Caitlin Johnstone: Gaza Atrocities Are ‘Western Values’

Caitlin Johnstone, Consortium News, December 21, 2023 —

What we see in Gaza is a much better representation of what Western civilization is really about than all the gibberish about freedom and democracy we learned in school.

When Israeli President Isaac Herzog described the assault on Gaza as a war “to save Western civilization, to save the values of Western civilization,” he wasn’t really lying. He was telling the truth — just maybe not quite in the way that he meant it.

The demolition of Gaza is indeed being perpetrated in defense of Western values, and is itself a perfect embodiment of Western values. Not the Western values they teach you about in school, but the hidden ones they don’t want you to look at. Not the attractive packaging with the advertising slogans on the label, but the product that’s actually inside the box.

For centuries Western civilization has depended heavily on war, genocide, theft, colonialism and imperialism, which it has justified using narratives premised on religion, racism and ethnic supremacy — all of which we are seeing play out in the incineration of Gaza today.

What we are seeing in Gaza is a much better representation of what Western civilization is really about than all the gibberish about freedom and democracy we learned about in school.

A much better representation of western civilization than all the art and literature we’ve been proudly congratulating ourselves on over the centuries.

A much better representation of western civilization than the love and compassion we like to pretend our Judeo-Christian values revolve around.

It’s been so surreal watching Western rightists babbling about how savage and barbaric Muslim culture is amid the 2023 zombie resurrection of Bush-era Islamophobia, even while Western civilization amasses a mountain of 10 thousand child corpses.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Herzog in Tel Aviv on Nov. 3. (State Department, Chuck Kennedy)

That mountain of child corpses is a much better representation of Western culture than anything Mozart, da Vinci or Shakespeare ever produced.

This is Western civilization. This is what it looks like.

Western civilization, where Julian Assange awaits his final appeal in February against U.S. extradition for journalism which exposed US war crimes.

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Where we are fed a nonstop deluge of mass media propaganda to manufacture our consent for wars and aggression which have killed millions and displaced tens of millions in the 21st century alone.

Where we are kept distracted by vapid entertainment and artificial culture wars so we don’t think too hard about what this civilization is and who it is killing and maiming and starving and exploiting.

Where news cycles are dominated more by celebrity gossip and Donald Trump’s latest mouth farts than by the mass atrocities that are being actively facilitated by western governments.

Where liberals congratulate themselves for having progressive views on race and gender while the officials they elect help rip apart children’s bodies with military explosives.

Where Zionist Jews center themselves and their emotions because opposition to an active genocide makes them feel like they are being persecuted, and where Israel supporters who are not Jewish still kind of feel like they are being persecuted also.

Where a giant globe-spanning empire powered by militarism, imperialism, capitalism and authoritarianism devours human flesh with an insatiable appetite while we congratulate ourselves on how much better we are than nations like Iran or China.

These are Western values. This is Western civilization.

Ask somebody to tell you what their values are and they’ll give you a bunch of pleasant-sounding words about family and love and caring or whatever. Watch their actions to see what their actual values are and you’ll often get a very different story.

That’s us. That’s Western civilization. We say we value freedom, justice, truth, peace and free expression, but our actions paint a very different picture. The real Western values, the actual product inside the box underneath the attractive label, are the ones you see acted out in Gaza today.


Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on Facebook, Twitter, SoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

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