Category Archives: Resistance Training

Eastern Oak’s blog; freedom, love and rebellion from Israel

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.

Maybe it’s time we started talking about how terrible Zionism is for Jews, too

As a good Zionist Mizrahi working class kid from a broken Zionist Mizrahi working class family, I was never introduced to the possibility of deep political skepticism, or rebellion, in my formative years.

The immigration trauma suffered by my Moroccan-born mother was never treated or addressed, as has been the case for the vast majority of Moroccan Jews in white-supremacist Israel. My father’s complicated upbringing in late stages British Mandate Palestine and young Israel, was, too, only ever mentioned in passing and in jest.

To this day I think there is a dignity and grace in working class people’s tendency to bear the burden of life with quiet, wordless reflection, as opposed to the bourgeois’ mindless chatter, and the feigned grooviness of the upper classes.

My fascination with language spelled trouble for me from an early age.

Alon Mizrahi (author. Follow on X)

Absolute conformity with all ideologies and narratives of the Jewish state was expected and easily given where I grew up. We were Zionist Mizrahi Jews; our heroes were brave white Zionist soldiers, intellectuals, bohemians, scientists and survivors of horrors we could not even fathom. As indoctrinated and expected, we looked upon life with a mix of death-enticing paranoia and death-defying valor, both equally fabricated by Zionist propaganda.

Side note: when this is all over, and the psychological mechanisms that sustained Zionism inside Israel are revealed, the world is going to be in genuine awe of Israel’s brainwashing prowess.

Doubting Zionism, in short, was not part of my upbringing. Its cruelty, denialisms and contradictions, though, could never fully escape the consciousness, spoken or tacit, of a household led by two psychologically strained yet cultured, curious, and intelligent Zionist Mizrahi working class parents. 

My father, for instance, would watch with tangible sadness images of Palestinians families whose homes had just been bulldozed to the ground by the IDF, playing on our technological wonder of the first Lebanon war, the color TV.

My soul never forgot the grandmoms and children wailing next to the ruins of their home. I honestly want you to take a second to imagine your childhood home with all its memories, all its loving moments, all its protection and comforting familiarity, forcefully erased from existence in front of your eyes, and you’ll get Palestine. 

Gaza these days is nothing new, just more of the same on a monstrous scale.

I was taught only Jewish suffering was worthy of recognition  simply because a legitimately sad Arab was never introduced to me. And in the cases I was exposed to the suffering of Palestinians, for instance families next to their bulldozed homes, it was always, always juxtaposed and interlaced with their supposed, incorrigible, terrorist actions, thoughts and emotions.

I was supposed to gloat at their just suffering, just as an Arab kid was to see it as a warning.

It took me many years to realize what Zionism really is. It is what Zionism does. Learn what Zionism did, and you’ll know what it is. 

Zionism, I’d contend at my current, thoroughly disillusioned state, is not a theory, but a practice. And maybe it is a good rule of thumb for all cultures and all political systems, if not all people: judge them by what they do, not what they say.

The US, for instance, just vetoed a ceasefire in Gaza, legally forbade much of the criticism of Israel, stifled speech on US campuses for Israel and sent Israel more ammunition after Israel killed more than 15,000 civilians in Gaza while claiming to care about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and to having done more about it than any country in the world. 

Doesn’t this short paragraph tell as good a story as any of what the US is?  

But if Zionism is the subject, and given it is indeed a practice, then I don’t know another practice whose performers demand to be judged not based on what they do, but rather on what they say they believe, and what the people to whom they do what they do supposedly believe about them, or what they believe others believe about them or about the people to whom they do what they do. I have never seen any other group of people granted that bizarre demand, too.

On the propaganda, or discourse front, Israel’s main success has been this ability to keep the discussion always about nebulous things as supposed, perceived or suspected character and beliefs, instead of concrete things, say well documented actions.

What Israel is doing is all that should be discussed when talking about Israel. But we are conditioned and pressured to never have that conversation.  

The dehumanization (and mass killing, and ethnic cleansing, and oppression) of the Palestinians has been the real political purpose and consequence of this habit. Misrepresenting the discussion about Israel to actually be about the image or nature of Jews underpins, really, the destruction the Palestinian people.

And that is because making the discussion about Israel’s actions impossible by painting it as a defamation of Jews translates, politically, into a taboo around the humanity of Palestinians, who are always at the receiving end of Israel’s actions.

But this has gone too far, or rather far enough. In a world flooded with anendless array of dead children’s images and videos from Gaza, it is impossible to suppress the discussion about what Israel is doing, and what it has been doing.

And, having tied both the discussion about Israel’s actions to the image of Jews, and Israel’s fate to a continued success in dehumanizing Palestinians, the Zionist project has reached a point of guaranteed failures on multiple fronts. First, despite all efforts to the contrary, Israel’s actions will be heavily discussed. Second, the Palestinians will be rehumanized. Third, the image of Jews will be tainted but not in an antisemitic way, but simply because of the atrocities we so stupidly, unnecessarily, committed in our Zionist phase.

Zionism is what Zionism does. And what it has been doing, mainly, is constantly pushing to displace Palestinians from both their land and the global conscience.

My fellow Israelis think it is a sign of strength, rather than national suicide, to be able to dominate another people like that, for so long.

Yet the heavier Israel’s investment in Palestinians’ dehumanization, the harder Israel falls out of grace with humanity and with life itself. We can all see it clearly now.

Zionism is a disaster for Jews. And I want to explain to you why.

Monomania

One dire consequence of Zionism has been its dreadful influence of Jewish freedom of thought and joy of experience. Yes, Jewish joy. I can say this because I am a Mizrahi (or Sephardic) Jew.

Before Zionism, saying you’re a Jew could mean almost anything. Jews lived in every corner of the earth, immersed themselves in myriad cultures and spoke a multitude of languages. From Yemen to Siberia and from Lisbon to Kabul, Jewish communities existed and had tremendous differences between them. They dressed differently and they prayed differently. They had varying political views and they could be a million things.

Although Jewish communities could be, and many times were, severely intolerant of dissent, there was not one way to be Jewish, and being Jewish never meant just one thing. In this sense, the pre-Zionism Jewish Golah had been a blessing: it made Jewish thought complex and varied. The art, literature, and philosophy, developed uniquely by each Jewish community, make a true historical marvel. 

Thanks to Zionism, all this immense, multilayered richness of Jewish life and consciousness has been diminished to a single talking point.

These Zionist days, Jewish identity revolves around but one issue. If you support everything Israel, and in particular its latest wild military undertaking, you’re a good Jew. If you have polite reservations, especially if you’re rich, you’re a tolerable Jew.  And if you oppose anything Israel, especially its latest military onslaught, then you’re a bad, bad Jew, A self-hating Jew.

Verbally, literally, the Zionist state has overtaken, swallowed and become the Jewish self. Which is never a good thing for a political establishment, or a self.

A Jewish identity, today, cannot nourish an individual’s mind and soul. It doesn’t fill you with comfort. It barks orders, demands and chastisements at you. It doesn’t uplift, but smothers you. 

And when we remember that Israel, with tragic shortsightedness, chose to be about the delegitimization and dehumanization of Palestinians, the price of the Zionist monomania gets a lot clearer. Because it is always a bad idea to be about one thing, but it is a millionfold worse to be about one thing which is, actually, the violent denial of dignity and humanity of other people.

Was abandoning the histories of a thousand Jewish communities worth tossing into the a trash can for merciless nationalistic zeal? 

No.

A conflict endlessly expanding

Isolated as they are, the Palestinians have never been truly alone. They have friends and sympathizers. Muslim populations are on their side, much of the woke are on their side, and so are human rights-minded people and organizations, as well as formally-colonized populations.

By systematically pursuing its project of dehumanizing and subjugating the Palestinians, Zionism continually invites more and more people to be its enemies. This may play beautifully into a victim-aggressor mentality, but is utter madness in every respect nonetheless.

The Palestinians, then Arabs, then Muslims, then human rights groups, then liberals, then whoever suffers from and opposes colonialism and imperialism: there is not a soul on earth, so it seems, Zionism gives up on making an enemy of.

The funny bit? It is all made in the name of security and normalcy. Creating a national home for Jews in their historic land while denying another group the same, alongside freedom and human rights, is just the recipe for Jews being accepted as equal on the world stage, we are told. 

I, for the life of me, cannot fathom why I’m supposed to be at war with Indonesian and Malaysian people, and with Egyptians and native peoples from around the world, alongside the UN, human rights groups and most of the world’s media (to name but a few arch-enemies). My thick skull just won’t let me process why I need to be in eternal war for my own good and safety. 

I, personally, don’t have a quarrel with a single group of people on this planet, nor will I agree to preemptively or vengefully kill masses of people from any group under no circumstances. 

The process in which Israel oppresses the Palestinians without offering any form of relief or alternative vision, all the while making an enemy (or a hater) of much of the rest of the world, should be scarier to a lot more Jews than it currently is.

A closed loop of fear and hate

The Zionist model does not allow for course correction. Spoiled by too much American support, Zionism lives in a fantasy world in which it can do whatever it wants to anyone, forever, with impunity.

Whereas other groups, upon being confronted by great violence or resistance, were forced to update their vision, Zionism never had to internalize a strategic defeat. Every time it hit a wall, America supplied it with a bigger bulldozer, thus relieving Israel of a duty all life-loving entities must uphold, namely to reconsider its actions based on the environment’s reaction to them.

Unchecked, Zionism’s victim-aggressor mentality has become an exclusive peephole through which to look at everything. Every challenge is hatred that must be overcome forcefully. Every reservation testifies to hidden antisemitism. Every Palestinian child is a potential terrorist. Every peace activist is a secret Nazi. Every disaster is proof that we must use more force. Every success is the success of our force. My God, how depressing it is.

Because it is so binary, so rigid and so disconnected from authentic emotions, Zionism forces its believers to choose force over peace, fantasy over reality, and an unending quest for total, cathartic vindication, over simply living.

One fact to consider, before moving on: in 1967, when it was 18 years old, Israel took it upon itself to become an apartheid state by occupying hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Where does such a young country, fresh from a historic trauma, find the audacity for such an undertaking?

By the 1970′, Israel’s reign in the occupied territories was already a world-class military dictatorship. How could it be justified? How did they think it was going to work? I honestly have no idea. I just know that the brazenness, the total disregard for human suffering, had to be justified and explained in a vision that was deeply rooted already.

Sometimes I think that Israel’s leaders over the years knew full well that what they do will cause shock and pain to Israelis, too. Consciously or unconsciously, they may have gambled that the rigid Zionist model will always guide Israelis towards clinging more desperately to preset conclusions like the need for more force or the incorrigible barbaric nature of Arabs. 

Looking at Israeli society today, I cannot say they miscalculated by much.

Israel was never as hellbent on death, destruction and revenge as it is today, more than two months into the Gaza carnage.

Historical shortsightedness 

A totalitarian, all-consuming approach, on the part of any practice is a serious warning sign. : Zionism places demands on Jews in at least two major ways: first it requires their perpetual, eternally renewed trust, no matter the number or severity of blatant absurdities and contradictions they may face in a lifetime of providing this service. 

The second kind of blind trust Zionism demands of Jews, which is connected but not identical to the first, is in having no contingency plan for failure.

Zionism, I hope we can all agree, is not a constant of human existence. Looking at Zionism with intellectual and historical integrity, especially from a Jewish point of view, it would be more suitably described as an experiment, or even a gamble. 

Even if we embrace most formal Zionist narratives, the fact remains that it was never assured eternal success. And while a softer Zionism may not have been in desperate need of guaranteed eternal success, a Zionism that adheres unwaveringly to an occupation of another ethnic group, in defiance of the views and sensitivities of billions of people, based solely on the support of one country, ever increasingly is. 

Paradoxically and understandably at the same time, the more assurances and guarantees of continued success Zionism needs and gets from that one country, the more dire and desperate its situation becomes, as the grotesqueness of this process gets more and more visible to more and more people. 

Having no contingency for failure, while pushing such a hardline counter-humanitarian, counter-egalitarian line, with so little international support, cannot purport to accomplish the safer, more respectable place among the nation that Zionism set out to achieve for Jews, according to its own formal narrative.

What happens if the Zionist calculus, namely that Israel can survive on American backing alone in the face of growing international opposition, fails? What if Zionist lobby groups find no success in their quixotic mission to portray opposition to Zionism as antisemitism, in an age where the occupation is there for the whole world to see and document and watch again and research further? 

If I were a Jewish leader, such questions would keep me up at night. If current Zionist leadership in Israel and the US had an eighth of the historical consciousness they claim to possess, they would realize Jews must have friends (as indeed everybody does, including America). 

If Zionist leaders truly cared about the fate of Jews in the long run, they would not seek to censor criticism of the occupation, or an apartheid, but would put all their weight behind forcing Israel’s hand in stopping it instead. They would understand that Jews, more so than many other ethnic groups, and because of their history, must never be perceived as the oppressor, aggressor and censor. 

We Jews should be the ones calling for unity and love among the nations. But Zionism took that from us. Now we are for more war and more international Darwinism, the likes of which nearly made us extinct. This rich idiocy, in particular, I will never get over. 

A self undoing big bang

It may seem like I’m backtracking on a former claim regarding the occupation of 1967, but the Zionist revolution has been tainted from the very beginning, and its original sin is what will cause its eventual demise. 

That original sin is the dehumanization, or complete dismissal of, Arab Palestinians, as per the Zionist plan. 

I am not backtracking on, or retracting my former claim that Israel’s insistence on adhering to its military occupation in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem will ultimately lead it to terrible failure. I am saying that even though the Zionist plan was flawed and deeply racist from the very beginning, and even though the pain of the Nakba was never going away, and even though Arabs would have found it incredibly difficult to accept a Jewish state in Palestine, maybe, just maybe, without the 1967 occupation and all the tragedy that ensued since it took place, there may have been a way to amend things. 

Maybe, just maybe, Jews and Palestinians could heal from their respective formidable wounds. Maybe it is just a dream, but it is a beautiful one, though now lost forever.

Israel did not have to occupy the people it did occupy in June of 1967. And it did not have to enact a military dictatorship over them. And it did not have to keep the military occupation going for so many years. And it did not have to build settlements and shape its image, home and abroad, as an occupier of lesser human beings (surely you don’t think the concept of “human animals” was imagined post October 7th?). 

Israel did not have to do all those things. But in reality, it felt it had to do all those things, and was entitled to do all those things, because of the deeply twisted and flawed logic of Zionism at its core. 

In reality, the minute European Jews convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel in summer 1897, the fate of Gaza’s children in the winter of 2023 was doomed. And it is so, and has been so, for the very cruel existential fact that once a system is started as racist and exclusive, it is almost impossible to make it otherwise. 

When Israel went into the 1967 war, it had 70 years of formally established Jewish priority, or Jewish supremacy, behind it. The leaders of Israel during the Six Day War of that year, in other words, have been shaped entirely by a culture that saw it not only as legitimate, but as justified and righteous, to create a political reality in which only Jews are considered full citizens or full human beings in the eyes of the law, the social norms and the general culture. 

Seeing the occupation of 1967 in this light makes it easier to understand why it was both a choice and inevitable.

In my mind I keep going back to that First Zionist Congress of 1897. In my mind, I am looking for people who shout “Are you insane? What about the native population? It’s going to be a disaster! A bloodbath!”. In my mind, I am shouting similar things myself.

How blind were they to even imagine it made sense to just land a nation state of people, all of whom were born in other continents, on top of an existing political, cultural, religious structure. My guess is, knowing it was obviously not empty, but unable to relinquish a redeeming fantasy, they decided to just act as if it was empty.

And if it’s not empty, it certainly can be made empty. Like much of Gaza these days.

Palestinians are, and forever will be, the foremost victims of Zionism. But for too long we have neglected to look at the terrible price Jews have been paying for it in terms of their humanity, their morality, their freedom and creativity and, tragicomically, their sense of place and belonging among our brothers and sisters of all races and places, including, yes, Palestine.