Israel and Gaza
I have generally tried to keep this blog apolitical, but I feel like I need to say something to my massive audience (that, on a good day, requires both hands to count).
I’m a Jew, although I’m not very good at it1. I have family in Israel who have to hide in special rooms when rockets are fired, and I have cousins that are in the reserves, some of whom, it seems, have been called up (information is sketchy).
I pride myself on my empathy—on my ability to put myself in others’ shoes and to see their point of view. However, when it comes to the actions of Hamas and the recent attacks—slaughtering innocent men, women, and children—I lose my ability or interest in seeing “the other side.” These acts are beyond forgiveness. It doesn’t matter what you believe or think if you are carrying out such vile acts.
I am not a pacifist, and I think that Israel has every right to try to stop the (ongoing) missile launches, to rescue the hostages, and to go after the perpetrators.
I have been watching Israel’s attacks in Gaza with horror. The attacks on civilians, the cutting off of humanitarian supplies, the callous disregard for life. I don’t care if the people in there love or hate Jews, there is no justification for this. The fact that almost half the population of Gaza are children makes it even worse.
Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, said that there are no innocent civilians, that “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible,” because the people didn’t “rise up.” Remember, half of them are children who didn’t rise up, and a significant number more were kids when Hamas took over in 2006/7.
Bibi Netanyahu has vowed to destroy Hamas, and seems to have no compunction about killing anyone in the way—ordering a million Palestinians to evacuate to the south, which is not remotely possible. It appears that some moderating influences have—so far—prevented this from getting even worse. Maybe some voices in the IDF and, perhaps, quiet diplomacy from the US and others.
I am not going to talk about a history of Gaza, of the very many people and groups to blame for the situation that exists right now—a list that includes Palestinians, Arabs, Iran, Hamas, and, very much, Israel and the pro-Israel lobby in the US. Because, frankly, it doesn’t matter. The actions that are going on right now are abhorrent and unjustifiable.
Of all the peoples in the world who should understand this, it feels like we should. Some time ago, when talking with a relative, she said that Israelis and Jews tend to be more militant and reactionary because they never again want to be rounded up and forced into train cars.
I get it. I really do. But I’d like to think that I’d have the moral courage to choose that over driving the trains.
1If asked, I tell people that I’m a Jewish-atheist. I thought that this was original to me, but I’ve since heard many others use the term. If you know Jews, you will know that this is not a contradiction.