How to Use the Massacre in Israel to Your Political Advantage
What's in this for YOU?
***NOTE TO THE IRREPRESSIBLY DAFT: I’m a comedian, this is satire. Funny story, though: I often include these disclaimers with my satire and people still miss the joke and freak out.***
It’s only natural to witness the horrific events in Israel this week and think: “How can I use this tragedy to nudge my political hobby horse forward a fraction of an inch?” Sadly, the connection between foreign disasters and domestic squabbles is not always clear; not all foreigners recognize that everything is ultimately about America, and American politics, specifically. As part of I Might Be Wrong’s longstanding mission to indulge and develop our readers’ worst impulses, we present this guide to making the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Israel and Gaza work to your personal benefit.
TIP 1: Just keep talking about the thing you were already talking about.
USEFUL FOR: Political commentators with brain lock, cable news producers who have already finished 90 percent of a segment and don’t want to start from scratch.
If you think about it, don’t recent events PROVE the point you were just making??? Why, yes…yes they do! While the connection between pre and post-October 7 events might not be apparent at first, second, or even twentieth glance, with enough determination and abuse of words like “similar” and “related” so egregious that it borders on sadism, a person can link any topic from a week ago to late-breaking news. Here, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin attempts exactly that:
The truly superior part of that tweet is the “How about this?” preface. Rarely do pundits say outright: “I’m just spitballing here. Does this play? You tell me — I definitely don’t know.” I welcome a norm in which pundits begin tweets with phrases like “Let’s throw this in the oven and see if it bakes” or “Will this dog hunt, or am I talking out of my ass here?” Though — as you can see by the more than ten thousand replies to Rubin’s tweet — her “How about this?” was met with a response that can be paraphrased thusly:
TIP 2: Blame Joe Biden and don’t worry too much about the “how” or “why”.
USEFUL FOR: Republicans, especially Republicans who are running for president.
Joe Biden is president, and bad things still happen. Those are FACTS. And Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called on Republicans to hammer home those facts as often as possible. On Fox News, she said:
“I think this is a great opportunity for our candidates to contrast where Republicans have stood with Israel time and time again while Joe Biden has been weak.”
“This is falling squarely on the shoulders of Joe Biden. It took him 45 minutes to respond.”
“I think all of it stems back to the failed withdrawal out of Afghanistan.”
Pro tip to Ronna McDaniel: The bit about Afghanistan is definitely a candidate for a preface like “let me run this up the flagpole and see if it waves.”
Republicans like Tim Scott, Ron DeSantis, and Mike Pence availed themselves of this “great opportunity”. Even Donald Trump — normally a measured and thoughtful commentator — tried to blame the attack on Biden. He said:
The war happened for two reasons. The United States is giving and gave to Iran — six billion! Six billion over hostages. … I would not be at all surprised if part of that tremendous wealth that they just accumulated went into all of a sudden watching this level of aggression.
The $6 billion has become a political football. The Republican talking point implies that Biden simply handed Iran six billion dollars — they make it sound like Biden showed up at Ayatollah Khamenei’s door with a big check and balloons like the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol. Of course, the truth is that $6 billion in Iranian assets in South Korea were unfrozen in exchange for the release of five American hostages. Maybe you think that deal was wise, maybe you don’t, but only a dishonest person would fail to acknowledge the tradeoff. Of course, voters will surely see through this dishonesty — no Republican could ever win the White House by making shallow promises about their ability to free hostages in Iran!
The Republican claim is minimally true because: 1) The Iranian government does fund Hamas, and 2) Money is fungible. Therefore, it is technically accurate to say that the $6 billion — no matter when or how it is spent — helped fund the attack. Of course, according to that logic, it is also technically accurate to say that anyone who bought gas or rugs or produce or literally any Iranian export helped fund the attack. After all: That money goes to Iranians, and Iranians are taxed by their government, and that government supports Hamas. In fact, even if you bought something that didn’t come from Iran, you still created demand for goods that Iran sells in a global marketplace, which means that you drove up the price of those goods, so long story short: You helped fund the attack. You sicken me.
TIP 3: Wait for Israel’s response, denounce that response no matter what it is, and then weave that response into the same narrative about colonialist oppression that you use for everything.
USEFUL FOR: Leftists who think that this conflict has only one facet, and that facet is Israeli oppression of Palestine.
There’s a type of leftist simpleton who thinks that all events can be explained by evil oppressor groups exploiting oppressed peoples. These people have managed to cram the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — truly one of the most multi-faceted conflagrations in human history — into this cookie-cutter framework. They have the same view of the conflict as Jeremy from Peep Show:
The “Israel bad, Palestine good” narrative has hit the teensiest snag on account of the brutal and purposeful murder of thousands of civilians. Many on the far left have spent the week laying low, saying little, and commencing the arduous process of stuffing this new set of facts down the Memory Hole so that their simplistic view of the conflict can remain intact.
Some of those people are already positioning themselves to denounce Israel’s response, no matter what that response ends up being. Below are statements from “Squad” members Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. To their credit, they condemn the attack in clear terms. To their discredit, they don’t acknowledge Israel’s right to do anything in response to the attack. The highlights below are mine — I have emphasized the relevant parts of these statements because I Might Be Wrong fans are notoriously hostile to reading.
A thoughtful conversation is needed about what response from Israel is justified. Carte blanche cannot be justified, but inaction in the face of an organized attack could hardly be called humane (especially when hostages are still being held). People like Bush, Omar, and Ocasio-Cortez have disqualified themselves from that conversation because they’ve made it clear that they consider any response to be unjust. Nonetheless, in the near future, they’ll denounce Israel’s response and use that response to further the oppressor/oppressed narrative that is the only thing that they know.
TIP 4: Use faint or even non-existent connections to tie noxious idiots to the political party you oppose.
USEFUL FOR: Partisan hacks, media arms for partisan hacks.
While Bush, Omar, and Ocasio-Cortez at least acknowledged that murdering innocent civilians is bad, others did not. A joint statement by 31 student groups at Harvard University declared the Israeli regime “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence” and failed to condemn the murders. Among the groups signing the letter was the Harvard chapter of Amnesty International. I’m not sure how an organization founded on the protection of human rights got to a place where it endorses large-scale murder and kidnapping, so I’ll simply note that Vince Gilligan doesn’t have a show right now, and I would definitely watch a five-season drama about a human rights organization that breaks bad and ends up doing PR for terrorists.
Some truly odious demonstrations were organized by the Democratic Socialists of America. These protests contained sickening rhetoric, and many demonstrators made it clear that they don’t just oppose certain Israeli actions — they object to the existence of Israel, period. The phrase “from the river to the sea” — though it sounds like the title to a Celine Deion song — is actually eliminationist rhetoric, and it appears to have featured prominently at these rallies.
Mainstream Democrats denounced these demonstrations. Even New York City Comptroller Brad Ladner — who joined the DSA in 1987, back when it was just three hippies printing pamphlets in an alternative book store — condemned the demonstrations. But that didn’t keep something called America Insider from running this incredible headline:
Normally, I wouldn’t bothering criticizing something as obscure as America Insider, which is almost certainly one sexually frustrated guy surrounded by ferrets in a basement.1 But this column somehow made its way onto Microsoft’s “start” page, and it’s truly a hum-dinger.
Malone’s “logic” — and I use that word in the loosest manner allowable by law — is that AOC and other members of The Squad are part of the Democratic Socialists of America and also members of the Democratic Party. So — even though no Squad member or Democrat of note organized or attended the event, and even though most (maybe all?) notable Democrats issued statements contradicting the most odious elements of the rally and in some cases issued statements explicitly denouncing the rally — Carver decided that “Democrats Hold Shameful Pro-Palestine Rally” accurately described the event. I feel that this reporter is unfit to write under the esteemed banner of America Insider.
Of course, pretending that the fringy-est freak you can find represents the beating heart of your political opposition is a tried and true political tactic. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict attracts extremists, so chances to tie your opponents to some frothing-at-the-mouth mutant should abound. It should be — in the words of one notable hack — a “great opportunity”.
I Might Be Wrong hopes that this tutorial has been helpful and reminds readers that the real tragedy would be to fail to use the horror of the past week to advance your personal agenda.
In contrast: I am in an attic.