Former US envoy recommended using NGOs to foment Palestinian protest in Israel

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 4.55.57 PMWhere to begin? The lead could have been “State Dept. Refused to Act on Cockamamie Proposal by Former Reagan Envoy,” but NO! The article buries the State Dept’s. refusal to enact Pickering’s email suggestion at the end, leaving the impression that Pickering’s odd idea was welcome. When will people apply basic reading skills to newspaper pieces like this one, whether the slant is right or left? (Can I help it if most, though certainly not all, of this atrocious, misshapen “news” comes from the right?)

And by the way, why would be so bad about redirecting Palestinians from violent demonstrations and other violent activities to non-violent ones? It’s an idea that may actually be noble. The only thing unhelpful about this idea is that it is completely naive, and doomed to failure. It totally misses the role played in Palestinian politics by revenge and misogyny, long associated with shame cultures.

Before you rev up your impassioned pleas for me to be tolerant and your outrage against my stereotyping, read something on the subject of shame culture as an anthropological category, and on the role played by cultural values linked to shame cultures. I’ll get you started: The Closed Circle, by David Price Jones would be a good book to begin with. You will see how futile it is to try to solve conflicts like the Arab-Israeli struggle without understanding both cultures from the inside, and not projecting upon other cultures the values of our own. —Rabbi Kerry Baker

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