And in this corner, Russell Braaaaaaand! Courtesy Facebook
Unless you've been living under a peaceful rock of bliss, you're all-too-aware of the horrific conflict between Israel and Palestine. And, yes, everyone seems to have an opinion. To define this issue as "complex" is like saying: "Stephen Hawking is kind of smart."
Anyway, sleeper egg-head Russell Brand made some surprisingly thought-provoking comments regarding the conflict in his personal vlog. Brand recorded himself responding to Sean Hannity's recent "debate" on Fox News with Yousef Munayyer (Jerusalem Fund & Palestine Center) and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser (founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy).
Because Brand is a dedicated fan of causing a ruckus, he—of course—begins a systematic take-down of Hannity's interview with his own commentary. Honestly, the video is spectacular—but, it's 12 minutes long so in the case you can't slack off at work that long, we've rounded up the most badass Brand quotes so that you can rattle them off around the water cooler with a knowing nod; Brand makes valuable statements about the perception of terrorism that should lead to many a heated debated during happy hours across the nation.
First, Some Context
Fox News correspondent Sean Hannity isn't known for his overwhelming fairness when discussing topics. So as per usual, Hannity begins a segment on Fox called "Sympathy for the Terrorists." Really. That was the title of the segment. But we've got to move on because it gets so much worse.
Hannity starts off with a quote from CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), which he narrowly defines as "pro Muslim," from July 22:
The US government must not remain silent about Israel’s unjust and disproportionate use of force against the Palestinians in Gaza because American taxpayers provide Israel with billions of dollars of aid each year, we have a right to demand that those funds not be used to take the lives of innocent civilians.
interestingly enough, there was no mention of the terrorist group Hamas and their role in this conflict—after all they started this.
To his credit, Brand begins his personal commentary innocently enough. After Hannity's comment, Brand smirks and says that the words were "bit childish." But then Hannity just launches right in:
Why is America's largest Muslim so-called civil rights group showing sympathy for terrorists?
(Meanwhile the segment's name suspiciously hovers on Munayyer's chest. Just saying.)
Epic Brand Quote #1: “Sean’s not a solution based guy . . . Sean’s thinking: ‘we want conflict. What kind of things can we say to exacerbate conflict?'”
Epic Brand Quote #2: "Small countries like Palestine don’t have an army. If they’re going to defend themselves, it’s going to be through what we perceive as 'terror.' That’s just language really."
Epic Brand Quote #3: “[Hannity is] not interested in truth . . . he is only interested in pushing a particular perspective. You could say, ‘so are you Russell,’ and you’d be right. And that perspective is this: peace.”
Munayyer finally gets a word in past Hannity's cries of protest. “I’m going to try to answer your question if you stop badgering me . . ." but alas he can't offer one of his expert insights into the occupation of Palestine without Hannity leaping down his throat accusing him of "justifying the terrorists," "making rationalizations for rockets, and kidnapping, and murder," and, last but not least, "blam[ing] the victims."
Epic Munayyer Quote #1: “The only person blaming the victims is you.”
Epic Brand Quote #4: “What you must observe is that people that have got power, have got more power than people without power. That’s the really obvious thing . . . they ain’t got much power there in Gaza. Their little network of tunnels and few puny rockets—that’s what it boils down to. Israel gets billions of dollars of military aid—a proper hardcore army! Nuclear arsenal. So, if you’re trying to solve the problem, who are you going to talk to? Not that it’s not bad that Israel has to deal with terrorist attacks—of course it is—but what are we looking for—a solution, or a verdict on who is 'bad?'"
Slow clap for Brand right there. Again, Gaza is in no way innocent here—but the discrepancy of influence and authority is a vital factor to consider.
Not for Hannity though. Le sigh. Hannity juts in with these fighting words:
"Question: Is Hamas a terrorist organization?"
(I write "fighting words" here because it's clear that Hannity was fishing for a specific answer. He's like that pretty teenage girl on Instagram who posts countless duckfaced selfies writing, "ugh, am I ugly? Be honest.")
After some struggle, Munayyer finally speaks in full sentences:
Epic Munayyer Quote #2: “It’s very telling to me, and it should be telling to your viewers as well by the way, that the moment you have a Palestinian voice on your program, who begins to explain the legitimate grievances . . ."
Boom. Although he didn't get the finish the quote, it's clear that he's attempting to comment on Hannity's poor debate skills. And by "poor" we mean "unabashedly one-sided." But because this is Hannity's show, he merely interrupts—again—to repeat his "question."
Epic Brand Quote #5: “There’s no using children as shields, those children are dying from missiles going off . . . the key ingredient in the death of those children is the missile.”
Dr. Jasser—who must be feeling like Monica stuck in the middle of Ross and Rachel feud at this moment—does get a fleeting moment in the sun. He argues that in the past—specifically, when America invaded Iraq and Afghanistan—we felt like we were fighting for a legitimate cause, but not everyone saw it that way. Okay. True.
Brand echoes this sentiment a bit. In a tangent that would make all high school history teachers proud, Brand talks about how England's imperialism would be considered terrorism by those affected by it (like, you know, India). Western history, however, sees this movement however as a natural evolution of history. La de dah. He argues, can't the same logic be applied here?
Epic Brand Quote #6: “One of the definitions of ‘terrorist’ is using intimidation to reach your goals. Who in [this debate] was behaving like a terrorist?”
Best Brand Quote of All: “There’s no objective terrorism. There’s just different perspectives of violence. No one should be using violence, but if you’re going to judge violence pejoratively and negatively (and God knows we all should), then the people doing the most and the most effective violence surely have committed the greater crime. I don’t know. It’s complicated issue. It’s being going on for a millennia.”
Media outlets—not just Hannity—are designed to pick a side, not faciliate an honest dialogue. While the deaths and atrocities we're currently committing are enough to make an eternal optimist question the very crux of human nature, nothing on this earth is black and white; at best it's a muddy shade of grey that we all perceive in varying shades of slate-colored reality.
Brand is correct in his assertion "there's no objective terrorism." The "bad guys" always think they're they "good guys." It's all about that pesky thing called perspective.
In response to Brand's video, Hannity merely mocked Brand and said he was "dumb and ignorant." (While we'll admit that Brand's sentence structures weren't something to write home about, his thoughts were.) We're guessing Hannity's comments translates roughly too, "I got spanked by a dirty Brit." We'll take it.