Friday, July 18, 2014

Before you comment on the Israel-Palestine issue...

1. Know the difference between a state and an ethnic group of people. Israel is a state, the Jewish people are an ethnic group that exists outside of Israel all over the world and Israelis can be Arabs or Jews that belong to the nation-state of Israel (or Palestine) who may or may not have a defined state. Israel is taking action on behalf of a large number of Jewish people. However, many Israelis do not support this action. Many Jews around the world also do not support this action. Your opposition should be directed at the state and its political leadership not the Jewish people. 

 2. Once again, to reiterate, the state of Israel is responsible for the offensive in Gaza and atrocities against Palestinians. The state of Israel does not equal all Jews. If you see Jewish people making terrible comments or writing/sharing hateful comments on social media, it does not mean they represent all Jews. It doesn’t even mean they represent all Israeli Jews. Some Jewish people out there are responsible for saying offensive/racist things just like every other group of people. 

3. If you have a problem with what the state of Israel is doing, great. Let’s talk about how the state of Israel is breaking International Law. How it is exacerbating a volatile situation. Do not go around talking about how Jewish people are scum or deserve to die. There are many oppressive governments all around the world that have done/are doing exactly the same thing as Israelis. The current Bangladeshi government is arguably corrupt and has engaged in extrajudicial killings of Bangladeshi citizens, so do many Arab countries, and many countries in Africa. Governments do illegal and inhumane things in the name of and on behalf of their citizens. Most of the time citizens have no control over those actions even if they have voted for that government. 

 4. If you have to invoke Hitler, you are uninformed. You are losing your argument and most importantly you are no different than what Israel is doing right now. What happened during the Holocaust was a stain on humanity. It is something all of us as humans should be collectively ashamed of. How can a state kill 6 million people based on their race and the world just stand by and let it happen? It was unacceptable and it will always be unacceptable (I cannot believe I have to actually write this out). Under no circumstances will Hitler’s actions EVER be justified. And neither are Israel’s actions now. They are two separate incidents occurring at two different times. Don’t conflate the two just because one situation contributed to the current situation. 

 5. Palestine was a British Colony and Jews emigrated there to flee persecution in Europe (which as you all know included the Holocaust). Palestine did not have a choice or say in the matter when the UK devised this plan to relocate a group of people who were clearly in need of assistance at the time. Since that relocation, indigenous Palestinians have been forced to leave their homeland or become refugees in their own land and face continuous institutional discrimination from the newly created Jewish state of Israel. Israel has locked them in small pockets, illegally occupied their land, extended Jewish settlements in places that legitimately belong to Palestinians and used the might of their military to oppress the very people who opened up their country to them. 

 6. How did Israel do this? They have the support of most of the international community including the very powerful UK and US. They receive economic and military aid including weapons and technology. They are guaranteed the US veto in the Security Council whenever the international community attempts to hold them to account  for their illegal actions. Their oppressive and illegal actions have led Palestinians to fight back and that action has been branded “terrorism” (which in some cases it is). However, Palestinian terrorism is not the same at terrorism in other parts of the Middle East and Asia. This is not related to religion. This is in response to occupation, oppression, and appropriation of land (all of this is a breach of international law which goes unpunished). And militant groups in Palestine is not limited to Hamas. Every group has their own agenda and like the Israeli government, most Palestinian citizens do not get to dictate how these militant groups behave. 

7. This is a very cursory overview of the conflict but the point of this is to say – stop directing your hate towards an ethnic group. Atrocities are committed on orders from the top. In this case it is the Israeli leadership with support from the international community (this includes US, UK, Arab countries and other Europeans countries). This is not the first time an ethnic minority has been oppressed and murdered for their resources. This is our collective human history. Your protests should be directed towards Israel. Speak up. Write. Share your protest photos online. Demand action from your own government. Educate yourself on the history. Educate those who are spreading hate on the internet via social media. Verify facts. 

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