I was asked a thought-provoking question today during a conversation about the latest fiasco in Israel. “When you’re talking about your stance on Israel, what does it mean to be conservative and what does it mean to be liberal?” It occurs to me that classifying my position under the umbrella of either word is not constructive to any kind of debate or discussion. Like most political hot-topics, Israel is not a black-and-white issue. Most people see it as one, though. But the truth is that I can’t believe what I believe (whether it be that Israel has erred, or that it was merely utilizing self-defense) without acknowledging that there is not one answer.
On this particular issue– whether or not Israel has/had the right to defend itself– I’ve noticed something troubling: it’s a lot easier to convince someone that Israel is in the wrong than to convince someone that Israel’s actions were those of self defense. It’s not because the facts aren’t there, or there isn’t enough evidence. It’s because of how great the extent of the media’s influence on society is and the media’s domino-effect-esqe one-sidedness on the topic of Israel.
I read the Huffington Post every day, diving into the sea of American liberal politics and wallowing in it. The majority of the news that I read comes from more liberal sources…CNN, The New York Times, Politico, Talking Points Memo. And I rarely have a problem with any of it. In fact, I debate people who say that the news sources I read are one-sided or biased and say that the news I read isn’t biased, it’s just true. Well, while it’s my opinion that the news is true, I am going to start acknowledging more of the subtleties of issues that arise in the media and begin researching the opposing viewpoint, because the incredible lack of fair coverage on in the last four days has been disgusting and unacceptable.
For two straight days, the Huffington Post’s headlines were inflammatory and accusatory of Israel. They only posted out-of-context videos portraying Israel as the offender, and didn’t post videos like this, showing Israeli soldiers getting onto the sixth ship and being attacked by the flotilla’s “peace activists” with metal bars and being violently thrown off of the boat.
As is the case with any political issue, anyone is entitled to have an opinion. But regardless of your opinion, no one is entitled to report on the stuff that supports one’s own argument without reporting on the other stuff; the stuff that is true and sheds light on the reality of the matter by admitting that the issue is not black-and-white.