I tend to look at it like this. The Israeli military took the bait dangled by the Mavi Marmara, which refused to port at Ashdod and so provoked the Israeli action its activists probably hoped for, which resulted in 9 deaths and many injuries. Unsurprisingly (Iran arming Hamas and Hesbollah) Israel is very defensive at the moment. A very right wing government is in power, with solid popular support. Hamas and Hesbollah need to take responsibility for Israeli popular support for their right-wing government. And every death and injury on the Mavi Marmara must be investigated.
Nobody serious says that Gazans are hungry – but they are entirely dependent and unable to leave. Like Israelis, they voted in their bad leaders. Hamas, which is jointly responsible for the blockade, has diverted much of the construction aid to Gaza into its own fortifications, rendering the rebuild impossible. Hamas is even more content than the Israelis to squeeze Gazans, and has refused to accept the aid the Mavi Marmara activists died to bring directly to them. Meanwhile Egypt opened its border with Gaza indefinitely. A ship called the Rachel Corrie is making its way to Gaza with the blessing of the Irish government. Israel will have less grounds for linking that one to Al Quaeda. However, antipathy to Israel does seem to make people prepared to keep appalling company, so perhaps there is a link.
Given Hamas’ eliminationist mission (I know some people detect an acceptance of Israel, but I think we’d know unambiguously if that were the case), there is a good case for checking what goes in and out of Gaza. I’m not sure what lies in between where we are now, and no checks. It’s not really for most of us to say. That the blockade hasn’t worked is no cause for gloating. It means that more people will die, in the long run, until Hamas gives up its claim to the land where Israel exists.
I heard a story of British Jews called “murderers” by strangers because of Israel’s actions. Here is a little personal manifesto.
Noting the forms antisemitism takes these days, I:
- accept and understand the need for the Israeli state where Jews can assume responsibility for their own security
- refuse to assume responsibility, beyond that of the next person, for the actions of a state where I don’t have the franchise
- insist that the originators of the antisemitism, and not Israel, are blamed for antisemitism.
- refuse to discuss the predicament of Palestinians if it appeases people who scrutinise Jews about their support of Israel
- undertake – while avoiding undermining Israeli and Palestinian progressives – not to make Israeli politics a particular concern, and so appease those who singularly hate or love Israel and would have us make Israel central
- will defend Israel against antisemitic attacks in ways which cannot be used by the Israeli extreme right
- request that Israeli progressives (in particular) defend Jews against antisemitic attacks
- recognising that Hamas and Hesbollah, who hold some power, must be held partly responsible for Israeli public opinion, insist that Israel’s enemies are held to the same standard as Israel.
- ask people who make easy statements about what ‘Israel’ should ‘do’ towards peace, to talk about feasibility and security at a respectful level of detail.