I swore I wouldn’t do it. I promised myself: it’s a really bad idea, it’s a surefire path to aggravation and recrimination. But it seems there is no end to the litany of self-righteous “expertise” on the whole dreadful, bloody, Gaza mess, from the self-appointed “guardians” of the aching Jewish heart to the young and stupid — yes, no other word for it — stupid idiots who said Kaddish for the Gaza dead last week.
Nobody in this situation has a monopoly on the “correct” response and it surely ought not to need saying, but evidently does for the intellectually tone-deaf, that feeling appalled by what happened on the Gaza border does not put one in the mad, bad and angry anti-Israel camp.
And now that we learn that the majority of those killed were Hamas members, and that they were certainly intent, if they could, on breaching the border and attacking Jews on the Israeli side, do we all feel better?
Well, some may. Including perhaps the triumphalist celebrants at the ceremony for the new US embassy in Jerusalem. Since timing is everything, the proximity of the two events left a sour taste: balloons in Jerusalem, bullets in Gaza.
I spent a lot of time in Gaza as a reporter and it is a hellhole unimaginable in its squalor by the armchair ranters, keyboard warriors and megaphone mavens who have been so keen to give us the benefit of their opinions.
- Our sickness: Falling for propaganda before waiting for facts on Gaza
- Gaza victims’ links to Hamas were irrelevant – all that matters is their murder
- I too have questions for my Jewish community
And yes, it is true ordinary Gazans are held hostage and intimidated by Hamas. And it is just as true that there is a Hamas government in the Gaza Strip because ordinary Gazans voted for it; just as true as that there remains a Likud government in Israel because no one was prepared to vote in a credible alternative.
Too many commentators in the past days appear to have found the Holy Grail when it comes to Gaza.
Most of them have never been there, know almost nothing about its conditions, but are very keen on dispensing advice as to what should be done – and that goes across the political spectrum. “Fake news” and assumptions are rife, and everyone knows better than the next Jew what the answers are.
Well, I am sick of it. From the conclusions drawn about the choices facing 19-year-old IDF recruits who have to make split-second, sickening decisions whose consequences they will have to live with all their lives, to the wilful blindness that ignores the misery and desperation felt by many young Palestinians — or the smug superiority and virtue-signalling that led to the Kaddish outside Parliament, it’s all loathsome.
Supposedly we are a sophisticated community when it comes to Israel, but in fact we seem to be Neanderthal, replaying clichéd dug-in positions in a sort of grim puppetry of the real thing. We’re only stages away from the school playground, name-calling a speciality, each convinced of his or her brand of moral rectitude.
For what it’s worth, the most sensible advice right now about Gaza is to read, and learn, and ask questions. And then, just shut up. Because every bit of commentary just makes things worse.