Friedman makes a couple of good points concerning the Octavia Nasr firing in his column today:
Augustus Richard Norton, of Boston University, a Shiite expert, said this about Fadlallah, whom he knew: “He argued that women should have equal opportunities to men and be well educated. He even argued that women have a right to hit their husband back because it was not appropriate for a spouse to be beaten by their husbands. He was not afraid to speak about sexuality, and he even once gave [a mosque sermon] about sexual urges and female masturbation. It was common to find young people who followed his writings all over the region.” Indeed, Nasr later explained that her tweet about Fadlallah was because he took a “contrarian and pioneering stand among Shia clerics on women’s rights.”
Remember this is an islamic cleric in Lebanon, after reading several books on woman’s repression in Islamic we need a lot more of this, second good point:
Ghaddar said she came to understand that “only figures like Fadlallah could change the status quo. People who position themselves as anti-Hezbollah, critics of resistance, or atheists, will rarely be heard within the Shia community, because people will not listen to them. … Fadlallah on the other hand could reach out to the people because he was one of them. … People like him, if strengthened, can bring about real change. He is one of those rare people whom Hezbollah and the Iranian leadership feared … because people liked him and respected him.”
These are both legitimate things to consider about the guy (If he was Stacy McCain he would have also played the “My God she is Hot“ card) as is the point that only someone on the team will be listened to.
However you miss the most important point. He was in favor of dead Jews, LOTS of them. Regardless of the other stuff he was still a terrorist. Defending and supporting him is like defending Albert Speer. You can make any amount of excuses you want, he’s still a Nazi. I’ve mentioned this type of thing before:
It’s like saying Tessio is a scoundrel and Clemenza is not. They’re all friggen Mafia! They are by definition all scoundrels.
Or to put it even better consider this exchange from the Classic movie The Great Escape. Where the C.O. points out the risks of such a plan to the med:
Ramsey: I have to point out one thing to you, Roger. No matter how unsatisfactory this camp may be, the high command have left us in the hands of the Luftwaffe, not the Gestapo and the SS.
Bartlett: Look, sir, you talk about the high command of the Luftwaffe, then the SS and the Gestapo. To me they’re the same. We’re fighting the bloody lot. There’s only one way to put it, sir. They are the common enemies of everyone who believes in freedom.
That’s is the critical point and Friedman misses it. They are the common enemy. There was no nuance here. If she said the same thing about a Bin Ladin deputy would we even have to ask if she should be fired?
Update: memeorandum thread here.