Sunday, February 14, 2010

Being Informed: not Neccessary

Thanks to all the readers who ran the interesting discussions while I was gone. We'll practice this another few times in the coming weeks or months, after which I'll be able to retire from blogging and y'all can carry on without me. I look forward to it.

Also while I was away, Jeffrey Goldberg ruminated a few times on the Wieseltier-Sullivan spat. If you read carefully I think you may pick up hints that Jeffrey has less patience for Andrew than he used to, but I may be over-reacting.

Jeffrey's single most interesting comment, to my mind, is this one:
6) One other thing: Andrew Sullivan doesn't know that much about the Middle East. I know that sounds odd, given that he is a former editor of The New Republic, but there you have it. One of the many reasons I don't engage his blog more frequently on matters relating to the Middle East is that he's not very knowledgeable about the intricacies of the American-led peace process, or of internal Israeli politics, or internal Palestinian politics. This might be because these issues don't interest him. The politics, contradictions and motivations of Netanyahu's approach to Obama do not interest Andrew. Netanyahu's apparently self-evident evilness is what interests Andrew. Extremists on both sides of the issue want the Middle East to be simple, but it's not. The Middle East is a tragedy precisely because the Israelis have an excellent case, and the Arabs also have an excellent case. This essential fact has often escaped Andrew's attention.
The point ought to be broadened, of course: Most people don't know very much about the Middle East, foremost among them most of the folks who talk about it incessantly.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've heard Max Hastings several times on book tour and he has a book review in the Sunday Times almost every week. After all this I thought I could trust his judgement on military matters and then yesterday there was this review of Anthony Julius book on the History of Anti-Semitism in England. Mixed with a lot of praise Hastings scolds Julius for his writing on Israel flatly denying that Julius may be right in pointing out the nuttiness of the British anti-Zionists.

So it doesn't matter whether one is a respected historian or an Andrew Sullivan out for the next buzz, when it comes to Israel it is all the same - you are an expert and never have to take a close look.
Silke
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article7023131.ece

Victor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victor said...

The Arab Perspective:
The Zionists Pigs are genocidal, thieving imperialists. They're murdering innocent women and children on a daily basis, depriving millions of the right to liberty and human dignity, imposing systematic racism reminiscent of the Nazis, torturing, raping and stealing organs from a helpless, besieged civilian population. And on top of it all, they're not even real Jews!

The Jewish Perspective:
The Jews have an excellent case, and the Arabs have an excellent case.

Yes, but I wonder who makes a more compelling case. You know, for those people who don't know any better, like Andrew Sullivan.

Anonymous said...

"I'll be able to retire from blogging and y'all can carry on without me. I look forward to it."

Sorry, Yaacov, you can't. We would all be heartbroken!

Nycerbarb

Anonymous said...

"I'll be able to retire from blogging and y'all can carry on without me. I look forward to it."

what a threat, I started mourning already
Silke