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ad hominem, no

Reader comment on item: Two Years of Intifada

Submitted by jackstpaul (United States), Oct 15, 2002 at 06:11

Second attempt at posting a response here--now slightly revised.

Dane: "Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason: Debaters should avoid ad hominem arguments that question their opponents' motives."

I agree that Abunimah was not launching an ad hominem attack. He was--as minimally as Mr. Pipes allowed him to go--addressing Mr. Pipe's arguments and assertions of another point in time relating to the topic(s) at hand. He was not attacking "the man" nor "personal considerations." That is, unless one defines one's previous logic and reasoning as "personal considerations" or "motives."

Whether, and more pointedly, to what extent, Abunimah's comment was relevant to the arguments, facts, and assertions on the agenda, was never truly established because of the response of the moderator and Mr. Pipes. I find much greater fault with Mr. Pipes' behavior because I think his response was fully without substance and served to do nothing but shut down, or threaten to, the debate and/or limit the terms of it declaring his own previous positions off-limits. Let Abunimah make his claim and pick it apart if it is wrong, unworthy, irrelevant, or ad hominem. Unfortunately, a great deal of time was wasted in the protestation of the "ad hominem" claim—an attack that never arrived, were it to have been on the way--which I don't think there is any evidence suggesting was the case.

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