A couple of days ago I speculated that perhaps distance matters, and well-meaning professionals such as Thomas Friedman and Jeffrey Goldberg really see our reality in different terms than we do. This then prompted an American woman with a Jewish-sounding name to reprimand me for being a far-rght obstructor of everything good that could happen in this region, but I haven't yet decided if she's real. I mean, anyone can invent any identity they wish to on the Internet.
Here's more grist for my thesis. Thomas Friedman, again, versus Avi Issacharoff. Both are fine professionals, much better than most of what passes for journalism these days. Both have been following the Israel-Palestine-Mideast story for decades. Both are well connected. I'm not certain Friedman knows the local languages, as Issacharoff does, but he has lived here. (Goldberg also knows the languages, by the way, but I'm not shooting at him this morning). And both, each in their respective context, are left-of-center in their politics.
Friedman reports from Ramallah. His thesis: the Arab World is in a serious mess, but the (West Bank) Palestinians, of all people, are showing signs of vitality creativity and general adaptibility to modernity that may yet serve as a model to the rest of the region. Sounds great, doesn't it. But then Issacharoff spoils the mood. The next violent explosion, he says, is already in the works. To be fair, he puts quite a bit of the responsibility for this at the feet of Israel, but I'm not going to argue with him here. My point is the disparity between the two journalists.
Richard Beeston of the London Times, by the way, tells that Hezbullah is well advanced in its preparations for the next war, in which it will rain rockets on Tel Aviv. This irrespective of the Palestinian issue, mind you; yet another reminder that we could abjectly give in to every single Palestinian demand and still the war against us would go on. So that's comforting.