A Need to Read
From US, EU Issues to Mideast Mess
Passing of Time Muddles Historical Realities
by Dan Ehrlich

Frequently TV talk show hosts Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel will go out in the street to ask ordinary people simple questions concerning current events and American issues. The replies, overwhelmingly, leaves a knowledgeable person shocked…not just about the absurd answers, but also for the future of America.

I mean if a person can’t even tell you who was buried in Grant’s Tomb, it’s easier to see why politicians with the limited knowledge of Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin garner such large followings.

The so-called “dumbing down”of America has been going on for more than two generations. Some say it began when multiple-choice exams replaced essays and written answers in schoolwork right through university level studies.

A similar situation exsists in the United Kingdom, the home of literature's greats. A new survey reveals the nation's youth doesn't read much anymore. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/08/23/childrens-attitude-to-reading_n_933817.html  British youngsters are ditching Dickens and Shakespeare for Facebook and Twitter. Only one in six British youths read a single book in a month, according to a survey.

This, plus the passing of time, various forms of propaganda, including some revisionist history, may leave people out of touch and ignorant about local, national and world issues. For example, many Americans can’t tell you the simplest background to the causes of WW2.

But, as a superpower America must have a population that understands what going on in the world: The “with great power comes great responsibility” axiom. We instead rely on our political leaders to handle this. However, since they feel Americans are ignorant about most issues, they tend to operate in accordance with their own geo-political beliefs.
"In War, Truth is the First Casualty", Aeschylus, 500 BC
On the international level probably no problem has evolved into a more convoluted maze of disinformation than the endless Arab-Israel conflict. It’s a rare classic example of heroism and idealism turned to derision through the passage of time and changing perceptions.

That’s mainly because it has been going on for so long. Maybe this is why it commands so much more attention than far more deadly conflicts going on in Asia and Africa.

Here we have a unique historical event...the resurrection of a dead nation, that is lost on many people today, Yet, if these people would read reputable history books they would learn about Jews buying land in Palestine from the Turks and later Arabs, not stealing it, about the rise of Arab nationalism at the fall of the Ottoman Empire, British double dealing, about the first Arab massacres of Jews and the rise of Jewish defense groups who in turn killed Arabs in revenge.

History tells of Palestinian complicity with the Nazis during WW2 to kill Jews there, of the Jewish war refugees trying to run the British blockade of Palestine and of the 1947 UN partition plan accepted by the Jews but rejected by the Arabs, who chose war or nothing. Yet, many people today have little or no knowledge of this.

While contemporary history frequently brings up Palestinian refugees, it rarely is concerned with Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Maybe that’s because Israel welcomed them, while the Arabs kept their brothers in camps. It's all there in history.

Yet, from many comments on notable news sites such as the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast, we are led to believe a bunch of survivors from Nazi death camps, who had no views at all about Arabs, traveled to Palestine to kick Arabs out of their homes, steal their land and embark on a century of persecuting these people.
Some Writers Are Racist or Just Ignorant
It’s obvious from many of these comments the writers have little historical knowledge of these issues or use them to release deep seated anti Arabic or anti Semitic feelings.

Aside from all this history, there's probably no greater misplaced patronage and hypocrisy than the liberal love affair with the Palestinians, from bleeding heart Harvard professors to the female friendly Guardian newspaper in the UK.

On one hand many of these same people are backing our war in Afghanistan solely on the need to secure and safeguard women's rights from Taliban brutality. And yet, they condemn and boycott Israel, a social democracy with equal rights for women and home to 1.5 million Arabs, for ill treatment to Palestinians, many of whom look upon women as livestock, homosexuals as dead-men and women walking and infidels as less than equal than them.

More Palestinian women die annually in so-called honor killings by their own families than they do from Israeli reprisal bombardments.

On the other side of this lunacy it could be said most Arabic culture, aside from their religion, would be a good fit for the US hard right red state mob with its love of traditional family values, hatred of gays and deep rooted male chauvinism.
Absurdity of this Conflict
For some time America’s religious right as been overflowing with impassioned vocal and financial backing for Israel from the same conservative region that used to lynch Jews for helping Blacks. Of course that was before it hit the Jerry Springer crowd that they might get reserved first class tickets to heaven if they can get all the Jews into Israel and the same time…bring on their long-awaited Rapture.

Yet, much of this is based on changing perceptions. There was a time when the Israelis were darlings of the far Left. It was a social democracy with collective farms and freedom for all. But most of all it was viewed as an underdog, something as important to liberals as a coffin is to vampires.

Three decades and wars undermined that most favored underdog status…Israel became a winner and occupier of land conquered in Arab wars waged against it. But the biggest blow to its status with the Left was the rise of the right-wing Likud Party, whose actions wiped away memories of socialist collective farming. The Left felt betrayed that its client state was turning right.

The Left, unwittingly worked with the rejectionist Arab League, to morph the Arab-Israel Conflict into the Israel-Palestine Conflict. In the media, Israel facing more than 300 million Arabs would always have them as underdogs. But, localizing the issue with only the Palestinian Arabs would transform Israel into an uber hund (overdog). And Israel could then be seen as a powerful Western nation oppressing poor peace loving Arabs.

Yet, despite this, all the settlement building, rocket attacks and suicide bombings, the reason for this conflict hasn’t changed one bit in 64 years…. Most Arab nations don’t want a Jewish nation there and will wait till hell freezes over to get rid of it, with their pawns of the moment the Palestinians. But, how many young people today have read about this? Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?

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