Friday, June 4, 2010

Second the Motion

Beinart seconds:
The second thing I like about Haber’s proposal is that it would put the anti-blockade activists to the test. Their empathy for the people of Gaza is commendable. I wish it would rub off on the Israeli government’s American defenders, who blithely declare that the people of Gaza are not starving, as if they would for one day tolerate the collective punishment of a population of Jews, no matter who those Jews had voted for. What is less clear, however, is the activists’ empathy for the people of Israel. Were activists in Ireland and Malaysia and Turkey to take up Shalit’s cause, it would embarrass Hamas to no end. Hamas would likely reply that it cannot release Shalit unless Israel releases the Palestinians prisoners it holds, and perhaps Israel should release some of them. But the activists could answer that there is no justification for deliberately harming the innocent. That, after all, is what they say about Israel’s blockade. If you are for ending the collective punishment of Gaza (which is not the same as trying to prevent Hamas from acquiring weapons) regardless of whether Shalit is released, as I am, you should also be for releasing Shalit, regardless of whether the blockade ends or Palestinian prisoners are freed. 

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