This article first appeared in The New Arab on December 20, 2023 and was written by Bridge Associate Director, Mobashra Tazamal.
From television screens to the halls of Congress, Americans have been drip-fed a steady diet of genocidal rhetoric about the people of Gaza. Thousands of dead children dismembered limb to limb by the US-funded war machine of Israel, Americans are told, had it coming.
At the heart of this dehumanisation lies an insidious bigotry in the United States and the Western world over the past several decades, now deployed once again to delegitimise any sympathy, let alone solidarity or intervention to stop the war: Islamophobia.
Ever since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, there has been an unprecedented spike in Islamophobic, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian rhetoric in America. And it appears the megaphone of hatred is state-sponsored.
From the hundreds of members of Congress who refuse to call for a ceasefire to the Biden administration’s unequivocal and unconditional support of Israel, it is the very individuals elected to protect citizens and uphold the law that are fanning the flames.
Turn Gaza into a ‘parking lot’, proposed Rep. Max Miller. Palestinian civilians are Nazis, suggested Rep. Brian Mast. “Level the place [Gaza]”, Rep. Lindsey Graham said and “bounce the rubble”, said Rep. Tom Cotton Israel. On November 7, when Florida Representative Angie Nixon delivered an impassioned plea for a ceasefire, asking how many dead Palestinians would be enough for her colleagues to act. Representative Michelle Salzman shouted, “All of them.”