Columns / Discourse / February 18, 2015

Addressing Israel

As a conservative, do you support Israel’s inhumane, Islamophobic occupation of Palestine? If you do support the occupation, could you explain how it is possible to ethically defend Israel’s militaristic, imperialist bloodbath?

First of all, I want to say that I really appreciate this being asked and I feel that it is extremely important for this topic to be addressed. To answer your first question, no, I do not and cannot support Israel’s inhumane and intolerant occupation of Palestine, but I can explain for you why many conservatives seem to support it (or at least remain silent on the topic) and why the rest of the world’s media has ignored it.

The answer lies in the explanation as to why Israel as a state exists in the first place. To be clear, I am not justifying Israel’s (especially the recent) actions, but I am explaining the North American and European irrelevance and carelessness in the conflict to date. There is no ethical explanation, and Islamophobia does exist in this country and around the world.

Those of us who pay attention to the national media will not forget this past summer when over 1,600 Palestinian civilians lost their lives in Israeli airstrikes. Their explanation for this was “the threat of Hamas,” a piece of the Palestinian Unity Government, which had been firing missiles into Israel, but the death tolls do not compare; for every Israeli citizen killed by Hamas this past summer, there were about a hundred (give or take a few) Palestinians killed, including innocent women and children as well as men. These casualties do not include the approximately 600 militant deaths during the conflict.

Yet, the world’s media continued to side with Israel against the “evil” Hamas. Those mass casualties were sometimes reported, but always in a way that made them seem justified, as if Palestine’s leadership was so corrupt and unjust that these casualties could be pushed aside in the Western mind.

It was social media that helped the truth get out of Palestine and gave its citizens a voice – but why did it have to come to that? What was wrong with the media? Everything. It is Islamophobia with complicated reasons for existence; it thrives due to heavy stereotypes against Islam as well as in the historical sympathy for Israel.

Though the idea of a Jewish state was suggested scarcely after World War I had finished, it was not fully implemented until 1948 in a post-World War II world. It’s no secret what happened in World War II – the Holocaust resulted in the deaths of millions of Jews, the blood was on Europe’s hands and the political and social acceptance of anti-Semitism ceased to exist in the way that it once did. Until this time, the Jews had been blamed for every major issue in world (though mostly European) history – everything from the Black Plague, to the existence of witches, to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ had been pinned on the Jews. It is absolutely awful that what it took to end the hate of a particular group of people was mass genocide and even more unfortunate that there are those out there today that still harbor anti-Jewish thoughts (yes, others besides the KKK).

But after the Holocaust, being an anti-Semitic was as bad as being a fascist in Europe or a communist in the US – and here we find the reason for America’s sympathy for Israel: the lingering emotions left by the Holocaust, particularly in Europe, and the guilt that comes with taking anything away from Israel, even if it means displacing the Palestinians (people who are not seen as human in the Western media) from their own homeland. It isn’t ethical or acceptable that we have a media that paints such a portrait, so it is unfortunately up to us to advocate this for ourselves.


Shannon Caveny

Tags:  citizen Conservatism holocaust Israel Jews occupation Palestine

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