The Ignorance of Americans

The Israeli assualt on Lebanon has not gone unnoticed by the denizens of the UAE Community Blog, and there have been several threads discussing the conflict.  I use that term loosely, and I don’t recommend my readers click through on the links unless they have a burning desire to read a collection of boiler-plate diatribes against Israel containing such wisdom as:

Every single war Israel launched since its unfortunate inception was a war of choice, except the 1973 war. Israeli propaganda has always trumpeted its wars as existential or wars for survival; that is simply not true. Even the 1948 war was started by Israel (a large scale military campaigns to secure Arab areas and force Palestinians into fleeing commenced in 1947; check historical record). Israel has NEVER been in danger of genocide; This is a vicious, cruel, immoral and murderous war; 

and:

This fighter-civilian “blending” is mostly used as a red herring to demonize groups and people and justify unacceptable violent behavior of states.

You know the stuff.  But the reoccurring theme which I really find ironic is that a group of people in the Middle East whose governments heavily restrict internet access, control the press with an iron fist, force political views on its population from early childhood, forbid criticism of government policy, refuse to recognise the existence of Israel and ban Jews from entering believe that it is the Americans who are completely ignorant of the real situation in the Middle East and they have been brainwashed by the American media which suppresses debate!

Take this for example, written by an American expat:

We, if I may speak for myself and other overseas Americans, will clearly have a broader perspective based on the fact of having lived both within and outside of the US. Contrast this with anyone who will not have had this opportunity. It isn’t to suggest that we are better or more intellegent. It is simply a matter of exposure. We have a wider variety of reference points; not only Gulf News and the sentiments of the local media and local population, but also that of the mainstream US media and population for having been in that setting too.

We simply are able to view things from a broader perspective–as too are a minortiy of States-side Americans, who for whatever reasons are well-informed.

The Gulf News?!!  Local media?!!  And exposure to this is supposed to give Americans a better perspective?  This is like saying that reading back issues of Pravda would give Americans a better understanding of the Vietnam war.

Many commentators express outrage that the Americans support Israel over anyone else in the Middle East.  They are left saddened, angry, and confused as to why Americans would take sides so blatantly.  Now I have argued at length that if somebody feels anger or confusion as to why people do things, then they have not researched the situation properly.  I have read few serious historical or political analyses of a situation when after reaching a conclusion the author has thrown his hands up in despair and expressed anger at his failure to understand.  If they do, they have missed something, a crucial factor somewhere.

Which leaves some of them scrabbling around desperate for answers, and what better answer can there be for America’s support for Israel than one whereby the Americans are as thick as pigshit and have been duped into supporting Israel against their interests by the sneaky, scheming Jews who of course control the US government and all media outlets?  Never has it occurred to them that the Israeli message might be one hell of a lot more palatable than the one the anti-Israel lobby is trying unsuccessfully to flog.  I’m just a dumb Brit, but I’m sure that most Yanks if forced to choose are not going to be rooting for a side which routinely burns their flag whilst chanting “Death to America” on TV, and supports those who fly passenger aircraft into American office blocks.  

Interestingly, I sometimes get accused of being Jewish, presumably because nobody can understand why an aethist growing up in a Welsh farming town who never met a Jew or Muslim until his late teens can wind up supporting Israel over its adversaries.  It doesn’t seem to occur to anybody that I might have come to this conclusion all on my own with pretty good access to the facts and without some nefarious Jewish lobby pushing me into it.  No, the charge I usually face is that I am either Jewish, or I am not in full possession of the facts.

So we end up in a situation whereby Americans – who occupy a country in which fierce debates on Israel and the Middle East rage across its newspapers, TV, and unrestricted websites along with dozens of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in its streets –  are accused of being ignorant of the facts and brainwashed by a government which nobody dares to question; and this accusation comes from a people who all agree on the same thing – which just so happens to be the same as the official government stance – read government-approved newspapers, have their internet access restricted, and are forbidden from taking part in any demonstration which does not support the official government line.

To a Martian, this must cause him to laugh his little green belly off.

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7 Responses to The Ignorance of Americans

  1. Steven Wood says:

    It’s an intersting question as to why america so blindly backs israel, I have to say it’s sounds naive to suggest that so much money would be poured into the country (> $100bn US) just because it’s more palatable that Israel should be on that small strip of land than an arab state. The flag burning is of course not going to persuade anyone that the US should change policy but this only happens because it’s percieved that the Israel could not exist without americas support. Which is porbably true.

    Personally I tend to think that rather than the US acting on Israels behalf and being hoodwinked by the powerful lobby groups like AIPAC, it’s the other way round and Israel does americas bidding in the region.

    As to the idea the americans are misled or ignorant, I think that there is some truth in the stereotype yank who can’t point out Israel on the map. One would have to question whether most amreicans know the true cost to the US taxpayer of Israel. Support for Israel is never an issue as both political parties will always spend billions of taxpayers money there anyway no matter who they vote for, it’s simply not deabted. I suspect due to fear of being branded anti-semitic. Anyway, whether this truly reflects the opinion of most american citizens and whether they are happy with the destination of their taxes is a debate I would like to see.

  2. Umbongo says:

    If the US was cynically pursuing foreign policies in pursuit of “realpolitik”, it would withdraw all support from Israel, refuse supply of arms and oil and let Israel’s opponents get on with it. A possible reason – often posited in this kind of discussion and alluded to by Steven Wood – as to why the US apparently acts against its own apparent interests is, of course, the alleged power of the Jewish lobby: the fact that Jews (who in total comprise less than 2% of the US electorate) vote 80+% Democrat tends to torpedo this argument below the waterline.

    Perhaps then the US is not as cynical or its citizens as ignorant as we might be led to believe. Maybe it’s just a question of taste: maybe the US and Americans generally simply prefer – at an enormous cost to the US in terms of political advantage – to support a state modelled on and reflecting the mores of Western civilisation rather than a collection of squalid quasi-dictatorships whose only claim to any importance in the world (apart, that is, from opting for the role of the world’s uber-victims) lies in having won a lottery concerning the siting of oil reserves.

    Coming closer to home, I, as an English gentile identify – also as a matter of taste as well as common sense – the enemies of Israel in the Middle East with the domestic enemies of my own country.

  3. I’ve been asked, ‘are you Jewish?’ on several occasions while defending Israel. Similarly, I was pointing out the fatuity of tbe passive smoking nonsense (no statistical significance health-wise). “You’re a smoker,” says my interlocutor. Nope, sorry luv, never touched a cigarette in my life. Filthy habit. But facts is facts. This engenders cognitive dissonance in your average Lefty. Since in their book no-one who disagrees with them can have arrived at their viewpoint via a process of ratiocination, any contrary beliefs must be the result of ulterior motives or false consciousness.

  4. IR says:

    Here is the best answer to the question “Why US support Israel?”:

    http://sandbox.blog-city.com/israel_oil_realism.htm

    So it is realpolitik after all and has very little to do with Jewish Lobby.

  5. Umbongo says:

    IR

    Thanks for that tip: a very interesting analysis from Martin Kramer and one, moreover, that had never occurred to me.

  6. Steven Wood says:

    That is an interesting article.

  7. W. Shedd says:

    Of course, everyone knows that Americans are up to their eyeballs in debt, owing banks for their cars, their homes, their credit card purchases. And all banks, newspapers, TV and movies studios are owned by Jews. So basically we Americans are just working our tails off for the profit of our greedy, money-grubbing Zionist masters.

    I mean, just ask Mel Gibson.

    Actually, I always wonder who these Americans are who can’t point out other nations on the map, or are ignorant of world events. The only thing I can figure is they are the Americans who bag my groceries. As an engineer, I just don’t encounter very many of these people. Other than maybe the receptionist.

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