Discover more from Poor Billy's Almanac
Monday Morning quarterback
I can't stop thinking about Israel / Palestine
Welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback.
This is where I share a real-life experience and the coolest things I saw this week (TikTok’s, Tweets, quotes, essays, etc.)
It’s been difficult to write and read about anything other than the Israel/Palestine conflict.
I can’t stop thinking about the conflict because the media is pushing it 24/7 and because:
1.) The Palestinian people are facing genocide
2.) I can’t reconcile the fact I was lied to my entire life
I grew up in Los Angeles, the city with the 3rd highest Jewish population in the world. I grew up in a conservative pro-Israel household. I grew up hearing, ‘Israel is the good side. Israel is pro-USA. Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East.’
You hear enough of this rhetoric and you begin to believe it.
And, why wouldn’t you?
You grow up with Israelis. You grow up learning about the atrocities of the Holocaust. About how the Jews are the most persecuted people in history. You watch the news, which tells you that Israel’s neighbors are unstable Islamic extremists.
Iraqis kill their own people. Syrians, Lybians, and Sudanese can’t govern their own countries. Terrorists knock down our towers. Israel is our close ally. They are related to the Jews you go to school with and do business with.
You come to the conclusion that Israel is the only beacon of civilization in a sea of barbarism. That the Jewish nation-state is our only friend in a chaotic region. You start to believe that Judeo-Christian values represent morality and Islamic values represent violence and barbarism.
But as you get older, you begin to notice contradictions. You begin to ask why Israel, a country of 9 million people needs one of the strongest militaries in the world? What wrong did Palestine commit against the Israelis? Does the United States gain a strategic advantage by having an ally in the Middle East?
In the past week, these contradictions began to break at the seams.
Before last week, I understood Israel was created with the help of Colonial Britain. I knew Palestinians had been forced out of their homeland by Jewish settlers and that Zionism is a dangerous ideology. I knew about the War of 1948, the Yom Kippur War, the Intifada, the skirmishes with Hamas, and the occupied territories.
But I didn’t have a comprehensive understanding of the “conflict”, aka apartheid. But, the most recent events motivated me to change that.
I unlearned my previous biases and sought to know the real truth, not the information fed to us by US history books and Western media interests. The more I learned the harder it was to stay silent. I could no longer hide behind hallow statements like:
This is a thousand-year dispute, that’s too complex for us to solve
I call for peace everywhere
Hamas = bad, Israel = good
When you stand up for everything you stand up for nothing.
There is a clear oppressor and oppressed. There is a clear right and wrong. One side has the power to end the oppression and the other has faced the brute force of Imperialist colonization for the past 75+ years.
If this past week was difficult for you (as it was for me) think of how hard the past 75+ years have been for the Palestinian people. I can’t focus on my artistic pursuits (oh poor me), while the residents of Gaza are focused on incoming rockets. Our mental and emotional roller coaster through the news media is a candle wick to the inferno they face on a daily basis.
Entire families are being wiped off the state registry. While I wrote this, a Gazaian hospital was leveled, killing 500+ people. The Israeli government blamed the rocket strike on Hamas before deleting their tweet and walking back their prior statement. Now they are blaming a different Palestinian terror group and two different launch locations.
And that’s the other difficult part of the conflict. The Israeli and Western media outright lie to the public and face no repercussions. Our sports teams hold moments of silence for Israel while innocent Palestinians are murdered in mass by a nuclear power. Bill Maher goes on national TV and justifies Israeli aggression with colonial and genocidal logic. Every single Muslim professor and analyst is required to condemn Hamas, yet no Western anchor is required to condemn the colonial state they protect. (Imagine how much they lied before social media!)
And, the public eats it up.
Yum. Yum. Yum.
We say we love peace, but we love war. We love sounding the siren of barbarism. We love an excuse to shoot our Lockheed Martin rockets onto innocent people.
Our logic is, “Well, they aren’t really human, so what’s the harm if a few ‘innocent civilians’ go down in the process?”
I wonder how different the rhetoric was towards Native Americans in colonial times. Black people during slavery and Jim Crow. Iraq’s and Muslims post 9/11. The Japanese before we dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I’d wager it wasn’t all that different. I’d wager we’ve always tried to make an excuse for things we’ve always wanted to do deep down. I’d wager there’s a significant portion of the population who has always wanted to carpet-bomb the Middle East. The reason I’d make that wager is because I’ve heard it from my friends (trying to lose more of these ‘friends’) and their parents.
The U.S. wasn’t built on love, it was built on exploitation and settler colonialism, just like the Israeli state. Which makes it all the more sickening to me, when people I grew up with throw up the Star of David on their Instagram stories like it gives them some religiosity, post funding links to the IDF (a terror organization that has been destroying families since its inception), repost hallow calls for peace, and stand with Israel (their Jewish brothers and sisters). Even though the Jewish people they know, never had a shred of Israeli blood, because most Jewish Americans came from Europe, not the sham kingdom of Israel.
I don’t lack compassion for the Israelis, Americans, and whoever else was killed by Hamas. Just as I don’t lack compassion for the American soldiers who died in the Middle East for no reason. If I didn’t care about their lives I wouldn’t fight for any liberation. I wouldn’t fight for a future. I care about all human life, almost as much as my own. For my life is all I really have. Whether one can still love life without loving themselves first is a different conversation for a different day.
But, if we want to free the oppressed, we must also free the oppressors from their inherently meaningless occupation.
As Nelson Mandela said,
I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.
Zionism is a disease. It’s a filthy, ugly stain that must be wiped from our consciousness if we want to imagine a better world. A world that accepts Zionism is a world that accepts hate, racism, and colonialism. A world always at the whim of genocidal lunatics. Because at the heart of Zionism is not the best interests of Jewish people, but the best interests of imperialist powers, radical Zionists, and the Israeli ruling class.
Take it from a founding father of Israel and their first prime minister, David Ben Gurion,
If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.
Zionism has ALWAYS gone hand in hand with anti-semitism. Not only as a tool to get colonial powers to deport Jews to Israel but also as a way to violate the rights of the Jewish diaspora and forcibly displace them to Israel. That’s right, many of the Jews in Israel today were brought there against their own will. Because most Jews weren’t Zionists (and 50%+ still aren’t). Many of the Jews in the diaspora (especially Jews from Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia, etc.), still aren’t fully accepted in Israel. They serve as the working class underbelly of this ethno-state. Because what they don't tell you about Israel is that.
Most Israeli prisoners (90% in 1974) are Arab Jews
Most of the children with malnutrition issues are Arab Jews (92% in 1974)
The World Inequality Lab said, “Israel is one of the most unequal high-income countries in the world.” And guess which Jews are poorer?
They don’t tell you about the Jewish on Jewish terrorism that set up the state of Israel (King David Bombing, Patria Disaster, Baghdad Bombings). They don’t tell you about the Zionist terror groups like the Irgun and the Haganah. They don’t tell you about The Nakba. They don’t tell you Hamas is the brainchild of the Israeli government and their current prime minister.
Bottom line: It’s time to end the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.
It’s a product of Zionism. The product of superiority claimed through identity and religion. There is absolutely no factual foundation to the argument that Jewish people have a right to return to Israel. Their ‘right to return’ (by return I mean set up a state, not immigrate) to Israel has the same authority as my right to return to Wales (the place my father’s family left in the 1800s).
The idea that “God’s chosen people” have a right to return to Israel is no different than America’s disastrous Manifest Destiny. It’s a useless and unproductive Zionist excuse to take land from the Palestinian people who have been the sole inhabitants of Palestine for at least 600 years (probably more like 2,000+).
If you want to take the argument seriously (the only people who do that are irrational Zionists), there are a few reasons it’s absolutely silly:
1/ The DNA of the Jewish diaspora more closely resembles that of The Druze and Lebanese, not the Palestinian people (as shown below).
2/ Ashkenazi Jews, the European Zionists who set up the Israeli state, share more than 80 percent of their maternal lineages with Europeans. Only a few lineages originate in the Near East. Thus, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Bedouins, etc. and pretty much every Arab and Levant people have a better argument for being descendants of Palestine than the OG Zionists.
3/ There is a high likelihood the Muslims in Palestine and throughout the Arab world were Christians and Jews before the Islamic conquest in the 7th century. So, the very people Israel is colonizing are their descendants.
The DNA argument is silly and just factually wrong.
It’s okay to unlearn your biases. It’s okay to find the complexity and the line between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Freeing Palestine and all oppressed people is never a smooth, linear path, however, it is the path we must focus on. If we want peace and justice in every corner of the world, we must demand it, even when it feels uncomfortable.
A remarkable video that shows you the difficulties Palestinian workers endure on their daily work commute.
A brave American journalist who was killed for taking a stand against Israel.
The Iraq War holds a lot of similarities to the most recent Israel/Hamas conflict. This former American soldier tells us why unfounded retaliation never ends well.
The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, is a right-wing Zionist (which is almost like saying a right wing white nationalist). Many hold him responsible for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, an Israeli liberal who held talks with Palestinian leaders before his murder. This article explains how Hamas became who they are… with the support of Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders.
Illan is an expatriate Israeli historian and political science professor now based in the UK. He’s written books like The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and Ten Myths About Israel and is one of the loudest anti-Zionists. He believes in a one-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians will live together. If you want to get more educated on the conflict, this interview is a must-watch.
But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians
P.S. Last week my P.S. said something along the lines of of the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict is way too complex to talk about in a short newsletter.” Well, now that I’ve talked about it, I’m here to say I was wrong. Free Palestine. End the Israeli-Apartheid state.
Thanks for reading Poor Billy's Almanac! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.