My Blogging friend, landsman, and one-time dinner partner Neil Kramer writes an hysterical blog about Hollywood, Judaism, and...well...stuff I can't mention here. I can always count on a good laugh when I read his site.
Lately, however, he's come under attack by some of his readers for standing by Israel in the recent conflict. He brings up a good point, one that I've mentioned here and I've read over at other blogs:
How should personal blogs that usually deal with the mundane deal with world events? Should we even address them at all? What's the point when the political blogs do this much more thoroughly and persuasively?
The answer, it seems, is in a guest post that he wrote for Paris Pafait, a blog that has not been kind to the Jewish view of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Go read what he wrote. I think it shows that, perhaps, simple people like me and Neil can have more impact on the opinion war than you would think.
People expect rhetoric from the political blogs. And to a certain extent, they discount it as just that -- rhetoric. But Neil and Jack and Pearl and Danny and I have opened our lives to our readers. We're not just about Left vs Right or Republicans vs Democrats or Islam vs The West. We're about food and kids and tuition and love and family and Cave Men and movies and bass guitar and...you get the point.
When you say, "Jews are bad" or "Israel is oppressive", you're not just insulting some distant bad guy. You're insulting me, and Neil, and Pearl and the rest. I don't care if you hate the Republican Party, or if you think that Stem Cell research should be banned, or if you think Battlestar Galactica is for geeks. You're entitled to your opinions. But if you mess with the Jews, or Israel, you're messing with me. And I take that personally.
Maybe personal bloggers can do this better than political bloggers. We can keep it personal. We can make this a discussion between associates or friends, rather than a perpetually adversarial situation. Political bloggers or journalists have to remain polarized. Personal bloggers do not. We can listen to each other. I was listening to Sean Hannity in the car last night. A guy called up and spoke very intelligently about why he disagreed with Israel's position and the war in Iraq. And rather than hear him out, Hannity talked over him and tried to shape his argument into something ridiculous. I would have rather had Hannity listen to what the guy said and then refute his specific points, which from what I heard were easily refutable. But that's not how talk radio works. But it has to work that way in the real world or we're never going to get anywhere.
You may not expect someone as goofy as Neil to have such a well put-together view of the Middle East. That's why what he has to say is so important.