Kill them all? Really? A total rant.

11:13 AM

(5) Comments

It's REALLY unfortunate when ignorant, hateful assholes put their support behind a cause, because it encourages viewers to assume that these people represent what they're supporting, when really they're tarnishing its reputation. The pro-Israel people that came out to support Israel's massacre in Gaza are some of these assholes. Although Max is patronizing his interviewees just a tad, I don't think any clever video editing was necessary to show exactly how twisted these people's perspectives are.

This rally was an overtly racist and hateful gathering. To support the mass killing of a people is just fucked up. I think I can confidently say that if there's a universal truth, I'm on to it. That's where trouble comes from I suppose, the assumption that you're Right, but at least the ideas I ascribe to are support the elimination of suffering, rather than the spreading of more.

Hearing people say that everyone in Gaza should be "wiped out", that all Palestinians are extremists and terrorists, calling them "a cancer" - this is the worst part of humanity.

Where does it come from? Who benefits? Perhaps from stubborn bias, misinformation, perhaps a need to belong or a feeling of being wronged and a need to retaliate, and it obviously benefits the United States.

It's really unfair though. My gut response was "wow, Jews are really messed up", and I immediately caught myself, because I don't think any of this has to do with being Jewish. I guess this is where my stance on personal responsibility comes in - I'm much more inclined to think that this is a matter of cultural brainwashing than of someone really sitting down to try to understand their lives and finally deciding to support the mass murder of people they think they disagree with.

It's the same situation as with the Westboro Baptist Church (you know, the Christian fucks who protest soldiers' funerals and think that the whole army is gay and therefore an abomination under God or something like that) - yet I know a lot of really great non-hateful Christian people. It's the same situation with Stalin who claimed to be a Marxist but made to suffer the people that Marxism is supposed to save, and the Socialists I know are anti-Stalin. It's the same with the nameless African Americans who voted against gay marriage in California right after Barack Obama was elected, which made us all wonder how any or all black folks could be prejudiced against another group. It's the same with any racist white person. We can't take these people as representatives for the whole group (although I'm consistently curious about the statistics and the cultural factors that may make it LIKELY for a certain group to take a certain stance).

Fortunately there's usually another voice, like the Jewish Voice for Peace and the Shministim.

I guess I just wanted to let off some steam. Seeing the footage from that protest seriously enraged me (like watching Bill O'Reilley). Even before I began reading the socialist perspective on the situation in Gaza, it seemed to me that the situation was pretty clear-cut. Palestinians in that area were moved into this small piece of land called the Gaza Strip and forced to live in horrible conditions. Surely they must have asked nicely. Surely they must have spoken out. Surely the must have begged and pleaded for mercy from someone. And when no one listened, they started screaming - with rockets. Rockets which I've read haven't killed more than a couple people in all the time they've been utilized. And as "retaliation", Gaza gets massacre, and there are people who think this is fair. Can you really blame the oppressed for fighting back?

What really gets me is the teen who thinks the Holocaust is upon her. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't realize that Jewish folks were still oppressed? I mean I guess anyone who dresses "out of the norm" (including me) may get looked at funny or beat up in highschool, but I don't think that constitutes a holocaust. On the other hand, institutionalized racism against non-whites, and as late specifically Middle Easterners, is rampant, and the situation in Gaza can surely be called genocide, because it certainly isn't self defense on the part of Israel the oppressor. What kind of twisted self pity is this?

Recently, Socialist Worker interviewed Haidar Eid (a professor and activist) who is in Gaza,
"Things are getting worse--really much, much worse. We can't find food. We're surviving on canned food. We have a serious water crisis. We still haven't seen any electricity. And we don't know what to do... More than 40 percent of those who have been killed are children and women... We can't sleep because of the shelling from the Apaches and F-16s. And the drones, 24 hours a day. And now the mortar shells, because they have tanks around the city now. We can't sleep, and you can it in the eyes of the children. It's really horrific."
And the protesters just say, "kill them all". Completely fucked up.

I know it's a bungle. I know I can't know the truth of the matter, but it really does seem simple. Shouldn't we be beyond this kind of thing, as a species, by now? Shouldn't it be easy to stop killing each other and try to figure out a solution? I mean surely the politics of religion, which refuse to give way regarding the promised land and such, are a barrier. But beyond that, I mean seriously. What is it about our culture or our biology that makes some of us (and not others) so bloodthirsty? I guess the reason remains that some very powerful people benefit.

Just to be clear, I really think this struggle risks people becoming anti-Israeli or anti-Palestinian. I don't think it's about the people. Likely, most working people are just caught in a battle between powerful groups acting in their own interests. I am in support of peace, and I really think what Israel has chosen to do to Gaza now and in the past is completely messed up, but I'm wary that that stance should come off as anti-Israeli.

One lady in the rally video (the one who talked about cancer) said something I thought was pretty profound:
"...When people don’t want to talk and just want to destroy you and not allow you to live, there’s only one thing you can do."


Iris Star Chamberlain

5 Responses to "Kill them all? Really? A total rant."

January 13, 2009 at 5:47 PM
Amen is right. Unfortunately for humanity, as far as we've come as a species (I just got off my cell phone with a co-worker in Japan as I sit in a coffee shop in Seattle -- yay technology!), we still live under capitalism, which is based on extreme inequality, competition, and brutality. The few are disgustingly rich because the majority are heart-breakingly poor. Minority rule, as we have in every country of the world today, can only be based on extreme violence and repression. Otherwise, it would be untenable. We all know how many people we know who wish things were different but have been taught it's impossible or are afraid to take the risk of opposing such a powerful establishment. That's the message Israel is trying to send to the Palestinians -- give up, you have no hope, if you don't, you'll all be slaughtered. But the Palestinians have justice and survival on their side and they will never give up. The Israeli establishment would not be able to carry out these war crimes if it weren't for total US support. Literally, Israel wouldn't last a day if the US withdrew all the military, economic, and political aid. The US supports Israel full hilt because Israel is the US' only reliable ally in the Middle East -- the most important strategic region in the world. Israel supports the US' aims full hilt because it has an eerily similar project: expansion, power, and control of the region. Israel is a colonizing power that has consistently killed Palestinians and stolen their land. Israel wants the Palestinians (ie, human resistance to Israel) eliminated just as the early US wanted the Native Americans eliminated or crushed. As an anti-Zionist, I am anti-Israel -- Israel in the sense of a Jewish only state established on others' land. As a Jew, it horrifies me that a people who have experienced so much oppression can be such a brutal oppressor. I think Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Christians and anyone else should be able to live in a secular state with democratic rights everyone. Our ISO branch is actually having an educational discussion on exactly these issues tomorrow, Wednesday, night at 7pm at SCCC in room 4183. Join us to discuss and learn more!
January 13, 2009 at 7:07 PM
I worry about posting things like this since I'm far from an expert on the topic, but I always come back to how important I think it is to document my progress and understanding of the world.

Having said that, I was wondering some things as well (in the Shministim video, they mention "Israeli" and "Jew" separately and I thought "oh crap, not mutually exclusive?"). Similarly, it's probably a very important distinguishment when you say you're anti-Israel. I really need to learn more about that, although I think I understand why the concept of Israel is very problematic (I guess I was just thinking of it as a country name and a culture of peoples)... I should probably be more careful with things like that.

In any case, I don't think many people read this blog, but feel free to continue posting ISO-related stuff whenever just in case! As for me, I know about the meeting and I REALLY want to come (although I might not be able to because we're releasing a new product tomorrow and you know, QA and such can be a bitch).

Do you have any articles you can recommend offhand? I plan on catching up with every Gaza-related article I can find on SW and something about the history of the conflict on ISR.

Thanks Sam!
January 13, 2009 at 7:07 PM
Interesting point about the oppressed becoming the oppressor as well...
January 13, 2009 at 7:15 PM
Oh check me out, courtesy of the ISO:

Gareth Porter's piece is invaluable:

The siege of Gaza by Hadas Their
http://www.isreview .org/issues/ 58/rep-gaza. shtml

Israel: The Watchdog State by Lance Selfa
http://www.isreview .org/issues/ 04/Israel_ watchdog. shtml

Zionism: False Messiah by Lance Selfa
http://www.isreview .org/issues/ 04/zionism_ false_messiah. shtml

The hidden history of Zionism by Annie Zirin
http://www.isreview .org/issues/ 24/hidden_ history.shtml

Israel: Colonial settler state by Phil Gasper
http://www.isreview .org/issues/ 15/israel_ colonial. shtml

The class character of Israel (reprint) by Moshe Machover
http://www.isreview .org/issues/ 23/class_ character_ israel.shtml

Iraq, Palestine, and U.S. Imperialism by Toufic Haddad
http://www.isreview .org/issues/ 36/toufic. shtml

Israel and the Nakba: Chronicle of dispossession by Paul D'Amato
http://www.isreview .org/issues/ 60/rep-nakba. shtml
January 14, 2009 at 1:30 PM
I think Annie Zirin's article is one of the best in terms of getting at the history of Zionism.

Not to engage in shameless self-promotion, but this book I read is really good -- check out my review:

I think we have to draw a distinction between Zionism/Israel and Judaism. Many Jews (including myself) do not support Zionism/Israel (Zionism is the political ideology upon which Israel is based -- a Jewish-only state that inherently excludes everyone else). More importantly, Zionism was a tiny minority movement within Judaism prior to the Holocaust. Up until that point, most Jews were leftist radicals who wanted to fight anti-Semitism in the countries where they lived -- not give into anti-Semitism and retreat into their own state. We need to rebuild the tradition among the Jewish population -- opposition to all forms of oppression (including Islamophobia) and the fight for liberation everywhere (especially Palestine).

Hope to see you tonight, Iris!

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