32 Comments
Apr 1Liked by Steve QJ

Analogies are never perfect.

But this one feels right to me in the broad sense that oppression breeds violence which breeds oppression which breeds... You all get the point.

At some point, the justifications for both sides fall apart because the behaviors on both sides don't change. The real question is how to manage the generational trauma that such situations inevitably create. As our current US politics show us, we as a nation have still not fully processed the trauma of slavery for both black and white people. Fear, distrust, and righteous justification still dog our body politic.

Anyway, thank you for this. I found it helpful.

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Apr 1Liked by Steve QJ

Steve Q, brilliant connection between Nat Turner’s rebellion and Hamas’. Both then and now, a faction of the disenfranchised population, living in intolerable conditions, responds violently. And now as then, a ruling party responds murderously to murderous rebellion. I did not see this intersection of the two. Nice.

Ye old “Give me liberty, or give me death” of 1775 Rebel Virginia should have been in living memory of 1831 Slaver Virginia but, Alas! The purblind exercise of Confirmation Bias always relegates the other guy to having flawed character while I, myself, has no other choice but the obvious.

And tourists of “us and them” conflict don’t need to cross oceans for this benighted view. They can can simply look across the kitchen table at an ungenerous spouse or a river like the Rio Grande.

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An Egyptian friend shared this. Read the comments.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C5Ozcqfo9hh/

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Yeah, I’ve seen a few videos like this. And I’ve seen more of the comments that accompany them than my faith in humanity can withstand. I truly despair at how lost some people are on this issue.

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The breakdown that I see on this analogy on Substack & Medium is that even the Imperial Grand Wizzard of a Ku Klux Klan Klavern is not going to publicly say that the slave owners were the good guys. They did have reason to fear an uprising. Nat Turner was local, but that was small potatoes compared to what happened in Haiti. People not in the fight want to choose sides, good guys and bad guys. With the carnage in Gaza people are choosing sides to justify the action of their "good guys" because slavery is universally seen as evil while the justification for what governments do to people is subject to debate.

Yes, the Palestinians lived there when Israel took over while the transatlantic slaves were in dysphoria. But both ended up in the same place and one had power and used it in cruel ways. While difficult to call terrorism justified, it is regrettably understandable. The Nat Turner slave rebellion and the Hanas attacks are called terrorism while states with large armies can kill noncombatants and destroy infrastructure and it is not called terrorism. If it is your dead and shattered loved one those words become irrelevant.

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There are really only two long term stable solutions to the problems of the Israelis and Palestinians, plus one more that's recognized internationally as a war crime.

Either Israel leaves the Occupied Territories and allows the Palestinians to create a state there, or Israel grants citizenship to the people in the OT. A two state solution, or a one state solution.

I could write thousands of words about the crimes and stupid decisions on both sides that have made implementing either choice more difficult, but that would change nothing. Both sides have spent over half a century trying to make life so miserable for the other that they leave. Neither side has succeeded, or will.

Israel, with its vastly superior military, controls the immediate options. Given their current behavior, there's no reason for the US to be supporting them.

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Completely agreed. As much as I'd like to see it in principle, I think a one state solution would tear itself apart immediately. I think a two-state solution is the only option. And I think US military support should be conditional on Israel's cooperation with building it.

We already know that the US will intervene to defend Israel, that's all well and good. But I think Biden and co are slowly realising they also need to intervene to control Israel.

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Agreed. The level of trust that Israelis would need in order to grant the Palestinians in Israel full citizenship, knowing they could then outvote the Jews in Israel, far, far exceeds the level of trust involved in the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. A one state solution risks with high probability the entire Zionist project.

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Thanks for this. And you may want to read the commentary I left on Free Black Thought in regard to Episode 42.

Happy Easter.

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I'm surprised they printed it in full. I hope it's still up. :)

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Ok, Steve, I'll be shameless here. Please read that commentary and share a commentary of your own. There are precious few conservative-leaning Americans who dare to say anything against the identity politics of the Israeli leadership or the Republican Party.

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There is a temptation in the commentary sphere to map everything onto American slavery, but it's just not always informative or accurate. Part of a larger trend to flatten everything into simple narrative structures, which is something you often avoid. But it lends an allure of false knowledge or righteousness where it doesn't exist. Just in the same way that "anti-woke" commentators like to view everything as some sort of flavor of Marxism. This isn't Nat Turner's slave rebellion.

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Apr 1·edited Apr 1Author

"There is a temptation in the commentary sphere to map everything onto American slavery, but it's just not always informative or accurate."

Haha, I've written criticising this trend myself. Maybe I'm guilty of it here. But I'm not trying to claim there's a perfect equivalence between Hamas' attack and Turner's rebellion. I'm arguing that fear and/or oppression will almost always lead to extremism. That extremism rarely has the interests of the oppressed parties in mind. But failing to consider the sources of that extremism, and especially, collectivising people who aren't guilty of it, is a problem humanity has been struggling since long before Turner's days.

If you were white and living in Southampton County in 1831, it wouldn't have been nearly as clear who the good guys and bad guys were. You'd have been horrified by the slaughter of innocent people. Babies even. And worried that you might be next. You'd have become more distrustful of the other black people around you. You wouldn't have been even slightly predisposed to listen to Turner's justifications for his actions (the fact that he may well have been insane wouldn't have helped). And even if you disagreed with the militia's methods for preventing future rebellions, you'd be much more likely to support them than try to look at things from Turner's point of view.

I think the main objection to the comparison is the fact that we all know who the good guys and the bad guys were in the Antebellum south and that distinction is far less clear today in real time. As I've said many times, my condemnation for the attack is absolute. Just as my condemnation for Turner's attack is absolute. There is nothing, in my mind, that justifies the killing of innocent people. Especially children.

But at the same time as I condemn Hamas and Turner, I also condemn the Antebellum South and for Israel. Both of whom also regularly kill children in support of their aims. The horror of the attacks doesn't erase the horror of the oppression. And the horror of the oppression makes it extremely likely there will be future horrific attacks.

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Apr 2Liked by Steve QJ

Hi Steve,

Yes, fair enough - I only mention it as I find you to be as intellectually honest a discussion partner as I've found online in all of these discussion platforms. The causal chain from oppression to extremism is, I think, not that simple - more dependent on cultural factors. e.g. who have been more oppressed than the women of the Middle East broadly speaking?There are no homicidal revolts against the men in those societies. Not asking for one, but questioning the validity of the general observation. The history of the world is writ in blood and oppression. At some point, the rehearsal of ancient ills should be informative and not performative (no shade on you; a general observation). I'm more interested in the arrow moving forward and the shared ideals and plans to get somewhere, for lack of a better term, "better". One thing left out of all of these discussions is the role of prescriptive programming from early childhood. It is no accident that even in the most progressive e.g. UN-run UNRWA schools, the PA textbooks with violent extremism are used and upheld. At some level these children are being conscripted into a worldview that is poisonous to their well-being.

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Apr 2·edited Apr 2Author

"There are no homicidal revolts against the men in those societies. Not asking for one, but questioning the validity of the general observation."

Personally, I'd love to see one. I couldn't wish enough suffering on the Taliban or the "morality police" for example. But there are obvious reasons why violent uprisings aren't the method of choice for women being oppressed by men.

And even in cases that involve men vs men, the circumstances aren't usually dire enough that an armed uprising will feel like the best option The oppressed group is almost always, pretty much by definition, outmanned and outgunned. An uprising is almost always a suicide mission. So they'll tend towards legal or diplomatic means unless things are *really* bad. The civil rights movement is a good example of this. Segregation was terrible. But not quite, "let's slaughter the random women and children of our enemies" terrible.

But in Palestine's case, and in Turner's, it's hard to see what non-violent options they had. As Ami Ayalon put it, "you cannot deter someone who thinks he has nothing to lose." And neither the Palestinians nor the slaves have/had much to lose.

As always, the big fat caveat that my sympathy with the plight of the Palestinians doesn't mean I think Hamas was in any way justified. Even in the most desperate situations, there are basic standards of humanity. Hamas violated these standards. So did Turner. But the reasons why their compatriots don't condemn those violations as easily as we do from our positions of safety and freedom, are important.

As for indoctrination, there are two points to make.

First to borrow the slaves again, do you think there would have been much work required to conscript the slaves into a worldview where they hated white America? Don't you think the circumstances of their lives would have done that just fine? Indeed, the indoctrination required was to make the slaves docile and subservient so that their natural human desire to rebel against their oppression was beaten out of them.

And second, there is abundant evidence of the indoctrination Jewish children undergo in Israel and around the world. I've seen far more of that than I have indoctrination of Palestinians. Though obviously this could simply be that I've missed it and not that it's not there.

As history teaches us over and over again, the best medicine for prejudice is exposure and equality. The Israelis and Palestinians lack both of these. And it's yet another reason why peace and freedom as soon as possible is such an important goal.

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Apr 2Liked by Steve QJ

Hi Steve,

Fair enough, although I think our views diverge in a few places, which is natural. Everyone is wrong and everyone is justified to one or another degree. War is a mess, and having a war where the leadership decided to abscond to another country to avoid the worst of it is another unusual circumstance on top of that. re: mutual exposure as a tonic for prejudice - yes, this has been my personal experience as well. Many friends of all sorts before I discovered how society chose to "racialize" me. However, I don't think it's quite accurate to say that both Israel and Palestine lack this - some 15-20% of arabic muslims living and working in Israel pre Oct 7th. In leadership roles in parliament, etc. As you know, trying to find the reciprocal situation in Palestine, Egypt, Syria, etc. I mean there are more jews in Kenya than Syria right now. Don't want to play the fact check game as we're both freely writing, but I think that's significant.

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"As you know, trying to find the reciprocal situation in Palestine, Egypt, Syria, etc"

Yep, this is true. Partly because no Jew, or sane person in general, would choose to live in Gaza if they had other options. But also, yes, because choosing to live in Gaza as a Jew would be largely insane.

The settlers who live in the West Bank do so because they know the IDF have their backs and yet they still live in completely isolated communities where they don't see Palestinians unless they're fighting them or using them to build their houses.

From what I know of Israel, Arabs and Jews don't really mix that much. So while it's true that there's a higher proportion of Arabs in Israel than there are Jews in Gaza, I'm not sure how much it helps re: fighting prejudice/indictrination. Even if there were peace tomorrow, that's going to be a slow, painful process. Just as it has been in America.

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Analogies are often not persuasive, but the action/reaction of violence in the two situations does have logical merit. Fear breeds excess.

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You needed an article to extract this point of view? All of the hand-wringing misquotes of MLK during 2020 riots didn't cover that? It's more complex as I replied above - women oppressed for generations across the Middle East with no violence to show for it.

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What's that got to do with anything that I wrote?

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"fear breeds excess" = "a riot is the language of the unheard". etc. hope that helps.

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Doesn't help at all. You're two quoted phrases are not equal and don't have anything to do with what I wrote.

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OK, another misunderstanding on the internet then. You have had a few opportunities to expound on "what you really meant". Absent that, all I have are your words. Have a great day.

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The white southerners already owned the land. You give only passing mention to the ongoing land theft, not mentioning at all that the greatest seizure of the West Bank since 1993 was announced shortly after 10/7.

We know that Israel knew the attack was coming, and they let it happen, I am convinced, to have a pretext to resettle Gaza. Which they are doing.

Hamas knew that Israel’s response would be savage and disproportionate, though probably not as bad as it’s been. But their strategy succeeded; world opinion is shifting against Israel.

I hope I don’t need to say I deplore Hamas’ extremity.

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The white southerners already *colonized* the land...

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I read the hard copy book, "The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century" by Thomas Hammes about 20 years ago. I haven't reread it but what I remember seems to have stood the test of time.

Written 20 years ago, "4GW (Fourth Generation Warfare) is the only kind of war America has ever lost. And we have done so three times - in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia. This form of warfare has also defeated the French in Vietnam and Algeria, and the USSR in Afghanistan. As the only Goliath left in the world, we should be worried that the world's Davids have found a sling and stone that work." Now there's more for the list. World opinion was critical in the iterations of the Middle East Intifadas.

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Unfortunately, we have a pretty good idea of what would happen if the Palestinians were "freed." https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/poll-shows-palestinians-back-oct-7-attack-israel-support-hamas-rises-2023-12-14/

Forget whether they back Hamas to rule them, 70% back the insane atrocity of October 7th.

That's why they haven't had an election in the West Bank. The PA KNOWS HAMAS WOULD WIN.

BTW, Nat Turner wasn't isolated. Every southerner lived in fear of another Haiti, but that's another topic. But we know what happened when slaves WERE freed, and they had allies. Hamas, even after atrocities deliberately designed to give Israel little choice but to go medieval (or WWII)

https://claireberlinski.substack.com/p/sinwars-script?r=2k7n7&triedRedirect=true

But your insistence on using Hamas numbers of casualties baffles me. Are the supposed 500 deaths of the people at the hospital included in that number? The same people who said Israelis killed 500 people when it turned out a failed Hamas rocket killed about 15 are putting out those numbers.

Other observers have said that Israel's real count should be about 1 Hamas militant killed for every civilian. Tragic, but let's look at that. Considering using human shields is a Hamas STRATEGY, should Israel just say, "Okay, we can't do anything now" and make that tactic a successful slam dunk for the future?

Hamas doesn't have a formal army, so EVERYONE can be considered a "civilian." Many of them are in their teens, so they are "dead children."

I don't know what the real numbers are, and I don't think anyone does. But parroting Hamas's numbers because the anti-Israeli majority in the UN accepts them doesn't fly with me.

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Over 90% of Palestinians disbelieve or are unaware of the reports of atrocities committed by Hamas (https://www.timesofisrael.com/for-most-palestinians-october-7s-savagery-is-literally-unbelievable-blame-the-tv-news/amp/). Partly because their news networks didn’t report it, and partly because they now can’t access much of anything.

They think it was a legitimate military strike. Not a massacre.

Meanwhile, less than 2% of Israelis think Israel is using too much force as it kills 30,000+ people (https://social-sciences.tau.ac.il/sites/socsci.tau.ac.il/files/media_server/social/2023/Findings-November-2023-EN.pdf).

It feels as if every time we talk about this, you’re trying to convince me of how terrible all the Palestinians are. All while totally overlooking how terrible Israel has been. And why, given Israel’s actions, some people in Gaza, by which I don’t mean Hamas, have legitimate grievances that should be acknowledged instead of handwaved away.

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There was never any land called Palestine. Those Arabs squatters want to kill Jews and take over Israel.

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Not sure on what grounds you're calling Arabs who lived in the region for centuries "squatters." Both Jews and Arabs have a right to live on the land. It's weirdly ahistorical to claim otherwise. And yes, of course it's true that some Palestinians want to kill Jews and take over all the land. It's also true that some Israelis want to kill Arabs and take over the land.

Playing "who is meanest" isn't going to get anybody anywhere. And you might not like who ends up looking worse.

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Well, that's the first time I've heard prisoners called "squatters" while they remain imprisoned.

Look, the Palestinians in the occupied territories were living there when Israel occupied their land in 1967. They have essentially no political or civil rights within the state, Israel, that controls them. It's been this way for 57 years now.

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