Zionism - Israeli Flag

Zen and Understanding Middle East News and Issues

Zionism Israel Zionism on the Web definitions about issues history documents links photos contact help us

 Zionism & Israel Center    Zionism and Israel Pages   MidEastWeb Middle East News Views & Facts

The Will to Believe and Selective vision

CONTENTS

Zen & Understanding the Middle East

Introduction
Sellers' Market
Will to Believe
Rules of Thumb

"The truth is out there "
Use & misuse of words
False information signals more false information
Technical whiz-bang
Understand the Context
Lies, More Lies, Damn Lies and Newspapers
Beware of Generalizations
Theology and scripture
Misleading Statistics
Smoke in your eyes: a picture can be worth a thousand lies
What is Missing?
Myth versus fact versus narrative
The past was not like the present; the future will be different

Fallacy Recognition in the Middle East

Fallacies and Arguments
Cause and Effect
Slippery Slope
Gambler's Fallacy
Ad Hominem
Authority
Beliefs
Appeal to Novelty
Appeal to Emotion
Appeal to Tradition
False Dilemma or Black and White Thinking
Special Pleading
The Spotlight Fallacy
Who is to Say?

Fallacy Handbook

The Will to Believe and Selective vision


Each side in a conflict has its gurus, and is a sellers' market for people of the same opinion. It is comforting to read facts or opinions that agree with your ideas, and unsettling to be confronted with facts that do not fit. This behavior is supported both by emotional and cognitive mechanisms. We each want to belong to a group and to get positive reinforcement for our beliefs. We each have constructed a "theory" of the world, and our perceptions and memories are based on that theory or schema.


In the very well known Ash experiment, subjects are asked to judge which lines are of equal length. When a group of people deliberately choose the incorrect pair of lines, the subject's judgement is influenced dramatically. About a third of the subjects will bow to group pressure and choose the pair of lines that is grossly unequal in length. People tend to believe what others believe.


We see what we are prepared to see. New learning is based on old learning. Experiments in memory and perception show that people tend to ignore or distort bizarre facts in story, because they don't fit with their own ideas. If I tell you that I went to the grocery to buy a bottle of milk and met a nice unicorn on the way who told me about a treasure, when you retell the story the unicorn might become a dog who barked or an old man who told me about the treasure.


Not surprisingly, the facts of Middle East events become distorted both by inadvertance and by intention. What happened five minutes ago is already history by the time you hear about it, and it has already been worked over through the eyes of the reporters. Immediately after the failure of the Washington and Taba peace talks in 2000 and 2001, two "histories" were created. One history that was partial to the Palestinians blamed the Israelis, while the other history, partial to the Israelis, blamed the Palestinians. When there is a Palestinian terror attack and an Israeli reprisal, the partisans of one side will focus on the Palestinian attack, while the partisans of the other side will focus only on the reprisal. What do you remember about the events of the summer of 2006? Do you remember that Hezbollah attacked Israel, or do you remember that Israel attacked Lebanon?


 

Previous: Sellers' Market   Next: Rules of Thumb


Understanding the Middle East I Understanding the Middle East II - Words about Words

Read/Download the entire book (PDF)

Copyright

This material is copyright © by Ami Isseroff and MidEastWeb for Coexistence RA, 2006. Please do link to these pages and tell your friends about them. by e-mail. You may print out these materials for nonprofit use.  Do not reproduce these pages or the entire book for any other purpose in any media other than e-mail without permission.

External Links

This site provides resources about Zionism and Israeli history, including links to source documents. We are not responsible for the information content of these sites. These links are NOT intended to be an exhaustive reference about Zionism, but the list will keep growing...

Please tell us about your favorite links and we will review them for inclusion.

Please be careful to credit the Zionism pages and link to us. Please do copy  these links to your Web site,  giving credit to Zionism Israel Center

Sister sites : Zionism Pages Brave Zionism Zionism and Israel information center  and Zionism and Israel On the Web Brave Zionism

 Thank you.

MidEastWeb  History of Israel Palestine and the Middle East Conflict conflict   

MidEastWeb Middle East News, Views, Maps and History

Zionism  Definition and Brief History  A balanced article that covers the definitions and history of Zionism as well as opposition to Zionism and criticisms by Arabs,  Jewish antiZionists.

Labor Zionism   History and Critique  Contribution of Labor Zionism to the creation of the Jewish state, and problems of Labor Zionism in a changing reality.

Concise Guide to IsraeliZionist CyberSpace

Israel-Palestina  (Dutch) Middle East Conflict, Israel, Palestine,Zionism... Israël-Palestina Informatie gids Israël, Palestijnen en Midden-Oosten conflict... Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a European perspective  Dutch and English.

English  Israel-Palestine.info Guide to the Middle East Conflict (Peace, Zionism, antiSemitism ...)

Advocacy

Active Zionism  A Zionist advocacy site with many useful links

PEACE Watch  Middle East Dialog and Peace Process

Pnews  Progressive Views on Zionism Israel Jews & AntiSemitism

Addmorelinkshere

ZioNation - Zionism-Israel Web Log    Zionism & Israel News  Israel: like this, as if History of Zionism Zionism FAQ Zionism Israel Center Maps of Israel Jew  Zionism and its Impact

Israel Christian Zionism Site Map