We’ve tried everything possible and none of it has worked. Now we must try the impossible. – Sun Ra As most of you know, I have been advising Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his Presidential campaign, and have been deeply disappointed by his recent statements on Israel and West Asia. I have stuck by him despite our disagreement on the Israel/Palestine issue, because I
Predictably, many people in the comments are taking my call for
deescalation and my critique of vengeance and my observation that
violent resistance isn't helping, as an indication that I have a blind
spot, am unaware of the oppression of the Palestinians, etc. I am not
blind to it. In my last essay on this topic, hoping to preempt this very
criticism, I wrote: "I am indeed well aware of the desperate plight of
the Palestinian people after decades of oppression by the immeasurably
more powerful and increasingly theocratic state of Israel. The
expulsions, the sabotage of peace, the land grabs, the incarceration,
intimidation, and torture of activists, the bulldozing of houses, the
maiming of unarmed protesters, the violation of human rights, the
lopsided “wars” in which hundreds of Palestinians are killed for each
Israeli, the assassinations, and the propaganda and lies that hold it
all together are well known to me."
My point in this essay, which I stated unequivocally, is that this isn't
about what is justified. From the lens of "justification" then armed
resistance is surely justified. But Hamas is far from the only
expression of Palestinian sentiment. My sympathies lie with the peace
activists, Palestinian and Israeli.
I stand in judgment against the Israeli government because, as an American Jew, I feel that I have some standing to influence "my side" of the conflict. America is arming the IDF. American Jewish organizations such as ADL are lending moral support to atrocities.
I will not condemn Hamas, but I trust my Palestinian friends to condemn Islamic violence, as I condemn Israeli violence.
At this point, I do not know to what extent the attacks of October 7 were a false flag, but this is a subject that deserves urgent investigation.
An excellent article. Thank you for your courage and determination to do the right thing!
I have an intuition that humanity is quite quickly approaching a tipping point on this and other issues like it. Enough of us want the loving path, enough of us are hollowed out and exhausted by the horrific cycles of violence that feed on themselves as they consume our dignity.
>>"The policies of two generations of Palestinian and
>> Israeli leadership have both brought the very
>> opposite of what they intended to achieve."
Maybe a state of fear is exactly what the Israeli leadership intended to achieve. Maybe they have fomented terror attacks from Hamas as an excuse to launch terror attacks of their own, killing 10 Palestinians for every Israeli death. Maybe their real goal is to expand Israeli territory and slowly squeeze the Palestinians out of their ancestral land. Maybe they are succeeding.
"Israel's 9/11" has a special meaning to those of us who see America's 9/11 as a staged justification for a series of wars in the Middle East, for repressive policies and government secrecy here in the US.
There is only one thing to add to a truly superb and moral article: that the "International Governing and Peace Force (IGPF)" ALSO cover Israel, with a view to protecting the Palestinian population from the brutality of the Apartheid system, until and after the agreed Settlement. It is not only Jewish Israeli lives that require protecting from violence by a neutral international force.
Just added this clarifying point to one of the threads here. People are having a hard time discerning which side I'm on. Am I saying armed resistance is, or is not, justified? So here is what I said:
My point is that if one is operating in the mindset of justification, then one can easily justify armed resistance. With sufficient mental calisthenics, one could justify terrorism too. Orwell illuminated this in 1984 when Winston is recruited (so he thinks) into the Revolutionary Brotherhood and asked, "If necessary to overthrow the Party, would you be willing to commit acts of sabotage? Murder? If it would somehow help our cause, would you be willing to throw acid in a child's face?" In this passage, Orwell illustrates how the quest to overthrow evil makes one evil oneself. This is the pitfall of justification. The terrorists think themselves justified. So do the Israeli hardliners who would raze Gaza to the ground. If you fully occupy the worldview and historical narrative of either, you will agree that yes, their justifications are valid. And the other side seems just incomprehensible, immoral, evil.
So my argument here is not that the resistance is justified, or the response is justified, or that neither are justified. My argument is that the lens of "what is justified" is itself at the core of the problem.
I watched this updated version of RFKJ just before this Substack came in, and Charles you ARE making a difference clearly - https://twitter.com/IPNBreakingNews/status/1712707932683473112
As a Military family in support of Peace, separating out Hamas from Palestinians is a "Herculean task", and I will pray for the almost impossible.
Hang in there.
Also I just signed this peace & solidarity petition. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://forms.gle/8EuxTv6B8PM5eQ1FA&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1697207707258560&usg=AOvVaw1Glby7QlPlZ51WfxIBdYDz I encourage others to do so as well.
We should be calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Israelis and Palestinians to use the process that was so successful in South Africa ending apartheid and stopping the ongoing violence. Come before the Commission, admit your crimes and wrongdoing, apologize and go free to live in one state. There is more than enough blame for all sides and there is no possibility for two states, if there ever was. Perhaps South Africa can take the lead or UN Secty Genl Guterres in making this happen. Alice Slater
I love the moral standards everyone is holding Hamas to over the past week. My wish is that everyone put as much energy into holding Israel to these same standards over the past 75 years.
I was so sad hearing RFKJ position. It reminded me everyone of us has a blind spot, a belief we hang on to and is preventing us from seeing a better truth.
I really hope he can change his mind and you can help him see it, the contradiction with “end all wars”, and how this is weakening him. I will really admire him if he does. It could be beautiful and impactful.
However, I am unsure if this is politically possible when you are in his position, sadly. I am aware it requires tremendous courage.
Most enlightened piece I've read all week on the subject. Thank you for reminding me what sane reads like! I've been staring at my keyboard trying to come up with words to express it. You've saved me the job here! (Although no doubt I shall still try anyway to put my two cents worth in.)
The Christian view is to turn the other cheek. Rise above the instinct to retaliate. If everyone followed one rule in life: to not harm another living being, no other rules are necessary. We all know violence begets violence. Break the cycle.
'What could drive human beings to do such things?'
I feel we have to stop thinking this way. Us, human beings do not want these monstrocities,
we do not want to send weapons to kill people,
we do not want trees and bees dying from geoengineering,
we do not want to be told we can't have babies.
We HAVE TO STOP TAKING IN THAT IT IS HUMANITY CAUSING WARS;
IT IS DAMMIT A GROUP OF ROTTEN, POISONOUS, TOXIC, SELFISH, DISTURBED, MANIPULATIVE few MEN and WOMEN!
We have to come TOGETHER, take each other's hands in our imagination and YELL: 'ENOUGH IS ENOUGH YOU DESTROYED PEOPLE! THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR TOO LONG!
WHO IS DOING THIS SHOULD BECOME COMPLETELY VISIBLE!
NEE! NO! NADA! VOTSH! LA! NEJ! NON!!!
A lot of our "heroes" have huge blind spots.
Kennedy with Israel....
Chris Hedges with covid and 911.
Chomsky with covid and 911...
And the list goes on.
My gf thinks the issue with Kennedy re Israel is that he's a boomer that grew up in a privelaged environment that insulated him from considering some things. I'm sure you tried to talk to him about it, and his brain freezes... Much like my father, for example when it comes to wars.
I pray for peace. I pray that people wake up and can face their cognitive dissonance.
I think the times are ripe for this as covid really exposed how dirty our leaders are.
The emperor has no clothes, 😂.
Some pertinent quotes on the psychology involved:
"And then there is the psychological effect of the Big Lie which is axiomatic in gaslighting. The paradox here is that the bigger the lie, the harder it is for the mind to bridge the gulf between perceived reality and the lie that authority figures are painting as truth. I believe that the prospect of being deceived evinces a primitive emotional response on a par with staring death in the face. We are hard-wired to fear deception because we have evolved to interpret it as an existential threat. That’s why deception can elicit the same emotional response as the miscalculation of a serious physical threat. Lies told to us don’t always bear the same cost as a misjudged red light, but the primitive part of the brain can’t make this distinction and we rely on cerebral mediation for a more appropriate but delayed response. And in the long run, the lie is often just as dangerous as the physical threat. Many government whoppers – ‘safe and effective’ – do cost lives.
To avoid the death-like experience of being deceived, a mental defence is erected to deny that the lie is happening."
(From https://leftlockdownsceptics.com/alleged-cia-involvement-in-jfk-assassination-goes-mainstream-so-now-what/ )
"The evolutionary psychologist William von Hippel found that humans use large parts of thinking power to navigate social world rather than perform independent analysis and decision making. For most people it is the mechanism that, in case of doubt, will prevent one from thinking what is right if, in return, it endangers one’s social status. This phenomenon occurs more strongly the higher a person’s social status. Another factor is that the more educated and more theoretically intelligent a person is, the more their brain is adept at selling them the biggest nonsense as a reasonable idea, as long as it elevates their social status. The upper educated class tends to be more inclined than ordinary people to chase some intellectual boondoggle. "
"Either party can break the escalating cycle of vengeance simply by refusing to participate in it."
Surely you have not fully understood the situation of the Palestinians. They are living in an open-air prison under a military occupation. Unarmed civilians including children are routinely murdered. I fail to see how they are able to simply refuse anything.