You would think that showing maps clearly delineating the truncated, obviously non-viable area available for a possible Palestinian state and showing pictures that define Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories would have some kind of impact on an audience of astute but, on this issue, generally uninformed Americans.
We have shown maps and pictures like these myriad times before, but have never been received with quite such disinterest. Here was a group of mostly retired U.S. government officials, academics, journalists, and business executives, as well as a few still-working professionals -- all ranging in political orientation from center right to center left, the cream of informed, educated America, the exemplar of elite mainstream opinion in the United States.
The first person to comment when our presentation concluded, identifying herself as Jewish, said she had "never heard a more one-sided presentation" and labeled us "beyond anti-Semitic" -- which presumably is somewhat worse than plain-and-simple anti-Semitic.
Our brief conversation with this woman progressed in an interesting fashion. We tried to engage her in a discussion about what exactly was one-sided in our depiction of the situation on the ground and what she would have liked to see to make it "two-sided." She did not answer but indicated that she thought whatever Israel did must be justified by Palestinian actions.
Why is this interesting to anyone but us? Because this in-depth discussion with a small but representative group of intelligent, thinking Americans is indicative of a broad range of U.S. public opinion on foreign policy issues, and their level of disinterest in the consequences of U.S. policies is quite disturbing. The self-absorption evident during this meeting, the general "don't-rock-the-boat" posture, the overwhelming lack of concern for the victims of Israeli and U.S. power amount to a license to kill for the U.S. and its allies.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
American apathy - a license to kill
This article is somewhat demotivating, but it's also a good reality check and offers some important insight into the psyche of the 'elite' yet uninformed American. Excerpts below: