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politicalsci:

On May 14, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 60 Palestinians and wounded over 2,500 while they were demonstrating inside Gaza. That fact is not in dispute.

But according to Matti Friedman, a Canadian-Israeli author who lives in Jerusalem, neither the snipers who chose their targets and pulled the triggers nor the officers who ordered them to open fire are responsible for the deaths of the Palestinians.

“If the most effective weapon in a military campaign is pictures of civilian casualties, Hamas seems to have concluded, there’s no need for a campaign at all,” Friedman goes on. “All you need to do is get people killed on camera.”

This analysis is — and there really is no other word to describe it — racist. It strips Palestinians of agency; it implies that they do not value their own lives. This is not journalism; it is Israeli government propaganda. Friedman finds nothing to criticize in the Israeli army’s use of deadly force against unarmed civilians. Nowhere does he mention the man-made humanitarian crisis that Israel could easily alleviate. Only Hamas is responsible — not Israeli policy, which has kept Gaza under a choking military closure for 11 years.

But Friedman barely glances at Gaza’s tragedy and its desperation. Instead, he lifts his nose and sniffs “propaganda,” holding the victims responsible for their own suffering and self-righteously telling Jews who disagree with him that they just don’t understand those people as well as he does.

If he were a white South African journalist in the 1980s using this language to describe black anti-apartheid activists, most intelligent readers would rightly have dismissed him as a racist. Let us be consistent in our worldview, rather than adjusting the lens of our compassion so that it blurs and distorts when we look through it at those we fear.

Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/401486/the-racism-of-blaming-palestinians-for-their-own-deaths/

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