One IDF soldier’s moment of pure surrealism in Gaza, 1992

One of the most surreal and sobering moments of my life happened to me while I was an IDF soldier stationed in Gaza in at the end of 1992.

That kind of moment could only happen to a Mizrahi, or Arab-jewish soldier. You’ll see why I say it.

In the summer of 1992, I finished basic and some advanced infantry training, and my platoon was ready to partake in combat function, which really was just (same as for generation of young Israeli men and women before and after that) enforcement of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The unit I was joining at this stage had under its responsibility (for purposes of overt occupation activities) the Al-Shati refugee camp and some of the adjacent Rimal neighborhood, on the northwestern part of the Strip.

Also at the end of 1992, Israel’s leadership decided that the (Zionist and brilliant) solution for the growing discontent, or resistance, in the Strip, was removing 400 Hamas ‘leaders’ from Gaza, and sending them into exile in Lebanon.

As many of those Hamas figures lived in and around the area designated for my unit to handle, we were assigned dozens of arrests, or maybe hundreds (Israel would always arrest additional people for more information, as a form of pressure and to prevent an eruption of a violent reaction).

For weeks in November of 1992 I would spend whole nights of my very young life walking from house to house in the dead of night,  in Gaza, on a mission to knock on doors, threaten family members of wanted people and hand over those who were home to the representatives of the security services, who were always with us, and always in plain cloths.

As part of my service there, I was in hundreds of Palestinian homes in Gaza, many of them during that month of endless nocturnal search and arrest hours.

Some nights we would take in 10 different people from same numbers of homes.

I was too young and shocked to understand anything, though it was clear to me that this was not the hero’s service fighting evil I spent the months and years before joining the IDF hoping for and fantasizing about.

Those people in Gaza were normal in a way that no part of me could align with evil. And I could never bring myself to become that natural lord and master that colonial and racist regimes always expect their soldiers and cops to be. I was too soft.

The people we took in never cried, begged for forgiveness, or claimed it was a mistake. They would climb up and sit in the military vehicle with their hands tied behind their backs and their eyes covered in a kind of quiet that was more thunderous, more painful to remember all those years later, than any other act would be.

One man in particular I remember. A big, somber man in his 30s, who looked untouchable in a big, thick black coat. But as he sat in the military vehicle with his hands tied behind his back, his coat slipped over his shoulders, revealing a tank top and a body and skin that did not look invincible, or untouchable.

He was human. And he sat there, staring into space, in total quiet. Back then I had no idea where these men were taken, and what was going to be unleashed upon them. Only many years later did I discover how extensive Israel’s use of torture was, and how horrible.

The big, somber, fragile man sat there, quiet, and, like any other Palestinian I saw in this situation, with what I can best describe as dignity in brokenness, that was astonishing. I have never seen anyone with more dignity in my life than a hand-tied, eyes-covered Palestinian detainee.

Towards the end of those weeks of knocking on doors and arresting people, one morning, around 7 a.m., after a long long bight, that moment happened.

It was something that I never forgot and never will forget. It was the last arrest for that night, which had already become day. We stood there, a small band of soldiers, and knocked at the door of what looked like a well-built, well-kept house.

It was not fancy, but it surely was not the house of poor people. We waited for someone to come and open the door. After a minute or so, someone did.

If you ever felt like reality around you had its fundamentals twisting and changing, or like the layer of meaning that enveloped reality was torn, revealing another layer of deeper meaning, but in a way that makes you dizzy and dumbfounded – if you know that feeling, you’ll know what I went through that moment.

Because the person who opened that door at that house that morning in Gaza was in every way my own and only sister.

The door opened and the actual, precise, living and breathing image of my sister, identical as any identical twin ever was, stood in the doorway.

It was her face. her expression, her hair, her height, her age, her build, her movement, her skin tone accurate to the 1000th degree. It so her. it just could not not be my sister.

I didn’t know what was going on, or what kind of insane trick was being played on me. I gasped, lost for words. I stood a meter away from her, and my very being wanted to call her by my sister’s name.

Not long after this, after that whole period, I started cracking. I could not take it anymore, though I never could tell myself what it was that I couldn’t take. I went to see a military psychologist and got restationed to a non-combat unit.

It took me many years to start to appreciate the damage done to me by what I was sent to do and see in Gaza. I don’t think that even today I have completely processed it.

She stood at the door and was a little puzzled, but not panicked. She was wiping the floor, and it was still wet. A bucket with a rug in it stood by. It was a clean house, with a shining clean floor. The officer told her to get out and speak to us from street level, as the house was one stair up from that.

But the street was dirty and sandy, and she couldn’t bring herself to step outside barefoot. Her foot (my sister’s foot) ventured out for a second, not actually stepping, just hovering, but then was drawn in.

The officer pretended to not notice. He didn’t insist, and she remained inside. By not insisting and not becoming violent, I think, he saved my actual sanity, and never knew it.

Many, many years after that, on a phone call with my sister during the terrible genocide of 2023-2024, I tried my best to get her to see what was being done. What Palestinians were going through.

“You chose their side”, she told me, and I could not recover from that.

There’s an element of torture in in for us, too (don’t break I)

There’s an element of torture and dehumanization in it for all of us. All of us who are not sociopaths, that is. Because it can break your spirit and damage you psychologically forever, to witness so much suffering without being able to do anything about it.

This is part of the reason systemic oppression creates so much societal damage.

Naturally, people (who are not sociopaths) are wired to help a fellow human in pain. For us, empathy is an organ of our body the same as it is an organ of our mind. We hear a child cry and we look to see what happened. We see someone collapse in pain and we feel an immediate pang of pain and fear ourselves. We rush to help and comfort.

When we are forbidden from doing this for extended periods of time we start turning against ourselves, because our empathy starts to be perceived as our source of misery. But it is not.

Focus on your wanting to help, not on your inability. It will help you to retain your mental integrity. It will deny them this triumph over you and over humanity.

You are not the one doing this. It is not your fault. It is the complete fault of those in power. There’s nothing wrong with anyone that wants to help. It is everything that is right and beautiful in this stupid world

So why is Israel doing this? (part I)

So why is Israel doing this? Is there anything in it for Israel but virtually global hate? Because it doesn’t seem like there is.
Sometime back, on my X account, I said I was going to try and provide an explanation as to why Israel has chosen to conduct itself like it has. Here it is. It’s very provocative, and it’s going to mess with your mind quite a bit.
I will also remind you that I am Jewish and I have the perfect right to my own opinion on Jewish affairs.
Throughout these months, I am sure you have asked yourselves why Israel is acting as if its design is to maximize the amount of hate it stands to receive from a global community of shocked and terrified people.
There have been so many occasions for this, but I’ll bet that when IDF soldiers executed 3 Palestinian men in a hospital in late January, it stood out to you as outrageously, unreasonably brazen.
Maybe you felt like that because the IDF took special care to get its hit job televised. They didn’t confiscate cameras or servers, and didn’t hack or destroy files. It’s almost as if they were acting for the cameras. A worldwide audiences got the message, and everyone was talking about Fauda, the TV series meant to portray the humane face of Israel’s apartheid.
How peculiar, right? And wait, what about all those videos by soldiers of themselves joyfully blowing up stuff? And what about the naked men filmed in their humiliated hundreds?
Let me remind you, for contrast, that in two years of Russia’s war in Ukraine, not once have you seen Russian soldiers celebrating the destruction of civilian infrastructure. And you’ve never seen naked and humiliated Ukrainian soldiers loaded on trucks, or sitting on the ground, eyes covered.
There may have been things like that happening. We don’t know. But if scenes like these actually occurred, the Russian military took special care to conceal them from us. The IDF did not. Why?
Keep this question in mind, and let’s make it even more interesting. Let’s ask: what is the justification, the reason, or the cause for the existence of organizations such as AIPAC and ADL? I mean, seriously. Are American Jews in so much danger, and face so much persecution in the US, that perpetual billion-dollar operations are required to guard them from harm?
Are Jews disproportionally jailed in the US? Designated victims of violent crime? Harassed by the authorities? Cannot be out on the street? Is American society that laser-focused on hating Jews? Aren’t there other American communities that are more exposed to danger, harassment, poverty, and crime? I mean, seriously?
And say an organization like AIPAC does have some nostalgic reason for being, what is doing pushing for wars? More specifically and currently: why are Jewish organizations in the US, alongside Israel, doing all they possibly can to place Jews at the epicenter of a possible world war?
Why are organizations that are supposed to keep Jews safe making Jewish affairs the formally declared reason for a clash and a war that could destroy civilization as we know it? Isn’t it the opposite of what they’re supposed to be doing? Say like a military that constantly broadcasts its own astonishing cruelty, and destroys its own image?
We are getting closer. But one more hurdle needs to be removed for us to see the answer. Stay sharp.
Two very obvious opposites in seeing the world: paranoia and basic trust. This is true for people, but it is just as valid for political societies. Some societies are more paranoid and some are more relaxed, but no society on earth is more paranoid than the super-mega-ultra Jewish part of the Jewish people, or wider society.
There is no other group on earth the world is so constantly on its feet defending. No other society, too, decided to use trauma as the center of its identity. I know many of you, especially Americans, have come to see this as just Jewish. But it is not so, and maybe you need an Arab Jew to tell you this. It is one strand of Jewish perception that derives its entire sense of identity from pogroms and the Holocaust.
Israel and IPAC act like this is natural and the only way to be Jewish. That’s nonsense. Pogroms and the Holocaust were not all the experiences of all the Jews all the time. Many Jewish communities knew long periods of safety and prosperity. Not all Jews were always victims, and Jews are definitely not the only victims humanity has even known.
Personally I always found it more than a little offsetting to hear American Jews refer to their misery and victimhood constantly, in a country where millions of natives, organized in hundreds and thousands of flourishing communities, were wiped off the face of the planet. A country and culture that operated industrial-scale slavery of black people for hundreds and hundreds of years, and fought (and in many cases is still fighting) not to recognize them as equal humans for centuries more.
I would never do that.
A country that has so much terrible, dehumanizing poverty and homelessness, so much pain. How come the most successful, heavily represented in all things power and money minority in this society is also its greatest victim? I know this is the norm and this is the description of reality I should conform to, but no. It doesn’t make sense.
You can choose trauma and paranoia or trust and basic optimism as your guide in life. But the biggest Jewish organization in our lifetime chose one clear path: that of trauma, suspicion, and what can be called Armageddonism. Always alert. Always someone out there to get you. Everybody hates us.
In choosing trauma and paranoia, both Israel and AIPAC found an unexpected source of false power. Because existential fear can bring a society of people together, but it’s not going to be a society many people would want to live in. So you keep people afraid all the time, and you make sure they are feeling, or actually are, hated all the time.
This is how you maintain your power over them. And as Jewish trauma has become such a huge international political thing (I wouldn’t do that either), the incentive was always there to keep this mentality alive. To organize around it. To make sure it remains the formal doctrine of Jewish institutions. Such as AIPAC and Israel.
So Israel and American Jewish organizations took it upon themselves to keep Jews afraid and isolated. This strategy of intentional paranoia has been working for a while, but it gradually eroded. It especially eroded in the US, as younger Jews became increasingly aware that the stories they had been told were lies, and that no one cares about their ethnicity.
That erosion in the power of instilled exceptionalism, isolationism, and existential fear poses a very serious problem for Jewish organizations built around paranoia: they have to have a way to keep it going. They have to maintain it for the survival of their paranoid identity and all the benefits it brings with it.
The Palestinians and Arabs were a wonderful solution for this problem for a while: by keeping Palestinians oppressed and thus hostile, the old myth of antisemitism as a huge international force could be kept on life support.
This, too, began to fade, as younger American Jews started getting more familiar with Palestinian perspectives, and started having serious, transformative doubts as to eternal Jewish victimhood everywhere, always. Visiting the West Bank, or listening to Palestinians will do this to you.
And then October 7th hit. And the right-wing, nationalistic, paranoid section of the Jewish political spectrum, realized it could be translated into political gold. This could be used to revive the old sentiments. The ghetto, the pogroms, the trains to the east. All of it.
This is why Nazis were invoked so early on. Jews were once again the persecuted minority AIPAC and Netanyahu always told you they were. How wonderful for them.
But even October 7th was not enough, because people would immediately put it in the context of the occupation. They would ask the eternal human questions: why did this happen? What happened before?
If you’re Netanyahu or AIPAC, letting Jews be viewed in the context of normal human behavior is the last thing you want to do. What you want is boiling rage and fear to be extensively covered in all the media and all the briefings.
Need I say I would not do that, either?
And this is where my final point arrives. It doesn’t seem like Israel is trying to be hated globally. It is actually what it’s doing. It is intentionally airing its cruelty and barbarity so that it will remain closed up to the world, thus guaranteeing the continued rule of the paranoia camp.
They are doing it on purpose, for cynical political gains, out of a twisted reading of history and human nature. Palestinians are just crash-test dummies in this regard. They count for nothing. Their deaths are used to get people angry and Israel hated, so it becomes even more paranoid.
For the same reason, AIPAC is putting the Jewish issue at the epicenter of the lead-up to WW3. They can not know that Jews will be called responsible, or at least a major factor in it. Can you imagine millions of dead Americans, destroyed cities, populations stressed into panic and despair – all because of a war Jewish organizations pushed for?
How does anyone who purports to represent Jews and care for them not recoil from this scenario? Do these people have any idea at all of what they’re doing?
I am sorry for sounding this impolite and not nice: we are on the eve of a potential world war. As a Jew I am terrified. The last thing I want is to be blamed for a world war. But the Jewish paranoia camp seems to relish the opportunity. Maybe they are sure this is how the messiah comes. I have my reservations.
Finally, Jewish organizations centered around trauma found a very welcoming and happy-to-help friend in American imperialists. It is so wonderful when you can market Middle East invasions as battling antisemitism. Who could argue with that? In the name of defending Israel, the US can do whatever it wants in wide stretches of land and sea where it would otherwise be seen as what it is: a foreign, colonial power drunk on its own power and propaganda.
Defending Israel gives American hawks (read: Washington) perfect moral cover. It will support an actual genocide. It will go completely insane.
What they – both AIPAC and US establishments – are not including in their calculations is that a big war in the Middle East can have very crushing, irreversible results for both the US and Israel. In their quest for creating a Jewish psyche and a world beneficial to their paranoid vision (which America shares as a colonial power), they don’t take into account that reality is a whole different business from propaganda.
But this is why they do it and televise and broadcast it. So that we are hated, isolated, fearful, and controlled by Bibi and AIPAC forever (and America has a legitimate reason to dominate the Middle East and kill as many Rabs as Muslims as it pleases). There’s nothing that reassures those people as hate for Israel and Jews, and they will do all they can to provoke as much of it as they can (the blatant lies, the threats, the live-streamed horror, it’s all part of it).
Don’t fight people who thrive on hate with hate. Fight them with clarity and resolve.

This is my war

For me, what is going on in Gaza, and around it in other countries, is an actual war.

A war not only to save the lives of whoever we can in Gaza, which is our sacred duty to our fellow human beings.

A war not of bullets and bombs that I don’t have, don’t want to ever have and hate with all my being, but a war of ideas, a cultural war, an existential battle for my humanity, and humanity’s humanity.

A war against those who try to force us to not care, and not show it if we do.

For me this is war not only because my name, my heritage, the history of my family and my people, everything that I ever came to view as beautiful and sweet in my childhood, my humanity, my Judaism, all have been hijacked and weaponized for an ideology and message of brutality, violence, and hatred I could never accept in a billion trillion years.

For me as a living, thinking, writing human, this is a war of huge, cataclysmic consequence: if I lose – if we lose – then all is lost. Then no child, no mother, no father, no brother, no sister, will ever be safe. Ever. I will not betray all those people by not showing up for this war of ideas, even though they will never know me. I love them and I care for them just the same (I don’t need any god for this. This is me).

For me this is war because I could not live with myself in a world where this is legitimate, lawful, acceptable. Could you? Could you live with yourself in a nice comfortable house when a few streets away, or thousands of miles away, children are being killed in their hundreds every day? Could you? Then what are you?

For me, and for you, too, whether you get it or not, and definitely regardless of your being Palestinian or not, this is an actual, real, existential struggle.

I would advise anyone reading this: don’t get ever distracted or confused. Don’t ask “What can I do?”. Find what to do. Connect with other people. Join a movement (there is one close to you that you have never heard of, because the system was designed to separate. There is one. I promise you. Find it. Join it).

Shout louder. Go protest and take other people to protest who may never have gone without you. Be stronger and more resolute every single day. This is not a far-off, one-off war. This is home for all of us. This is our future and what it will look like.

For me, and I don’t really care how anybody else sees it, this is a war of values, of culture, and philosophy, a war that will have unimaginable consequences for the rest of our lives. We all need to be brave and show up.

No one is allowed to turn their gaze from a dying child, no matter how much pressure is applied to them. If you do this, if you look away, you will not be the owner of your gaze afterward. You will not own your own eyes. You will spend the rest of your days looking at the world through the eyes of a robot, or a slave, and you will know it.

For me, this is what this is about.

The psychological warfare they’re waging against us

Many times during this genocide I heard and read people saying they’re feeling like they’re going crazy
I know many of you feel this way, but I nonetheless want to congratulate you on displaying great courage and conviction. And I will tell you why: because in the past few months, you have been mostly successfully withstanding a psychological warfare campaign of a massive, massive scale. 
I am not talking about trolls and bots and the obvious complicity of mass media. I am talking about something entirely different: a well-planned, well-executed, and heavily budgeted campaign by US and Israeli organs of government responsible entirely for fooling great numbers of people into believing all kinds of nonsense (and not believing the simple truth).
This may sound shady (not to the radicals among us: they’re aware), but I’ll tell you that in Israel “Management of Consciousness” is a formal activity and department of the IDF. And I guarantee you the US is no different.
Throughout this campaign, I have been noticing certain tactics traditionally used by Israel for “management of consciousness” being employed by American representatives (the Europeans are usually just useful idiots: no one needs to even lie to them smartly. And I’m talking about the “leaders”). –
I am by no means saying you have not been lied to before as Americans (or as citizens of another country). But I bet many of you feel you have never been lied to this blatantly, this brazenly, to an actually, and quite vividly, disorienting effect.
So I’m going to very briefly run through 3 such tactics, and then tell you why they’re using them (nothing is ever coincidental about how power speaks). I promise you it’s going to make a lot of sense. And you’re going to recognize them immediately.
Tactic #1: denying what you know is true, and they know you know they know is true (or seriously claiming what they know you know is a lie). Examples: we did not, or are not attacking, so and so hospital, while people are there filming themselves being bombarded. Also: The IDF claims only militants were targeted in X incident when you’re looking at images of dead women and children.
This can be called: lying to your face. repeatedly, even though it is obvious to all involved they’re doing it, and you’re seeing it.
Tactic #2: claiming, or doing, two things that are mutually exclusive. Examples: claiming to care about people and providing the means to kill them. Talking about the importance of aid while not using any kind of public message to warn Israel it cannot withhold it. Talking about values and democracy while defending and justifying a genocide. There are a million examples of this, I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty more.
Tactic #3: saying things like “we’ll investigate”, “we’ll look into it”, or “we’re waiting for confirmation”. Two brothers shot by a sniper a month ago? A man waving a white flag shot in front of a camera? 3 Israeli hostages killed by IDF while waving white flags? A command center under a hospital? 100 People killed in one attack? 400? Who remembers? And by the way: we’re still looking into it. 
Now if you’ll notice, these 3 tactics have one very prominent element in common. Because these 3 tactics are used not to convince you of one reality or another. They are not trying to tell Israel is either good or bad, or that civilians die unjustifiably or not. This is not the point of all this, and this is why it feels like a break from previous itterations of political deceit.
The real purpose of these tactics is not to convince or dissuade you of anything in particular. They are meant to destabilize you psychologically.
This is the disorientation I was referring to earlier. It is not coincidental, it is the desired effect of this strategy. Yes, it is strategic.
This is what you do when you want a population confused and disarmed from any psychological certainty, which is the basis for all political motivation and action. Because if you don’t know what’s happening, and are not sure what your government does or stands for, what are you going to fight? And how will you convince others to join you?
They have been doing it to Israelis for decades: always talking from both sides of their mouth at the same time, saying what everybody watching knows is a complete lie, and saying they’ll investigate when it is clear there is never any intention behind it. 
By always maintaining two opposites in your consciousness, they are always giving you false hope, and always denying it, thus slowly breaking you (after 100 instances of this you stop hoping, and after 200 you forget hope ever lived in you).
By always providing a grain of simulated recognition of your fears, they’re letting you think that maybe you’re heard and maybe not everything is a lie, but only to disappoint you a minute later. And again. Then again.
My brothers and sisters, it is intentional. They are not sloppy or confused, but very methodical. Nothing of the messages we’ve been fed, especially the clear lies and contradictions, is not coincidentak. There is a very distinct logic to this madness.  
This is the very, very short and condensed version of what they’re trying to do to us psychologically, which is really to disintegrate us not only as a society but as individuals as well.
The trick to resisting this strategy is to always trust your instincts (because you are good and they work beautifully) and to always remember that they are using duplicity intentionally, strategically, to destabilize you. So your answer is, as always, clarity and resolve.

Toxic masculinity and the genocide: the case of Ben Shapiro (and the beloved and much missed Rachel Corrie)

We should be talking more about how big of a role toxic masculinity plays in this genocide, and how much it sets the scene for a clash between two very distinct types of masculinity.
For brief background: Rachel Corrie was an American peace and social activist, a sweet, lovely young woman in her 20s’ who developed a special interest in the plight of Palestinians. In March of 2003, as the IDF was demolishing homes in Rafah (the occupation is a never-ending loop of destruction and despair), Rachel Corrie was there, protesting. She was run over by an Israeli bulldozer. 
Ben Shapiro, on the other hand, is your hyperverbal cousin reciting his Bar Mitzvah speech at 1.75x speed 5 hours straight without stopping once for air or to ask you if you’re still conscious on your way to a family vacation.
Unimportant and uninteresting, he still demonstrates what is expected of him as a speaker for the oh-so-tough-and-masculine American right. In 2011 he tweeted

That miserable tweet resurfaced some 10 days ago (early February 2024), and when he was asked if he regretted it, he said no. Rachel Corrie was still on his list of history’s greatest idiots. What a man, now, do you see? So cavalier. So careless. Dead activist! LOL.

Image

This is one of the most prominent marks of toxic masculinity: the delight it takes in the death and destruction of “others”, especially women and children, who are mocked and hated for their vulnerability.

So much of the right-wing response has been similar to this, and become totally mainstream. “This is the price of war”, or “this is war”, “those are not innocent women and children”, “they shouldn’t have done October 7th”, “collateral damage”, “Hamas can just surrender”all used to convey absolute indifference, or actually taking pride in knowing how much it hurts you, and other people.

Like a sociopath, but with an added penchant for gloating, toxic masculinity guides its believers to deal death, torture, and destruction without once letting a muscle move in your facial expression.

It is all clinical and devoid of feelings as part of the performance.

Contrast this kind of masculinity with what we’ve seen on the Palestinian side: men in flip-flops rescuing people from under the rubble; Motaz and Wael (and many others) reporting tearing and sobbing, soft as children.

Men weeping with their dead child in their hand, and other men doing the world’s most blood-curdling job: telling them to stop and give up their child so they can be buried.

Not one gym bro have you seen in all the pictures of captured Gazans. Not one macho man. No tattoos. Only men sitting on the ground, or standing, with complete disregard for perceived masculine performance.

Men whose masculinity is grounded in family and community. Vulnerable to a painful degree, but not once trying to mask it. They just stand or sit there. They just are.

What we really need as a human society is a model of a soft and loving man, a gentle man, who loves and respects everything and everyone. A man who cries when exposed to someone else’s pain and humiliation. We don’t need that dubious, destructive wannabe-viking clown of the suburbs who treats life as a video game, the type that calls for more women and children to be killed with his two legs missing because of a former colonial war.

And if you just want to understand how vacant, nonsensical and fragile the toxic man is, try and tell him that his fresh dead soldiers just joined your list of history’s greatest idiots. Oh no, you can’t. In our backwards culture you can only come out with a mild reprimand after saying that about a young woman who died trying to protect vulnerable people. Oh the hilarity.

Colonizer Homelessness (1)

A colonizer is always angry, because a colonizer is always guilty.
A colonizer is always violent, because a colonizer is always afraid.

A colonizer is always angry and afraid because a colonizer is never home.

Lately I started getting words for it, this Colonizer Homelessness, the fact that colonizers look and feel like aliens to natives not only because they don’t belong, but because the colonizers themselves feel the same way.

Think about it: wherever a colonizer goes, whatever they see, smell, or taste, it is never theirs, or completely natural for them.

Not part of their upbringing, not part of their story. Not part of who they are. It is not organic to them, but engineered; their whole existence is.

Whatever sustains and nourishes the native, threatens the colonizer and reflects their strangeness: the food, the music, the landscape, the flora and fauna. the sounds and smells, everything.

Whatever comes naturally to the native is a great effort for the colonizer: they don’t understand the codes, and never will. They can’t be still.

A colonizer is not an immigrant, a tourist, or a guest, they have to find meaning for their stay. It must be a higher purpose, a higher calling, or else what can explain both their presence not home, and the violent means they always need to maintain it?

We are not designed to inflict pain and injury for comfort. We need a story to put us in a positive light.

So much of the Western world’s anxiety, I think, is just a colonizer’s latent, repressed homelessness. Because colonialism is not just taking other people’s home, it is also, and forever, being without one yourself.

If you’re Jewish and you want to fight antisemitism, here’s how you do it

This may sound blunt (or, alas, worse) to some people, but it is my firm belief that if you’re Jewish (like me) and you want to combat antisemitism, there is, at this crazed genocidal point, only one thing you can and should be doing, and that’s distancing yourself from Israel’s actions.

It may sound extremely un-politically correct, but on the basic plain of activity and understanding all humans share, we must not let it be understood that all Jews were behind this historic monstrosity that is not going to be forgotten in a thousand years.

It is our responsibility before the innocents of Gaza, who have been surviving decades of displacement, military dictatorship, persecution, defamation, and inhumane collective punishment.

It is our responsibility before humanity.

It is our responsibility, also. before all the Jewish children who have done nothing and contributed nothing to this, and may someday be wrongfully accused of wrongdoing. Give them your name to say with pride. Save their humanity and their reputation. They don’t deserve to be associated with a mass slaughter.

Professional politicians of Jewish descent will not like to hear it, but the more Jews speak out against this horror, the better chance of fair treatment we have as a collective in the post-genocide world, which may see us as a stateless group yet again (yes, the consequences of this may be devastating for Jews, too).

The paranoia and revenge camp is trying to drag us all into this, to make it look like we are all for this. Subconsciously they must be wanting for us to share the blame, and in doing so they are trying to monopolize our very humanity. We cannot let them do this.

Every human should speak out and speak up about grave injustice. But if you’re Jewish at this particular moment in history, this may have actual ramifications for your people, community, family, and self. Do not give in to pressure. Speak out. Speak up. You have no idea how stupid and potentially disastrous your silence will look in a couple of years.

Don’t let this be understood as something Jews as a collective united behind. You must not let this happen. Speak.

Mayim Bialik shared her reaction to a stand up show. It didn’t go as well as planned

 


Two things about this video, uploaded by the notoriously insensitive Mayin Bialik (listen to it for just a minute):

1. The comedian, a guy named Stan, makes a joke about “from the river to the sea” by saying it’s the new “to the window, to the wall” (from Lil John’s legendary “get low”). This could be funny, because it does make an unexpected connection between two separate realms of reality, but it is not really funny.

It is not just the nervous delivery, but something deeper. You see, far from being simply a creative and quirky juxtaposition, the content in the two parts of his joke is actually very much interrelated.

The black man’s lewd sexuality and the native’s wild political barbarism always went hand in hand in the colonialist mind. This is so well-known and substantiated I don’t even need to say anything about it. You know it. And so “form the river to the sea” and “to the window, to the wall” are not two totally different things in the white colonial mind, but rather two aspects of one reality. This is why, even if you don’t get it immediately, it doesn’t really make you laugh.

It doesn’t feel like it connects people (as really funny things always do, because they take down defenses and cancel imagined hierarchies). It feels like it separates them. Which it does, and is meant to achieve.

2. Notice how these two people, who are not particularly ugly, and certainly not physically repulsive, appear wholly robotic and without even a shred of grace. This is what holding on to unnatural, counterintuitive ideas does to you. This is why Israel could never in a million years have an effective communicator. Effective communicators are emotionally authentic and accessible. The unnatural stance they’d have to assume speaking for Israel would make anyone who tried it stiff and unpleasant, just like these two.

דווקא המדינה היהודית האחת

התגובה הראשונית שלכםן לתמונה שבחרתי עבור הפוסט הזה תהיה: אבל זה לא הוגן שככה הוא מציג אותנו. זה לא מייצג אותנו. לא בחרנו בזה. זו לא אשמתנו.

אם אתן יכולים להתגבר על התגובה הראשונית הזו ולהמשיך לקרוא, אהלן וסהלן. אם לא לא. הכל בסדר. לא צריך לטרוח להסביר לי שיש רוע, או רשע, בלתי נמנע, או מתחייב. גם אין טעם להבהיר לי שאני לא מכאן, או לא של כאן: גדלתי כאן והתחנכתי כאן, נשמתי את אותו אוויר כמוכם ואפילו הלכתי לאותו צבא, ושני אחי הצעירים טמונים באדמה הזאת, לצד סבי וסבתותי.

מותר לשנוא אותי. אבל אני של כאן, ומכאן, וככה זה כבר יישאר תמיד, אפילו לכשאעזוב את כאן לתמיד. כך רצה המקרה.

כיוון שיש בעולם, למרות הכחשתם הנצחית והחוזרת של כל מני מפרידי הפרדות ומבדילי הבדלים, דבר שנקרא אדם, ומכיוון שיש דברים, למרות הסתייגויותיהם של מפלספי התפלסופויות, שהאדם יודע, כדאי וחשוב לפעמים לדבר על האדם ועל מה שהיא יודעת.

כדאי במיוחד לדבר כך בנסיבות שבהן מקובל לחשוב, ונדרש מאיתנו לחשוב, שהן פרטיקולריות עד אימה. יוצאות דופן עד כדי כך, רוצה לומר,  כי אנחנו יודעים, כי אנחנו אדם, שאין באמת נסיבות כאלה. אנחנו יודעים שחומר החיים הוא אחד, והאדם הוא אחד (אם אתם לא מסכימים שהאדם הוא אחד וחומר החיים הוא אחד, אנא בידקו ואימרו לי מי היו הרעים ומי הטובים במאבק בין הרומאים לשבטים ההונים במאה החמישית לפני הספירה או בין המונגולים לסין במאה ה13 לספירה).

יודעים, אני אומר, ומתעקש על כך: ההכרה הזו היא יסוד המצפון והמוסר בעולם, ואם היא לא הייתה לא היה בעולם אפילו רעיון של מוסר או מצפון. אם יש בבני האדם כיתות והיררכיות, אין צורך או טעם במוסר, וממילא לא היינו שומעים מעולם על רעיון שנובע מחיפוש מוסרי, ולא היו לנו יסוריי מצפון, וסבלו של הזולת לא היה מכאיב לנו.

כל זה לא נכון: סבלו של הזולת מכאיב לנו, המצפון שלנו מייסר אותנו על מעשים רעים שעשינו, ובלי הסבר מוסרי אנחנו לא יכולים לחיות ולתפקד.

אין צורך להוכיח פילוסופית את קיומם של מצפון ומוסר בעולם: כל אחד ואחת מאיתנו יודעים זאת בגופם ובנפשם.

בכל מדינות העולם, יש רק מדינה יהודית אחת. בכל עמי העולם יש רק אחד שטוען בעקביות עליונות מוסרית על, בערך, כל שאר האנושות. בכל מדינות העולם יש רק אחת שהוקמה מתוך עולם טיעונים שמתבסס על צדק, כלומר תיקון עוול מוסרי.

מכל חבלי עולם יש רק אחד ששחרורו מקולוניאליזם לא החזיר אותו לידי תושביו על האדמה באותו זמן, ובמאות השנים שקדמו לו. על חבל הארץ הזה הוקמה מדינת ישראל, בגיבוי הקהילה הבינלאומית, מתוך הזדקקות לעולם טיעונים מוסרי.

מכל המדינות בעולם, אני לא יודע אם יש עוד אחת, ואני נוטה לחשוב שאין עוד אחת, שבה הנקודה המוסרית לא רק תמה והתייתרה לגמרי, אלא עצם אזכורה מזכה את המאזכרים בשנאת הכלל ובהוקעה מחיקו של הקולקטיב. זה ישראלי. זו ישראל.

אני באמת לא יודע אם יש עוד מדינה בעולם שבה האמירה “ככה לא עושים לבני אדם” היא אמירה רדיקלית, קיצונית, מסכסכת ומפלגת, בוטה, פושעת נגד רוח העם. אמירה חסרת אחיזה בציבוריות, נלעגת ומבוזה, אמירה של טיפשים, תלושים, הזויים, משוגעים, מנותקים.

אני לא יודע אם יש עוד מרחב פוליטי שהחליט החלטה מודעת וגורפת שנסיבות קיומו הייחודיות מהוות פטור כולל ונצחי מכל שיקול מוסרי והומני. אני לא יכול לקבוע קטגורית שאין עוד מרחב כזה, אבל אני לא מכיר עוד דבר כזה בעולם.

במילים של חיוב, ולא של שלילה, מדינת ישראל מפנה כלפי תושביה היהודיים מכבש לחצים בלתי פוסק כדי שיכרתו מנפשם ותודעתם את מושגי החמלה, הרחמים, ההתחשבות, ושיעקרו משכלם את ההבנה האנושית המובנית, הברורה מאליה, הכרוכה לבלתי הפרד בהוויה האנושית, שהבחירה המוסרית היא הבחירה הקונסטרוקטיבית והחכמה בכל הנסיבות.

אני לא יודע אם יש עוד חברה בעולם שהחליטה, למפרע ובכל הנסיבות, שאין מה לעשות מלבד להרוג, לפצוע, לחבול, לענות, לגרש. זו לא החלטה שבאה מהניתוח האינטלקטואלי; אנחנו יצורים רגשיים לפני הכל. זו החלטה שבאה מעולמות הרגש. להפסיק להרגיש, זה צו הישראליות. לקטוע ולגדוע את איברי החישה שלנו את העולם, את האדם, את עצמנו.

שמתם לב כמה קטוע וקטום השיח הרגשי בישראל בכל הסוגיות? כמה תקוע, שבלוני ונכשל בלחדור את השכבות החיצוניות של המוסכמה המקובלת?

הרי יש אדם, ואנחנו בני אדם, ומשהו בנו יודע כמה מטומטמים אנחנו נשמעים.

ישראל החליטה שאין לה מה לעשות מלבד להרוג, לפצוע, לחבול, לגרש, לענות. אין לה מה לעשות. וכל כך אין לה מה לעשות שהיא לא מתעסקת בזה יותר. השאלה איפה החומוס הכי טעים יותר חשובה ומעניינת לישראלים מהשאלה כמה ילדים מתו בשמי היום, או כמה אנשים הפכו לחסרי בית. ואולי להגיד יותר חשובה ומעניינת זה לא נכון, כי שאלה שהיא לא חשובה בכלל לא צריכה להיות מוצבת בהשוואה מול שאלה שיש לה חשיבות כלשהי.

היא גם החליטה לא לשאול את עצמה אם זה אכן נכון, ומה צריך לעשות כדי לא לחיות חיים כאלה: הרי זה גם אינטרס קיומי, לא? איזה טעם יש בחיים של סדיזם ואלימות? איזו משמעות יש לחיים כאלה? איזו “הגשמה” יש בהם? הגשמה של מה? של הכחשה כל כך חריפה של יסודות הקיום שהיא שוללת את האנושיות של עצמנו בעיניו של הזולת?

האם אפשר לבנות חברה בת קיימא על יסודות של התכחשות גורפת ועמוקה ליסוד כל כך אוניברסלי בנפש האדם?

ישראל בוחרת להאמין שיש לה הצדקה אוטומטית לאקטים אינסופיים של רוע מחריד; הצדקה כל כך שקופה, מובנת מאליה ובלתי ניתנת לערעור שהיא מייתרת את עצם הדיון באקט זה או אחר, ורואה בו התרסה, או אקט של שנאה כלפיה ובחירה בצד של “האוייב”, שבמלחמה הזו כבר באופן רשמי וגלוי הפך להיות כל אישה וכל ילד, כל אחד, כל אדם.

דווקא המדינה היהודית האחת, זו שהוקמה על ידי קבוצה שהתגאתה בסגולותיה המוסריות העודפות, זו שנוצרה מתוך הסכמה בינלאומית כדי לתקן, כביכול, עוול מוסרי היסטורי, החליטה, כולה, בראש אחד, שאין לה שום צורך ושימוש בעולם מושגים כזה. זו הרי המשמעות של “אין מה לעשות”, “אז מה אתה רוצה שנעשה” ו”מה אתה מציע”. שהיא מתעבת אותו תיעוב יוקד ורואה בו שנאת יהודים.

אני יודע שישראל משקרת כי אני אדם.

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