Recently, I posted a picture onto Twitter which I’d found on another account. It showed a Jewish woman in New York who was arrested for reading out the names of innocent people killed in Gaza. It has currently got nearly 300 retweets, the most I’ve ever had on a single tweet.
I’m heartened that so many have shown such support for Gaza, such support is crucial to ending the Israeli military’s genocidal campaign of massacres, terror, and intimidation against the Palestinian people; not just in Gaza, but all over Palestine. The world’s outpouring of grief for the people of Palestine is truly heartening.
My problem is that most of the people engaging in the outpouring, especially in the “pro-Palestine” crowd, don’t really give a damn for true humanity and solidarity, they’re just posturing! They only care about people when they can fit them into their closed-minded world view. They’ll support oppressed Palestinians because it’s hip and radically chic enough for them to do so… Yet they’ll cheer on Assad as he kills hundreds of thousands, on the basis of political or ideological beliefs. In the words of my friend Nott George Sabra, they’re engaging in “selective internationalism”.
Go on. See for yourself. As any number of these “pro-Palestine” protesters and social media users about Bibi. You’ll hear only the truth about his genocide. Ask them about Assad, and regardless of if they’re left and right wing, they’ll sing sickening songs about what an anti-imperialist he is, and about what evil terrorists his opponents are. If the left and right wing don’t agree on much, they are completely bipartisan when it comes to their Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiments. Nick Griffin has no love for anyone who isn’t caucasian, bigoted and white, but he sure as hell gets intoxicated by a genocidal tyrant. Left-wing leaning MP George Galloway, for all his crocodile tears for Palestine, sickeningly fawns over Assad, both in real life and in emails directed towards him.
To them, Palestinians are the only Arabs worth caring about, partly because Israel is openly backed by the west, and so they see the Palestinians as inherently worth supporting, not out of humanity or compassion (and leftists are especially prone to this poisonous train of thought). In their eyes, because Assad is ostensibly opposed to the west, Assad is “fighting terrorism”, “imperialism”, “those evil Muslims”, or whatever the hell they want to call it, and so all his victims are the wrong kind of Arabs to care about. In short, they care about Palestinians killed by Israel because the west backs Israel. They don’t care about Palestinians killed by Assad because he’s an “anti-imperialist”.
They’re as racist as they come. In their eyes, Arabs are just mere chess pieces, to be used, abused, and murdered en masse for the sake of their chic posturing and fraudulent “anti-imperialism”. Just as Iran will liberate Tel Aviv even if it means fighting to the last Palestinian, they will fight for Assad in Syria down to the last Syrian. They believe that it’s impossible for Arabs to do anything of their own accord, without evil western puppet masters being behind it. This is especially true of the tin-foil hat wearing Infowars crowd. If Arabs muster self-determination (e.g. in Syria), it has to be part of a Zionist-CIA-reptilian plot if they rise up against a leader who professes to go against the US. All his opponents are automatically evil al-Qaeda (“al-CIAda”) mercenaries working with the US to overthrow a regime… How on earth does that even work?
Who cares about the fact that Assad has killed around the same number of Palestinians as Israel has, via weapons, starvation and torture, the Americans helped to put him in power (and want him to keep that power), and that he’s butchering his own people? Never let reality get in the way of messanic pseudo-leftist claptrap.
The majority of the “pro-Palestine” crowd, in short, are not humanitarians, but complete fucking bullshitters. At least 80% of you. There, I said it. You’re not a “humanitarian” if you only selectively care about elements of your humanity because it fits your world view.
The Syrians are suffering EXACTLY the same kind of murder, injustice and tyranny as the Palestinians, and have been doing so for the last 40 years or so. If you’re going to be a TRUE humanitarian, and not just someone who postures or selectively cares about people as long as they fit into your incredibly selective “anti-imperialism” (it isn’t imperialism when a western backed country isn’t doing it, apparently), then you’re just another poser. I’ve rarely heard any of you talk about Iranian or Russian imperialism, yet you always have something to say about the west. Iran and Russia act just as brutally and imperialistically; Khomenei murdered hundreds of thousands and executions of members of the gay community and political prisoners have risen under Rouhani, Putin slaughtered Chechnya… But you don’t care, do you? It isn’t imperialism if the west isn’t doing it.
If you want to be a true humanitarian, then what are you waiting for? Stand up for EVERYONE, regardless of their religious or political beliefs? See through Assad’s faux anti-imperialism (he mouthed off against the west for years for years, while renditioning suspects for torture with the full cooperation of the CIA) and fake anti-Zionism (he has endless resources to kill his own people, but none to liberate the Golan), and condemn him just as strongly as you would condemn Bibi.
Then you’ll have an iota of my respect.
Your incredibly annoyed writer and occasional analyst,
Radio Free Syria.
For an excellent article on my point, see “The Anti-Imperialism Of Fools” by Mahmoud E. on Palestinian Reflections, and Pham Binh’s “Libya and Syria: Where Anti-Imperialism goes Wrong“. Ruth Riegler’s “Syria and the Pseudo-Radical Poseurs of the ‘Anti-War’ Left” is also a marvelous read.