Why Magneto is so Relevant as War Rages Throughout Israel and Gaza

Welcome to With Great Chutzpah Comes Great Responsibilityyour every other week dose of Jews and comics.

I was supposed to be in Israel right now.  Every other year, I journey straight to the heart- Jerusalem, my former home.  This year, unanticipated expenses caused me to say “next year in Jerusalem,” and mean it.  When I tell people I used to live in Jerusalem I often get one of two reactions- either I am seen as some holy warrior who is a light unto the nations living amongst the evil Muslims, or I am a dirty Jew who drinks Palestinian blood in my attempt to oppress the world.  Both are ignorant, silly views;  both rob Israelis of their humanity.  In reality, the land of Israel and their citizens are much like the X-Men: we have our Professor Xs, our Kitty Prydes (who is based on an Israeli soldier Chris Claremont saw while visiting Tel Aviv), our Bishops, our Cyclopses and certainly we have our Magnetos.  Heck, we even have a buncha Toads.  At times, I can view Israeli politics through each of their eyes, but the one I often connect is the most extreme of them all, Magneto.Magneto main

In today’s political environment, people believe they must choose to be either pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli.  There is rarely any grey area.  People choose a side and then justify every action taken by their side, not recognizing both factions have scars and have made many mistakes.  We live in a culture of resentment, justification and finger pointing which effectively negates each group from taking responsibility for their own actions.  And after all the Israelis and Palestinians have been through, it makes sense that both groups would be angry.  That is why I connect most to Magneto- because his scars and his views are very real to me.  Magneto has seen his people hunted and murdered based on their religion and race, and now he has vowed “never again.”  Even if you disagree with his tactics, you must respect that he is willing to go to any lengths to fight for the freedom of his people.  Magneto is absolutely the product of his environment, but his actions today are shaping his current environment.   He is our rage personified; he is our resentment; he is our paranoia.  He is what happens when a ceasefire is called but missiles continue to scream overhead.  He is what is created when three boys’ horrible murders are used to justify “death to Arab” chants followed by a retaliatory “price tag” murder.  He is what happens when you are forced to huddle with your loved ones in a bomb shelter knowing that if you did die much of the world would blame you for your own passing.  He is what happens when day after day your community is pounded with airstrikes, and this all you know about “the other.”  Magneto has been both good and bad, a hero and a villain, depending on the vantage point you are looking from.  But he has always been entirely human, even though that comment would piss his mutant touchie off.  No matter how you view Magneto’s tactics, he perceives himself as having every justification to act out, to want revenge. magneto holocaustIn Classic X-Men #19, the first issue Magneto references his Holocaust background, he says, “I will not see another people fear what they do not understand and destroy what they fear.”  But Magneto’s entire worldview is based on fear.  He fears the same thing that happened to his people during the Shoah will happen again to the mutants.  He uses fear to attain power creating a self-fulfilling prophecy: it you hate and fear mutants then he will give you a damn good reason to do so.  He yearns to gain safety through power, a method that always magneto professor xmakes him a target.  Author Chris Claremont’s original intention was to eventually have Magneto redeemed as a hero, embracing Xavier’s dream and becoming the headmaster of the school after Xavier’s death.  To do this, Magneto would have had to let go of fear as both a motivator and a weapon because one of Xavier’s greatest teachings was the importance of overcoming fear, something that many Israeli’s and many Palestinians cannot do.  As every ceasefire is broken, as each peace deal fails- we fall deeper into our fear “the other.”  Professor X has always understood that there cannot be any peace in a society filled with fear.  I love Magneto; he is a part of me; but I also know we cannot get anywhere if we do not let go of our fear.  The reality is Magneto will never wipe every human off the planet; the Israelis will never destroy the Palestinians; and the Palestinians will never drive the Israelis into the sea.  So we are stuck with each other, and realizing this is a beautiful thing.  I may empathize with Magneto, but his way is as unrealistic as any extreme peacenik (and extreme peaceniks often drive me insane with their unrealistic, hypocritical rantings).  I gag when people who have never set foot on the land talk about how the entire Middle East should come together, hug it out and sing kumbaya.   But if we continue to run on resentment and fear, justifying our negative actions based on the other’s wrongs, this cycle will never end.  We will eventually have… Onslaught.

charles magnetoI love Israel.  I love the Jewish people and I worry daily for their safety.  I know that most people hold Israel to some unrealistic standard that can never be met.  They expect us to stay on some turn-the-other-cheek bullcrap.  And the second we react, boom, we are the villains.  As much as Jews love to complain about the double standard, I too hold my people to higher standards and will continue to do so.  I really don’t care about the hypocracy of our critics or that most other countries do horrible things and get away with it while Israel is scrutinized for every little thing; I care what my people do.   I care when I see Jews writing racist bullcrap throughout my newsfeed.  I care when Jews justify the actions of murderous extremists.  I care when a Palestinian kiddo is found murdered and people use racist rhetoric to claim that his murder was an honor killing performed by his family because he was gay.  Our fear and paranoia of anything critical of ourselves is very dangerous. The only way we can get anywhere is by worrying about our own actions.   That goes for our neighbors too, but I cannot worry about them; I can only worry about myself.  And I worry because I love you Israel.   I love you Kitty; I love you Bishop; I love you Cyclops; I love you Professor; and most of all I love you Magneto.

Author
Jay Deitcher is a writer and licensed social worker from Albany, NY. He is currently taking MFA courses at the College of St. Rose. You can read his other work at JayDeitcher.com.
  • Wherethedead FeartoTread

    While I am by no means an idealistic peacenik, in fact I am a very cynical and jaded person. as of my writing this there have been 194 deaths since the latest cease fire failed, and one death has been an Israeli. http://abcnews.go.com/US/fullpage/israel-gaza-conflict-death-toll-infographic-24568540

    You state that “Even if you disagree with his tactics, you must respect that he is willing to go to any lengths to fight for the freedom of his people.” This is where extremist violence cycles live. Must I respect The Muslim extremists in the middle east hell bent on genocide of the Jewish people? They are willing to go to any lengths to fight for the freedom of their people. I feel as though you would not respect these people, nor should you. If this is the case, it is not actually true you respect this extremist mindset, if it is directed at that which you hold dear.

    And this is where violence is born, in separating people based upon what I see as arbitrary labels, labels often inherited from parents. I don’t believe there will be peace between Israel and Palestine in my lifetime, because those involved see Jews and Muslims, Palestinians and Israelis. They don’t simply see people As cliched as it may be I offer you a Gandhi quote. “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”

    So when Magneto or an Israeli kills his enemy why is it your sympathies stand with the killer, and not the slain?

    If a Muslim character who survived the Bosnian Genocide targeted Christians would you respect that he or she is wiling to go to any lengths to fight for the freedom of his people? His or her outrage at Christians would be under the same pretense as Magneto, against the humans. Or do you feel connected to Magneto primarily because of ethnic History?

    You worry about those is Israel daily, but not those in Palestine, and this is why the violence will continue. And I can predict how you will respond to this if you read it, because as you state in preemptive defense. Israel is scrutinized for every little thing they do. My mentioning the one sided casualties is just that. Then you will write me off as a peacenik, something that makes you gag, not an ideal you would like to reach.

    • TheGoddamnBader

      “Even if you disagree with his tactics, you must respect that he is willing to go to any lengths to fight for the freedom of his people.”
      I think that what you have here is an issue of perspective because Magneto can very easily be an allegory for any number of persecuted peoples: Jews, Palestinians, black South African, First Nations peoples, and he is very much an example of what happens when one allows their fears and hatred to turn them into an extremist.

      This perspective – the notion that people see themselves as “freedom fighters” – is most definitely what allows violence to continue and escalate with apparently no end in sight.

  • SentinelOptimusCunt

    The holocaust did not happen, Bar-coded cunts made it all up to get sympathy from mortals, hence why these Christ killing, clip tip, dreidl, four by two, Gargamels Sympathize with the devil all too well.. The Jews are Satan’s wenches, Zhidan mother fuckers are the chosen people of Satan, not god.. There is no god in Israel, only the Devil, the devil blesses Israel with his devilish load, not god…

  • Shlomo Ben Hungstien

    the “Toads” in Israel are the Israeli leftists.