The human mind is perhaps the most intricate system we know of, and yet we humans are paradoxically quite simple for some gifted enchanters to understand and manipulate. A century ago, Edward Bernays was able to singlehandedly transform the habits of an entire society at the behest of corporations through his pioneering work in “public relations.” (He also happened to be Sigmund Freud’s nephew.) And everyone knows the famous dictum that is sometimes attributed to Joseph Goebbels’ which holds that a lie repeated often enough becomes fact.
There have been few occasions in my life when I have seen the American people inundated with such levels of blatant, by-the-book propaganda as during the current war in Gaza. Sadly, the rate of what have been dubbed “current things” — Black Lives Matter, January 6, Ukraine, COVID, etc. — and the propaganda that accompanies them has only accelerated in recent years. But rather than the liberal establishment spinning the narrative for these current things, as we were accustomed to, it is now the Republican establishment pushing the lies — just as they did in the early 2000s with the “Global War on Terror.” But as a result of the ways in which information can increasingly go viral even when it is inconvenient or “problematic” for the establishment, I dare to posit that the outbreak of this conflict could be interpreted as the sign of final victory in the information war.
Being behind bars gives you a great deal of perspective on the power of information. Here, almost all outside information comes from a mainstream source, whether on the television or radio. Thus, prisons are artificially stuck in the pre-information age, when the free market of ideas was more of an oligopoly where only a few dissident voices could sneak through the cracks. For us prisoners, this happens through books and letters. Within these walls you can be almost certain that no one has been exposed to any underground information regarding the conflict. Before the Internet, who knew that Israel had deliberately killed dozens of American servicemen during the Six-Day War, or about their spy rings in America, their selling of American technology to China, or their lies about weapons of mass destruction — which got us involved in Iraq?
For years, pundits on FOX News have been raising the alarm bells about Iran attempting to assemble a nuclear weapon. But have they ever, in all this time, explained why Iran might be attempting to do so? Perhaps it is to reach parity with Israel, a country that actually has WMDs, including an illegal nuclear stockpile? Of course not. No, it’s allegedly because they wear towels on their heads and “hate our freedom,” whatever that means.
In stark contrast to the pre-Internet simulation in which I live, the stories I am hearing of a full-blown information rebellion are a reminder of the potential for populism in the Information Age and, more precisely, the new era of informational democratization. Zionism simply can’t stand up to scrutiny on the Left or Right in the face of worldviews that are not ersatz ideologies conjured up by the Israel lobby to rationalize the displacement of people from real estate that the Zionists covet.
Across the Internet, the lies of the mainstream’s big media players and the controlled opposition are being uprooted, and those who spread them are being discredited by legions of ordinary, yet passionate, users. No longer does lying by omission work. The videos of civilians being bombed with illegal cluster munitions and white phosphorus, which is designed to burn people alive, can only be countered with disinformation. This is precisely the strategy that Israel has adopted, causing confusion in the mainstream news outlets. This was most notably the case when Israel bombed a hospital, killing hundreds. Their “down the memory hole” tactic might work in my pre-Internet simulator, but it increasingly appears this is less the case in the rest of the world — especially among young, tech-savvy news junkies.
Throughout time, many thinkers — from Eastern mystics to secular Nietzscheans such as Oswald Spengler, and from Leftists such as Karl Marx to Traditionalists such as René Guénon — have posited that people power has the power to, for better or worse, defeat money power, whether that be Marx’s “proletariat,” Machiavelli’s “multitude,” or Caesar’s “populum.”
Perhaps it is naïve to see the Internet as a road to a more human-centric future. But considering the fact that the Israel lobby no longer seems able to control the narrative, despite being the second-most powerful lobby in Washington, I can’t help but see a new era over the horizon. Only time will tell if what we are seeing is the beginning of a new paradigm shift, or if everyone will soon forget what they were so upset about when the next new, trendy “current thing” rears its head.
I understand why many people, especially conservatives, identify with the Israelis more than the Palestinians. The Israelis are more Western in style. They often look and speak like Americans and are themselves conservative nationalists who, like us, have suffered an attack on their people by Islamic extremists. In contrast, the Palestinians are alien in culture, religion, and their way of life, and seem especially so in an America which so recently ended its own “clash of civilizations” with Islam. But we Gen-Zers didn’t fight in the War on Terror. We don’t even remember September 11. All we know is the police state that followed. And we certainly aren’t Evangelical Zionists.
On the other hand, the Palestinians are in some ways relatable to Western nationalists. Like Americans, the Palestinians live under an occupation government that denies the existence of their people, as well as their national sovereignty.
The Israelis have a government which loves its people as a people and serves their interests, openly declaring itself to be their nation-state. I’m hopeful that someday we Americans, like the Jews, can have a homeland of our own — rather than live vicariously through war criminals.
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