By *Jomo Sanga Thomas
(“Plain Talk” Feb. 9, 2024)
Guest Column by Caitlin Johnstone
“You have to read, but you have to avoid reading stupidness.” Elma Francois
Here are five noises Western liberals often make to avoid having to take a real position on Gaza:
1. “It’s heart-breaking!”
2. “It’s complicated!”
3. “BUT TRUMP!”
4. “I really hope there can be peace there someday!”
5. “I support a two-state solution!”
Let’s talk about these a bit.
Liberals love talking about how “sad” and “heart-breaking” what’s happening in Gaza is like it’s some kind of natural disaster, some tragically tragic tragedy that their government has been passively witnessing instead of actively facilitating. It lets them express their progressive humanitarian feelings without actually taking a meaningful political position against what’s being done in their name with their tax dollars and with their tacit consent.
In reality, the genocide in Gaza is not sad or heart-breaking or tragic; those are words you use for diseases and accidents. When someone is murdered with malicious intent, we don’t heave a heavy sigh and shed a tear and move on — we prosecute their murderer. It isn’t raining bombs in Gaza because that’s just the unfortunate weather there today. Those bombs are being dropped by Israel with genocidal intent with the full backing of the United States and its allies. This is a crime which requires outrage and punishment, not empty crocodile tears.
No, it isn’t. An apartheid regime has been oppressing and abusing an ethnic group which doesn’t receive the same rights and treatment as others, and now they’re dropping bombs on a population trapped in a giant concentration camp. If it was Jewish people enclosed in Gaza while any other ethnicity rained military explosives on them for four months, no liberal in the world would have trouble recognising what they’re seeing and calling it what it is.
Push a Biden supporter hard enough on what their president is doing in Gaza, and eventually, they’ll start babbling about how bad Donald Trump is. As though Trump being bad somehow negates the depravity of backing an active genocide. Or, as though backing an active genocide is an excusable offence if it means a little more student debt forgiveness or something.
Democrats have no way to reconcile Gaza with what they believe about themselves and what values they supposedly hold, so when confronted with the horrifying reality of what their president is doing in the Middle East, they’re left with no option but to plunge their heads into the sand and scream “TRUMP!!!” as loud as they can. Nothing has exposed the true nature of the Democratic Party like a Democrat president running for re-election during a US-backed genocide.
‘I really hope there can be peace there someday!’
Like “It’s tragic!”, this one replaces a meaningful political position with empty emotional fluff to create the false impression that the liberal has said something relevant which aligns with their stated values and ideology.
By saying you want peace but refusing to say how you want the peace to come about, the ‘peace’ you purport to support could mean anything. If Israel bombs Gaza into rubble and drives survivors into refugee camps in the Sinai desert, they could call that “peace” because there won’t be a war anymore. If Israel murders everyone in Gaza, they can call that “peace” because the bombs are no longer falling. Even going back to the status quo of Oct. 6 wouldn’t be “peace”, it would just be returning to the abusive conditions which gave rise to Oct. 7.
Saying you want “peace” without talking about immediate ceasefires and negotiated agreements is just saying you want Israel to keep doing what it’s doing until it decides it’s done enough.
‘I support a two-state solution!’
The “two-state solution” is functionally just a psychological box that liberals mentally tick off so they can pretend they have a real position on Israel-Palestine. Israeli leaders publicly spit on the notion of a Palestinian state with its own military and national sovereignty, and there is no political wherewithal to make such a thing happen. It’s nothing more than a conceptual construct which lets liberals feel nice about their personal politics without actually taking a stand against the Western-backed tyrannical power structure that is the state of Israel.
In reality, there cannot be peace until Israel ceases to be an abusive apartheid ethnostate, until it and its allies pay massive reparations to the Palestinians, and until all the wrongs of the past are made right. This is entirely possible, but it would be a massive, massive effort toward a goal that would make the current status quo of Israel-Palestine completely unrecognizable from what it currently is. Merely flicking an intellectual thumbs-up to empty notions about a ‘two-state solution’ is just more liberal babble.
Other popular noises liberals make to avoid taking a real position on Gaza include “Something something antisemitism!” and “It’s just Netanyahu and a few far-right jerks making things bad!” The specific words don’t matter much, because liberals will make whatever noises they need to make to avoid the crushing weight of cognitive dissonance and resist the increasingly loud demands from reality that they dramatically restructure their worldview.
In this world of misinformation and disinformation, there is a deliberate attempt to fog people’s minds. There are a few journalists who attempt to clear the fog and get us to see clearly what’s happening in our world.
If you seriously want to understand the world we live in, the best advice is to turn off your TV sets and look for writers who are not stenographers of the empire. Caitlin Johnstone has written dozens of probing articles on Israel’s war on Palestinians since Oct. 7. Other writers worth reading are Chris Hedges and Patrick Lawrence.
Read, pay close attention because what you don’t know can kill you.
*Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former senator and Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
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