The Answer [Archives:2001/45/Viewpoint]

November 5 2001

Even though I received hundreds of responses to the editorial, I didn’t receive as many answers, but rather more questions. However, because I promised to have answers published, I here fulfill my promise. Due to lack of space however, I only bring to you one answer that does reflect the opinions of so many readers.
Question: If America is against terrorism, why is it supporting Israel, which is killing Palestinians by the hundreds every year?
Here is an answer from one of the readers that seems to reflect a large segment of Americans. I dedicate the rest of this column to this answer, which comes from an American who lives overseas, and who is closest to put himself in the shoes of others. I believe his answer would be of great benefit in clarifying a lot of points that may have been dismissed.
Answer: “I hate to say this but it is because very few Americans understand what is really happening. I live overseas, I know the news in the US is soap bubble thin and biased towards Israel. It is my belief, unfortunately, that Jews in America, though only 2.4% of the population, have disproportionate power and they wield it to whatever advantage it will bring.
I want our government to be even handed. It is the only way. It is horrendous to me that the US has stood in the way of the UN mandate for Israel to leave the Occupied Territories. For what? To what end do we support this? It is an embarrassment, wrong, and should be an outrage to anyone.
We support unpopular Arab regimes (names omitted) that are not democratically elected. Again hypocrisy and for self interest.
As Americans, we are a good-natured people that want to enjoy our lives just like everyone else. We are not inherently biased or immoral. Given that I know Americans, I can only attribute our stance to lack of information about our government’s activity.
I don’t know why, the easy answer is again Jewish control at government levels. I don’t know whether this is true. Democrats are obviously tight with them, Republicans less so.
I believe things are currently changing. We are evaluating our position with respect to Israel and asking why. I sense most are looking at it from a cost/benefit approach and seeing it doesn’t add up. Others, like me, are further along and see that a painfully clear double standard is in effect.
I love America. So do almost all Americans. I live overseas and know that basically the whole world finds Americans annoying in the least and evil at most. I was shocked to find the extent of this when I moved outside the US. Americans have no idea of this. They hear rumors but discount them immediately because they believe so strongly that the American way is the best.
We are brought up to believe in America. It’s easy to believe in the ideals. They are so obviously what all would want: democracy and freedom. How can you argue? We have become successful economically, militarily, and politically. Again the system has worked. Most Americans would be hard pressed to find fault with America (I’m not kidding). They don’t know what the rest of the world thinks and would be shocked that even Canadians have trouble with them.
Americans don’t travel much. They have most of what they need in their own country. We have historically been separated from the rest of the world by a couple of oceans, and have thus have developed a culture in a vacuum.
They have great pride in the American system due to its successes. Due to the blinding nature of this pride, we discount other countries, which causes great resentment.
I find it sad that I would be concerned about going to Yemen or Pakistan or Iraq. I would love to get an understanding of the people. I know Yemen is a jewel of history, but I would likely get killed walking down the street. Maybe this is naive. Maybe not.”
That was the answer.