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- Lawrence Davidson, ‘America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood’.
This paradox was possible because the facts, though observed, were misinterpreted or dismissed as irrelevant. We are here confronted with the phenomenon of selective perception, by which we focus our attention on that which supports our cherished beliefs and interests. That which does not is disregarded or devalued to the point where it can be ignored. Arab society in Palestine contradicted the Holy Land Weltanschauung of the American people and press in 1917. It therefore had to remain unseen or denigrated, because to recognize it as real, vital and legitimate would have upset a religiously sanctified perception of the area that drew almost exclusively from the Bible, and to a lesser extent from the Crusades. Although at least 1,300 years out of date and distorted by historical ignorance, the biblical and Crusader visions that abounded in the pages of U.S. newspapers were, in terms of ideas and perceptions, what General Allenby’s troops were in terms of occupation forces. One held the ground in Palestine, the other reinforced an imaginary Palestine that “held ground” in the American psyche.
22 notes (via arabidentity-deactivated2013041 & versaria)