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I was recently at a dinner party in mixed company. The political views of my fellow diners ranged across the spectrum from archconservative to radically liberal. I prefer the sort of arrangement. I’m a bit of a contrarian and I find nothing more tedious than agreement. This is particularly so when, as in this case, everyone at the table is intelligent and articulate.
Because we were a politically minded group, the topics focused mostly on current events, including Ukraine, the Obamacare rollout, and the latest Supreme Court decision on affirmative action. Eventually conversation turned toward the recently failed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and, inevitably, to a discussion of settlements and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute generally.
Opinion at the table was fairly evenly divided, with conservatives taking a staunchly pro-Israeli stance and the liberals (with the exception of one of my friends who is Jewish) taking a more sympathetic view of the Palestinian position. I tend to side with Israel because I admire its liberal democratic values and military prowess, and I consider the Palestinian leadership to be at best corrupt and disingenuous and at worst genocidal terrorists. On settlements I’m fairly agnostic, as I have not taken the time to delve into the intricacies of the subject. To the extent that I care about the specific issue of settlements or even the larger Israeli-Palestinian dispute, it is through the lens of how it affects America and its interests.