What goes through the mind of the Sydney Morning Herald letters editor when he/she approves a letter such as the following for publication, or when those who have the Herald tossed onto their lawns every morning read it over breakfast or on the train?
"Bob Carr and Gareth Evans are keen to ensure the loaded term 'occupied' be used in relation to Israel's presence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem... Surely when you tell the Palestinians they are in the right by using such one-sided language, you are discouraging them from negotiating and thereby hindering peace. It's interesting that we don't hear the same push to label Turkey's occupation of part of Cyprus, or China's occupation of Tibet or disputed islands in the Pacific." Danny Samuels Malvern (Vic)
Do they recognise a specimen of overweening Zionist arrogance and sophistry when it's right there in front of their eyes?
Do they react calmly, seeing it as a species of propaganda, genus Zionist?
Do they recoil in disgust, as from a funnel web crawling across the kitchen table towards them?
Do they swallow it all, hook, line and sinker?
When they read "loaded term 'occupied'", do they smile and think, Only a Zionist fanatic could cook up a sequence such as that, oblivious to the connotations?
When they read "Israel's presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem," is the word "presence" sufficient to banish from their minds the reality of checkpoints, summary executions, settler thugs, walls, cages, harassment, torture, humiliation, home invasions, home demolitions, and evictions?
When they see "tell[ing] the Palestinians they are in the right," do they get all sarcastic and say, Oh yes, Palestinians always wrong, Israelis always right, Palestinians bad, bad, bad, Israelis good, good, good? Always. Every time. No exception. None.
When they read that last talking point, are their minds immediately transported a million miles away, as intended by the letter's author?
These are the kinds of questions that throng my brain whenever I read letters of this kind.