Another mother poem: cresting the first hill
Returning to coffee & the Sfat Emet

On Israel and the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

I don't have much to add to the conversation about the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Too often, I find, online conversations about Israel and Gaza / the West Bank generate a great deal of heat and not very much light. Of the posts I've read, the ones I most recommend are these:

  • From Global Voices Online - Israel: Flotilla Clashes are a “Serious PR Disaster”: In the following post I hope to provide context and highlight a diverse set of perspectives from Israeli local media and the Hebrew blogosphere. I hope that you will learn that the outcomes are certainly not black and white; that a day like this actually tears Israeli society apart.

  • From Haim Watzman - Commandoes Against Demonstrators: Israel Shoots Itself in the Leg Again: Why send a crack naval commando unit to quell a political demonstration? We don’t know all the facts yet, but on the face of it Israel has again overreacted.

  • From Jeffrey Goldberg - On the Disappearance of Jewish Wisdom, Far Out at Sea: I'm trying to figure out this story for myself. But I will say this: What I know already makes me worried for the future of Israel, a worry I feel in a deeper way than I think I have ever felt before.

  • From Ta'anit Tzedek / Jewish Fast for Gaza - Open the Gates: A Rabbinical Response to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Tragedy: As rabbis, we believe all human beings are our kin. We cannot abide the suffering inflicted upon the people of Gaza.

  • From Peter Beinart - Israel's Indefensible Behavior: It is not the Israeli naval commandos who should be judged guilty. Upon dismounting their helicopter onto the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, they found themselves, unexpectedly, in the belly of an armed mob... [T]he guilt lies with the Israeli leaders who oversee the Gaza embargo, and with Israel’s American supporters, who have averted their eyes.

  • From David Grossman - The Gaza flotilla attack shows how far Israel has declined: Israel's actions are but the natural continuation of the shameful, ongoing closure of Gaza, which in turn is the perpetuation of the heavy-handed and condescending approach of the Israeli government, which is prepared to embitter the lives of a million and a half innocent people in the Gaza Strip, in order to obtain the release of one imprisoned soldier, precious and beloved though he may be; and this closure is the all-too-natural consequence of a clumsy and calcified policy, which again and again resorts by default to the use of massive and exaggerated force, at every decisive juncture, where wisdom and sensitivity and creative thinking are called for instead.

(It's interesting to me that these are all posts written by men. Is this just a reflection of the idiosyncrasies of my blog aggregator? Can anyone reading this point me to good commentary on this situation written by women?)

Mostly what this has hammered home for me, again, is how difficult it is to be informed enough to hold a nuanced position on such a messy and painful situation -- especially from afar, and most especially now that my online time is limited by the happy obligation of caring for my infant son.

It is hard to see a path out of the endless mire of fury and recrimination, but the people of Israel and of Gaza remain in my thoughts and in my prayers.