Why I’m no longer talking to non-Jews about October 7

Every Jew, liberal or conservative, finds themselves having the same conversation with non-Jews, over and over

January 10, 2024 11:33

Tired.” “A bit ground down.” “Oh, well, you know.” These are the responses every Jew I know gives these days when asked how they are. Normally you ask a Jew about their health and you get a litany of various very specific complaints, generally accompanied with an in-depth review of the different doctors treating aforementioned ailments.

But that is not what you hear now. Instead, it’s a vague sense of unending exhaustion, an undefinable fog of fatigue. And sure, we can put that down to you-know-what, or January. But I think the cause is more specific. I think it’s because every Jew, liberal or conservative, finds themselves having the same conversation with non-Jews, over and over. Sometimes these conversations are with friends in person, sometimes they’re with strangers online, and sometimes they’re with people you know but are entirely unspoken, and yet you know they’re still happening, and that’s tiring in a whole other way. And this is how that conversation goes:

Non-Jewish person (NJP): Hey, how’ve you been?

Jewish person (JP): OK. Well, you know...

NJP: Yeah, wow, so awful. We don’t have to talk about all that.

JP: Great, thanks, yeah.

NJP: You didn’t know anyone affected, did you?

JP: No, thank heavens. But thanks for asking, my family there is mainly in Tel Aviv. I have some cousins in the IDF, but they’re OK.

NJP: Oh right. So they’re fighting?

JP: Well, they’re doing their service.

NJP: That must be awful.

JP: Yeah, I guess it is.

NJP: Are they actually in Gaza?

JP: I don’t know.

NJP: Because that would be horrible when they don’t want to fight.

JP: Well, no one wants to be in combat…

NJP: Sure. But this is especially horrible.

JP: Yeah, definitely.

NJP: I mean, it’s just so unjustifiable.

JP: What?

NJP: The death rate is insane. Something like 30,000 Palestinians have been killed!

JP: I think it’s closer to 22,000 and that number comes from Hamas.

NJP: It’s from the official Palestinian government spokespeople!

JP: Who are Hamas.

NJP: OK, but it’s not like Israeli spokespeople are more reliable.

JP: Well, they’re not actual terrorists…

NJP: Are you kidding? Have you seen what some of the Israeli politicians have said about Palestinians?

JP: I know, and obviously I don’t support Bezalel Smotrich.

NJP: I don’t know who that is, but Israel wants to wipe Palestine off the map! Look what it’s done to Gaza!

JP: Things are more complicated than that…

NJP: It’s not complicated. Gaza is destroyed, 8,000 children killed. And all these journalists killed!

JP: Oh it’s terrible, I know.

NJP: So you agree it’s unjustifiable?

JP: Well, it wasn’t like it was unprovoked.

NJP: Are you kidding? You’re justifying this genocide?

JP: No – I mean, it’s not genocide...

NJP: Of course it is! They’re wiping out the civilians.

JP: They’re trying to bomb Hamas, who hide in populated areas.

NJP: I can’t believe you’re justifying this instead of calling for a ceasefire.

JP: I’m not, and it’s Hamas who keep breaking the ceasefires.

NJP: But obviously you think the bombing needs to stop?

JP: Ideally, sure! But then what? And, well, you haven’t even mentioned October 7…

NJP: That was ages ago! And all the hostages have been returned by now.

JP: They actually haven’t

NJP: And you cannot think that Israel’s response has been proportionate.

JP: Well, what’s a proportionate response to terrorists coming into your country, killing people and savagely raping women and people, and then promising to do it again?

NJP: What else is Palestine supposed to do to be free?

JP: You realise the October 7 attacks weren’t in the West Bank, right? They happened on land that has always been Israeli.

NJP: I don’t know what you mean by “always Israeli” — the land was stolen from Palestinians and colonised!

JP: You don’t honestly believe that?

NJP: How else do you describe a country that was just stolen from brown people and given to white people?

JP: Neither of those things is true, and where else should the Holocaust refugees have gone?

NJP: Oh, you always bring up the Holocaust! Stop using that as an excuse to deny Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

JP: It’s history and context!

NJP: This is just more white privilege being used to subjugate brown people.

JP: So you don’t think Israel should exist at all? Where would the Israelis go?

NJP: I don’t get into the details. I just think there needs to be an immediate ceasefire.

JP: And what happens when Hamas breaks it again?

NJP: Like I said, I don’t get into details.

JP: I need a nap.

NJP: Ceasefire now! From the river to the sea!

January 10, 2024 11:33

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