Perceptions of Israel

Just returned from a fascinating visit. Israel generates so much emotion, both in favor and against. Any discussion of Israel and its politics readily turns visceral. Israel’s actions in relation to Palestinian Arabs who live in the region trigger strong feelings in sympathy with one side or the other . Often the conversation becomes heated as both sides argue about their interpretation of what is morally right and justified and what is not.

One thing I learned is that the situation there is far more nuanced than any news report can possibly capture. News media tend to simplify, and they draw attention by fostering conflict. But the reality of the relationships is complex, and the stereotypes don’t fit very well, and both sides have many exceptions.

When we argue in the name of  justice, we naturally become involved emotionally. Reason alone does not make a case convincing. That’s because emotions are our most important inner guide. After hearing all the reasons, we judge on the basis of our feelings. Our Emotional System is the rudder that guides us through uncertainty.

If you have a strong view about the Middle East conflict, recognize its emotional component, the tug of sympathy with one side or the other. Then consider that most every other idea of right and wrong is emotionally based. That’s why it is so valuable to get to know the human Emotional System, what the book The Seventh System is all about.

One thought on “Perceptions of Israel”

  1. Stuart: Mimi and I are looking forward to your talk at the Abbot Library Wednesday. In the meantime, we both agree with your perception of Israel with regard to the Palestine-Israel issue. Don

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