Raid Gaza game: racist or political commentary?

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So, I’ve been involved in a long email correspondence with a user regarding this game on Kongregate. I’ve received complaints from a couple other users about the game as well. The question is: is the game anti-Semitic, and should it be removed from the site? While I have my opinions, and will chime in soon, I don’t want to provide too much bias to this debate, so I’ll hold off until we get some more perspectives on the issue. What are your thoughts on the game?

 
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On the surface, it’s a game with simplistic gameplay and straightforward tactics. But it clearly goes deeper.

I’m having a little difficulty framing my thoughts right now, so I may add more to this later, but nevertheless. I feel the game pretty accurately portrays the attitude that Israel seems to have adopted. That being said, I understand that this is a very sensitive issue to many people, as the situation is very heated.

Anyway, back on topic. I think that if all the people who want this game removed need to learn a little about political satire. I didn’t see anything in the game that suggested that the author was mandating the genocide of Palestinians, but rather, I viewed the game as a whole as a shocking reflection of real-world events. Honestly, I find it no more offensive than The Onion (Though some of the quotes did surprise me a bit).

 
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[the forum bugged, so just a quick reply:]
I don’t think the game is anti-Semitic. The creator is not attacking or offending Jews, but Israel’s actions in the war. It’s just a political protest.

 
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Aww, sorry to hear that Referos. I make a habit of copying my long posts before pasting because every once in a while something gets borked.

 
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A game is a game if you don’t like it don’t play it and rate it bad.

 
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Originally posted by Phoenix00017:

is the game anti-Semitic

No. Frankly I am tired of this Jewish protectionism that seems to assume that anything that puts Israel or Jews in a bad light is somehow “racist ideology”. Give me a break. Anti-semetism is a prejudice against Jews, which means an unfair bias or slant against them. If they want to dispute the inaccuracy of the claims made then perhaps there is a case to be made, but this sounds more like whining because America’s favorite lapdog was put in a bad light.

Let’s look at it this way. If someone made a game in which you played an American base and had to bomb an Iraqi village into submission, would this constitute “hate speech” against Americans? I think not.

Originally posted by Phoenix00017:

should it be removed from the site?

Absolutely not. This is censorship based on opinion and false presumptions. I can’t think of a worse stance for the site to take than this.

 
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Ok, I’ll go ahead and weigh in here. First off, PCal, I completely disagree. If some uploaded a blatantly racist game, or some Nazi “Kill The Jews” game, we’d be quick to pull it off. I think the concept that “a game is a game” is degrading to games and ignoring the fact that messages and emotions can be conveyed through gaming, sometimes even more effectively than non-interactive media.

Fuzzy – I think you have it backwards. The game is challenged as anti-Semitic because it portrays Israel (yes, the player character) as the villain. It shows one death from a rocket leading to a huge, disproportionate response leading to mass death in Palestine. The author is not trying to show that Palestinians should be killed at all, but instead is attempting to demonstrate to the gamer how one-sided the conflict is (including the over-the-top You Hit a Church bonuses and such).

SaintAjora actually mirrored a lot of my arguments. I admit I’m no expert on the Palestine-Israel situation and have a lot to learn from it, but I very much saw this game as a satirical criticism of Israel’s reaction to the Palestinian attacks. I also see the distinction between the Israeli government and the Jewish people, and would even point to the fact that Jon Stewart (a Jew) called American media out on showing too much preferential treatment towards Israel. I think Ajora nailed it in my mind: is any criticism of Israel automatically anti-Semitic?

And I’m not saying that I agree with the game. I don’t know enough about the conflict to really make that call. But I think it falls well within the realm of political commentary and not racism. But again, I’d love to hear dissenting opinions if there are any.

 
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Utterly inappropriate and against the spirit of the site.

 
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Inappropriate? “Spirit of the site”? Please do explain.

 
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Deriving humour from a game about an ongoing conflict in which you are required to take a side and get points for killing as many innocent people as possible seems inappropriate to me. Someone behaving like that on the forum or in chat would be banned, so it shouldn’t be allowed in a game either.

Also, as we have seen, it incites a bunch of idiots to believe they have political opinions, which is annoying and dangerous.

 
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I don’t think the point was to illicit laughs, but rather take a satirical approach to the situation. I see claims like this as exclamations of “bad taste”, and while that may be true I don’t see it as grounds for removal. On the contrary I see it as unwarranted censorship because of subject matter. I also wanted to note one point:

you are required to take a side and get points for killing as many innocent people as possible seems inappropriate to me

How is it any more inappropriate than any other game that involves killing innocent people/things to win?

Now that being said, what about these other games?

[links for games on Kong]

Gaza Defense
Save Gaza
Gaza Defender

Same message, slightly different outtake.

 
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How is it any more inappropriate than any other game that involves killing innocent people/things to win?

My explanation was that it is an ongoing conflict, and, judging by the folks on this forum, people are confused enough about it as it is. I think the problem is the implication that real people should die, whereas in another game, the boundaries of an in-game character and a real person are much clearer.

To be honest though, I’m mostly just irritated by all the idiot children who are harping on about this game already.

 
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Ok, I’ll go ahead and weigh in here. First off, PCal, I completely disagree. If some uploaded a blatantly racist game, or some Nazi “Kill The Jews” game, we’d be quick to pull it off. I think the concept that “a game is a game” is degrading to games and ignoring the fact that messages and emotions can be conveyed through gaming, sometimes even more effectively than non-interactive media.

While it is true that they can convey messages they are still games. You mentioned that if a racist game was put up you would take it down. I believe strongly in a persons right to be able to express themselves if some one dislikes a race and wants to make a game about it let them do it they have committed no crime. We let groups like the KKK exist, I see a game a less harmful. Now if you are getting bad PR from a game then by all means take it down. I have found the users on kong smart and well informed I am sure that a game with true bad taste would quickly be rated poorly and disappear.

 
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they have committed no crime.

It would be a crime. You can’t make a belief system illegal, but you can make published material illegal.

 
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If you enjoy trampling on the rights of freedom of the press, that is.

 
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but you can make published material illegal

What? Elaborate please?

 
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The first thing I thought of when I saw this game was Super Columbine Massacre RPG. It was a highly-controversial game, and one that many disagreed with, but people still fought for the right to express the views, agreed or not.

mask_and_mirror – the one thing that had me the most concerned about the game was, as you point out, the fact that it’s about killing real people. I feel that it manages to keep it abstract enough to be okay, but it’s certainly on the cusp.

However, I don’t think the game was intended to be truly humorous, or if it was, it is a dark, twisted humor that should have you appalled if you laugh. I did chuckle a couple times, but because of the absurdity and horribleness of the game. I’m sure some people will miss this point, but I do think it was the clear intention of the author.

PCal – There’s a difference between expressing political views and hate speech. We don’t tolerate hate speech on this site, and it’s not just for PR reasons – it’s because we find it appalling and don’t want our site to be a part of it. The United States does generally protect hate speech, though many other countries don’t (mask – I don’t think printed hate material is illegal in the US, though please correct me if I’m wrong). In any case, because games are interactive, I think they have tremendous potential to influence people far more than art, music, poetry, movies, etc. In any case, we do have a no-hate policy, and so whether this game is political or racist is an important question. I find “it’s just a game” to be a dangerous assumption.

Ajora – Is it interesting that there are 4 anti-Israel games on this site, yet no anti-Palestinian games? The user I debated over email claimed that people only make this type of game because of hatred for Jews. Is Israel so obviously in the wrong that no one has made a game that condemns Hamas? Is that somewhat telling of the situation?

 
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Don’t remove it.

 
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Don’t remove it. I like games based on racial hatred.

 
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Vanguarde – do you actually believe it is racial?

Also, just for the record, it is not our current plan to remove the game. I’m primarily having this discussion as an intellectual exercise, to explore the situation a little more in depth.

 
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Originally posted by Phoenix00017:

Ajora – Is it interesting that there are 4 anti-Israel games on this site, yet no anti-Palestinian games? The user I debated over email claimed that people only make this type of game because of hatred for Jews. Is Israel so obviously in the wrong that no one has made a game that condemns Hamas? Is that somewhat telling of the situation?

In general the conflict can be pinned on both sides. However the latest ‘incident’ was clearly instigated by Israel and was overwhelming excessive. I don’t think anyone can rationally defend Israel’s actions when Israeli politicians admit to the senseless brutality. Actually I can give a brief history to put it into perspective:

→ Israel breaks truce by attacking Hamas.
→ Hamas retaliates with a few missles.
→ Israel bombs the snot out of Palestine killing thousands.

Now these points are occasionally debated, but Israel itself has admitted fault. Lets start with the first point, that some claim Hamas broke the truce.

<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/SILJxPTqjAM&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" height="295" width="480"></embed>

According to the Prime minister’s spokesman, Israel attacked because of a tunnel. Hm. The rest, as they say, is history.

Israel did not helps its case by seemingly going out of its way to commit atrocities; a few notable incidents pretty much solidified international opinion against Israel (well except in the US where we are apparently never allowed to badmouth Israel):

Originally posted by SaintAjora:

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, singled out the killing this week of up to 30 Palestinians in Zeitoun, south-east of Gaza City, when Israel shelled a house where its troops had told about 110 civilians to take shelter.

Guardian

UN Report [PDF]

Stray fire?

“The formula for the parameters of unilateral solution are: To maximize the number of Jews; minimize the number of Palestinians; not to withdraw to the 1967 border and not to divide Jerusalem.” (Ehud Olmert, 5 December 2003)

“The more Qassam (rocket) fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves,” (Deputy Israeli Defence Minister Matan Vilnai, 29 February 2008)

Add to this the later bombing of a UN school (which they later admitted was a mistake) and the shelling of the UN headquarters (another ‘mistake’), and Israel has apparently worked hard to burn away what little sympathy they had in nations where they do not have an excessive lobby.

 
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That’s interesting indeed. I was very much under the impression (through the filter of US media) that the original act of violence in this most recent firefight was the missile fire from Hamas. I need to do some more reading…

 
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Another good look at some of the history that explains America and Israel’s current ties:

Originally posted by SaintAjora:

Also, quite relevant statement to Congress regarding this subject:

January 09, 2009 C-SPAN

Ron Paul

<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/4Z6vMAoFwf4&amp;amp;hl=en&amp;amp;fs=1" height="344" width="425">

And another interview:

<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/08gTWqWrI4M&amp;amp;hl=en&amp;amp;fs=1" height="295" width="480">

Background on the resolution:

The U.S. Congress completed Friday its show of support for Israel’s attack on Gaza with an overwhelming majority of House members approving a non-binding resolution backing Israel. On Thursday the Senate adopted a similar resolution by unanimous consent.

The resolutions not only demonstrated once again the wall-to-wall support Israel enjoys among Capitol Hill lawmakers, but also managed unite a wide spectrum of advocacy groups in praising congressional actions.

Jewish Daily

Killing innocents by the thousands is a way to illicit American support. Great message to send the world, that will help stop radicalism.

Many of the key points were brought up and debated In this thread.

I think this incident may be something of a turning point in history so I might make a more in depth thread on the matter later.

 
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I’m watching now, but as a quick reply, the common thing that we see in the media is defense of Israel as responding to the missiles fired at them, and comparing them to our response to 9/11. We wanted a swift and forceful response to try to send the message that we will not tolerate such attacks, and that we would be very hypocritical to say Israel isn’t entitled to the same response. My guess is that this is an over-simplification, but as I’ve said before, I’m rather ignorant of the long history here and am just picking it up as we go.

In response to the first video you posted regarding the initial attack, I have to admit that building a tunnel into enemy territory is a clearly aggressive act. This wasn’t a car tunnel, it was a tunnel designed for some sort of subterfuge. I think Israel was justified in responding. Whether or not that response had to be violence, as opposed to perhaps just calling them out on the tunnel or even closing the tunnel down, I’m not sure, but once again it’s clear that this is a long, complicated history. Ron Paul’s first video here was intriguing to get some of the history of the US involvement here.

 
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