You Have Already Taken A Side On Israel-Palestine (Whether You Admit It Or Not)

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readMar 2, 2024

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

You have already taken a side on Israel-Palestine. Whether you know it or not. Whether you admit it or not.

You have either consciously chosen to side with the people who are being continually massacred by Israel, or you have consciously chosen to side with Israel, or you have sided with Israel by being “neutral”, or you have sided with Israel by being indifferent.

As Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

The powerful oppressors are more than happy for you to be “neutral”. The ones who are already in control want as little scrutiny as possible. From their position the fewer people who are looking them and evaluating whether their actions are right or wrong, the better. Your neutrality just means they get to keep doing what they want to do.

It’s perfectly okay not to have an opinion about everything. It’s fine not to take a position on every political issue that comes across your screen. Most people have way too many opinions, and most of them are about silly and unworthy things.

The onslaught that is happening in Gaza is not one such instance, though. Taking a stand against genocide is what having opinions on things is for. Opposing mass-scale human butchery and ethnic cleansing is the fundamental, bare-minimum position that all other political positions should follow from. If you can’t take a stand against that, what are you even doing here? How have you been spending your brief time on this planet? How have you managed to make it to this point in life without maturing to the barest minimum standard possible?

You might think Israel-Palestine is too complicated for you to take a stand on. It isn’t. It’s very simple. Many of the small specific details are complex, but the overall reality they form is simple: an apartheid state has spent five months butchering and starving the population it has marginalized in a way that advances that state’s longstanding political agendas of ethnically cleansing that population from the land.

You might think you’re too cool or too evolved or too smart to take a side on Israel-Palestine. You are not. You have already taken a side, whether you admit it or not.

You might think Israel-Palestine has too many gray areas and uncertainties for you to legitimately take a side. It does not. The endless stream of footage of skeletal bodies and children ripped apart by military explosives over the last five months makes it very clear that this issue has a right side and a wrong side, and you are already standing on one of them.

By all means refuse to take sides on other issues; not taking a side is entirely legitimate when it comes to most issues people are wasting their breath bickering about. But not this one. When it comes to Gaza, reality demands a position from you.

That doesn’t mean you have to side with the Palestinians if you don’t want to. You are a sovereign human being; it’s up to you. But don’t kid yourself about being neutral. At least be real with yourself that by refusing to pick a position you are licking the boot of a nuclear-armed ethnostate that is backed by the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. If you can’t be real about anything else, at least be real about that.

______________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece here are some options where you can toss some money into my tip jar if you want to. Go here to buy paperback editions of my writings from month to month. All my work is free to bootleg and use in any way, shape or form; republish it, translate it, use it on merchandise; whatever you want. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley.

Bitcoin donations: 1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Featured image via Adobe Stock.

--

--