Some encouraging news from the New York Times. Wednesday’s article about U.S. efforts to avoid a UN vote on Palestine accepted comments from the public. As of this writing, 412 comments have been published, and the overwhelming sentiment is pro-Palestinian and highly critical of Israeli and U.S. efforts to deny Palestinians any semblance of self-determination. In fact, clicking on the Readers Recommendations feature shows that several dozen of the most popular comments unanimously lean strongly in this direction. Some other observations:
1) This trend has been more and more apparent in Times comments sections on articles/editorials/op-eds. This article is not an aberration, and the proportion of pro-Palestinian sentiment seems to be steadily increasing to what is now an enormously lopsided viewpoint.
2) The quality of the comments is generally quite impressive. A fair sample should be perused, but here’s just one example:
If there is a UN vote, and the US vetoes that vote, it will be clear to the world that the US values Israeli opinion more than we value the rest of the world's opinion, and more than we value human rights for the Palestinians. And that is just one more nail in our coffin as Israel slowly and inexorably drags us closer and closer to becoming the most hated country in the world and it's pariah partner.
3) While one might presume that Times readers are more liberal than average Americans, the commenters most certainly are not getting their ideas spoon-fed to them from the Times. Just this past week, a Times editorial warned that a UN vote on the Palestinian statehood initiative would be “ruinous,” and Isabel Kershner published an article about the Green Line that contains even more than the usual dose of subtly disguised but potent hasbara. The commenters are getting their information elsewhere and thinking independently. The Times readership appears much more progressive on Palestine than the paper’s editors and reporters.