I don’t have anything definitive to say on the issue of Israel and Palestine for a good reason: It’s a complicated situation and I haven’t done the homework. Even saying that, someone will come in the comments and try to tell me it’s really totally simple. Yes, aspects of it are simple. Massacres and apartheid and terrorism are bad, specific incidents and blatantly evil systems and institutions can be unequivocally condemned.
But taking a side in this conflict can lure you into affirming and amplifying your prejudices. Right now, creepy officials in the US are trying to force people to pledge loyalty oaths to Israel. That’s bad for us, bad for peace. France’s Emmanuel Macron has sad that rejecting Israel’s political will is inherently antisemitic. Again, compelling people to mindlessly support a state’s right to oppress an ethnic group. That’s bad stuff.
But all you have to do is raise the issue to see the antisemites and islamophobes crawl out of the woodwork – and to see people you’re normally inclined to like and respect start showing shades of those character flaws. Look at the phrasing of the comments on the Pharyngula post about this. Sometimes it’s subtle, but it’s telling.
The antisemitically inclined will list bad adjectives, then the word “jewish” among them. Maybe they aren’t antisemitic, but the way they phrased their comment unintentionally equates being jewish with being a fascist. Or maybe the outsized influence of the Israel lobby in the US provokes latent antisemitic feelings in them, about how jews secretly control the world.
The islamophobically inclined will say their feeling is that Israel will be more peacefully inclined and trustworthy than Palestine. They’ll remember the many instances of antisemitic rhetoric and actions being taken by Palestinians or people using them as a political cause, but forget all the islamophobic stew we’ve been swimming in since the damn 1960s.
If you are going to comment on the conflict in that region, do your homework first. That’s the reason I don’t comment on it – because I don’t have the time to take that step properly. And more than that, watch your heart. I’m inclined to trust the politically lefty to have the well-being of all people in their heart as they approach a situation, BUT I know damn well we are culturally cultivated to be antisemitic and many of us are just thoughtless enough to let that get out of control, get away from us.
All I want is for you to think before you speak, to search your feelings for prejudice. It may seem hypocritical of the guy with whose average post is tweet length, but bear with me. And good luck.