Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Muslim World Is Aflame

I'm embarrassed to post this because it should be obvious. Then again, maybe not.

Israel could stop seizing West Bank land tomorrow and move to real negotiations for a Palestinian state. No question it should do both things. But in the unlikely event it does these things, Bashar al-Assad would still be using every weapon he can access to utterly exterminate the Syrian opposition to his dictatorship, secular (what little there is or ever was of it) and hardcore Sunni alike; Iran would still be trying to dodge any regimen of inspections and sanctions to get its nuke; ISIS would still be raging barbarically in Iraq and Syria. . . or maybe instead of ISIS something similar if not worse.

The Muslim world is aflame. No telling how deep the infection goes or when it slows.

You can't blame it all on Israel, not even Netanyahu — nor the Palestinians, not even Hamas.

The Israeli-Palestinian struggle is just not the fulcrum of  Middle East events some — including me — used to think.

But it's true Americans think more about Israel and Israeli actions than we do, say, about Syrian action.

That's a given because:

1) The United States funds Israel far more per capita more than any other country.

Why do critics of the media spotlight on Israel forget that?

Arguments about BDS tend to keep critics of Israeli policy from addressing that fact, though it used to be fundamental to the critique of Israeli policy. No more: now it's about whether Israeli professors — mostly dovish  — can partake of academic powwows in the west.

Silly stuff.

Among the other things wrong with BDS is that it's a red herring, it diverts political energy.

The argument about whether the United States should fund the Israeli military as we do is worth having. The debate about Sodastream etc. much less so.

2) There are a lot of American Jews. Doesn't mean we support everything Israel does. By no means. But Peter Beinart is wrong to argue we, lots of us, don't care, have turned off, about Israel. We do care  and therefore are reliable consumers of news about Israel, good or bad. That's not going to change.

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