Thursday, June 10, 2010


Tony Judt (Israel Without Clichés) and Ilan Pappé (The deadly closing of the Israeli mind) -- following Ross Douthat (Outremer and Wanted: An Israeli Strategy) -- are among the latest to be worth reading and taken seriously on the upshots of the Gaza blockade. [See also a view from naval history and a Turkish view]

Barack Obama took a bold step in announcing $400m aid package to Gaza.

The divergence between Israeli views of the recent incidents associated with Gaza and those in much of the rest of the world is remarkable. Many Israelis, reportedly, saw the deaths of civilians as matter for humour. Others, e.g. UNRWA, tried to draw attention to the severity of humanitarian in crisis in Gaza.

I happened to be reading Stephen Asma's On Monsters and was reminded of the story of Golem -- not the Lord of the Rings character but the monster created to protect the Jewish community in Prague. In the old story, Golem runs amok, turning from a protector into a hazard. It seems to me that Israelis, who have created a military superpower and do not seem to set much store by many old friendships and alliances, would be wise to recall this story.

Asma quotes a characteristic insight of Montaigne's: "I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself". Perhaps Israelis and others who are blinded by fear and rage will recover some of the sense of the miraculous nature of all lives.

Meanwhile, in the 'real world', Israeli preparations to attack Iran proceed. And Centcom is already at work.

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