Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Emotional Frames

At 'Aqoul, Matthew Hogan provides a key to understanding attachment to Zionism. I, for one, think he's right on. In pro-Palestinian circles, one often hears the accusation that Israel "uses" anti-Semitism. This elides the important point that many Israelis, especially of the older generation, actually believe all opposition to Israel is motivated by anti-Semitism.

This may sound irrational, but all you have to do is carefully sift history to see how countless immigrants from Europe simply projected the attitudes of their erstwhile European neighbors onto Arabs, almost all of whom opposed Zionism, but for entirely Arab reasons. This also played into the creation of historical narratives in which economic and even personal clashes between Jews and Arabs were remembered as ideological, with the Jews advocating Zionist ideals and the Arabs opposed for what were often assumed to be anti-Semitic motives. Later, with the actual importation of European anti-Semitism, the web became even more tangled.

This is not to justify one side or the other. It's just another exercise in multicultural education.

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