Maybe, but I have a tough time seeing how it could be taken otherwise. Am I wrong in seeing that he doesn’t criticize what Israel does except where he calls out what has made it happen, from the settlements to the suffering imposed on Gaza?
And a broader context is one thing, but I think the seeds he’s picking are a false narrative. I don’t think he’s wrong that Palestine is full of anti-Jewish sentiment. Is that a seed, or should we consider how it grew to the point where groups like Hamas became popular?
The mirror sentiment is thankfully less pervasive, but you will find enough people who argue for collective punishment against Palestinians, who treat their lives as inherently less valuable, who think they might be evicted en masse - I’ve even heard they don’t have rights. If those attitudes are connected with support for groups like Likud, do we consider how things grew to that point, or is it another seed?
What exactly are we tracing back to find? The history of this conflict is very clear, and I think the only real question is how far back to start. But at one point there was a Zionist movement who wanted to make a homeland without much thought to who was there, and there were a lot of Arabs there who somewhat tolerated Jews in smaller numbers but didn’t care to see more immigrate. Things have escalated from there.
Sure, you can look at this in terms of Islamic extremism, just as you could look at it in terms of a colonial power. But trying to assign moral responsibility from those single perspectives - and Harris clearly does - doesn’t work. Conflicts like this aren’t like flowers that grow from one odious seed, they are like creeper vines that spread and root where people let them, and pretending otherwise gives a distorted picture.