The challenge of talking candidly about Israel

There do seem to be more and more people checking this out every day, and I hope they are not disappointed by the sporadic posts. Very sorry. I need to work for a living. If someone could figure out a way to change that circumstance, I would post every day, several times a day. Within a day or two, I’ll post something about the obstacles to candid conversations about Israel in the public arena. In the meantime, there is a great piece by Eric Alterman in The Nation on the very same topic. A brief excerpt:

The difficulty of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems from more sources than one can comfortably count, but surely one of the most significant is our inability even to discuss it. The emotional intensity of so many people’s investment in their own self-justifying story line censors the effects of any potentially upsetting fact.

For instance, I thought it a pretty significant problem for Israel’s unquestioning defenders when Peace Now revealed that nearly a third of the land currently occupied by Israeli settlements was actually listed as private Palestinian land. In other words, these so-called “facts on the ground” rest on exactly the pattern of illegal seizure that critics have long alleged and successions of Israeli governments have sought to cover up. But I’ve yet to read a word from those dedicated to defending any and every action by Israel explaining how this new information affects their arguments.

Similarly, the apparently never-ending deadly violence between Hamas fighters and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Gaza–to say nothing of the murderous hatred both sides openly profess toward all Jews–ought to provide considerable cause for pause among those who demand an immediate end to the Israeli occupation, security concerns be damned. And yet from those who hold that position, one hears precious little about Israel’s entirely understandable worries about the prospects of being asked to live alongside a failed, fanatical and heavily armed Islamic state.

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