Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Israel, Jewishness and Ethics

The RTE radio news today is dominated by news of the shelling last night of an UNRWA school at Jebalya, in the Strip.  19 civilians were killed.  Chris Gunness of UNRWA has declared that the world should hang its head in shame at this butchery.  He's right.

So should some of Israel's supporters.  Mondoweiss has a distressing report on a demonstration in support of Israel and its Gaza campaign in New York City.  10,000 people assembled on 47th Street, very close to the UN Building.  They were addressed by Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner, of the New York Board of Rabbis.  He suggested in his speech that Palestinians who voted for Hamas should be understood as combatants, and deserved to be treated thus by the IDF.  Rabbi Kirshner also declared that the IDF is the 'most moral army in the history of civilization'.  Here is Philip Weiss's report, and a video:

Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis


Amira Hass is one of Israel's most courageous and radical journalists.  I've drawn attention to her work on this blog before (see 'For the Boy with a Stone facing the Tank' below).  She is one of the very few non-Palestinian, non-Arab journalists who've actually lived in the Gaza Strip in recent times.  She's been reflecting on Israel's frequently-trumpeted claim to be a moral, or ethical, state.  Not unlike her colleague Gideon Levy, another brave and gifted Ha'aretz correspondent (apparently now needing a bodyguard, because of his critique of the Gaza offensive), she seeks a return to an idea of Israeli, and Jewish, ethical principle.  Professor of Jewish Studies at Baylor University Marc Ellis concludes that she is mistaken in her argument, that it constitutes a false nostalgia, and that such a return is no longer possible.  Here is his article: 


Amira Hass and the end of Jewish ethical history






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