so you want an intifada...?


The word intifada comes from an Arabic word meaning “to shake off,” but it’s a term used for violent uprisings or rebellions. It was first used in the 1950s to describe the Iraqi Intifada, a series of violent protests to overthrow the Hashemite dynasty. 

In the Israeli-Palestinian context, there have been two intifadas, which were campaigns of bombings, suicide bombings, stabbings, car-ramming, lynchings, and stone-throwing, often directed at civilians. It’s worth noting that the stones in question here weren’t small pebbles, but rather, large stones that killed people. 

Some apologists claim that an intifada doesn’t necessarily describe a violent campaign because the word simply comes from the term for “shake off.” But this is a completely disingenuous argument, like claiming “Mein Kampf” simply means “my struggle” or “sieg hiel” simply means “hail victory.” 

There have been zero non-violent intifadas. Calling for an intifada is violent incitement — which is not protected free speech — yet the most commonly heard chants at these so-called anti-war protests are “intifada, intifada,” “intifada revolution,” “globalize the intifada,” and “there is only one solution, intifada revolution” (which also alludes to the Nazi Final Solution). 



After an Israeli driver accidentally crashed into a civilian car killing four Palestinian workers, Palestinians began what started as an impromptu uprising. Quickly, however, the Intifada developed into an increasingly militarized campaign, killing 200 Israelis, predominantly civilians, with stones, Molotov cocktails, bombs, and more. 

In response, Israel carried out a number of counterterrorism measures, including responding with live fire, which was widely criticized by human rights organizations. In total, some 1962 Palestinians were killed during the First Intifada, including 359 who were murdered by Palestinian factions on suspicion of collaboration with Israel. 

In response to the First Intifada, Israel established checkpoints as a counterterrorism measure. 



Over 1000 Israelis were brutally massacred during the Second Intifada, 80% of them civilians. Among the dead were elderly Holocaust survivors, an infant only a few hours old, pregnant women, tourists, foreign workers, young children, students, and Israelis of all religious backgrounds and ethnicities. Virtually every Israeli family — Jewish or not — was touched in one way or another by the Second Intifada. 

Palestinians used a variety of tactics during the Second Intifada, including stabbings, drive by shootings, missiles, hand grenades, land mines, car bombs, and, most notably, 141 suicide bombings between 2000-2005.

The overwhelming majority of suicide bombings targeted crowded civilian spaces, including restaurants, hotels, malls, markets, public transportation, and more. It’s important to note that specifically targeting civilian spaces is a war crime under the Geneva Convention. Some of the Palestinian suicide bombers were children and pregnant women. The youngest attempted suicide bomber was 14, but he was disarmed by soldiers before causing any harm. Oftentimes, the bombers would put nails in the explosives to cause as much damage as possible.

According to Palestinian sources, around 2700 Palestinians were killed in the Intifada. There is controversy over the civilian vs combatant breakdown of Palestinian deaths. However, it’s estimated that one-third to half of the dead were civilians. Of the around 2700 Palestinian casualties, Israel assigned some 2,124 to various terrorist factions, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Fatah. Additionally, some 600 Palestinians were killed at the hands of other Palestinians, often due to suspicion of collaboration with Israel.

An intifada means almost certainly that more Palestinians will die. If you are purportedly protesting for Palestinians…why are you chanting for something that will result in even more suffering for them? 



The same people that demand an intifada are also the first to decry Israel’s checkpoints in the West Bank. But these checkpoints were enacted as a counterterrorism measure after the First Intifada. Why in the world are you demanding something that will almost certainly lead to Israel’s tightening of the checkpoints you hate? 

In response to the Second Intifada, the Israeli government built a “wall” — the very same wall you deem the “apartheid wall” — between Israel and the West Bank (90-95% of the barrier is actually a fence). However, it’s worth noting that 85% of the barrier is within the West Bank, with only 15% following the Green Line. While the barrier has isolated about 9% of Palestinians from the rest of the West Bank, both Israeli and Palestinian experts have concluded that the barrier did radically stop the wave of suicide bombings of the Second Intifada.

In response to the violence, the Israeli public moved radically to the political right for the first time since the 1980s, as far as security issues are concerned. This swing to the right remains to this day. Because of the Intifada, Israelis and Palestinians became more polarized than ever; whereas before there was plenty of day-to-day interaction between Israelis and Palestinians, today, most Israelis and Palestinians have never met each other.

Advocating for another intifada is synonymous with advocating for a deterioration in the quality of life of Palestinians. The only reason to chant for an intifada is if you want to see more deaths. 



I see two options here. Either (1) you’re an incredibly bigoted person who supports the indiscriminate slaughter of Israeli civilians and Jews, or (2) you have absolutely no idea what the hell you’ve been chanting for and you’ve been manipulated. 

Chanting for the murder of a group of people based on their nationality is xenophobic. Period. When you demand a “global” intifada, you are demanding the murder of Jews and Israelis around the world, regardless of their views on Israel or Zionism. That’s evil, and supporting such a thing makes you a bigot. 

If you do not consider yourself a bigot, then why in the world are you chanting genocidal bigoted chants? Is it perhaps that groups with nefarious motives have hijacked and weaponized your sincere concern for Palestinians to get you to spew hateful rhetoric? 

The groups leading these protests on campus — Students for Justice in Palestine, namely — have long established ideological and even financial ties to terrorist organizations who blew thousands of innocent people up during the Intifada. Who taught you the word “intifada”? Why are they getting you to chant it? What do they intend to accomplish? What do you intend to accomplish? 

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The intifadas have been disastrous for Palestinians, resulting in thousands of deaths and harsh Israeli counterterrorism policies that have deteriorated Palestinian quality of life. The people getting you to cheer for an intifada know this. They know this but they don’t care, because they think it’s worth it as long as they get to kill Jews. 

Do you agree with them? 

For a full bibliography of my sources, please head over to my Instagram and  Patreon

Back to blog