Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Writings about the Israel-Hamas War

First, Paul Wells has an interesting article out tonight about how police are dealing with the pro-Palestinian protests: The police won't make your point Notes on a 20-year revolution in police handling of protests. Spoiler: you probably won't like it. Wells covers a lot of history here, from Selma to anti-globalization to the Freedom Convoy to today's pro-Palestinian sit-ins. He concludes:
...To me it’s highly contradictory to argue the police were too rough on the Freedom Convoy protesters, who had the run of downtown Ottawa for most of a month, and too gentle on the pro-Palestine protesters who’ve rather thuggishly decided to make their point in a Toronto neighbourhood whose only distinguishing feature is that a bunch of Jews live there. But I know people who can navigate that contradiction without difficulty.
What I hope we can all agree is that police forces are not better equipped than the rest of us to make fine distinctions between protest groups based on values, but quite the contrary. Police forces are not precision instruments. They have learned, through long experience over three turbulent decades, that they have a broad choice to make: repress protests through implied or real force and escalation, or help protesters make their point and, at some point, go home. The latter strategy is no fun to watch. The former is often way worse.
Here's a thread from David Frum:
At The Atlantic, staff writer Michael Powell explains something about the Israel-Hamas War that I hadn't been able to understand -- why the Palestinian issue is being conflated as some kind of Indigenous liberation movement. Here's a gift link to his article The Curious Rise of 'Settler Colonialism' and 'Turtle Island' The problem with shoehorning a Middle Eastern war—or American history—into a trendy academic theory:
...To talk of settler states and oppressed Indigenous people, and claim an umbilical connection between Palestinian struggles and those of Native Americans, is to construct a morality tale stripped of subtleties—a matter not of politics, but of sin.
Israel, in this view, is not a flawed and contentious democracy engaged in a war with an enemy that vows to destroy it. It is a settler-colonialist state built upon the oppression and exploitation of Indigenous Palestinians....
Many supporters of the Palestinian cause insist on using the terms settler colonialism and Indigenous, the better to render Israel and Israelis as an oppressive other. To assail a colony of outsiders with an “imagined” connection to Palestine, as some left-wing scholars put it, makes it all too easy to brush aside the practicalities of coexistence with an Israel that is now 75 years old and has about 9 million citizens, including about 2 million Arabs.
Settlers, the theory goes, are mere pawns of imperial patrons, and impermanence is implied. Settlers can be uprooted, sojourns violently terminated. What matters is that Indigenous people reclaim their rightful inheritance....
Powell notes that about half of the Jews in Israel also come from families who are indigenous to the Middle East
The events of 1948 offered yet more complications. Arabs and Jews exchanged slaughters. Many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were left stateless even as Arab governments expelled many hundreds of thousands of Jews from homes across the Arab world. Today the Mizrahi Jews, as the Indigenous Jewish residents of the Middle East are known, comprise slightly more than half of Israel’s population.
In the end, we can't just compare the Israel-Hamas War to western history models:
No one now holds a monopoly on pain. For a Palestinian family in 1948 to have lost a treasured family home, a farm, a business was a grievous wound. Nor can the horrors of October 7 justify the continuing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the deadly vigilante violence with which Israeli settlers there enforce their writ. Yet the answer to injustice won’t be found in slogans that wish away the existence of Israel or, for that matter, the United States.
The passage of time and much violence and cohabitation speaks only to the poverty of using loaded terms such as settler colonialism and Indigenous to locate moral certainty in the Israeli-Palestine dispute. A land of contention and suffering is not a promising place in which to claim such rhetorical clarity.
"No one now holds a monopoly on pain" - yes, that's for sure


pulse enter animation said...

The Israel-Hamas War has sparked intense debates on geopolitics, human rights, and the complex Middle East conflict. Diverse perspectives exist, reflecting the deeply rooted historical and political complexities of the region. Analyzing multiple sources can provide a comprehensive understanding of this ongoing conflict.

Trailblazer said...


When one side professors to be the chosen people and the other the party of God such is the fate of humanity..

Such is the fate of racism.
Such is the fate of power and greed.

A Pox on Hamas, a Pox on Netanyahu....


Cathie from Canada said...

Thanks for letting me know about that Amnesty piece. Yes, I agree with your Pox targets!