Where was your green avitar in 2006?

It has been truely inspiring to see the world rise up in the name of justice this week. The internet has been painted green as people all over the Western world (and Israel) tweet and blog about freedom, democracy, rights of assembly and free speech, liberty and justice for all.


My mood quickly turned bitter as I instantly saw the hypocracy in this. I find it disheartening that so many Israelis and Americans are backing the Iranian protestors while simultaneously defending Israel. Even President Obama came out and called on Iran to, "stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people". He also said something about how when Americans see these sorts of reactions, they must disagree/speak up...something like that. I can't find it, but he basically spoke out against the Iranian government's actions on behalf of Americans.

Prime Minister Netanyahu had the gall, the audacity even, to go on NBC's Meet the Press and say about the situation:

"It is a regime whose real nature has been unmasked, and it's been unmasked by incredible acts of courage by Iranian citizens. They go into the streets, they face bullets and, I tell you, as somebody who believes deeply in democracy, that you see the lack of Iranian democracy at work, and I think this better explains and best explains to the entire world what this regime is truely about"

He continues by juxtaposing how Iran is dealing with its demonstrators (violently, aparently) to how Israel deals with demonstrations against it's policies: "Well, democracies act differently. They don't send armed agents of the regime to brutally mow down the demonstrators."

REALLY!?! Mr. Netanyahu, this is EXACTLY what the Israeli government, the Israeli army, do every single week...nah, virtually every single day!

Every single week Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists come out to demonstrate for their freedoms, their democratic and universal human rights, their right to livelihood, their right to movement, their right to freedom of speech and assembly. All the things that everyone is so excited about in Iran. How does Israel respond? With batons, late night invasions of university dorms (and homes, for that matter), kidnappings, tear gas (often shot directly at people, sometimes killing/severely injuring them), and sound bombs, various forms of "less-lethal" (though still often lethal) ammunition, and with live ammunition. Israel has killed at least 19 people in anti-wall demonstrations since 2004 and injured thousands. In fact, Israel has used force against Americans, yet you have never once heard for the President (or any other leader, for that matter) call for an end to Israeli violence against demonstrators. As I write this, an American man lies in a Tel Aviv hospital. He has been there for more than three months and will likely be there quite awhile longer. What happened? He was shot by an Israeli soldier in the head with a tear gas canister while demonstrating for Palestinian rights.

Beyond this, let's look at what happens when Palestinians decide to use democracy. In 2006 they held parliamentary elections in the West Bank (including Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. Hamas won the most seats (and, therefore, the privilege to form the government) in areas throughout Palestine (not just Gaza!). Within days, the international community (bullied by the US and Israel) took the results into thier own hands (contrast this to Iranians taking their own vote into their hands). There was an international boycott of the new government and a probable US-backed Fatah coup in Ramallah. The story you hear of Hamas "hi-jacking" or "taking over" or "kidnapping" Gaza is not true. Yes, there were a few people associated with Hamas who made stupid videos in those few days, but the reality is that they were elected. Democratically. In a free and fair election. Arguably one of the most open and honest elections the Middle East has ever seen. There was no international outcry for Palestinian's voices to be heard. There was no questioning, "where is their vote?". It was obvious where their vote was and it was international powers who stole their election.

Now, I don't know what will happen in Iran. I honestly don't think Mousavi is all that much different from Ahmedinejad. We forget quickly that Mousavi played a key role in starting Iran's nuclear program. Granted, I think Iran has a right to nuclear power, but that's beside the point. Also, Mousavi is a still a product (and supporter) of the Islamic revolution, so that's not going to change, either. Again, I tend to believe most Iranians are happy under their basic system of government...it's foreign media and activists who are calling for the end of Islamic rule in Iran and for "booze and boobs", if you will, to flow freely. Iranians don't want what so many of their "supporters" assume they want. This is fine. Iranians should protest for whatever they actually do want...but this right should be universal.

People in the west (and Israel) who are unquestioningly in support of the Iranian demonstrators should take a cold, hard, self-critical glance in the direction of Palestine and see the similarities and, indeed, their own hypocracy.


  1. "People in the west (and Israel) who are unquestioningly in support of the Iranian demonstrators should take a cold, hard, self-critical glance in the direction of Palestine and see the similarities and, indeed, their own hypocracy".--- I wish twitter could tweet this article in whole or the last para at least; but I will RT some.
    Regarding circulation of such good blog updates- I did not forget your inquiry- I will compile some sites that republish them. Moreover, you may email them to US or British Papers and magazines. ( The Guardian, Time, Newsweek, NyTimes, etc and to papers in Palestine.
    Good day, every day.

  2. I think i raised same point while answering an american in my blog.
    Read this comment:


  3. I'm sorry I looked for your name, but didn't find it. I think your article is excellent. I am an American who was fortunate enough to have a Palestinian Professor for Political Science. He gave a very balanced look at a subject that is grossly imbalanced. The Palestinian people have been raped for years as the US either looks the other way or outright supports the actions of Israel. I believe that like all countries Israel has good people, but their governments stance on Palestine is brutal. I also feel that when a government is not secular, you are accused of hating the religion (no matter what government we are talking about) instead of hating the policies. I think that if the world were aware of the atrocities that are committed they would be much more supportive of the people not only there but in other oppressed nations! Thank you for you article

  4. Your question is rhetorical, but it deserves an answer. You won't like it, but it's honest and accurate, so at least pay me the courtesy of reading this post before its all-but-inevitable deletion.

    There is a single, easily expressed reason why Americans -- Christians, Jews, and even atheists like myself -- have decked our clothes, offices, and avatars in Muslim green for the Iranian protesters but couldn't do so for Hamas.

    It is because one idea permeates their cause. It isn't "recount" or "Moussavi" or "death to the dictator." It's something bigger and more powerful than any of those.


    The Iranian protesters have won the world's sympathy; not by worshipping violence like a pagan idol as Hamas does, but by renouncing it as an evil and a lie.

    The Iranian protesters don't brainwash children with music videos that idolize suicide bombers as heros. Hamas are idolaters.

    The Iranian protesters don't bestow the title "shaheed" on killers of children and old people, because a true shaheed is killed by thugs like the basiji. Hamas are heretics.

    The Iranian protesters don't call for violence against Ahmadinejad supporters or even basiji thugs. Hamas are savages.

    The Iranian protesters don't send children -- their own future -- to throw stones against tanks and armed soldiers. Hamas are cowards.

    The Iranian protesters are true Muslims. Hamas are idolaters, and the name of their god is Murder. Even I, a man with no god at all, see that.

    If Palestine embraced nonviolence tomorrow, then the West would be an ocean of green, black, red, and white within a week, and no Israeli checkpoint would humiliate a Palestinian ever again by this time next year. As sure as tomorrow's sunrise, this would happen. And millions of Israelis and millions more American Jews would be among the most passionate champions of their cause. And I would be too. But not for Hamas. Never for Hamas.

    Preach nonviolence to Hamas, and they can only spew hatred and bloodlust, tainted with lies and obfuscation about the very dignity and respect they don't deserve. Talk of nonviolence, and they mock Dr. King and Mahamta Gandhi as "just negros and hindus" (I repeat that from very bitter personal experience with a college-educated, foul-mouthed, boozing, superficially Westernized Palestinian man).

    Perhaps you feel the same way. His opinion certainly seems to be the majority among Palestinians, otherwise -- as you point out -- how else could Hamas have won an election deemed free and fair? If you insist that most Americans or our media love Israel, then you are only harming Palestine by perpetuating a lie. (And if you truly are an American, then you know better and should be ashamed of yourself.)

    If Palestine continues to mock nonviolence, that is their collective choice. But then Palestine will never be free. And no one in the West will lift a finger to help them except the same angry, violent misfits that always flock to murder, blood and masturbatory self-pity. And with friends like those, they will never even need the IDF as enemies.

    I want a free Palestine. I want no more checkpoints, no more bulldozed homes, no more violence and killing. But Israel is too much stronger to be defeated through violence, and a Palestinian state born in violence would be no different and certainly no better than a Jewish state born in violence.

    But a free Palestine born through the same bravery we see in Iran today, the bravery of nonviolent civil disobedience, would be too glorious for words. Thoreau, Gandhi, and King have all been the face of nonviolence, but never has an entire NATION born that honor. Palestine could be that nation. Right now, most Americans couldn't imagine connecting the memes "Palestinian" and "non-violent" in the same sentence. Imagine if that were different.

    It could happen, but I doubt it. I see what wallowing in self-pity does to individuals every day, and Hamas has turned this simple, easy narcotic into the foundation of an entire culture. Palestine deserves better.

    Be safe.

  5. thanks for this. while i support the iranian protestors the hypocricy of americans supporting them while funding israel in it's actions against the palestinians has been driving me nuts. i wish the average american would have risen to defend the gazans like they are the iranians, but they didn't. *sigh*

  6. Jake,
    I'm not going to delete your post and am offended that you would assume that I would.

    First off, I want to say that you are right about SOME suporters of Hamas. However, your comment overall shows that you have a very shallow and western view of the political situation in Palestine.

    If you want to talk about suicide bombings, you should talk about many more groups other than Hamas, including Fatah, by the way. Also, these were not just crazy lunatics who wanted to kill Jews because they hate Jews. I could write a dissertation about Palestinian suicide bombings and why they happened. But you'd never listen and you'd never understand.

    That said, thousands of Palestinians DO use non-violence. Every single week brave men, women, and childeren go to the fields, to the streets, to the checkpoints, to the wall and demonstrate even more nonviolently than the protestors in Iran. In Iran I have seen photos of stone throwing, burning motorcycles, destruction of personal property, looting, and more all by the protestors.

    Yes, Palestinians throw stones. But Palestinian parents DO NOT tell their kids to go and do that. Children here know what stone throwing means. Children here already feel frustration and hurt from the occupation enough to take those actions all on their own. You made the exact point necessary about stone throwing when you pointed out that it is done against tanks (or armored jeeps) and armed (and shielded) soldiers. Those soldiers and those tanks are NOT in any danger from the stones, but the respond by killing people, beating people, maiming and paralyzing people, and throwing people in prison for 20 years (Yes, this is the sentence for THROWING A STONE!).

    But many Palestinian demonstrators do not throw stones. Many stand around while soldiers shoot at them, beat them, maim and paralyze them, and throw them in prison for being "politically active". I have seen these things with my own eyes.

    So don't love Hamas, I don't care. They are not what you say they are and the people who voted for them did so, in many cases, because they are fed up with Fatah's corruption, greed, and concessions to Israel. But at least recognize that there are many thousands of Palestinians who DO embrace non-violence and recognize that you still don't hear about it.

    I am safe. It is very safe here. The only time I have ever felt unsafe is around the Israeli army! Palestinians are peaceful, warm, and kind.

  7. Oh, also Jake, there are many Israelis and "American Jews" who search out the truth about Palestinian resistance and who do stand in solidarity with Palestinians, both in American and in Palestine. Whenever Palestinians demonstrate, they have people from all over the world with them.

  8. Excellent article and comments! People in the US don't take enough time to look at the hypocrisy of their actions when addressing the Middle East. When visiting Palestine I never ever felt unsafe and I met many amazing people who were living peacefully! They welcomed me as an American and wanted to tell me their stories. Keep writing for the Palestinians and rebutting viewpoints of those have stilted viewpoints.