Are We Evil?
The discourse around Israel-Palestine, and particularly around the Zionist state, its actions, and its people, is increasingly infused with the concept of evil. People are seeing unconscionable and indefensible attacks on schools and ambulances and civilians across Gaza in a way most of us have never seen before. The repeated, horrific videos that dominate social media day after day are, I believe, a significant part of why the public has reacted differently to this relentless attack on Gaza than we have to other Israeli attacks on Palestinians. It’s therefore a major part of why public opinion has shifted with incredible speed. And most of us have a limited vocabulary for atrocities. Most of us see dead children held by their weeping, distraught parents and don’t have the time or capacity in that moment to think beyond our instinctive horror. Most of us see these distressing and gut-wrenching scenes and are overwhelmed. It’s straightforward and instinctive to think, whoever has done this is evil.
Of course, Israel is also trying to make the world think Hamas is simply a manifestation of evil. They don’t want anyone knowing how Netanyahu played a role in empowering Hamas. So while this coexists with some anti-Zionists wanting you to think about the state of Israel as simply an evil entity, these two narratives are incompatible. And I’ve been clear about my perspective on Zionism, but what I’m seeing on social media, in media, and within the broader discourse is increasingly a reduction so simple that it obscures the history which brought us to this moment. Thinking of the atrocities in Gaza as just a simple fight between good and evil means we don’t examine the systems that brought Israel to this day. Failing to examining the massive and violent systems that lead to mass murder and apartheid makes it harder to build a future where this never happens again, where never again really means never again for anyone.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to New Means to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.