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The · Psychohistorian

Mideast Memes

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Traditionally, whenever Israel gets involved in any violence in the mideast, public positions tend to be very simplistic. Either all arabs are evil incarnate, or the U.S. and Israel are. Immediately after Hezbollah's initial attacks, the announcements ran true to form: Israel lumped Hezbollah and Hamas together despite their rather different circumstances and said they would hold Lebanon's government accountable for sheltering them.

Since then, though, there has been more care in differentiating various parties. In particular:

- people condemning Hezbollah don't automatically lump Hamas in with them. Even the Israeli government seems to be being somewhat careful about this.

- the Israeli government has switched its position on Lebanon's government, saying that their beef is just with Hezbollah.

- some Arab governments, while not approving of Israel, have condemned Hezbollah.

- many who condemn Israel's response in Lebanon still see the U.S. as potentially part of the solution.

It's not the specifics so much as that people are willing to think about some of the complexities of the situation that encourages me. Hopefully they'll continue to do so after the current crisis dies down.
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