Let’s face it – we all want to fit in, right?  We all want to get invited to fancy parties and have great conversations with cool people.  But the problem is…  it takes… so much effort!  And especially when it comes to topics like Israel – oh man… people can get a little… awkward.  I’ve even heard of friendships being ended over it!  So I have decided to make a quick guide highlighting a few common issues – a guide that will allow us all to ‘fit in’ with people and be able to hang out with the ‘right’ sort of folk – those who will respect you for your views!  So here goes…

When talking about the war in Gaza, especially in a crowd, there’s a few points you have to get in.

The Israeli supporters like to say things like:  Oh well… they started it by firing rockets.

You must counteract that by mentioning the blockade!  If they say they started firing missiles before the blockade, just shake your heard, point to your ears, and say the music is too loud and you couldn’t quite hear what they said.  And if they say Israel continued to deliver food and aid and medical supplies while under fire, just pretend your phone is ringing and walk away.

It’s important you mention that most casualties were innocent victims.  The people around you will be very impressed.  If one of those Israeli supporters respond that those figures come from the Hamas controlled health department, just remind him that Hamas fights for a better life, the end of the occupation and is recognised by some of the world’s great democracies like Qatar and Iran.  If they say Israel left Gaza in 2005, ignore them.  Calling them racist would also help.

You have to get in a point about Israel responding disproportionately.  People love that stuff – and you can be assured that someone will buy you a drink.  If any of the Israeli supporters mention the bombing of Dresden, or the Balkans, or Iraq – brush them off and go back to the casualty figures above.  But be sure to mention that Israel has a right to defend itself.  People get very excited by that.  Just be sure to add the word ‘but’ at the end of the line about defending themselves… you know, just to affirm that you don’t really mean it.

There are radicals on all sides.  Say that line and people will go mad with happiness.  So as a general rule you must always equate the people who commit murders and bombings with the people who build toilets in their backyards.  It sends a powerful statement that you are fair and balanced.

Sometimes the Israeli supporter likes to say things like the IDF are the most moral army in the world and the only one that warns people before firing.  They also sometimes ask why America has relaxed its standards for avoiding civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria, which go against its 2013 reforms.  Just reply to them that America is perfect and makes no mistakes.  If they persist and ask why America don’t release figures of the civilians killed in their attacks against ISIS, just pretend your phone is ringing again and walk away.

When it comes to Abbas, you must say that he is the best hope for a two state solution.  People will go crazy with excitement!  If any smartass in the room says that Abbas supports terrorists and denies the holocaust and calls Israel a genocidal state, just reply that, like all men, he was very passionate when he was younger.  If they say that he said that last week – pretend you have something in your throat and walk away.  I don’t know… maybe the fish stick you just ate was a little off.

If you happened to be Jewish – then you are so in the box seat!  You have just got to mention that as a Jew, because of your history of suffering, you must always reach out to help the Palestinians – even as they charge you with axes, cars and suicide belts.  Guaranteed – people will go nuts with delight!  You might even get a standing ovation on that one.  If you can work in a bit of slandering against Israel – oh wow!  People love Jews going against themselves.

And if you mention that Israel must end the occupation – I will say this right now.  People will be on the floor withering in a fit of unbridled joy!  Of course if they mention that the Palestinians consider the whole of Israel occupied, just pretend your phone… maybe your other phone, this time… is ringing… and walk away.

If they say the Palestinians have rejected every peace deal offered, respond by saying: Ah, but they didn’t offer the whole country, did they?  People will gather around to admire your intelligence.

It is crucial that you stick to these guidelines so you can be a socially ‘cool’ guy who can fit in, and say the ‘right’ things.  You will get a couple of people nodding in your direction… and it’s just possible that your name might even be passed onto a United Nations official.

As a general rule, never let the facts cloud your judgement – ignore them.  And never take sides – even if the one side’s stated intent is the complete destruction of the other one.  So be neutral, although it will help you immensely if you can accept the Palestinian narrative without question, but dismiss the Israeli one completely.  A complete guide can be found in the fiction section of the public library.

If you stick to these guidelines, you will be socially acceptable and be able to hang out with the movers and shakers of the world.  You will get lots of likes on Facebook.  You will also become a popular figure worldwide, especially among the Arab world and the socially elite – maybe even a Noble Peace prize candidate, or an AP correspondent.

Oh, and if you can add that some of your best friends are Jews – then you’re onto a winner!

Now, I have to go, as I have a client called John Kerry on the other line.  Apparently, he is thrilled with the results!