I haven't been yelled at for, like, nine hours, and we seem to be running short on flame wars, so how about a little Israel blogging? Matt observes:
People often note that there appears to be a more vigorous debate over Israel's approach to the Israeli-Arab conflict in the mainstream Israeli press than there is in the mainstream American press. This is, however, the kind of judgment that it's hard for a casual American observer to make with much confidence. Writing in International Security, however, Jerome Slater takes a more systematic comparison of coverage of the conflict in The New York Times and in Haaretz and concludes that, indeed, Israelis debate this matter more freely.
If this is true, I wonder why it would be true. My tenative thoughts:
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.
Obviously, four is not the correct answer. I don't know how much to weight each of the other three.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.