The Debate Over Israel

I haven't written much about the Walt-Mearesheimer book because it's long and I haven't had time to read it. (There's a concept: a blogger not posting about something he knows nothing about.) But it is interesting, it seems to me, that the debate about the Middle East does indeed feel freer in Israel than in the US, where some American Jews have a defensiveness and anger that makes calm debate very difficult. (I guess I should add that my impression of the Walt-Mearesheimer book - I did read the original article - is that it's shoddy enough to merit Jewish defensiveness and anger. Sigh.) Here's an interesting piece on the press debate in Israel and the US. Matt comments here. Megan offers her suggested reasons for the discrepancy between the much better-informed and more diverse debate in Israel. Money quote:

1) No one in Israel is worried about being called anti-semitic.

2) Ethnic groups in safe exile tend to be more committed to territorial possession than the people back home who actually have to get shot at in order to obtain or retain the land. This is certainly true of the Irish.

3) Being correct about Israel/Palestine matters a lot more in Israel than it does in America. People expressing views here (or in Europe) are more often staking out ethnic or political solidarity with a cause. People in Israel have a certain level of solidarity assumed, and are in a high-stakes battle for the lowest cost solution, which permits and even demands a wider breadth of views.

4)  Newspapers in Israel are just better than newspapers here.

I'll take the first three.

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