This is why I said “No interviews”
October 13, 2014 by Thomas Wictor
After James Delingpole of Breitbart London wrote “Claim: The Four Palestinian Boys Killed on the Beach Were Not Blown Up by Israel but Murdered by Hamas,” I wrote a post to the media explaining that I would give no interviews on the topic. The main reason is that I don’t know how much damage I could unwittingly do to Israel by talking to the press, particularly since so many reporters in Gaza were complicit in Operation Four Little Martyrs. Another reason I won’t give interviews is that we’ve arrived where I knew we would: People who initially welcomed my posts are becoming hostile. It’s time for me to back out.
I’m now getting daily hate mail…from Israelis. They call me a racist, a lunatic, a warmonger, and a patronizing Semitophile. Or they just want to fight. These are some of the most toxic messages I’ve ever gotten in my life. Yesterday on Twitter someone sent me a link to a story in the Guardian that mentions the parents of Mohamed Bakr, one of the boys Hamas murdered on July 15, 2014.
I asked the person why the photos of the purported mother don’t match.
Here’s the first.
Here’s the second.
The person who posted the link didn’t respond, of course, because his intent was to try and shame me for supporting Israel.
“Look at the intolerable suffering the Zionazis have wrought!”
Well, since I don’t believe that the IDF killed the four boys on the beach, showing me photos of how sad their mothers are won’t shame me. But then an Israeli guy stuck in his oar and said that these were two photos of the same woman.
I did a side-by-side comparison.
He said this proves that it’s the same woman. They may as well be twins. Then he started getting really nasty.
“You’ve damaged your credibility with this,” he said.
So I did something totally alien to the passive-yet-obnoxiously opinionated among us: a Google search. As I already knew, it’s two women. The heavier one is named Sahar Bakr.
The other one is named Sawla Bakr, not “Salwa,” as the Guardian wrote twice.
“Did you check their IDs?” the Israeli guy then demanded. “How do you know that’s their real names?”
Well, because I’m their father, of course.
Instead of admitting that he was wrong, the Israeli guy deleted all his tweets about this utter waste of time. And then he became one of my Twitter followers.
Thanks, but no thanks. There are a few more posts about Israeli issues I want to write, but I’m beginning the process of easing myself out of this arena. I understand perfectly well why I’m getting Israeli hate mail now, and why some of the people who once liked my posts now want to attack me.
These posts have put Israelis in the position of having to act and bring about massive change. Israelis can no longer deny that there’s a global conspiracy against them. It sounds counterintuitive, but life was easier when it seemed as though the Israeli Defense Forces were using disproportionate force, committing war crimes, and carelessly taking civilian lives.
Israelis could condemn that and feel good about themselves. They could be on the side of the majority.
But that view of the IDF is a total fabrication. I’m not supposed to make “ballsy” statements, because that might “damage my credibility,” but if Hamas had not held civilians prisoner in their own houses, the IDF would’ve killed only combatants in the entire fifty-day war. An active-duty IDF soldier told me this.
I actually just came across an article a few days ago about a military role I didn’t even know existed: IDF “civilian soldiers” who were placed in Gaza during the recent war there to warn the army whenever there were civilians in hostile areas, and not only that—in addition they were in constant contact with professional IDF law advisers who told them and other generals in the battlefield what they are and aren’t allowed to do.
I’ll say this until the day I die: The Battle of Shijaiyah (July 20-23, 2014) was not physically possible, yet the IDF pulled it off. Israeli troops demolished the fortress built into the neighborhood, yet only seventy out of 100,000 Palestinians were killed.
According to a Palestinian, guess who’s fault it was that those people died?
In the Shijaiya area, people received warnings from the Israelis and tried to evacuate the area, but Hamas militants blocked the exits and ordered people to return to their homes. Some of the people had no choice but to run towards the Israelis and ask for protection for their families. Hamas shot some of those people as they were running; the rest were forced to return to their homes and get bombed. This is how the Shijaiya massacre happened. More than 100 people were killed.
Knowledge brings responsibility. Most people resent having to face reality. I learned this in 2013, when both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer. They refused to accept their predicament. Trying to help them made them angry, because it took away their ability to continue their denial.
I won’t go through that again for anybody. The stress and horror are indescribable.
So it’s time for me to return to what I was before, a blogger who used his Website to express ideas that he found amusing, strange, and inspirational. Israelis now have the information they need to make the reforms needed. If they choose to continue believing the fantasy that the IDF is a horde of slobbering, bloodthirsty savages, I can’t help that, any more than I could help my parents.
If you want, you can buy one of my books. Currently I no longer care about being a successful writer; that might change. I’m going to write a novel about a terrible suspicion and the quest to discover whether on not it’s true. But that’s years away.
Chasing the Last Whale is the novel I published at the end of 2013. I’m very proud of it. You can help me by buying a copy and leaving a review on Amazon. Virtually nobody I asked to do so actually followed through.
It’s a black comedy about love and suicide in contemporary wartime America.
Hallucinabulia: the Dream Diary of an Unintended Solitarian is just…insane. It was very fun to write.
You’ll see the inside of my head. An Amazon review will be appreciated.
Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist is available only in paperback, because the publisher reneged on his promise to make it available as an e-book.
The publisher sent my irreplaceable postcard collection to China to be scanned for German Assault Troops of World War I. In China someone put Scotch and masking tape on the back of each card.
Since it was Chinese tape made of plutonium and catfish dung and was on my cards for about eight months, the adhesive soaked through to the other side. My entire collection was ruined. On the carte de visite above, you can see powdered sugar in the embossed lettering.
To compensate me and head off a lawsuit, the publisher agreed to put out an e-book of Ghosts and Ballyhoo. He never did. I didn’t demand the promise in writing because I thought he was a man of his word. In 2013 both parents committed suicide, and Mike Albee and Lura Dold robbed me of my life’s savings. By the time that was all sorted out, Ghosts and Ballyhoo was as dead as Mom and Dad. It was too late for an e-book.
You can also check out In Cold Sweat: Interviews with Really Scary Musicians.
My mother read it thirty times, she said.
The books are relics of a bygone era. I’m now about two-thirds into the next world; much of what happens in this one no longer interests me. I may write books again someday, but for now I’m happy to just blog, collect postcards, and think.
And correspond with Jessica, Liza, Sarah, Susan, Erick, and the other people I met during the Pallywood phase of my life. As I said I’ve got a few more Israeli posts to go, but we’re just about done.
I’m now allergic to conflict and rigidity. This—not fights, arguments, challenges, anger, irrationality, and belligerence—is what I want for the rest of my time here.
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