Leigh Sales: Israel is a country that a lot of people around the world who've never been to Israel have an opinion about.
And your implication is what exactly? Let me guess:
despite countless excellent first-hand reports on Palestine/Israel available in newspapers and on the internet...
despite numerous fine docos (none of which the ABC ever screens)...
and despite a constant stream of scholarly and reputable studies (none of which, it seems, Leigh Sales, with her degree in international studies and blog called well-readhead, has ever read)...
... we don't know what we're talking about unless we've been there?
Gideon Raff: Oh, yeah.
Sales: Do you think that people understand the reality of life in Israel very much?
Let me guess: Palestinian terrorists under every bed? Palestinian rockets falling like rain? Palestinian...
FFS, at the risk of repeating myself to the point of tedium, every square inch of 'Israel' from the River to the Sea is stolen Palestinian land.
Raff: Absolutely not. I think first of all, there's a lot of judgment about Israel. Some of it is right and some of it isn't. I think in order to understand Israel you should visit Israel.
Oh, yeah, especially if you're a politician or a journalist. Just call the bloke from Rambam Tours Inc.
Even just to see the sheer size of the place. I think because it's... on everybody's headline all the time, people think that it's a huge country, but the truth is that it's a very small country and we live together, Arabs and Jews and secular Jews and Orthodox and Ethiopians and Russians and it's such a mix of tribes.
Oh yeah, just one big, happy family really.
Raff's got his Zionist talking point down pat. Passing off the ethnocratic Jewish monoculture as an Australian-style multiculture works like a charm with people like Sales.
Does the well-readhead one (LOL) even know that - contra Raff's spin about Jews and "Arabs" living "together" - the majority of the "Arabs" were sent packing in 1948 & 1967, and that the rest are either under direct jackboot occupation or reduced to third class citizenship in an apartheid state?
And on one hand such an amazing democracy, with freedom of speech expected more than even in the United States.
Oh, yeah, what an "amazing democracy"... as long as Israeli Jews are in the majority - which was precisely the point of the Great Ethnic Cleansing of 1948!
And on the other hand, there's stuff that our government does that you can be critical of, of course. But I think it's probably [one of] the least understood places on Earth.
Oh, yeah, if only people really understood us...
The problem is, Gideon, they DO, only too well.
Well, maybe not people like Leigh Sales.
Sales: Gideon Raff, very interesting to have you on the program. Thank you very much. (Oh, dear, did I really write a book in 2009 (On Doubt) advocating the virtues of a doubtful mind?)
Raff: Thank you very much. (And thanks for yet another softball interview. This country's a dream run for guys like me.)