Lewis Carroll’s Anti-Semitic Logic

Remembered today as the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Jabberwocky, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (a/k/a Lewis Carroll) also produced important books and essays on mathematics and formal logic. Adam Roberts, as an admirer of the former works, decided to read the 1897 Symbolic Logic, Part I—and came across the following example of deduction:

No Jews are honest;
Some Gentiles are rich.
Some rich people are dishonest.

Adams responds:

No Jews are . . . hang on a minute. What?

But, look: one particular instance of anti-Semitic generalization surely doesn’t mean that Carroll himself hated Jews. Surely this is just one example of the ways that the background radiation of 19th-century British anti-Semitism fed through into particular texts. It’s not as if Carroll goes on and on about Jews in his dry little book about inductive logic. Is it?

To Roberts’s dismay, the Jews continue to return in such sample statements as “No Gentiles say ‘shpoonj,’” “No Jew is ignorant of Hebrew,” and “Some Jews are rich,” although he reports nothing else as nakedly bigoted as “no Jews are honest.”

Read more at Adam’s Notebook

More about: Anti-Semitism, English literature, Logic

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security