A silence worth breaking

A silence worth breaking, the reservists fight back

A SILENCEFor anyone living outside of Israel and opposed to the delegitimization of Zionism, it is difficult not to be aware of the movement called Breaking the Silence (BTS). The boycott movement against Israel frequently use their material, the anti-Zionist groups on campus show their video clips on a loop and left wing political Zionist groups cling on to their skirt tails and refer to them as heroes.

For some time, most Zionists have considered Breaking the Silence to have crossed too many lines to be deemed legitimate. They have been accused of distortion, of deliberately exaggerating events, and of removing the all-important context from their statements. It is claimed that they receive much of their funding from groups hostile to Israel. Much of their effort seems to be directed towards an international audience. The suggestion that they were simply lying for political gain was never far from the surface. Yet as BTS accusations are invariably anonymous, how do you attack a claim that removes all identifying features from public view?

Recently a group of reservists from the Israeli army, decided to do exactly that. With vast experience of IDF procedure and ethics, these officers were convinced that Breaking the Silence were spinning lies, and by searching out those that served with publicly known members of the group, they began to piece together a real picture of the events that occurred.

With BTS implying that the actions of some of these Israeli soldiers made them war criminals, this movement, ‘Reservists at the Front’, announced they had started proceedings to sue the movement Breaking the Silence for libel in the Israeli courts. Just recently, they met the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to seek support for their action.

On Sunday, 17/01/15, I caught up with Amit Deri, founder of Reservists at the Front and managed to ask him a few questions. Below is an English transcript of the interview.

Shalom Amit. Thank you for agreeing to talk to me.  Perhaps you can start with a general introduction.

I founded and lead the group ‘Reservists at the Front’, along with another 5 Company Commanders. I left my full time position in the army 5 years ago. I served for 10 years. I have been doing reserve duty during the last 5 years in Hebron. I started the movement in response to Breaking the Silence and today we have over 700 officers and soldiers signed up with us. In our public affairs committee, we have top ranking Army officers, Asa Kasher, the professor who compiled the IDF ethical code and so on. It is a strong group with a wide range of experience.

I’d like to ask a question on the principle itself. What do you think about the idea of an independent critical group that looks at Israeli army actions?

There is no problem with a group like this, the opposite in fact, we think there is a need for a group like this. We aim to become that group. There is a need for a critical look at the IDF, from movements that are external to the IDF itself and independent of it, far away from the internal checks and balances systems the IDF already employs. This is the way it should be in a democracy. The basic idea of ‘Breaking the Silence’ is absolutely legitimate.

The problem comes with the mixing of two legitimate positions. The first is dealing with the ethics of the IDF. The other is the political position, the belief that Israel should not hold onto the territories. Both of these ‘flags’ are legitimate. The problem is raising both flags at the same time and bringing them together. And as soon as you raise both of these flags together, you can no longer be legitimate. Each of the positions supports the other, so you begin to support one position with the cynical exploitation of the other.

So this is the line between legitimate and illegitimate, the politicization?

That’s right, they (Breaking the Silence) play with both elements. They aim to get Israel out of the territories and so they use the IDF. This pressure leads to the lies, the exaggeration, the removal of context, all this of course to further a political cause. It’s important to remember, each of the aims is legitimate in itself, it is the combination under a single roof that creates the problem.

Perhaps, this is a sign that some of these soldiers shouldn’t have been in the army?

No, I don’t think this is the case. In my opinion, all these people are healthy and of sound mind, and fit to join combat units. There is within this group a lot of funding and again, I return to the issue of politicization. They have turned into a weapon, a weapon that is used to promote a political agenda, they are used by movements such as Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS), and other groups with similar political agenda’s also use them internationally. They have just become a weapon that is used against us.

So they are used to provide this service?

Yes, exactly, one of the NGO’s ICCO (Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation) they fund them and instruct them to bring a specific number of testimonies from IDF soldiers. This suggests that it is not about ethics anymore, this is a market.

Breaking the Silence have been operating about 11 years, what is it that has driven you to action only in the last few months?

It has got more serious in the last year or so. There is a growing BDS campaign that relies on and uses much of the work of Breaking the Silence. As a group, we see them (BTS) as a blood libel, we call it ‘the most sophisticated blood libel of the 21st century’. It is designed to make it difficult to oppose, it isn’t easy to fight them. Only now we have found the people we need. People who were with them in the army, in the units, involved in the specific actions who have been able to point out the false statements. And we have footage of what they have said to people outside of Israel and the Israeli public have now woken up to what is happening.

Isn’t it possible to argue that experiences within the IDF are subjective, especially when talking about army actions in or near a civilian population. That is, we can have legitimate but different opinions about what occurred. Do disagreements over what occurred at highly emotive events have to be described as lies?

Firstly, we have to start by saying that having a military force operating in civilian areas is going to create problems. This is obvious and beyond argument. We believe that the IDF, amongst all the world’s armies, operates in the best and most ethical way possible. We have seen Afghanistan and we saw Iraq, the US and the British, and we have seen NATO forces in various operations. We know how to operate in the most ethical and moral way that is possible. Are there problems? Of course there are, and these specific cases are open for subjective interpretation by everyone involved. But there is that and then there is suggesting the IDF shoot at innocent civilians just for fun. That isn’t a witness reporting, that is someone just inventing stories.

If this were true, these extreme accusations, then they army itself would co-operate with them, and want these events checked. I personally know soldiers who have faced internal IDF investigations to explain their actions. There isn’t a problem with subjective opinion, there is a problem with them taking these stories and making them anonymous. After catching them lying several times, you can no longer believe them and again the ultimate purpose of these statements is for political use on the international stage. They release everything they do in English and groups like the BDS feed of them.

You are right, there are people that interpret events in different ways, and yes, that is also okay, but the main problem with BTS is that they take this subjective interpretation and advertise it as IDF policy. They turn it into the official position of the army. They turn it into the will of the officers, the actual orders received, systemic operational policy. That is the main problem with them. Every small issue that can happen, turns into operational policy.

I saw one of their clips, when the soldier says he was told to fire at buildings randomly.

Okay, first off, we are lacking context. This is a war, and in a war, you fire, you shoot, you attack. And then of this clip, you ask when, where, what were the conditions. On what were they firing? And then, the event you are describing, it was a closed area and there were no people meant to be there. The entire neighbourhood has been cleared of civilians. That fire was in response to fire against us. In that event, there was not a single casualty. It is also really old footage. I think it dates back to about 2001 near Hebron and it was following the murder of the baby Shalhevet Pass. The Jewish people in Hebron were under daily fire. But there isn’t much you can do, it is a war and in a war you return fire. But if the accusation was that we were shooting at innocent civilians or without reason, then no, absolutely not.

And they take these accusations outside to the international community?

Yes, without context. And not just Europeans, also in Israel, if you remove the context, it is difficult to understand the reason. They believe the event happened, they believed the soldiers were shooting like madmen, how do you correct this misconception. The damage is done.

I understand you are taking court action against Breaking the Silence for libel. Can you expand on this?

We believe our chances for success are good. We are taking action with soldiers who were with these people in their military units, who know those claims to be false. We want to bring them out into the open, into a court hearing, to the point they need to bring the evidence, who said, how was it said, where was it said, in what context, what happened, who filmed, finally, they will need to come away from the anonymous accusations and prove what it is they are saying. We know that with some of the extreme accusations, some of the most popular ones spread around Israel’s enemies, they will not be able to do this. The testimonies are wrong.

They say they diligently check all of the statements.

It’s simply not true, that’s the problem. I will give you the example of Avner Gverayahu who talks about his team, Breaking the Silence didn’t approach anyone from the team, so how are they checking. We found people from his unit and interviewed them. We put together the result of these interviews in some of our public reports.

I understand, Ud Kan, the group behind the ‘Ezra Nawi’ expose also had a person in Breaking the Silence. The group recently found him and claimed it was a result of his evidence not being strong enough, is this true?

No, they found him because after the show, they realised there were also plants within their movement and so they began to do a thorough check. They have enough money to do what they like, but this guy was inside for 18 months, and a few moments before Illana Dayan was meant to air a second show on the issue of the extreme left wing activism, they found him. We think someone involved in the media may have given him up.

You met with Benyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, how did that go?

He was very supportive, he said he would help us if he could. He understood we are clearly dealing with a movement that spreads lies and works to delegitimize Israel and the IDF for political reasons.

And do you get financial support from Israel?

No, not at all. We are volunteers. That is the point. We support ourselves We do not want financial support from the State, because then we also turn into a political instrument.

You are an Israeli group, operating inside Israel and in Hebrew. Much of the delegitimization campaign of Breaking the Silence takes place in English and on the international stage. Even left wing Zionist groups like Yachad and J-Street openly support a movement that you believe is spreading lies about Israel. All of this of course works into the hands of the BDS movement. What would you say is the way pro-Israeli supporters can defend against this type of delegitimization?

I would say that individuals, not just groups, follow the events closely. Unlike the other side, there is no money to translate everything, so take the Hebrew videos, the Hebrew posters and translate them. Get the message out that they are being lied to, that BTS is part of a well-funded political movement to de-legitimize Israel and the IDF.

Turn up at events where the lies are spreading and show them the truth. Anywhere where Breaking the Silence are being allowed to distort the truth and delegitimize Israel. Talk to anyone who can help us spread our message to the international audience. If anyone sees people from this movement spreading this disinformation, record the event, get the evidence to us.

We are in a battle, and we are fighting on two fronts. We are aiming to act as a real, independent alternative to Breaking the Silence, working to improve the IDF, and we are aiming to expose their distortions and their lies.

Our advantage is that we are all senior soldiers, heads of units, all of us are of the rank Major or above. We all have the real experience to be able to address the issues that can occur and because of the choice BTS have made, we will need to do this on the international stage as well.

Amit, wishing you all the best and thank you so much for your time.

Reservists at the Front can be contacted via their Facebook page by email amitd441@gmail.com or by phone (972) 509010879

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22 thoughts on “A silence worth breaking, the reservists fight back

  1. Good luck and I wish you all the best. It has been my experience that people that have this anti-Israel mindset hate their own government and project that onto Israel as a convenient target. Most of these people are really uninterested in actual fact or even rational discourse They just want to moralize and have their few minutes of hate. It’s just the same old scapegoating. Let them go to Saudi Arabia and complain about the government and see what happens.

  2. This sounds like a creditable organisation, thank you for sharing their work.

    It’s a shame, though, that you couldn’t share it without also taking swipes at other Zionist organisations that take a different approach.

    I was particularly intrigued by your snide reference to Yachad et al as “self-declared Zionist groups”: self-declared as opposed to what? The official, licensed Zionism of Likud? Who is the licensing authority?

    Maybe if people like you spent less time acting like Zionist thought police ( http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-why-are-some-uncomfortable-using-the-term-zionist%E2%80%88blame-zionist-thought-police/ ) and more time engaging in positive debate, Israeli society and Diaspora Zionism would be in a better condition.

    1. Gabriel, thanks. And you are right. I removed the reference to Yachad in the first para and edited the ‘snide reference’ you quoted. It wasn’t neccessary. However, I don’t think it is worth us rehashing the same circular argument (unless you want to) about Zionism. I have always accepted Yachad in principle is a Zionist movement. I believe in practice sometimes it crosses lines. You could argue that is a good thing. But my opposition to *SOME* of its actions, is aso a healthy part of the checks and balances system in a democracy. You cannot support a movement like BTS and then argue against the value people who criticse your own movement also have. At least I put a name, time, place and date on my accusations.

      None of this has anything to do with the article you linked to. Hannah is wrong and exploiting a complex issue for her own political gain (as usual).

      1. Thank you for making those amendments.

        And obviously I have no problem with criticism. But, as with criticism of Israel itself, there is a line between criticism and delegitimisation. Accusing organisations whose tactics or ideology you dislike of being anti-Zionist, or treacherous, or ‘self-appointed’ etc., doesn’t advance the debate but frustrates it by forcing those being delegitimised to argue first for their right to participate, before the actual topic can be discussed.

        (I also think your use of the term ‘self-appointed Zionist’ clearly and directly relates to Hannah’s excellent article about how some Zionists seek to police who may and may not call themselves Zionist.)

        1. Yes Gabriel, but when it politically suits Yachad, they fail themselves to draw the distinction you seem to believe is so important. Yachad do not line up IDF soldiers who disagree with BtS when they promote them. Rather, they use BtS as if they are a vehicle of ‘the truth’, despite clear problems with some of the testimonies and fail in absolute terms to supply an alternative argument to the BtS narrative.This crosses the line between legitimate attempts at criticism and blatant delegitimization for political end.

          Anyone can call themselves Zionist. Zionism is a belief in Jewish nationalism. As I have said before, I understand that anti-nationalists have difficulty swallowing a nationalist paradigm. It is almost as if you are apologetic for Zionism because it is nationalism. Therefore, the argument goes that you need to apologise for Israel at the same time as you somehow have to argue that despite opposition to nationalism, if everyone else has a state, then so must the Jews. It is an absurd moral quagmire groups like Yachad exist in. Which is why sometimes, as a group they lose sight of what is legitimate and what is illegitimate. Hannah’s piece is nonsense for this precise reason, she wants to be applauded for taking a position of nationalism whilst wearing an anti-nationalist hat. She comes across as a clown who wont convince anyone of the need for Israel, mainly because she is so damn unsure of the position herself. Yachad’s support is theoretical and dependant on Israel conforming to Yachad’s politics. It is like saying you believe in the UK and support it, but only if they have a socialist government.

          1. “Yachad do not line up IDF soldiers who disagree with BtS when they promote them.”

            I mean… obviously not! Why on earth would they? Yachad isn’t required to be impartial, any more than Likud is required to be impartial.

            As for your point (in this comment and in your reply to Harvela) that Yachad comes across as clown-like and unconvincing, has it occurred to you that you aren’t the target audience?

            Yachad’s positions convince a middle ground, and help young Jews who might turn to anti-Zionism to find a space where they can reconcile their Zionism with their general 21st century liberal values. That can only be a positive thing, serving to keep people within the Zionist tent when they would otherwise be lost.

            And as for your point about a Yachad vs BDS debate, it’s happened. While I was a student at Sussex University, a Yachad-style (not organised by Yachad, but in that same area of the political spectrum) campaign against academic BDS won the day. Sussex students voted against BDS. That was fairly groundbreaking. I don’t think your views would have been as persuasive. You can read more about that episode here: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.597780

            I think my main point is, Yachad clearly isn’t for you. But not only should they be respected from a general free speech perspective, they should be respected for performing a useful function which does actually benefit causes you believe in.

            1. And there you have it Gabriel, thank you for illustrating the point.

              Yachad will not line up IDF soldiers who believe that their actions inside the territories are conducted to a ethical code. It doesn’t suit their politics.

              Therefore Yachad will publicise a group of soldiers who set out to delegitimize the IDF, have been accused of lying and they will publicise them as if they are telling the truth and do so without providing any alternative narrative. For a Yachad member, when is the IDF therefore seen as anything other than ‘a bad thing’? The IDF, the only damn thing standing between the Jews and the sea for the last 70 years, and Yachad isn’t prepared to give them a far trial. In fact the response is ‘why on earth would they’.

              The mere fact that there is obviously ‘doubt’ over the BtS narrative ‘dictates’ an alternative voice must be heard. Otherwise all you are doing is brainwashing. And you wonder why people question Yachad’s Zionism?

              As I have said before, I agree, Yachad isn’t for me. But then I am for Israel and Yachad isn’t. Yachad allows its political position to take action that delegitimizes and undermines the state, a de-facto promotion that helps BDS.

              TBH, I didn’t think you would lay it out so clearly for me. There are 6.3 million Jews living over in Israel, how exactly does what you do help them?

          2. How does defeating BDS help the Jews living in Israel? How does seeking to make Israeli society a fairer and better and safer and more secure place (in line with advice from security experts such as former heads of the Shin Bet) help the Jews living in Israel? How does encouraging young British Jews who feel uncomfortable with some actions of the Israeli government to remain Zionists and continue supporting the existence of the state help the Jews living in Israel?

            Are those your question?

            1. I am to old to be distracted by irrelevant soapboxing. Promoting BtS doesn’t ‘defeat’ BDS. You are not living in democratic Israel to make it a safer and fairer place (without undemocratic interference) and if you believe the answer to Jewish people’s discomfort is to feed Zionists de-legitimizing testimonies that may actually all be false, then I feel sorry for how blind your politics has made you.

              I am still grateful though for the clarity you provided for Yachad’s position on BtS and the failure to provide an alternative voice. It was highly illuminating.

          3. I think that promoting BtS actually does help defeat BDS. I think showing Israel to be a plural democracy, where the people are introspective and where there is healthy debate around the role and activities of the armed forces, does help beat BDS.

            I don’t know how long it’s been since (if?) you were a student. But a lot of students these days jump on the BDS bandwagon because they’re ignorant. They have a general idea that Israel is a despotic military dictatorship where the army goes round committing untrammelled war crimes.

            That’s not true, and highlighting the role of BtS helps persuade people that it’s not true. It objectively works. That’s how we won in Sussex. Perhaps your right-wing approach of ‘the IDF does no wrong’ would also have won in Sussex, but I suspect not.

            (And as for this obsession of providing alternative voices: can you list some other ideological advocacy groups which always provide alternative voices? Does the JNF provide a platform for anti-JNF speakers? Does Likud provide a platform for anti-Likud speakers? Does ‘Reservists at the Front’ provide a platform for BtS? I suspect not – and there’s certainly no obligation. In a democracy, advocacy groups are entitled to be opinionated and ‘biased’.)

            1. Gabriel. Feeding a wolf (BtS) is feeding a wolf. You do not promote BtS because it looks good, you promote BtS because they suit your politics. Your first para was a really weak case to try to argue. Supporting a movement used by BDS helps BDS, anything that strengthens BtS strengthens BDS. I would be interested to know how you would react if they lost badly on the libel case. Would you call it a political decision?

              I am a student. I have spent most of the last 10 years in university. I agree with your second para.

              Everyone can call on an example, why not reference Hanna’s appearence in S’ton instead? And stop pretending I am someone I am not. I never said the IDF can do no wrong. But the IDF needing criticism does not equate to BtS being right.

              And your final para again states the problem clearly. You identify providing the IDF with a microphone as being like an anti-Likudnik being given a microphone at a Likud convention. I do not think you realise what it is exactly you are saying.

  3. Why so quick to remove the term ‘ self declared ‘ Zionist groups . Any group which aligns with BtS , an NGO frequently quoted by EI and other Israel boycotters and haters , can hardly be said to be Zionist .

    1. Because Harvela it comes down to a definition of Zionism that isn’t really the purpose of the piece. As I wrote to Gabriel in a response, I clearly have an issue with the absurdity of a group like Yachad. I can accept that in Israel, groups like Meretz have legitimate claim to being part of the democratic process, but always have a problem when those politics get mirrored outside of Israel’s democracy. What is legitimate ‘Zionism’ about a group that doesn’t really like Israel very much and doesn’t like nationalism in general much either. How can they support Israel if they don’t particularly like what it is? Part of the reason we have lost campus is because groups like Yachad control Jewish Student movements. Can you imagine a BDS debate between anti-Zionists and Yachad? It would be a race to see who hates Israel the most, with Yachad unable to put up an adequate defence because it accepts too many of the criticisms. Yachad have swallowed the lies of anti-Zionist positions.

      I removed the comment solely because it was out of place in the blog itself. I do not have a right to say that they are not a Zionist movement. I can only declare some of their positions or some of their actions anti-Zionist when I believe they have crossed the line. Uncritical support for BtS is such an action, and they should be ashamed of themselves for cyncical use of a blatant political machine that is designed to actually hurt Israel.

  4. This is the bit I liked best.

    ” For some time, most Zionists have considered Breaking the Silence to have crossed too many lines to be deemed legitimate. ”

    How rabid Zionists love their self drawn lines. They like to cower on the safe side like the British used to cower in the counties of Dublin and Kildare. It is much too scary beyond the pale.

  5. Another favourite bit is …

    ” What is legitimate ‘Zionism’ about a group that doesn’t really like Israel very much”

    David, that is so racked with implicit fallacy. The casual assertion that Yachad doesn’t like Israel very much is a

    Firstly, ” doesn’t like Israel very much” is a cheap and inaccurate shot.

    Secondly, I am a lover of the sea, and as such would very much like to see it cleaned up. Who is a better friend to the sea, me or someone that professes to love it and yet is happy to see it polluted and for the pollution and for the pollution to get worse year on year? To love something and yet not be happy about the way it presently is, is a perfectly valid position.

    1. Stephen. I understand exactly what you are saying, but you are arguing around the point rather than towards it. There is no fallacy involved, Yachad are caught in a contradictory position between different and conflicting politics.

      Israel is a nation state. Given the timing, demography and geography Israel is how Jewish nationalism expresses itself. As a Zionist, you may have an entirely different vision of how you would want Israel to look. This is legitimate and I would never argue that merely ‘wanting’ Israel to be different, to be better, is not a ‘Zionist’ position.

      The sea argument doesn’t work, because it doesn’t contain any contradictions, so to expand on it, we can use the example of a child who reaches adulthood. There is clear room for contradiction between acting in the best interests of your child and giving them independence, even if it implies the freedom to make mistakes. It is a far more complex scenario than the issue with the sea. There are also parents who try to live their lives through the children and impose their own path, regardless of the child’s actual needs or wishes. Yachad’s relationship with Israel is far more akin to these types of scenarios than to that of the sea. I do not believe Yachad like Israel very much and reject the idea that claim is based on fallacy.

      Now you can claim, that Yachad see Israel as a ‘child’ in need of ‘rehab’, so passed the point of internal salvation, that external interference becomes the ‘loving thing to do’. But if they do this, then they believe they are justified to act against the idea of independence. It is difficult to both oppose that nationalism and claim you are in favour of it. Thus the contradictions. If you then argue it from a Jewish nationalist perspective (Jewish as nation rather than Israel as nation), then it does work, but you cannot also claim you ‘like Israel’, because it too becomes a contradiction.

      I will add, IMHO, Israel is a state in the ME and has picked up a distincly ME flavour (as it should). Part of the problem is that most of these extreme left wing Jewish groups are all of Western (Ashkenazi) origin, that all dream of Israel being like Sweden. The demographics of Israel argue otherwise. It is an almost racist, opposition in nature to an actual Middle Eastern Israel. It is too ‘native’. They do not mind the Iraqi Jew owning a stall in the market, but have an issue when there are so many of them, Israel doesn’t look like they want it to. Go look, see the % make up of these extreme left wing groups, even in Israel.

  6. Let us get one thing clear. I am not an advocate for Yachad. I think that ” liberal Jewish ” orgs such as they are as much part of the problem as the , shall we say, ” right wing ” groups. Though I do feel that groups such as Yachad and Jews of Gabriel and his ilk are people of good will, certainly more so than some of the groups you seem to favour.

    So a plague on both your houses, really.

    However, I am sincerely struggling to grasp your point, a point that I sense recurs in most of your posts. Are you saying that it is out of order for groups of Diaspora Jews to actively work to change Israel because that infringes Israeli independence ?

    1. no, not at all. That is not me at all. You are confusing agreement with legitimacy.

      I am perfectly willing to sit down and thrash it out with a rabid anti-Nationalist who hates Zionism.

      I am perfectly willing to sit down and argue with someone who doesn’t believe the holocaust happened.

      A Jew who hates Israel and thinks the creation of Israel was a mistake? No problem.

      I am perfectly willing to sit down and argue with someone who thinks Jews are a subversive species who control the world with sinister intent.

      Give me any of those. Stand up, say what is on your mind and thrash it out. I can appreciate positions that are miles away from anything I would ever agree with. Even stuff built on logic from another planet. I love trying to ‘understand’ the other position. I get kicks from it. Legitimacy to me has nothing to do with a ‘common purpose’.

      We do not learn anything or gain anything by silencing dissent. I learn so much by listening to contrary positions.

      When you start to give me people who hate nationalism but say they support Zionism, whilst at the same time have a problem with everything Israel is, and suggest it is perfectly okay to give an uncritical stage to groups that demonize those in Israel, whilst refusing to give a microphone to those who defend Israel. It starts to get a little iffy for my liking. It sounds like there is more than one person inside that head. Just cut the crap and tell me what they really think.

        1. not precisely, but it addresses some of the issues of their contradictory positions. What I seek in an argument is a consistency, some type of application of logic that would work within the particular paradigm being used by the person fighting his position. I do not have to buy into the paradigm, but I do expect the logic used to work within it. When the logic doesn’t even work within the argument being put forward, I do not consider it a legitimate position.

  7. David, legitimacy only makes sense in the context of a closed system. If its your system and you are making the rules, then all is illegitimate that you deem to be so.

    1. we are taking a word with several layers and arguing in circles over what it means to us as individuals. I am merely speaking about legitimacy in the sense that the argument is supported by its own internal logic. As I said before, I do not particularly mind if the paradigm itself is alien or potentially offensive to me. Unless you wish to throw an alternative universe at me, 1+1=2 whichever system you wish to use.

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