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Why we should not support ‘this’ Gaza

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By Mahmood Kooria

On the night of Eid al-Fitr, while having dinner at McDonalds in Kuala Lumpur, a friend murmured that we shouldn’t have eaten here. I asked him, why? He replied that it belongs to Jews. And since Jews are the root cause of all problems in Palestine, McDi is also part of the problem. I said: ‘Let me ask you then one thing: how do you react, if I say, as most of the mainstream media do, that all Muslims are terrorists and they are troublemakers everywhere.’ His answer was that he would feel offended as that was not true.  I asked: ‘Then how do you make such a statement about the Jews, which is also not true?! All the Jews are not problematic. Only some Jews are problems as much as some Muslims are. But that cannot be judged on the basis of religion.’

It is true that in Gaza, many war-crimes and inhumane massacres are happening. Innocent children and women are being murdered on an everyday basis. Most powerful political authorities are either silent about these or are wrongly supporting Israel’s rights for ‘defending’ itself. But, here I am concerned with a couple of other issues:

Since my childhood, I have been hearing about the Palestine-Israel problem and constant reports about the peace-talks and negotiations. Whenever an attack on Palestine took place, the rhetoric and procedures were repeated again and again. Nothing changed much: children and women were killed, Israel got stronger, the major western capitalist powers supported them, and other powerful authorities kept silent. After childhood and teenage years, now at my youth, I find the scene and story to be the same. No one is listening to anybody. Everyone is talking, no matter what others say. Even the silences have been turned into deepest political stands. As a bystander/outsider, I am not interested in these repetitions. Something good should happen. Why doesn’t this issue have a happy ending even after six decades of tragic experiences with many lives being sacrificed?

While everyone is talking, I hear the voices of those who speak in support of Palestine and against Israel or vice versa. These are the voices I have been hearing from most of my friends on social networking sites and from South and Southeast Asian spaces that I inhabit these months. While I scrutinize such voices, I cannot help but notice the deep tone of hatred and anti-Semitism filled in such comments.

Quoting many Nazi extremist statements against the Jews such as (the one ascribed to Hitler), ‘I would have annihilated all the Jews of the world, but I kept some to show the world why I killed them,’ have been spreading around widely. Hitler and holocaust have been indirectly venerated by such so-called supporters of Palestine from the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia; in the latter region, this expression is more explicit.

On the other hand, those who have been genuinely raising the human-rights violations and possible war-crimes in Gaza were countered by the supporters of Israel with the news of ISIS-dramas from Iraq, such as ISIS asking (though such news are baseless) the women to undergo female genital mutilation, burning down cathedrals and raiding the bank. Sharing and reposting such news were mostly followed by a comment: ‘If you are doing these, of course, Gaza will happen.’

Wait a minute! This is what I don’t understand. The long Jewish sufferings throughout the world history until the end of World War II are beyond any doubt. But how could someone justify the oppressors and psychopathic murderers like Hitler in order to question the activities and decisions of a contemporary Israeli state? And, how would the innocent children and women in Gaza be responsible for the terrorist activities of some cowards in a distant land? Only because of their religious affiliation?

Many have written how dehumanized and divided the mentalities of both Jews and Arabs are in and around the region called Israel/Palestine. I would say that it is not only the people inside those geographical boundaries that are being dehumanized with the Israel-Palestine conflict. Rather, the people in the outside world, who are wrongly influenced by their educational systems or biased media, are getting more and more dehumanized, too. In their responses to such controversial issues, you can see that inhumanity deepening its roots faster. The hatred and disdain towards the ‘other’ are growing day by day. For those who support Israel, Palestinians, and the Arabs are just enemies; those who support Palestine, Israel and all Jews are nothing but devilish enemies.

These days, I am trying to understand the way world-history and politics are being taught at the Asian primary schools. The history of religion and politics seems to be rather limited into certain themes and periods and are far biased when it comes to writing about particularly controversial events: be it the way Israel is characterized in the Arab primary curricula and vice versa, or Pakistan in Indian syllabus and the opposite, etc. Not only the textbooks or curricula are biased, the way primary educational system functions also generate a biased sentiment of constructing an enemy or the ‘other’ in the young minds. Eventually, these kids grow up with far-reaching judgments and sentiments fuelled by the sensational reports of mainstream media. Their identity-consciousness is circumscribed by the utmost feeling of encountering the enemy.

The extremely offensive responses we see these days in the social networking spaces and comments-sections of online newspapers/magazines explicate the outcomes of a syllabus, based on biases that have been existent for decades. The youth, who frequent such virtual spaces, burst out with their sentimental responses against ‘the enemy’. Those with only a primary knowledge of the controversial issues and with little or no developed awareness about the ‘other’, apart from the scanty ones at school and, later, from mass-media, quickly react to the problems armed with their biases. At times, even the academics fail to get out of such immediate emotional responses on the political issues that fall outside their expertise. The young school kids in them mark his/her presence through a sophisticated complication of things with a far prejudiced argument. They all are doing nothing but fuelling this culture of hatred at large.

How can we live with this culture of enmity in a longer time? Why should we waste our energy invoking futile hatred towards others? For me, Prophet Muhammad offers a telling statement in this matter. The Prophet had once said: ‘Help your brother even if he is the oppressor or oppressed’. His companions asked: ‘O, the Messenger of God, I can help him if he is the oppressed. But, tell me, how would I help him if he is the oppressor? ‘ The Prophet replied: ‘You prevent and block him from the oppression, that’s how you would help him.’

In the current volatile situation, should we stand only with Palestine and not with Israel as well? If you are spreading a wrong message and creating an enemy for yourself, you are merely stimulating a division between the followers of two Abrahamic religions. As much as we oppose the killings of innocent civilians in Gaza, we should also stand against the conscious or unconscious spreading of hatred towards any other community.

Photo-credit: Here

Author:

Mahmood Kooria is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of History, Leiden University, the Netherlands. His research focuses on the historical developments of ulama-networks in the inter-regional maritime cultural interactions through the Indian Ocean world. Currently, he is conducting archival research in Indonesia and Malaysia. Email: mahmoodpana@gmail.com.

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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine, “Here and There: The Diaspora Universe”. Edited by Bhaswati Ghosh, author & translator, Canada. Read and discover a group of extremely talented writers sharing their experiences of living in-between multiple worlds.

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13 Responses to “Why we should not support ‘this’ Gaza”

  1. John

    One doesn’t really know where to start to respond to this piece…He obviously thinks that he is taking a morally balanced a consistent position, but in so doing, he distorts history, ethics, logic, and even the message of the Prophet Muhammad to whom he refers.

    Reply
  2. Maxwell

    Speaking of that sin of generalization: “Hitler and holocaust have been indirectly venerated by such so-called supporters of Palestine from the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia; in the latter region, this expression is more explicit.” Glad the author reacts to contemporary anti-semitism around him, but to project it onto billions of people, associate it with Islam, in what appears as an introspective account reiterates the racism it seeks to address. In this particular moment of failure of the international order as we know it and genocidal Zionism this particular author seems at best naive and at worst complicit.

    Reply
  3. alawi abusalman

    the article seems to be…full baseless conclusions.
    I strongly advise the writer to go through the book “Zionism” by dr. Raja Garodi to see who are the true ambassadors of hatred and enmity.

    Reply
  4. Kunhi Kasargod

    I don’t want to say that Kooria is wrong here, indeed he has many valid points even though it is not new. But I just want to say that he has a lot of misunderstandings too. Let me try to point out some of them here.
    1. He believes that all the Muslims who support Gaza hate Jews and Jewish state-Israel, and they promote a culture of hatred.
    2. He believes that all the Muslims who support Gaza, where the Hamas-extremists work, essentially support all the extremist political mobilizations in the name of Islam.
    3. He believe that those who criticize Israel just forgets what Europe, not just Hitler or Germany, had been doing to Jews till the end of the Second World War and formation of the State of Israel.
    4. He believes that boycotting particular corporate product in the name of Gaza is also becomes part of the culture of hatred and this too targets a community.
    5. He believes that generally all Muslims thinks in the same way.
    My Response
    1. It is wrong to generalize that all those who support Gaza hate Jews and Israel. Certainly there are people who hate Jews and Israel because of Gaza. There are people who say that what Hitler have done to Jews was not wrong, and they deserve it. There are people who pray for the absolute destruction of Israel and Jews. But essentially they all minority. You can’t generalize these minority voices as the voice or thought of the Muslims. What I see in Gaza is not a religious issue, but a political one. Therefore, for me and (I believe) for many, the question of hatred in the name of religion is meaningless here. I’m not concerned about my identity while I support Gaza. What I’m supporting is a people’s ‘wish’ for resistance against brutal human right violation. What I’m supporting is a people’s cry for letting them live in peace in their own land. What I’m supporting is Human and Political right of a society. While I support Gaza, I don’t believe that Israel is my enemy, and I don’t hate Jews. I believe that what state of Israel is doing against the people of Gaza is wrong in any sense and I should criticize that without considering the so called binary problem as it is a brutal human right violation from one side.
    2. The support to Gaza does not mean support to Hamas. Gaza is not just Hamas, as Afghanistan is not just Taliban. Support to Gaza means support to the people of Gaza, to their resistance and to their right to live peacefully. Therefore, you don’t have to worry that supporting people’s resistance in Gaza will turn as a support to all the extremist political mobilizations in the name of Islam.
    3. As I already mentioned, those who believe that what Hitler and Europe have done to Jews was right is a minority. It is totally wrong to believe that all those who support Gaza share the same perception. For me and many who support Gaza has clear understanding of how Jewish diaspora have begun and what Europe has done to Jewish people for centuries.
    4. I don’t think that all those who want to boycott American and Israeli products are targeting particular community and they promoting a culture of hatred. The target here is state, not any community.
    5. You have begun your article by criticizing a kind of generalization. But essentially your article is a sum of many generalizations. It is undoubtedly generalized the view of those who support Gaza and the so called view of Muslim.
    Dear Mahmood, the culture of hatred is definitely a problematic thing and we can never support that. But here the question is different. Think about it once more…

    Reply
  5. Kunhi Kasargod

    I don’t want to say that Kooria is wrong here, indeed he has many valid points even though it is not new. But I just want to say that he has a lot of misunderstandings too. Let me try to point out some of them here.
    1. He believes that all the Muslims who support Gaza hate Jews and Jewish state-Israel, and they promote a culture of hatred.
    2. He believes that all the Muslims who support Gaza, where the Hamas-extremists work, essentially support all the extremist political mobilizations in the name of Islam.
    3. He believe that those who criticize Israel just forgets what Europe, not just Hitler or Germany, had been doing to Jews till the end of the Second World War and formation of the State of Israel.
    4. He believes that boycotting particular corporate product in the name of Gaza is also becomes part of the culture of hatred and this too targets a community.
    5. He believes that generally all Muslims thinks in the same way.
    My Response
    1. It is wrong to generalize that all those who support Gaza hate Jews and Israel. Certainly there are people who hate Jews and Israel because of Gaza. There are people who say that what Hitler have done to Jews was not wrong, and they deserve it. There are people who pray for the absolute destruction of Israel and Jews. But essentially they all minority. You can’t generalize these minority voices as the voice or thought of the Muslims. What I see in Gaza is not a religious issue, but a political one. Therefore, for me and (I believe) for many, the question of hatred in the name of religion is meaningless here. I’m not concerned about my identity while I support Gaza. What I’m supporting is a people’s ‘wish’ for resistance against brutal human right violation. What I’m supporting is a people’s cry for letting them live in peace in their own land. What I’m supporting is Human and Political right of a society. While I support Gaza, I don’t believe that Israel is my enemy, and I don’t hate Jews. I believe that what state of Israel is doing against the people of Gaza is wrong in any sense and I should criticize that without considering the so called binary problem as it is a brutal human right violation from one side.
    2. The support to Gaza does not mean support to Hamas. Gaza is not just Hamas, as Afghanistan is not just Taliban. Support to Gaza means support to the people of Gaza, to their resistance and to their right to live peacefully. Therefore, you don’t have to worry that supporting people’s resistance in Gaza will turn as a support to all the extremist political mobilizations in the name of Islam.
    3. As I already mentioned, those who believe that what Hitler and Europe have done to Jews was right is a minority. It is totally wrong to believe that all those who support Gaza share the same perception. For me and many who support Gaza has clear understanding of how Jewish diaspora have begun and what Europe has done to Jewish people for centuries.
    4. I don’t think that all those who want to boycott American and Israeli products are targeting particular community and they promoting a culture of hatred. The target here is state, not any community.
    5. You have begun your article by criticizing a kind of generalization. But essentially your article is a sum of many generalizations. It is undoubtedly generalized the view of those who support Gaza and the so called view of Muslim.
    Dear Mahmood, the culture of hatred is definitely a problematic thing and we can never support that. But here question is different. Think about it once more…

    Reply
  6. Muhammed Madappalli

    1) articulation is spicy and tasty to academics only and not timely appropriate… but everybody (both respondents and writer) should realize that it is not the time for ‘advising’ OR ‘helping’ any country whose 80% support “periodical genocide” which has been clearly pre-planned agenda of Zionism
    2) If 80% of people do not support it, such brutalities wont happen (and the supporting US whose foreign policy is totally made for supporting Zionist country (as the 100 s of veto has been used by them in favor of Zionist terror & Israel retreated once in the history from attack when US just not supported them)..
    3) Now what is needed is very outrightly to tell we hate Jews and Jewish country which is behind curtain in all clashes of the world (because, Mosad need it as the weaponry is their primary income source). Because, they don’t hear ‘anybody’, they do not value ‘human life’ (only because that they are Muslims).

    Reply
  7. Muneer K

    I can’t understand how the author reaches in this baseless generalization. It’s very clear that all who support Gaza do not think jews are their enemies. In spite they realise a majority of jewish community is not backing israel state in this brutal genocide, but they support the people of palestine in their fight for the right of living. I think no one except some fanatics has a doubt in it. It’s why we can see many jews from inside and outside israel make protests against this state sponsored terrorism and the supporters of Gaza from all over the world appreciate this stand of jewish people and share its pictures and videos in social networks.
    Another fraud this article omits is that the movement of boycotting multi-national companies who support israel is an anti jewish or anti semitic one. Do this author lacks the basic knowledge that mcdonalds is not a jewish or israeli company, but an american one. Then why it is boycotted? It’s not for other than its limitless financial support for israel state.

    Reply
  8. Muneer K

    This article is an outcome of a prejudice by the so-called intelligentia that all muslims or religious people are fanatical or sensitively motivated. I can’t understand how the author reaches in this baseless generalization. It’s very clear that all who support Gaza do not think jews are their enemies. But they realise that a majority of jewish community is not backing israel state in this brutal genocide, but they support the people of palestine in their fight for the right of living. I don’t think anyone has a doubt in it. It’s why we can see many jews from inside and outside israel make protests against this state sponsored terrorism and the supporters of Gaza from all over the world appreciate this stand of jewish people and share its pictures and videos in social networks.
    Another fraud this article omits is that the movement of boycotting multi-national companies who support israel is an anti jewish or anti semitic one. Do this author lacks the basic knowledge that mcdonalds is not a jewish or israeli company, but an american one. Then why it is boycotted? It’s not for other than its limitless financial support for israel state.

    Reply
  9. Muneer K

    This article is an outcome of a prejudice by the so-called intelligentia that all muslims or religious people are fanatical or sensitively motivated. I can’t understand how the author reaches in this baseless generalization. It’s very clear that all who support Gaza do not think jews are their enemies. But they realise that a majority of jewish community is not backing israel state in this brutal genocide, but they support the people of palestine in their fight for the right of living. I don’t think anyone has a doubt in it. It’s why we can see many jews from inside and outside israel make protests against this state sponsored terrorism and the supporters of Gaza from all over the world appreciate this stand of jewish people and share its pictures and videos in social networks.
    Another fraud this article omits is that the movement of boycotting multi-national companies who support israel is an anti jewish or anti semitic one. Do this author lacks the basic knowledge that mcdonalds is not a jewish or israeli company, but an american one. Then why it is boycotted? It’s not for other than its limitless financial support for israel state.
    If all these frauds are agreed, i don’t know why the auther opposes (as the very title of the article indicates) supporting gaza in name of humanity.

    Reply
  10. Joyce Yarrow

    After reading the article closely, I see not one generalization about how all Muslims are anti-Semitic or hate Jews. However, the comments below the article seem to accuse the writer of being biased in this way.

    As I see it, the writer does talk about hate-filled comments he has seen on social media and how some schools are educating children to hate Jews. This is not a generalization – it is a reality that no one here has addressed. He also mentions how the mainstream press often demonizes Muslims. His point, as I take it, is that spreading hatred – whether this is done by those who support either side of this ongoing conflict – accomplishes nothing.

    The writer also mentions how those who oppose Israel’s terrible oppression of Palestine and are in support of a Palestinian state are often wrongly accused of being anti-Semitic. This is accurate too, yet no one has given him credit for his balanced point of view.

    I applaud this writer for holding up a mirror. What we see there is up to us.

    Reply

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