Palestinians can propagate Zionist ideas, too. One of the most prominent examples is Nuseir Yassin, better known as Nas, a Muslim Palestinian citizen of Israel who has become famous through his video blogs. Yassin provides his 11 million followers on a Facebook page titled “Nas Daily” with daily one-minute videos from all over the world. In his more than 1,000 videos, Yassin embraces an allegedly apolitical stance, while in reality his clips actively promote colonial narratives.
Originally from the Palestinian village of Arraba in today’s Israel, the Harvard-educated Yassin quit his well-paid job to travel the world. His journey, which has received positive comments from Israeli media, finally ended on January 5.
While Yassin discusses Palestine quite often, the Nakba, settler-colonial conquest, and Israeli warfare are all absent. Instead, Yassin presents the conflict in Israel-Palestine as one between two separate and equally powerful countries that could be resolved through good will between Arabs and Jews. In one video, he claims he is unable to support Israel or Palestine, because “if you stand with one side only, you are wrong.” Things are not “black and white,” because the Middle East “is so complicated.”
Yassin’s treatment of Israel-Palestine not only projects “two equal sides.” It also actively suppresses Palestinian narratives. Presenting his “home in Israel” to viewers, Yassin claims that “when Israel came into existence, some Palestinians left, some got killed, and some stayed in their land.” After blatantly engaging in this Nakba denial, Yassin describes the conflict as one over “the name of a piece of land.” Telling his viewers that there are “better and bigger” things to focus on, a tired Yassin ends the video because he is jetlagged.
Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank might never have the privilege to experience the jetlag Yassin suffered from in that video. Unlike him, they do not possess an Israeli passport; instead, their everyday activities are restricted and controlled by Israel, which can imprison, kill, and massacre them without consequence.
While presenting a colorful, ignorant perspective on the world, Yassin does get uncomfortable when he sees obstacles to his own first-world comfort. Complaining that as an Israeli he was prohibited from boarding a Kuwait Airways plane, an offended Yassin speaks of “stupid politics” and “daylight discrimination” that “should be illegal.”
On the rare occasion where Yassin attempts to address Israeli racism, his efforts fall woefully short. In one of his last videos, Yassin addresses Jewish Israelis who call Arabs, including him, “terrorists.” He quickly backtracks, however, claiming that hatred comes “from both Jews and Arabs alike” and concealing Israel’s structural racism.
An example of successful colonial indoctrination, Yassin’s audio-visual propaganda harms Palestinians. As Palestinians fight against their dehumanization in much of the Western world, Yassin regularly delegitimizes their cause to millions of people, telling them we should all “move on” from the Palestinian conflict. One can only assume that collectively incarcerated, besieged, and bombarded Gazans and caged Palestinians in Hebron would like to move on. Indeed, they are doing their best to move on from never-ending oppression, as they struggle daily to survive Israel’s genocidal policies, all while Yassin is busy promoting “Israeli hummus.”