Kathleen Parker for her silly Facebook and social media offer the potential of peace column the other day.
At the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sits between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. There is much gray hair among them.
Not far away, at a sidewalk cafe near George Washington University, four college students converse amicably. One is Israeli, one Palestinian, another Syrian, the fourth African American. (One of my young tablemates knows and identifies them.) Their iPhones join flatware among platters of couscous and falafel. They are speaking English, laughing, trading news and barbs.
The scene just described is not rare in the nation’s capital or in many other cities where colleges and universities attract diverse populations. I’ve witnessed variations of the same tableau dozens of times. Different faces, ethnicities and nationalities, but the same dynamic and, for members of an older generation, the same revelation.
Of course they’re not in their home countries, so this is hardly telling. But there was this observation.
Meanwhile, evidence mounts that sentiments are shifting among younger people, whose worldviews are broader than those of previous generations. Recent polling by Frank Luntz found that American Jewish college students are more willing than their elders to question the Israeli position. They resist groupthink and desperately want peace.
Jewish college students? Hold on. The academy is one of the places where one is subjected to relentless anti-Israel propaganda. This isn’t just a function of student organizations, but often occurs in classes. This is precisely an example of groupthink. Young impressionable people without a full understanding of a situation being led to conclusions by those in authority. As Evelyn Gordon observed regarding the Luntz poll:
But it’s also a travesty because it shouldn’t be hard for any Jewish leftist to explain why Israel, for all its flaws, is still a far better example of the left’s one-time values, such as freedom, democracy, tolerance, and human rights, than any of its enemies.
And of course there was Parker’s followup observation.
Might Palestinian youth feel similarly? Alas, I could find no similar polls.
Hmm. I wonder why (not).
Before she finishes with the column she leaves us with this chilling thought.
If I were dictator for a day, I would arrange for every young person to “friend” another in the enemy camp of their choice, creating virtual student-exchange programs in every neighborhood on the map. While the old folks bicker over their sandboxes, the children could begin building fortresses of friendship.
Kathleen Parker as dictator. Yikes! That’s a frightening thought.
So like Thomas Friedman, Kathleen Parker believes that technology will bring us all together. She also demonstrates a fondness for dictating to others. Fortunately, unlike Thomas Friedman, she doesn’t necessarily pine for Chinese Communism. Unfortunately she betrays a desire to be one herself.
There was a time when I thought that Parker was reasonable. Now that time seems distant.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad.