Israel, Gaza, Solidarity, & Sympathy (2012)

What did the Hamas leadership expect shelling southern Israel? A government, in this case, the government of Israel, has the right and obligation to defend its people. And then what? What does the Israeli leadership expect is going to happen when this whole thing wraps up and what can both peoples reasonably expect except more nothing until the next round of bloodletting? The bitter truth is that nothing is going to give.

Watching from a distance, what we see from over here are stressed out Israelis on the streets and in shelters, minor to moderate property damage, heart rending scenes from Gaza, declarations of resistance, retaliation, and self-righteous posturing from both sides of the conflict and from their die-hard advocates; with no end in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel, no clarity, just disrupted lives, life under siege, dead children in Gaza, and the manipulation of their image in the media, and panicked populations with no one prepared to do what it takes to secure their future.

With a dead child and pictures of dead children, there can be no moral counter-argument. I want to be on the side of the dead and the terrified on both sides of the fence, first “my side,” and then “their” side, where the hurt is grave. I understand the moral gravity of this sequence, pitting “self” before the “other,” but I cannot do it any other way, not in good conscience. I don’t think you can process these kinds of political commitments simultaneously. The  fundamental amorality and immorality of politics reflect its basis in populations, not people.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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4 Responses to Israel, Gaza, Solidarity, & Sympathy (2012)

  1. Carol Zemel says:

    thanks, Zach

  2. Jessi Roemer says:

    Zack – there is another factor: A desperate prime minister, close to an election, trying to solidify his base. The rockets from Gaza didn’t just start now; the timing of Israel’s intermittent response to them is determined by politics.

    • zjb says:

      Hi Jess: I’m not sure I’m with you on this one. While I don’t doubt there were political motivations, military moves like this involve too many unknowns to be worth the political risk. Look what happened to Olmert and Livni.

  3. efmooney says:

    Yes, thanks, Zak; it would be hard to take this anytime, but especially after having spent the summer there and readying to return. This tears the heart.

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