Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two items of interest: U.S. poll on MIddle East; David Grossman on Israel and Perceptions of It

1.Public Opinion Poll on How Americans view the Middle East (Rasmussen Reports)

70% of Americans say Israel is an ally, while no Muslim-majority country comes close to that number. 70% say Iran is an enemy. 39% believe Egypt is an ally. 23% see Saudi Arabia as an ally, although 25% see it as an enemy. 81% believe Palestinian leaders must recognize Israel's right to exist as part of any Middle Eastern peace agreement.

2. David Grossman on Israel and How It's Perceived [Grossman, an Israeli novelist and writer who is very firmly on the left, lost a son fighting in Lebanon in 2006.] Interview with Der Spiegel:

"From the outside Israel looks like a bully-militant fist. Foreigners cannot really understand the vulnerability of people here and their lack of confidence in the fact that Israel will still exist in a few decades." "You must remember that for four years there was rocket shooting from the Gaza Strip. There was ongoing provocation. Israel had withdrawn its soldiers and settlers from Gaza. The Palestinians could have used this partial sovereignty in order to build up their land. Instead Hamas decided to bombard Israel."

"All my life I have tried to prevent the use of military power, but I also insist on Israel's right as a sovereign state to defend itself when attacked. It is strange that Israel is the only country that is immediately criticized when it retaliates after years of rocket terror....I have received many offers to work abroad. Israel is the only place on earth where I am not a stranger. I regard it as a privilege to take part in the creating of this country. In the Mishna there is a phrase saying the one who has experienced a miracle does not necessarily recognize it as a miracle. I recognize the miracle: We Jews do have a state."

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