By now, we are all familiar with the Left's litany of Israel's sins. Israel is a colonialist outpost. Israel is an apartheid state. Israel responds disproportionately to minor responses to legitimate grievances. The question is, why are these notions, which collapse under the slightest knowledgable query, so widely held? One answer comes from David Frum in last week's Atlantic:
[T]he whole point of a closed information system is that the things are not believed because they make sense. Things are believed because the closed information system has ratified and repeated them.The thing is, Frum was not writing about Israel, or anywhere else in the Middle East. He was writing about the investigations into the Don and the Right's circling the wagons to delegitimize those investigations. As Frum describes, "[t]he system generates and repeats agreed fictions, and people are rewarded according to their ability to internalize, repeat, and embellish these fictions."
While Frum wrote about the Right's response to the investigations of its hero, his words just as accurately the establishment's approach to the Middle East. For every Sean Hannity obfuscating the Don's Russia dealings, there is a Roger Cohen obfuscating Hamas' embedding terrorists within civilian demonstrators and Israel's measured attempts to restrain those terrorists while minimizing harm to the civilians. For every Wall Street Journal editor insisting that the House Intelligence Committee has the ultimate truth that will ultimately vindicate the Don, there is a Peter Beinart ever ready to make an excuse for Abbas' latest display of obstinance.
If the media wants conservatives to take a hard look at the facts rather than reflexively circling the wagons in defense of their tribe, perhaps they should do so themselves.