You have to make choices in life. And there are certain issues where it’s impossible not to have an opinion. Pro-choice or pro-life? Liberal or conservative? Pepsi or Coke? N*sync or Backstreet Boys? Often enough the decision is easy (Backstreet Boys, for example), but sometimes it’s a touch call that you simply can’t avoid making.
At the moment, there is one big issue where it’s become impossible not to have an opinion – Israel or Palestine? To say that you don’t have any thoughts on the conflict in Gaza is to say that you just don’t know or care, which almost seems morally irresponsible at this point.
It’s a difficult decision because the moral lines are so blurred by the way that the issue is presented by our media. Biased outlets like Fox News and MSNBC have had no trouble taking a firm stance and reporting the facts that support it.
The bottom line seems to be that the conflict in Gaza is so volatile that every fact that could be reported will paint one side or the other (or both) in a negative light. And ironically, the relatively unbiased news outlets have to tread so lightly to avoid being accused of bias that they have trouble accurately depicting the facts of the conflict. If, for example, you report on the fact that Hamas hides bombs in schools and residential neighborhoods, you might be accused of an anti-Palestinian bias by those who feel that questionable moves by Israel are under-reported.
So which side are you on? I guess it depends on where you get your news, but it also depends a lot on where you fall in terms of world affairs in general. The Israel-Palestine conflict is so deep-rooted and complex that those who simplify it can almost be accused of obscuring the issues.
The complexity of the conflict is evidenced by the fact that I’ve spoken to people on both sides of the issue who come off as completely well-reasoned and convincing, and I’ve also spoken to people on both sides of the issue who come off as maniacal, fundamentalist, and frightening. I’ve made up my mind, but I’ll keep it to myself because I’m not trying to convince anyone to agree with me. I’m just trying to convince everyone that it’s wrong to think nothing at all. This is one situation where you can’t be a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.