Nuanced discussion on Israel/Palestine DESTROYS debater!!!

Shain Slepian
6 min readNov 9, 2023

You won’t believe what happened next

Photo by Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash

*This is gonna be an angry article. Sorry if that’s not your vibe. We’ll get through this together.

It’s hard to be a sensitive soul.

Quite some time ago, I wrote a piece about the difficulties of being a Jew in a strange time — one in which antisemitism is so potent yet so invisible. It was also, to a lesser extent, about some difficult feelings I have with regards to my ethnic identity. And whether I like it or not, Israel is a part of my ethnic identity.

I say ethnic and not religious. I don’t believe in god and I do not miss trying to fit into a religious mold as a child. Likewise, Israel doesn’t just claim to be a protector of Judaism and Jewish traditions, but of Jewish people.

The past month has been a particularly difficult period to process. And being attacked from either side for talking-while-Jewish online has certainly contributed to a feeling of constant apprehension.

In a recent discussion with a close friend, I recalled the first time I had ever come in contact with another friend’s anti-Zionist opinion. Without thinking, I said: “it felt like I’d just found out my grandpa was in the Klan.” She laughed, and I immediately realized how ridiculous it sounded. I felt lucky that this was a real friend: someone I could trust to hear my emotional, half-formed thoughts with compassion, without condemning me entirely as a human being.

Arguments on the internet have never been particularly effective ways of convincing people to your side. But these arguments have been particularly detrimental to the world of politics. Especially where my comrades get involved.

I won’t pretend I haven’t spurred on these arguments before, usually with the goal of providing effective arguments to leftists and progressives. But I think, or hope, that there is a world of difference between showing someone how to make an intelligent argument and providing ideological cover for people who want to bully or harass others before figuring out if these attacks are warranted.

Disagreement is not abuse, and what I have seen throughout online discussions regarding Israel/Palestine is a lot of selective empathy…

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Shain Slepian

Shain is a screenwriter and screenplay editor. For more content, follow their blog and check out their YouTube channel, TimeCapsule. shainslepian.com/