What can you even say to this from Bari Weiss?
The results of this mess, as always, are especially bad for the Palestinians who live under Hamas rule. Casualty reports are hard to verify because Hamas controls the media (even the international press) inside the Gaza Strip, but it appears that more than 50 Palestinians have been killed. Some of these people are entirely innocent non-combatants, including children. This is an unspeakable tragedy. It is also one of the unavoidable burdens of political power, of Zionism’s dream turned into the reality of self-determination.
Here is what you can say about it: it is an example of a profound moral vacuum, and it is a telling indication of what a colonial, manifest destiny mindset can produce.
It is hard to be more explicit than Weiss is in that paragraph. Weiss is saying, very openly, that in her eyes, the Israeli slaughter of children is an unfortunate but inevitable and even necessary byproduct of Zionism’s mission. (As many have noted, this leveraging of identity in defense of Jewish domination is a darkly ironic departure from a supposed enemy of identity politics). Weiss calls it “an unspeakable tragedy,” but it is clear that, for her, the true tragedy would be if Israel’s dominion over Palestine were to be curbed. For Zionism to flourish, enemies must be subdued, and if children get murdered along the way, well, what can you do? It’s a breathtaking admission, but you can appreciate the honesty.
I am writing to you from the waiting room of my fertility clinic. Getting pregnant when you are gay is not so romantic, so we try to do little things to make it nice. Last night I took a bath. We watched “Mare of Easttown.” Nellie opened a bottle of red. Then she grabbed my stomach and gave me a shot to trigger ovulation.
I planned to take the morning off. The doctor says that stress is not good for baby-making. But sitting here, scrolling through my phone, looking at the tsunami of lies — lies that have permeated every Instagram story and every viral meme and every TikTok video and every popular Twitter account — I am weeping.
It appears that standing up for the right of innocent people to protect themselves from a genocidal terrorist organization has become extremely risky to one’s “brand.” And so lies have replaced truth. Memes have replaced morality. Hashtags have replaced history.
I’m speaking, of course, about Israel.
Weiss’ own potential motherhood is supposed to be a source of sympathy here—”stress is not good for baby-making,” but the lies being told about Israel are just too much—and yet she has virtually no sympathy for the children killed by Israel, because they are sacrifices for “Zionism’s dream.”
The piece goes on from there, roping in Jeremy Corbyn and AOC and social media and on and on. I could spend a lot of time refuting it. I could point out, for instance, that it is disingenuous in the extreme to complain about memes when the Israeli military is literally putting out memes about its destruction of Gaza. I could point out that Israel is an apartheid state, that Gaza is an open-air prison, that Palestinians in Israel are being subjected to ethnic cleansing campaigns and waves of violence, that outspoken Palestinians are being harassed and intimidated, that Israel is firmly backed by the most powerful country the world has ever seen. I could point out that the IDF is openly saying it wants to cause “terror” in Gaza:
I could say how revolting it is to see a fellow Jew operate with so little humanity for others.
But Weiss has heard all of these things, they don’t matter to her or to any of the people who think like her. Once you are in a place where you say that the slaughter of children is an “unavoidable” consequence of the existence of a country you support, you’re simply too far gone.