Episode 397: Why the Conversation Around Palestine Has Changed

On Friday, May 14th, 2021, IGN posted an article listing organizations that are providing aid to Palestinian citizens currently being harmed by Israeli attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. What followed over the weekend was an egregious breach of editorial independence, and an outpouring of support for Palestine in the Games space that makes it clear that the industry has changed for the better in some ways. Join Austin, Patrick, Rob, Cado, Gita, and special guest Emanuel Maiberg as they discuss what happened at IGN, what's being done to the Palestinian people, and ways the conversation around Palestine has changed. After the break we go on a quick MMO minute as Gita is getting into Final Fantasy XIV and Austin checked out the Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis beta, Patrick is getting into Remnant: From the Ashes to check out it's next gen update, and Rob has finally given up on The Evil Within to start The Evil Within 2.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://play.acast.com/s/vicegamingsnewpodcast/episode397-whytheconversationaroundpalestinehaschanged
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I was talking about this with some folks on Twitter. It’s a combination of a lot of different factors:

  • Cell phones have made atrocities a lot more visible
  • Netanyahu has a very long list of alleged corruption charges against him
  • Also jumped into bed with the GOP even before Trump
  • Also, re: corruption, avoids prosecution while he holds office and thus has an incentive for violence
  • Young people are better informed and a lot more skeptical about military force generally
  • Recent activism has made people a lot less likely to stomach that anymore

It’s just wild to see even folks like Greg Miller (who I wouldn’t normally peg as an openly politics-minded Internet personality) posting links to Palestinian relief experts. Given how often the games industry is very very bad in circumstances like this, it’s nice to see things be…good…ish?


Netanyahu loudly and aggressively supporting the GOP was such a stupid move. When he first made that speech to Congress back in 2015 many people predicted how bad of an idea it was to make support of Israel a partisan issue in US politics.

I also thing the geopolitical changes in the middle east have made a difference. With the major powers neighboring Israel largely tied up with internal problem and the Saudis and Emiratis shifting their focus towards Iran there isn’t an immediate existential threat the way there used to be. It makes military action. look a lot less like self-defense than it used to.

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Are you referring to the bases of each party? I might be miles off here but haven’t the Democrats been broadly supportive of the recent actions with Biden sending hundreds of millions of dollars of aid?

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Well, Biden’s been supportive, but at least we’re seeing pushback from progressive members like Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, AOC, et cetera. It likely won’t amount to much, but it does seem like unquestioning support for Israel isn’t really going to be a reasonable position for Dems in the very near future


Ah right, okay. Yeah, I’ve tried to focus on the positives recently like the aforementioned gaming websites posting support, Arsenal and Leicester players carrying Palestinian flags, thousands demonstrating in the streets and online stuff like Hasan’s viewers helping Chapo Felix raise over 120 grand for Palestinian charities and hope they represent a groundswell of popular youth support that will make backing Israel’s actions increasingly untenable in the West.

I’ve even seen some of the worst Labour MPs posting that what’s happening is utterly unacceptable!

Interesting to hear Gita bring up Deadspin’s meltdown and the union involvement there. It was what I first thought of when I saw the IGN stuff. I was really interested in seeing what their union was going to do about all that and it turned out to be nothing more than a social media post saying “hey wait we don’t like this.”

From the outside looking in and from comments from that former staff that are now at Defector, that union sure seemed completely ineffectual during that whole situation. Don’t think the simple message of “Unionize!” is the winning strat when combating this stuff.

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Democrats are far less supportive than they used to be. Israel used to enjoy pretty broad bipartisan support and the pro-Palestinian rhetoric (for lack of a better term) we’re seeing from many different place was once mostly confined to far left circles. While many factors have led to that change I can’t help but imagine that Netanyahu aggressively aligning himself with the GOP and Trump had an impact.

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A union would provide an organized platform for IGN Editorial as a whole to say “this sucks” instead of the onesy-twosy editors tweeting about it. Unions in America are not nearly powerful enough to actually stand up to and outright defeat management when management is really committed to being awful but you’d much rather have a union than not have a union.

and re: @NotThePars, Biden has significant space to move unilaterally on foreign policy, a place where he’s been downright conservative compared to the rest of his agenda. There are 29 Senatorial signatories demanding an immediate ceasefire (led by the surprisingly cool Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia) in addition to a large slice of progressives in the house (most loudly represented by AOC, naturally) demanding the same thing. Not everybody hopped onboard immediately but the outcry is loud enough that the Biden Administration will hopefully take a hint and tell Netanyahu to knock it off.

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This is the thing that really just emphasizes this point. For almost a third of the Senate — and over half of Senate Democrats (I’m assuming there were no Republican signatories, which feels pretty safe but hey) to take even the slightest action on this feels utterly wild to me. The US government is already conservative on the whole, but even the Dems in the Senate lean pretty heavily conservative just by the nature of the institution, six-year terms, being seen as the “upper” of the two houses, so much shit about decorum and tradition… that would not have happened ten years ago, full stop. This is a big shift. Which should indicate the wider shift this is taking among especially younger people in the US.


For a long time this was an issue I wouldn’t touch because “it’s complicated.” I think more and more people are realizing that on a macro scale this situation isn’t complicated at all.


I think it appears “complicated” from the outside because each individual instance of violence is so tightly bound to the whole situation (yes I am speaking very generally because I don’t want to mischaracterize things). It looks like an “if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the Universe” problem, when it’s not actually all that complicated.

It is greatly telling how the argument has shifted from “Israel is good and the Arabs are bad”, which was absolutely the story when I was growing up as an American Jew in the 90s to now “well, it’s all very complicated, so let’s do nothing”. If somebody was telling you the world is black and white and now they’re telling you the world is gray, that’s somebody losing rhetorical ground.

I also remember Conservatives being very upset about “moral relativism” until very recently.

EDIT: Viera are from Final Fantasy XII and them saying “FFXI” is driving me nuts as an admin on the Fandom Wiki Gita was talking about. :V

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In re: Free Palestine.

I’m taking part in an extremely frustrating conversation on Wikipedia’s both-sidesy “In the news” blurb about the conflict. NPOV brain worms strike again!

In re: FFXIV and crunch culture

Yoshida has gone on record multiple times post-ARR talking about how unhealthy the development of ARR was and what they’ve done to change how they run things to keep people healthy. One example is that if people work multiple Saturdays in a row (Japanese work week is Monday to Saturday, which is nuts), HR will step in and force them to take an extended weeklong break. They definitely have a very strict policy now to avoid burnout because it would be impossible to continue with their patch and expansion schedule if they continuously lose developers to getting sick from overwork.

Interview from 2019

Comments during Fanfest 2021

As for Soken working during his cancer treatment, I totally understand where he’s coming from. When my dad had cancer, I don’t think he missed a day of work except for during the days of chemo because he needed the routine to keep him going. Being able to focus on the things you can control (i.e. your daily life) rather than the things you can’t (i.e. how effective the chemo is going to be) seems to have a beneficial effect on prognosis.


I was really interested in seeing what their union was going to do about all that and it turned out to be nothing more than a social media post saying “hey wait we don’t like this.”

take it from someone who was deeply involved in that fight: you truly do not know what you are talking about.


When Zionism was explained to me as a teenager in our American Problems class (a class on current events and current US policy) I assessed it to be racism. I didn’t quite have enough of a grasp on things to place it in line with white supremacy but I got there pretty quick. My teacher basically forced us to answer pro-Israel on the test to get the answer right. I proudly didn’t get that answer right on that unit test.

The global PR for Israel is terrifying in its reach and power.