The Elder and the “Assumed Symmetry Fallacy”

The following (reblogged from Jews Down Under) is a masterpiece, enlightening us as to the fallacy of symmetry between Israel and the Palestinians, or rather the Arabs. It is written by Dr. Michael Lumish (who blogs at the Times of Israel, Jews Down Under and at his own Israel Thrives blog) who expands on The Elder of Ziyon’s post taking issue with Peter Beinart confusing narrative and facts.

Read it all and you will understand how the Middle East conflict has become so distorted in the media, academia and international politics.

News and Views from Jews Down Under

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The Elder of Ziyon has a recent piece entitled, Peter Beinart cannot tell the difference between a “narrative” and a fact.

Speaking before a group of Democrats and progressives, former New Republic editor, Peter Beinart, said the following concerning conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson:

In 2008, when Tel Aviv University’s Shlomo Sand published a book called “The Invention off the Jewish People,” he was widely called anti-Semitic. When Adelson says the same about Palestinians, he’s a Republican rock star.

This is an example of what the Elder calls the “Assumed Symmetry Fallacy.”

He writes:

I am not a logician and do not know of a formal name for this fallacy, but let’s call it the Assumed Symmetry Fallacy: the assumption that two sides – by virtue of their opposition – are falsely assumed to be symmetric.

This is a very important insight and one that we need to consider and discuss…

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8 Responses to The Elder and the “Assumed Symmetry Fallacy”

  1. Aridog says:

    The Elder is quite right here …

    The Jewish people are under no obligation to recognize a brand-new allegedly distinct people who came into existence for the explicit purpose of robbing the tiny Jewish minority of sovereignty on Jewish land.

    The truth of the matter is that we owe them nothing.

    Assumed symmetry is not only a logical fallacy but a simple mathematical deception.

    BTW…my country, the United States continues to embarrass me beyond words to describe on this subject. I recommend you block entry of John Kerry, a known and proven traitor in his own right, from re-entry to your land.

    • anneinpt says:

      Assumed symmetry is not only a logical fallacy but a simple mathematical deception.

      Nice one Aridog. Just a tiny caveat – it was Dr. Lumish and not the Elder who said “The Jewish people are under no obligation…” as you quoted. But it’s a minor quibble because they both say more or less the same thing and both are precisely right.

      As for John Kerry, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Israel declared him persona non grata! But it will never happen. I simply can’t understand Kerry’s thought-processes. It must have been obvious to him from the start, or very soon after, that there was never going to be any peace agreement between the 2 sides, and in fact his meddling only made matters worse. Why this need to dabble in such a tinderbox? That goes for all US and European politicians. Why don’t they just all leave us alone?

  2. Brian Goldfarb says:

    re Shlomo Sand, not only is he writing fiction (which is allowable, it just shouldn’t be allowed to pass as fact), but his writing also flies in the face of scientific evidence. Sadly for Sand, no sooner had he produced his nonsense, than up pops the DNA evidence to demonstrate the fact of the Jewish people as a historic people and not an Sandian artefact. We need only witness only the following links (not discovered by me, but by others on the engageonline website, a couple of years back):;; ;;

    Sorry about all the reading, but it makes good sense!

    • anneinpt says:

      Thanks for all those links Brian. Unfortunately they put you in the “naughty corner” :-). i.e. your comment got moderated because there were more than 3 links.

      How Shlomo Sand can be called a historian or sociologist or whatever he calls himself is a mystery to me. His writing is not only fiction, it is bad fiction, but worse than that, it is used by Israel’s opponents to justify their own biases. “Look”, they say, “here’s an Israeli who agrees with us, so it must be true”. THAT is the danger of Sand’s fiction.

      It’s the same with Neve Gordon, Ilan Pappe, Amira Hass and all the rest of the stable of Israel’s self-grown haters. I just wonder, if they hate it so much, why they still live there.

  3. Andrea says:

    Sorry for my intrusion but links concernìnig DNA are extremly interesting . Neverthless I would be very cautious on this point since just a few sites in the net are not. Jewish legitmacy is not based upon DNA ( and I am sure this was not the purpose of links but reject Shlomo Sand assumption) and can not be denied basing upon DNA at the same time .There is not in fact any grounding in connecting DNA and being Jews ( or any other national identity ). Jews as a Nation date back to 12/8 century before modern era whilst DNA could be 40 000 years old ( depending on maternal or paternal Mtdna and Y Haplogroups). Well result is that when Abrham was living ( or he was supposed to live ) Middle East was already populated by people with very different DNA. It is not surprising that upon a genetic point of view peole closer to Israelis (Jews living in Israel today) are Palestinians ( or Arab living in Jordan valley if you prefer) Greeks and South Italians – i.e what was called in the past the “mediterranean race” ( horrible to say , scientists will forgive me ). In spite of today political divisions they share the same ancestry, the Neolithic farmers of Jerico ( here again !) and fertile Cresent groups.
    DNA only says that some Israeli and most Arabs shares J1 and J2 haplogroups and not more. Furthermore many Israelis with Askhenazinm origin have R haplogroups which is widespread in West Europe and caucasian region but in Middle East as well ( low frequency actually). Can we say that Askhenazim come from West Europe, khazars and not from Middle East ? It could be but we can not be sure basing only on that. But at the end who cares ? I have the so called Abrham gene but does it make me a Jew ? No ! – actually I am Italian and 40% of us are from Middle east discent
    Many Palestians have the same Abrham gene and are they entitled for this to belong to Jewish nation? No ! Many Romans converted to judaism – does it make the Italian Jews less Jews than the one living in Morocco ? No
    DNA does not give any contribution to Jewish identity.
    Sand would deserve other lines but it would be boring for many readers now…
    Thank you for your patience in reading the above !

    PS May I have the missing links ?
    🙂 thank you Brian

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you for your learned comment Andrea.

      Interestingly, Jews are both linked by DNA and not linked by DNA. Confused? You will be!

      The Jewish people are a hereditary nation, i.e. Jewish status is inherited from the mother, so Judaism is definitely in the DNA. Moreover there is the famous Cohanim (priests) study which shows a common inherited gene or chromosome (I’m being very vague here, I’m not a scientist) amongst men who are of a Cohen (priestly) family. Again, this shows the hereditary nature of Judaism.

      However – and it is a very big however – people can also join the Jewish nation by converting, which therefore completely muddles up the DNA.

      Therefore, one could conclude that a person whose DNA shows them to be Jewish is definitely Jewish. But a person whose DNA doesn’t show this is not necessarily not Jewish.

      Well, no one said being Jewish is easy. 😀

      And Shlomo Sand is still an idiot.

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