Over 225 are dead in what was a widely telegraphed Israeli bombardment of Gaza. "Still," the New York Times reports, "there was a shocking quality to Saturday’s attacks, which began in broad daylight as police cadets were graduating, women were shopping at the outdoor market, and children were emerging from school."
J Street strikes precisely the right tone. This is from executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami’s statement:
Even in the heat of battle, as friends and supporters of Israel, we need to remember that only diplomacy and negotiations can end the rockets and terror and bring Israel long-term security and peace.
Why? Gideon Levy explains in a scathing Haaretz piece. I’d urge you to read the whole thing. The "previous" war he’s talking about is the Lebanon debacle.
Israel also proves that it has not internalized the lessons of the previous war. Once again, this war was preceded by a frighteningly uniform public dialogue in which only one voice was heard – that which called for striking, destroying, starving and killing, that which incited and prodded for the commission of war crimes.
Once again the commentators sat in television studios yesterday and hailed the combat jets that bombed police stations, where officers responsible for maintaining order on the streets work. Once again, they urged against letting up and in favor of continuing the assault. Once again, the journalists described the pictures of the damaged house in Netivot as "a difficult scene." Once again, we had the nerve to complain about how the world was transmitting images from Gaza. And once again we need to wait a few more days until an alternative voice finally rises from the darkness, the voice of wisdom and morality.
In another week or two, those same pundits who called for blows and more blows will compete among themselves in leveling criticism at this war. And once again this will be gravely late.
But Levy won’t be heeded. The Jewish writers who consider Palestinian life to be worth a fraction of an Israeli life will start braying about antisemitism, because when Palestinian bodies are charred in the streets, the real victim is a sensitive Jew’s sense of collective guilt. (That doesn’t mean there isn’t actual antisemitism in this world. Do not test me in the comment section.) Fellow lit’ry tribesman: do you believe for a moment that leveling Gaza will stop the rockets? Well, then you’ve lost your right to call the peaceniks naive. You want the cycle broken? Then you can start by breaking your own.