Friday, January 9, 2009


Gaza is a heartbreaking disaster. If war is politics by other means, then Gaza is abject failure for all. World War One was the greatest example of political failure leading to catastrophe. It was the war to end all wars, but it didn't. The spark of this confrontation, the misguided Hamas strategy of lobbing rockets randomly into Israel, as if that is going to get Israel to surrender land, the equally misguided, but emotionally understandable response by Israel of raining death and destruction on a captive population, as if that is going to pacify the Palestinians, has the potential to lead to serious instability in the Middle East, and beyond.

We can no longer go back, to the Bible, or the Diaspora, or the Holocaust, or the founding of Israel, or the many wars, or the occupation to determine where the moral starting point is. We are here, and a humane, decent political class would not have created conditions that end in the slaughter of innocent children in a school by decent Israeli young men. Its easy to condemn Israel, as it is easy to condemn Hamas for provoking them, but the failure is much more widespread. It is the failure of politics, the triumph of fanaticism, of tribalism, of militarism, of racism, of fear and hatred over humanism. It is sad, but it is where we are.

1 comment:

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