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Reader comment on item: Americans Battle the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Submitted by Michael S. (United States), Mar 11, 2015 at 12:54

Hi, Daniel

I like this article. You bring up real food for thought, and some quotable quotes. Among them,

Arab-Israeli partisanship fits a broader pattern, in which distance turns greys into blacks and whites, increasing political passions.

That was a gem. Also, your conclusion was correct:

this pattern runs contrary to the general assumption that the frenzied combatants in a war need cool-headed outsiders to help guide them to resolution and peace – an assumption that sometimes leads to the unfortunate decision to put ignoramuses in charge of diplomacy and policy. In fact, the locals may see the problem more lucidly and realistically than their foreign friends. It is time for foreigners to stop assuming they know how to achieve the region's salvation and instead to listen more to those directly involved.

I remember moving to the rural California community of Eureka in 1984, to see that students in the nearby university were protesting against Apartheid in South Africa. I wondered what on earth compelled young people in this nearly all-white logging and fishing town to become passionate about people on the other side of the globe, whom they certainly knew nothing about. That was my introduction to the Twilight Zone of the next generation. It confused me a bit, because my previous encounter with the California North Coast had been in the Hippie days. I assumed that those demonstrators had somehow gotten caught up in a local time warp. I was right; and that time warp exists to this day. Time-displaced activists like Barack Obama, or newscasters on PBS, are ample evidence of this.

On my own part (as an American), I was raised in a Roman Catholic family; but my understanding of Israel was shaped by television and newspaper accounts of the Holocaust, and by the stage play Diary of Anne Frank. Of course, this made me pro-Israel, without a hint of pro-Arab sentiment. Somehow, a new generation has arisen that is anti-Israel; and it seems to me that these people have gotten taken over by body-snatchers from a another planet: I simply cannot fathom them, or where they seem to be coming from.

We live in a strange world. Keep up the good work.

Shalom shalom :-)


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