America’s chief Middle East export: Rigid Ideology


It’s been interesting for me to compare American attitudes toward the latest conflict between Israel and Palestine with American attitudes toward our own politics. Domestically, we have a largely black and white political spectrum: either you’re conservative Republican or liberal Democrat. With respect to the Middle East either you’re pro-Israel and its right to assert its regional dominance or you’re pro-Palestine and anti-Israeli aggression.

In reality, just as with our own political parties, the situation is much more subtly nuanced. I hope that the position I’m about to advocate seems as obvious to you as it does to me.

Let’s start with Israel.  At least four of its closest neighbors explicitly and repeatedly denounce its very right to exist, and advocate killing Israelis by virtue of their…existence. In 2006 the people of Gaza (not the West Bank) democratically elected a militant government whose stated aim is to annihilate Israel. Hamas makes good on its claim every day, launching dozens or hundreds of homemade rockets from residential neighborhoods into Israel. Though they rarely kill anyone, Israelis nonetheless have constantly to live with the sight and sound of rockets plummeting down on their homes. Continue reading