Monday, August 11, 2014

operation protect edge do-it-yourself update

i mentioned bnw's husband's anti-zionist post on my wall, claiming israel is guilty of war crimes and is systematically exterminating arabs.

me: bnwh, i don't know where you copied this from but it's completely divorced from the reality of what's going on over there. i would appreciate if you kept anti-zionist / pro-hamas propaganda off my comment threads. facts and rational arguments are welcome, lies and deliberate blindness are not.


your sources are not legitimate. if you really care about what's going on over there i'll be happy to meet with you and explain where my point of view comes from.

observer: i just want to say that you need to be more accepting of other people's opinions. i am frankly appalled at the way that you have responded to bnwh's citation of un figures.
literally just typing in "gaza" and "un" results in devastating news stories from legitimate sources.
[one] headline reads "gaza 'will not be liveable by 2020' - un report"

i understand that this issue is deeply contentious because peoples' lives are at stake. however, it is simply asinine to post the israeli point of view and then to discount any opposing opinions. to say on a public forum, "your sources are not legitimate" is tantamount to saying "i am only speaking to be heard and not to listen."

whether you believe that is how you are communicating to the world is irrelevant. it is how i (and perhaps others) perceive your diction. it is incredulous to request that you have the opportunity to "explain where my point of view comes from" when you refuse to respond rationally to a counter-argument that is actually mainstream and internationally-accepted.

the problem is that almost everyone has been flooded by incredibly skewed media - the numbers are questionable, but they're also not the point. the facts on the ground are, and when you cite things that suggest that israel is on a mission to exterminate people, that israelis don't care about the palestinians or even that they're negligent, you're already completely off as far as facts are concerned. everyone's doing a bang-up job of demonizing the israelis and making them seem like bloodthirsty maniacs, which couldn't be further from the truth.

the disturbing nature of a propaganda war is that all of the "israel is bringing excessive force to bear on innocent palestinians" is nothing more than incitement to perpetuate the war, the innocent people who are getting hurt (a fair number of whom aren't really innocent, but that doesn't detract from the horror of the killing of those who are) are actually being hurt more by the moral outrage and the implicit support that it brings for the hamas. the constant referrals to "the occupation" which is a problem but which has nothing to do with the conflict is another technique used to label the israelis an "apartheid state", which it most certainly isn't, and which is actually quite offensive not just to israelis but to any south africans who have the slightest inkling of what apartheid is about and how israel is in fact the only country in the middle east wherein that kind of behaviour ISN'T tolerated.

what i'm planning on explaining to bnwh is where my authority to speak on the subject comes from, what its limitations are, and why the situation there is a bloody, ugly mess and what the options are or aren't going forward.

oh, and how filter bubbles work against us. all of us. i don't want to debate opinions, i want to debate facts. there are plenty of those to go around, but anti-zionist propaganda and willful lies have built up a notion of what's going on over there that's utterly divorced from reality. that's not a healthy debate to enter.

also, what you don't see is that my opinion is NOT blindly pro-israel. and i've refrained from posting anything other than that which i have solid sources for, or confidence in because i've experienced it (one way or another) myself. and i'm certainly not in the pro-netanyahu camp, i'm actually horrified that he's still in power and that he's been lying to everyone, including the israelis.
and if you'd like more details or a real debate i'd be happy to discuss everything with you, too. or anybody. but not on an online comment thread, because it takes more time to type and it's only ever a single side talking at once - this is the kind of story where if you're not asking critical questions or being asked them all the time, you've no clue what's going on. [these forums are] for cheap feel-good or feel-righteous posts and i'm doing my best to focus on the psychologically uncomfortable realities that anybody who really cares has to face.

in response to an angry post slamming bnwh: the reason everyone's repeating all this stuff is because they don't understand what's going on and that's not their fault. if you were flooded with bullshit from all sides you'd buy into it too. and if you become indignant and refuse to talk they're not going to hear anything else.

people don't get that they're being taken advantage of ideologically. they also don't get that there's a level of ugliness to human behaviour that they've been protected from their whole lives. don't be angry with those who've been fooled, be patient and understanding. we need people to understand what's really happening.

the following is the smartest thing i've seen since shit went crazy: i don't want to question your authority considering your personal experience with the region. you are also free to be comfortable with critiquing or discounting news sources that i have presented.

i figure that in order for this conversation to move forward in a meaningful way (and hopefully, congenially), i would like to ask what you consider to be a reliable source. you have mentioned the importance of facts. the interesting thing about reality is that it is exceptionally difficult to be certain of anything. facts are merely the things that we, as an increasingly international society, feel very certain about. and in order to feel certain, we equip our best and brightest with the tools and teachings that enable them to represent complex, changing environments as accurately as possible so that we, the public, can make informed decisions.

this is why i trust information from the un. from the washington post. the intercept. etc.
[at least two of which are notoriously anti-israel sources]

if i were citing foxnews, cnn, msnbc, sure, you would have a stronger argument. but, i have certainly invested time investigating and grading my news sources. you are welcome to do the same and i encourage you to do so as well (or wtv). however, if you are to consider my sources incredible, then i would request that you post what you consider to be credible sources, so that we may have a more transparent conversation. or not - you mentioned your disdain for online conversations. personally, i love them because of the capacity to reference the vast library that is the internet.

it's hard for me to suggest a news source because the reason i don't follow the news through regular outlets is that i've witnessed first hand how out of control media bias is - and that goes both ways. journalists and their employers are paid to sell stories, and honesty in reporting is difficult when so much of what they're producing is being fed to them by interested parties.

having said that, whichever news sources you follow you need to make sure you're balancing them because there's no such thing as objective reporting.

israeli news sources will give you an idea of how the israelis see things and why they're doing what they're doing:
(the first one is the "left" newspaper, so i guess you'd view it as the most balanced) and should give you an insight as to why you can't trust everything you hear out of gaza, and why un sources are not reliable at all.

for general middle east fun check out

bear in mind that there's also no such thing as objective reading, in this case you're reading with western values and you're ignoring or misreading the things that don't make sense to those values because you're not equipped with the cultural context to follow what's going on.


the spreading of these stories without knowing what's going on is only making it harder and harder for people to understand what's happening, and the long-term effects of these judgement calls are truly scary (see upsurge in antisemitism). what's happening over there right now is a nightmare and the external aggression is only making things worse for everyone involved, not better. dehumanizing either side of the fence is a recipe for disaster, and these are subjects that cannot be summarized neatly.

finally: cnn on journalists' responsibility to provide context and lisa daftari making a distressingly good point about the global context.

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