Monday, January 26, 2009


Jeff Goldberg:
A recent European poll showed that 23 percent of French people said the Palestinian Hamas group was primarily responsible for the war while 18 percent mainly blamed Israel.
Well, of course Hamas was responsible for starting the war. No rocket fire = no Gaza war. But Israel doled out $50 million of punishment for a fifty buck crime. The rocket attacks did little damage to Israel, but Israeli bombing has made hundreds of innocent Palestinians dead. It's made tens of thousands homeless. It has, if anything, strengthened Hamas's control over Gaza and made Fatah even more of a dirty word in the region. And it wasn't a proportional response by any means. Had Israel taken limited military action to stop Hamas's amateur rocketry I would have backed such action wholeheartedly. That they used the rocket fire as an excuse to execute political strategy via the military at such a dear cost is simply wrong, and it has really eroded much of my respect for Israel's leadership.

What's more, this war was so political that you can't help but view it cynically. It was initiated by a hated outgoing PM named Ehud Olmert whose unpopularity would make George W. Bush look like Barack Obama by comparison. It was backed by the three potential heirs to the throne, each of whom wants to play the "tough on Hamas" card for next month's Knesset elections, and two of the contenders are members of the current cabinet. Honestly, I understand how political pressures could bring something like this about, but that doesn't mean we should sanction it and thus become complicit in the senseless brutality.

Israel's actions here and in Lebanon 2006 show a lack of regard for international opinion and, also, a lack of interest in the peace process. Why should they care? After all, they're winning! When you're winning, you want to try to impose peace on your terms. But Israel is winning largely because we give them a lot of aid. We have a responsibility to let them know that this isn't right. Every attack like this is like removing a brick from the foundation of the Jewish state. If we care about Israel, we need to tell it to them straight.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.