Nobody starts out as the sort of person who would support a genocidal bombing campaign that murders children by the thousands. It’s something you come into gradually over the years, one moral compromise at a time.
Again and again over the course of their lifetime, a supporter of Israel is given the choice to either kill off a piece of their conscience or abandon their support for Israel. They are presented with this choice any time they see Palestinians being treated in a way they’d never want themselves or their loved ones to be treated — whether it’s bombs, protesters shot by snipers, people being driven out of their homes, human rights organizations ruling one after the other that Israel is an apartheid state, tales of the racism and abuse suffered by Palestinians in the West Bank, or testimony about how horrific life in Gaza had been made for the people who live there, long before this latest round of killing began.
This information is unavoidable in modern times. You can avert your gaze, you can try to insulate yourself from it in an ideological echo chamber, but it will inevitably find its way into your field of perception once in a while. And every time you are confronted with it, you have to make a choice whether to compromise your personal sense of morality a bit further than it was already compromised, or abandon your support for Israel.
You carve off pieces of your own morality one at a time, mostly in order to avoid the psychological discomfort known as cognitive dissonance which necessarily goes along with any drastic change in worldview. Then before you know it you find yourself opposing a ceasefire to a murderous onslaught that has killed thousands of children.
Deep down you know you’re on the wrong path. You know this isn’t how you started out, isn’t how you’re meant to be living your life. But you drown out that small voice inside with the much louder voices of life in a modern industrialized society, many of whom are paid millions of dollars a year to tell you your worldview is the correct one.
This is why there’s such a massive generation gap on the Israel-Palestine issue; young people haven’t spent a long time gradually eroding their moral compass into a worthless trinket, and they don’t consume enough mass media to have been convinced that doing so would be worthwhile. They have not been sufficiently indoctrinated into depraved indifference toward the suffering of others.
In a recent statement rejecting right wing claims that its algorithms are stacked to favor Palestine and promote anti-Israel sentiment, TikTok says the real reason pro-Palestine sentiments are so popular on the platform is because young people just statistically oppose Israel a lot more than older generations.
TikTok writes the following:
“Support for Israel (as compared to sympathy for Palestine) has been lower among younger Americans for some time. This is evidenced by looking at Gallup polling data of millennials dating as far back as 2010, long before TikTok even existed. A March 2023 Gallup poll, before the war, shows young adults have rapidly shifting attitudes towards the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.”
In a leaked audio clip obtained by Tehran Times, Anti-Defamation League director Jonathan Greenblatt is heard bemoaning the loss of Gen-Z to pro-Palestinian sentiment.
“But I also wanna point out that we have a major, major, major generational problem,” Greenblatt complains to his cohorts. “All the polling that I’ve seen — ADL’s polling, ICC’s polling, independent polling — suggests this is not a left or right gap, folks. The issue in the United States’ support for Israel is not left and right, it is young and old.”
“We really have a Tik-Tok problem, a Gen-Z problem,” Greenblatt adds.
In reality, what Greenblatt and his associates have is a morality problem. They have a large group of people who have not been indoctrinated into accepting madness and amputating parts of their own conscience over the years, and so are able to look at the mass murder of civilians in Gaza with clear eyes.
And really that’s all you need to see the ongoing Gaza massacre for what it is: a look with clear eyes. Just one swift glance, unmolested by propaganda distortion or cognitive biases. That’s all it takes.
Israel’s problem is not that people are being propagandized into hating it, it’s that people are not being successfully propagandized into supporting it. Their problem is not malign influence but a lack thereof. Because the fact of the matter is there’s only so many ways you can spin the murder of thousands of children, and now all the media obfuscation in the world is not enough to pull the wool over fresh eyes that are ready to see.
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Featured image via dci-palestine.org