Thursday, March 16, 2006

Delicate subject, eggshell posting

I have to say, until I started reading a lot of blogs, the Middle East always seemed to me to be slightly distant. I had opinions on it and everything - name your subject: I have opinions - but it really wasn't central to me. But, in the little community of bloggers that I read, Israel always looms large. As a result, of course, I've tried to get a bit more educated about the area in general and the Israel/Palestine conflict in particular.

One thing I've discovered is, and this will be no surprise to anyone, that it is remarkably difficult to find history and especially reporting, that isn't slightly one-sided at best, grotesquely slanted at worst. Within the UK press this slant has tended - for reasons of historic British pro-Arabism? - towards the Palestinian side. However, within the corner of the blogosphere (ghastly word) that I now inhabit and have long haunted, exactly the opposite is true.

My natural inclination is that, as the only functioning democracy in a notoriously dictatorial region, Israel should be extended the benefit of any available doubt, and that much opposition to Israel has its roots in unsavoury soil. On further examination, I will hazard a stronger opinion. That anyone who routinely uses the word 'Zionist' in a derogatory sense does so in an article with which I will disagree.

Israel, in short, now seems to act as an ideal weathervane of opinion. Ask only for someone's opinion on Israel, and their wider views are reflected. I don't know why it should be - but I do know that one of the few things that unites those with whom I identify is the right of Israel to exist, and one of the things that typifies those with whom I disagree is their denial of that right.

Unusually I'm putting a disclaimer on this post. The Middle East is emphatically not an area of expertise. I'm not making any sweeping historical/political points here, merely highlighting something that I feel.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Meph said...

My natural inclination is that, as the only functioning democracy in a notoriously dictatorial region, Israel should be extended the benefit of any available doubt, and that much opposition to Israel has its roots in unsavoury soil

First of all, your disclaimer is much appreciated and as it turns out, wise. The functioning democracy of the Palestinians afforded them no benefit of any doubt when Hamas won so I am afraid that argument is slightly skewed. The regimes of the Middle East and the Gulf are hopelessely dictatorial and do not represent their people as well as Israel does but I am afraid that one cannot extrapolate from there and state that hence Israel is not in itself an illegal entity. I personally am not a fan of the denial of Israel's right to exist as calls for its annilhilation will severely destabilise the region but the inequities and mockery of peace treaties that exist on the part of Israel make it difficult to defend the country or to justify the unconditional support of the US.

9:21 pm  
Blogger John East said...

Yes I agree. I have always wondered why it is usually necessary to be anti-Zionist, anti-Isreal or even anti-Semetic to be a fully paid up liberal, left wing, intellectual. The only reason that I can see to explain this is a hatred for the USA and all of her allies.
The paradox seems to escape those forced into the other camp that they happily ally themselves with societies representing the antithesis of liberalism. Societies patriachal in nature, often ruled by despots where women, gays and members of other religions are oppressed, and that are firmly committed to censorship in most of its forms.

7:21 pm  

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