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There are not ‘two sides’ to genocide

Regarding the Palestinian genocide

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With the recent events involving Israel and Palestine, the media has turned its attention to the Middle East. The New York Times said, “Conflict spirals across Israel and the Palestinian territories.” The Washington Post declared, “Israel-Hamas conflict hurtles into its second week as cease-fire talks struggle.” CNN went as far as to say, “The latest violence between Israel and Palestinians will end when both sides can declare victory. But it will be no more than a truce.”

Institutions like the UW have reinforced this two-side narrative, specifically by protecting ties with Israel by claiming “academic freedom,” most publicly done by the UW in a 2014 statement. But presenting this situation as a “conflict” or a “two-sided” story goes beyond naive and becomes grotesque. 

The difference between forces is undeniably disproportional. 

On one hand are the Palestinian people, who lost their land to British imperialism and resisted for 73 years with little or no advanced technology. They used obsolete rockets and homemade weapons to fight back against the military attacks, oppression, and segregation to which a declared Zionist state subjected them. On the other hand is a state and technological power with a straightforward program of ethnic cleansing, supported by the leading imperialist powers, especially the United States

But as usual, the latest developments of Nakba (the Arabic terms for the mass dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians from Palestine in 1948) were portrayed by the imperialist media as a culturally based religious dispute. Filtered with imperialist lenses, news anchors and columnists make a collage of facts that fit the “conflict” narrative — showing the advanced technological apparatus of the Zionists knocking down the missiles fired by the Palestinian resistance organizations. 

“There are a lot of reasons for why this is happening, and it is very clear: One is because America did not want to come to terms with its own settler-colonial history,” a member of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights UW (SUPER UW), who requested anonymity, said. “They will paint similar settler colonial projects in the same way, by white-washing them. News outlets and media institutions are all essentially a part of the state apparatus and within this neoliberal bubble that works directly with the state, and the state’s projects of imperialism, which the ‘western’ profits directly from.” 

This collage of facts fails to mention that since 1948, Israel colonized Palestine and expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their land and murdered thousands of people (including more than 2,000children). The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is one of the most prepared armies in the world, with billions of dollars of funding from the United States annually. This all coincides with an ethnic cleansing program which demolishes houses, deliberately murders innocent Palestinians, and impedes Palestinians’ access to basic needs such as electricity and water. 

“When the media tries to frame it in this ‘both side[s]’ way, it’s not only an easy stance to take, but it is also rewriting the entire narrative to frame Israel as a victim rather than the perpetrator that it is,” another member of SUPER UW said. “It is framing that there is an equal stake from both Palestine and Israel when clearly there isn’t. Israel is the state that is carrying out ethnic cleansing, and it has the superior military, technology, and defense system. When we look at Palestinians in Gaza, they are an imprisoned vulnerable population, and they do not have bomb shelters or defense systems.” 

Moreover, much coverage has failed to explain that much of the “retaliation” from Palestine occurred because of the increasing dispossession of Palestinians from their land, which was forced by Israel during the biggest health crisis of the last century: the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During this time, beyond increasing Palestinian unsettlement, Israel denied vaccines to the Palestinian population. Our World in Data shows that while only 5.3% of Palestinians are vaccinated, Israel has 62.8% of its population vaccinated and is considering discarding thousands of AstraZeneca vaccines.

The UW has also endorsed this two-sided narrative in the past. In 2014, the UW opposed the boycott of universities and faculties in Israel. 

The UW also has various exchange programs through the Jackson School of International Studies in which students are invited to know more about Israeli history. 

“Recently Ana Mari Cauce, in an email response [to a SUPER member], talked about how UW’s Israel studies program is one of the most prestigious in the country and how the university cares about academic freedom and providing diverse perspectives and viewpoints,” a member of SUPER UW said. “[It was] as if viewpoints that propagate genocide are justifiable to be included in their curriculum or within an educational institution ... like, what are you teaching people?”  

Israel’s oppression of Palestine reveals its colonialist and imperialist practices, which do not deserve any kind of support from nations or institutions that have a minimal commitment to democracy. The mainstream media, fueled by the liberal ideologies from imperialist countries, practices a specific type of reality denial. 

“Continue to educate yourself on both of what is going on and the complicity of the institutions you are in, and educate your friends too,” a member of SUPER UW said. “If you see people you know talking about stuff and you know it is not right or that they are not framing this in a liberatory lens, make sure to talk with them about it. We need to start having these difficult conversations with people around us, because in comparison to what Palestinians are going through right now — having the threat of their community being erased — this is really the minimum.”  

Everybody has to denounce what is happening in Palestine. There is no conflict or fight; it is colonialism and ethnic cleansing in its most visceral form. 

Reach writer Victor Simoes at opinion@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @victorhaysser 

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(5) comments

SushiDeliveryGuy

There is a lot wrong with this article. My fellow readers have correctly pointed out a few good points.

I would like to add that Hamas, who is essentially in charge of the Gaza strip, takes advantage of humanitarian aid and is state funded by Iran and Qatar. If they would have developed their country, they would have done so already but they spend it on a bunch of rockets to shoot at Israeli citizens.

In terms of the military match up, it is not a scoreboard. Israel had to build up a strong defense because they were and still are opposed as a state. The 6-day war is a solid example of this phenomenon. Israel also goes out of its way to warn civilians that they are going to strike a specific target by calling, distributing leaflets, and roof-knocking. Hamas, being in the same circles as al-Qaeda and ISIS, is more than likely using civilians as human shields.

It is insane to compare retaliation for terrorist attacks to imperialism. While I understand that the general position is that colonialism is bad, that viewpoint is too reductive here. Hamas could have attacked for any other reason besides the Al-Aqsa mosque or the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods, and they would have given Israel bad PR anyways when civilians are put in harms way.

wemapa

I understand the points you are trying to make here and I think they could be made in. a respectful way, but the way you use the term 'Zionists' so loosely like a stand in for 'Jews', playing into the Jewish blood libel trope, promoting BDS which is considered anti-semitic by the UN and international community, and suggested so clearly that Israel or a 'Zionist' / Jewish state does not have a right to exist, and that there is no possibility for peace or a two state solution because 'Zionists' are simply willfully committing race genocide, makes this article feel very anti-Semitic and it does not sit well. Maybe reconsider how you word these arguments, unless you actually are anti-Semitic

More Inclusive than Thou

We who have a good place to live took it from those who lived there before us.

And so did they.

Here in the New World, there is no place good to live at that was not fought over by waves of conquerors across thousands of years. And somehow we seem to be breeding people stupid enough to believe that Europeans brought war to the Americas.

If Euros are supposed to owe something or to give it back, well to whom? To which group of the multitudes that fought for and took it and some point?

Written history is relatively short, relative to human life on planet Earth.

Humans have been fighting over places to live at in the Middle East since before the speciation and dominion of Homo sapiens sapiens.

Both written history and what we can deduce from archeology demonstrate that there has not been a good place to live at that has not been fought over across 10s of thousands of years by multitudes of modern humans and by other hominids before them.

How long ago was it that Rome and/or Egypt ruled Palestine?

Right now the Israelis have fought for and held a place to live. The took it from the Palestinians, who took it from someone else, who took it from someone else...

aidan_gold

Hi Victor,

I appreciate that you feel strongly to publish a narrative like this and cover what the Palestinian people have struggled with for so many years. I truly hope that Palestine can emerge and self-actualize in the way we all want to see without strong western powers holding them back but empowering them.

Just want to make a few points because I think the way you wrote this narrative is one-sided, just like how you claim the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one sided...

There were both Jews and Palestinians living on the land before 1948 dating way back to the 1800s. They were both under the Ottoman Empire until the land was transferred to the British after World War 1.

When the British divided up the land, which was quite typical around the world at the time, the Arab world rejected it and you had the Arab-Israeli War. This war of invading Israel by Jordan, Egypt and other Arab nations actually hurt Palestinians the most. Jordan and Egypt occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the war and had no intentions of giving land to the Palestinian people. It wasn’t until after the 1967 6 day that Israel reclaimed the land after being attacked and gave some land back to Palestinians and some jointly operated.

I think the victim and conquest card can be true but at a certain point it doesn’t become helpful. Why are 4,000 rockets built instead of bomb shelters or a power grid or a water system? Israel left Gaza in 2005, and while some may call it in an open-air prison, there were chances to move in the right direction.

To say that Israel isn’t a democracy, makes me question your understanding of the entire Middle East. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to travel to Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Afghanistan, Israel, and tell me which one you think is most democratic and progressive after your travels. I also encourage you to meet with Hamas directly and let me know if you think they’re long term helpful for creating peace between Israel and Palestine. Hamas isn’t good for Palestinians nor do they share any democratic values you speak of.

Lastly, Palestinians Arabs live in Israel. Jews can’t live in Palestinian controlled territories. Look at the leader of the Fatah, his sisters live in Israel. When some of his family requires medical care, they travel to Israel for care and then back to Gaza.

I appreciate how horrible the last few days have been for the Palestinian people. It pains me to see so damage a nation can do and to see so many innocent lives in such a horrible way. I do think Israel could have operated differently. But to paint the narrative like this is just media warfare at this point.

Would be open to having a conversation as I think conversations are more important than ever. As you say in your article, one sided battles aren’t good.

itaik

[angry]

This is the most obnoxiously antisemitic article ever posted on this website

The modern blood libel - just throwing out big words you don’t even understand to smear the Jewish state.

This racist garbage needs to be removed from the daily, whoever is involved with the making of this nonsense need to be fired and expelled from UW

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