America's Approach To The Israel-Palestine Conflict Is Woefully Ironic

America's Approach To The Israel-Palestine Conflict Is Woefully Ironic

Embracing Israel while vilifying Native Americans is hypocrisy of the greatest order.
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Just recently, international news covered the Israeli attack on Palestinian protesters in Gaza that left no Israeli soldiers harmed and more than 100 Palestinian civilians dead. The attack has created a schism between the already tense sides of the conflict all around the world.

Palestinian supporters say the attack was unwarranted and nothing short of a massacre. Israeli supporters have claimed that the civilians were used as human shields as a part of a plan to increase the casualties and make the IDF look bad. It is hard to deny that from a PR standpoint, Palestine has had the upper hand in its communication with the media; the disparities between the number dead on each side alone does not make Israel look good.

However, despite this distinct lean towards empathy for the Palestinian side from an international standpoint, the United States continues to show its support for Israel through and through. In fact, the New York Times article about the attack highlights that the very minute the attacks were occurring in Gaza, the United States was celebrating with Israeli leaders over the opening of the new American Embassy in Jerusalem.

Even beyond the typical right-wing, Evangelical Christian support base of Donald Trump — who has continually backed Israel in the Israel/Palestine conflict — the majority of Americans support Israel in their proclaimed right to exist as a nation. Much of the claim is rooted in the idea that the Jewish people were the original owners of the land and that they hold not only a political right to the land but a God-given right.

And the fact that the majority of the American population has accepted this as truth could normally be something that I could accept as a simple difference in opinion — maybe as an atheist I fundamentally understand arguments made on the basis of religion, or maybe I just don’t think the idea of white people trying to invade a non-white county is anything other than imperialism disguised as religious liberty — except for the fact that if you are going to accept that a group of people has a right to whatever land that originally belonged to them, then you also have to accept that Native Americans have more of a right to America than we, the colonizers, do.

And we know how well that argument has worked for the Native Americans.

Israel continually claims that the Jews were the original people of the area, that the land was granted to them by God and that because they were there first, they are still the rightful owners. Similarly, Native Americans have continued to claim that they were the original owners of the land and that they were here long before we came and invaded — except those who express the idea that we all should leave and let the Native Americans have their land back are dismissed as insane, while those who support Israelis claiming the same thing are supported or at least have their opinion respected.

What’s more, the Israelis left Israel for an extended period of time and spread out to create the Jewish diaspora. The Native Americans have never left the land that they originally held. The Israelis have launched violent (no matter if you consider them justified or not) attacks on Palestinians. In all the history of America both in its colonized and independent state, never once has the toll of colonizers killed reached the total number of Palestinians killed over the past 20 years.

But we continue to give a voice to the Israelis and silence the Native Americans. There are a couple of reasons I can think of why we have allied ourselves so closely with Israel and yet remain so opposed to Native Americans. Racism comes to mind first. One of the clear distinctions between Native Americans and Israelis is that Israelis as a whole are white and the Jewish diaspora as a whole is a white one, while Native Americans are decidedly people of color.

Another distinction is that the fact that that the Israelis are returning to a land they left and demanding ownership is strikingly similar to all of the United States’s imperial conquests and imperialism in general. If we admit that what Israel is doing is wrong, we have to finally face the fact that our imperialism was wrong, too, and that is something that we aren’t prepared to face.

Any way you put it, America is going to be forced to confront its awful past soon: Are we going to ally ourselves with Israel and admit that the Native Americans have been right to resent what we’ve done to them all along, or are we going to ally ourselves with Palestine and admit that our culture of Imperialism and Islamophobia is destructive and nothing more than racism by another name?

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

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Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

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No, Cursing The President Won't Save The World

We can be pissed at the universe and hate our neighbors, or we can sugar-coat reality and preach positivity. Neither one, however, will make a difference, but balancing the two just might.

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Since their creations, societies all around the world have imposed major implications on the individuals that live within their realms. Whether it be social norms, written laws, or even civil expectations, the general consensus of a certain country or area has continuously shaped how any single person lives his or her life. In recent times, society has been known to cause more harm than good, or so we believe. Sebastian Junger, an American award-winning author, writes that "modern [proper] society-- despite its nearly miraculous advances in medicine, sciences, and technology-- is affiliated with some of the highest rates of depression, schizophrenia, poor health, anxiety, and chronic loneliness in human history" (Junger, 2017, p. 19).

This abstract was part of analyzation of modern culture that I constructed for a collegiate course this past spring. I wove in examples from literary works and even a few details from my personal life to complete this study; the final product earned me an A, and it was pretty damn cool if I do say so myself.

The aforementioned paper stuck with me, not because of the A or because of the hard work behind it. It wasn't the research, the conclusions or the response to my work that resonated so deeply, either; instead, it was the veracity, the versatility, and the very truth of the words I created out of a jumbled mess of thoughts that spun around in my mind. It was the fact that no matter the angle I tried to take to my proclamation, it was still true.

Today, we know more people affected by domestic violence than ever before.

Today, we know more people diagnosed with cancer than any century previously.

Today, we know more about racial inequality than all prior decades combined.

Today, we know more details and facts and constraints about environmental destruction than any scientist could ever dream of 100 years ago.

Today, we know more people combatting the very mental illnesses that Junger mentioned than we could have ever dreamed of 50 years ago.

But, most importantly, today, we have more tools than EVER before to combat the issues previously mentioned. We have resources provided by the state to help battered families. We have the miracle that is modern medicine. We have unions, organizations and laws-- real, actual, written rules-- to protect these citizens of the United States. We have solar panels, wind energy and the ability to recycle. We have therapists, medicines and the tedious ease of a stigma that plagued society for so long.

So then why, WHY, do we still have so much bad in the world? Why are there still horrific problems? Why has modern society progressed so much yet seemingly regressed as well?

Why isn't there an answer to these questions? And why, instead of an answer, do we have two extremes that both claim to be right and still no solution?

Be pissed at the President. Curse the universe. Mock whatever greater power you believe in. Blame it on the government, the monopolies or on North Korea. Say it's the result of WWII or say it's because Tupac went into hiding. You can be angry and you can find any scapegoat you want. You can fight with your neighbor in the supermarket or cuss a friend out on Twitter. You can focus on all the negatives to the point where it consumes your every fiber. Anger has fueled many fires- and it can ignite this one, too.

Or, let go of the rage. Be kind. Share some love. Spread a little peace. Donate, volunteer or run as an elected official. Get a degree and buy a one-way plane ticket. Battle the opioid crisis and knit blankets for kids in the foster system. Hell, bake a cake and tattoo a peace sign on your left eyeball if you want. Believe in miracles and the goodness of human nature. Make your life full of pixie dust. You can focus only on the positives, and hope everyone else will follow your steps. Fight the battle without raging a war.

We have the tools it takes to help. We can make some of the suffering stop. But we can't do it if we're too damn mad that we can only lash out or if we're too damn bubbly that our message isn't taken seriously.

Compromise. Understand. Listen. Be angry, but show compassion. Lead with love but back with braun. We're humans and we can't get anything exactly right, but we can do what we can to help who we can. It's in our nature to be entirely different from one and other, and accepting this might just be the greatest thing one can do.

Recognize this. Work with one and other. Find the balance. And that might just fix whatever problem that needs to be tackled.

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http://thesheaf.com/2014/04/01/debating-shouldnt-be-a-personal-attack/

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