Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Rare Outbreak of Common Sense.

Queen Noor of Jordan takes part in a rare occurrence on American television. And it's rare because she is saying things which are never normally said. She talks of the way the Palestinians are viewed by the American media, the fact that the death rate in this conflict currently runs at one hundred to one, and that Palestinian deaths seem not to matter to the American media.

It's almost as if they are - as Queen Noor states - "less valuable human lives, as being relatively subhuman by comparison with Israeli lives".

She then calls for "a new approach on the part of the United States which is more balanced and holds both sides equally accountable for their actions".

She is also highly articulate about why Fatah lost to Hamas in the 2006 elections; they lost because their moderation failed to deliver any tangible results. Palestinians want an end to occupation and humiliation, and they will vote for whoever they think will deliver this.

I have already written about the change I have detected amongst US left wing bloggers regarding Israel, and now we find a real change in the US mainstream media. This amount of sense being spoken about this dispute is rarely heard here.

It's a real sign of how much Israel has overplayed her hand in this recent conflict. Even Pat Buchanan chimes in attacking the fact that Israel keeps on building settlements, despite all her promises not to do so, and that she does so, "without consequence".

I find this breathtaking.

Richard Haas describes the policy of the Bush years as, "neglect [which] was malign, not benign."

He further argues that both Israel and the US have to show that there is something in this for Palestinians who engage in moderation, with the implication that, up until this point, there has been nothing.

Queen Noor also points out the huge disparity between the way this conflict is seen around the world, and the way it appears to be viewed by the US Congress, where they seem unable even to admit that a humanitarian crisis is taking place. And she points out that this is dangerous for both the security of Israel, and for the security of the United States.

It's almost unheard of to hear the linkage between 9-11 and the conflict between Israel and Palestine even alluded to on American television. And yet here we hear people talking about how this conflict effects, "the security of the United States".

It is then stated that "the plight of the Palestinians has been historically ignored by the media."

I really hope that this is an indication of movement away from blindly supporting Israel to asking what is actually good for Israel and the survival of the Jewish state.

America has, until now, been a dreadful friend to Israel. She has been the equivalent of an overindulgent parent feeding an obese child chocolate. At last, cracks are appearing in the American narrative.

I really hope that Obama can push against this door and do what is right. For both Israel and the Palestinians. Even Olmert has admitted that the current situation in untenable.

The time is right for someone with Obama's rhetorical gifts to reframe this argument and bring about a settlement.


Ingrid said...

they certainly overplayed their hands. It's almost as if they 'quickly' had to do this before Obama got into office after all, Bush would do nothing anyway.
It's funny to consider that even people on the left fear speaking out against Israeli actions. For me, being called 'anti-semitic' is just a sign of ignorance and plain stupidity. Anyhow..the sad thing is that these attacks are sooo blatantly wrong and overly aggressive, and there is this thing called the internet..too many actions cannot simply be swept under the's all over the alternative news and blogs and such. Thank God for the internet..the official 'newsdom' is forced to face reality..


Kel said...

I used to say that everyone in the progressive blogs thought the way I did on every subject except Israel.

But I have noticed a distinct change during this conflict, and a willingness on the part of left wing American bloggers to speak out against Israeli actions, which was missing before.

And I agree that the impending prospect of Obama as president has played a role in Israel's actions.