Wednesday, September 05, 2012

PalArab "experts" no better than Western pundits

Palestine Today interviews "experts" on Israeli affairs about Avigdor Lieberman's recent letter to the Quartet saying that Mahmoud Abbas is an obstacle to peace.

Nasser Lahham, one of these so-called "experts," said that Lieberman's remarks are serious, and may be a prelude to get rid of President Abbas in any way, "as happened with the late President Yasser Arafat." His brilliant analysis suggests that since Lieberman's party is important to Netanyahu's coalition, then Netanyahu will do anything to keep him in the government - presumably, including assassinating Abbas.

Samih Shabib, another of the "experts," says that Lieberman's position reflects that of the government. He says Israel is working to undermine Oslo and when Israel increases the number of permits for Palestinian Arabs to work in Israel, it is trying to convince the Arabs that they aren't so evil - and hoping that they get addicted to Israeli salaries so they wouldn't want a state which would mean borders and no more work.


Akram Atallah, yet another supposed expert on Israel,  notes that Lieberman has floated his own unilateral withdrawal plan from the territories, and that his plan is consistent with demonizing Abbas. He also says that Abbas might be assassinated the way all Arabs are convinced Arafat was disposed of.

But before making fun of the cluelessness of these "experts," keep in mind that most Western pundits are just as clueless. In both cases, we see psychological projection at play.

The Palestinian Arab pundits project their own violent tendencies onto Israel, assuming that Israelis think the way they do - in this case, telegraphing their desire to kill leaders who are distasteful.

Similarly, Western "experts" project their own mostly-leftist values and attitudes onto the Arabs (and Iranian leaders), assuming that since they themselves want peace so badly and love negotiations, so must everyone else. And their analyses of Israeli attitudes are just as ill-informed.

For example, compare Tony Karon today with Chemi Shalev last week, and see which one understands Israelis and which is a blowhard.

When it comes down to it, at least nine out of ten of the so-called experts on either side are just riffing: trying to get paid for their quasi-expertise and hoping like hell that no one notices that they are frauds.

Yet as long as newspapers and cable networks need to fill up space and time, pseudo-experts will continue to dump their garbage into the minds of their consumers.