Perhaps you know the type. They are the ones who make statements that insult and demean others under the guise of promoting peace or diversity or some other platitude. They are the ones who, when called upon to defend their ideas refuse.
Sometimes they have an excuse. Sometimes they just say that they refuse because the person challenging them to defend their ideas, in their opinion only, is described as someone who knows nothing about the situation.
I know what I would call them.
Now in the case that I am thinking of, the invitation for a debate was not issued by either Oxford or Cambridge Union. It was, however, offered by a univeristy which does have an interest in the situation and desire to promote discourse on the subject. Furthermore, it is not as if the person involved was being challenged to defend his position against a drunken, un-educated lout. In fact, the person who was going to put the ideas espoused by this person is a professor with more than a passing interest in matter.
So, given that situation, what would you call the person who refused to take the opportunity to defend his position?
Unfortunately, I have to call him Mr. Carter. The idea he is promoting is that Israel practices a policy of apartheid and is not committed to seeking peace, and instead seeks to perpetuate the violence in the Middle East.
The person who was offered to debate him is Allan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor. The site of the debate was to Brandeis University.
And Mr. Carter's response was, "I don't want to have a conversation even indirectly with Dershowitz," Carter said in Friday's Boston Globe. "There is no need ... to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."
Now what do you call someone like this?