As a Jewish Anti-Zionist, Here’s What I’ve Been Reading This Week

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Like so many of my political awakenings, I came to anti-Zionism through art.

In 2014, The Freedom Theatre spoke at my university as part of an Art as Resistance series. Located in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, The Freedom Theatre was established to use art as a tool to address fear, depression, and trauma among children. The representatives from the organization talked to us about their education programs, their theatre school, and their full-scale productions. They also spoke of the challenges they face doing this work in the West Bank.

The Freedom Theatre is not a radical organization, but as an American Jew taught to unequivocally support Israel, the talk was eye-opening. Afterward, I spoke to three Israeli classmates of mine who were studying abroad and they educated me further. They had served in the IDF but now denounced their service. They confirmed the talk we had just attended was not false propaganda, but a mild sample of the horrors they’d witnessed.

I signed up for The Freedom Theatre’s mailing list and made it a goal to learn more about the occupation. I’d been raised to study the Holocaust and say, “never again.” The realization that “never again” only meant “never again for Jewish people” was harrowing.

After nearly a decade, I’m still pursuing my goal to learn more about the occupation. I do not think it is uniquely complicated, but I do think our world is always complicated, and there’s always more to learn. During a fraught conversation with a family member this week, it became clear that I’m far more knowledgeable about the last two decades of the occupation than I am the early years of Zionism and the 20th century violence in Palestine. That is a gap I hope to fill in the coming months and years.

But a lack of expertise should not be an excuse to turn away; it should be an invitation to learn. The only thing I was taught in my childhood that wasn’t pro-Israel  was that “the Israel/Palestine conflict” was just too complicated. If this is how you feel — as friends and family and voices you trust post conflicting statements — I’d encourage you to learn more, not less.

Rather than make any arguments of my own, I’d like to share with you what I’ve been reading this week as well as some other pieces I’ve read and watched over the years. Whether you feel completely ignorant on this topic or were raised to embrace Zionism, I hope you’ll read these words with an open mind. Even if you’re someone who will never agree with me, I know it’s important we try to understand each other — we must see the humanity in every person.


“We Cannot Cross Until We Carry Each Other” by Arielle Angel in Jewish Currents

“Most of our internal disagreements center on the correct container for our grief. Our staff is not unlike the rest of the Jewish world in that many of us are only a matter of degrees from someone who died or was taken hostage. How can we publicly grieve the death and suffering of Israelis without these feelings being politically metabolized against Palestinians?”

“Where the Palestinian Political Project Goes from Here” by Isaac Chotiner, interviewing Tareq Baconi, in The New Yorker

“If we want to think about Hamas and its political project, the group still doesn’t speak on behalf of all Palestinians. Palestinians are not all Islamists. The bigger issue here is that the Palestinian political project, which was the P.L.O., which was actually more in line with anti-colonial movements in the seventies and the eighties, was equally treated as a terrorist organization by the West until it was decimated both institutionally and through the assassination and imprisonment of Palestinian political leaders. This was the decimation of the political project of the anti-colonial movement. And, in the Palestinian case, it worked, or worked temporarily. But the political project right now is reconstituting itself, and so far Hamas is the loudest manifestation of that project.”

“Gaza’s shock attack has terrified Israelis. It should also reveal the context” by Haggai Matar in +972 Magazine

“The dread Israelis are feeling right now, myself included, is a sliver of what Palestinians have been feeling on a daily basis under the decades-long military regime in the West Bank, and under the siege and repeated assaults on Gaza. The responses we are hearing from many Israelis today — of people calling to ‘flatten Gaza,’ that ‘these are savages, not people you can negotiate with,’ ‘they are murdering whole families,’ ‘there’s no room to talk with these people’ — are exactly what I have heard occupied Palestinians say about Israelis countless times.”

“Jewish Grief Must Not Be Used As a Weapon of War” by Stefanie Fox in The Nation

“It is in our tradition to sit shiva for seven days—to pause to reflect and to mourn. But I cannot sit back while Jewish grief and trauma is weaponized by the Israeli government to destroy Gaza. As I write this, Israel just announced that the 1.1 million Palestinians in northern Gaza—half of them children—will have 24 hours to flee, which the UN has already deemed impossible. The US government is beating the drums of war, rushing to send more weapons to the Israeli military to wreak utter devastation.”

“The Gaza Bombshell” by David Rose in Vanity Fair

Note: This article is from 2008. I’d been seeing people use the election of Hamas as a justification for the invasion of Gaza and wanted to better understand that election, as well as the ways American colonialism creates violence around the world. If it needs to be said: just like American citizens did not deserve to be murdered for the election of George W. Bush, Palestinian citizens do not deserve to be murdered for the election of Hamas, regardless of the circumstances.

“Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America’s behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)

But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza.”

“Where Is My Birthright?” by Suha Najjar in The Michigan Daily

Note: I’ve been trying to better understand my family and peers who support Israel and I kept thinking about Birthright. I never went on this trip because I came to my anti-Zionism pretty early into college, but I know how much it shaped people I know. This first article from 2014 is by a Palestinian writer, the article that follows is a New York Times piece from 2019 about the evolving responses to Birthright, and the Jewish Currents roundtable, also from 2019, includes five conflicting essays about how to have an ethical relationship to Birthright. 

“I am Palestinian; I am from Huj, yet I am not allowed to visit Palestine. I am not allowed to leave the 136 square mile open-air prison densely populated by 1.7 million people. On the other hand, my Jewish peers in my American high school would come back every summer boasting about their birthright trips. Most of them were born here, and their parents and grandparents were also born in the United States. Many times they were of European descent. However, none of them were actually born in Israel. Until this day I don’t understand how it is their right to visit a country which they have never been to or have never known to be home, but I, who — like so many generations before me — was born in Palestine, am not even allowed to visit my own home. How is it that other kids are getting free trips to travel across the world, yet when I was in the Jabalia refugee camp, I was not allowed to drive a few miles to visit the place where my father’s history yearns to be affirmed? Another “holy” site of sorts, off limits. Where was my birthright?”

“Birthright Trips, a Rite of Passage for Many Jews, Are Now a Target of Protest” by Farah Stockman in The New York Times

“Ms. Nagel said the protests had prompted an important conversation that Jewish Americans needed to have. She said that she, too, had been attending more Jewish religious and social events since the trip.

‘I’ve been to more Shabbats and Havdalahs,” she said, referring to the Jewish Sabbath and a ritual marking its end. “What’s different is that at our Shabbats and Havdalahs, we talk about racism, sexism and the occupation.’”

“Roundtable: The Ethical Response to Birthright” in Jewish Currents

“In the aftermath, IfNotNow fielded questions from across the political spectrum as to why we supported participants in walking off Birthright trips. Israel’s liberal defenders would ask why we left the trips instead of staying and continuing to ask questions. In fact, I did attempt to ask questions in an effort to change the minds of the 40 other people on my trip. But my questions were dismissed and ignored as we regularly drove past the separation wall without any acknowledgment of what lies on the other side. By contrast, when we walked off, we were able to livestream the whole thing to Facebook and to alert international media. Videos and articles about our action (including in the New York Times) went viral, allowing us to reach millions and to challenge the widely accepted notion that Birthright is apolitical. By the end of the summer of 2018, if you were an American Jew between the ages of 18 and 26 googling ‘Birthright’ to sign up for a trip, you would see articles and videos about our actions. The media coverage generated by these actions did far more good than asking questions of our tour guides did.”

“My Child Asks, ‘Can Israel Destroy Our Building if the Power Is Out?’” by Refaat Alareer in The New York Times

Note: This article is from 2021.

“Then comes the intolerable indecision: I am caught between wanting to take the family outside, despite the missiles, shrapnel and falling debris, and staying at home, like sitting ducks for the American-made, Israeli-piloted planes. We stayed at home. At least we would die together, I thought.

The deafening strikes destroy Gaza’s infrastructure, cutting off roads leading to hospitals and water supplies, bringing down access to the internet. Many of the targets Israel hits have no strategic value. Israel knows this, and knows how it unnerves us. I wonder what those officers do in their command centers: Do they draw straws on which block to annihilate? Do they roll a dice?”

“Solidarity With Palestine Is Not a Crime” by Nima Shirazi in The Nation

“In our Israel/Palestine narrative, at best, only the most perfect Palestinian victims are allowed to be mourned, their murders blamed on the faceless, sinister entity known as Hamas, not the actual Israeli pilot who followed orders to flatten their home with a missile or fire white phosphorus at their ambulance. Peaceful resistance to occupation, apartheid, and colonization is met with false accusations of anti-Semitism and outlawed. When Palestinians in Gaza mobilized en masse for a year and a half against the siege and occupation with the symbolic Great March of Return toward the fence that separates the blockaded territory from southern Israel, IDF snipers shot and killed over 200 protesters and wounded more than 33,000.”

“Against the Pinkwashing of Israel” by Ashley Bohrer in Al Jazeera

Note: This article is from 2014. 

“Israeli LGBT organisation Aguda estimates that around 2,000 Palestinian queers live in Tel-Aviv at any one time, most of them illegally. The dismantling of economic stability and opportunity inside Palestine forces LGBT Palestinians to leave their homes and to live as undocumented, precarious workers in Israel, where they have no protections against harassment, rape, intimidation, or job discrimination, and in which finding safe housing and steady employment are scarce.

The options presented to LGBTQ Palestinians are living as stateless, undocumented migrants or braving the constant violence and indignity of living in occupied territories. Neither of these sounds like LGBT liberation to me.”

“Imagining Myself in Palestine” by Randa Jarrar in Guernica Magazine

Note: This article is from 2012. 

“Finally, they took me to a room in the corner of the baggage claim area. It was becoming clear to me that at Ben Gurion, unjust things happened in corners. The guards asked me to open my bags. I did as I was told. I noted that the room was filthy. The Israelis were concerned with showing a clean and gleaming exterior—the floors of the airport outside shone–but for suspected threats and people like myself, behind closed doors, tucked away in dirty corners, they hadn’t bothered. A very butch young woman asked me to follow her. She led me to yet another room, where the walls were faded and filthy, and the floor was covered in dirty carpet, littered with small bits of paper and hair clips. It reeked of intimidation, and of humiliation.”

“Why I believe the BDS movement has never been more important than now” by Omar Barghouti in The Guardian

“The anti-racist, nonviolent BDS movement, supported by labor and farmers unions, as well as racial, social, gender and climate justice movements that collectively represent tens of millions worldwide, is inspired by the South African anti-apartheid struggle and the US civil rights movement. But it is rooted in a century-old, often unacknowledged heritage of indigenous Palestinian popular resistance to settler colonialism and apartheid. This nonviolent resistance has taken many forms, from mass workers’ strikes, to women-led marches, to public diplomacy, to building universities, to literature and art.”

“Explanations Are Not Excuses” by Sarah Schulman in New York Magazine

“There is always, of course, the choice to end the siege of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank and end the second-class reality of Palestinians living in Israel. Make everyone equal citizens with the same rights to vote, passports, roads, universities. The reason this solution of just reconciliation, known as ‘One State,’ is not yet on the table is because of this selective reality: this panic that equalizing Palestinians in Israel would be allowing an enemy in, one that is fundamentally opposed to Israeli existence. But what this fear overlooks is that Palestine, like every society in the world, is a multidimensional society. Like Jews and Americans and Israelis, Palestinians contain multiple factions and religious perspectives — Muslim, Christian, Druse — and they hold a wide variety of political visions. The only thing they share is the desire to be free. They would never be able to act like a united block and all vote in the same way, for example, in the same way that we cannot. Because they are human, as we know ourselves to be. To fear unanimity is to imagine they are different from everyone else on earth.”


Some Other Things I’ve Watched and Read Over the Years:

  • First, I recommend signing up for the Freedom Theatre’s mailing list and signing up for the Palestine Museum’s mailing list.. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about Palestinian art, culture, and experience.
  • My second article ever written for Autostraddle was a review of Maysaloun Hamoud’s incredible film In Between. I appreciate how this movie shows the intersecting experiences of sexism, homophobia, and occupation. No point of oppression excuses the other — instead they compound upon the lives of these three Palestinian women living in Tel Aviv. It is currently streaming for free on Kanopy.
  • The response this week has been frighteningly reminiscent of post-9/11 sentiment. I was too young and sheltered to really understand the bigotry and jingoism at that time, but learned a lot from reading How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi.
  • At TIFF 2022, one of the best films I saw was Firas Khoury’s Alam. It was supposed to screen last week at the Boston Palestinian Film Festival before that was canceled. It will next be screening at the Other Israel Film Festival in New York on November 1st. If you’re not in New York, keep an eye out for its streaming release next year. It’s such a powerful film that honors the youth of the teenage activists in its story.
  • There are too many things to list, but I’d also like to add how much my anti-Zionism is born from being a student of the Holocaust. Understanding the circumstances that led to that genocide — rather than just writing off Nazis as evil — has led to a deeper understanding of cyclical violence. Humans are capable of horrific acts, but I cannot — I will not — believe humans are inherently horrifying.

Here Are Some Things I Still Want to Read and Watch:

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Drew Burnett Gregory

Drew is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is a Senior Editor at Autostraddle with a focus in film and television, sex and dating, and politics. Her writing can also be found at Bright Wall/Dark Room, Cosmopolitan UK, Refinery29, Into, them, and Knock LA. She was a 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Notable Writer and a 2023 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow. She is currently working on a million film and TV projects mostly about queer trans women. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Drew Burnett has written 538 articles for us.

27 Comments

  1. Notice how Jordan and Egypt have stated they refuse to take in Palestinian refugees, and other neighboring countries (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq) have stayed quiet on the subject.

    An untenable situation for the Palestinians is being created here – they cannot stay in Gaza, yet they are not being given anywhere else to go. No-one wants to shelter them.

    From a predictive standpoint, Israel will likely continue the assault on Gaza, and may even invade.

    So where are the Palestinians to go? Staying in Gaza would be death or imprisonment by Israel, a two-state or one-state solution is likely no longer possible due to the actions taken by Hamas, and the neighboring countries refuse to take in Palestinian refugees.

    With that math, I fear the ultimate end for Gaza, and the Palestinians is death.

  2. As an Israeli, I don’t really care about the word Zionism.
    I was born here in Israel, my parents were born her, they parents were born here. We are all Jewish.

    What would you do if you were me? What would you do if terrorist groups like Hamas tried to kill you and claimed your home belongs to them?
    That’s what they are doing to me. And to my Israeli brothers and sisters.

    You have the privilege to look at this conflict from an outsider point of view.
    We, Israelis, do not.
    If we didn’t have the IDF, hamas and Islamic terrorists would try to kill us, constantly. They try all the time, there are constant terror attacks and rockets attacks on innocent Israeli.

    Where is that side of the story in your article? Why is it so one sided?
    Why don’t you say something about the 1,300 (!!!!!!!) Israelis that got murdered in horrible ways last Saturday, just because they were Jewish?
    They did nothing wrong.
    Babies were killed. Children and women and elderly kidnapped into Gaza.
    Even if Israel did occupy Palestine (which is false), how does it justify the horrible things Hamas did to your fellow jews, just because of our religion?

    Also, do you have any idea what Islamic people here, especially in Gaza, do to lgbt+ people like me and you?
    They kill us, they hunt us, they put us in prison.
    Meanwhile in Israel, every year, there’s a big pride parade in every major city.

    Please check all the facts and do be so one sided.
    As a fellow Jewish, as an Israeli, I encourage you to learn more, from the other point of view.
    Look for Noa Tishbi or Yoseph Haddad. Their videos explain the situation.
    And if you wanna talk, I’m open to start a conversation. Just please don’t be one sided and think about the 1,300 Israelis who lost their lives. About their families. And the 200 Israelis Hamas kidnapped.

    Have a good day.

    • “I’d also like to add how much my anti-Zionism is born from being a student of the Holocaust.”

      Hi Drew, I am curious to hear more. Could you please explain what “being a student of the Holocaust” showed you that led to your “anti-Zionism”?

      • The Holocaust was the shifting point for a mass exodus of Jews from Europe to Palestine — not because they necessarily wanted to move to Palestine (though it was promoted as an Aliyah) but because Europe was overwhelmed by anti-semitic sentiment. Important to note that even ally nations like the US refused Jewish refugees.

        Palestine was a British-owned colony, and so the British facilitated this mass exodus, along with the Nazi party which sought to navigate around an international boycott by offering Jews a path of exodus.

        They knowingly orchestrated this, encouraging tens of thousands of Jews to flee to Palestine, where there was already tension between Arabs and Jews, and then did nothing to quell the resulting conflict.

        Europe continued to be inhospitable to Jewish people after WW2, and Jewish forces in what became Israel facilitated continued immigration, much of which was illegal. Jews from other areas in the Middle East dealing with hostility were also sometimes expelled to Israel.

        The theme here is that because of continued global anti-semitism, major world players stepped in to allow Israel to emerge as a Jewish state in what was largely an Arab-held space. And they have since also supported the military efforts of the state of Israel.

        The idea on its face is absurd: let us force Jews to repopulate a land which was the home for other people for many generations, and give them financial support to build a military force so they can control and evict those people with whom they have conflicted for decades. And why? Because we don’t want them to live among us, and we don’t want a reminder of the Holocaust that we all turned a blind eye to until it got out of control.

        Israel, in many ways, was nothing more than a huge act of anti-semitism.

        • I disagree with the idea that Israel itself is an act of anti-Semitism because the need for a Jewish state was born out of (global) anti-Semitism. Odd converse error, but maybe I am taking your words too literally. Aside from that, I really appreciated reading your take.

          My (Jewish) grandfather sacrificed his life smuggling arms to the Zionists to create a space that was safe for Jewish immigration. He did this after much of his family was captured and placed on a train to Treblinka (turns out that train ride consisted of weeks without food in cramped quarters and was topped off with toxic-gas showers! 0/10 train ride, would not recommend). My point is that he understood first-hand the dangers of anti-Semitism, and he viewed Zionism as the only option available to keeping people like him safe.

          Of course, I agree with you that the chosen *geographical location* for the Zionist state could not have been worse. Of course, the British didn’t think or care enough about the inevitable conflicts that would ensue. But there’s nothing we can do about that now unless we want to start a petition for the UK to annex half of its land to create a new home for the Jews (not sure how the Israelis would feel about that but this American Jew would be DOWN). More seriously, I think that the western powers need to publicly admit that they fucked up. That they put two different vulnerable populations in a boiler room and then shut the door on both of them… And there needs to be a global opening of borders to accept refugees from Palestine because I’m afraid that Hamas is making a two -state solution completely untenable.

          What we do not need is one-sided reporting that paints a picture of the root of all evils being the existence of a Jewish state. Responsible discussion must include both empathy for the horrific plight of the Palestinian people and an understanding of WHY the Jews needed a safe state, WHY this particular geography was the only option available to them, and WHY a two-state solution has not been reached (note that under Ottoman Syrian rule, the Palestinian Christians and Muslims had to share the land despite major religious and even cultural differences – although that was also not without its bloodbaths).

          • Some good points here, Sarah, and certainly as someone raised Jewish in the US, I was not immune to the indoctrination efforts of Zionism that is part of our cultural legacy. My grandmother lost 4 uncles in the Holocaust, and I mention that to solidify the very personal connection my own family has to the experience. It is very painful to watch Jews around me experience PTSD from this most recent attack by Hamas.

            “an understanding of WHY the Jews needed a safe state, WHY this particular geography was the only option available to them”

            But this is where we depart views. There is no reason that the land called Israel was the only option available to Jews. There was already conflict in that space going back to the first efforts by Jews to repopulate it many many years after the Diaspora. The reason that land was chosen was in part that Jews wanted it back and used religious doctrine to support their belief.

            Frankly, what led to my break with Judaism was the ridiculous notion that “Jews are the chosen people” – an ideology spread throughout the religion and expressed in Zionism as well. Sorry, but if we are all here together, we are all chosen by God (if you subscribe to deism).

            I will certainly acknowledge that the Diaspora was the result of Jews being exiled from the land they inhabited. That is a tale as old as time experienced by many people in may places. It does not make the land theirs, implicitly, because the earth does not belong to any specific people, it belongs to all of us.

            I have refrained from commenting about this in many other spaces, as I see folks I love choosing sides – the reality is that there is only one side. We cannot make peace with war.

            I am sympathetic to anyone who is dealing with the impact of terrorism in any of its forms, including war. I also think it incredibly unfortunate that so many people are quick to weigh in without context and historical understanding.

            These same battles, btw, are being fought in less obvious ways within our own borders – a cultural refusal of new waves of immigrants seeking a better life, a cultural refusal to acknowledge the genocide perpetrated on people who lived here before us….

          • @KC “There is no reason that the land called Israel was the only option available to Jews. There was already conflict in that space going back to the first efforts by Jews to repopulate it many many years after the Diaspora. The reason that land was chosen was in part that Jews wanted it back and used religious doctrine to support their belief.”

            You’re right. Thank you. I’m assuming you’re referring to Argentina, Uganda, etc. The way I framed that point was wrong and driven by my own lack of understood of the nuance there. There were other options that European powers would have supported. I will be the first to admit that I don’t know enough about the in-fighting among the various Zionist groups at the time that Palestine became the lead contender for a space for Jewish refugees. But you’re right that I was too quick to blame only Britain for that error. While many of the Zionists opposed the selection of this particular land (which had been for hundreds of years under Ottoman rule up until the early 1900s), those who were for it because of its marketability as the holy land deserve part of the historic blame. That said, a lot of us have ended up in countries that we selfishly took from people who were there before us. And I’m curious how far we can take our own anti-colonial guilt. Should we be anti-American? Or should we instead be critical of the American government while still supporting its existence? If the only government whose existence we will support is one with an unblemished past then I’m afraid we’re up for global anarchy (& in that hyper-moralistic-approaching-nihilistic world order we seem so eager to invite … good luck to us pro-peace lgbtq people fighting against the anti-lgbtq militia without any secular democratic protections).

            Again, my point is NOT that Palestinians don’t deserve rights and representation and peace and prospects, that Netanyahu and his even more right-wing racist cronies are reprehensible, that the expansion of settlements is justified… Gross. My point is that we can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

            We can’t suddenly forget to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization. We can and must hold Israel to a much, MUCH higher standard than its behavior for the past several decades, stand for the rights of Palestinians, look for an opportunity to offer a true two-state solution (which is again only tenable of Hamas is ousted), and refuse to fund the obliteration of innocent civilians. But we cannot start using words like “genocide” loosely lest they lose all meaning. And we cannot call for the end of the state of Israel without any clear alternative state that would safeguard the rights of both Palestinians AND Israelis (note: A single joint state is a beautiful but unfortunately totally ludicrous pipe dream… would love to be convinced otherwise by someone better informed than I am).

            I do like the idea that all of the public fervor MIGHT have the positive effect of forcing Netanyahu to concede a Palestinian state along the ’67 demarcation lines. But that requires defeating Hamas first.

    • Did you read any of the links Drew shared?
      When you ask why Drew didn’t mention the 1,300 Israeli civilians killed, why did you not also ask about the 2,300 Palestinians killed?

      Perhaps she was advocating for better understanding.

      I knew people at that festival as well, and still I know Israel’s government actions are not right

      • Yes… They are all anti-Zionist. Exactly zero articles or essays describing the Zionist perspective.

        You may agree that Drew’s perspective is “right,” but you cannot possibly believe that the autostraddle reporting has been anything other than one-sided.

    • First, I’m very sensitive to the fact that antisemitism has been on the rise and I can only imagine how scary it has been for the innocent people in Israel and how devastating it is for anyone with ties to Israel. Also, thank you for sharing additional resources to look into and learn from – I’ll look up Noa Tishbi and Yoseph Haddad.

      I do have a couple of honest questions for you. I truly do not mean any disrespect or to minimize the suffering of those impacted by the attacks from Hamas. I just want to get your perspective on a couple things that, quite frankly, horrify me. I don’t think any government or military is above criticism, including that of Israel.

      “Also, do you have any idea what Islamic people here, especially in Gaza, do to lgbt+ people like me and you?”

      Did you know that the leader of the Religious Zionist Party calls himself a “proud homophobe” and the leader of the Noam party wants to cancel pride parades and advocates for conversion therapy? And Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Amichai Chikli, says he finds the annual pride parade to be “vulgar” and that the LGBTQ rainbow flag is an antizionist symbol. I am not okay with that and surely you wouldn’t be either?

      Also, are you aware that the Israeli Defense Minister called the people in Gaza “human animals” and called for all electricity, food, and water to be cut off for the entire population of Gaza, half of which are children. This language shocked me and immediately made me think of the rhetoric Nazis used to dehumanize the Jews. And to deprive so many innocent children of food and water?? Surely there’s another way to ensure safety for Israelis.

      I am horrified by the acts of Hamas. And I am horrified by some of the words and actions of the Israeli government and IDF. How can we hold all of them accountable before any more innocent lives are taken?

  3. Thank you

    For people demanding neutrality and balance,

    As Howard Zinn said, You can’t be neutral on a moving train.

    As Elie Wiesel said, (yes, a Zionist. One whose words have been influential to the formation of this anti-Zionist)

    “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.”

    I understand that the generational trauma of Jewish people is contributing to the perpetuation of human rights abuses in pursuit of safety and control. But I understand it as a reason, and not as an excuse. Other choices can be made. Brave and compassionate choices. Another world is possible.

    • I… Don’t even know how to respond to this.

      Your argument against neutrality is to quote other people arguing against neutrality in very different contexts?

      What is the brave and compassionate choice you are referring to? Is your argument that it is brave and compassionate for Autostraddle’s only response to the conflict to include (1) anti-Israel article, (0) anti-Hamas articles, (1) aid for Palestinian civilians article, and (0) aid for families/survivors of the Hamas attacks articles? The complaint in the comment section is very specifically against the lack of neutrality on this online platform. I’m not sure why the editors decided to comment at all, but I’m specifically worried by the fact that they decided to comment from one angle alone.

      Note that I have personally donated to Palestinian refugee causes. I am very concerned by the plight of the Palestinian, as everyone should be. I am also concerned that in a climate of rising anti-Semitism, it is irresponsible for the ONLY article written about Israel *in the wake of a terrorist attack against Israelis* to be an article entitled “as a Jewish anti-Zionist, here’s what I’ve been reading this week.”

  4. I rarely find anyone on either side of this issue to actually seem wrong. At the very basic level, I think it’s awful that Israel attacked civilians, but Hamas did it first in this instance, and expecting a country to not retaliate after a terrorist attack seems like an unreasonably high moral standard. Anything more complicated requires understanding 80 years of complicated history, where the main mistake seems to have been establishing a jewish nation in basically the worst spot possible and everything after that is just Israel and Palestine doing their best to deal with the consequences.

  5. Coming from a European perspective is probably different than a US perspective. Over here, after the Hamas attacks, the streets were immediately full with pro Palestinian and pro Hamas protesters who celebrated the murders openly, and asked for more. Then there was a molotov attack on a large synagogue in Berlin, and rising anti semitic attacks, and so on.
    Meanwhile my left leaning friends completely ignored what Hamas did and even painted them as victims. I find this pretty creepy and very different from reactions to other terrorist attacks with only 1-10 attackers in the Uk or France. So i wonder, why is it different when the attack is on Israel territory? The Uk certainly is a capitalist, imperialistic country too. But nobody justified terrorist attacks that happen there.
    What also worries me is the direct line from Hitler Germany working with Near East rulers, and later lots of refugee Nazis fleeing to Near East countries to become military advisers in the fight against Israel.
    All this does not stop me from finding Netanjahu and other Israeli politicians dangerous, and from worrying for Palestinian civilians.
    But the ease with which the trigger of the current escalation is ignored makes it difficult for me to not be disturbed by the inherent anti Israel and antisemitic sentiment.
    The trigger is a violent, long planned attack of ca 2000 armed Hamas men against civilians, with the expressed goal to provoke a war, destabilize the area and undermine the recent successful peace talks between Israel and other Near East countries.
    Also the fact that Hamas is supported by Putin- who has his own agenda right now to draw the US and EU into a long conflict in the Near East. These are sadly all factors that make me think that a simple Free Palestine reaction to what happened is bordering on naive.
    That said, the situation looks probably slightly different from the US where support for Israel is more mainstream.
    Here is an old chestnut, the 3D test to find the boundary between justified Israel critique and anti semitism
    https://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-sharansky-f04.htm

    • From the US standpoint, I am much more concerned with the likelihood that our former president was the one who relayed critical and classified security information to Hamas which allowed for a successful attack…because of his connection and support of Putin.

      From a global view, the US is not capable of sustaining financial support for 2 separate war efforts (Ukraine & Israel), and public support for the Democratic Party is dwindling considerably as we shift resources out of our country despite growing challenges here. Considering the alternative (the Republican Party has been substantially infected by fascists) this is a very dangerous situation.

      Some folks are unconvinced of the threat, rooting for the trial and counting the days until Trump goes to jail (if he does). But an identifiable third of our country is brainwashed into believing someone with a long track record of personal and policy failures has the capacity to run the country – they are so deeply invested that no amount of evidence will convince them of his incompetence or his malevolent narcissism. His base of support, considering his performance, is way larger than it should be, which is an indication of the cultural shift the US is going through.

      I am personally terrified watching the US re-enact scenes from the Weimar Republic (pre-WW2 Germany). We have a record number of militia groups, a fragmenting political scene, and little that unites us as a people. We are ripe for the picking.

  6. As a lesbian in Israel, I find it astonishing how people who have not lived here, who oppose the idea of this country, try to “educate” themselves about Israel and the reality here.
    The reality is not one for a reading list at this point Drew. The reality is that on October 7th 2023, Hamas, a terrorist entity, murdered 1400 innocent citizens. They beheaded and burnt babies. They raped women at the music festival. They burnt down houses to force people. including children, to leave their panic room so they could kill them. They took over 200 people, including children and the elderly, hostages. I assure you, none of this is fiction and I would be happy to send reports of every item I have written about.
    Sitting comfortably, stating you are “non-zionist”, yet feeling like you have the right to give such a one-sided reading list is astoundingly antisemitic.
    You cannot “reading list” your way out of the atrocities that took place. It was from the Holocaust playbook.
    Thank God nicely that you weren’t here that day, in the ONLY country in the region that would allow you to live the life you live in peace. Do you REALLY think that LGBTAQ+ could survive a day in Gaza?!?!?
    This is shameful.

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