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      Let’s point out the obvious. Russia had no reason to attack its own pipelines. If it doesn’t want gas to go thru them it just turns off the tap. Sabotage to the pipelines weakens Russia’s position, since it will be months before they can offer to turn fuel back on, which they would have wanted to offer during the winter in order to pressure Germany in specif […]
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Cannon Fodder

This is a very difficult post to write.  I was hoping that the recent incident that resulted in taking Cannonfire off of our blogroll would go undetected.  But some of our readers, including Joseph Cannon himself, have quickly called attention to the deletion so some of us frontpagers feel we owe our readers an explanation.

First of all, I’d just like to say that as difficult as it is to do this, it is even harder to do it without pointing fingers at anyone.  We don’t want to assign blame or point fingers.  We don’t want to make enemies and we certainly do not wish to further alienate some of our friends who are protesting the frontpage by their absence.  The majority of the frontpagers met online and decided that in spite of the hurt feelings on both sides, we would like to forgive and forget and put the whole incident behind us.  The door is always open to all of our colleagues.  We feel like family who just had a bit of a falling out.

Here’s what happened:  A couple of weeks ago, Joseph Cannon posted on the Israel/Palestinian issue.  His position appears to be very favorable to Palestinians to the point of regretting the creation of the state of Israel.  I confess that on occasion, I too wish that God had chosen a different part of the world for his holy land but usually, I’m just joking when I say it.  Nevertheless, it is difficult to talk this way about the issue without being accused of anti-Semitism.  For the record, those of us who met to discuss the issue have decided that for our purposes, the definition of anti-Semitism that makes most sense to The Confluence is the irrational hatred of Jewish people and their culture which may be expressed as discrimination and violent acts.  When discussing the viability of the state of Israel, a person may or may not be expressing an anti-Semitic opinion.  He or she may be making a political comment.  We are aware that there are some groups, even some Christian groups, that would consider such sentiments anti-Semitic.  These groups may hope to squelch conversation on the subject by claiming political opinions to be anti-Semitic in nature in a manner that is reminiscent of the Obots calling us racists last year because we saw through Obama.  It is a very effective way of silencing one’s critics.

We got ensnared in that problem.  Some of the frontpagers of The Confluence have a very broad definition of anti-Semitism and as a result, they felt that the inclusion of Cannonfire on the blogroll marked The Confluence as being sympathethic to snti-Semitic views.  Some other commenters felt that this opinion was unfair and painted us all with a guilt by association to an accusation that was not proven.  Unfortunately, I did not read Joseph Cannon’s post.  Most of the day I am behind a corporate firewall and all most blogs are off limits to me.  I have read Cannon on occasion and found some of his posts to be well reasoned and insightful and some of his posts to be a little tin-foily for my tastes.  But I really don’t have an opinion on his I/P position except to say that anyone who posts on the topic has got to have balls of steel.  Both sides have legitimate points.  Both have behaved badly.  It is an intractable problem and no one is above criticism.  But if criticizing or losing patience with one side or the other makes us anti-Semitic, then I suppose the whole world is anti-Semitic.  I believe LadyBoomerNYC, our voice of Sophia Wisdom, calmed the waters about the whole problem and said politics is one of the reasons why she became a hippy- it’s a lot less stressful.

Well, the long and the short of it is that some of our frontpagers wanted Cannonfire off of the blogroll.  Normally, I would tell them to take a hike and stop bullying the rest of us.  But seeing as Joseph has asked that other blogs not link to him in the first place, it gave us a cowardly way to put the issue to rest.  Or so we thought.  Unfortunately, that action wasn’t sufficient for some of our frontpagers.  In not so subtle ways, they asked us to denounce Cannon and agree that his posts were anti-Semitic.  This was too much for many of us because it implied that if we like Cannon for other reasons we must be guilty.  Many of us were hurt on both sides and tears were shed by those who were accused.  I don’t think I can adequately express the pain.  It feels like betrayal by people you most cared about and who you would never dream of hurting.  Nevertheless, it is what it is and some of our frontpagers have left for greener pastures.  We wish them well and hope that someday we can get back togehter.  But in the meantime, we just need to let the dust settle and tempers cool.

As to Joseph Cannon, he is free to write what he wants.  I think I speak for everyone who writes for The Confluence that we do not approve of anti-Semitism.  We support the state of Israel but we do hold both sides responsible for the turmoil and unrest in the Levant.  The end doesn’t justify the means for either party.  We would not go so far as to say that we wish the state of Israel did not exist because we believe that the state has done much good that outweighs whatever bad it has done.  But it is time to get its house in order and it is time for the Palestinians to disavow terrorism.  People who have stronger opinions have the obligation to back them up with solutions that will defuse the inevitable conflict that results from implementation.

So, that’s the whole sordid story.  I’d like to thank everyone who has written for The Confluence in the past year.  I have enjoyed all of the posts from each one of those truly talented individuals.  We have removed Cannonfire but may occasionally link to him as the occasion arises.  The persons offended by having him in the blogroll in the first place, however, should not expect an apology.  At this point, the damage is too extensive on both sides of the divide.  We either learn to tolerate each other, respecting our differences in opinion and write together or we go our separate ways.