdotal evidence can be most effectively understood, and then constructed into coherence, through the framework of conspiracy theory”

As is often the case with fringe organizations who take on targets with significant more social capital than their own, their campaign is a tapestry of misinformation, disinformation, and a theory of cross-contamination which imagines that decontextualized anecdotal evidence can be most effectively understood, and then constructed into coherence, through the framework of conspiracy theory.

The accusations are substantively frivolous, but not just annoying: the reason these kinds of campaigns persist, and sometimes succeed, is not because they manage to convince a lot of people that they are actually right. They persist and succeed because they convince a lot of good, well-meaning people that there might just be a *hint* of truth in the accusations, and, therefore, they deter good and well-meaning people from taking a side, or for advocating for mainstream values, or from pushing back against the actual extremists sowing these seeds of doubt.

Here’s the thing: One instinct in moments like this is to decry and deride the larger system of the society that is producing these fringe ideas, to claim that we are witnessing, through the continued public performance of Im Tirtzu’s villainy, an antidemocratic (dare I say fascist?) strain on the rise in this society. I believe this is an incorrect response, for two reasons. First, I will not play into their hands by making broad claims against this society which would then verify their sense of being the loyal patriots against our treason. I, and this institution, represent the visions of Zionism far more effectively, sincerely, passionately, and authentically, than these anarchic and nihilistic late-coming party-crashers. Sometimes, as now, the problem must be named as *them* rather than *all of us.*

But more importantly, I refuse to magnify and enlarge this fringe organization by mainstreaming it, by claiming that it speaks for a louder voice than it does, and by crediting it to be a more dominant voice in this society than it actually is. We do this all the time: we inflate fringe ideological movements through our fears and suspicions to imagine them as much more powerful than they actually are, to the point that our fears become fulfilled when our imaginations help them grow (see: American Jewish community, BDS movement.)

Yehuda Kurtzer, Facebook post (26 July 2017) [https://www.facebook.com/yehuda.kurtzer/posts/10155649630762174]