The Unfortunate Capitalizing of Tragedy

Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

It’s an unfortunate yet true reality that after a tragedy takes place, there are those who look to capitalize on the events to further their political agendas. Last week in Pittsburgh, a gunman opened fire in a synagogue, killing 11 people. Rightfully so, many in the Jewish community condemned this atrocious act, and called for unity in a time of healing. However, for those who have been following events in the Middle East, specifically the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it was only a matter of time shortly after that the inevitable politicization would take place as it did.

For some time now Israel has slowly been attempting to equate any criticism of its actions with anti-Semitism, in an attempt to silence anyone from challenging their occupation in Palestine. For in depth reading on this subject, see Sheldon Richman’s article on “Defining Anti-Semitism”. Looking on social media after the events in Pittsburgh, one could right away see the pro-Israel war hawks jumping on every opportunity to use the tragedy as a political win for Israel. For some, it was attacking the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, calling it anti-Semitic for its boycott of Israeli goods. Ironic however that a state which claims to be the bastion of free speech in the Middle East is seemingly hell bent on silencing any dissent towards it. Just last month American student Lara Alqasem was detained in an Israeli airport for a week, for of all things, boycotting Israeli owned Sabra hummus as part of her involvement with Students for Justice in Palestine. One Twitter user went so far as to tweet “The entire purpose of BDS is to wipe Israel from the map”. Comical, considering the plethora of boycotts in the United States domestically by groups who use it as a means of protest, with no intention of wiping any country off any map.

Although Twitter users equating tragedy with protecting Israel’s interests may not seem effective or making a difference, prominent Zionist voices in the media have pounced on the opportunity to protect Israel’s image at all costs using the tragedy as a tool. Immediately after the massacre in Pittsburgh, using anger to squash opposing views, the terms “Zionist” “neo conservative”, and even questioning George Soros were equated with being anti-Semitic, and therefore speaking ill of any of these concepts made you a supporter of not only white nationalism, but more effectively, the killing of Jews. Talk show host Dave Rubin tweeted “The Left has a Jew-hatred problem which they poorly disguise as an anti-Israel stance”. Covering all their bases, pro-Israel Zionists seem to be working overtime in all but assuring nobody dares speak any ill of Israel.

Even with all the outpouring of support that not only comes Israel’s way daily when there isn’t a tragedy, but especially now that a Jewish community has been affected, the Zionist war hawks make sure to remain the victims in all of this. One would think those advocating for reflection during a tragedy would wait before politicizing murder, but the time was too ripe to pass up the opportunity. There is this notion from both left and right leaning Zionists, who ultimately have the same agenda, that President Trump and in effect the United States doesn’t care for Israel or Jews. Anyone with an elementary level education can understand the erroneous nature of this victimization seeking. Besides the fact that the Israeli lobby practically finances U.S politics, President Trump repeatedly gave his condolences to the Jewish community. Something which never crossed his mind to do when six Muslims were killed in a mosque attack in Canada. Canada isn’t the President’s problem to be addressing you might say? Well condolences by all American presidents seem to be given to Israel, when a Palestinian who most likely witnessed their home being demolished lashes out from hysteria.

In the wake of tragedy there are two types of people. Those who genuinely grieve at the event and look to unite in the name of good. It’s an unfortunate reality that there also exists those who keep one eye open during prayer, waiting for the time to use tragedy to further political agendas. 11 people killed in Pittsburgh while worshipping is a heinous act. But we cannot allow those who kill more than 11 people regularly educate us on the ethics and decency of humanity.

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Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan