Watch this video if you can. Even if you can't.
Right now today and every day for the past three weeks Joe Biden could have stopped this. Instead he's been promoting conspiracy theories and engaged in genocide denial and giving the go ahead for massive slaughter.
We can't even officially give these human beings the smallest fucking dignity of registering that they indeed once lived.
This was this person's last tweet. Last ever.
The health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza has published a report listing the names of more than 6,000 “documented deaths” in Gaza since the October 7 terror attacks on Israel, after US President Joe Biden questioned the reliability of Palestinian casualty figures.
The report stated that between October 7 and 26, 7,028 Palestinians were killed, including 2,913 children, and blamed the deaths on Israeli military “aggression.” It said a further 281 bodies had not yet been identified.
The ministry said the actual number of dead is likely to be much higher than stated in the report. The list of 6,747 names gives the sex, age and identity card number of each of the victims – an apparent effort to bolster the credibility of its data in the face of challenges from the US and Israel.
The State Department has cited numbers of deaths from the Ministry of Health in Gaza previously. Why are they suddenly unreliable now?
As an American I am accustomed to being fed my standard daily allotment of patriotic lies and bloodthirsty bullshit but this is all too much man. Break from reality kind of shit.
Even if you believed a certain amount of revenge killing was in order how much is enough? Is there a number where the people pushing for this and materially supporting this will be satiated?
What’s the exchange rate for 1,400 Israelis killed that makes it finally even?
I know that in the U.S. and Israel we do not consider an Arab or Muslim life equivalent to a white Christian or Jewish one so let's spell it out clearly. Let us define our terms. Are Palestinians 1/4 of a real person? 1/10?
I was proud to sign this letter alongside hundreds of other writers.
What can we do to intervene against Israel’s eliminationist assault on the Palestinian people? Words alone cannot stop the onslaught of devastation of Palestinian homes and lives, backed shamelessly and without hesitation by the entire axis of Western power. At the same time, we must reckon with the role words and images play in the war on Gaza and the ferocious support they have engendered: Israel’s defense minister announced the siege as a fight against “human animals”; even as we learned that Israel had rained bombs down on densely populated urban neighborhoods and deployed white phosphorus in Gaza City, the New York Times editorial board wrote that “what Israel is fighting to defend is a society that values human life and the rule of law”; establishment media outlets continue to describe Hamas’s attack on Israel as “unprovoked.” Writers Against the War on Gaza rejects this perversion of meaning, wherein a nuclear state can declare itself a victim in perpetuity while openly enacting genocide. We condemn those in our industries who continue to enable apartheid and genocide. We cannot write a free Palestine into existence, but together we must do all we possibly can to reject narratives that soothe Western complicity in ethnic cleansing.
I keep feeling this unsettling whiplash of one moment being heartened by the shows of solidarity for Palestinian life – like this one last night in Grand Central Station – then crushed by a sense of impotence in the face of power's outright hostility to it.
I want to believe that the people allowing this to happen wanting it to happen will eventually come to feel the shame and scorn they richly deserve but then I remember it's a lot of the same people who pushed for war in Iraq.
Look at this. This was last night. George W. Bush throwing out the first pitch of the World Series.
"USA! USA! USA!" the crowd cheers.
What a wicked place this is.
Please read this in n+1
What’s worse, if anything could be worse, is the near total indifference on display by so many in and out of government in the Western world. Given the shock and outrage over the Palestinian massacre of Israeli civilians expressed by journalists, politicians, governments, and university presidents, the nearly blanket silence concerning the fate of Palestinian civilians at the hands of Israel is deafening: an earth-shattering, bellowing silence. We who live in Western countries didn’t support or pay for any Palestinian to kill Israeli civilians, but every bomb dropped on Gaza from aircraft the US provided is added to a bill that we pay for. Our officials are falling over themselves to join in the encouragement of the bombing and to rush the delivery of new bombs.
State Department officials issued internal briefings calling on spokespeople not to use phrases such as “end to violence/bloodshed,” “restoring calm,” or “de-escalation/ceasefire.” The Biden Administration actually wants the bombing and killing to continue. Asked about the tiny handful of more or less progressive congressional voices calling for a ceasefire and a cessation of hostilities, White House Spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, “we believe they’re wrong. We believe they’re repugnant, and we believe they’re disgraceful.” There are “not two sides here,” Jean-Pierre added. “There are not two sides.”
Government spokespeople are calculating and insincere; the ultimate nihilists, they don’t actually believe in anything, least of all anything they say themselves. But the same cannot be said of the people all around us who, so desperately moved by the images and narratives of Israeli suffering, have nothing to say about Palestinian suffering on a far greater scale. How can anyone be so heartless? I’m not talking about overt racists who explicitly call for the destruction of Gaza and the expulsion of the Palestinians. I’m talking about ordinary people, many—maybe even most—of them solid liberals when it comes to politics: advocates of gender and racial equality, anxious about climate change, concerned for the unhoused, insistent on wearing face masks out of humane consideration for others, voters for the most progressive of Democrats. Their indifference is not personal, but a manifestation of a broader culture of denial. Such people seem not to see or to recognize Palestinian suffering because they literally do not see or recognize it. They are far too intent, far too focused, on the suffering of people with whom they can more readily identify, people they understand to be just like themselves.
Of course, the corporate media know how to encourage such forms of identification, how to construct protagonists, and how to make viewers sympathize with a subject, to imagine themselves in her shoes. In throttling information, Western media outlets cut off access to identification with Palestinians, and reaffirm the perception that there is only one side. Meanwhile on Al Jazeera Arabic—whose team of correspondents in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine and Lebanon have been providing gripping and unflinching coverage of the catastrophe in Gaza—tragedy unfolds in real time. On October 25, the Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh was on air when he received news that his wife, son, and daughter were killed in an Israeli airstrike nearby. Footage shows him on his knees as he weeps and places a hand on his teenage son’s chest. “They’re taking their revenge on us through children?” Dahdouh says. For those of us glued to Arabic Jazeera these days, to whom Dahdouh is a familiar face, the loss feels personal.
Some lives are to be grieved and given names and life stories, their narratives and photographs printed out in the New York Times or the Guardian along with photos of mourning parents. Other lives are just numbers, statistics coming out of an accounting machine that doesn’t seem to stop adding new digits, twenty or thirty at a time.
This in the New York Times was extremely powerful:
The task of the Palestinian is to be palatable or to be condemned. The task of the Palestinian, we’ve seen in the past two weeks, is to audition for empathy and compassion. To prove that we deserve it. To earn it.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve watched Palestinian activists, lawyers, professors get baited and interrupted on air, if not silenced altogether. They are being made to sing for the supper of airtime and fair coverage. They are begging reporters to do the most basic tasks of their job. At the same time, Palestinians fleeing from bombs have been misidentified. Even when under attack, they must be costumed as another people to elicit humanity. Even in death, they cannot rest — Palestinians are being buried in mass graves or in old graves dug up to make room, and still there is not enough space.
If that weren’t enough, Palestinian slaughter is too often presented ahistorically, untethered to reality: It is not attributed to real steel and missiles, to occupation, to policy. To earn compassion for their dead, Palestinians must first prove their innocence. The real problem with condemnation is the quiet, sly tenor of the questions that accompany it: Palestinians are presumed violent — and deserving of violence — until proved otherwise. Their deaths are presumed defensible until proved otherwise. What is the word of a Palestinian against a machinery that investigates itself, that absolves itself of accused crimes? What is it against a government whose representatives have referred to Palestinians as “human animals” and “wild beasts”? When a well-suited man can say brazenly and unflinchingly that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people?
It is, of course, a remarkably effective strategy. A slaughter isn’t a slaughter if those being slaughtered are at fault, if they’ve been quietly and effectively dehumanized — in the media, through policy — for years. If nobody is a civilian, nobody can be a victim.
Also read this in The Baffler:
Individuals advocating endless slaughter have found a receptive audience in journalists and anchors unwilling to challenge the consensus view. Democratic and Republican politicians alike talk as if Hamas is a global menace, that this war must be won lest the entirety of the Western world come under threat, and while we’re at it, why not annihilate Iran as well? When Palestinians do manage to make it on the air or into news stories as sources, they are regularly upbraided, demanded to condemn Hamas, even as they describe the death of whole branches of their family trees. Seemingly unsatisfied with demonizing Palestinians, journalistic ire has also been directed at the antiwar movement. The BBC, for instance, characterized pro-Palestinian protesters in London as backing Hamas, which it only later admitted may have been “misleading.”
But it is the horrifying massacre of hundreds of civilians at the al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza last week that has exposed the media’s deference to the Israeli narrative in the most indefensible ways imaginable. On the ground, graphic footage emerged of dead Palestinians, limbs missing, burned by fire, pulled from the rubble. The massive casualties were obvious and impossible to unsee. Western news organizations tried anyway.
Hamilton Nolan was good here:
There is a strain of commentary pervasive in America that anchors itself only in the tactical machinations of politics, and regards dwelling on the morality of politics to be tedious, childish, the work of unserious rubes. Those who operate in this vein are distinguished by what they believe to be their own hard-nosed embrace of reality—their praiseworthy willingness to accept the harsh facts of the world in order to establish, with their wisdom, the boundaries of the possible. Ironically, it is these very people who fail to grasp the point of politics. Their (often flawed) judgment of its inherent limits leads them to view all the world as mere fodder for the intellectually amusing practice of political debate. They mistake their sedated acceptance of today with sophistication about tomorrow. Their veneration of shrewdness above all other qualities causes them to miss the fact that politics is only valuable to the extent that it makes the world better. Without that, it is just another atrocity.
The ruthless bombardment of Gaza and its thousands of dead and dismembered children is viewed by this sort of political actor as a board game. The relevant discussion becomes not the thousands of dead and dismembered children, but instead, the proper amount of admiration or criticism that should be directed at the way that political leaders are “handling” the crisis. Is Biden “navigating” the tricky shoals of the Middle Eastern conflict with aplomb? Has his administration struck the right “tone” in its public statements? How will these events affect his base of support in the Midwest in 2024? All of this discussion accepts, as an unspoken premise, the idea that all the violent events of the world are but another small chapter in the ongoing Book of Politics, which is the appropriate topic of attention.
I'm sorry this newsletter today is kind of scattered but I don't really feel able to write with any sense of concision at the moment. More so than usual I mean. I haven't even gotten to the latest mass shooting in Maine. The shooter was found dead by the way.
I guess for now I'll just repeat what I said a couple of weeks ago in here:
I am telling you we are going to regret this. Our support for this. We the very lucky to still be alive will regret it whether that is sooner or later. We might even tell ourselves somewhere down the line that we never did in the first place. That we in fact opposed it. That we knew right from wrong when it was happening.
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Drawn up all my findings
And I warn you they are candid
My every day begins
With reminders I've been stranded on this
Planet where I've landed
Beneath this gray as granite sky
A place I wake up blushing like I'm ashamed to be alive
How long can a world go on under such a subtle God?
How long can a world go on with no new word from God?
See the plod of the flawed individual looking for a nod from God
Trodding the sod of the visible with no new word from God