Tuesday, 6 January 2009

A Brief Personal Note on Gaza

Much as I would love the current conflict to stop immediately I suspect it will go on now until a certain negotiable point has been reached. I don't think that point has been reached. I don't say that because of any wish I might have. It is simply what seems obvious. This is because I think the Israeli action is not about 'punishment', collective or otherwise, but about 'deterrence' and Hamas rockets are still going in.

In the meantime I have not signed any petitions because, as far as I can see, they are mostly being aimed one way only. I could not do that. Not because I think Israel must always be in the right. I regard Israelis, and Jews generally, as no better or worse than anyone else, with much the same spectrum of behaviour and reaction. There are miserable bastards there as everywhere else.

What I have done is donate money to UNICEF, specifically for helping the children of Gaza. I hope it goes to them. I commend this way to those who care more about the suffering than about the perceived evils of the Jewish state, Israel. That, for now, is the last word I am saying on the subject.


Anonymous said...

I hear you, and am about to do the same.

George S said...

Good. Let us home many others do it too.

Poet in Residence said...

I hope your donation reaches the intended recipients before it's too late. I find it outrageous, beyond belief, that the humanitarian aid ship which sails regularly from Cyprus every week has been turned back, has not been afforded an escort into port. This kind of behaviour is intolerable.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

"I regard Israelis, and Jews generally, as no better or worse than anyone else, with much the same spectrum of behaviour and reaction."

Here is where you have made two different crowds (one with "no better" and the other with "no worse") angry with you, and good luck to ya ;-)

"There are miserable bastards there as everywhere else."

Oy vey - you cannot imagine how many. I have a short list - to be published posthumously, of course.

Oh, and to PiR - dear PiR - you have really mixed the real humanitarian aid (the one that comes on these trucks from or via Israel via the border crossings) with cheap point scoring propaganda boat that ferries aging stars from Cyprus to Gaza for 15 seconds of TV screen.

Yes, donate to UNICEF by all means.

Poet in Residence said...

Snoopy, I have no idea about any boat with tv celebs seeking 15 mins of fame. That must be another boat.

The Contentious Centrist said...

This was the first boat:


Second boat:


Third boat:



However, as that great drama of the sea was taking place, this, too, was happening:

Hamas refuses to let in medical aid


George S said...

Snoop, I'm not sure whether I am reading you right. That 'no better or worse' does not include Hamas, but it does include Sweden, Bulgaria, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. I am talking about countries and other religions. Do you seriously disagree with that? My defence of Israel is always that it should be judged by the same standards as other countries. As should Jews.

Poet in Residence said...

My boat is the Dignity out of Cyprus with crew and passengers to the number of 16 (including 3 surgeons, 1 CNN reporter, 2 Al Jazeera reporters, 1 ex-US Congresswoman, several human rights activists and 3.5 tonnes of medical supplies). It was 'turned back' i.e. rammed and warning shots fired, by an Israeli patrol vessel in international waters.
It is a regular visitor to Gaza and not a Snoop the Goon (see above) star-studded stunt.

The Contentious Centrist said...

PiR: "It is a regular visitor to Gaza"

There were only three "Free Gaza boats" that I'm aware of. The "Dignity" was the third one, mentioned in my post, above. And it was as much about a publicity stunt as the first two.

It is always advisable to read more carefully before disagreeing or contradicting.

The Contentious Centrist said...

George, I always maintain that Jews have as much right as anybody to be mean, stupid and bigoted. I learned to live with this painful wisdom from an African-American writer who wrote in The Village Voice, following, 15 years or so ago, the shocking revelation that some Black folk can be intensely anti-Semitic. He suggested that if you are human, you have your work cut out for you, subduing these ignominious traits.

In an article from the website “Spiked”, Patrick West once made this astonishing statement:

"“I’m not anti-Jewish. In fact, I am exactly the opposite. I’m very pro-Israeli, because I think the Jews are a nation of geniuses.”

On reading this avowal, I wondered what would happen to this enthusiastic pro-Israeli sentiment if he were ever to visit Israel and discover that the country rejoices in its own multitudes of Jewish fools.

Poet in Residence said...

Centrist, Why anybody would want to stop 3 doctors armed with 3.5 tonnes of medical supplies from carrying our their work is beyond my ken.
I can see why they don't want curious journalists an an ex-US Congresswoman getting in the way. But surely they could have taken them off and allowed the medics to proceed?
It is this kind of 'stunt', as you call it, that illuminates the fog of war, focusses the spotlight as it were.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"...beyond my ken."

So far you have not exhibited much "ken" about the boat, its regularity, or anything that preceded it. Surely before you express yourself with such confident outrage ("I find it outrageous, beyond belief, that the humanitarian aid ship which sails regularly from Cyprus every week has been turned back, has not been afforded an escort into port. This kind of behaviour is intolerable.") you should have made sure that at least you had some factually correct knowledge about the event?

How do you explain Hamas refusal to let in hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian aid from Egypt?

How come your only beef here is directed at Israel?

Poet in Residence said...

My 'beef' as you call it is not directed at Israel per se. It is directed at WAR. This barbarous activity, this technological pugilism, this degrading brutal business is below the dignity of mankind, or should be, and the sooner all wars are ended the better it will be for the rest of us.
I will write in some depth about all this, including the subject of medical boats, on my 'bard on the run' blog in the next day or two. I refused to believe that I am living in some kind of cloud cuckoo land when I maintain that it is not beyond the wit and intelligence of mankind as a species to end WAR once and for all; of that I am convinced. A better world awaits. It is time to move on.
As to the frequency of the boat I am not in possession of its manifest and sailing timetable and neither are you. I, like you, can only address what is to be seen in the fog of war domain from day to day. I have now read that this was this particular boat's 4th mercy mission to Gaza.
My original source was a radio news report. I believe that journalists are not allowed into the war zone and therefore there may be a temptation for journalists to report things which may not be 100% factually correct. The red herring of detail which you have sniffed out and are sharing with me is not to the main point.

The Contentious Centrist said...

A red herring? That was just to alert you to the fact that what you think you read does not reflect the real sequence or substance of events on the ground, and that you had better be very careful before you draw conclusions from some report by some "journalist" who feeds you a party line with the expectation that your emotions will do the rest of the work.

After all, you don't want to be responsible for repeating a lie, do you?

After all, you do live in Austria, don't you? A country whose history should warn against going along with one's inclinations?

Your little tirade against war means nothing. It's not universal enough. It does not take into consideration the right of people to defend themselves against violence. No one likes war, especially not those who actually lived through several, lost friends and family members to them, and brace for more of the same. I'm not impressed with your type of "passionate intensity."

George S said...

Gwilym and Npga, you are both welcome here but you're not going to agree and the bar is now closing.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Er... sorry, George, my awkward attempt at a joke was meant only to say that trying to be moderate in our times is akin to walking on a tightrope between two (is it two, I wonder?) pits full of crocodiles. Or cockroaches or whatever - substitute your favorite animal.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

PiR - let's keep a sense of proportions here. The trucks passing the border between Israel and Gaza are carrying hundreds of tons of provisions - almost daily, when the border checkpoints aren't being attacked by Hamas or Jihad.

And you want to say that this boat trip (third or fourth, it's really irrelevant) is anything but a gesture? Especially carrying what you in a shy way call "an ex-US Congresswoman". Read up on this lady a bit, please.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

George, my apologies, I shouldn't have been addressing your guest here.