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The Pathology of Apologetics


The meaning of the word apologia is to defend or justify a belief.

I am thinking about a popular and malignant statement that is used to either justify what Israel is doing in Gaza or how this statement is used to suppress any attempt to forge sympathy for the Palestinians.

"They’ve always been fighting."

"This is all they know."

"It’s been like this since biblical days."

And so on and so on and so on.

Not-so-well-hidden in these statements I keep hearing is plentiful ignorance and an extra serving of bigotry. As if all the other cultures and regions of the world have not been cursed with near constant fighting. These claims aren’t worth the weight of air that carries them to our ears.

First, the state of Israel has not always been there. It was created sixty years ago and was built on the dispossession of indigenous inhabitants. Folks should read The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe or the recent article by Nir Rosen, Israel, Gaza, and the Logic of Colonial Power.

Second, this is not symmetrical warfare by any means. Israel is illegally occupying the Palestinian territories and has been subjecting the occupied to brutal punishment and living conditions for more than forty years now.

This current escalation in fighting is not about the occupied lawfully resisting with rocket fire – and per the UN Charter the Palestinians are justified in their resistance (whether it is productive is another discussion) – but about daily abuses the Palestinians have endured. It has also been revealed that Israel began planning this operation just six months ago. The cease fire has been honored much more by the Hamas-led government than anything Israel has honored. We cannot forget this. But when the brutal blockade has blocked food, medicine and fuel from those already living in squalid conditions and when the oppressor is being openly supported with military, economic and political aid by the U.S. then honestly: What choice do the Palestinians have? Roll over and die?

I suspect many who use the excuses above know what is being done is wrong and are opting for the easy way to avoid the obvious. I also suspect that religious convictions are another factor behind this intentional ignorance. To recognize that the state of Israel is an aggressor would be a serious blow to theistic dogma, which of course it is.

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