Pretentious Moral Posturing (Gaza 2014)


Next to the sickening spectacle that is the current round of fighting in Gaza and Israel is all the moral posturing across the board in relation to it.

The anti-Zionist left, including and especially the Jew-haters among them, uphold the victimhood of a long suffering people without paying any attention either to the internal Palestinian politics contributing to this moral catastrophe and their own contribution to a violent anti-Israel echo chamber, particularly in Europe.

The self-righteousness Jewish right shows no moral contrition regarding human carnage and the contribution of Israel to Hamas misrule in Gaza, or any real sense as to how their own rhetoric contributes to the coarsening of Jewish society, which with the passage of time will mark off the country as the pariah state of a pariah people.

But perhaps the worst posers come from the camp with which I most identify, namely the Jewish left, out on a precarious limb, the political position undercut by anti-Israel violence. Politically impotent, they promote Jewish values and human values, showing no sense that they speak from nowhere, for no one, and to no one apart from their own dwindled circle.

And then there’s me, no less disgusting, trying carefully to strike the balance, get it right, sift the tension between morality and politics, all from the safety of Manhattan.

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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6 Responses to Pretentious Moral Posturing (Gaza 2014)

  1. efmooney says:

    Writing from Hod HaSharon, sirens several times a day. So far, life out of Gaza goes on. Rockets aimed north never hit. Restaurants are open and full. Buses and trains run on time and are full — if you’re not in Gaza or in the towns close by that are threatened by killers and kidnappers emerging from tunnels.
    In the darkness of night, if not by day, it’s painfully clear that not all conflicts have resolutions. Nor are balanced accounts possible in the midst of the sort of worst case now befalling Israel and Gaza. Tragic conflicts strip our capacity for much more than anguish, or retaliatory rhetorical lashings out — especially if we are not actors in positions of power. This is conflict and violence beyond the pale whose depth defeats reasonable assessments or hope of ready resolutions. Self-righteous and accusatory assessments emerging from the chaos that now reigns, whether from right, left, or middle, do nothing to defuse the achingly unspeakable destruction of homes and lives and dreams of combatants and innocents in and out of Gaza. Such events undercut the conditions of deliberative assessment and negotiation of solutions, throwing all hope for anything of that sort into the widening circle of blood.
    All this, Zak, in what is meant as a sympathetic response to your despair from Manhattan.

  2. Carol Zemel says:

    Zak, you have a lot of company down here in Babel.

  3. mel Scult says:

    Zb. yours is the most intelligent comment yet. Where do we who identify with you go from here?

  4. dmf says:

    in these moments of high emotions, deep complexities, and terrible violence any call to be wary of our feelings of certainty is most welcome, we should approach such dicey matters with fear and trembling and keeping in mind that whatever our actions might be there will always be unforeseen consequences.

  5. Michael says:

    Of course, it was the Jewish left who in their infantile quest for “peace now”, like toddlers demanding a COOKIE!, have brought this misery upon Israel, Gaza and themselves. Caught in denial of their responsibility to the gruels, they keep searching for someone else to blame, but are desperately running out of options. That’s the reason the left in Israel is dwindling – more and more of them are held up a mirror and can’t look the other way.

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