America this week is awash in a huge and passionate debate over whether angry political disagreements and harsh criticisms of certain views or groups inspired the attack on an American congresswoman (Jewish and a strong supporter of Israel, by the way). I’m not going to enter into that argument right now but I want to point out the Middle Eastern ramifications of what's going on here.
Every day for more than a half century, Arabs and Muslims have been inundated every day with hatred for Israel, America, the West, Jews, and often Christians. You can read transcripts of Syrian broadcasts or Palestinian speeches from 50 years ago that sound just like what is being said by their successors now.
Let’s say that the proportion of lies, slanders, extremism, and incitement in the American discourse is one-tenth of one percent of all the words spoken on controversial issues. The equivalent figure for the Middle East is well over 95 percent.
In addition to that tone, there is not only a total lack of balance but an absence of the other side altogether. It's all one-sided.
And in addition to those two points, the level of factual accuracy is farther away from reality than anywhere else in the world. (Though, admittedly, that gap has been narrowing in recent years as Western academic and journalistic standards decline).
And in addition to those three points, while extremists tend to be marginal in the United States, they are in control--either politically or at least setting the terms of discussion--throughout the Arabic-speaking and Muslim-majority worlds...
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
One Loughner: An Occasion for Hand-Wringing About the the 'Vitriol' and Violence of American Society. An Entire Region Full of Millions of Loughners: Move Along Now 'Cuz There's Nothing to See
Barry Rubin writes: