Stupidity Has Run Its Course

It’s been about a month since campus protestors sucked out all of the air in the room, queer bars continue to host fundraising events for Palestine (no doubt to raise money for the West Bank LGBT Center), and there are one too many non-Jews sporting this spring’s hottest fashion trend around their necks.

I say this with as much kindness as I can, but these people – the campus protestors, the students, faculty, and those with zero ties to what’s happening – are stupid.

“Stupid” is a child’s word. I can’t think of a more basic pejorative to describe somebody. It’s an easy word and a quick word to end discussion, and it may have already turned off some of you to what I’m about to write. But if you’re going to use it, use it deliberately, and I am being deliberate because we, the Jewish people, are tired of listening to the stupidest people say the stupidest things we have ever heard, resulting in unimaginable hatred and violence against us.

I’m not talking about the willfully antisemitic ones. From Christians who justified two hundred years of massacres to avenge Jesus, to Soviets who published the most widely distributed antisemitic publication in modern times in 1903 and then one-upped themselves when they tied anti-Zionism with racism in 1975, to Palestinian leaders like the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who met with Hitler six years before there was a Jewish state, to contemporary organizations like Jewish Voices for Peace that stoke the flames of modern-day blood libels, they knew – and know – what they’re doing. Let’s leave them out of this.

I’m talking about people who are stupid in the way one sees 1 + 1 = 2 and looks up and smiles and says the answer is 3. It is the stupidity of regurgitating statements you can google the veracity of in less than five seconds. It is brainless, unthinking people so entrenched in an ideology that they’ve lost all reasoning capabilities.

Let’s start simple.

When I say stupid, I mean the stupidity of believing that the Jewish people are not indigenous to the land of Israel despite thousand-year old inscriptions on stone steles and in mournful liturgies of Jews dreaming of a return to Zion, along with literal mountains of archaeological evidence like the Second Temple, the holiest site in Judaism, which predates Islam and upon whose ruins sits the Dome of the Rock, a structure built by a violent colonial empire.

Another easy one: the stupidity of believing Israelis are White when more than half of the Jewish population descends from Jews whose families have lived in Israel for thousands of years, the 800,000 Middle Eastern Jews who were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries in the 1950s (countries also younger than your grandmother, I might add), the 47,000 Yemenite Jews who were airlifted in 1949, or the 23,000 Ethiopian Jews who were saved and brought to Israel in 1984 and 1991 as a fulfillment of their Zionist dream. (I won’t get into the fact that every single Israeli Jew from Europe descends from someone the Nazi’s gassed or enslaved for not being White).

Another softball: the stupidity of thinking Jesus was Palestinian when the Roman name, Syria-Palestina, was used to describe the territory 100 years after Jesus was crucified in the land of, you guessed it, Judea.

The stupidity of thinking modern-day Palestinians have any relation to Biblical-era Philistines, who were Greek.

Stupidity of thinking Zionism began in the 19th century when the dream of Jews returning to Israel as a sovereign nation (aka Zionism) dates back to as early as 132 CE when Bar Kochba revolted against the Roman Empire.

Stupidity of being able to google the definition of Zionism and still believing it is predicated upon the removal of others.

Stupidity of thinking the reason Israel was established was because of the horrors of the Holocaust, when the British Mandate of Palestine was created in 1922 to partition the land.

Stupidity of thinking Israel was some kind of consolation prize for 6 million dead Jews, when the land of Israel has belonged to the Jewish people for over three-thousand years.

Stupidity of thinking Israel was created in a bloody, colonial war initiated by Israel, when the entire self-inflicted Palestinian tragedy of the last 75 years could have been avoided had five countries not attempted to drive every Jew into the Mediterranean Sea.

Stupidity of thinking the reason for any Palestinian refugees anywhere has to do with anything other than a genocidal war initiated by five Arab countries to drive every Jew into the Mediterranean Sea.

Stupidity of thinking Israel received the most fertile plots of land in the 1947 Partition Plan when 60% of the proposed Jewish state was desert and another 20% was malaria-infested swamps.

Stupidity of thinking the grievances of Palestinians have anything to do with “occupation” when Palestinians massacred Jews long before there was a Jewish state, and during 19 years of fedayeen terrorist attacks when Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied Gaza.

Stupidity of thinking the Palestinian leadership has ever been in favor of a two-state solution when they have rejected every single two-state proposal since 1947.

The stupidity of thinking there was ever a sovereign, Palestinian-Arab territory prior to Israel’s disengagement of Gaza in 2005.

Stupidity of thinking Israel has a problem with coexistence when 20% of Israel’s population are non-Jews.

Stupidity of thinking Israel has a problem with coexistence when Jordan murdered 15,000 Palestinians, Lebanon bars Palestinians from citizenship & healthcare, Syria prohibits Palestinians from owning more than a single home, purchasing land, or the right to vote, Egypt denies Palestinians citizenship, education, and healthcare, and ALL OF THEM refuse to shelter Palestinians in this ongoing war.

Stupidity of thinking Israel is an apartheid state when the Arab Ra’am party sits in Israel’s Knesset and Muslim-Israeli Khaled Kabub sits on Israel’s Supreme Court.

The stupidity of thinking a genocide has been taking place since 1947 when the Palestinian population of the West Bank & Gaza is 5,000,000 people, five times what it was 75 years ago.

Stupidity of thinking Israel is committing a genocide now when they have allowed 29,746 trucks carrying over 572,300 tons of aid, including more than 427,870 tons of food, to be delivered to the population of the enemy that raped and burned their people alive.

Stupidity of looking at what’s happening in Gaza and blaming Israel when Gazans are literally screaming at you to help overthrow a terrorist organization that spent 17 years torturing them and turning their mosques, hospitals, schools, playgrounds, and homes into the largest civilian-military base on the planet.

Stupidity of thinking Israel is causing a famine when you can watch videos of terrorists commandeering humanitarian aid trucks and then forcing Gazans to buy back their aid.

Stupidity of thinking the IDF wants to fight this war, when every single f****** person I know is a pro-Palestinian Zionist who wishes the Palestinian government cared more about their own people’s future than our deaths.

Stupidity of thinking the IDF wants to kill innocent people when my family member is risking his life to protect Palestinian aid from Hamas.

Stupidity of thinking the IDF wants to kill innocent people when Israelis have been treating Palestinians in their hospitals for decades, including, yes, terrorists from October 7th.

Stupidity of believing unconfirmed reports from a terrorist organization, but not the filmed atrocities by the same terrorist organization when perpetrated against Israelis.

The stupidity of watching terrorists break their 15th ceasefire, but only advocating for a 16th ceasefire once Israel responds.

The stupidity of watching terrorists fire rockets at Israeli civilians from Palestinian safe zones and then blaming Palestinian deaths on Israel when it responds to protect its citizens.

Stupidity of feminists supporting a theocracy that commits government-sanctioned crimes against women.

Stupidity of queer people drowning themselves in culturally-appropriated keffiyehs, when they would be dead if they lived in Gaza (and then justifying that stupidity by saying their support is based on “oppression.” Do you hear yourselves?)

Further, the stupidity of queer people supporting a government that throws gay people off of buildings instead of a government that throws the only pride parade in the Middle East, and then the stupidity of comparing the two.

The stupidity of being a human rights activist, watching three thousand terrorists invade a country, and then justifying the murder, rape, and kidnapping of 1500 Muslims, Christians, Jews, Thai, French, Germans, Americans, Holocaust survivors, babies, whole families, and peace activists – to name a few.

Stupidity of being a human rights activist and supporting an entity that views their own peoples’ bodies as moral currency designed to enrage you after they massacred 1500 Muslims, Christians, Jews, Thai, French, Germans, Americans, Holocaust survivors, babies, whole families, and peace activists – to name a few.

The stupidity of watching college students chant “bomb Tel Aviv” and “death to Zionists” and then sharing a link to help get them out of jail because you think this is a “peace movement.”

The stupidity of chanting “ceasefire” and “globalize the intifada” in the same breath.

Stupidity of vandalizing and occupying a school building and then demanding “humanitarian aid” from your university lest you die of thirst and starvation (but I swear to god I laughed so hard).

Stupidity of people equating the racist history of America to two indigenous populations who live 7,000 miles away.

Stupidity of believing you’re not an antisemite as you voice support for the indigenous rights of Palestinians while denying the same rights for Jews to their ancestral homeland.

Stupidity of believing you’re not an antisemite when calling for the end of the only Jewish state, but advocating for a Palestinian one.

Stupidity of thinking Israel wants to fight a war when they have never initiated a war in 76 years.

Stupidity of thinking these protestors – the faculty, students, and their supporters – are on the right side of history when the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran tweets a message in support of their cause.

Stupidity of thinking these protestors – the faculty, students, and their supporters – are on the right side of history when they believe any or all of the above-mentioned stupidity, and have laid the foundation of their movement on the death and destruction of another people.

And finally, the stupidity of thinking you – the freest, safest, most privileged people in the world – are offering solutions to a war by amplifying the most extreme voices of a religion and a movement while chanting for the death and destruction of another people.

It is heartbreaking and disorienting to live in a society of stupidity. It is a raise-your-hands-and-scream at-the-sky kind of frustration and the most hopeless kind of loneliness. In the last 7 months, I have finally understood the meaning of words like gaslighting, and seen the worst examples of words like hypocrisy, insensitivity, and hate.

Stupidity feeds on emotion. It lacks reason. It looks at the world as a binary (ironic considering the loud support from some of the queer community), and requires no action. It is dependent upon the laziest form of thinking.

I am afraid of stupidity because it feeds on emotion and journalists have shirked their responsibility to facts for an obsession with narrative, sold in click-baiting headlines made to anger and terrify a young, voting-age population, who get their news from platforms that could not possibly tell a full story in 240 characters or a 10-slide photo carousel.

I am afraid of stupidity because of how fast it spreads and how easy it is to be stupid, especially when we’re wired to find peace in conformity. I am afraid of stupidity because, while people cosplay in terrorist costumes in support of Palestinians, my family members are risking their lives to protect the Palestinians they claim to support. For far too many this is a moment to virtue signal and/or avoid confronting some kind of American post-colonial guilt. It is also the most, dare I say, “colonial” example of a western habit to insert one’s self and one’s perspective in a conflict and culture that has nothing to do with you. For people who are adept at scouring the internet to center every other minority and scream about how society stole from them, the lack of basic research skills is, at this point, egregiously antisemitic.

Luckily there’s a simple way to avoid stupidity. We are blessed, more than any other time in human history, with facts at our fingertips. The difficult part involves pausing, reflection, and self-examination. And of course, the weary task of lifting a finger to do the most basic of actions to verify information. The facts are there for the taking. Stupidity is your own fault at this point.

Everything feels dramatic these days. For Jews, nothing is more dramatic than the last 7 months. And so even though stupidity can often be waved away without a thought, this stupidity cannot, especially when political members of the freest country in the world parrot the same stupidity with such conviction.

The time has come for stupidity to run its course.

If I could use another word, I would. I wish I could ascribe so many other adjectives to the anti-Israel faculty, students, and their supporters. Narcissists, obsessed, unaware, hurtful, cruel, misinformed, dumb, well-intentioned. But today, when facts are as easily accessible as they are, when the history that Jews are terrified of repeating is this close, when the answer to ending this war has been staring us in the face for seven months and people lack the common sense to figure it out, there is only one, easy, quick, and basic word that will do.

Google it.

About the Author
Roniel Tessler is a Jewish educator at Bnai Jeshurun Congregation and the Assistant Youth Director at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York City. As a screenwriter, his work has been recognized by the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, the O'Neill Conference, and the Writer's Guild of America. Roniel lives in New York.
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