Oct 31, 2023Liked by Rachel Donald

I love your show but was greatly disappointed in this one. I'm totally against colonialism but also terrorism. To diminish in your language for what happened on Oct. 7th from terrorism to "resistance" I found disingenuous to what actually occurred. Murdering babies, taking grandmothers hostage isn't resistance, it's terror. I listened to the full episode waiting for a full-throated condemnation of the savagery that occurred on Oct. 7th but never heard it, but rather that violence is necessary for change. Luxx is obviously ok with violence as means to an end as long as it's her tribe inflicting it upon Israelis, citing the very real plight of Palestinians and other political revolutions in the past as legitimate examples and excuses for it. It was a completely one-sided take on the issue, one that paints Israel is a monster that must be slayed, therefore condoning the violence. Colonialism, oppression, and apartheid are all pure human evil, but a barbaric attack upon innocent civilians in retaliation for oppression is also. It didn't advance their cause but has only brought more destruction. Now Palestinian children are dying needlessly at the hand of Israelis. Did Hamas think this wouldn't happen? Of course not, they knew what they were sparking and got what they wanted. Now both antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise as the conflict is front and center. People are choosing sides. We have more division. I'm married to a Muslim woman from Morocco and we're already seeing it in our own lives. But violence only begets more violence. It's a moral failing to not condemn violence on ALL sides that kills innocents. It's like the Aeschylus play The Oresteia, about never-ending revenge. Where does it end? There's never an excuse to enact the kind of violence that took place on Oct. 7th, ever. And there's no excuse now for Israel to bomb innocent Palestinians. It's all bad. It only adds to more human suffering and our collective karmic debt. Luxx said they've tried negotiations and asking the world for help, but no one was listening, so they had no choice. Paraphrasing her argument - "Well, we've tried everything and have failed so far so let's go kill 1,200 innocent civilians." In my mind you don't ever give up on non-violent methods for change, e.g., Gandi, King, etc. Luxx stressed that Hamas is a political party and we're viewing them wrongly. Really? Slaughtering babies? If it's a political party fighting back then why not attack Israeli military installations? But they didn't, they went after innocents. In my opinion, luxx was an outrageous guest, I think is a terribly misguided person ruled by blind self-righteousness and hatred, who uses carefully crafted rhetoric about the holocaust and plight of the Jews pre-Israel as a safe bubble to spout her horrific views, and I hope you never platform her again. I'm with you 100% on the climate issue, you're my favorite podcast concerning it and I listen and share nearly every episode, but this one broke my heart. I'm against the slaughter of innocents whether they be Palestinians at the hands of Israelis or Israelis at the hands of Hamas. There's no one right side in this conflict although you seem to think there is because you platformed someone who's clearly on one side, and you seemed to agree with her throughout that violence (no matter how grotesque) is ok if you're a group being oppressed. I hope I'm wrong, I've been so impressed up until now. We can talk honestly about the Israeli oppression of Palestinians and the atrocities committed against them, but we also must unequivocally condemn terrorism against innocent civilians as a response to it. "Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is the eternal law." - The Buddha. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment.

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Hi Brian, I'm so glad you find value in Planet: Critical.

I'm sad to see you consider luxx as someone who is full of "self-righteousness and hatred" given the deep nuance she brought to the conversation surrounding violence. Neither of us, at any point, condoned the violence inflicted by Hamas, but explored the reality of oppression, of peace, of what happens to a community when all else fails. At no point did either of us express that violence is ever "ok", and luxx actually explicitly stated the opposite. Violence, though, is the reality of oppressed peoples all over the world and they will choose to resist by violence means if their peaceful means are ignored.

The slaughter of civilians is terrifying and unconscionable. The colonisation of a people is terrifying and unconscionable. I heard so much love in luxx's words, which is why we must not paraphrase their argument: 2 hours of conversation cannot be reduced to a sentence.

I am heartbroken with you.

Be well, you and your family.

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Oct 31, 2023Liked by Rachel Donald

Thank you so much for your response, Rachel. And I appreciate, being a fallible human, that I may have gotten the wrong impression of luxx and I hope you’re right this is so. I do see the folly in reducing a nuanced conversation to a single sentence, and will listen again with an open mind.

Earlier today I listened to the latest Ezra Klein podcast episode on the subject which I found to be objective and fairly weighing interests on all sides, and I encourage it as you may find value here as well -https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ezra-klein-show/id1548604447?i=1000633197565.

Again thank you very much for responding to my comment, your show means a lot to me as I feel it does a world of good and I’ve learned a tremendous amount. I take comfort knowing there are so many wonderfully brilliant people fighting the good fight to preserve the health of the planet and try to make a better world for our kids. I’m very grateful for your voice and efforts in the battle against climate change and now world events as they relate, and as all crises are connected. Peace and blessings to you and yours. ✌️

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Thank you so much, Brian.

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Oct 29, 2023Liked by Rachel Donald

Stunningly good conversation.

Much respect to you both, for the time you've given and the thoughts shared.

BTW: there's no chance I'll be cancelling my support for what you do, I'm in for the long haul : )

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Thank you, Peter!

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We should be careful not to oversimplify - Netanyahu openly declared to his Likud party why Israel cynically funded and supported Hamas to ensure that there would never be unity between the occupied territories and Gaza - to endure there would never be a Palestinian state and encouraged increasing illegal Jewish settlement in the west bank. The Israeli right wing narrative is along the lines of "everyone hates us, has always and always will hate us. When we were weak, for 4000 years we were subjected to pogroms, degradation and humiliation and ultimately, genocide. Now that we are strong we must show no sign of weakness or it's the gas chambers all over again." It's curious that just when Nertanyahu was at his most precarious political moment the attack by Hamas - which brought the country together in an act of blind rage of vengeance. Where there was growing resistance within the military now there was unity. Many of the Israelis killed were Palestinian rights activists. For the first time in decades the Israel left had begun to find its voice. The timing does not seem right.

(or did IS or Jihadiist factions take over the violence? the casual savagery of mass murder of teenagers attempting to escape, people murdered in their homes, being drawn out or their shelters with promises of safety only to be gunned down does not look like the actions of a political party or resistance).

The complexity of an historically traumatized people causing so much injury on other causes us to look into what it is to be human. See Russel Brand's 2021 interview with Dr. Gabor Mate for an excellent analysis.

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Recognise atrocity please, everyone.

Apologies this is a long comment- I hope it helps.

Rachel, I hope you will read this, scroll to the comment directed to you at the end if it’s too long. Thank you so much for your work 🙏

I am moved to make a comment which I hope is balanced and fair but I am sure will be reviled by many people taking a definitive ‘side’ in this current theatre of horror and violence.

I call for everyone discussing any abysmal state of affairs, Middle East, Sudan, Woldwide ecological collapse, green new deals… to abhor, call out and decry violence committed by any side of a fight.

Violence is a tool, it is unfortunately taken as a necessity once talking fails, ostensibly to prevent even greater continued harm. I am not against violence per-se. I call for condemning it as a brutal awful costly affair for everyone, at any time.

However, I see few places where talking has actually failed - more likely the talking has just stopped, because of what I see as an issue with belief systems.

Belief #1

We couldn’t possibly stop the flow of resource extraction and rape of Mother Earth. So no trade deals - the eminent power of states to affect one another - truly favouring human flourishing over resource extraction, or forcing state powers and finacial systems into actual changes themselves, in recognising their own actions of overconsumption have created crises in their neighbours. The recent interview Rachel Donald made about the capturing of states by big industry identify this so clearly, you can’t make these moves or you’ll get sued.

So we need to keep calling out and clarifying how our own greed, born in the past and continuing today (even if purely by momentum in some few cases), has and will continued to create conditions for violence as the eventual result. We want your stuff, no actually we need it, because if we don’t have it our entire civilisation collapses. The belief that there is no alternative, that we are really stuck, seems intractable and needs to die on a global scale if we are to survive as a species.

Belief #2

Is (amazingly) that the beliefs, and ideals of peoples, groups and states, religious or otherwise have little to do with the geopolitical and economic fabric, nor explains the actions of people and groups- let alone states.

It’s ALL politics right? It’s all about oppression and land grabs and horrible history going back into the dawn of agriculture. It’s not I’ll wager.

We can’t sweep atrocities committed in the name of a god under a rug whilst we condemn those atrocities committed in the name of nationalistic self interest.

It matters what people believe, it affects everything in their lives, it changes how entire governments act, even if they may bend their faith in one thing to accept another (see ‘Christian’ nations waging the Iraq war for resources and using the platform of righteously defending freedom and life as an excuse). Since I brought up Caucasians invading the Middle East, let’s consider for a moment the motivations and intentions of the crusaders in the Middle Ages. I’m sure it was ‘complicated’. But hundreds of thousands of ordinary people did not leave their families and homes for years purely for economic benefit. They were not all looking for riches, or even land, though many ended up staying, many went right back home.

All were after freedom from their sins promised by the pope if they fought to ‘liberate’ Jerusalem. Their faith held a kind of currency to be weighed. I’m sure their were other factors, and each crusade was different- the truth is each individual case is a complex array of choice options and benefits hoped for. However belief is fuelling many of them. A central, commonly held belief that pushes others aside is a danger we all must be looking for in every moment.

Read the Dune saga- go on. It’s only a few hundred thousand words…

To summarise then - belief is ultimate power. Control it, and you can move the galaxy. Religions can make entire populations act contrary to their own benefit, happiness and freedom, and this can be steered by a very few, or a even good book. Even a lousy book.

We have a religion of oil, of commodity, of individualism. Those of us waking up are trying to fight desperately from inside literal and systemic structures made by this belief system. They point clearly to the motivations of greed and colonialism and control this belief makes acceptable international behaviour out of.

So WHY I ask, in relation to this mess in Palestine, do these same people pass over the very real motivations of religious fanatics? Why in these very thoughtful discussions about social political dynamics, about colonialism, does no one even give lip service to condemn the atrocities and genocidal mania of Jihadism? Jihad is not a response to colonial powers, it is in their holy book.

Why do Zionist maniacs get all the flack now and not also Hamas (or Hezbolla) jihadists? Despite the fact that the sacrament of jihad is well and clearly supported through Islamist texts, more so than the notion of a Jewish state for Jews (and no Arabs please) is… well I’m not sure, pretty sure that’s not in the Old Testament even- as horribly violent as that book is.

The truth is that every side in the middle east right now seems complicit in the atrocities - and as rightly pointed out on this show very often, it’s the people that suffer.

So why do I hear the religious maniacs that invade the homes of peace loving, kibbutz dwelling liberals, murdering music festival goers, being given carte Blanche simply because they live in a land oppressed by colonialism? Why is the absolute body horror they generate in the name of religious zealotry passed over in conversation if it’s mentioned at all? Let’s say these atrocities were committed purely against oppression, ignoring their beliefs that allow this activity, it should be anathema. If anything that’s so much worse, that makes these people crazy sociopaths out for violence. But they are not, they just really really believe that is the right and godly thing to do. Just as many of the well educated wealthy white people who rushed from their jobs and universities and loving families to join ISIS, believed.

This is terrifying, belief like this is a disease of our species, just as is the certainty that we are separate from nature - it needs calling out at every turn.

The bombing of a hospital because you can’t think of a better way to fight terrorist maniacs is horrific - but what do you do when you are prioritising the lives of your soldiers over civilians on ‘the other side’, when your own failure to prevent a massacre of Jews by jihadists has given you all the fuel of fear and hatred you need to overlook killing thousands of children in order to target genocidal maniacs who happily hide behind said children and hospitals? When you have all of this international support granting you permission to not so quietly commit genocide, to conveniently push these crazy people off their land whilst waging a very real war against committed jihadists?

The torture and rape of families while shouting god is great is horrific, as is (if you look further afield at jihadism without the lens of Isreal/Palestine) using your own children as suicide bombers to kill American troops, knowing your pure blameless offspring are going straight to paradise. But what else do you do? When your holy book so clearly says that to commit to jihad is a sacrament held in the highest esteem? When you KNOW 100% that if you could kill a Jewish baby before it’s brought up Jewish that it could go to paradise too? That any true believers killed in the retaliatory aftermath are going to paradise for eternity anyway, and any of your neighbours who are not pure of faith deserve their hell awaiting them.

It’s a mess, an absolute fucking mess. My feeling is it’s the fault of clashing beliefs, and being blind to those beliefs, never one side vs another.

To quote Gotama (Buddha, yo)

“The most dangerous force in this world is that of ignorance”.

- ie of not seeing the world as it really is, endlessly interconnected. Dependently arising, conditions arise from conditions. Our ancestors made this mess, let’s try to unmake it, not perpetuate or blame.

I wish all beings peace and freedom, from their own insanities first of all. Awaken, cut through the ignorance, and call out the ignorance (or often ignore-ance) of others.


IF you think it’s constructive at the time, and you are resourced to do so that means calling out atrocity during an interview.

You do this against poor thinking and ideas in the economic interviews so well. Perhaps it really wasn’t in this case, but I recommend making audio addendums or intros to episodes in that event. Good luck.

With love and understanding, keep up the amazing work.

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