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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

OPINION: Let’s talk about Israel

Sienna Wight / Hilltop Views
A steakhouse on the corner of 8th Street and Colorado Street in Downtown Austin was tagged in support of Palestine. The writing was quickly removed from the wall.

Edited November 2, 2023

I have friends who do not talk about Palestine. These friends tell me they respect when people have strong opinions on Israel. These friends tell me that they wish they were more informed. These friends tell me that they are waiting to learn more before speaking.

These friends are either cowards or Zionist dupes.

It is a privilege to be uninformed. It is a privilege to be able to look at the conflict, or rather to look away, and shrug it off; too convoluted an issue to understand.

Do Palestinians in Gaza pause to appreciate the complicated nature of their bombardment by Israel? Do the interviewed Israeli soldiers encouraging a total extermination of Palestinians in Gaza seem too hamstrung by nuances to form an opinion or act upon it?

Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a complex matter. There is nothing to understand, no substance to parse and no complexity to unravel. Israel is a fiction cobbled loosely into the shape of a country. The claim by white Israelis to the land they occupy is based on myth.

I am not calling anybody’s religion into question. I only say that none of us have met the prophet Abraham. I am not calling into question the expulsion of the Jews from Israel by Rome. It is incontestable that this happened. It is equally incontestable that it happened a very long time ago.

Let’s say I went to our sister school, University of Notre Dame, and began sleeping on the couch of the person currently living in my father’s old room. When asked to leave, I insisted that the university had given the room to my father, and that I had maintained a strong tie with the room by attending another Holy Cross school. Once the current occupant allowed me the couch, I then took, by increments, the whole living room, then the bedroom and so on.

There is nothing inherently righteous in a myth. America is based on myth. We do not, as we used to, give America a pass for its crimes.

If you want tangible realities, then consider the millions of dollars this country sends every day to Israel. Consider the constant and frankly bizarre year-round stream of billions by countries around the world into Israel’s defense budget. But how tangible is a concept like money, really? 

What is real are the often illegal weapons Israel buys with this money to use against civilians. What is real are the bodies of Arab children in Gaza, not the faked videos of white Israeli children in cages.

There is nothing hateful in being anti-Zionist. In accusing an anti-Zionist of being antisemitic, it should be kept in mind that the Arabs are also a Semitic people. If we accept that anti-Zionists are anti-Jewish, we beg the question why so many anti-Zionists are Jewish.

Given the astronomically higher death rates of Palestinians in the war as compared to Israelis, the conclusion must be drawn that it is more antisemitic to be a Zionist than not. I will admit that a degree of anti-Jewish (in context it is silly to keep using the word “antisemitic”) rhetoric is present within certain circles of anti-Zionist discussion. I will make no attempt to excuse this sort of bigotry.

I can say nothing which will make defensible the references made by the militant group Hamas to the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a refuted document from the early 1900s alleging to be the minutes of an international Jewish conspiracy.

What must be understood is the inevitability of a group like Hamas. If we imagine that a collective trauma like that of the Palestinian people would not result in some element of hate, then we are being sentimental. There was no possibility of a more subdued reaction.

Hamas has not acted in a vacuum. This recent violence has not emerged from thin air. It has not interrupted some totally equitable peace.


Editors Note: Hilltop Views staff continue to engage in conversations surrounding the ethical implications of the piece, and how we can open discussion about the Israel-Hamas war. The editors and staff of Hilltop Views are listening, we hear the concerns of the community and take these concerns seriously. We want to facilitate open discussion of all kinds and encourage the St. Edward’s community to contribute to the conversation. Hilltop Views strives to provide the community with the information it needs, so we invite people to submit guest columns surrounding conversations they believe need to be discussed. For more information, please reach out to [email protected].

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  • M

    Molly WangNov 3, 2023 at 9:16 am

    I appreciated the perspective reflected in this piece and thought the analogy used was illuminating.

  • K

    Krupa ShahNov 2, 2023 at 10:12 pm

    Thank you for writing this piece. I am proud to see Hilltop Views having discourse on this topic.

  • S

    Sam McFarlandNov 2, 2023 at 12:43 pm

    This is a great piece, a short and worthwhile read.