The Rhetoric of Condemnation

Oct 20, 2023

Most people are not so foolish, and understand that the Palestinians have been in a cruel, impossible, and unjust position for decades, and also that if Israel were to simply relinquish its authority and lay down arms, civil war and bloodbath would be immediate. It doesn’t matter which side you accuse of war crimes, even if you are right. Of course you are right. But you are helping nothing but the cause of your own self-righteousness. Or worse, you are helping one side gird itself for and justify new atrocities against the other.

If you want to do some good, you have to actually help unravel the thorny circumstances under which each side understandably views the commission of war crimes as superior to the alternative, despite all of our righteous condemnation. Israel should have a government that offers real hope of progress for the Palestinians, rather than one that buys the support of fascists by continually dispossessing Palestinian residents of the West Bank, and buys the support of many others by promising safety while keeping the dispossessed out-of-sight and out-of-mind like factory-farmed poultry. The Palestinians should have governments that are meaningfully accountable to their publics, with legally enshrined regular elections, rather than one mafia that finds patrons for its terrorism and another mafia that finds patrons by collaborating.

↑ up