Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Still odd

When I started blogging last year, I was keen to talk about stuff that really interested me: the possible resurgence of the Conservatives; the true role of the state in modern society; cricket and so on. That was what I read mostly after all. A year on and while I still write about all these things I have become more and more baffled by what seems to be the most prominent topic on the blogosphere: Israel and the Jews.
Look at Comment is Free for example: an article about Israel will attract hundred of comments. Not only is the interest level bizarre but the weird vituperation it attracts leaves me astonished. Israel is tiny, about five million people and small with it, in the middle of the vast and much more heavily populous Middle East. Zambia has about twice as many inhabitants, closer historical links to Britain, and an internal political scene that is roughly as interesting as Israel’s. Why is there approximately 1,000 times more coverage of Israel? If the argument is that there’s a low-intensity war in Israel/Palestine, then where the hell was all the coverage of the Congo?
Where on earth does all the passion come from? I started out blogging with the sense that obviously Israel had the right to exist; that it was the only democracy in the region and that, ultimately, I didn’t care enough to have massively strong opinions on it. What’s your opinion on the border dispute between Mozambique and Zimbabwe? That, essentially, is still my position: broadly pro-Israeli, basically not bothered. As for ‘Jews’ – why on earth should I have an opinion? I don’t have one about Buddhists or Zoroastrians or Baptists. I really cannot understand why everyone seems to care so very, very deeply about the issue.

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