The One-Issue Syndrome

August 10, 2009 at 13:21 2 comments

Following the murders at the GLBT center in Tel Aviv, an article by Rikard Ehnsiö was published in SvD. The article gives an overview of the situation for the GLBT community in Israel and attempts to explain how come Israel is such an open and tolerant society vis-à-vis homosexuals.

It’s an interesting article, but toward the end Ehnsiö — for some reason — brings the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into his essay and ends the text with some statement that the conflict always looms in the background.

This is especially interesting in the light of the fact that Ehnsiö himself explicitly states in his article that the Israeli GLBT movement largely stays away from the conflict. The reason for this, of course, is that being a homosexual is a sexual identiy, and says nothing about one’s political views. There are openly gay people who vote both for leftwing and rightwing parties in Israel. Some gays and lesbians are very critical of the occupation and strive to end it as soon as possible, whereas others dream of the Greater Land of Israel and proudly live in settlements beyond the green line.

So if the gay rights movement and the issue of the occupation aren’t related in any meaningful way — why, then, make the connection in the article, ending it in this way?

My theory is that this is a case of the One-Issue Syndrome. Swedes are incapable of relating to Israel without connecting it to the occupation. That’s the one thing they know anything about, and they seem to think that anything — really anything — that mentions Israel must also relate to the occupation. It seems that one can’t get an article published on Israel in the Swedish mainstream press without connecting it to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in some way. If Ehnsiö did so by his own volition or if this was a demand from the paper I obviously can’t know, but I can observe that this is the case.

It’s fascinating, really. Someone should give me a research grant to look closer into why that is.

Rikard Ehnsiö’s whole article can be read here.

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Entry filed under: Media, Politics.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lennart Frimodig  |  October 17, 2009 at 10:52

    Ok, so how do you abstract from the occupation, when you think about Israel?

    How do you manage that?

    I mean, shit. The occupation is the self-definition of the state of Israel. It is who they are, they occupy territory.

    How can you abstract from that? It is part of your chosen self-definition.

    Reply
  • 2. Mikael Tossavainen  |  October 17, 2009 at 18:20

    Thank you for making a comment that further proves my point.

    Of course the occupation isn’t “the self-definition of the state of Israel”. However, due to the media coverage, it is what defines Israel — in Sweden.

    Reply

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