December 9, 2011

A Riff on the Lack of Importance of Daily Kos

With regard a discussion about the anti-Israel activists that populate the blog Daily Kos, the proposition was offered that discussion regarding the topic of Israel and Palestine (I-P) seems to be "drying up" and "fading." I basically agreed it was, but then this was addressed to me:
We should not underestimate these people as they have succeeded in turning Israel into the only country on the planet wherein people discuss whether or not it should be allowed to exist or whether or not it should have come into existence in the first place.
I do not underestimate or downplay the matter. However, I believe this situation is due to actions on the international stage by Arab, Muslim and some other states, and the  Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), an association of 56 Islamic states promoting Muslim solidarity in economic, social, and political affairs.

Anti-Israel voices on the left and at Daily Kos are mainly reflexive. There is a constant drumbeat of diaries, but the latest I can see has only 8 responses among 6 users after 8 hours. Stepping back, it becomes clear that the actors there are mainly patting themselves on the back and shouting among themselves about demon Israel. Just as the effect can be downplayed, it can be overplayed, too. My take is that it's somewhere in the middle, worth watching, but not to obsess about.

Clearly, I wish there were more diaries at Daily Kos with other narratives, but no one writes them. Perhaps people actually care about the issue less than we imagine. Perhaps the aggravation of being slimed and impugned is not worth the benefits of an effort. I now prefer to make my resources matter, rather than engage in waste. I look for better venues, not where a reader must scour with a fine tooth comb to cull something original and fairly presented. At Daily Kos I find a perpetual echo of redundancy that sensationalizes the trivial. Too many times it comes off as smarter and more enlightened, yet seem no less prone to showing the same type of ugliness criticized in others. Then again, perhaps the whole objective of the site is to divert energy away from important matters in a way that they can show some of the worst of themselves.

That said, I wonder why some at Team Shalom, self-described Israel supporters at Daily Kos, don't provide more diaries that show both the beliefs and actions of Israel's enemies in the MENA, Europe and the USA. For example, just recently, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Hamas extrajudicially refused a medical delegation to leave the territory for a Jerusalem conference sponsored by the UN World Health Organization. The UDHR says in Article 13 that "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

Why also only rare diaries about restrictions on journalists, women, and non-believers who are not Jews? Why no diaries about the OIC and the Cairo Declaration? It states that "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah" and "The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration." Is that something that any liberal could support? I believe the matter of choice between the UDHR and Cairo Declaration is the defining issue for Jews and Westerners.

Of course, there are loud voices in the Democratic tent that have ill will for Israel, and even Jews. Daily Kos has its fair share, but I think the site has lost relevance since the posting rules became relaxed and turned it into a social network that is so tuned in it is tuned out, and the dearth of meaningful content will become even more apparent with time. More importantly, these extremist voices will will be repudiated when events reveal the disconnect between their positions and the reality seen by most people.

When it comes to I-P at Daily Kos, except for a diversion from boredom, I chose to abstain from debating in a vacuum with people who cannot be convinced and who refuse to acknowledge any other narrative than a theoretical one learned at universities where Westerners may not be critical of behavior in non-Western cultures, or risk charges of racism.

So, besides developing my own thoughts at this blog, I hope to explore where the commentary is more rewarding and the opportunity exists to make some contribution to implementation of classic liberal ideals concerning humankind.


  1. good piece!

    My worry on Daily Kos was always that mainstream liberals would wander into the I/P echo chamber, and, while seeing the extremism there, have the Overton window subtly moved over to the deranger side.

  2. I hear you. One would hope they would have the opposite effect, repulsion at the one-sided knack of holding Israel accountable no matter the circumstance, while information regarding its adversaries was lacking.

    I think the whole Daily Kos phenomenon has passed, and it is has become a clearinghouse to trash Republicans and vent anger against anything that reflects the Establishment view. People there outdo each other for anonymous cred.