Over 1,600 people have been killed since Hamas launched an attack Israel over the weekend, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare war.
But what has been painfully excluded from the media and politicians speaking on this issue is to name the unpopular truth and necessary nuance that while Hamas may be Palestinian, not all Palestinians are Hamas.
White supremacy culture will have you thinking it is either Palestinians lives or Jewish lives that matter, but it’s both. The problem isn’t the civilians, it’s the 75-year apartheid against Palestinians that has resulted in the unacceptable civilian loss of life — significant loss of life on the Palestinian civilian side, though many Israeli civilians have been killed too.
In many Western countries, Jewish individuals still grapple with prejudice, discrimination, and even hate crimes that comes from being a religious minority. However, when considering the Israel-Palestine context, this dynamic is notably different.
In the Israel-Palestine region, Jewish Israelis hold a position of privilege and power. The state of Israel, with its dominant military, economic, and political systems, ensures that the daily lives of its Jewish citizens are generally peaceful and secure, especially in comparison to the apartheid and hardships faced by Palestinians.
On the other hand, Palestinians endure systemic oppression. Their lives are frequently marked by restrictions on movement, limited access to resources, and a lack of fundamental human rights. In this regional context, while Jewish Israelis enjoy relative stability and privileges, Palestinians often experience systemic oppression and discrimination imposed by the Israeli government.
The stark contrast between the two experiences within this region emphasizes the importance of understanding nuanced power dynamics in different geopolitical contexts.
It's imperative to emphasize that being critical of a government should not be equated with being against the civilians living under that regime.
So when we’re critical of Israel, we aren't, in any way, advocating for or celebrating the death of Israeli civilians - that’s a false equivalency and a convenient narrative for the government to equate being anti-Israel with being antisemitic, and skirt all accountability for their actions against Palestinians.
Our organizational bias is that we always are unapologetically committed to human rights, Even when it’s not popular, even when it’s terrifying to do so, Even when there are consequences for it.
Speaking out against human rights violations isn't "too political"
At the very crux of working through discomfort to engage in conversations is this fear of being "too political."
When an issue is considered too political to discuss, who benefits from it? Who is hurt by it? In not discussing an issue, is the issue resolved, or is someone else's comfort prioritized?
More often than not, it is a convenient narrative to tell people that something is too political to discuss, and in doing so, our most vulnerable are often not only systemically screwed over but socially erased as well.
One of the issues we are most often told is "too political to discuss" is the ongoing and historic struggle and genocide of Palestinians, by the state of Israel - which is exactly why we must talk about it.
“Your silence will not protect you”Audre Lorde
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."Albert Einstein
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