Nuance vs. Anger

In an enraged world, where powerless people are poised, at the slightest provocation, to bite each other’s heads off, nuance disappears.   The best explanation I heard of why this happens is the neuroscience of what happens in the insula (insular cortex) when people are angry.   This important region of the brain, crucial to our emotional lives, lights up, apparently, whenever we are angry.   When the insula is glowing with anger we simply can’t process nuance, can’t make distinctions, can’t make productive comparisons, can only see our anger.   People who insist Trump is the worst president ever can quickly get mad enough to insist that fucking Trump is a better president than fucking Bernie Sanders would have been.

We attended a concert for peace at Temple Emmanuel a few months back.  A couple of musicians we like very much were performing and it was touted as a concert for peace, Palestinian musicians making music with Israeli musicians.   Outside the historic synagogue a small group of angry looking Jews were holding signs, behind a barricade, with a couple of NYC cops flanking them.   The signs said this was an anti-Semitic event held by self-hating Jews.   I crossed the street to ask what was up. Imagine my surprise to learn that I was about to be a dupe of fucking anti-Semites!   I was informed that one of the concert’s sponsors, the New Israel Fund, supported terrorism against Israel.

This claim took me by surprise.  I knew nothing about the New Israel fund, and asked how exactly these momzers [1] supported terrorism against Israel.   “BDS”, I was told, the anti-Semitic plot to squeeze Israel to death economically so that the Arabs who claim to be Palestinians can overrun it.   I felt like I was talking to Stephen Miller, the hatred coming off this one young man was palpable.   I told them I’d check out the New Israel  Fund, but that as far as I knew, from the artists in the show, I was pretty sure none of them are anti-Semites.  My friend crossed the street and took me by the arm at this point.  She led me away from the dozen or so protesters who continued to make a ruckus after we headed in to see the show.

For true believers, it suffices merely to have a rationale, a buzzword, to spit in the face of those who refuse to believe.  In the case of these protesters, BDS is a tool for modern day Nazis and should be criminalized in America, the sooner the better. Full throated support for BDS is the same, to them, as opposing the criminalization of this specific form of non-violent political coercion.   To these angry people, anyone who believes BDS should not be illegal supports BDS and intends to put a dagger through the heart of our beloved Jewish State.  Easy peasy, no need for your fucking anti-Semitic nuance you self-hating fucker!

Here is the New Israel Fund’s position on BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction), from their website:

What is NIF’s position on boycott, divestment and sanctions?

The New Israel Fund is committed to strengthening democracy in Israel, supports freedom of speech and promotes non-violent means of expression of belief and conscience. We oppose any attempt to criminalize the legitimate expression of support for any non-violent strategy or tactic, including the global BDS movement which we do not ourselves support.

The NIF does oppose the global (or general) BDS movement, views the use of these tactics as counterproductive, and is concerned that segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland.

NIF will not fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS programs.

However, NIF opposes the occupation and settlement activities. NIF will thus not exclude support for organizations that lawfully discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements.


[1] bastards

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