Archive | July, 2014

No lessons learned.

24 Jul

Some people claim to have learned lessons from the missile attacks on Israel, such as all of this being mere antisemitism and a repetition of the Third Reich. The same people probably also very carefully select their history books and happily buy into one-sided narratives that suit their comfort zone.

Personally, I like to leave my comfort zone and question things that sound too easy, such as “It’s all those Muslims’ fault, Israel is totally innocent”. Rarely can such long-lasting conflicts be blamed on one side making all the mistakes. Scrap that – never. So I left my comfort zone. I got sick. I cried. I raged. Then I calmed down and resumed leaving my comfort zone further and further behind.
Those who know me, know I refuse to view things in black and white, especially things as large as the Middle East conflict. I mean, I used to. But as a meritocrat and passionate intellectual and academic, I cannot breathe when I am not learning and feeding my mind facts. 

One such fact-feeding endeavor was when I started feeling weird about calling my land grandfather, Naeim Giladi, a senile traitor. I never met the men. I never listened to the man’s interviews or read his articles. All I knew about him, were statements from my parents about him having hated Israel. That made it simple for me.
But then I remembered my mother hates big dogs – and I love them! Have I ever dismissed my mother’s feelings in favor of my own? I mean, other than when I bought that Akita without asking her first… Wait a second! My mother hand been the victim of a horrific attack by a big dog, and witnessed another big dog kill a child on accident, by the mere force of its leap. While it may be wrong to hate all big dogs now, her hatred is not something that can be dismissed as the manifestation of an evil person’s black heart.

Now, there were two kinds of Israel haters I also wanted to examine more closely: my grandfather, and a big portion of Palestinians. I buy the blanket hatred against Israel as little as I bought Israel’s consistently pointing the finger at others anymore. Because both attitudes are wrong.
I found most answers in my grandfather’s book; a large portion of its content can be researched and confirmed by anyone who wishes to do so. 
Now, we can line up a few very simple facts to begin with – facts not exclusively found in Naeim’s book.
1. Israel was not built on deserted land; people have been living there – and not only Jews.
2. Palestine as a nation state may never have existed, but the land had indeed been referred to as Palestine and both local Jews and non-Jewish Arabs called Palestinians.
3. There is no Evil Gene in Muslims or Arabs that makes them born anti-semitic. Political views and religious beliefs are taught. Always. Sometimes by the object of the hatred.

Looking at these facts, anyone with an open mind and average intelligence or above, should feel a question nagging at them: if the land had been inhabited by people previously to the establishment of the state of Israel, where had they gone, and why did they leave? And why do Arabs appear to hate Israel? 

The Quran says nothing about Jews needing to die. Many Israel lobbyists actually use the Quran to discredit radical Islamists, saying that the Quran itself approves of Jews. However, the very same lobbyists now lose their argument against Muslims: well obviously, they don’t hate us because their religion tells them to!
In a propaganda video, an Israel lobbyist remarks that Arabs started attacking Jews in 1947. Why not earlier? Why then? Did a new mind control virus that only Arabs are susceptible to, break out in the Middle East? No. There was no Hitler Aids epidemic. A much different disease broke out that year: white supremacy. 1947 was the year that the state of Israel started to be built, by white Jews handed the land by white British to do with as they pleased.
Now, wait a minute! What are the British doing assigning and reassigning land that isn’t really theirs? Oh, wait, he’ve had this before. South Africa for example, where white people invaded the land, grabbed it, and shooed all the native black people into slums. And we also had this in america, where white people invaded the land, grabbed it, butchered the Natives, and had black slaves build them (the whites) something cozy. 

In other words, God didn’t give us Israel unless the Brits are his angels. Now, answer me honestly with “Yes” or “No” when I ask you if the native people of a land can be reasonably expected to surrender their homes and leave just because a bunch of foreigners are holding a holy book in one hand and a gun in the other, saying “God wants me to live here, now fuck off or I’ll make you”?
Because, see, it’s not really relevant whether the Palestinian Muslims were kicked out or herded into today’s Gaza Strip and the Best Wank after having fought and lost an armed struggle, or whether they had been helplessly beaten there every step of the way. Unless you are their landlord and they stopped paying the rent, you are never right to see people out of their homes, much less expect them to “get over it”.

This is also why the argument of the Palestinian Muslims having been offered such and such strip of land by Israel, is invalid. You can’t throw me out of my home and into a much crappier place, and then expect me to forgive you by offering me some bumblefuck place in the middle of nowhere. The scorn of being offered a consolation prize by the one who attacked and robbed me for no good reason, should be apparent even to the thickest among you.

See, before the state of Israel was established, Muslims did not hate Jews. Both groups were well respected by the other, and coexisted just fine. Muslims also would not have minded Israel being established on truly vacant land. But you sort of need to understand their feeling of resentment when Jews who aren’t even from around here – European, Russian, american, Soviet – Jews come and build their cities over the forcefully vacated houses of the Muslim inhabitants of that land.

My grandfather came to hate Israel after having loved and nearly died for it. Such a change of heart doesn’t happen over night and is not a decision one takes consciously. It is something that happens when enough is enough. In the beginning, my grandfather had been enthusiastic about the idea of a Jewish state. He helped smuggle Jews out of Iraq so they could start a new life in Israel. He went to death row for this endeavor. 
Sadly, he soon found out that not only was that state built at the expense of a large part of the land’s inhabitants, the pogroms he and other Arab Jews fled to Israel from, had also largely been staged or deliberately provoked by Israel’s founders themselves in an effort to populate Israel with Jews as quickly and as massively as possible. And when the Arab Jews arrived, they found that this land was built and run by white people who needed the Arab Jews mostly to replace the cheap labor force that the Muslim Arabs would have been, had they not been paid or forced to leave their homeland because Muslims weren’t quite the right kind of population for a Jewish state. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Naeim Giladi gave Israel the finger and left.

 

Fast-forward to the 21. century.

Hamas is throwing rockets at, and Best Wankers are slitting throats of, Jewish Israelis. Now, while I know many simpletons haunt the net including this blog, I must ask you not to misread me: I do not defend the attacks on civilians. I consider the Itamar massacre, the missiles upon Israel, the murder of the three Jewish boys, as horrible a violent crime, as any. And I have no patience for violent criminals whatsoever. Be it a punch, a rape, or a massacre, I hate violent criminals.
However 1.
Strangely, mere suspects in the triple murder had had their houses bulldozed by Israel, which brutally arrested hundreds in the search for the killers. Now, when a Jew murders an Arab Muslim, Israel proceeds a lot more gently. Gag orders on identities even after confessions were made, the option to plead insanity, and obviously, no relatives of the suspect/convict having their homes destroyed. Why this difference in procedure? Why handle Muslims more roughly than Jews, for the same kind of crime? 40s america, anyone? Yes, I’ll just say it right here: Israel is treating its so-called citizens like america treated black people back then, with that very same attitude that turns “blacks” into “niggers”. Yes, as long as these Palestinians are under Israel’s thumb, they are its citizens. And Palestinian Authority or not, they are under Israel’s thumb or else Israel couldn’t just barge in as convenient, and arrest people and bulldoze their homes. The PA is a strawman, a joke, a comforter to silence those who say that Israel is robbing the Palestinian Arabs of their sovereignty. Israel still holds most power over the territories, whatever anyone may call them.

However 2.
The claim that Israel left Gaza for peace… If Israel can continue to carry out target assassinations and control what goes in and out of Gaza, and even switch off their electricity, Israel is not “out of Gaza”. It is so far up Gaza’s ass that Gaza is shitting Osem.
Ah, yes, Osem, another interesting point. Israel prides itself in delivering food and electricity to Gaza. Are prisons proud to say that their inmates receive the bare minimum required to survive? Not really, prisons rarely start bragging at any degree below offering continuing education and ways to re-establish oneself after release. Except, other than the terrorists there, Gaza is not just a cesspool of criminals and hence should not serve as a prison – there are normal people there whose only reason to hate Israel is to be caught in the middle of a fight they didn’t ask for.
Now you’ll ask a very valid question: “Why then, do they support Hamas?” Because Hamas still gives them more compassion than Israel does. Hamas may be evil, but when one side makes you poor, keeps you cooped up in slums, and makes sure you live a pointless life, and the other side gives or promises you purpose (even if through death), yet happens to be evil, well..? Consider that the Gazans consist of many generations of living and dying with the same pointlessness, and getting the same undignified treatment from Israel, and the same rhethoric from Hamas. There is no new fresh generation of hope there, only a repetition of not so ancient history. 

Also consider that nobody is born suicidal or commits suicide easily. No matter what our beliefs, survival instinct stops most of us from crossing certain lines. Suicide bombings or endangering one’s life by firing missiles or otherwise directly attacking Israel, are not part of Islam, and are contrary to our supreme survival instincts. Please, by all means, DO doubt that these terrorists kill themselves with any more ease than do other broken-hearted people in a last-ditch attempt to either end their own misery, or pave the way to a better future for their loved ones (no matter how wrong they may be to expect that to come out of their deeds). Suicide is always an act of despair. Muslims are no different. Muslims do not lack survival instinct, they do not have a kill-yourself-plus-infidels gene.

And food isn’t all people need to live a life that is too good to be wasted on hatred and terrorism. People need quality water. Reliable power. New clothes, decent health care/services, construction/renovation materials, decent schools and colleges, recreation. Israel mustn’t pride itself in throwing the Gazans a few tons of Osem. Would you praise a junkyard owner for throwing his chained dog low-quality kibble and water, while denying the animal all the other things it needs to live a dignified version of its one and only fleeting life, and beating it whenever it misbehaves as a result? Well, the Gazans are that dog. 

Fact: Gazans are born into a futile existence. There are no career paths there, no academic institutions, no airports to leave for a better life. They are born like hamsters in a pet shop, to either be eaten by their cage mates due to overpopulation and stress, or be bought by thoughtless adults as playthings for their children. Even if Hamas were funding education and prosperity for all their citizens, there would be no point to it. There is no getting out of Gaza. So Hamas investing in picking up the place, would merely result in the cage getting a golden paint job.  

So how can you be surprised that they tolerate or even support Hamas, knowing full well that Hamas endangers their lives as much as Israel renders them futile? At least, Hamas promises them that their deaths will have purpose, while Israel makes sure that their lives do not.

After you’ve let that sink in – or so I hope – I’m sure you’ll understand the following: today, especially among young people who haven’t lived through enough history yet, a lot of the anti-Israel sentiment among Muslims and pro-Palestinians may have transformed into blanket antisemitism. Many may not know exactly what they are protesting or defending, and many may simply use the plight of the Palestinians as an excuse for racism. 
However. The source of the hostility of Palestinians towards Jews, is not religiously or ethnically motivated. No matter what today’s generation may explain their feelings with, the conflict started because people were made homeless and empoverished for the sake of the Jewish state. For the sake of the Jewish state, its previous indigenous inhabitants have been split into two groups according to their religion and ancestry: Jews were declared citizens and Muslims were declared fuck-them. And now the Israel lobby is one-sidedly blaming them for the conflict, hiding behind pathetic, half-assed “outreach” and “offers” to pretend that they have, indeed, tried solving the conflict. However, you simply cannot expect people to stop hating you just because you offer them a bandaid for the shotgun wound you put in them when you took over their home.

Now, you are probably going to say I am one-sidedly blaming Israel. Well, not really. The land grab was initiated by the British, and Jews just happily took what they were offered – as would anyone. However, what Jews then proceeded to do, is unjustifiable. But so is terrorism, such as dumping missiles on civilians. However, it’s the only thing a desperate people such as the Gazans know how to do anymore to move Israel in any way. Israel is so strong and dominant that force seems the only way to still so much as scratch us. While Israel has a right and a duty to defend its citizens, haven’t we seen enough of these wars to know that they are no solution? 
If Hamas is destroyed, other terrorist factions will emerge. 
The only ways to end the hostility are to either eradicate all of Gaza so no potential attacker is left, and that’s genocide… 
Or for Israel to replace Hamas as the bringer of hope and purpose. And this would require Israel to stop treating the Gazans like chained junkyard dogs. It would require Israel to lift the blockade after a long and tolerant probation period during which the people of Gaza would be receiving more than food. Decent health care, rebuilding efforts, and humanity. There is simply no way there will be peace if Israel continues to treat Gazans and West Bank Arabs the way it does now. There is no way there will be peace if Israel continues to treat Jews and non-Jewish Arabs differently, even within “Israeli mainland”. You can simply not reasonably expect Hamas to pack up and leave one day and take all the other militants with them. Not as long as Israel keeps treating Arabs like less-than-human beings, and that is exactly what Israel does every time a Jew gets away with saying “Death to Arabs” while boycotts are staged when an Arab says something similar about Jews. And it is exactly what Israel does when it bulldozes the homes of the suspects in the murder of Jews, yet gives maximum humanity and legal protection to the Jewish murderers of Arabs. It is exactly what Israel does when it coops up a bunch of Arabs in a place where there is no real future, and then bombs them disproportionately for doing what a caged animal does: bite.

Had the roles been reversed, had Jews been the people surrounding a tiny strip of Palestine, forcefully grabbed by foreign Muslim invaders who threw out the Jews, would you sit by idly? Would you accept the situation? This is, again, a very simple Yes/No question. Few things in life are this simple, so rejoyce as you answer!

Of missiles and sharks.

14 Jul

A few words on missiles, as I’ve noticed people just love to talk about them like it’s the end of the world. I wish they were that interesting. The goal of this post is mainly to part the rational from the irrational fear, and relevant missile gossip from drama, because fear helps nobody, solves nothing, and weakens the mind. Fear is what terrorists want to get out of you; choose against rewarding their efforts.

1. I’ve done some research and found that missiles are no bigger a danger to life, than sharks. Sharks and Hamas’ missiles have both approximately killed the same number of people in the past 14 years: 5 per year. This is obviously not counting injuries, and this is obviously still 5 too many. BUT! Consider how many missiles and how many sharks would have been able to kill humans by being unleashed upon them! Compared to that number, an average death count of 5 per year is extremely low.
These numbers are a great reminder that we are still all – including the residents of the south – more likely to die in traffic or slipping in soap water while washing the floors. Household accidents are still a top killer.
Now, nobody is scared of being where there are cars, nobody is afraid of doing household chores, while both are far worse killers than sharks and missiles. So what keeps you from swimming in the Caribbean, and what keeps you from going about your daily life in the south? Feeling impaired by fear doesn’t make the danger go away, or increase. Feelings do not affect fact. If the rabbit hides in its burrow from the fox for too long, it will starve.

2. The sirens are probably a bigger fear factor than the missiles themselves. Research has been done on how certain frequencies and sounds affect humans in terms of fear and unease. Now, I’ve been sleeping through most of audiotechnology during college, BUT! Somehow, every time I hear any air siren, be it memorial or missiles, I fear shivers, tingles, and a weird urge to run, curl up and cry. I feel similarly when exposed to the trial sounds used for that research, and when watching certain movies with “be very afraid now” background music that have also been mentioned by said researches to use the same “scary” frequencies. I would not be the least bit surprised if the sirens were designed to scare us, keep us afraid, and hence, control us and set our priorities for us. Keep in mind that most governments of powerful nations use subtle scare tactics for herding purposes.
I can honestly say that the sound of ambulances, police, alarms, and other sirens doesn’t affect me but these air sirens seem to have a different wave. I am not afraid of missiles; I actually go chasing them with my camera and have never been scared of physical danger, but the sirens affect me physically. Pay close attention, maybe you can see what I mean. Maybe your fear is generated by the sirens, not the missiles. Who knows, maybe if they played “For Elise” instead of “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” every time a missile drops, there’d be less fear. Sound affects our emotions.

3. Terror(ism) can’t be terror if it strikes no terror in the hearts of its targets. Hence, Hamas wins by simply scaring people underground and people lamenting all over social media, is exactly what keeps them going. Every scared Israeli is a victory to Hamas. If there is no fear, it is not terror but merely another pathetic violent crime of no consequence other than what a random car accident could have done – property damage yes, injury perhaps, in rare cases death, all horrible, but of no social impact unless it spreads fear among the witnesses/survivors. You go about your daily life unafraid = Hamas loses. I know it’s easier said than done to not be afraid of missiles but please refer to point 1 and the sharks and the statistics. If you will go for a swim in shark habitat, why won’t you go for a stroll in Ashkelon?
Terrorists are like bullies in so many obvious ways. First of all, their existence is worthless. Second – bullies and terrorists act and thrive on the same desire: to see their victim bent and wimpering. Do not do that. Do not do them this favor. Do not give them this victory. It has been observed in bullies that they get frustrated and let off at some point if the victim retains a straight posture and a confident face instead of begging for mercy. Obviously, first they will try harder, but when that doesn’t break the victim, they are confronted with nothing but their own inferiority and worthlessness because instead of absorbing it, the victim throws it back at them. If they can’t get a raise out of you, they lose.

4. “But property damage”. Yes, property damage sucks. But what’s property damage if the same missile could have injured or killed someone? Are you really going to complain about a totalled car or a hole in the wall if those things stood between the missile and you having an arm – or worse – torn off? Let’s say your neighbor’s Rottweiler breaks out of its yard, runs towards you, but runs into your gate first and while it leaves the gate shattered, the wood also tore its carotid and well, the dog drops before it gets to you. Are you going to mourn the gate or feel retroactively more scared of the dog for having wrecked the gate? Harm averted, moving on!
And does it matter whether a missile destroys your car or a drunk driver does? Why is one thought scarier than the other, while the likelihood of either thing happening, is reversed? Hey, missile launchers get killed, drunk drivers on the other hand may always come back to do more damage.

5. “Only 15 seconds!”. Yes that’s not a lot of time, especially if you’re slowed down by physical factors, children, or other. But consider again the likelihood of being in actual danger if not finding shelter in time. Even when I was in Eshkol, near the Erez crossing, during Pillar of Defense, and rockets came down every other minute, I was not worried. I may only have had 15 seconds, and being fat and bad on my feet didn’t help. But meh. I knew that even if I didn’t make it to shelter in time, I was more likely to die tripping and breaking my neck in a panicked run, than I was to be hit by a projectile that puts the “miss” in “missile”. The fear engendered by the time limit exposes you to all kinds of dangers by letting fear get a grip on you. “OMG OMG OMG I’m not gonna make it” and BOOM you ran into a vehicle. I always lose in video games once I panic or pay too close attention to the count down instead of focusing on the fight.

6. The dangers of fear and panic. In my opinion, the real danger isn’t in the miss-ile itself because as discussed, what’s the chances of these things actually hitting you? You could probably live through planking on Ashkelon beach for hours on end.
The real danger, I think, is panic. You hear the siren, so your brain switches off completely other than your instinct to run for shelter. The more scared you are, the worse. Remember the Lion King? Mufasa wasn’t physically killed by Scar or any deliberately inflicted bodily harm. He was killed because those wildebeest were blind with panic, and he was dumb with worry for his son. Had the same herd of wildebeest not been so blindly scared of 3 little hyenas that could have easily been trampled or otherwise neutralized, nobody would have died that day.
So you hear the siren, you drop everything you’re doing. Including that hot coffee. You burn yourself and flinch with pain, slipping. You hit your head in the corner of the couch table. Or you don’t and you make it into the stair well, and why, they still haven’t fixed that shaky railing! It bends under your weight, you trip, fall down the stairs. Oh, the shelter is on the other side of the road. Run. Just look straight ahead and run. And miss that car coming from your left.

7. And finally, obsessing doesn’t help and doesn’t change reality. It’s getting really tiresome and distasteful to see posts exploiting the situation for added interestingness or drama, like this:
“In spite of the missiles, tonight’s class will resume”
“While there are currently more important matters, where can I buy white beans?”
“Far away from the missiles, this amaaaaaaaaazingly average apartment is for sale!”
“I know my problems shrink in light of the situation, but I have been treated badly by HOT”
Don’t make this about you. It is not. It also is not about your business, your spa, your resort, your apartment for rent, your yoga classes, or your poor customer service experiences. Unless the missiles are relevant to the issue you’re addressing, what are they doing in there and how are they about you or your issue? It doesn’t make you or your encounters more interesting, it doesn’t add drama or depth to your laundry services. If your issue is not actually affected by or related to missile rains, the latter are irrelevant.
Stop the obsession and this misuse of violence and war. Missiles are hostile projectiles dropped on us by Hamas and potentially dangerous to people, animals, and objects. That is all. They have no business being mentioned in your complaints about Bezeq, they have no business spicing up your real estate ad, and they have no business making you sound all humble by reminding everyone that you realize that they are worse than the neighbor’s dog relieving himself on your doormat. It’s distasteful. Does anyone rationalize their issues with world hunger, Aids, Syria, or Trayvon Martin? No, because one has nothing to do with the other and it’s profoundly offensive to those actually affected by the issue, which are people living in fear on the receiving end, and on the dealing end, dying by the dozens from retaliatory strikes. Stop being fake-dramatic by sprinkling missile mentions on your everyday posts. People are dying. Their fear is not a curling iron for your boring droopy hair.

Hope that helps. If not, meh.

Drip drip boom

11 Jul

Drip drip boom
The rhythm of the region
Drip drip boom
The song of God’s Chosen People 
The chant of Allah’s Chosen Men

Drip, hatred seeps into your home
Drip, hatred creeps into your heart
While it sleeps.
Boom, in the morning it awakens
Sirens blaring, walls are shaking

Drip, three sons, one dying breath
Drip, a young boy burned to death
Blood freezes in their mothers’ hearts
Boom it breaks, blood spills from scars
Another mother soon joins in

Drip, one more green uniform falls
A flower reported, painful calls
Drip, one more green headband dies,
A martyr reported, streets echo with cries
A warrior’s blood, it drips on dirt
It drips unheard
Boom, a mother’s heart has ears

Drip, all mothers’ hearts bleed the same
For Eyal, Mohammed, for the losers of this game
Boom goes the mutual retribution
To make sure the others, too, remain in pain.

Drip goes the conscience after dark
Drip goes the sight that “the others”, in their eyes,
Boom – are us.

No trigger warnings.

6 Jul

I hate this self-absorbed me-me-me-and-my-feelings complaining that there is no trigger warning on content published on a website that is geared towards general population, or in a place where trigger material could be expected. Also, what is trigger material? For all I know, your child recently drowned in the sea; now I have to feel bad about not putting a trigger warning above my sunset-above-the-waves photography…

I refuse. I am counting down the seconds to the first comment complaining that this post was triggering. LOL.

Requests for trigger warnings on platforms not geared towards trauma “survivors”, the mentally ill, or the emotionally unstable, are something I HATE and consider rude, selfish, and very, very, weak, infantile and whiny. I know better than to make rape jokes on sexual abuse self-help forums. But Facebook? My blog? DeviantART? LOG OFF if you can’t deal with people saying or showing whatever they like. General population areas of the internet are to be entered at one’s own risk. If you know you have triggers or other issues, use your better judgment. Don’t ask the internet to babysit you.
Hell, I once saw someone posting suicidal thoughts on a suicide self-help forum… “PUT A TRIGGER WARNING OMG!!!” Hello? You came to a suicide forum. What did you expect? Puppies and rainbows? Moron. Yes, I just called a victim of emotional instability (which is the determining factor in how we deal with traumatic experience, even more so than the experience itself) a moron. How insensitive. Just as insensitive as demanding people self-censor in order to spare the irrational emotional reactions of strangers on the web. What if what I have to say is extremely important to me? Now whose extremely important issues matter more – my extremely important desire/need to express myself, or your extremely important emotional safety?

I refuse to tiptoe or to put trigger warnings everywhere. Hell, the multiple choice question where I had to rephrase the sentence “He did not live up to his promises” which was repeated and rubbed in my face in 4 more ways, almost triggered renewed heartbreak in me; I was sitting there trying to keep the tears from falling – should I go cry to the ministry of education for exposing me to such a phrase on my Hebrew proficiency test without a trigger warning?

No.

As someone who has “survived” a lot of traumatic things, I understand why trigger warnings exist. Let me just say, I hate the term “survivor” when it comes to non-potentially-lethal-physical trauma… none of those things kill you unless you kill yourself because you can’t cope so stop being dramatic. You survive wars. You survive life-threatening disease. You survive attempts on your life.
Am I being insensitive, again? Well, let’s see. If 100 people respond to a similar experience in 80 different ways, then I guess we really can’t label anything as definitely very traumatic. Otherwise everyone would respond similarly. If different people respond differently to the same thing, it’s obviously strictly subjective. I’m not downplaying any crimes or horrible experiences. Hell, death penalty to any violent criminal such as rapists, armed robbers, etc. I’m just saying, trauma and triggers are subjective which makes potentially anything traumatic or triggering.

I just don’t think that someone’s responsibility to cope with their own experiences should be dumped on the public. I’ve had pretty much everything happen to me, and honestly, bleh. Some things “trigger” me but it’s my own responsibility to deal with that. So many things trigger me. I can still feel the cold fur and blood of my puppy after a car pressed his brains out his ears. I can still smell the nose breath of one of many sexual assaillants. God I hate bad nose breath. I can still remember the shape of my miscarriage. The laughter of my bullies as they kicked me deeper and deeper into the creek. And so on. So fucking what. It sucks, it hurts, I get up, I move on. If a thin-skinned crybaby like me can do it, then maybe you can’t, but I can’t cater to that by changing my routine, including how I express myself on the net. Triggers are not a real problem. They are in your head. Some people have cancer. Cancer is real. Triggers are memories flaring up unpleasantly. Sit down. Look at kittens. Leave me alone.

Here, have Hitler making out with a Jewess.

Obviously, I would never make a dead baby joke in a mothers’ group, a Holocaust joke among European Jews, or a rape joke in a self-help group of sexual abuse victims. But in general or unrelated settings, I think people need to simply suck it up that their trauma is their business. I hate being made to feel like I need to tiptoe around people. If you expose yourself to the risk, you can’t blame others for triggering you by using their right to free speech. They are not actually hurting you. It is not about you. It’s really not my problem that someone else is likely to lose control over their emotions over topics people should be free to discuss whenever, wherever, except in totally inappropriate or specific settings. Demanding so is actually rude in my opinion. I deliberately never, ever use trigger warnings. I don’t wish to cater to this. I have a million triggers, and the job to keep control over them, is mine alone.

Here, have some soldiers shooting shit or getting shot.

Really, what’s a trigger? Hell, a blog post about my beautiful dogs once triggered a woman who saw her child mauled by a dog of the same breed. You can’t even declare some topics as obvious triggers, because some people deal with their trauma better than others and may not see the point in a warning. For example, I have so far dismissed any sexual abuse I’ve personally suffered, as bad sex, a shitty encounter, or no worse than a fist fight. This other woman was triggered by my blog post explaining why I love the Akita breed. You might as well put a trigger warning above anything. European Jews may get triggered every time someone says something about Hitler. Dog bite victims may be triggered by the sight of dogs. Burn victims by a tasty stew on the fire. Let’s all starve, a burn victim might not like that roast.

What’s black and blue and hates sex?
A rape victim.

I’m sorry something bad happened to you, but I will not self-censor under 80% of circumstances. Like phobias, trigger responses are irrational and can’t be blamed on the surroundings or the trigger unless the trigger is the actual, original, cause of the response like YOUR rapist, and not just some random guy talking about sex. I can’t demand zoos cover their tarantula displays for my visit because spiders drive me out of my skin. I can choose to walk past spider displays without looking. I can choose to stay out of the spider and snake house altogether. I also cannot be asked to put warnings on all my art and writing just because my work spares no one.

Here, have a decapitated kitten.

Sometimes triggers cannot be avoided, but if you’re gonna go to a platform with a specific topic, you can assume to be triggered and have the choice to not visit that site or view its content.

This post sums it up perfectly how I feel about trigger warnings: http://mic.com/articles/87283/9-feminist-arguments-against-using-trigger-warnings-in-academia

I am empathic to trauma. This post may not sound like it, but I feel sad for anyone who has been hurt without deserving it. But how you deal with it, is up to you.

So do I hate Israel?

3 Jul

I keep getting told things such as:
“You clearly hate Israel!”
“Get the fuck out of Israel if you don’t like it!”
“You’d rather see every last Jew murdered by those Palestinians”
And so on. Nazi, antisemite, self-hating Jew, angry loser, etc.

Well, wrong. Also, those Israeli residents who call me a Nazi will from now on be sued for what little they’re worth.

I love Israel. I’m born here. I love the vitamin D, I love the gazillion cats, I love the beautiful men, the blunt and loud and lively people, I love how far Israel has come in so little time and how resilient and bold it is.
I admire the obscene number of Nobel Prize laureates Israel and Jews worldwide – who are in no way obligated to identify with Israel – have produced. I admire the technological, medical, and other developments made in Israel. Israel is a great contribution to the world from an industrial and science point of view. Israel has a lot to offer. Israelis, as a people, are often friendly, emotionally open, and happy to connect. There is, despite the ugly mud fights between right and left, religious and secular, Jewish and Arab, a great sense of unity in the face of many challenges, and more empathy for the hardship of fellow citizens (if publicized sufficiently – still it exceeds what I’ve seen in other countries).

However, this is only one side of the medal. Each medal has two sides and mass in between the two. The side described above is shiny and real, but the ugly, rusty, shit-covered other side is just as real.

When you love your child, you don’t mindlessly praise them. You most cerainly don’t only praise them. You will want the child to improve and work on/correct mistakes for the child’s sake and for the sake of the world that the child will live in and help create and impact. You will want bad behavior or questionable attitudes gone. This can only be done by means of pointing them out, discussing them, and finding a solution.
You don’t go around (if you love your child) denying that (if) he is a bully, steals, or scores fail grades. You don’t ignore your child’s problems for the sake of upholding your illusion of your perfect little angel.
That is, if you’re a good parent. Then you will praise the good, correct the bad, and hope your child will develop into a well-rounded, wholesome, grounded character who lives up to their own standards.

And at the latter, Israel is failing miserably, and hence I will continue to scold her. She is like the spoilt child that throws temper tantrums, shoves the other kids and steals their lunch money, and then gets excused because of how very truly gifted and also sweet and productive she can be. However, the latter must never justify or downplay the previous, so no matter how big a child prodigy Israel may be, she must learn to behave respectfully, compassionately, and fairly. And she currently does not and never has, or at least not to an acceptable degree.

And I will not have any “But compared to Syria”. If we have to compare ourselves to the smelliest of shitholes in order to look good, we have already lost the debate. We must compare ourselves to the countries Israel (pretends to?) strives to be like – the West. We must compare ourselves to Germany, to the Netherlands, Great Britain, Australia, perhaps america though at least we don’t have this much gun violence… And most of all, we must compare and live up to our own alleged standards of moral superiority. Overall and in our government, we do not.

This criticism doesn’t make me antisemitic, it doesn’t make me anti-Zionist.
I am Zionist in that I believe that Jews get to have this homeland called Israel where they can live passionately and freely as Jews, celebrating and practicing their Jewishness to any degree that each individual one of us pleases – from secular/reform to ultra-Orthodox. I do see this merit in the state of Israel.
However, I do not believe that we require the Zionist supremacy that is currently ruling this Jewish country. We do not need to oppress or put down Gentiles in order to elevate ourselves and enjoy our Jewish homeland as Jews. If the ideal of political Zionism, ie. Israel belonging to Jews, justifies the deportation of its non-Jewish natives, then Germany’s desire to be Aryan would have justified the deportation of all things non-Aryan. The idea of one ethnicity, religious group, race or other ruling supreme by forcefully minimizing incompatible populations, is of the same vileness everywhere, be it Jews or white supremacists. Israel, for being superior to its neighbors in aspects such as technological advance, education, firepower, money etc. has a responsibility to use this power gracefully but she does not. We are, for example, right to be pissed at having rockets fired at us, but if they kill nobody, then what the hell are we bombing and hitting countless civilians for in retaliation? The emotion may be understandable – in anger, don’t we all want to react excessively? – but we have a moral obligation, due to our own standards and pretenses and due to our superior power, to be better than that. We should, and more importantly – we fucking CAN!
Contrary to popular belief, Jews used to be welcome and able to practice in Muslim majority countries until the founding of our state came about and the founders used methods that would poison this peaceful coexistence. If Muslims could be Muslims in Muslim countries despite there being lots of Jews, why can’t Jews be Jews in a Jewish country and embrace its non-Jewish populations?

I am pro-Israel. I am anti-white supremacy (she is), ultra-rightwing Zionist (she is), religion-forced-down-everyones-throat (she is), fuck-everyone-else (she is) Israel. I adore this country, so I want her to be better than this. But regurgitating glorified hasbarah/propaganda, is not the way. It is the way of the coward who would rather live in blissfull denial than to weep at the face of the ugly truth, and then get hurt trying to improve shit.

About that propaganda clip

3 Jul

Some pasty foreign and less-than-involved graduate thinking he should speak for the entire Middle East, has made a propaganda video that really can’t be any more one-sided than this and it’s the exact Israeli version of blame-the-Jews Palestinian propaganda.

1. At about 0:56 and 1:00 of the clip, we see that foreign entities divide land that isn’t theirs to divide, without actual consent from its inhabitants (both Jews and Muslims). The Arab part (red) can be seen shrinking. One well-documented, but also well-silenced reason for that is David Ben Gurion having non-Jewish Arabs deported by force, from land they have called their home for generations. It is true that the state founders accepted the initial partition. But only because they knew how to undermine it. The answer is really in the first mention of chronology: the conflict started in 1947. Yes, because before foreign forces marched in and declared exclusive rights to the land, Jews and Muslims got along just fine in the unestablished, unofficial, but peaceful land they called Palestine. Had this land be “owned” by local Jews only, and not been invaded with the same brutality that Spaniards and Brits invaded America, there had not been a “sudden” surge of mutual hatred. It is simply a matter of reason that Europeans, Russians, and Americans have no business entering the Middle East to declare part of it their home. And since the majority of Jews in power are these foreigners, of course we ALL look bad.

2. Given the facts in point 1., the Muslim anger towards the state of Israel is unsurprising. Another reason for this anger is because what Israel, during its foundation, has done to preserve a victim role and hence, call anything it does, “defense”. Pogroms in surrounding Arab countries have been staged, Muslims framed, by Ben Gurion and the Hagana and the Mossad, to make Jews flee to Israel. Obviously this teaches Muslims one thing only: Zionism is bad news.

3. It doesn’t matter that “most Arabs” (how is this conclusion reached, other than by listening to political leaders who say whatever they feel like, and not always in the name of their people?) don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. As long as this feeling isn’t acted on, it’s just a feeling, just as I don’t recognize the right to exist of rapists, bullies, burglars, and political or religious extremists. By thinking this way, I do no harm. I may be an asshole. Definitely do I offend sensitivities, but I do no harm. The same is true for those Arabs. They are harmless assholes. They get to hate us. Everyone gets to feel anything and get away with it as long as they don’t act on these feelings. And large parts of the Zionist Israeli public also hate Arabs. How is that better?

4. Israel’s attempts at peace have been half-assed and temporary at best. Any Muslim aggression is countered with excessive force/overkill/disproportionate action. 12 rockets from Gaza, no dead, resulting in an IAF airstrikes on populated places..? How is that appropriate? Oh right, “Hamas puts civilians in the line of fire”… But isn’t Israel ever so very strong and morally superior to all of the Middle East? Don’t these characteristics preclude going ahead with those strikes anyway and blaming Hamas if any innocent people get hurt?
Israel also has a history of rejecting peace offers so that Israel itself will have no peace, resulting in Israel “having the right” to continue to throw its weight around. Egypt has repeatedly offered peace to David Ben Gurion, who repeatedly failed to respond, or responded negatively, so that he could continue to treat Egypt as an enemy. If you can treat someone as your enemy, you can hurt them, conquer them, and frame them.

These are absolute historical facts that can be researched. I doubt Muslims have killed as many Israeli Jews as when OUR government made sure to doom the Pisces, a ship full of Jewish refugees, so that he can continue to justify uprooting and deporting Arabs to make room for Jewish refugees “who aren’t safe anywhere”. My own family was bombed out of Iraq; only later it was found that these bombings were performed by Israeli agents on one hand, and Muslims angered by the deliberate misrepresentation of Jews by British, Gurkha, and Zionist collaborators, on the other hand.

Also, Nasser’s 1967 announcement is a misrepresentation of his stance. Nasser REPEATEDLY reached out to Ben Gurion, who repeatedly told him to sod off. Nasser saw that this was not a governor to be reasoned with, hence, well, what do you want the man to do? Further reading on why Nasser decided Israel only understood force: http://uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.co.il/2009/04/interview-naeim-giladi-author-of-jews.html

As for Hamas, that’s a monster Israel created and lost control over: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123275572295011847

It can be concluded that Muslim extremists, as extremists anywhere of any conviction, are a significant part of the problem, but Israel can NOT be excused from contributing to the problem actively and excessively. Take a walk around the flea market in Haifa and tell me: why are houses that look like they used to be glorious, deserted and falling apart? Who lived in there? I’ll tell you who. Arabs, hundreds of thousands of whom were forcefully removed for the sake of founding an all-Jewish state. Had Jews lived in there, and had these houses just been destroyed by Muslim missiles, they would have been rebuilt. But entire streets are deserted and in ruins. This state was not built on deserted land.
Our innocent children may be paying the price, but our leaders have done their utmost to put our children, and Arab children, in harm’s way by claiming claimed land by force, leaving many natives outside the “borders” of what used to be their home.

Let’s just not.

1 Jul

The abduction of 3 Israeli teenagers has sadly ended in tragedy long before this was known. Today, their bodies have been found and it was estimated that they must have been killed shortly after their abduction 2 weeks ago. 

This is the triple murder of innocent teenagers. It is, for its motives, also an act of terrorism and antisemitism. The culprits deserve the harshest possible punishment, with no appeal or pardon. Their accomplices, their enablers, must all be punished as well. 

However, let’s not do this again, this call for collective punishment – more specifically, genocide – of the Palestinian people. It is really no better and no different from Arabs calling for the death of all Jews or all of Israel when the IDF (or any Jewish person or entity) kills innocent Arabs (and yes – they do, too). Never, ever, can an entire people be held accountable for the crimes of a few. Even if all Arabs were to hate us Israeli Jews, this would not make them guilty of anything unless they were to act on that hatred. After all, many Israeli Jews also hate all Arabs collectively – does this justify hating all of us? He who does no harm, does no harm. A hateful Arab is no different from a hateful Jew – he either acts or he doesn’t, and if he does, he’s a criminal. If he does not, he’s innocent. It is that simple.

We must not apply 2 different measures to Jews and non-Jewish Arabs. We must not go around shouting “Death to Arabs” (which is exactly what way too many Israeli Jews are now doing) and then go “Woe is me!” when Arabs go around doing the same. We Jews are not above anything or anyone. We commit the same crimes as everyone else. We steal, we rape, we drive under the influence, we kill on accident and on purpose, we lie, we slander, we litter, we damage property. Just like everyone else. ‘
Statistic says that a murder is committed in Israel once every 3 days. Where is the outrage? Where are the “Death to [culprit]” screams? Why only when the culprit is an Arab? Doesn’t that strike anyone as racist? Anyone? What does it matter who the killer is? Would you rather be murdered by a Jew for your money, than by an Arab for Palestine? Personally, I don’t care why I’m murdered. Please just don’t murder me? Thank you! Really now, people of Israel – all of you, not just Jews – pull your heads out of your asses and realize that murder is murder. Why should an Arab be hated more, or a Jew less, for the same crime? Why is the widely publicized abduction and murder of three Jewish teens by Muslim Arabs, considered so much worse than just as many murders of Jews by Jews or of Gentiles by Jews or of Gentiles by Gentiles or Arabs by Arabs? Remind me, how many awful, callous, murderous parents have “forgotten” their child in a hot car and left him or her to die a horrific death? Where was your outrage? Remind me, where was the outrage when an interfaith couple was found murdered in the Carmel forests? Remind me, why was there less outrage at the murder of Shelly Dadon than of “our boys”? Or are you simply more outraged at the boys’ murders because it turns out that all your adorable little #hashtagging turned out to be a waste of your time after all? 

Where is your outrage at the twice-weekly murders of people less religious, less Zionist, less publicized? I fear for the future of my people, because while it pretends to look out for each-other, this is only true within the respective fractions. Settlers and ultra-rightwing Zionists are one fraction, the ultra-Orthodox another, and then the secular and the non-Jewish. Across these fractions, there is dearly little solidarity. And while we, the secular, do a lot more looking-out for those of other fractions – I and my friends and family were very emotionally involved in the abduction – the opposite is true for the ultra-rightwing Zionists and the settlers who will gladly dismiss or shrug off any misfortune that befalls leftists, seculars, homosexuals, Arabs, etc. They have even been known to mock it. There is no unity. There is collective outrage and cross-sectional hashtagging, but that is all.
Now, I know how ultra-rightwingers will respond to this: “Well, if you stinking Arab-loving lefties would just”… No. Unity is possible and necessary even without everyone changing their opinions to fit one particular view. Unity between all the Jewish fractions, and even beyond the Jewish population of this country – non-Jewish citizens do count – is possible by accepting that we may not agree on everything, but when it comes down to it, have the same goal: peace upon Israel. The goal is not to eliminate Palestinians, the goal is not to get rid of the settlers; these “goals” are merely different interpretations of how to reach the true goal – peace. If there are so many discriminatory solutions, there should be inclusive solutions, too. Long story short, we can be united without dismissing one-another for our political beliefs as long as we agree on one thing: wanting to live here in peace and prosperity. And we do.

The other question is whether a Jewish life is worth more than a non-Jewish Arab’s. I specify “non-Jewish Arab” because as much as they hate the thought, Jews from Arab countries are Arabs. Arab is not a dirty word, so deal with it. I refuse to say “Sephardic” because it’s simply bullshit: so what if they set foot on the Iberian Peninsula, my grandfather came through Iran and that hardly makes him Iranian. I will not call Moroccans, Iraqis, Yemenis, etc. what might as well be another word for “Spaniards”. I know that since the establishment of our state, a social and political preference has been given to European/white Jews and the Mizrachim/Arabs are still not quite as respected and so it’s tempting to appropriate them and tell them “You’re from a white place, now act the part!”, and it’s easier for them to pretend, too. But you guys aren’t white, you aren’t Europeans, and that is totally cool!
But I digress: the value of Jewish life. I know that religious Jews, political Zionists, radical right-wingers, and a couple of others like to emphasize the value of the “Jewish soul” over that of “Goyim”, but let’s just not. If we want to prance around like a gay unicorn squealing “We’re God’s chosen people!”, then we have a moral obligation to act the part. And if we are to believe that our God is merciful and good, then we don’t get to oppress or discriminate against other people. And while I know I’m asking for quite a lot here, I will do it anyway: no matter how religious you are, would you please make some room in there for common sense and non-religious morality? Such as, hey, let’s not dismiss the death of Palestinian/Muslim/Druze people because they’re not Jewish! How’s that sound?
After all, no matter what your justification is, considering one life more precious than another, is an immoral and utterly despicable mentality. It matters not whether you base this thought on your religious, racial, political, or other views. It does not matter whether you’re Jewish and quoting some Torah verse, or a white supremacist quoting Hitler when you proclaim that some lives are worth more than others based not on their actions, but on their ethnicity, religion, sexuality, appearance, or other such factors. And here’s where I’ll just say it: the same goes for americans screeching that their troops are heroes for murdering all those Iraqis. So, when an Arab kills americans with the goal of destabilizing the enemy, he’s a terrorist. Okay. But now it gets weird: when an american bombs an entire Arab country, now that’s heroism? This implies that an american life is considered more worthy of preservation than an Arab life. And this implies that whoever feels that way, has been watching all those Nazi documentaries for the wrong reason. Solidarity with your own people is great – but you can love your own without dehumanizing others. Collective strikes against an entire people, are dehumanizing. If an individual does not threaten you or your people, you do not get to devalue their life. The absolute, rock-hard fact is, that the majority of Iraqis did never, ever, threaten americans. The absolute, rock-hard fact is, that the majority of Arabs, Palestinians or other, may hate Israel, but will never do us any harm because they want the same as we do – to be left the fuck alone.

Once again, it has been evidenced that Israel’s problem is not “leftists” or “Palestinians”. It’s people who cannot look beyond their own indoctrinations, and who judge people by their ethnicity, religion, or political fraction. People who defend the murder of Arabs but condemn the murder of Jews, people who defend the murder of Jews but condemn the murder of Arabs, they are both the same thorn in the ass of peace. Once again it has been proven that hate-spewing radicals on both sides of The Conflict are the true problem. Arab radicals who abduct and murder Jewish civilians on one hand, and Zionist radicals who make sure to continue to provide Arab radicals with excuses to carry on hating us by inciting against Arabs, and regularly putting this incitement into practice.

It is by no means anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, or pro-Nazi to oppose the genocide of Arabs or to question the outrage only seen when a victim was obviously identifiable as Jewish. Not determining the tragedy of the loss of someone’s child by this child’s ethnicity or religion, is only one thing – anti-racist. If you disagree with something so obvious, you are why antisemitism exists because in its nature, antisemitism is the same as any other kind of minority hate. Is antisemitism really worse than white supremacy, homophobia, or any other violent persecution of people for what they are? Why can’t we agree that all political, ethnic, religious, gender, and racial persecution needs to end? And why won’t you take a step towards that?