Archive for August, 2014

“It’s been going on for thousands of years, this conflict is just never going to be solved.”

 This one is my favorite (aka most hated), and was the initial inspiration for this post because I’ve been hearing it a lot. The reason this pisses me off so much is not just that it’s not true (read about Jewish people in Palestine before Zionism to learn about this), but also because it pretty much portrays Jews and Palestinians as some sort of cat and mouse, two silly animals that just can’t get along for some reason. We’re not animals, we’re not kids, and we’re not just fighting for no reason. This conflict, like every conflict ever, has a history, a reason, and a solution. The fact the you don’t know enough about these things doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

I just find it so dismissive and condescending. There are thousands of people dedicating their lives to solving this conflict and to promoting peace and justice, but there you are, one genius American, declaring all resistance futile and sentencing us to eternal pain and struggle. How great and constructive. Maybe instead of saying what can or can’t be solved, you should educate yourself about what people are actually doing to, you know, solve this.

“It’s just too complicated, I can’t even try to understand it.”

I respect that you don’t pretend to know everything about something you’re not super familiar with. Really, it’s good and rare and important. But what a lot of people seem to actually want to say is “I don’t care enough to learn.” I guess it’s fair not to be interested in every single thing in the world, but it’s pretty messed up when you’re basically saying that people dying in other parts of the world just don’t interest you enough to get you to spend an hour reading a few articles. I’m not saying that you should be an expert on Middle Eastern politics, but it wouldn’t hurt to be curious and instead of shying away from complexity – embrace it and learn what you can (while acknowledging what you don’t know yet).

“Israel is the most evil country in the world.”

 Yeah, the Israeli government is pretty evil (as are most governments). What pisses me off about this is that if you’re American, you should see every action that Israel takes as an action that your own government took. Since the US has been the backer of the Israeli occupation for years, and has funded it and protected it from any international intervention – you can feel free to share the blame. I know that most Americans who critique Israel aren’t necessarily the biggest patriots, but it would just be nice if you felt as shitty about the occupation as we do.

“Both sides are to blame.”

The kindergarten classic – there are two sides fighting, therefore the fault must be divided evenly. Unfortunately life is not always so neat and easy, and not everything can be split right down the middle. Stop comparing just because it’s comfortable and stop trying to pretend that you’re “objective”, as if spreading misinformation and being lazy about understanding this situation is being objective. If you want to be on the side of justice instead of the side of silliness – start realizing that occupier and occupied are not the same. Yes, there are bad people on both sides and I never support violence against civilians, but you can’t compare aggression and offense to resistance and you can’t compare the consequences that each side faces. So don’t.

“Why do we talk about this but not about Syria/Iraq/Ukraine/someothercountry?”

 What this basically means is “I don’t care about this so I’ll justify not caring by bringing up some other issues I don’t care about.”  Yes, Israel is not the only country in the world doing fucked up stuff right now (I really wish it was), and we should pay attention, care, and do something about as many things as we can, but just because there’s always something more to get angry about doesn’t mean that you get to shit all over any effort to do anything about anything. Be respectful of people trying to fight for justice and don’t give them the unnecessary “but what about this and this and this??!?!??” as if they’re responsible for fixing all the world’s problems because they care about something. If anything else that’s happening in the world is bothering you: DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, don’t just use it as your hypocritical justification for not caring.

“What would you do if missiles were being fired at Boston????”

What would you do if New York was under Canadian military occupation? What would you do if Maine was not in control of any of its borders, by air, land, or sea? What would you do if your whole family died in a bombing? I don’t know, because you never ask that. You can’t start telling a story from the point you’re comfortable with and ignore everything that’s happened before (aka treat the missiles being fired at Israel as an isolated phenomenon representing Palestinian aggression and hatred and totally disconnected from anything Israel ever did). Seriously this is just stupid so don’t do it. It’s like if I punched you in the face, and then you’d kick me and I’d go around telling people “Well, what would you do if this asshole was kicking you???” so I can justify punching you in the face again.

These are my six things for today, although some more might come up because people just love saying stuff that pisses me off. In the meanwhile you’re welcome to comment with your own thoughts about things that Americans (or other people) say about Israel and Palestine that piss you off!

You’re also welcome to check out these news sources to learn more about this and not be lazy (and comment with more links because this is just a brief list):

Al Jazeera English

+972 Magazine (read this article called Debunking Gaza war lies to learn about more things that you should stop repeating because they’re wrong)

The Electronic Intifada

Democracy Now

Jewish Voice for Peace


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