[OPE] Is the problem of Israel/Palestine slipping in the ratings?

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Fri Oct 03 2008 - 14:01:21 EDT

FT specialist Gideon Rachman remarks drily about the Palin/Biden debate, "So what did we learn? Well, it turns out that both candidates hate Wall Street and Iran; and love Israel and the American middle-class." http://blogs.ft.com/rachmanblog/

I don't think that's quite fair - in fact Mrs Palin went kinda Marxist, and acknowledged that the resilience of the American economy was to be found in the strength and ability of its workforce, the main productive force of the country. Take that, economists! Seriously speaking, talking about loves and hates the way that Mr Rachman does to highlight apparent superficiality is really an alienated way of thinking though, a sort of reification. A sharper, more informed article can be found in Haaretz, which notes that the problem of Israel/Palestine has now simply slipped down the real list of American political priorities: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1026031.html

This might not be a bad thing, insofar as the local people really have the responsibility to solve this problem, not the US NSC, and, as psychologists have noted, you can make a human problem much worse by focusing too much attention on it. As soon as you give something too much attention, you can attract a whole bandwagon of people trying to capitalize on the attention, which makes everything even more complicated than it already was. Opening a new can of worms, as it were. You might face a whole lot of extra problems that weren't really there to start off with, I can vouch for that.

For instance, a problem can be "hijacked" or "pirated" to serve quite a different agenda, with the result that responsibilities are fudged - it is no longer clear who really "owns" this problem, or even how it originated, and honest discussion is disabled thereby. Of course, to appropriate the solutions for yourself, and shift the problems to someone else, is typically always the stuff of power politics. The idea is, that you have the solution, and the other guys have the problem - and, having power usually involves an ability to define or frame what the problem is, and impose that definition on others. Then others work for you, to solve the problem to your satisfaction. You just provide solutions, or adjudicate the choice of solutions. This phenomenon is, of course, most obviously apparent in despotic and dictatorial styles, where "who has power" is starkly defined, but the general principle applies much more widely.

But although there is statisticallly much more human misery, death and disease elsewhere in the world, I personally think the problem of Israel/Palestine nevertheless has a tremendous ideological/religious significance and political significance for the Middle East, and if it can be solved acceptably and in a just way, it would make possible much more human progress in the region, taking the wind out of the sails of all kinds of "experts" who moralize about the limits of human cruelty and tolerance, from afar. Even just a few tangible gains or steps of progress could make a real difference.

I was thinking one inspiring concert by Paul McCartney probably does more good, than a lot of imperialist meddling. "You say good buy, and I say hello". Does he still have energy or what - must be his veggie diet, no?! "Paul McCartney for president", one might say. Of course, he's a musician, not a politician, so it's a dream. But, actually... he has a very good knowledge of budgets, and quite considerable political nouse, there's things to be learnt from that... McCartney spoke in Israel with OneVoice moderates http://www.onevoicemovement.org/ so, though he sticks to his own pursuit, he's by no means wholly apolitical in his stance.

The Voice of Reason and good sense may yet triumph, despite everything, despite the climate of panics, worries, the gloom and doom, the suffering, the ruins of policies gone bad, the hopelessness and despair. Let it be.


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Received on Fri Oct 3 14:06:25 2008

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