Matthew Lewis
Matthew Lewis

Israel, it’s a reflection of them, not of you

A "Boycott Israeli Products" sign in a UK protest, 2021. Source = Wikimedia (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HANDS_OFF_GAZA_STOP_THE_BOMBING_FREE_PALESTINE_-_UK_NATIONAL_DEMONSTRATION.jpg)
An anti-Israel protest in the UK

Dear Israel,

I hope this post finds you well.

I hope you recover swiftly from the recent attacks, and my heart goes out to the families of the dead, on both sides. Yet I fear that what shook you even deeper was the global onslaught of criticism, unbalanced media coverage, and social media war, that was fired at you from every corner of the globe alongside the Gazan rockets. The spike of antisemitic attacks across the globe were particularly hard to witness.

I want to remind you that those who have seen Israel in person know that you are a young, strong and inclusive country, and you have nothing to prove. You’ve given more to the world than any country twice your size, including technology, research, trade and humanitarian aid. You are one of the most diverse nations I have come across, and you should continue to listen to your citizens, regardless of their racial, religious or political background, as you always have done in your chaotic yet democratic way. Do not let the international screaming and bullying change who you are.

I’ve come to realize that all the noise about you, coming from the West, is more of a reflection of them than it is a reflection of you.

As you know, this conflict is a small one. When it comes to human deaths, you’ll find around 20 ongoing wars more severe than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at any given time. The 300 dead so far this year (as per June 2021) in Israel and Palestine pale in comparison to the 16 to 49 thousand killed over the past few months in the ongoing Tigray War, the 14 thousand perished in Afghanistan, 8 thousand in Yemen, and so on and so forth. Yet this minor conflict gets the most attention, and Israel gets the most condemnation. Homicides in Chicago alone (to pick a city of roughly the same population-size as Gaza) outweigh those of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but generates absolutely zero international interest.

See, when Africans are dying by the thousands, the West doesn’t seem to care. When two Arab countries fight each other, the West doesn’t seem to be surprised. But when Israel defends its civilians from 4300 rockets, the Jewish nation is quickly featured as the bad guy, and the lies, myths, and vicious name-calling begins. Well respected international media outlets seem to find a way to turn a blind eye to Hamas’ use of child soldiers and human shields, and actively ignore the fact that the IDF is trying hard to prevent collateral damage. NATO has always caused far more civilian casualties, and has a more indiscriminate track record than the IDF, in virtually every conflict since its creation, by any statistical estimate.

The West seems keen to ignore that Israel provides most of the electrical supply to the West Bank and Gaza, as well as jobs and medical care to thousands of Palestinians. Palestinian lack of rights, death and torture at the hand of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Hamas is irrelevant, yet their use as pawns in this ongoing war against Israel’s existence is just a Jewish-made conspiracy theory (insert “Zionist” instead of “Jewish” if you want to sound less racist). Every chance for peace has been hijacked and vetoed by radical factions within Palestine, yet somehow it’s easier for them to believe that the Jewish nation is to blame for everything. 

Comically, Western media has an ongoing effort to show Hamas as some kind of moderate armed organization, which requires the tremendous task of ignoring Hamas’ ongoing public declarations of their goal to commit genocide – in writing since 1988, in hundreds of speeches, and in their actions. The UK and Australia are among the countries that only designate the military wing of Hamas as a terrorist organization, and not its entirety, as if they have never read the calls for “killing the Jews” within the Hamas Charter, or as if they believe there is no coordination between its political and military leaders.

When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the old adage “you believe what you want to believe” seems more true than ever. While they like to believe that racism was just a short phase of theirs, and that the West is now an enlightened and neutral judge of the World, this is far from the truth.

Israel, you have enough variety among your own citizens to get a good balance of opinions, from people who actually understand the region. From people that are actually affected by the conflict. Let them be your moral compass. With a 22% Arab population (compare this to 0.6% in the US), 15% African (slightly more than the US), eastern European immigrants, leftist groups, communist groups, religious groups and so on, all with equal civic rights, you have a wide range of voices to guide you. 

The West hasn’t encountered true diversity so far in its history. You have. Don’t let the West project its own insecurities onto you.

As a European, I can say this loudly and calmly: The West is racist. 

This racism is the reason you were created in the first place, and it’s the reason you’re still as necessary as you ever were.

Israel, I’m not saying you’re above criticism. But please, don’t listen to the West. Continue to listen to your own citizens.

Yours sincerely,

A bystander

About the Author
Matthew has extensive experience in the Middle East with the British Ministry of Defence, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has always been a keen interest to him. He spent time in the West Bank, and now lives in Israel with his fiancé. As a Western liberal non-Jew, Matthew's opinions on the conflict can often clash with those of his peers' back home. He has a knack for bringing a fresh perspective to the conflict, and strongly believes in a two-state solution.
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