Israel’s 71 year-old, ongoing reign of terror, occupation, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians skips no beats as the United States continues its bipartisan support of the world’s longest-surviving apartheid state.
I was in 7th grade when I first learned of the infamous Israel-Palestine conflict in my social studies class in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Of course, I didn’t truly learn anything about — okay, I do vaguely remember reading about the Six Day War, Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, the Camp David Accords, and things of that nature. What I more vividly remember is how effortlessly my teacher painted Palestine as a rogue terror state — one which solely seemed to exist to terrorize the poor, unfortunate, not-at-all-a-perpetrator-of-settler-colonialism soul that is Israel.
Unbeknownst to me, we were being indoctrinated at the ripe old age of 12 to assume the United States’ long-held, not-so-subtle position that Palestinians are a band of unruly, violent terrorists who Israel — the lone victim here — has no choice but to defend against. Nevermind the radical idea that Palestinians are human beings who have the right to self-determination and peace. These teachers, for all intents and purposes, taught us that Hamas = terror = all Palestinians. Just like they conveniently taught us sati = contemporary Indian culture (an archaic, largely retired practice of widows’ self-immolation) and Thanksgiving = white pilgrims and Native Americans just “getting along” around a cornucopia. And wasn’t there something about the US singlehandedly defeating Germany in WWII? Hooraay revisionist history lessons!
Unfortunately, it was 14 years later that I learned the truth about this Israel-Palestine “conflict”. How Israel *ahem*:
- has stolen Palestinian land
- profits off of stolen Palestinian land (Ahava, SodaStream, HP, Caterpillar, to name a few corporations operating in illegal settlements)
- has indefinitely expelled 7+ million Palestinians from their homeland since Nakba Day, not granting them the right of return
- has and continues to violate over 50 international laws, specifically UN Security Council Resolutions incorporating the Fourth Geneva Convention
- enacts racist laws against persons of non-Jewish faith under an increasingly right-wing, fascist government
- systematically detains and massacres Palestinian children and protestors
- operates an open air prison, restricting the free movement of Palestinians
And that (which by no means is an exhaustive list) brings me to US foreign policy, and by extension, US sentiments, regarding Israel. Its completely unsurprising to me that this wannabe fascist regime we have in America today wholeheartedly supports another fascist regime — placing its Israel embassy in Jerusalem, passing anti-BDS aka anti-1st amendment bills, and purposely depicting Israel’s detractors like Congresswomen Rashida Tliab and Ilhan Omar as “anti-Semites” (not at all coincidental that these happen to be the first two Muslim women in Congress, one of them being Palestinian-American herself, and other being a Black Somali refugee). No condemnation for the 23 Republicans out of the 23 total members of Congress who just voted against the anti-hate resolution this week, nevermind the deafening silence on a president who has singlehandedly increased the presence of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups effectively overnight since his election.
That said, the Trump administration wasn’t the first to begin giving Israel $3B/year in aid, was it? The deliberate policies and practices of supporting Israel have been ongoing in both Democratic and Republican administrations alike. There has been an unspoken rule in American political discourse against speaking out against Israel’s crimes. And in light of this recent bipartisan, masterclass hit job of Congresswoman Omar and her completely justified remarks about AIPAC and America’s concerning, unrelenting affinity towards a country which continues to perpetuate these atrocities — I have to quite bluntly ask liberals when they will wake the fuck up on Israel.
Look, I get it, you’re never going to have the unabashed fearlessness that a Somali refugee who has witnessed the same crimes against humanity in her country has. I can’t say I have it by a long shot. But I can no longer sit and watch you create a fake uproar over two women of color speaking the truth my 12-year-old self deserved to know.
And every single day you attack Omar and Tliab alongside the GOP, you diminish your own supposed cause of fighting injustice.
Every single day you buy into their deliberate conflation of pro-Palestinian sentiment with anti-Semitism, you defeat any prospect of Palestinian liberation.
…Every single day you continue to remain silent, you betray your complicity.