This was originally published on my Instagram story and was meant to articulate how many of us have felt recently. I am publishing it with Times of Israel shortly with proper sourcing and citations, please bear with me.  If you’d like to get in touch my email is colerotman@gmail.com

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On October 7, 3,000 Palestinians invaded sovereign Israeli territory and murdered 762 civilians, 376 soldiers, and took at least 250 humans and corpses hostage.

I have been consumed by this conflict for as long as I can remember. I think I knew what the Six Day War was before I knew what the American Civil War was. It‘s like, there is this other country that is equally as important to me, but it‘s kind of hard to explain because I live in North America and not many other people feel an affinity towards a foreign country 7,000 miles away. It is a little strange.

Israel is that special place that very people understand, but if you do, you instantly feel a connection. It is kind of confusing, but it is our confusing thing. We knew Israel was not liked by her neighbors, but we were far from those problems in North America historically.

As I looked up on the subway this morning, I saw the words “All Eyes on Rafah” sprayed in red. I reflected upon how strange it is that the world has turned all of its attention to this tiny place that has been so personal to us for so long. Israel has always received disproportionate attention relative to global events, but never like this.

Almost every week, there is an attempt on an innocent Jewish life. Reports of vandalism and arson targeting Jewish property are even more frequent. These incidents have become so common that they no longer make headline news. I don’t think it’s dramatic to say that, for the first time, our generation can understand what it felt like for Jews to walk the streets of 1930s Berlin, silently observing the anti-Jewish signs on shops. We too feel, “Let’s just continue with our day, even though this is a strange personal attack. Nothing will actually happen to us.”

It’s extremely hard to describe how I, like many others, felt waking up on October 8.

With that being said, we found comfort in the support from many of our peers who recognized the clear brutality and barbarism displayed by our enemies.

Many have moved on since then, but I have not. Reflecting eight months later, I realize that we have lost much of the support we had on October 7. There is a lot of noise on the subway about the Israeli army’s response to these attacks.

I hear that we are committing a genocide in Gaza.

I believe it’s important for those who are following on social media and are perceptive enough to understand that there is more than what meets the eyes to be equipped with some articulation.

The Israel-Hamas war is the first war in history where there is a running “count” of casualties down to a single digit in “real time.”

This count is clear emotional manipulation.

Think about this practically.

Not only is a precise, live count of every death in the fog of an ongoing urban war a physical impossibility, but the count is submitted exclusively by one side (which happens to be a designated terror organization by the United States). And yet, the media accepts these numbers blindly and thus becomes fact.

I don’t want to play the numbers game. Whether it’s 10,000 or 30,000, it is clear that civilians in Gaza are dying and this war is a cause of that. I believe any civilian death is too much. Which is why Hamas must agree to a ceasefire and release the hostages.

But let’s call it for what it is, I don’t think anyone would accuse Hamas of radical intellectual honesty. WSJ reported this week that their leadership’s primary objective is to manipulate impressionable minds to win the PR war.

Any 23-year-old investment banking analyst could rip apart the obnoxious inconsistencies in Hamas’ data (let’s start with not identifying a combant death as a pregnant woman). But what they couldn’t do is tell you the actual number. In the Battle of Mosul, an urban battle between Iraqi forces and ISIS, the government did not have a civilian death toll until a year later. Today, the figures cited are between 9,000 and 40,000.

But let’s take a step back.

Off the top of your head, can you name the death count from any war, ever?

Of course the answer is no. No one has thought about this in any other conflict, ever. This is not how wars work.

What we are seeing is a couple billion people discovering that war is brutal for the first time through 30 second clips of babies being pulled out of rubble. This imagery is designed to go viral because it produces more eyeballs (revenue) and misguides the American public (a key tactic in the disinformation war).

More people “like” these videos on a daily basis than the total number of Jews in the world. And now the onus is on a couple million people (15 million Jews globally * >8/10 are Zionists * ~1/4 are vocal) to provide a counter narrative.

This is a war. And no military in history has ever faced at its doorstep:

(1) >40,000 plain clothes combatants intentionally embedded across 2.2 million people (war crime) who pose as journalists and aid workers (war crime).

(2) A limitless supply of military-age men (enlistment age is 15) that have been indoctrinated by Hamas for 15 years to replenish every killed combatant.

(3) >400 miles worth of explosive-lined terror infrastructure built over the past 15 years underneath and around civilian institutions (war crime).

(4) an enemy that does not care for its civilians so much so that it (a) doesn’t allow them into the aforementioned tunnels and (2) seizes humanitarian aid daily and sells it to the highest bidder.

This is not to say we have not made mistakes. As we saw this month, our actions have led to the death of children. It’s terrible. It’s really, really terrible. We have also killed aid workers. We have made so many mistakes that we have killed our own people in friendly fires several times. We have members of our government making inflammatory comments and dividing us with radical settlement policies. The list goes on.

But this is hardly the first time in history, or even this century, that this has happened.

The difference is that half of American youth receive their news from TikTok, and now everyone must have a political opinion they learned online to have a personality. And the personality of the moment is that you must proclaim Israel is a genocidal abomination to fit in.

But let me be clear: there's nothing wrong with seeing people suffering in a war and feeling empathy for them and even outrage on their behalf. We need to give youth the room to explore ideas, learn their values, and voice their opinions. Isn’t this the point of college?

But the problem is that these teenage growing pains have taken Iranian caffeine and become very public proclamations for “repeating October 7 again and again,” “burning Tel Aviv to the ground,” and glorifying murderers. Even Hitler and Kim Jong-Un in some instances.

Do not tell me that these protests are getting hijacked by highly vocal fringe members. An anti-war protester that sees the center of attention become repeated calls for what is in fact very pro-war activity is complicit if they continue silently in the herd.

I challenge these protestors to articulate the history of this conflict, critically think about the facts of the present, or offer a solution for the future of the Middle East that is not ”Zionism must be purged.”

But we know that will not happen. So let’s consider why, of all the countries in the Middle East, of all the bad actors in the region, would university campuses be inundated with protests for this specific cause? Of all the urban battles since 9/11, why is this war’s death toll the easiest to recall?

This is very simple. This is mostly just good o’l antisemitism. The pig is the same, but “we are anti-Zionist, not antisemitic” is the new lipstick.

Isn’t it a funny coincidence that the Nazis felt the exact same people had to be purged for their inhumane existence and beliefs about 80 years ago?

I see no difference between classical antisemitism and the political antisemitism, or anti-Zionism, of today.

Jews have long been stereotyped as money-hungry and cunning, stemming from our emphasis on education and a forced necessity for entrepreneurship. Similarly, the left views Israel’s military, technological, and economic progress as part of a master plan.

We are seven million against 450 million who have attacked us since the literal day we declared independence in 1948. Our focus on scientific and technological development is born out of our vulnerability. Yet, our hard work is now seen as a flaw. We were persecuted for being weak, and now that we have become strong, we are persecuted for being the perceived powerful “cleansing” the perceived oppressed. This is just mimetic desires meets moral absolutism.

The problem is that if you remove the “from the river to the sea” slogans, what is left of this movement? This is the essence of this movement and its core demand: to free the territory of Israel from Jews. It’s certainly the core demand of its ideological sponsor, Iran.

Students for Justice in Palestine released a statement that “advocating for a two-state solution” is a “Zionist ideal.” So let me get this straight... you want to replace this Jewish ethnostate apartheid with... Islamic fundamentalists?

If you do not have a slight problem with Jews, you are simply a useful idiot. It’s one of the two. Al-Qaeda and the IRGC are literally thanking you for your service. These protests have become the laughing stock of anyone with an IQ above 90 and are doing a disservice to Palestinian independence, which should be at the forefront of a resolution of this conflict.

Why the fuck are you yelling “Intifada Revolution” at the memorial of Nova?

Even if we disregard the extremists who hijack these protests to express support for Hamas and Hezbollah — and it’s not clear that we should disregard them at all — these protests reflect a distorted, fantastical view of foreign policy, an anti-American sentiment that cannot be appeased, and a set of impractical and immoral policy demands.

This movement serves only to weaken our country.

What do Students for Justice in Palestine, Queers for Palestine, and “Jewish” Voices for Peace have in common? They are the product of classic psychological warfare. This is just one ingredient in a systematic attempt by our adversaries to demoralize Western values in order to sabotage our social order and undermine our power structures from within.

When I think of genocide, naturally I think about the Holocaust. And what I think about is how 98.5% of Poland’s three million Jews were murdered.

I think of a factory of gas chambers. I think of my grandparents’ bunkmates not waking up for roll call because they died from starvation in their sleep.

Israel is intentionally starving Gazans. Palestinians have been “a few days away” from mass starvation every day since October 7. Based on the reported level of famine in Gaza, over 20,000 should have already died from starvation.

But I cannot reconcile this with the fact that less than 40 deaths have been reported from starvation since October 7. Statistically speaking, you have a higher chance of dying from malnutrition in California.

The problem is that you could probably reproduce this essay, with the exact same text, but swapping the words “Jews” for “Palestinians,” and have one hundred million people believe it.

But the raw data never lies.

Some days there is a record number of aid trucks, some days there are less. But taken in aggregate, between January and April, U.N. data shows 14,916 trucks conveying 227,854 tons of food entered Gaza. That is equivalent to 3,374 calories per day for every man, woman, and child in Gaza.

Either we suck at committing genocide and intentionally starving, or perhaps it is simply not the right comparison for this war with an enemy with no moral compass and a greater thirst for Jewish blood than compassion for its people.

We live in an era where facts are created by anonymous accounts and infinitely distributed. You can spin daily news into any narrative you like. But whether you’re chanting “Jewish genocide” in Gaza or promoting “Jewish settlements” in Gaza, you must think critically.

Since watching what has unfolded over the past few months... I can’t help but think of an expression we use in tech.

We say that if the product is free, like Instagram or Snapchat, then you, the customer, are the product... because your personal data is being monetized.

This is exactly what we are seeing the enemies of the West, the CCP and IRGC, do to our downtowns and campuses.

So if you are trying to set Palestine free: maybe you, in fact, are the product.