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America’s censors have committed their Guernica The culture war was won years ago

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)


March 29, 2024   6 mins

America’s cultural mood calls to mind a bunch of people tentatively peering out from their hiding places in the aftermath of a torrential hailstorm. Is it over? Can we come out now? Are we still cancelling each other to death, or has the vibe finally shifted?

In recent months, people who lost their jobs amid this or that spasm of ideological intolerance have begun to reappear in places where they would have been previously blackballed, telling stories that sound like modern-day versions of The Crucible, except much stupider. The memoir of #MeToo hero Christine Blasey Ford was released last week to surprisingly little fanfare, while a NYMag exposé of womanising podcaster Andrew Huberman — which only a few years ago might have resulted in the boycotting and deplatforming of the man in question — made barely a dent in the discourse. Brands that went all in on social justice are now quietly — and in some cases, desperately — distancing themselves from the excesses of the era. Even the painfully hip young progressives who run Biden’s social-media channels have stopped using inane terms like Latinx, and resumed posting like normal people, or close enough.

And yet, there is also a sense that we cannot pull back from the edge, particularly in the rarefied spaces where high culture is made. Consider this month’s imbroglio at the literary journal Guernica, which lost virtually all its volunteer staff in a wave of mass resignations following the publication of an essay by writer and translator Joanna Chen. Titled “From the Edges of a Broken World”, it described Chen’s complicated and conflicted relationship with her adopted country of Israel — to which she immigrated at the age of 16 after the death of her brother — in the wake of the October 7 attacks that left 1,400 people dead, and the retaliatory bombing by Israel which augmented that number by tens of thousands more. Within days of the essay’s publication, Guernica‘s co-publisher and nearly a dozen editors announced that they were resigning in objection, accusing Chen of trying to “soften the violence of colonialism and genocide”. The magazine unpublished the essay with apologies, although apologies for what remains unclear; a “more fulsome explanation” for the retraction was promised but has yet to appear, and the magazine’s website has not been updated in weeks.

It’s hard to understand how someone could read Chen’s words and see a woman who is “speaking for power”, and blind to the plight of the Palestinians, let alone defending genocide. “There is a limit to which the human soul can stomach atrocities and keep going,” she writes, in a paragraph that mentions both the October 7 slaughter by Hamas terrorists and the ongoing massacre in Gaza. The essay, which has since been republished by Washington Monthly, is interspersed with lines of poetry by Palestinian writers, people Chen knows personally from having translated their work, and also describes her ongoing work as a volunteer driving Palestinian children to Israeli hospitals. But of course, most of the essay’s fiercest critics didn’t read it, at least not comprehensively — and of course, not reading it was exactly what they wanted everyone else to do. That’s the thing about censors: they don’t really care what you’re saying. They just want to stop you from saying it.

In truth, the most interesting thing about Guernica‘s collapse is how familiar its contours seem. The substance of the controversy changes, but its shape remains the same. There was the cherry-picking of one allegedly offensive line — in this case, Chen grimacing as a friend tried to comfort her children by describing the sounds of rocket fire as “good booms” — which was then repeated ad nauseam, like a magic password that allowed critics to condemn the essay while bypassing any actual engagement with its content. A search for the phrase “good booms” on X is an illuminating, if depressing, reminder that what you cannot bring yourself to read charitably you will also inevitably struggle to comprehend — and that even the most literate among us are not above pretending, for the sake of tribal signalling, to have the intellectual capacity of a turnip.

“The most interesting thing about Guernica’s collapse is how familiar its contours seem.”

But of course, this was just step one; eventually, and particularly if a backlash has begun to brew, the censors will pivot to a litany of secondary indictments: a lack of oversight by the editor (“A rigorous editorial process might have produced something worth reading!”), an error in the publication process (“Only one editor saw it!”), the quality of the censored work (“It’s not even good!”).

For those of us who come to these debates based on a sincere and principled commitment to free expression, this rhetorical barrage is disorienting; it’s like being invited to a scrimmage only to find your opponent repeatedly picking up the goalposts and carrying them all over the field, jeering at you over their shoulders for wanting to play in the first place. It would be almost hilariously bewildering, if it weren’t so damned bleak. The journal editors who are supposed to be the custodians of the literature that allows us to know ourselves, our world, and each other — people who spend their lives bewailing the dangers of book bans from the Right — become a pack of sneering authoritarian bullies when confronted by work that dares to empathise with anyone but their chosen side. The artists who are supposed to be our truth-tellers, our rule-breakers, whine that a story wasn’t subject to proper editorial process, like a snotty bureaucrat sending you to the back of the line because you didn’t properly fill out Section 320A of Form 981 at the DMV.

It doesn’t matter if the story was good; it doesn’t even matter what the story was about. Anyone who cares about art, and especially the ones who care about it enough to make it, knows this for the cringing, callow conformity it is. It is — or at least, it should be — utterly beneath us.

A common criticism of Israel is that, in its treatment of the Palestinians, the country has become the thing it once hated. This seems too facile to adequately describe the complexities of a conflict thousands of years old, in which all parties involved have suffered, and struggled, and spilled the blood of others as surely as others have spilled their own. But it could perhaps describe the current state of the arts in America, in this moment of absolute hegemony by the Left in every place where culture is produced — and in which the flag of the progressive cause can be found literally flying over everything from corporate headquarters to the White House.

We call this a “culture war”, but in truth, it feels like that war has been over for some time, and that the Guernica controversy is just the latest flex by a regime that has been in power for over a decade. Consider how long we’ve lived in thrall to the shrieking, puritan mode of cultural critique first advanced on the Your Fave Is Problematic Tumblr. Consider how long we’ve been policing books and films for “harmful tropes”, or obsessing about the racial makeup of the Oscar nominees. Consider that it was 2017 when progressive folk hero Roxane Gay effectively torpedoed HBO’s Confederate, an alternate-history drama led by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, by calling it “slavery fanfiction” in the pages of the New York Times.

I often think about Confederate. Who knows: maybe the concept was, if not slavery fanfiction, too flawed to pull off. Maybe it would have been in truly bad taste. But maybe it would have been interesting, or provocative, or even great — and we’ll never know.

This, too, is the thing about censorship: at its worst, it isn’t just about one book, one film, one painting going up in flames. At its worst, it yanks the paintbrush from the artist’s hand before he’s painted a single stroke, all for fear of what he might create. It’s why, even now, it still seems so strange and terrible to me that so many of these avid censors are often artists themselves. The one-time counterculturalists who overthrew the scolds of the Moral Majority, ascending into power through the sheer audacity of their art, their stories, their songs — how long did it take before these same people started using their newfound influence to silence the voices of the artists they didn’t like? A year? Five years? Was it always going to be thus?

Maybe. What matters, I think, is that we are fully living on the other side of that moment, and have been for a while. The spasms of the past few years, whatever you want to call them — wokeness, cancel culture, something else — were not a power struggle, but the aftermath of one: the part where the winner shows his strength and supremacy by stamping his boot on the faces of the losers, not forever, but certainly until everyone knows exactly who’s in charge.

Seen this way, what happened at Guernica is simply what has been happening. Not a revolt from below, but a reminder from above of who holds the power, the influence, and the censor’s pen in their hot little hands. That Guernica has published nothing since the meltdown over Chen’s essay seems less like accidental fallout, and more like things going exactly as planned.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

katrosenfield

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Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
3 months ago

Particularly good KR piece, your trajectory continues to rise

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
3 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Sapio

Agreed. A well-reasoned article that is entirely on point.
The unfortunate souls who dare to question the monoculture narrative that defines them as ‘oppressors’ (based on some rudimentary and biased intersectionality grid) are quickly disappeared from work and society – they are memory-holed out of any meaningful existence. 
Beware any movement that enables and applauds the ghettoization of people based on such narratives. We’ve witnessed the trajectory and historical arc of such movements in the past.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
3 months ago

I understand cultural revolutions, etc., from Crane Brinton in Anatomy of Revolution as a failure of the revolutionaries to produce heaven on Earth. But it can’t be because the stupid ideas of the revolutionaries. It must be the Enemy, and the Enemy must be destroyed.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
3 months ago

I think in the unique case of the US much of it is due to the simple fact, dictated by demographics, that the Wall Street elites cannot rule without the black vote. As the Democrats’ hegemony in the inner cities is increasingly threatened, so the pandering becomes ever more hysterical.

It’s probably too late. Finally black voters are beginning to realise that white liberals are not their friends.

Howard S.
Howard S.
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

You give the black voters too much credit. There will always be the ten percent who think for themselves. The rest do not think beyond the cornucopia of free government programs that the Wall Street elites shower them with to keep them on the Democrat plantation. And the promise, slowly coming to fruition, of lots of extra free money through reparations programs. Already in effect in several cities here in the States. People who were never slaves getting lots of free money from people who never kept slaves as “compensation” for the slavery that none of them experienced. More black votes.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
3 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

You may be right – but the ten percent only has to become twenty percent to change everything.

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
3 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

Why limit your account to black voters? The transfer of wealth through programs to senior citizens is certainly greater than that to the black community. I doubt that a group can be identified that altruistically disregards it’s economic self-interest.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

Good point not sure why the Unherd bigots have downvoted you, could you have simplified it a little more..?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

Because we will all be old one day, but not all of us will be black. Even as a young man I’ve never begrudged money going to the old and needy, and while I intend to retire on my own resources, I don’t mind if others less well off than me receive state benefits.

Jon Morrow
Jon Morrow
3 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You mean I’m gonna stay this colour?

Jon Morrow
Jon Morrow
3 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Ha! My direct quote from the movie The Jerk was censored. Hilarious.

Howard S.
Howard S.
3 months ago
Reply to  Jon Morrow

After watching that movie at least I finally understood why I had no natural rhythm.

Howard S.
Howard S.
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

We senior citizens paid taxes into the federal coffers, income taxes, Medicare insurance taxes, Social Security taxes, for our entire working lives, in many cases four or five decades or more. We are not getting back anything we didn’t already pay for in advance. And the millions of people who pay into the system and die before they begin collecting never see a penny back. Transfer payments from people who never held slaves to people who never were slaves will benefit no one except the politicians pushing those programs. And the stores that sell liquor and cigarettes. And the local drug dealers. Whose customers will have more spendable cash thanks to “reparations”.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
3 months ago

So grateful for this. I appreciate the deep humanity of Joanna Chen’s “From the Edges of a Broken World”. The title itself already captures the feeling I have about it.
It brought back that realisation of our struggle in this fractured society and the importance of retaining empathy and awareness of our common humanity.
The latest events had only yesterday brought me to the awful thought, god forbid, that in future the crime of apartheid will probably be replaced by the worse one of zionism.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

I fear those downvoting have entirely misinterpreted your comment. (It’s not an unusual feature of Comments, so no need to feel downhearted – their problem.)

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
3 months ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Don’t discount the possibility that some of the downvoters actually believe that zionism is ever so much worse than apartheid.

Jim D
Jim D
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

How is it that Zionism, defined as “the movement for the self-determination and statehood for the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel” is a crime?

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

I have to admit that I had a few re-reads of your last line because my initial reaction was that you considered Zionism as worse than apartheid.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
3 months ago

On the progress of the culture war, there is a new front: Gamergate 2. Instead of the war disappearing it has become embedded in corporations as policy. Policy from the worst capitalists like BlackRock on down. It gets called ESG or DEI. If companies want venture funding they are forced to comply. And that includes games publishers and console manufacturers like Xbox.

And it now affects how games are made: females defeminised and males emasculated etc. So I doubt that we even have a ceasefire in this war.

BTW if you are not up on game culture and Gamergate then Cathy Young’s “(Almost) Everything You Know About GamerGate is Wrong” is an excellent introduction. It is behind a paywall on Medium or on the Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org/web/20191013142708/https://arcdigital.media/almost-everything-you-know-about-gamergate-is-wrong-c4a50a3515fb?gi=3a0eca2b50f6.

Tom W
Tom W
3 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

I came across that essay, but it begins with “Everything You Know”, which isn’t helpful for those who don’t know to begin with.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
3 months ago

The triumph of the anti-Zionist bigot. The new NSDAP thug without the jackboots. Just be kind!

Dorothy More
Dorothy More
3 months ago

Beautifully written. Sadly, the culture war is won by the left and they will keep stamping their boot on the faces of all of us. This is what (neo)marxists do. Their supporters should know that the revolution eats its own. I suppose Chen as well as other contributors had to pass the selection process for Guernica (nomen est omen) and be confirmed as “progressive”. And now it seems both Chen and Guernica are simply disposed of.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
3 months ago
Reply to  Dorothy More

That is how the majority is going to take the left’s jackboots away. The left will continue pushing people out of the lifeboat until the few that are left can’t row the boat. Not that they would — their mission is ideological definition, not practical action. Then the majority, tired of their dictatorship and afraid because they have seen people they like made unpersons, sink the boat and go swimming off, looking for a right-wing cause to follow for a while.

AC Harper
AC Harper
3 months ago
Reply to  Dorothy More

You could argue that the people on “the long march through the institutions” have reached their destinations and are milling about wondering what to do next. Mostly fall out badly with other almost like minded people.

Tim Quinlan
Tim Quinlan
3 months ago

Chen’s article is one of the most sensitive texts I have read on living with/through(?) horror, in close proximity daily. I was alerted to, and found the article via another source a week or two ago. So, my guess is the Guernica’s censoring of the article has actually ensured a much wider, deserved, readership.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
3 months ago

Excellent piece. Thank you.

Dillon Eliassen
Dillon Eliassen
3 months ago

“At its worst, [censorship] yanks the paintbrush from the artist’s hand before he’s painted a single stroke, all for fear of what he might create. It’s why, even now, it still seems so strange and terrible to me that so many of these avid censors are often artists themselves.”
Censorship doesn’t just prevent good art from being made, but it incentivizes artists to create propaganda which is then passed off by art by the artist and authorities. Creation and publication is a compulsion for a lot of artists, and in their desperation for exposure, they will hew to the censors and expose the citizenry to the very things that keep them subjugated.

Madas A. Hatter
Madas A. Hatter
3 months ago

So true here in New Zealand, where virtually every artist in every medium has recently discovered a boiling passion for deconstructing colonialism, receiving pats on the head and cash in the wallet. It has become almost the only issue referred to in the arts.

0 0
0 0
3 months ago

“Pats on the head and cash in the wallet” is key to understand and helps in resolving the sense which Kat describes: “…it still seems so strange and terrible to me that so many of these avid censors are often artists themselves.”

Amidst all the noise and fury is also a material motivation manifest as competition for patronage, which seems rational when you examine its incentives. There is only so much attention and patronage to go round, and when you cannot bite the hand which feeds you, you can instead have other hungry mouths gagged.

Robert Paul
Robert Paul
3 months ago

Another example of the horseshoe effect: the extreme Right and the extreme Left, believing they are motivated by opposing principles, often apply the same means to achieve the same ends.

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
3 months ago

I would be wary of conflating a reaction to events in an ongoing hot war with the more general trends in ‘cancel culture’.
The situation in Gaza is exceptionally distressing to those who have not learned over the decades that there is a limit to what can be done about events in that part of the world. [Something that most of the people involved would probably accept to be the case regarding events in, say, Central Africa.]
So I think this may be mostly an example of a general visceral reaction rather than a cynical attempt to show who is/are the alpha dogs.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
3 months ago

Excellent piece.
They ARE as dumb as turnips in the matters they attack, because it is universal that “ideology makes you stupid.”

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 months ago

It’s hard to understand how someone could read Chen’s words and see a woman who is “speaking for power”, and blind to the plight of the Palestinians, let alone defending genocide. 
Is it hard? Just look at the reaction from the afflicted souls and their reflexive use of the typical leftist language – colonialism and genocide. It’s become amazing to realize that considering the argument may have another side is somehow akin to a thought crime.
One can condemn what happened October 7 and rightfully question if Israel’s response is not going overboard. But that never happens. Chen is attacked by people who would shove what Hamas did into the memory hole and pretend it never happened. Except it did happen. Yet all the oxygen in the room is spent fixating on the Israeli response and none on the atrocity that sparked it.
That a magazine beclowns itself is not new in today’s environment. How interesting that this article is published alongside the one on Scotland’s new foray into thought policing. How long before modern-day struggle sessions ensue as this stifling war on thought continues? A version of them is already occurring on campuses where the permanent adults are terrified by the transient children who pass through.

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
3 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

There is not one culture in America, there are two, about 50-50 and the question is when people who vote independent will decide if they want either the new cancel culture or the free-speech, free-market experiment culture that has improved living standards across the world these last 240-odd years. There is scarcely a middle-ground anymore.
But I am not despondent. American conservative culture has not gone away, in fact it’s storming back. It’s called ‘common sense’ now.

Neiltoo .
Neiltoo .
3 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

If one is going to question Israel’s response is it not incumbent on one to also check the facts about the results of that response rather than, for example, accepting Hamas’ word for who and how many have been killed?

Chipoko
Chipoko
3 months ago

“… absolute hegemony by the Left in every place where culture is produced …”
Spot on!

William Miller
William Miller
3 months ago

Facinating article. Full of quotable lines. My favorite, “telling stories that sound like modern-day versions of The Crucible, except much stupider.”

Howard S.
Howard S.
3 months ago

“The ongoing massacre in Gaza” is an odd choice of words coming from someone whose country barely 80 years ago vaporized the civilian population of entire German cities like Dresden, Cologne, Leipzig, and, of course Berlin. Massive bombing, followed by pauses to permit first responders to appear to assist the victims of the bombings and then bomb again, killing as many of the first responders as possible. No real numbers as to the civilians killed, since many of the victims were incinerated to ashes. Memo to Hamas, its Arab allies, and Americans and Brits who are upset at Israel’s retaliation, with a tip of the hat to Air Marshall “Bomber” Harris: Don’t attack someone unless you’re prepared to understand that they will attack you back.

Phil Re
Phil Re
3 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

I just saw your post now. I agree that it’s an odd choice of words. It seems oddly and gratuitously inflammatory.

The question it raises for me is whether Rosenfield believes that Israel’s actions in Gaza can literally be described as a massacre, or whether this is deliberate hyperbole on her part. If the first, she should have bothered to get her facts straight. If the second, it’s a bizarrely inflammatory use of hyperbole.

Stephen Sheridan
Stephen Sheridan
3 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

No “vaporised the civilian population of entire German cities” is not correct. Substantial civilian deaths is the more correct assertion. The bombing campaign was legitimate as the means to more targeted destruction of German industry were unavailable and it was vital to impose that damage to shorten the length of the war, which it arguably did, because so many Nazi resources were shifted from front line fighting to air defence. The argument about second waves of bombing appearing to catch first responders is also not correct. Waves of bombers were launched partly because of the limits of co-ordinated gathering of aircraft and partly to increase the chances of getting through fighter cover.
However, the basis of your argument is absolutely correct. The German population had responsibility for the decisions of its leadership just as the Gazans elected the genocidal Hamas. I also don’t believe the obviously fake casualty numbers churned out by Hamas. Israel’s military operations in Gaza are justified. The so-called massacre in Gaza is not proven and is very suspicious given the video exposure of so many crisis actors online.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
3 months ago

Once no one is able to read or write anything at all, we can start again !!

Victor James
Victor James
3 months ago

Yes, but can you please stop calling the subjugation of a country as ‘censorship’?

The unwillingness of the oppressed to call out their oppression, to point to their oppressors – the regime, is the problem here.

People are in a trance, believing they are living in a free society.

Douglas H
Douglas H
3 months ago

Wow, nice one Kat. One of your best.

Particularly: “The journal editors who are supposed to be the custodians of the literature that allows us to know ourselves, our world, and each other — people who spend their lives bewailing the dangers of book bans from the Right — become a pack of sneering authoritarian bullies when confronted by work that dares to empathise with anyone but their chosen side.” Fab.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago

A Purity Spiral around Saturn.

Tom Condray
Tom Condray
3 months ago

Well, whatever the future may hold for those who value free speech, at least it will no longer include the puerile whining of a pretentious literary magazine devoted to “Global Arts & Politics”.
I count that a win.
One down, several thousands to go.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
3 months ago

“telling stories that sound like modern-day versions of The Crucible” … in 1991 in New York, I recall writing an essay shared with colleagues, the theme of which was that progressives have no stopping point, and will keep going until they create a modern version of Arthur Miller’s play, but with the left as the bad guys. This, mind you, while we were working in post-Soviet banking system reform. It was received well by some colleagues but another left the room, saying, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t share the same physical space with you any longer!”

Mark Knight
Mark Knight
3 months ago

They only win if you let them, just continue To Be.

Liakoura
Liakoura
3 months ago

“It’s hard to understand how someone could read Chen’s words and see a woman who is “speaking for power”, and blind to the plight of the Palestinians, let alone defending genocide”.
I think it’s very easy, for how else can those supporting and cheering on the latest episode of Hamas barbarism on October 7th, live with themselves, other than by finding anything and everything to condemn the Israeli reaction they knew would come, as it has so many times in the past.
That quote about “doing the same experiment over and over again and expecting different results” comes to mind.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 months ago

“….and that even the most literate among us are not above pretending, for the sake of tribal signalling, to have the intellectual capacity of a turnip.”

I’ve been laughing at this for a good five minutes at this point. What an excellent description of the attitude in question.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 months ago

Notright media and civil institutions surrendered in 2020, but the infiltration started in the 1990s; in 2017 (metoo) was a big push.
The main vector for this infection was feminism/women.

leonard o'reilly
leonard o'reilly
3 months ago

Such allusive writing. So much is indirect, implied, hinted at, linked to, assumed known, never explained. I think the hysterical, neurotic left is at it again, but I’m not completely sure.

Brian Lemon
Brian Lemon
3 months ago

Great essay. Another dimension is so many of us have stopped caring about the so-called culture wars, leading normal lives the warriors on both sides sneer at.

George West
George West
3 months ago

Not where culture is produced, but where it is embalmed. “Culture” rises from the experience of groups of everyday people leading everyday lives, not small, exclusive, smoke-filled (or crudité-filled) rooms where self-declared important folks dutifully try to make decisions for others. Culture, a huge and plodding beast, rarely notices those who pretend to steer, but makes its own way.
Every dog has its day, and every hegemonist their sway. Then a new sun dawns, and a new dog arrives, and strives to steer the beast of culture, not just ride it while the sun shines. Good luck to them. Every sun that dawns, sets.

Phil Re
Phil Re
3 months ago

This is a good essay, but language matters, and it will be hard for Rosenfield to say that she was unaware of the meaning of her phrase “the ongoing massacre in Gaza.”
Massacre?
If she believes there is a massacre in Gaza—and I suppose it’s not entirely out of the question that she really does believe this—it should matter to her whether her belief is actually true.
It should matter enough for her to indicate what her grounds for the belief are. That’s part of how we hold ourselves accountable to the facts. From there, she would have to weigh the considerable counter-evidence, such as the extraordinarily low ratio of civilians to combatants killed, which is all the more remarkable given that Hamas’s entire strategy depends on maximizing civilian deaths.
I suspect that Rosenfield was drawn to the word “massacre” because it’s an evocative word and because using it is a quick and easy way to show that she can resonate sympathetically with the far left on the conflict while still objecting to their regulatory excesses. In other words, it’s a cheap virtue signal. But I’m open to another explanation.

Robert
Robert
3 months ago
Reply to  Phil Re

Another explanation? Nope. You’re spot on. Well said.

Tom W
Tom W
3 months ago

Two things:
1) Resistance and counter-offence can lead to victory against intolerant, repressive regimes like the one you describe (e.g. “woke”, cancel culture, critical social justice).
2) What you you talking about with “conflict thousands of years old”?

michael lichtman
michael lichtman
3 months ago

Is calling Israel’s war to destroy Hamas, an enemy manifestly sworn to Israel’s erasure, “retaliatory bombing” not an instance of “tribal signaling” on the author’s part? Israel has made it clear that its intention is the elimination of Hamas. Is Ms. Rosenfield somehow more aware of what motivates the israeli government’s policy than it is itself? It seems that even otherwise astute commentators find misrepresenting the truth to be irresistible in the service of their subjective agendas and the imperatives of marketing.

Fabio Paolo Barbieri
Fabio Paolo Barbieri
3 months ago

Who’s this “we” you keep talking about? Most of us do not have a share in this sort of pseudo-cultural politicking.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
3 months ago

“the ongoing massacre in Gaza” – which one? the one Hamas claims is going on, complete with reusable child ‘corpses’ and fake blood? or the one in which any opponent of Hamas is tortured, raped and butchered? there is a reason why there is virtually no opposition to Hamas in Gaza.
As for Guernica staff walking out in a huff, that describes exactly why they wont win in the long run: childish kidults with no balls and less sense than the turnip you mentioned.

William Brand
William Brand
3 months ago

The Devil is in charge but his rule will only last for 7 years after the Church is raptured to heaven. Then Christ returns and Satan is bound for 1000 years.