Monday, September 24, 2012

The Islamophobic, anti-Palestinian ad - the problems with it

The ad that is to appear in NY subways starting Monday, Sept. 24th
I condemned this ad, which is to appear in NY subways this Monday but has already been displayed in SF and other major cities at least since August 2012, on my Facebook page, and someone asked me what was racist about it or why it needed to be criticized in the first place. In case anyone else out there has a similar question, this is what I think.

I don't think that's worthy of a response, but I'll go ahead and reply anyway.
You see, every ad has a message, and to think this ad's message is just a pro-Israel stand is to choose to conveniently ignore the actual message. If this were merely a pro-Israel ad, there'd hardly be an issue--and we come across those kinds of messages all around us. This ad takes its message to a deeper level, one that sends the message that one side of this war (a human group) is the savage, the other side (also a human group) civilized. I'd deem this racist regardless of which groups the ad was referring to, be it that the Israeli side were the one being declared the savage and the Palestinian the civilized.

There are numerous problems with this ad, foremost that of its racist and Islamophobic stance. Racism is prejudice against a certain group of people based on their race or ethnicity or nation (in some cases, this race may include religion, but that's a different story). The ad above promotes a savage vs civilized binary, which is problematic in itself (for several reasons, such as the definitions of these terms, what these terms have historically meant in different contexts, why humans can be identified only between these two terms, and so on), but then this ad goes beyond just that binary: it defines these terms such that Israel is the civilized man and Palestine (not directly stated here, but I think it's rather obvious--hopefully, I don't have to explain that, yeah?) is the savage man. The point isn't, I think, that Israel is identified as the civilized side, although one has to be completely blind to know that, considering what actually happens and what Israel has done against Palestinians, this is a completely inaccurate portrayal of Israel, but that's not my concern here. It's what Palestine and Palestinians are being portrayed as--stupid, savages, unworthy of anyone's support, definitely everything that the civilized man is NOT.

To an extent, even more important is the idea of Jihad here - "defeat jihad"? Dude, what does jihad have to do with anything in the Palestinian-Israeli war/conflict? Interestingly here, we see another, a new, binary: Israel vs Jihad (Jihad representing Palestine). Seriously?

But they, the ad-makers, know very well that most Americans have been convinced by the media that jihad DOES equal "killing non-Muslims," and so it wouldn't take the ignorant--okay, the misinformed--American a lot of convincing to equate Palestine with everything jihad.

The fact that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) itself refused to allow this ad to be displayed in the subways speaks enough, I would think, about the problem with it. (The reason they lost is that they were sued for their refusal, and the court decided that their decision was unconstitutional!)

Besides, everyone knows about Pam Geller's racist and Islamophobic agenda, and we know who's behind this ad, no? Fortunately, a lot of Israelis, too, among many others, are human enough to stand against the ad.

Yeah, I'm not sure why I went ahead and wrote all that out, but hopefully it gets the point across. I personally think it's sad that anyone has to ask what's wrong with this ad at all ...

Peace to all.

1 comment:

  1. A civilized man does not go to war in the first place...


Dare to opine :)

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