Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Breathing Out

The ceasefire is holding.  It's unclear what will happen when it comes to an end tomorrow.  It's perhaps foolish at this point to pull back to consider what is happening in abstract or even philosophical terms, but I am putting up here links to discussions by or of leading intellectuals, in relation to what has been happening in Gaza.

Back in the mid-1980s, Edward Said wrote a famous and excoriating critique of a then-new book by the liberal American political philosopher Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution.  This essay, 'Exodus and Revolution: A Canaanite Reading' was published in Grand Street, and then collected in Blaming the Victims, edited by Said and by Christopher Hitchens.  In it, Said located the dark underside of Walzer's argument that the Biblical Exodus story was the master-narrative of all Western stories of liberation.  Said focussed on "the injunction laid on the Jews by God to exterminate their opponents, an injunction that somewhat takes away the aura of progressive national liberation which Walzer is bent on giving to Exodus."   Eleven years after Said's death, Walzer is still at it, justifying Operation Protective Edge in the pages of The New Republic.  Here is Stephen Shalom taking him on:

Michael Walzer's Defense of Israel's Crimes


In Prospect, Jeff McMahan discusses the ethics of Israel's war in Gaza:


 Gaza: Is Israel fighting a just war?


Curtis Franks is a philosopher teaching at Notre Dame University, in Indiana.  He's also a member of the Hebrew Orthodox Congregation:


Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog: An open letter on Israel and Gaza ...


Assaf Sharon is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University.  Here he writes about the moral corrosion caused in Israeli society by the Gaza offensive:


The Moral Siege: The Militarization of Jewish Supremacism in Israel


And here is an interview with Judith Butler, published last year on the Open Democracy website, but pertinent today nevertheless: 


Willing the impossible: an interview with Judith Butler ...


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