A friend writes

July 21, 2014

I’m tweeting a lot about Palestine at the moment because it feels immoral to ignore it. Yesterday I shared this by Greg Shupack and it prompted a response by a Jewish friend (who wishes to remain anonymous because of all the vicious abuse he receives whenever he opens his mouth on the subject).

“Just don’t agree with you that suggesting that there are two sides involved in this conflict is “victim-blaming” or an example of being enslaved to Western ideological assumptions. For example: that article you linked to. This paragraph:

“Both sides” rhetoric means accepting the timeline the aggressor puts forth so as to make its claim to be acting defensively seem plausible. In this view, the current killing supposedly started  with the June 11 disappearance and killing of three Israeli settlers rather than the murder by the Israeli military of unarmed  Palestinian teenagers Nadeem Nawara and Mohammad Salameh on May 15.

This article is attempting to deconstruct ideologies, as presented to us by the Western media, so that there is some kind of true objective balance rendered. If so, this is how that sentence should read:

The current killing supposedly started  with the June 11 murder of three unarmed Israeli teenagers rather than the murder by the Israeli military of unarmed  Palestinian teenagers on May 15.

It is totally correct to suggest a timeline which will not have started with the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teenagers (and indeed goes back much further, as he points out). But then he fucks up any sense of objectivity. By calling the Israeli teenagers settlers, and by losing the description of them as teenagers, and by calling it “a disappearance and killing” rather than a murder, and by not calling them unarmed whereas making sure we know that about the Palestinians, he basically says “the Israelis deserved to die.” They were kids, 16, 17 and 19.  They didn’t deserve to die, any more than the Palestinians.

No doubt the writer – a Jew, like many Jews, frantic with guilt about Israel – is making a point about the fact that Palestinian casualties are often not-named by reversing that expectation. But all that truly happens is a linguistic shift designed to render one act of violence OK, in order to justify another. Whereas both are fucking terrible.”

I wish he didn’t feel he had to speak about this anonymously (as I said in my reply to him, the tactic of conflating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism is currently paying off in some terrible ways), because he makes an excellent point.

One comment

  1. […] a related note, this comment piece on Graham Linehan’s blog underlines the power of language in terms of framing the Israel-Palestine situation, and serves as […]

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