LETTERS

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April 10, 2009

"Justice" goes undefined in column

Aside from vague gesturing about the illegitimacy of Palestine’s claims and a castigation of Shakespeare for anti-Semitism, Bloom’s point is that those advocating the Palestinian cause “misuse the concept of justice.”

In his editorial "The Justification for Justice" (4/7/09), Nathan Bloom continues the ongoing Maroon spat between Israel and Palestine. His argument, which takes issue with Palestinians’ demands for justice, is rather complex and it seems appropriate to try to flesh out his reasoning for the benefit of the reader.Aside from vague gesturing about the illegitimacy of Palestine’s claims and a castigation of Shakespeare for anti-Semitism, Bloom’s point is that those advocating the Palestinian cause “misuse the concept of justice.” Thankfully, Bloom provides us with his own conception of justice, which I will try to explain, and thus make clear his groundbreaking point.First, we learn what justice is not. Bloom claims that “justice and politics are best separated,” showing that justice is not political. This may seem odd to us who believe the purpose of politics was to implement justice in society, but we must bear with Bloom.Next, we learn that justice is not pragmatism. This makes sense—after all, pragmatism is a means and justice is an end! That the former might very well be a means to the latter is beside the point.Lastly, we discover that “what love is not, justice is.” They are mutually exclusive.However, it still remains what Bloom believes justice is. Thankfully, he provides the following features: (a) Justice is zero-sum, (b) justice is blind to facts, and (c) justice does not care about the needs of men. At this point the reader may be distressed. A justice that disregards facts, is apathetic toward men, and involves an unfair loss for every gain is not the justice we know and love. But this distress is proof that we, like those fools in Students for Justice in Palestine, were mistaken about justice—we have now been corrected.It remains though—if justice is so different from what we thought it was, then what purpose does justice serve? Bloom closes his editorial with an answer to this question: Justice is best left to the courts. The courts that, we presume, have no regard for the facts, are blind to the needs of men, involve no compromise, are anti-love, apolitical, and un-pragmatic. The courts that then serve only one purpose: the redress of grievances according to the (apolitical) law. Which, as it happens, is exactly what the Palestinians are asking for.I hope this explication has rendered clear Bloom’s salient and subtle argument in favor of Palestinian rights. Let him understand who can.Emmett RensinViewpoints Staff