How to Respond to Gilded Morons

Original article by Bret Stephens can be found here.

For the third time in two weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have set fire to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which they get medicine, fuel and other humanitarian essentials from Israel.

Let’s break down this barbaric sentence, you G-d damned Ostrogoth. THEY ARE PRISONERS. THEY ARE PRISONERS WITH WALLS AROUND THEM. These prisoners are currently cared for by a government that increasingly needs conflict with their prisoners to satisfy the religious, nationalist, and violent Zealots in their brainwashed electorate. Did they set fire to one of the entrances to their prison? Try feeling some empathy for the limits of what human beings are willing to endure and then start exploring why they’re so angry without your unprofessional cognitive bias. You’re a canalized thinker and it limits your ability.

Soon we’ll surely hear a great deal about the misery of Gaza. Try not to forget that the authors of that misery are also the presumptive victims.

You’re right, Bret. We should blame the victim and not believe a word they say because, I mean, they’re going to be biased, right? All emotional and shit. Who trusts people who express emotions over trauma? They should be tough like you, right Bret? Overcome all the obstacles you overcame at Middlesex and LES? You’re a chicken hawk. You don’t know what you’re talking about, you only know the words.

There’s a pattern here — harm yourself, blame the other — and it deserves to be highlighted amid the torrent of morally blind, historically illiterate criticism to which Israelis are subjected every time they defend themselves against violent Palestinian attack.

“TO WHICH ISRAELIS ARE SUBJECTED.” The prison guards turn the screws until the prisoners riot, then use people like this gilded moron to trumpet victimhood in influential US media outlets. Remember, the Israelis were terrified of making the Palestinians citizens in their “Democracy” because oh shit, then they’d have political power. So instead of two-state or one-state and citizenship, Israel chose the shittiest possible path, which is to repeat the cycles of violence that were done onto them.

In 1970, Israel set up an industrial zone along the border with Gaza to promote economic cooperation and provide Palestinians with jobs. It had to be shut down in 2004 amid multiple terrorist attacks that left 11 Israelis dead.

See, this whole “provide Palestinians with jobs” bullshit is what we’re talking about, Bret. You can’t even hide how condescending you are in a highly edited national op-ed, you egomaniacal snowflake. These are human beings, equal with you, me, and High lord Netanyahu himself. They’re not asking to be provided jobs, they’re asking to be left alone to their own devices in an environment where they don’t have to be provided with jobs.

In 2005, Jewish-American donors forked over $14 million dollars to pay for greenhouses that had been used by Israeli settlers until the government of Ariel Sharon withdrew from the Strip. Palestinians looted dozens of the greenhouses almost immediately upon Israel’s exit.

You shouldn’t have used the phrase “Israeli settlers.” As if these precious American diaspora-funded greenhouses weren’t built on the ruins of some Palestinian family’s home. You’re bad at this.

In 2007, Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup against its rivals in the Fatah faction. Since then, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in the Strip have fired nearly 10,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel — all the while denouncing an economic “blockade” that is Israel’s refusal to feed the mouth that bites it. (Egypt and the Palestinian Authority also participate in the same blockade, to zero international censure.)

As in any human population, there is a sliding scale of reactions to something like imprisonment. The more Israel abuses their prisoners, the more the prisoners move to a more extreme position on this scale. It’s like Newton’s 3rd law, buddy. The reverse is true as well. The more prisoners move to a more extreme position on this scale, the more Israelis do the same on their own scale of extremist reactions. So now we see the impact of violence, imprisonment, abuse, and conflict on two neighboring populations with opposing organizing narratives. To see above this, beyond the back and forth, is the work of scholarship and diplomacy, Bret. But you don’t seem to know anything about that.

In 2014 Israel discovered that Hamas had built 32 tunnels under the Gaza border to kidnap or kill Israelis. “The average tunnel requires 350 truckloads of construction supplies,” The Wall Street Journal reported, “enough to build 86 homes, seven mosques, six schools or 19 medical clinics.” Estimated cost of tunnels: $90 million.

That’s a lot of anger being expressed in a really specific and concentrated way. If you were a smart person, you’d be asking questions about how Hamas recruits so easily and gets so much work done on these projects. If you think that’s a will to fight and survive and an anger for their definition of justice that can be crushed out of a culture, you’re white bananas.

Want to understand why Gaza is so poor? See above.

Hamas is a corrupt organization that, on top of starting idiotic fights that get people killed, steals money from the Palestinian people and rewards its senior officials with gifts. The political organization is a reflection of a concentrated ideological interest within a culture, so I think it speaks volumes on the state Israel has pushed Palestinian society into when Hamas is so well supported. It also speak volumes on the state Hamas has pushed Israeli society into when Netanyahu and the Zealots are so well supported.

Which brings us to the grotesque spectacle along Gaza’s border over the past several weeks, in which thousands of Palestinians have tried to breach the fence and force their way into Israel, often at the cost of their lives. What is the ostensible purpose of what Palestinians call “the Great Return March”?

“Tried to breach the fence and force their way back onto land they believed was still their territory, despite the presence of another governing organization and people who currently live there and claim the same land as theirs.” That’s how you write an accurate statement, bro.

That’s no mystery. This week, The Times published an op-ed by Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the organizers of the march. “We are intent on continuing our struggle until Israel recognizes our right to return to our homes and land from which we were expelled,” he writes, referring to homes and land within Israel’s original borders.

That sounds pretty reasonable, unless of course Israel is a cultural theocracy unable to tolerate diversity of electorate and opinion. That’d make that plan extremely hard to enact.

His objection isn’t to the “occupation” as usually defined by Western liberals, namely Israel’s acquisition of territories following the 1967 Six Day War. It’s to the existence of Israel itself. Sympathize with him all you like, but at least notice that his politics demand the elimination of the Jewish state.

The elimination? That’s a pretty dramatic leap in logic. How about thinking of it as the enhancement of the region by removing its greatest security threat and infusing an electorate and economy with people who have just as much a right to be there as everyone else.

Notice, also, the old pattern at work: Avow and pursue Israel’s destruction, then plead for pity and aid when your plans lead to ruin.

Oh the old pattern! Those tricky prisoners! Always trying to break out of prison! When will the world learn prison is where they belong?

The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis.

Harumph! Also, Bret, you’re such a civilian. Let me explain that in war, in 2018, we keep track of every bullet, because that’s logistics. Maybe you don’t know anything about it because you’re just a chicken hawk, but I promise you it’s not an egregious demand to ask a nation to “account for every bullet fired at demonstrators.” And as for single practical alternatives? Oh yeah, no one has ever offered Israel reasonable alternatives. How fascinating that self-fulfilling prophecies come true!

But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk?

Where’s the outrage that organizers thought Israel wouldn’t fire on unarmed women and then Israel fired on unarmed women? And that Israel fired on a crowd with 7 year-old children? Shut the fuck up about outrage. We can all be outraged about whatever the hell we want. We’re all angry. Get over your outrage, kid. No one has the moral high ground, which is fine. It means we’re all equal. So let’s talk about this like equals, between two peoples who believe they each should be able to live in the same place and now have generations of traumatic cycles to undo before they can. You’re either adding to those cycles and increasing the distance from stable peace, or helping restore sanity to the situation by mitigating those cycles. You’re currently doing the former.

Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.

Yes, violent conservative religious groups all over the world recklessly endanger their societies and should be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly, and almost bottomlessly cynical.

The mystery of Middle East politics is why Palestinians have so long been exempted from these ordinary moral judgments. How do so many so-called progressives now find themselves in objective sympathy with the murderers, misogynists and homophobes of Hamas? Why don’t they note that, by Hamas’s own admission, some 50 of the 62 protesters killed on Monday were members of Hamas? Why do they begrudge Israel the right to defend itself behind the very borders they’ve been clamoring for years for Israelis to get behind?

The same way we come to understand murderers, misogynists, and homophobes all around the world and in our own communities: we empathize with them and put ourselves in their place. I’ll agree to any fact, but I’ll always empathize with all sides. If you decide that’s a weakness, your scholarship, writing, thinking, and personal morality will always suffer from that decision.

Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven?

Why is nothing expected of Bret Stephen, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of not Bret Stephens, and nothing forgiven? White male privilege.

That’s a question to which one can easily guess the answer. Already did. In the meantime, it’s worth considering the harm Western indulgence has done to Palestinian aspirations.

Let’s consider non-western indulgences of idiot westerners like Bret Stephens who ignore colonial history and the systematic extraction of resources and then talk about the west indulging anyone.

No decent Palestinian society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence and fatalism symbolized by these protests. No worthy Palestinian government can emerge if the international community continues to indulge the corrupt, anti-Semitic autocrats of the Palestinian Authority or fails to condemn and sanction the despotic killers of Hamas. And no Palestinian economy will ever flourish through repeated acts of self-harm and destructive provocation.

“No decent Israeli society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence, and fatalism symbolized by the response to these protests, including this article in which I’m projecting my side’s insecurities onto the enemies we’ve created in our inexperienced heads.” Blah blah blah crocodile tears and faux outrage. Keep climbing that mountain of conflict, Nazi Julie Andrews.

If Palestinians want to build a worthy, proud and prosperous nation, they could do worse than try to learn from the one next door. That begins by forswearing forever their attempts to destroy it.

The Palestinians don’t need your blessing to be worthy, thanks. You haven’t done jack shit in your life compared to those Palestinian 7 year-olds who participated in that protest. You’re a coward whose words influence people into hurting other people. That’s who you are, and that’s your legacy.

American history in under 1000 words:

We exist as part of an unbroken chain of events leading back to the singularity, or the furthest point in the past we currently understand. We have 13.772 billion years of universal history to celebrate and learn from (with an uncertainty of 59 million years. For personal reference, modern humans emerged around 200,000 years ago, modern civilization around 6,000-12,000 (depending on your definition of modern) and figuring out and deciding to use electricity on a mass scale led to increased possibilities around 150 years ago). Instead of celebrating the full richness of our heritage and spelunking for lessons, we fetishize our 250-year old nation-state (the modern idea for the type of western nation-state, currently the most popular method for organizing and socializing large groups of people within defined geographical limits, is generally agreed to have been created in Europe around 369 years ago).

The history of the land in which I was arbitrarily born witnesses the volatile interaction and power disparities between groups of hyper-religious immigrants, kidnapped people forced into slavery because, coincidentally, they were born into a specifically constructed and defined ethnic group, indentured servants shipped from Europe to serve as cheap, unregulated labor in exchange for a promised chance to improve their personal stability and power, and wealthy business interests taking advantage of the lack of oversight the anarchic continent offered. The colonials rebelled far more successfully than their Hindu, East Asian, African, Muslim, or South American colonial counterparts due to a convenient proxy war between France and England, as well as the mitigating benefits of constructed racial attitudes in Europe. The colonial elites then experimented with and debated various social amalgamations and governmental types until finally deciding on a compromised legal document with parameters that appeased all 13 distinct groups of colonial elites.

The nation gained stability and power, due in large part to its geographical location and the logistical difficulties the historical superpowers faced in funding their interests. In a page right out of their former-sovereign’s playbook, the newly-minted United States of America constructed the concepts of “Manifest Destiny” and the “Monroe Doctrine” in order to collect more land, wealth, power, and influence. Fortunately for the former colonists, the Native American civilizations that inhabited the land they wished to acquire were easy prey after diseases brought by European humans and other animals weakened and reduced their populations by 90%. Continuing in the colonial tradition of using race and class based forced labor to progress, the nation eventually achieved its goals by wiping out or subjugating the remaining native survivors. As it established its western border, the young nation-state also looked outwards to other lands ripe for war, subversion, or sabotage.

Tensions between its founding groups came to a head less than 100 years into its creation and the nation split into slave-holding and non-slave holding states until the non-slave holding faction killed enough soldiers from slave-holding faction to force the rebellious region to capitulate to its demands. Unfortunately for the former slave-holding states, the president of the slave-holding states was then assassinated by a radical pro-slavery terrorist group. In response, the replacement non-slave holding leadership enacted a policy of revenge and exploitation in the guise of reconstruction, which decimated the lives of the people living within the reincorporated territory. As a reaction to these destructive policies, many people constructed ideals they believe represented the best of the elites who lost the American Civil War and decided to enact their own plan of revenge by terrorizing groups of newly freed slaves. Many of these freed slaves, though still officially oppressed, moved north, altering the racial dynamics of fairly homogenous northern communities. Less than 100-years later, through extensive domestic efforts, all former slaves and women (who were unable to vote for 150 years of the nation’s history) achieved de jure, if not de facto, rights within the shifting country.

During its near history, the United States of America regularly used abstract ideals specifically defined to justify its expansive foreign agenda and oppress domestic attempts to balance power between labor and capital. Victory in World War Two (a war primarily caused by Japanese-American trade relations and post-World War One’s excessively harsh punishments of the German people), along with an all-consuming global proxy war with a near-peer ideological enemy, were of vital importance to the socialization regime the United States Government used to instill a strong national identity in its population. The propaganda derived from these events also served a crucial role in evoking and maintaining dominion over the particular ideals the nation claimed as its own.

In the age of the Internet, the nation has seen a resurgence in the domestic unrest temporarily suppressed in the 1960s. During the 1960s, the combination of new psychologically manipulative military training, a proxy war in Southeast Asia, a draft to thin the ranks of subversives, new policing tactics for the War on Drugs justifying pretenses for mass incarceration of oppressed group, and domestic political subversions and assassinations, the United States Government was able to prevent the turmoil from getting out of hand. By moving consumerism to the center of their citizen’s lives, the government stabilized and prospered.

Unfortunately in 1991, the USSR, the other side of the delicate bi-polar global power structure of the cold war, collapsed, leaving the United States as a global hegemon without a raison d’être. Nationalistic and militaristic rhetoric propagated by a government struggling to justify ongoing international involvement exacerbated yet-to-be-healed historical grievances from oppressed domestic groups. In less oppressed groups, these grievances aggravated latent resentments towards the ad hoc, incomplete, or violent official attempts to mend a deeply socialized divide. This, along with official alarmism about the newly created state enemy, the “Muslim Menace”, set tensions high in the nation and contributed to upticks in domestic instability.

There are a lot of lessons to learn from this, but it’s important to remember it’s only 250 years of our 13.772 billion year history (with an uncertainty of 59 million years). There are a lot of lessons to learn elsewhere as well.