The opinions of a highly opinionated right-wing atheist.
I was going to write something about the current situation, but this post at Say Anything summed it up pretty well:
Finally: Israeli Warplanes Pound Hamas Targets In Gaza
This is a good opportunity to introduce my rule for reading on the I/P conflict in the West: if it's someone who isn't from the Middle East and hasn't lived or reported from there, I ignore it.In the mainstream media, for instance, the only person worth listening to on the subject is Thomas Friedman, who you can know is good based on how everyone with more opinions than facts hates him.The post comes off as not worth listening to. Israelis know very well why Israel hesitates to attack: it lives off of handouts from the US, so anything that embarrasses Uncle Sam too much is off the table. They might lament it, but they know it's true. They will also tell you that the reason Israel is bombing instead of invading is that it's election season and the Minister of Defense is running against the Prime Minister, so anything that gets even a single Israeli troop killed is off the table.
"This is a good opportunity to introduce my rule for reading on the I/P conflict in the West: if it's someone who isn't from the Middle East and hasn't lived or reported from there, I ignore it"That's pretty extreme. It's not necessary to have lived somewhere in order to be able to analyze events there. In fact, it's often useful to have an outside perspective."The post comes off as not worth listening to."Why? Nothing in that post conflicts with what you are saying about Israel's actions.
In fact, it's often useful to have an outside perspective.Westerners aren't outsiders; on the contrary, their understanding of the issue comes filtered through a small number of sources, which are all Jewish or Arab, and through longstanding biases that come from the special place Israel occupies in Western history. If I wanted a true outside perspective, I'd read the East Asian papers. Their perspective is that the issue is unimportant, judging by the fact that they barely cover it. For them, the contentious issues are the rise of China, Tibet, Taiwan, Japan's behavior in WW2; they don't care about a Middle Eastern conflict that's killed thousands of people instead of millions.