The Jewish people were dispersed from Judea some 2,000 years ago by Roman imperialism, who then also changed the name from Judea to Palestine as a punishment for a failed Jewish rebellion.
Although a tiny fraction of Jews remained in the region, for thousands of years of being a dispersed minority, Jews suffered from racism and ethnic cleansing (yes shocking. Even before the state of Israel was an excuse to attack Jews, it was happening).
I am so grateful to be born into a generation in which I can be Jewish, and live in, relatively, personal safety. And I know that my ancestors did not have this basic need.
As a member of a dispersed minority that fulfilled the dream of returning to its homeland, I fully understand the aspiration of my neighbors, the Palestinians, to create their own homeland.
Over the past few days, I’ve been reading people’s social media posts and stories, and watching late-night show monologues. Frankly, given my overall positive views towards Palestinian aspirations for a state and dignity, I just feel bad for Palestinians.
The sorrow that overcomes me due to the pro-Palestinian trend stems from two main reasons.
Firstly, the world only remembers to show them support during war.
For example, I have seen a self-claimed progressive friend post a story about “colonial ethnic cleansing Zionists” with a picture of a destructed Gaza, and the following story is a “Happy birthday tribute” to his friend with a picture of two frat boys chugging beer cans – seems he is really caught up with the cause.
I think it is devastating that the Palestinian cause has become some feel-good, progressive trend. If what truly disturbs you is illegal settlements, so why am I only hearing your voice during a war in Gaza, where no settlements exist? Or just in general, Palestinians suffer daily, where you at daily?
This leads me to the second point. A more nuanced point, so stick with me.
The unequivocal support for the Palestinians, and refusal to see Hamas as a source of Palestinian suffering, is obviously not only not improving the Palestinian cause, but it is furthering away a better life for everyone in the region.
The Palestinians democratically voted Hamas as its government. Yes, they democratically voted for an organization whose main goal is not making life better for Palestinians, but to wipe out the Jewish state.
Hamas is an organization that restricts women’s movement without a guardian, that imprisons gays, and executed hundreds of Palestinians, some of them for social media posts. They even took advantage of the Israeli war in Gaza in 2014 to kill their own citizens (Imagine that — while you are trying to survive the attack of a common enemy, your government is using resources to execute your own people.
And all indicators showed that Hamas would win the election that was meant to be held a few weeks ago.)
The liberal-progressive world justifies Hamas’s actions and the widespread support for Hamas by saying that it is Israel’s fault that the Palestinians elected Hamas — “what choice did they have when facing the occupation?”
Yup, that’s the argument — blame Israel and its allies. And this is another tragic disaster the progressive-liberal voice is bringing upon the Palestinians — you have no choice but to democratically support a terror regime.
But just like blaming the world would not have helped the Jewish nation, it will not help the Palestinian nation.
Jews had/have excellent reasons to blame the world for its troubles over the past few centuries. Inquisitions, pogroms, holocaust, etc. Jews only received civil rights at the end of the 19th century (besides in France). Even in the US, until a few decades ago, Jews were banned from country clubs, and restricted from attending top universities. Not to mention the steep rise in anti-Semitic propaganda and violence today.
Why am I telling you all this? because the Palestinians also have good reasons to blame the world. They could blame European countries for periodically supporting Jews’ right to return to their homeland. They could blame the Arab countries for abandoning them; for making them promises of wiping out the Jewish state and not following through; for neglecting Palestinian refugees in terrible conditions in Lebanon. And of course, blame the Jewish state: for returning to their homeland; for being responsible for creating thousands if not hundreds of thousands of refugees due to wars; And of course, for the ongoing, military rule in the west bank and plenty more.
Blaming the other for inflicting suffering upon you, is not problematic on its own account. The problems start when the blame you point at others cleans you from taking responsibility for your own destiny. And pro-Palestinians have become a voice that only knows how to blame Israel and the world.
Denying that Hamas and the Palestinians have any blame in the conflict is not pro-Palestinian at all. It is stripping the Palestinians from the right to be masters of their own fate.
I see the images coming from Gaza, and hear the sirens in Tel Aviv, and think to myself how terrible it must be a Palestinian. It truly fills me up with empathy.
My government is trying to protect me, and spent billions on developing the defensive iron dome, while Hamas refuses to use its own iron dome, which costs nothing (The Hamas iron dome is to not shoot rockets at civilians). And all “pro-Palestinian activists do is condemn Israel.
Let’s put aside the hypocrisy of not condemning Hamas for aiming at civilians (“but you have the iron dome” is usually the poor counter-argument), the real irony is that none of my Palestinian-loving liberal friends called for Hamas to stop shooting and save Palestinian lives. Imagine having a friend that condones self-destructive behavior (hint: not a good friend).
I can’t imagine what it feels like only get support when my cause makes the headlines and becomes trendy. To be told I have no choice but to vote for a government that shows no initiative to better my life. And to top it all up — Celebrities and late-night news hosts reinforce the destructive thought that I don’t have the ability to make my life better.
It is truly cruel.
To summarize, it is a luxury for bystanders to make cutting statements on a 100 yearlong conflict, while people live the conflict daily. By remembering the Palestinian cause when it’s trendy, and then almost blindly supporting self-destructive behavior on their part these — Palestinians are literally being killed.
I personally despise my current government in Israel, just like many liberal Americans hated Trump’s administration. And I am worried the Jewish people in Israel are taking some wrong turns lately.
But I wake up every morning thankful that at least I am not led by the Palestinian leadership. And I am thankful that Israel’s supporters, even during war voice diverse opinions, while pro-Palestinian can’t even condemn Hamas.