Everyone in my family holds a different view about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
I used to track my site traffic like Google was my fortune teller. The top three countries for my audience were always US, UK, and Australia. The next few countries changed a lot, but often Israel was number four. My family is so used to fighting about the Israelis that we even fought about the reason for my large Israeli readership.
How do I feel about the Palestinians? I fall on the far end of horrified by how they are being treated. But I have no solution.
Right now over 50% of the world’s Jews live in the US, and 30% live in Israel. The New York Times predicts Israelis won’t let up on Gaza which will lead to a messy breakup between the Israeli Jews and the American Jews. There is precedent for this. The original 12 tribes of Jews broke up 2000 years ago and things were fine. Okay. Well, they were not fine. The two tribes that went back to Israel were fine and the 10 tribes that assimilated outside their homeland were lost. So I guess the New York Times is saying American Jews will be the next Jews to disappear through assimilation — along with the Palestinians in their own diaspora, perhaps.
I get it: I have a hard time telling my kids they have to marry Jews so we don’t all disappear. My kids see that as racist. I try to describe the historical burden of ethnic chauvinism. But it’s difficult. It’s so much easier to be mainstream.
It’s not a radical idea to have Israeli and American Jews break up, because it’s in the NYT and mainstream media is not radical. But it’s a radical idea to get rid of the Jews, which history tells us is close to happening to American Jews, and it’s a radical idea to say that, if it’s true that culture needs a homeland then maybe we need to redefine culture as something that’s not tied to land owning. You won’t find that in the NYT. You’ll find it on John Oliver. Click that link.
My younger son can learn languages very fast. I told him if I were like him I’d learn dying languages because he could preserve a culture by preserving a language. He told me it’s okay for some cultures to die if it’s their time.
My brother does not read mainstream media which means he’s always interesting to talk to. If you get your news from alternative sources you have no sense of whether you have an alternative view of the news. You just have your view. Also my brother does not read anything that has a print cycle faster than a week because he wants to read thoughtful commentary. He finds this favors the Economist. He tells me.
- No one is running Isreal because it’s caught in a constant election cycle.
- He thinks it would be easier for Israel to ditch the US than for the US to ditch Israel.
- No one has a solution to the conflict.
My older son, who adores my brother, finds a video from 1986 where Biden says, “If we didn’t have an Israel in the Middle East the US would have to invent one.”
I took a break from the too-difficult task of parenting teenagers and ran into a protest in Copley Square.
As the anti-Clark Kent, whenever there’s an emergency, I turn into a journalist: I straighten my shirt and combed my hair and asked one of the people holding a sign: “Does this crowd seem younger to you than the crowds in other protests over the last year or so?”
The guy said the only people who know what’s going on are using social media and it’s been very difficult to get the word out because Twitter and Instagram said they had a glitch that deleted posts originating from certain Palestinians or certain Palestinian neighborhoods. He said that particular censorship stopped, but mainstream media is not picking up the stories that are on social media. Al Jazeera calls this digital apartheid. So older people are not feeling the urgency because they are not getting the stories from Palestinians.
We underestimate how big a gatekeeper mainstream media still is. Force yourself to look for alternative news sources. I like Propublica because they are a nonprofit and they tackle large, unwieldy topics. I look for sources that have a perspective you don’t get to hear a lot. I read Al Jazeera, and Reason, and I subscribe to the Economist so I can read the links my brother sends. Otherwise, you become part of the system of gatekeepers. Mainstream media is rarely incentivized to disrupt power structures. And every story we receive is part of the story of why the power structures are in place.