A Jew & A Muslim Finally Solve Israel-Palestine

Consider their four-step plan for peace in the Middle East

Mookie Spitz
51 min readApr 11, 2024


I took a quick break from client work in early August of 2014 to browse around online, and was suddenly bedazzled by the most intelligent and balanced POV on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I’d ever read. The HuffPost op ed was entitled “7 Things to Consider Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East Conflict” and was already a viral sensation on social media.

Blown away by the clarity, objectivity, and insightfulness of the post, I scrolled back up to the top, wondering who wrote this brilliant stuff. “Ali Rizvi” in south Asia is as common a name as John Smith is in the States, but after finding his author bio I had narrowed it down from millions of people to the medical expert I had just attended a meeting with the past week.

A company email confirmed my hunch. “Did you write this?” I asked in the subject line, including a link to the article in the body. “Yes,” was his one word reply, a shocker since up to then we’d only palled around by sharing videos of our respective guitar performances. Eager to explore this exciting up-to-then hidden side of my colleague, we had lunch, fast friends since.

Both of us politics, science, and culture junkies, we spent many a break from agency work throwing down our opinions in the lobby, and at local Toronto bars. A hot topic of conversation became Ali’s work-in-progress book, what a couple years later got published as The Atheist Muslim. We complemented each other well: Secular Muslim, and secular Jew.

I’ve since appeared on several of Ali’s podcasts, covering topics ranging from the American presidential elections to artificial intelligence revolution to the publication of my own book, Super Santa. Along the way we’ve hung out in New York City, and supported each other in our parallel journeys through new jobs, relationships, and being single fathers.

Since October 7th, the ongoing disaster for all of lives that has been the Middle East took a quantum leap in human tragedy and bad strategy. Ali and I have been aligned on what’s been going wrong, and what could make it better. Last week we jumped on another podcast, with the express if brash purpose of solving Israel-Palestine. All ears for your feedback!


Click here to watch and/or listen to the 90-minute conservation…


Some of my blog posts on the conflict since October 7th…


Here’s a transcript of our dialogue from the livestream podcast…

Ali: Hi, everyone. The Israel-Palestine conflict, can it ever be solved? It’s been 76 years. Political leaders couldn’t do it. The pundits and the experts haven’t been able to do it. Academics haven’t been able to do it. Negotiators haven’t been able to do it. And the people on the ground there definitely haven’t been able to do it. And as time goes on, they’re drifting further and further apart. They have completely different versions of what they believe, what they think the narrative of history is. And it’s getting worse now with the most recent conflict. So nobody’s been able to really resolve this. So Spitz, you and I today. Let’s do it!

So my guest today with me, the co-host, is Mookie Spitz, a good friend of mine. Spitz is a Jewish-American author, strategist, communications consultant, and the son of Hungarian Holocaust survivors. I am a secular Muslim Canadian author and physician and scientific communications consultant, and I grew up in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Pakistan. So both of us have been pretty close to this issue for our whole lives, been impacted by it or involved in some way or another, although as outsiders.

Most people are talking about what’s wrong. They’re always bickering about the past, what happened in 1948, 1967, 1987, 1993, 2014, and on and on and on. And we’ve decided we’re not going to go do that. We’re going to just dive into this. We’re going to look at the foundation of this issue, the psychological and the sociological roots. the human roots of this and use these insights to unveil four practical solutions — and some of these might surprise you. So thanks, Spitz, for joining me again.

Mookie: Yeah, no issue is more complicated. And if anyone can solve it, that’s you and me, Ali, right?

Ali: Absolutely.

Mookie: Let’s be so bold and rock and roll. In order to do that, as Ali mentioned, we’ve got four things that need to happen and that we’ll discuss right now. And they’re not necessarily linear and they’re all interconnected, but it’s very, very important that the world gets buy-in on each of these individual foundational precepts, if you will, for peace to finally break out between Israel and Palestine after more than seven decades.

So let’s give it a shot. The first thing that has to happen immediately is for Israelis to feel a renewed sense of security: 1,200 of them died, were mutilated, killed, worst since the Holocaust. Israelis and Jews the world over are freaked out. And that’s precipitated a lot of the problems that we’ve seen. That’s number one. An adjunct of that is a ceasefire. Israel needs to feel secure and Palestinians need to stop being blown up. And that has to happen immediately.

The next thing that needs to happen is a change in government across the board. Netanyahu and his entire militant right wing nut job cabinet and advisors need to go. Conversely, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have also got to go. Now, how the hell could that be possible?

Ali and I are going to argue that you’re going to need an international coalition, Arab countries, the US, not too many cooks, but enough to get the job done in terms of guiding and acting as a liaison between Israel and the Palestinians. And what is the express goal of that coalition and this movement?

It’s continuous negotiations and open communication with the goal of a two-state solution. Both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, need to buy in from the beginning and completely on this vision. Now, how to get there, that’s the question. Both need to buy in on the reality that the Palestinians need their own independent state, and Israel needs to cede land and power.

So once again, one, two, three, four: security, change in government, international coalition, and a drive to a two state solution.

Let’s pick these apart. Let’s talk about them. If you’ve got questions, put them in the comments. And let’s stick to practical stuff, folks. Let’s not argue history. Let’s not froth at the mouth as to who got us here and why. Let’s not place blame. Let’s accept the reality that in this tiny 8,000 square mile plot of land, there’s 7 million Palestinians and there’s 7 million Israelis. That’s just how it is. And neither side is going anywhere. So we have two choices: Continue this endless spiral of violence and suffering, or figure this the hell out. And we think by doing these four, there might be an opportunity to do that. Again, only if you stick to pragmatic, prescriptive things that both sides and the world could and should do. So I’m going to get it going, Ali, by playing Israel.

Ali: I might play both at some point, but I’ll try to do my best with the personification thing, too. I also want to say that whoever’s listening, you may feel tempted to say “But this is who started it… This is what happened back then… What about this? What about that? What about justice?” That’s not the point of this — loads and loads of podcasts and TV shows and everything out there are talking about that. We’re not going to get into that. A lot of people are out there making a point. You can make a point, or you can try to make a change. So we’re trying.

Mookie: So let’s rock and roll all together. Leave your comments. We’ll field them… Step one. OK, I’m playing Israel here for a bit: Israelis are freaked the hell out. A lot of the excesses we’re seeing in Gaza have to do with a guttural blood vengeance in response to what happened. And we can talk about that, too. But the first step for this entire process to unfold is to chill the Israelis the hell out. And the way to do that is to absolutely ensure that October 7th will never happen again. And the way to do that they’ve already begun doing: Shore up your internal defenses.

The Hamas attacks on October 7th never should have happened. A lot of people have gone into the Israeli side of this, the intelligent failures that led to it, the heads up that they were given about Operation Jericho Wall, the heads up that they were given hours before the attack by thousands of SIM cards being changed right across the border. The list goes on and on.

Ali: The leader of the country trying to domestically get more power by taking over the judiciary.

Mookie: And in the backdrop of the entire society being fragmented, distracted, and most significantly, perhaps, of the 34 available IDF divisions, 32 of them were in the West Bank to protect illegal West Bank settlements, leaving only two on the border of Gaza. So the problems were systemic, extensive. We can go on and on on how the IDF and Netanyahu and his cronies messed this up and exposed Israel to this attack. But the point now is you reverse that.

You shore up your defenses on the border with Gaza. There’s already discussions of a DMZ, demilitarized zone between Gaza and Israel. You can say what you want about aggravating the problems that have been there for decades, but point number one needs to be attained. Israelis need to be secure. So whatever you do, you do it. Shore up your army, create a DMZ, and assure people that regardless of what happens, the Israeli population is safe again.

The flip side of that is ceasefire, immediately. And the reason I bring that up, and I insist that these two points are interconnected, is: let’s say hypothetically Netanyahu has his way, carte blanche to do whatever he wants to do in Rafah. Thousands more Palestinian civilians killed and wounded. Hamas is routed. Then what? That’s the goal, right? “Destroy Hamas”. But where the hell are they going to go? They’re going to diffuse back into the civilian population much as they did during the October 7th attack. That’s why it went on for days. The militants literally diffused into the kibbutzim and surrounding populations. It took forever to route them out. So imagine what happens when the Israelis go heavy in Rafah. This illusion that Hamas can be destroyed to the man is exactly that. The idea of Hamas won’t be destroyed, and the leadership of Hamas is in Qatar. And even if Netanyahu and his right-wing nutjobs got their way, and went full out in terms of the Rafah assault, regardless of consequences, Hamas is not completely destroyed.

So the two are complementary. Shore up your defenses, and come to the realization that Hamas is an idea fed by decades of struggle, and a military solution, in and of itself, will not solve the problem.

Ali: Hamas is a result of more than a cause in many ways. No fans of Hamas here. I don’t think, I think that Hamas is the reason why both the Israelis and the Palestinians are suffering right now, and the reason that both of them were triggered. So I want to kind of get into the psychology behind this, especially when it comes to talking about stopping the ceasefire. On October 7th, when that terrorist attack happened, and we all know how horrific it was, people’s kids, their partners, their wives, brothers, sisters, they were brutally killed. How did Israel react to that? With what emotion? With vengeance, like you said, bloodthirst, vengeance, anger. Now you’ve got more people, 10 times, 15 times more people than that in Gaza losing their kids, seeing their parents, their sisters, brothers, everybody getting blown up. They’re human beings just like anybody else. Why would you expect them to respond any differently? By trying to destroy Hamas, you’re creating the same thing. And you’re creating a much bigger Hamas, in a way, by doing that. Every terrorist you kill, you create more terrorists. We’re watching it happen.

Mookie: And what’s the result? It’s obviously an extended insurgency, not just in the south where they’re currently concentrated, but throughout all of Gaza. So even a best case military scenario for the IDF won’t eliminate the problem. And to your point, their actions and their excesses in Gaza have exponentially increased the enthusiasm and support for the cause that underlied it in the first place. It feeds the perpetual cycle of violence. Hamas knew this. One of the principles of asymmetrical warfare is to trigger the shit out of a power greater than yours, and then win the information war. And clearly that’s a win. They’ve accomplished their goal. All this is why the ceasefire is important.

Ali: Actually, I think it’s probably too late at this point. It’s been seeded again for probably a couple of generations until we actually come up with a plan. That’s what’s been informing this. Let’s look at what the triggers each side. What is the main trigger for Jews? There is the memory of the Holocaust, memory of the pogroms, memory of their women and children being burned, gassed, tortured, cleansed, destroyed in World War II. That was the whole reason for the creation of Israel. That’s their trigger. The trigger for Palestinians is the Nakba, or what they call the catastrophe, which is the mass displacement that occurred during the creation of Israel back in 1948, when they were forced violently out of their homes. Then they went into a decades-long unjust and illegal occupation.

Now, what has Hamas done? Their attack on October 7th was done in the style of the Holocaust, the pogroms. Babies being burned and put in ovens, women being killed while they’re being raped. It was horrific in the same way that the Holocaust was horrific. And it was in large numbers. And that trigger was activated in one of the worst ways since the creation of Israel. And then… What did that do?

It triggered an overreaction from Israel. And now with the bombing and everything that’s happening in Gaza, the Palestinian trigger has been activated. where they’re again being asked to leave their homes. They leave their homes, their homes get bombed. They go into smaller places than one of the most densely populated places in the world, nowhere to go. And now they’ve all collected in the South. And now there’s talk of an operation that’s gonna happen in the South. And tens of thousands of people, kids, half the population is kids and they’re all being killed. So what Hamas has done?

I’m going to quote Jessica Stern and Bessel van der Kolk, who wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine an article on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the psychology of trauma. And they wrote, “both the Israelis and the Palestinians are now locked in a snare of Hamas’s creation, a traumatic embrace of death and despair in which each side, understandably seeing itself as a victim, feeling righteous rage and desiring retribution is vying for global sympathy.” That’s it. And the ceasefire is absolutely necessary. If we look at these triggers, these historical triggers for both of these populations, Israeli security is paramount. And an immediate cessation, like an immediate ceasefire, is absolutely essential. Both of these things are essential.

Mookie: So Israel shores up its border. They’re safe. And Palestinians stop getting blown up. And we stop this cycle of exponentially increasing violence. Time out. Israelis have gotten their retribution in droves. And now it’s time to roll the sleeves, up and do what should have been done decades ago.

Ali: So this has been happening. You’re hearing this and you’re saying, yes, so what? Everybody’s been saying it. Yes, everybody has been saying it. Reinforce the border on Israel, immediate ceasefire in Gaza, stop the war. Now the question is how? We don’t have people on either side who want to, especially Hamas — they’re hiding out in their tunnels and they’re hanging out in Qatar. Their population, by the way, they’re not allowed in the underground bunkers. So they’re actually not allowed to go into the tunnels that Hamas hides in. So the idea of the human shields is not propaganda. They’ve left them out to be bombed.

And on the other hand, Israel, there’s no indication that Netanyahu wants to stop it. The US and Israel’s relations are at an all-time low. And that’s an understatement. It’s never really been like this. Essentially, Netanyahu has that reputation throughout the world of just being an asshole. Nobody really likes him. None of the world leaders like him. Even his allies don’t really like him as a person. And people are having to choose between being supportive of Israel and opposing Netanyahu because they actually, in a way, want to protect Israel from Benjamin Netanyahu. So the question is, how do you do this? I mean, this is not somebody who wants an immediate ceasefire. He’s repeatedly said that he doesn’t want to do it. He doesn’t want a two-state solution either. So is this where we get to the next step, Mookie?

Mookie: Yeah, change in government. Netanyahu and his administration have got to go. And conversely, when we’re discussing this trajectory toward Israeli-Palestinian peace, it’s quid pro quo. Israel makes a move. Palestine makes a move. The world needs to make a move. So in that gesture, the Israelis need to hold elections and they don’t need to wait for elections. This argument that a country, even a small one like Israel, can’t change leadership in the midst of a conflict like this, I think is bullshit. They should do it. They should do it as quickly as they can. There’s already tens of thousands of protesters on the streets, Netanyahu’s own apartment was protested against just the other day. And the opposition is building. The Knesset, you know, his opposition is forming. It’s a highly contentious government anyway. Parliamentary democracy is the messiest kind there is. The coalitions have largely caused this mess because of his need to form a coalition with the extremes. So get them out of there. Hold elections on the Israeli side as soon as is logistically possible.

Ali: Benny Gantz has come up and called for elections as early as September. It still feels like a long time considering everything that’s happening here.

Mookie: It’s an eternity, especially with millions of Palestinians on the brink of starvation. No change in IDF strategy is evinced by blown up aid workers. which are now front page news, and an imminent assault of Rafah, which Netanyahu vows will go forward as planned. The Americans were literally outraged that the IDF had no plans for feeding the people fleeing Rafah, hat was just front page news today. So what the hell are they doing?

Ali: Yeah, and let’s also talk about something that’s absolutely unprecedented when it comes to the U.S. and Israel, and that is the Jewish person who’s at the highest level, the highest ranking Jew in the United States government, has come out and called for regime change, mentioning Netanyahu by name.

Mookie: Schumer grew a pair, and it’s great. Biden needs to grow a pair too.

Ali: Biden actually said that he supported, he completely endorsed Schumer.

Mookie: Yeah, whatever. It’s just verbiage. We give them billions in aid, and we just sent a shipment of arms. their coffers filled simultaneously while we told them uh yeah yeah yeah — this is hypocrisy and not okay if you’re the world’s number one superpower, and your friend and deep ally is fucking this up, then you need an intervention. We need leadership with balls. Pardon the sexist connotation there. But they need cojones, which is Israel needs conditions put on aid. I’m a Jewish guy, and I’m saying, Biden, put conditions on Israeli aid, because they’re shooting themselves in the foot. Locally and internationally. That will bring about change. Basically, Netanyahu has a blank slate doing whatever he wants. He says, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. American military advisors have been informing the IDF in taking a more targeted approach. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Like the old Jewish guy in the deli. yeah yeah yeah…

There’s three types of Jews: You have the Militant Zionist, characterized by Gordon Levy’s observations — he’s a lefty journalist in Israel, and he’s right — Jews think that they are chosen. They’re the chosen people, so we’re special. Same rules don’t apply to us. We’re always the victim, even when we’re the aggressor. And we’re racist. I’m Jewish. I’ll come right out and say it. Many of my brethren here and in Israel think Palestinian people are subhuman. So it doesn’t matter how many of them we blow up and starve, their animals anyway, okay? People believe this. In the depths of their heart, they believe it. People I know, and you can rest assured a lot of the Israeli population feels this way too, especially after October 7th. That’s the one type of Jew, the Militant Zionist. Everything Israel does is right. And if you disagree with Israel, you’re anti-Semitic. Done. That’s end of story.

The other type of Jew, which is very much an American phenomena, is the Leftist Apologist. Especially the younger Jews who know Israel only as a bully, they go protesting with the Palestinians. And many of these young, progressively liberal folks actually think Hamas is a cool organization. They’re freedom fighters, okay? Even when you could be LGBTQ all you want here, and the second you walk into Rafah they’re going to string you up. But they don’t think that way. They see Hamas as this progressive, enlightened, peace-fighting organization. Diametrically opposite types of Jew, especially in America.

Now, there’s a minority of Jews, some might argue that they’re a majority. but I think it’s a minority. I exemplify this minority position. Chuck Schumer does. And what we believe is Israel has a right to exist. Israel’s cool. They embody our enlightened Western values. They have all these startups. They’re an awesome culture, but they’re completely ridiculous and self-destructive in their strategy, especially post-October 7th and for decades vis-a-vis the Palestinians. We support Israel. We love Israel, but we think Israel is fucking this up.

That’s the three types of Jews. And what needs to happen is that the President of the United States needs to get it on here. He needs to put pressure on Israel, as someone who loves Israel, like a good friend, to do the right thing: Get rid of Netanyahu, stop killing Palestinian children, and take a dual approach, which is targeted military operations for force and effectiveness, and diplomacy and negotiation and communication on the other side. Not hard, at least in concept.

But there’s so many emotions here and everyone is so polarized that we’re in this mess. And you don’t have to make that hard, stupid choice. You can still love Israel as a Jew or anyone else, and still think that they’re making cataclysmic self-destructive mistakes. And if you believe that, take action. Do something. Get rid of Netanyahu. Hold elections.

And then we need to flip it around. What do you think the Palestinians could and should do? What about the Arab nations that are all around? MBS is shedding tears for the sake of the Palestinians, poor Palestinians in Gaza when he blew up 200,000 Arabs in Yemen. I mean, the level of hypocrisy is enormous. The level of inaction is enormous. And I don’t mean to come across just criticizing Israel, the United States. Let’s take a look at the Arab world. Let’s take a look at the international community who’s always picking on Israel anyway. You have the Syrian civil war that killed half a million people, and Yemen. You have one atrocity after another, 110 conflicts across the planet, and everyone’s obsessed by Israel.

Ali: I want to get into that as well. You talked about the reality of how many Jewish people actually think of the Palestinians — just like there is a reality, the deep in the heart thing, very similar thing on the other side. And again, I’ll come out and I’ll say this because I was raised in this. I grew up in Saudi Arabia. I grew up in my book. The first thing I wrote about was when we were making snowflakes as kids, and out of paper. in Saudi Arabia, making snowflakes. It doesn’t even snow there. I was 10 years old. And someone from the Ministry of Education who came in, I went to private American school, they would do a sort of survey to make sure everything’s good and legit. He came in, he saw the snowflakes, made everybody cut off one tip from the snowflakes, all us kids. And… Now we have these five-pointed snowflakes with one thing amputated. And the reason our teacher told us, after a lot of prodding — because we were very confused —the reason this guy came and destroyed our art, was because the Star of David has six points. That was my introduction to the Jews. That’s how I learned about who they are. So in reality, it’s Saudi Arabia. Fifth grade in an American school with people with 80 different nationalities. And that’s also how all of the other kids in my class learned about the Jews.

So we’ve heard this rhetoric the whole time, and two things can be true, right? Two things can be true. Yes, the occupation is terrible. The settlements are ridiculous. What’s happening there, what the Israeli government has done, right from the beginning, expanding the settlements, taking over most of the land, occupying people against their will, everything that they’ve done in Gaza with the embargo and limiting food and water and actually having a sort of food quota. These are documents that came out. These are just straight up human rights abuses that they’re doing. And that’s absolutely true. All of that is horrific. But it’s also true there’s a tremendous amount of anti-Semitism in the Arab world and in the Muslim world. In the whole world. It’s not an exaggeration. Most people hate Jews. So that does exist. And there is Assad, who killed a lot of Palestinians, right? He killed a lot of Palestinians. He killed a lot of everybody. No one seemed to notice. Everybody, 500,000 people. What we’re also forgetting is when Muslims kill Muslims. There was an Arab Muslim, Omar al-Bashir, who killed 500,000 or more black African Muslims. And Darfur, Sudan, that conflict, you didn’t hear much about that either. There weren’t all of these protests. It does make a difference with Jewish people doing it.

Mookie: Jews are news. Jews are news.

Alie: Yeah, I mentioned this to other South Asian and Arab and other Muslim people, even those who are secular and sort of liberal. And they’ll say, well, this is what aboutism or, you know, why are you bringing the other conflict? Right now we’re focusing on this. We’re bringing the other conflict in because if you want to talk about the reason why you’re doing something, you have to understand that if you’re singling out one conflict or one entity over another, there’s a reason for it. Especially when the numbers are a lot less, the scale of devastation. Initially, when the Gaza war was happening, to show the scale of devastation, a lot of people put up pictures from Syria. They said that this was Gaza. There was a lot of confusion about what was what. Both of these things are true.

And yes, deep in their heart, a lot of Jewish people, even many liberal progressive Jewish people, they think of Arabs as subhuman. Not just Palestinians, but all Arabs. And the same way, a lot of Muslims and a lot of Arabs, they just look at Jews as people who are running the world and they’re evil. They’re all kind of getting together. You should never trust them. It’s a trope.

Mookie: That’s baseline, so how do we get over it? How do we jump over that baseline? Well, this leads us to to number three. The Israelis can hold elections, and they’ve got an organized government and leadership, but Gaza and the West Bank have huge issues, especially when you have to get rid of Hamas and the PA. So the big next step is — especially since Israel has no idea what follows whatever the hell they’re doing — the world needs to step in. And most significantly, I think the surrounding Arab countries need to grow a pair as well. They need to shift this hypocritical stance of crying crocodile tears for Palestinians for decades now, essentially using them as a hedge against Israel. And they need to step up. And what Ali and I were thinking is the creation of some kind of coalition.

I’m a marketing guy. Branded something. Like the “Israeli-Palestinian Coalition for Peace,” whatever. Give it an acronym. And have key representation from… Maybe everyone but Iran. We haven’t talked about Iran. Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE through the Abrahamic Accords were on the brink of signing a security deal just before October 7th. And that’s no accident either. And that’s a whole sidebar kind of conversation. But Israel already has these growing relationships and normalization with the Arab world. And the Arabs keep saying how much they care about the Palestinians. So let’s bring these two things together.

Ali: The Arabs want that too. They want it. There was a time when the way that countries used to fight or they used to form alliances, it was all based on their military, how strong your army is, whoever’s more powerful and who’s not. Now all of those relationships, all of the warfare, everything is economic. You had the most violence and issues in a place, like Yugoslavia. Everything was happening there at the time. Bosnia and Serbia, there were wars going on. Nobody really did anything about it for a while. And then they stepped in and they put an end to it because they were going to launch this whole thing, the European Union, because conflict disrupts stability, economic stability. And that’s very important. That’s why you’re seeing these alliances. Saudi Arabia specifically has a generational problem where the older generation was very into Palestine, was like a very close emotional issue for them. The new generation doesn’t really, they’re tired of it.

Mookie: It’s the inversion of the Americans, actually. Now the younger generation are all pro-Palestine. America’s bilateral enthusiasm and unconditional support of Israel is starting to shake. Because you have all these younger voters coming into the fray who know Israel only as a bully instead of the underdog. So there’s this demographic shift. And you’re describing kind of a mirror image in Saudi Arabia. But overall, what’s happening is Realpolitik, right? Which is just a realization that it is economics, it’s power. And there’s a benefit for these allegiances which outweigh the status quo of what came before. So that’s a great foundation. Start right there. Israel needs to use that leverage. not to alienate the Arabs, piss them off by blowing the hell out of Palestinian kids, but show a willingness to change their own government, encourage the Arab countries to get Hamas and PA the hell out of there by working their own populations, creating a movement of change with the express goal of bringing peace to the region. And that has to happen. It can’t just be Israel. It can’t just be the United States. And I think the Arab nations will be significant to enabling this to happen. And they need to step up.

Ali: There is also something really, really interesting happening right now that’s also very unprecedented. The U.S. and the Biden administration, in reaction to everything that Netanyahu has been doing, is talking about potentially recognizing a Palestinian state. This is something that hasn’t happened before. In a way, it’s to show who’s boss, establishing American leadership. Spain today announced that they’re going to recognize the Palestinian state. They’re going to recognize it as a Palestinian state in July, just a couple of months from now. The UK has talked about recognizing them as a state in the UN. They’ve already been admitted as an observer state in the UN from 2012, but now they’re talking about recognizing it. So this is something that is already forming an international coalition.

Mookie: Well, we better get ahead of it because Hamas is still in control.

Alie: What that does is once recognizing a Palestinian state, direct relationships can be made with the people of Palestine. And it actually gives them leverage. It helps them use that against incompetent leaders that you’re not happy with, like they do with the Palestinian Authority. Alot of Gazan people, they don’t have much of a choice when you have Hamas is the only option. You have one side that’s totally corrupt. The other side comes in, gives you sandwiches and things like that and gives you food, hospital services. So those are the people that you’re going to support because you don’t have that much of a choice. But now if you know that there is a significant part of the world that’s supporting your statehood, what is Hamas going to do? I can guarantee Hamas is going to come out against it. They’re not going to want to do it. There’s a lot of people in Palestine who will be open to the idea of a Palestinian state right now in polls. They are not going to say that.

Mookie: But where is Hamas leadership right now? They’re chilling out in in high rise luxury apartments in Qatar.

Ali: It’s a way to weaken them.

Mookie: What I’m saying, though, is our number three: Qatar needs to say, you done. You’re finished. Hamas is done. That’s part of the deal here. That comes from those alliances, right? That’s what I’m talking about. So if Israel is going to get rid of Netanyahu, if Israel is going to stop building settlements, If Israel is going to take seriously the idea of a Palestinian state, then guess what? Quid pro quo, you get rid of Hamas. Done. You get rid of the Palestinian story. Done.

Then there’s a few other agreements that need to be made. Foundational precepts for moving forward. For example: The Arabs lost the war. The Palestinians lost the war. That means in a best case scenario, 22% of the land is yours, Gaza and the West Bank. In a best case scenario, the Palestinians need to unequivocally understand and accept that the best case scenario for Palestinian statehood is 22% of the available land. That means 78% is Israel. You need to agree on that. This idea “From the river to the sea!” as Leftist Apologist Jews love to say on the Harvard campuses, is bullshit. You got to accept certain things.

Quid pro quo. Palestinians, you lost the war. Israel is here and it’s not going anywhere. Fact, fact, fact. Best case scenario, 22% of the land. Israel, what the hell are you doing in the West Bank? The reason that you keep building and expanding settlements and fortifying them and securing them is to preclude Palestinian statehood. Anyone who argues differently is completely full of shit. That’s the express purpose. Israelis don’t want to cede land. They want to take land, and they don’t want to give Palestinians power. So quid pro quo, Palestinians need to eat humble pie. 22% is all you’ll ever get. And Israel needs to accept that they need to give up the West Bank, and they need to give power to the Palestinians.

Ali: They need to not just stop building more settlements, but to dismantle all the ones that are there.

Mookie: Let me share an interesting tidbit. I thought about this just the other day. The number of Palestinians who were kicked out of their land for the Nakba, right, if I pronounce it correctly, was about 700,000. Guess what? There’s exactly 700-750,000 Jews living illegally in the West Bank. It balances out.

Ali: There you go!

Mookie: I’m not kidding right now. OK, so if Israel really wants peace and they really want to play ball and you go with this and you mean it. And it atones for whatever happened: 700,000 Arabs got kicked out by the Jews, and the Jews are going to vacate the West Bank, 700,000 of them. Guess what? We’re even. Nice job, guys. And then you go forward. Now, do I think this is going to happen tomorrow? Do I think this is ever going to happen? I don’t know. But I’m just looking at this objectively. And if this is Israel in the year 2300, so be it. But this realistically is a solution, and it’s fair and it’s equitable and it’s honest. And anything short of that is hypocrisy and lies. It’s kicking the can down the road. It’s mowing the lawn. It’s Palestinians who deny the existence of Israel and say death to the Jews. from the river to the sea, and it’s israelis in a complementary and equally ineffective way continually just recycling this violence and this conflict.

Ali: There’s this other factor right now… There has been a war that’s happened for six months. The devastation in Gaza has been horrific. I’m aligned with you. Israel is not going anywhere. And the settlements have to go. All of that stuff is correct. Right now there’s people who are just fighting for survival and fighting to feed their kids. So the question is, what can they do? What can the people on the ground do? When we talk about this is what Israel can do, this is what Gaza can do? We talked about this earlier, about the asymmetry of it. Israel has a government, has an army, it has everything, while Gaza is basically run by a militant group that’s hiding out in Qatar and in tunnels, right? So they basically left the population out to die. They did their thing on October 7th and they just disappeared. And they’re like, all right, do the rest of you take this? And the more of you die, the worse for Israel.

Mookie: Yeah, they got exactly what they wanted. This is a huge win for Hamas. This entire thing is being won by Hamas. All of you Leftist Apologists and everyone who’s fans of Hamas, congratulations! You know, you’ve won big time.

Ali: Right. What do people do in those kind of situations where they’re downtrodden? Where they’re really at the bottom of the barrel right now. And there’s many unprecedented circumstances that Gazans have that they can actually leverage, that their parents and the generations before them could not. Number one, the world is very sympathetic to democratic movements right now. It’s very sympathetic. So this is something that Thomas Friedman wrote in a New York Times article a long time ago. I don’t fully agree with him, but I think that there’s a modification of this that can work. And that is a suffrage movement, a nonviolent suffrage movement. So historically, for 76 years they’ve been bombs and rockets, and nothing’s really happened so the violence thing really has not worked, it’s not going to work. It’s just not okay, it did not work on October 7th for the Palestinian people — it worked for Hamas but didn’t work for the Palestinian people, it did not work for the Israeli people.

Mookie: Well, it kind of worked for the Palestinian people. I don’t mean to sound like my own kind of apologist, but we’re having this conversation, and the whole world is demanding a two state solution. They got what they wanted. And in ways, the Palestinians, if they follow our plan, the Palestinians are ahead here.

Ali: The two-state solution should have already been there.

Mookie: But it didn’t.

Ali: When you have 50,000 people are dead, you’re not going to have a two-state solution that’s going to benefit people. Yes, there’s global sympathy. Yes, people are talking about what they should do. Everybody’s involved in this. And that’s a reason we’re talking about this right now. The US is distancing itself from the Israeli government. Everybody’s seeing the excesses of it. Everybody’s outraged. So there’s a lot of positives that have come out of it for the Palestinian people. And that’s what I’m talking about leveraging. So imagine after Friday prayer, that’s Juma prayer every week, Palestinians, and this has to be organized, they come out on the streets with signs like Tahrir Square in Cairo that brought down Mubarak. The dictator that was there 40 years, was brought down by nonviolent protests. Nonviolent protests have a better historical track record of getting things done than violence does. Violence has worked. I’m not saying it hasn’t.

Mookie: Yeah, we needPalestinian Gandhiss. Yes. The problem, though, is a lot of this is fueled by jihadism. There’s a deep Islamist ideology where the river to the sea is right here. Fuck the Jews forever. The land is ours, and that’s it. How do you get past that?

Ali: So that’s a good question, and I’ll get to that in a bit… So you don’t need lots of Gandhis. You need a few. You need some leadership to come out, and this is something that people do when they have nowhere to go. They don’t need resources for this. They come out. They have a suffrage movement. A right to vote, put signs up in like Tahrir Square in Egypt in 2011. Thousands and thousands and thousands of people on the streets after Juma prayer, you know, marching, saying we want the right to vote, right to vote. The world cannot ignore that.

Mookie: But that could be Hamas 2.0.

Ali: We’re further along in this.

Mookie: We’ve gotten rid of Netanyahu? We’ve gotten rid of Hamas by this point? And then we were rebuilding Gaza, too?

Ali: Right. On the timeline, this is something that can happen in parallel. Once there is an international coalition that is recognizing a Palestinian state, there are allies in the US that are influential right now. These leftist politicians you’re talking about. And university campuses in Congress, among the Democrats, who can form relationships that people in Gaza can reach out to, activists there can work with to actually apply pressure and get this international coalition going and come up with something more reasonable. And all of this is going to weaken Hamas. If you know that you have the world on your side, you don’t need Hamas on your side. Yeah. If all of us get together, we’re like, hey, listen, Palestinians, we’re going to help you. We’re going to do it. What do you need? We’re recognizing you as a state. We’re going to help rebuild. We’re going to help feed you. The only thing you got to do is accept that this is the land, that this is your state. And you have to just stop the violence. Stop the violence. And then this is it. We can do this. And now the United States is supporting you. Higher levels of government. Spain is supporting you. The UK is supporting you. The UN has you as a member state. Okay? Everyone. And then we’ve got Israel. Netanyahu is gone right now. There’s a new government that’s coming in. And they’re just saying that here are the conditions that are tied. Don’t mess with us anymore. Let’s just agree to this. That kind of international support has not existed for Palestinians in the past. I know. I grew up in the 80s. There was nothing. We didn’t even know what was going on over there. It was completely, everything was staunchly, staunchly one-sided. So this is a very, very new development.

Mookie: Definitely the grassroots,

Alie: Yeah, grassroots. And this is the right time. There’s so much sympathy out there that this can actually happen, and it will be good for Israelis and be good for everybody.

Mookie: Well, it’s also extremely dangerous. Let’sx go to part four here. Continuous negotiations for a two state solution. Before, let’s summarize where we’re at: The Israelis feel secure. The border’s shorn up. The IDF got its shit together internally. Israel is no longer blowing up Gaza. By this point, there’s rebuilding. There’s some reconciliation. The problem is Hamas and the PA, but we’re tacitly assuming that they could be gotten rid of, actively from the top down. The honchos at Qatar say, you’re done. You’re no longer funded. You’re kaput. And then from the bottom up, in terms of what you’re describing, where these grassroots movements for Palestinian independence and statehood form global movement that is based not on aggression and violence, but based on peace and negotiation. Are we squaring off that way?

Now, if even hypothetically we can attain this point, then it’s still problematic and difficult, because a lot of entrenched ideas need to change. Even if they can get to the point where we’re actually having conversations and we’re negotiating, the region was at this stage on and off repeatedly for decades. And one thing led to another. And depending on which history you follow or which tribe you belong to, it’s always the other guy’s fault. The thing about Jews and Israelis, and this is true for almost all of them: it’s always the Palestinians’ fault. They always withdrew from the negotiations. They made either unrealistic demands or they changed their mind. And the next thing we knew, there was an infitada — intifada! — Jews always blame the Palestinians. Talk to any Jew. Oh, it’s not our fault. Palestinians fuck this up every step of the way. And it’s not our fault that we have to kill their kids. It’s like Golda Meir said that “we’ll never forgive the Palestinians for having to kill their children”. That’s an entrenched attitude. So that’s a problem. We keep blaming the Palestinians.

And then the Palestinians, they keep blaming Israel, right? They took away our land. They can’t be trusted. And some of this is substantiated with West Bank settlements, with ongoing violence, and with these overly overreactions and the periodic mowing the lawn. Something blows up in Israel, and a thousand Palestinians die. It’s like a hundred X, it’s a thousand X retaliatory strategy to show determination and strength, which has really only succeeded in spiraling the violence. It hasn’t quelled it.

So how do we enable negotiation to take place between these? How do you hit an immovable object with an infinite force here? I’m asking you. You’re the Palestinian. I’m the Israeli. I’m like, we blame you for everything. Every time you hit us, we hit you 100, 1,000 times force. We have nuclear weapons. Our military is larger than that of Egypt, Syria, Iran. We actually have more operational jets, F-15s, F-16s, I think, than Americans do. Yeah. I mean, it’s unbelievable. Our arsenal is huge. So fuck you. That’s the mentality. So that’s the mentality that Palestine and the Arabs and the world need to kind of massage, which is: “Why should we listen to you?” Why should we cede land and power? Because you’re always wrong. You just want to kill us anyway. And most of the world hates Jews. So welcome to the party, pal. This is fine, the status quo.” How do you change this attitude? How do you change the attitude?

Ali: That’s a very good question. I mean, and that’s why we’re here.

Mookie: I got ideas. I’m just rhetorically asking these questions.

Ali: That’s what we’re here to talk about. I think that the attitude changes. The only way to change what we’re talking about right now, change in leadership. I mean, there are people, many, many people in Israel who don’t necessarily think that. They don’t want to be a pariah. There are many of them who don’t care. Yes, it is true. After October 7th, I know that there are many people in Israel, and I’ve heard that they don’t care. They’re like, oh, the world thinks that we’re evil anyway. The world thinks that we’re committing a genocide. The world thinks that we’re ethnic cleansing. So might as well, go ahead if that’s what they want to think. We can own it. They’re going to hate us anyway. So might as well. That’s the mentality. That’s what’s perpetuating the cycle now.

Mookie: I have one recommendation, which goes back to the earlier part of this conversation, that American presidents grow a pair. And to your point earlier, it looks like they’re going to have to. because the way the demographic base is shifting this idea of unilateral bipartisan unconditional support for Israel is unsustainable. There’s already fissures. The hesitancy and isolationism that’s pervasive now with the Republicans applicable to Ukraine is having a halo effect even to Israel, compounded by the fact that Biden could very well lose Michigan. OK, the Arab vote is relatively small, but it’s got a percolating effect to young people in general. Young people either aren’t going to vote,or might even vote independent because of Biden not showing any cojones vis-a-vis Israel. Let me contextualize. I think the missing link here is America, which is America needs to slap Israel around a little bit. And Israel needs to know that this support is not forever — and conditional.

Ali: That’s kind of what was said in the phone call today between Biden and Netanyahu… You know if you don’t protect more civilians we’re gonna do that…

Mookie: We’re outraged, we’re outraged, we’re outraged — so what? — they’re also still sending the funds for the weapons. And again, they’re one of the most powerful militaries in the world.

Ali: What next?

Mookie: We’re at step four. We worked hard. We got here. Maybe people believe that we’re talking some measure of sense, where we bring security and we have a ceasefire, where we bring about regime change for both sides, and where we get an international coalition. My question is, how do you change attitudes using this construct, how do you put pressure on Israel to chill the hell out? And how do you calm down Palestinians who hate Jews and just want 100% of the land for themselves too?

Ali: I think it’s going to have to come from outside. That’s where we’re getting at. It’s not going to happen on the inside. I wanted to about misinformation, I’m very fascinated by it, and I’ve talked to you about before. I hear there are polls that say that most Palestinians support what happened in October 7th. Now, Israelis hear this. They’re like, oh, wow. Most Palestinians support what happened on October 7th. That means they support the rape of our women. They support the killing of innocent civilians. They support the burning of babies. These people are evil. This is all the stuff they support. But you go and talk to the Palestinians and ask them what happened on October 7th, what they support. They’re like, well, Israel killed its own people. There were no rapes. There was no civilian killings. Hamas didn’t do that. This was a legitimate resistance movement. They’ve created all of this. Images have been generated. These videos have been generated by AI. They’re very sophisticated and crafty. All of this October 7th narrative is bullshit. It’s not true. We don’t believe it. But we support the resistance. So they’re not supporting the rape and the killing of innocent civilians. They’re supporting what they think happened based on a conspiracy theory.

Now, on the other hand, the Palestinians, they hear that the Israelis, the majority of the Israelis support this military operation in Gaza. So the Palestinians, now the Gazans are thinking, oh, wow, they’re seeing our babies being blown up. They’re seeing all these kids dying. They’re seeing the aid workers being killed. And they support this. The majority of them support it. This is genocide. This is ethnic cleansing. You know, this is an evil regime. But you ask the Israelis, you know, what they think. They’re like, well, we don’t believe the numbers. They came out of Hamas. the Hamas Ministry of Information or Health or whatever they come out of. We don’t believe the numbers. We think the numbers are a lot less. A lot of these people who died were terrorists. They’re getting their version of the news, right? And they’re not seeing images, actually, in Israeli TV. They’re not seeing images of all of the atrocities that we’re all seeing on TikTok.

Neither of them actually support the specific atrocities that the other is accused of. But both of them support a just operation, what they think is a righteous, just operation against the other one. So they have different versions of history. They’ve got different versions of news. They’ve got different versions of what they think is going on. And so that’s why it’s like two different planets on both sides of the border. You and I sitting here wouldn’t even be talking if we live in that part of the world. We wouldn’t even be communicating. Because of that, I don’t think people on the ground know the situation. You’re not on the ground there. We’re talking about people on the ground. People on the ground there cannot see this situation the way that we can. They just can’t. So the solution that you’re talking about, this change in attitude on the Israeli side or the Palestinian side or the Arab side is just not going to happen. Intrinsically, it’s not going to happen where it is. It’s only going to happen from the outside. It’s the United States getting involved, Arab countries getting involved, people here in the West getting involved, citizens getting involved, advocacy, people listening to each other outside of that. That’s my rant. Go ahead.

Mookie: I was just going to leap in and say that the same thing — you were leading the witness — the Israeli media is completely censored. And the Israeli media, all they do is talk about hostages. And they talk about the operation, almost the special operation. There’s no visuals of suffering Palestinians. And the average Israeli, to your point, has very little transparency in terms of what’s actually going on on the ground. So this is unequivocally true. And Netanyahu just issued an edict to censor Al Jazeera completely from the whole country.

Ali: You live among those Arab dictators for a long time, you’re going to start acting like them, right?

Mookie: Yeah, well, he’s become a pro lately. probably for a while.

Ali: A hundred journalists have been killed. You’re killing aid workers. And then you’re censoring the media just because you disagree with it. You don’t have to agree with everything Al Jazeera does, but there are innocent Al Jazeera journalists. I’ve known people who work for Al Jazeera. Basically what he’s doing is a Putin move. It’s an Arab dictator move.

Mookie: It’s only going to get worse with AI. It’ll be exponentially worse. How do you circumvent this problem? Well, if you can’t change the digital world, the virtual world, then you change reality. By this I mean, there are hundreds of thousands of Israelis who are now displaced. The West Bank is in chaos, the Lebanese border is in chaos, and then the Gaza war is raging. The way to from the inside-out fix this, is by transforming of the lives of the people in the region for the better. So if Israelis can return to their homes in a safer environment, if Gaza could be rebuilt, if the international community with an emphasis on their Arab neighbors comes in to assist the Palestinians instead of talking about it, and if they can actually liaise with the Israelis, then there’s hope. And just as we’ve had negative feedback for decades, perhaps we can initiate positive feedback through security, flipping of the government, an international coalition, and a road to peace. And with, again, the acceptance of certain conditions.

Ali: I got to say to the Muslim people and the Arab people and everybody that I grew up with, the world the way it is right now, things have never been this balanced in terms of support. Right now in the United States, according to polls, people under 35, more than 50% of them have sympathy with the Palestinians versus Israelis. They’re right or they’re wrong, but they do, like you said.

Mookie: That’s what I mean. It’s the future. Israel needs to understand that their good buddy, the U.S., isn’t going to be so generous and unequivocal as it has been. Bill Maher has been raging against the Palestinians. I like Bill Maher in general, I agree with him l90–95% of the time, but 5% I’m like, “Come on, dude…” My 5% “come on dude” with Bill Maher is when he’s raging about the Palestinians. He says, come on, man, you lost the war. Look at the American Indians. Look at history. People win, people lose. And you guys are a bunch of whiners. You can’t take your loss and just deal with it.

The reason that he’s wrong and the reason that that attitude perpetuates the cycle of violence, and the reason it’s relevant for what we’re talking about right now, is that geographically, Israel and Palestine are so small, like 8,000 square miles in total, the size of Vermont. These people are compressed together and they’re about equal in population. So you could kick another nation’s ass, right? The tribe of Judea kicked the offspring of Esau’s ass. Okay, great. The Jews won. They were provoked. Any which way you look at history, the Jews, “won”. They took the land. All right. But the Palestinians aren’t going anywhere. They’re right there with unbelievable population density and compressions.

When the white people swept across the Western Plains, we killed most of the indigenous population. And then the ones that were left, we put them in these little reservations. And we isolated them. And these reservations are like maybe the size of Israel. So we were able to do that as white conquerors, we were able to annihilate the indigenous population and take complete control of the continent, because it was so vast and our population was so much disproportionately larger than theirs.

But that’s not the case in Israel. The reason Bill Maher is wrong and the reason most people are so wrong about this issue is that everything they say begs the question of attaining any kind of peace and security. And it’s obvious. The Palestinian population is almost identical to that of the Israeli. They’re miles apart. not oceans. And neither side is going anywhere. And the land is cherished, even though it’s shitty for natural resources. It means so much for the world’s religions. Everyone’s got a stake. Everyone’s got a story. So everyone is stuck there.

The reason people need to listen to our four-point plan is because really, if you think about it, there’s no other way to get out of this. If you plot the population curves, the Palestinians are going to outnumber the Israelis, and then the Orthodox Jews are going to outnumber the regular Jews. Israel is going further and further to the right, becoming more and more fanatically extremist, and the Arab-Palestinian population is growing. at a much more rapid rate. So just do the math, folks. You could have nuclear weapons and a bunch of jets and a fresh batch of 2 000 pound bombs from Unble Joe Biden, but it’s only a matter of time, and this entire house of cards is going to really collapse. Israel will be in an existential dilemma — Israel I think already almost is —

Ali: Demographically, the orthodox are growing at a fast rate, but there’s a lot more Palestinians. So eventually, if there is a suffrage movement where supposing all of the Oalestinians come out every Friday after prayers and march with signs saying that we want to vote nonviolently, and the world is paying attention to it. And if they do get the vote and you have a single state, you don’t have a Jewish state anymore. You have another Arab state.

Mookie: Well, that’s the terror, right?

Ali: Yeah. And then if you decide not to give them the vote and you decide to continue occupying them or not give them their own state, then you don’t have a democracy. Now you’re occupying people against its will. It’s a binary situation. So in the future, Israel is going to have to choose between being either a Jewish state or a democracy, but not both — unless there’s a two-state solution.

Mookie: Bingo! And what they’ve done is kick the can down the road by mowing the lawn and basically perpetuating a hopeless situation that is not only doomed to fail, but is doomed to kill everybody. That’s just the reality, folks. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to plot the curve. It does feel like that. Israel is fucked. And that’s not an opinion. It’s just doing the math. So smell the coffee. Seed land.

My people! I’m going to make an announcement to My People: Cede land and power to the Palestinians, even if you hate them, and even if you don’t trust them. Initiate trust step-by-step, because you’re doomed. You’re heading against a brick wall. And it’s going to be better for you too.

And lastly, there are these peace miracles that happen. Northern Ireland, they’ve tried a similar approach in the Middle East, of course, with Senator Morris and all that. But there are so many instances where Cain and Abel are killing each other for generations, and then you can turn it around. And the road to turning it around is opening borders, is trade, is cultural exchange, is mutual respect. Look at the food that the Arabs eat, the Palestinians, and look at the food the Israelis eat, an “Israeli salad”. What the fuck does that mean? It’s cultural appropriation, My Guy. It’s like falafels and hummus and pita. With the sun, you can’t tell an Israeli apart from a Palestinian a lot of the time, right? I mean, a lot of Israelis are dark. You’ve got Ethiopian Jews. You’ve got Arab Israelis. It’s becoming diverse. It’s amazing.

Culturall link, do trade. Respect each other. Do commerce. Open up the border. Be nice to each other. Listen. Be patient. Try harder because you got no choice. And get over this bullshit ideology. Like the other guy is always wrong. We have a right? You know, fuck you. And don’t tell me because I’m sitting on my ass in New York that I have no idea what’s going on.

Ali: That’s what I want to say. I don’t think we talked about the misinformation. We talked about how both sides believe completely different versions of the news and history. If there’s a solution to this, there’s a solution. It’s going to come from outside. It’s not going to come from there. The people over there, and Yuval Noah Harari said this, and said that it’s impossible. If someone is holding the body of their dead child in their hand, whether you’re in a kibbutz in South Israel or whether you’re in Gaza, in Rafah, It’s impossible to think of yourself as both a victim and a perpetrator at the same time. You don’t think of yourself as an occupier if you’re Israeli. You don’t think of yourself as a terrorist if you’re Palestinian. I get it. It’s going to take a long time to heal. You don’t. Yeah, it’s going to. So that has to come from outside. And here’s the thing. I’m really sorry, but people who are on the outside watching this have a better perspective, a more objective perspective of the situation.

Mookie: It depends, because we have our own biases. But Harari said something else too, which is great. It’s like the essence of his worldview, which is we’re storytellers. We tell stories and we have maps in our mind of reality. The maps in our mind are more significant than the stuff of the world. We tell hero stories, we have an idea of ourselves, with all our implicit biases. But stories though are malleable. You could retell a story to the next generation, which is a story of reconciliation. It’s a story of unification. It’s a story of tolerance. It’s a story of experience, and patience, and a goal of cohabitation. Let’s start telling those stories, instead of reminding each other how much the other tribe is a bunch of savages. That could be a good start.

Ali: Not that the leadership aspect aren’t savages. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that it’s pretty bad, and not only on the Hamas side, but also on the Israeli. The food trucks being bombed, all of these videos of innocent people coming out with their… the flags and Israeli hostages themselves coming out without their shirts and then just shooting them on sight.

Mookie: Imagine what the Palestinian civilians are dealing with.

Ali: If they did that, if they’re doing that to Israeli hostages, if they’re doing this to food trucks…

Mookie: We’re chosen, we’re victims, and we’re racist. So, of course we’re going to act like this. Let’s get over ourselves.

Ali: The deliberate targeting is on both sides. The deliberate targeting is doing it. And it’s not a good enough excuse every time you ask us, well, what about this collateral damage? No, you can’t say that, hey, at least we’re better than Hamas. That is not how a democracy, especially Western style democracy, works. That’s not what it’s supposed to say. So it has to come from the outside.

Mookie: All right. Let’s summarize, and then people could comment and we could follow up. And if we piss people off, that’s great. First, Israelis feel more secure, shore up the borders. Then stop bombing the shit out of Gaza. Is there a couple thousand Hamas guys running around? All right, there’s going to be a couple thousand Hamas guys running around after you nuke Rafah anyway, okay? Israel, you’re heading toward an insurgency. You think you’re going to hit Rafah, and you’re going to clean it all up, and you’re going to “destroy Hamas” with this attitude. They’re going to flow out into all of Gaza, and you’re going to have years long insurgency. So good luck with that ceasefire. And second —

Ali: And I want to say one more. I’ve said this before, but I got to say it because it drives me nuts, is that if you do want to, if your best excuse to the world is that, hey, listen, at least we’re better than Hamas, don’t deliberately bomb food trucks.

Mookie: Maybe the drone was just kind of like…

Ali: It wasn’t.

Mookie: It could have been bad intelligence. They could have gotten a phone call from some kid with a flip phone. A kid with a flip phone was like, “the Hamas guy is in the food truck!” and they don’t give a shit. The Hamas guy’s in the food truck, blow them all up. And that’s what happened, maybe…

Ali: And I’m not saying this about the Israeli people. I’m saying this about Netanyahu, who is an enemy of the Israeli people. If you can just pick out an Iranian general or official in some place in Syria, and have a robot come and assassinate him with that kind of precision, you can avoid fucking food trucks.

Mookie: Well, the Hellfire missile that killed the food workers was pretty fucking precise. It was equally precise. The manufacturers of those missiles, they’re applauding now because they just hit it. The problem is the intelligence, and the intent.

Ali: I love that “unintentional targeting”. Targeting unintentionally. It’s an oxymoron.

Mookie: Just cut this shit out. It’s not going to help. And then we’re at number two, which is Netanyahu has to go as soon as possible, hold elections. And Hamas and the PA have got to go too, which is like knock-knock Qatar, Saudi Arabia. I’ve been telling Biden to grow a pair. What are you guys doing? What the fuck is Egypt doing? They’re like, “not our problem. It’s just Sinai…” Come on. Come on!

Ali: I want to mention something about Egypt. And, you know, May Salam, who’s a Gaza war survivor, was on the show. There’s a previous episode. Make sure you check that out. It was phenomenal. And she said the southern border of Gaza is obviously ruled by Egypt. And they’re charging right now bribes of $10,000 per person for suffering Gazans who need medical help to be able to get out. They’re also taking the aid. There’s war merchants who are taking the aid that’s being sent, the humanitarian aid, and they’re selling it to starving citizens. For high prices. So there’s that happening. Yes, absolutely. Egypt, all the Arab countries.

Nobody cares about the Palestinians. Everybody’s been walking over them. All of these people who are like, oh, we have sympathy for them. None of them are going to take in the refugees. They’re going to charge bribes for them to get out of Gaza when they’re suffering. They’re going to sell them their own aid that’s entitled to the world that’s sending them. if you’re living there it’s a living hell.

Mookie: The IDF isn’t the only institution that sucks right now. I’m the Jewish guy, so I’ve been criticizing my own because that’s my function here. But these arab countries are not off the hook for this shit.

Ali: The only people that they hate more than the Jews — honestly growing up in the Middle East, at least it was like that when I grew up there — the only people they hate more than the Jews, are the Palestinians. The Arab countries look down on Palestinians.

Mookie: That’s endemic throughout the world. The Swedish people hate the Norwegians. We look at them and they’re tall and blonde. We can’t even fucking tell them apart, and they despise each other. And then the Caribbean people, the Cubans, they think they’re the best. Puerto Ricans hate the Dominicans. The Dominicans hate the Haitians. We’re shitty xenophobic people, I think, by instinct. It’s programmed into us. So none of this is unique to the region. It’s just exacerbated by all the attention and because — everyone hates Jews.

All right, so change the administration, number two. Number three, which is I completely agree with you, there’s got to be an international thing, which is an adjunct to what we were just talking about, which is Arabs need to step up. The US needs to grow a pair. The UK, they hate Israel ever since Balfour, and Moshe Dayan blew up the King David Hotel. All these European countries, everyone can have a little, whatever. But get people vested and get people to kind of try to negotiate this thing and to scoot it along in any way that’s possible. Even though that seems like a pipe dream, it’s realistic in terms of creating some kind of coalition. And to your point, it’s necessary.

Ali: They can also help along number two. I think an international coalition can help the world, the world recognizing a Palestinian state, the world helping the Palestinians understand that, okay, this is it.

Mookie: This is the land you’re going to get. This is the deal. 22% there should be central. Israel’s here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. That’s all you guys get. Sorry. And that’s only if we clear out of the West Bank. That’s what you get. If you are lucky, you get 22%. That’s like a best case scenario, guys.

Ali: And the longer it goes on, the less and less it’ll be, unfortunately.

Mookie: So that’s number four. However the hell this is going to happen, we need to overcome our entrenched biases and this knee-jerk reaction, this micro, primitive, tribal, nitty-gritty, shitty view that the other guy sucks, that my tribe is the best, and that’s it. I know that’s hard to get over, but what can do it is if the living conditions of the people on the ground improve as a result of going through these motions. The displaced people can find their homes again. There could be an overt movement toward progress. And as I’m mentioning, I don’t want to downplay this and I can’t say this enough: People get along when they know each other, when they hang out together, when they live maybe not in the same neighborhood, but near enough where they cross paths together. Most importantly, when they do business with each other.

When Israel shut down Gaza and turned it into basically a gigantic outdoor prison, ostensibly for a security issue — a lot of good that did them — what it did was it shut down that connection between people. You feel more secure in principle, but in practice, you’re ensuring that you’re never going to get along. And ultimately, there’s going to be an October 7th. You can’t take two and a half million people and close them off from the outside world, no matter what the fuck your rationale is. Shit like that’s going to happen. I’m not being an apologist for Hamas, but you need to be completely nuts about human nature if you didn’t think something like this would happen.

Come on, we eat falafel. Eat a falafel, eat hummus, eat a fucking Israeli salad, and understand that genetically we’re almost identical to each other. And all of this is bullshit. And forget history and be pragmatic: 22% Palestinians, 78% Israel, get the fuck out of the West Bank, and call it a day.

Ali: I’m going to end this with something that Yuval Noah Harari said that’s really, really difficult to swallow. It’s tough. But when you think about it, it’s really the only way. And that is you really have to, in situations like this, choose between peace and justice. If you want peace you’re gonna have to let go of at least some of the hunger you have for a retrospective justice. There’s lots of people who died, and they’re not coming back to life. A lot of terrible things happened. They’re not going to return. There are issues that have happened. There’s land that’s been lost. That land is not going to come back. Israel has been created. It’s not going to go away. The Palestinians, they need their own state. All of these things have to be accepted. If you want peace, you have to let the idea of justice go and retrospective justice has to go so you can secure future justice. You’ve got to work from that point onwards and that, by definition, is what peace is. That’s a really, really, really difficult thing.

Mookie: And you know what’s in the past? Religion. Religion’s in the past. I’m just going to say, it’s all bullshit.

Ali: You’re Jewish, I’m Muslim, but we have the same religion.

Mookie: Yeah, which is, it’s all bullshit, everybody. You’ve been lied to and manipulated for the sake of control. So get over it. History is bullshit in that sense. Yeah. Nonsense. So stop, and just look forward.

Ali: At least that’s one place where we have a lot in common. Eat falafel. This is what happens. I mean, there’s hummus on both sides. There’s shalom and salam. There’s mashallah and mazel tov.

Mookie: Isaac and Asa and all that. Come on. We both have our dicks sliced. We don’t eat pig. Our dicks are sliced. Come on.

Ali: You circumcise two huge tribes of people. This is what you got. This is what’s going to happen. Childhood trauma manifested.

Mookie: I think that’s the perfect note. Don’t touch the family jewels, man.

Ali: And here it is. So Spitz, my Jewish friend. I’m the one who grew up in the Arab and South Asian Muslim countries. He’s the American Jewish son of Hungarian Holocaust survivors. The fact that we’re having this conversation means that I think the promised land truly is here in North America, where Hindus and Muslims, Muslims and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, everybody kind of gets along. And we have arguments, we have heated debates, but we’re not banned from seeing each other, and we don’t kill and maim each other.

Mookie: Enlightenment now! Read that Steven Pinker book if you haven’t yet. Times are actually getting better, not worse, even though there’s horrible clusterfucks like what we’re talking about. Enlightenment values of cooperation, of empathy, of “internecine trade” It’s all about sharing the hummus. And we’re headed in that direction. There are fits and starts, but embrace the values that are positive for humanity instead of negative. And look in the mirror when you’re spouting that kind of hate and ask yourself if that’s beneficial to you and your people. And to Ali’s great point about justice and peace, it’s about cohabitation. It’s not about proving your point. Do you want to make a point or do you want to make a change? Almost everything we said is basic and obvious, but the most basic and obvious things are the most difficult to do when you’re stubbornly clinging to old religions, old ideas, and old hatreds. Look forward, not backward. Rock and roll!

Ali: Look forward, not backward, rock and roll from the promised land, the real Promised Land of North America, the Jew and the Muslim signing off.

Thank you, everybody, for listening.

Mookie: We welcome your feedback, too, and we can follow up to address some of the points.

Ali: Thank you. Thank you very much.



Mookie Spitz

Author and communications strategist. His latest book SUPER SANTA is available on Amazon, with a sci fi adventure set for Valentine's Day 2024.