How to Talk About Gaza Without Pissing Anyone Off
It’s that time of the decade again!
Israel and Gaza have gotten into one of their horrifically familiar wars, and everyone is screaming angry about it the same way they were last time. And, just like last time, everyone expects you to have a clear, decisive opinion on the awful violence. And not only an opinion, but the RIGHT opinion, or else YOU ARE THE WORST.
Whenever the conversation gets occupied by Israel/Palestine talk, you’re deathly afraid to say anything because you’re terrified that the second you do, you’ll be labeled either a Nazi-humping anti-Semite or apartheid’s screaming teen girl superfan or someone whose Google search history is nothing but the words “slow-motion genocide fucking sexxxy.”
Because those are clearly the only options.
Even if you try to take the middle road and say something completely innocuous like, “I just want peace” or “killing kids is bad, y’all,” that’s somehow not good enough, and you still get called Piece o’ Shit Fascist or Osama Bin Traitor or Hitler’s Favorite Power Bottom*.
Side note: Ever notice how no matter which side you express sympathy for, you’re still a Nazi to someone?
Double side note: “You’re Still a Nazi to Someone” sounds like a long-lost song from a Geobbels and Hammerstein musical about milkmaids.
Anyhow, you’re clearly none of those terrible things. You’re just Boring-as-Fuck Bill from Oswego, and, like any sane person, you wish people all over the world–of all backgrounds–would stop being such giant assholes all the time and that innocent kids would stop getting killed and that the human race wasn’t so constantly disappointing in its tendency to blow each other up first, ask questions never. And also that stupid Aunt Kathy would stop fucking inviting you to play fucking Candy Crush Saga 17 fucking times a day**.
To survive your next conversation about Gaza, here are some handy phrases to use whenever you’re caught between an occupied territory and a hard place and don’t want to piss anyone off***:
“Yes, I agree, Israel IS a word with a lot of vowels.”
“I personally feel that Gaza is a place that also exists.”
“What I hate most are all the negative attitudes.”
“I think the saddest part about all of this is Wolf Blizter’s visible erection.”
“Death is bad, unless you don’t think death is bad. Whatever you think. Please God, stop yelling at me; I just want to get through this Target checkout line, buy my Archer Farms trail mix and go home.”
“Wow! Your yelling voice is beautiful. Have you ever done voiceover work for energy drinks?”
“Speaking of Israel, don’t you just love Israel Kamakawiwo’ole? That hugely overweight Hawaiian singer that did the ukelele version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” that’s been on like every other episode of Crossing Jordan****? He’s amazing. Talk about rocketing to fame.”
“I support any side that is naturally hirsute.”
“I love Natalie Portman. I love New York Jets lineman Oday Aboushi. I love hugs. I love pudding.”
“Actually, Jill, I support a SEVEN state solution. What? You don’t? What are you, AN ISLAMO FACIST NAZI BARISTA DEMON?! SOMEONE BRING JILL A BABY SO SHE CAN EAT IT, BECAUSE SHE PROBABLY LIKES EATING BABIES, TOO, SHE’S SUCH A MONSTER. YUMMY YUMM YUMM BABIES, AMIRITE JILL? HAVE ANY GOOD RECIPES FOR MANGO-BABY SOUFFLE, JILL? HUH? DO YA? DO YA?!?! WHAT? NO, I WILL NOT LEAVE THIS TARGET CHECKOUT LINE, SIR, I WAS JUST HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH MY MISINFORMED FRIEND JILL HERE. BABY BURGERS ARE IN AISLE SIX, JILL!”
Use these phrases, and you might get out unscathed. But if you do have an actual opinion on the violence, great! Express it. Before you do, just make sure it’s precisely the same opinion people have had for decades, because eventually thinking the same thing over and over again will work, right?
*Hitler’s favorite power bottom was actually some sleepy-eyed twink named Travis.
**Aunt Kathy is really going through something right now, ever since Uncle Paul left her for that Sonic waitress, so she’s just lonely. We should cut her a break.
***You will still piss someone off.
****This song never actually appeared on an episode of Crossing Jordan, but the author doesn’t regret the reference.
John Loos is a Chicago-based writer and actor who has performed with The Second City at Sea and recently joined the faculty of The Second City Writing Program. He’s an ensemble member of GayCo Productions and performs in the two-man sketch and improv duo Pinque Pony. He can be tweeted @johnlooswins.