Atheists and Secularists for Gaza

Our own Justin E. H. Smith at his website:

Justin Interested in joining? Go here.

How much longer will it remain possible to elide outrage against the Israeli siege of Gaza with support for Hamas? How far can the semantic band linking these two be stretched before it simply snaps?

And wouldn't it be useful if there were a concerted effort on the part of those of us who could not possibly be Hamas sympathizers, to the extent that we think all religion is childish, to vigilantly watch for and loudly denounce attempts to conflate our opposition to the Israeli assault with sympathy for Islamic jihad? Let us make that effort, by calling into existence a loose confederation of likeminded “Atheists for Gaza.”

Atheists for Gaza will announce themselves as having as little in common with Hamas as they do with Jerry Falwell, the pope, Vojislav Šešelj in Serbia, the BJP in India or the Shas Party in Israel.

Atheists consider them all cavemen. But we are clear-sighted enough to see the siege of Gaza for what it is: not a defense of democracy against the theocratic tyrants who would destroy it, but rather the collective punishment of a population, born into an open-air prison, for the desperate and ineffective gestures of its most frustrated members. Israel's attack is completely disproportionate to the threat posed by Hamas militants, as it is a full-scale military assault against a civilian population that does not even have its own military.

There are likely almost as many atheists opposed to the assault on Gaza as there are atheists, for the same cognitive faculty that enables us not to be duped by unprovable claims as to the existence of a transcendent order is also the one that helps us to see through political bullshitting in general, and Israel's euphemistic appeal to 'self-defense' in particular. Yet astoundingly the public-relations war being conducted by Israel, simultaneously with its more conventional war on Gaza, has been remarkably successful in silencing the voice of the humanist objectors to the war by associating it with the indisputably anti-humanist voice of Hamas, against which Israel is supposedly defending freedom and democracy in the Middle East. But in fact Israel is only defending democracy for itself, and squalid Bantustans for everyone else.

More here. And I urge you to consider joining Justin's group now! I have.