THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 26, 2006
There's an old Yiddish saying, "Az men lebt derlebt men," which means "If you live long enough, you live to see." Of course, sometimes if you live long enough, even then you don't live to see. I suspect, for example, that I won't live to see the Palestinians coming to terms with the fact of the existence of Israel. One question is on whom the elites and the general public in Europe and the United States put responsibility for this. In America, it has never been Israel. Moreover, there is more support for Israel than ever, or almost ever. In Europe, it has always been a very different story. Israel was responsible for everything bad. But this has changed and changed dramatically. How possibly could it have not changed?
You surely remember the name Stanley Greenberg, Bill Clinton's pollster and then his p.r. adviser. Well, he has done a survey of opinion in Europe (and America), and it seems that the "blame Israel" reflex is on its way out. The new Greenberg poll is
reported by sometime TNR contributor Aluf Benn in Haaretz (September 25), and he shows that, increasingly, in Europe and even in France, popular judgment blames troubles in the Middle East region on Islamic extremism. The elites of the U.K. and France go roughly 50/50. But the vox populi doesn't. It's true that the vox populi is only the vox populi. Still...