January 13, 2009

Israelis look at themselves?

If only. I was just doing a routine sweep of Israel news and I caught this piece from AP on Google News. It's a comment on the kind of media stuff that Israelis are being treated to:
Israel's TV screens, radio broadcasts and newspapers have been filled with images of terrified Israelis fleeing to shelters, damage from Hamas rocket barrages and casualty reports.

While international media have focused on Israel's assault on Gaza, including the deaths of more than 900 Palestinians, Israeli media are reporting the war through a different prism. With almost no access to Gaza, and an overwhelming sense the offensive is just, they have emphasized the Israeli side, which has suffered 13 deaths.
Ah, that's nice. A little introspection never hurt anybody. If only Israel would try it. This idea that they are terrified of rockets though, I'm not comfortable with it. I've spent a lot of time with Israelis and I find that a lot of them enjoy the permanence and the uncertainty of the conflict. They all assume that they won't get killed. It's still the case that more Israelis get killed in car accidents than by bullets and bombs put together and most the Israelis I've met don't know anyone who's been killed in a car accident.

What's curious with this latest round of blood-letting by Israel is that a higher proportion of Israelis seem to be up for it than usual. Hanan Ashrawi says in the AP report that Israelis are becoming
"one unanimous cheering team" for their military, detaching themselves "from the cruelty and the horror of what they're doing."
At the same time when Anthony Lowenstein said that not all Jews agree with Israel's Gaza action he wasn't just speaking for himself. In the diaspora there is more revulsion and even among zionists there is certainly concern that the revulsion will move beyond the confines of the left and go mainstream and they're right to be concerned. Maybe Israelis should be concerned too.

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