Monday, January 05, 2009

Okay, Okay

Since this blog lamely attempts to discuss politics (even beyond the awesomeness that is my boyfriend Barack Obama), I suppose I need to write something about the situation in Gaza. I don't really want to, to be honest, because it feels like there is already way too much heat and not enough light about this in the liberal blogosphere. If you've read me before you probably know where I'm going to land on this: if I lived in Sderot and rockets were landing near my house in which slept my child and family, you best believe I'd expect my government to make it stop. And what government worth the name wouldn't? Now, do I think this is the best thing for Israel? Not necessarily. But not because of "proportionality"--whatever that means in the context of fighting an entity whose stated purpose is your country's total eradication from the earth. But more in the sense of "and then what?" I don't see Israel wanting to be back in the business of running Gaza, but what will they do if/when they "win"? And how do you "win" against an opponent who has no interest in living side-by-side? Treaties? Meaningless. Cease-fires? Opportunities to re-arm. What are the long-term goals of this operation, short of routing the Hamas leadership (which will be reanimated, believe me)? It's easy as a Jewish person to want to defend Israel no matter what. Especially when, on the heels of these events, the usual leftie marches begin with equating Jews to Hitler, or the more recent chant in the Netherlands: "Hamas Hamas, Jews to the gas." It's a march against Israeli policies, but right off the bat it's now all about Jews, wherever we live. And I'm supposed to join with you in defense of "peace?" Fuck that. I distrust the European Left (and if blog comments are to be believed, much of the American Left) as much as I distrust Hamas.

On the other hand, J Street made this statement, which essentially nails what I'm thinking, even if it does use the ridiculous "disproportionate" word:
J Street understands that Hamas is a terrorist organization and a harsh enemy. We are neither dovish nor pacifist, nor are we blindly opposed to the use of force. We support Israel in defending and protecting its citizens from attack, including through military action if necessary and appropriate to the threat. We believe, however, that force cannot be Israel’s only or preponderant response – even to Hamas.
We are pragmatists grounded in the real world and the lessons it teaches. As such – and as avid supporters of Israel – we are asking whether the specific actions taken by Israel in Gaza actually do advance Israel’s and America’s interests. In this case, J Street believes they do not. We believe that the actions taken this week – disproportionate to the threat and escalatory in nature – will be seen, with time, as counterproductive. They will further isolate Israel and the US internationally, deepen hatred among the Palestinian and Israel peoples, foment extremism throughout the Arab world and undercut the position of more moderate Arab regimes.

What they said.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

As a some-time pragmatist, I understand that human beings will not be reasonable as long as they have a means to force. It seems almost silly to respond diplomatically to rocket attacks, when a military solution would ensure a more tangible result.

I understand the situation that Israel has found itself in, and I'm also understanding of the plight of Palestine. But at the same time, this is such an old conflict that any hope for a meaningful resolution dies every time someone remembers the old wounds.

I've heard it said that the only hope for a solution would be even more radical than anything anyone can even fathom. Radical is a dangerous word, but at the same time, how does one bury so much hate?

That's just my thoughts on the matter. I'm sure there are lot of people closer to the issue that would disagree, and they are welcome to.