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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Columns

Nas Daily misconstrues conflict between Israel, Palestine


Nuseir Yassin is a Palestinian from the town of Arraba, which is now within the borders of Israel. He is the face of Nas Daily — his online Facebook page where he has amassed more than 5 million followers through his one-minute informational videos.

Yassin identifies himself as an Israeli-Arab of Palestinian descent and expresses no interest in discussing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land or the ethnic cleansing of over a million Palestinians since 1948. In fact, he believes that we should all just move on as if hundreds of Palestinians are not still being harassed and removed from their homes on a daily basis. He said this in several videos. He promotes the same mentality when it comes the election of Trump. 

Last summer, while Palestinian Jerusalemites were protesting the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque, Nas Daily was busy filming happy go lucky videos to capture the situation through a rose-colored lens. As Israeli police officers and soldiers were carrying out mass arrests of Palestinian protesters, harassing worshipers, engaging in collective punishment and placing metal detectors in front of a highly revered place of worship, Nas Daily did what he does best — deliberately misconstruing facts and glossing over Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians.

In his video, he uses vague language that alludes to Israelis and Palestinians being on equal footing when it comes to access to firearms and organization. He purposefully leaves the origin of the violence ambiguous when most news reports attest it to Israel.

Many of Yassin’s videos push a false narrative of an equal-sided conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, mostly playing it off as a religious conflict rooted in passion for the city of Jerusalem.

While it is true that Jerusalem is cherished by followers of the three Abrahamic religions, this conflict is the result of Israeli violation of Palestinian rights and its continued attempts to erase Palestinian claims to their own land.

Yassin pushes the idea that everything can be resolved by Israelis and Arabs setting aside differences and the main issue is only a political one between governments.

He makes no mention of the overwhelming number of Israelis who are vicious Zionists aiming to create a white-only Jewish state. The fact that he is of Palestinian descent himself makes him the “token Arab,” allowing the spread of propaganda that normalizes Israeli occupation.

Using happy music and sound bites to educate people on such a sensitive topic is not effective. It is actually counter-productive, especially if you disregard illegal Israeli settlements and the constant dehumanizing mistreatment Palestinians face at the hands of both Israeli soldiers and civilian settlers.

I am not against messages of peace and love. But when they are used as a method to undermine the struggle of an oppressed people and overshadow issues that desperately need to be addressed, it is a problem. There is no room for a discussion of “both sides” in the case of an oppressive occupier and the occupied.

Opinion columnist Sarah Tawashy is a human nutrition and foods sophomore and can be reached at [email protected].

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