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Joshua Cypess
+ Your AuthorsArchive @JoshuaCypess PhD social scientist & Orthodox Rabbi. We're all in this together. He/him. #BlackLivesMatter #Steelers #Mets #Resist May. 23, 2021 4 min read

1/ My "news bias" thread generated a relevant, footnote style, discussion. In it, I expand further on variation within bias. I'm putting the discussion into a thread for easier reading.

It started with this question:

2/ My response:

3/ Picked up and responded to by Prof. Goldberg of Bar Ilan (who forwarded the thread, prompting the OP)



6/ I concluded with a 3 post response:



7/ I haven't described who the NYT presumes is their audience, but it relates to how the conflict is conventionally & popularly described as a "centuries old religious conflict" which is reductive, incorrect and favors (what I would say is) a Christian POV

8/ Ironically, I compare the coverage of Israel to what the NYT does about Tr*mp voters in diners, or the anti-vax RedHats: they are exoticized but also taken at face-value.

My feeling about that echoes this mini-thread:

9/ For the most part, I think the average American feels about any foreign conflict with the basic ideology of "These are violent strangers and I want them to just stop fighting" with public sympathy going to whoever has the best PR office.

10/ I say this based on my own experience; I looked at the conflict in Northern Ireland and Kashmir with a similar attitude: I just wanted everyone to stop killing each other. As an American, I was raised to support the underdog, and every PR office played on that narrative.

11/ N. Ireland received Irish-Diaspora sympathy in the US & I recall research that compared it to conflicts in the Middle East.

IMO coverage of Israel in the US is colored by the (1) underdog narrative (favors PAL), (2) Diaspora (favors ISR), & (3) just stop already! (neither)

12/ Unlike Ireland/Kashmir, Israel is a Christianized plaything of the religious right, which colors all the coverage (see thread below).

Add onto that the identification of Israel, especially after 12 years of Bibi, as synonymous with the GOP.

13/ IMO the Netanyahu-GOP relationship is essential to understanding the US polarization of support for Israel. Bibi's MO is to poison things to save his own skin.

(NB: everything here is why I claim it's not a cop-out to call the conflict "complicated")

14/ Back in 2002, I implored my community leaders to not tie the support for Israel with support for George W. Bush. I was ignored.

Sadly, 9/11 led to a panicked reaction in the US that favored violence, simplicity, and overlay an explicit religious message to the Mideast.

15/ For the past 20 years, the GOP - because of their dependence on the religious right (Christian AND Jewish) - have lashed themselves to Israel & Likud/Bibi have self-destructively welcomed this.

So, despite my protests, there are logical reasons to conflate Israel w/the GOP.

16/ In fact, I'd describe the current generation of Americans' view towards Israel to comprise 4 eras:

1) pre-1967
2) Cold War, 1967-1992
3) Oslo/Clinton
4) Post 9/11-now

Roughly: #1 = Boomers & before. #2 = add GenX. #3 = Millennials, #4 = GenZ.

17/ I described the post 9/11 era (#4) above.

Pre-1967 (#1), Israel was seen as the underdog and there was overt domestic US support, especially since the Shoah was fresh in memory.

See Hollywood movies from that era, especially "Cast a Giant Shadow." 

18/ During the Cold War (#2) the Arab-Israeli conflict was b/w Soviet backed belligerents - Egypt, Syria - vs. the US backed Israel. The region was seen as a standard Cold War proxy fight

Support for Palestinians became synonymous w/supporting the USSR! 

19/ I really need to emphasize this: until the fall of the USSR, supporting Palestinians, recognizing them as an independent group with an identity and nationalist needs, was politically dangerous in the US because of the Cold War.

GenXers like me remember this era, still.

20/ The Clinton/Oslo era started to change the narrative of the region and shifted to giving support for Palestinians as a people and not a Soviet proxy army. IMO without 9/11 & Bush's stolen presidency, this would have been able to continue. Peace was close in 2000.

21/ As I said about anti-AAPI violence (below), treatment of far-East Asians in the US is negatively affected by 3 wars the US fought in that region, which evoked racist slurs & stereotypes that infected the discourse and culture.

22/ In similar fashion, the Bush family's conservative Christian crusades that helped spur along the 1st Gulf War, wars in Afghanistan & Iraq, plus the panicked reaction to 9/11, colored the already religious-racist US culture to dehumanize Muslims, foreign & domestic.

23/ In sum, re-iterating my point above: a natural American support for the underdog Palestinians was basically forbidden because of the Cold War.

In 2021, perceptions of the region are likely divided b/w those generations, confounded by religious as well as GOP/Democrat lines.

24/ Add onto that, recent decades of Middle East wars have inflamed domestic grievances. However, two decades on, anti-Muslim attitudes can be tied to specific rejected politics of Bush & Tr*mp.


please compile.

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