No, this isn’t about that one. It’s the heavyweight Neil Clark vs Oliver Kamm match…
I’m no fan of Mr Kamm, but he did well in fighting Mr Clark’s libel suit last year. For those who frankly can’t be arsed, Mr Kamm suggested that Mr Clark’s book review was crap and questioned whether Mr Clark had read the book in question. Anyone who sues for libel in such a situation thoroughly deserves horsewhipped, to use some Scottish idiom.
Subsequently, an utterly mad bunch of bastards have accused Mr Kamm of supporting antisemitic genocide and hating Israel. Given that Oliver Kamm is a famously outspoken defender of Israel and the neoconservative agenda, this is weird – and indeed the curator of the accused site, Ted Belman of IsraPundit, is one of the most crazy paranoid lunatics I’ve ever encountered on the Internet in any context [*].
If I were not only Jewish, but also an advocate of the whole “antizionism masks antisemitism” thing and a supporter of neocon adventures in Iraq, then Mr Belman’s assertions would be more or less the most bizarre things I could possibly imagine – but nonetheless incredibly hurtful. So I can sort-of understand Mr Kamm’s logic:
I confess I hadn’t considered at all a circumstance in which I might be depicted as a supporter of Nazism, genocide and ethnic cleansing…. Given the recklessness of IsraPundit’s charges, the repulsiveness of its politics, and the gracelessness of its non-apology, I did consider the possibility of referring this one for legal advice. On grounds of my belief in free speech and of the evident stupidity of the charges, I am very unlikely to take that course even in this case.
However, this would seem to be a prime case of the “don’t send emails in haste that you’ll regret later” rule, since Mr Kamm did actually send Mr Belman an email saying:
I would ask that you now either substantiate your contributors’ allegations against me or publish a proper retraction within 24 hours. I am taking the liberty of forwarding this exchange to Dr Hoare. If I have heard nothing from you by this time tomorrow, I shall in addition forward it to my legal representatives, Charles Russell LLP of London.
Sorry Ollie, but given your stated commitment to defending online free speech from legalistic bullying, the latter sentence loses you points.
[*] if anyone, pretty much irrespective of their ideology, believes you’re one of the most crazy paranoid lunatics they’ve ever encountered on the Internet in any context, you really ought to start reevaluating your writings…