Notes from Around the Web: Another Gaza Edition

As if this past week hasn’t been challenging enough for me personally (again, for reasons I may go into another time), the situation with the Listserv which I alluded to earlier really escalated yesterday. (Odd how people who claim to be motivated by “humanitarian” impulses rarely, if ever, post about Darfur, China, etc., but when it comes to Israel, watch out! This implicit unfairness is yet another infuriating part of this whole, historic story, as I suggested in writing about a book by Walter Laqueur some time back. “Disproportionate” behavior, anyone?) So I’m REALLY trying not to spend very much time with that Listserv, and will instead devote the energies I would most likely otherwise expend in fruitless “dialogue” simply posting links that I feel are important here.

In what is likely to be my last message to that Listserv for awhile (or at least, the last Gaza-related message), I invited readers to come on over to this blog to see a different set of news/columns on the situation than they’re likely to find posted on the list. It looks as though a few readers have indeed taken me up on that invitation. If you’re one of them, welcome.

And now, on with our unfortunate, depressing show:

In our last installment, I told you how important Jeffrey Goldberg’s blog is to me right now. Similarly, I’d have to post too many links if I wanted to share each and every significant post from Solomonia, a blog I discovered and praised last year.
An answer to those who claim that Hamas’s rockets don’t really mean much and certainly don’t warrant a substantive military response: “The rockets threatening Israel today are no longer just the homemade Qassam rockets that have fallen for years on Negev communities near the Gaza border, causing property damage but few casualties. Last spring, before Israel and Hamas agreed to a six-month truce, local Gaza metal shops were producing an upgraded Qassam that reached as far as Ashkelon, 10 miles north of Gaza, nearly double their previous range. In the latest conflict, terrorists began firing a new generation of advanced rockets, imported through smuggling tunnels, with far greater power and accuracy than the Gaza-made variety. The new rockets, brought into Gaza during the truce — when Hamas supposedly was pledged to halt arms smuggling — have been regularly striking Ashdod, Israel’s main port and a major chemical storage site, fully 20 miles from Gaza, or halfway to Tel Aviv. And on January 6, as the cease-fire negotiations shifted into high gear, a rocket struck for the first time in Gedera, 25 miles north of Gaza, on the southern outskirts of metropolitan Tel Aviv. That’s no longer terrorist harassment. It’s a strategic threat.” This, and more, in an excellent column in The Forward. (via JustASC)
For me (realizing, of course, that my problems don’t matter much in the “real” scheme of things when it comes to this situation), one of the most difficult parts of dealing with the current news is calibrating my internal (and, as on the Listserv, external) reactions to fellow Jews who seem far, far more concerned with the (in my view) Hamas-inflicted destruction on the Palestinian people than with the safety of Israelis. Israelis like my (and even, in some cases, their) own relatives. It is just so hard for me to understand.

But from Jerusalem, Louis Frankenthaler managed to get through to me without making me want to tear my hair out. Probably because he told me up front: “So yes, believe me it is difficult being in the opposition here in Israel (I will not cite a list of difficulties, because they pale in comparison to the monumental suffering in Gaza and in the protracted suffering in southern Israel where, in both places, civilians are being targeted, killed and exploited.)” (emphasis mine)

I don’t agree with all of Frankenthaler’s arguments, by any means (for instance, I refuse to believe that Israel is “targeting” civilians in Gaza, unless you consider Hamas as part of the civilian population), but this writer at least made it possible for me to hear (read) him through, quietly and completely. (Of course, now I really want to know which Reform congregation in New Jersey is his temple-of-origin!)

Notes from Around the Web: Gaza Edition

If you aren’t already following Jeffrey Goldberg on current events in Israel and Gaza, just go over and start. Really. Just do it. He earned my admiration with his book, and he’s sustaining it now. So just go read him. Did I say you should go read him?
Tired of the cries of how “disproportionately” Israel is responding? So am I. And so is Jonathan Mark.
We’d certainly be horrified if Hamas’s (or Hezbollah’s, or–substitute a relevant Islamist group of your choice’s) actions provoked attacks on Arabs/Muslims elsewhere. So why isn’t there more outrage about the violence against and victimization of Jews worldwide who have become targets of aggressors’ anger toward Israel? Like the Jewish girl who “was beaten in a northern Paris suburb by schoolmates who claimed revenge for Israel’s offensive in Gaza”? Or these incidents? I could post more, surely, but maybe that’s enough to get the point across.
Think there’s a corresponding prayer like this for the children of Israel appearing in the Palestinian/Arab press? Somehow, I doubt it. This is certainly one case where I’d love to be proven wrong.

On Gaza, Sense and Centrism

There is so much being written/published about what is happening in Gaza. As usual, much of it angers, saddens, and sickens me. Once again, I’m reminded why I stopped contributing to NPR, and why even CNN (with some notable exceptions, as Seth Gitell has pointed out) lets me down time after time after time.

Then, of course, there are the reliable, reassuring voices of reason. Like Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s. See Rabbi Yoffie’s piece, “On Gaza, Sense and Centrism,” in The Forward.

Job Opening at The Forward

“The Forward, a national Jewish weekly, is seeking an aggressive reporter to cover news and features about Jewish life and politics. The ideal candidate is a stylish writer who delights in breaking news; who will generate his or her own story ideas; know how to chase down a story and write it with ease on deadline, and can step back and conceptualize long-form stories. We’re looking for a team player who will thrive in a results-oriented, collaborative newsroom. A minimum of two years of experience on a daily newspaper or Web site is required. Send us your resume and three of your best clips. To be considered, you must include your salary requirements.” Deadline: January 16, 2009. See the full announcement and application instructions here.

Significant Jewish Books

Last night I was looking through the latest issue of Reform Judaism magazine when I noticed books by two authors I admire featured “For Discussion”: Saving Stanley: The Brickman Stories, by Scott Nadelson, and The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Father’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World, by Lucette Lagnado.

As I say, these authors are not new to me (I’ve mentioned them both on this blog), but what is new to me is the Union for Reform Judaism’s “Significant Jewish Books” initiative. As explained here, “In November 1997, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie unveiled an initiative to encourage every Reform Jew to read significant Jewish books. Since then, the Union has selected eight volumes each year and prepared study guides for them.”

The books by Nadelson and Lagnado, therefore, can now be read with an eye toward discussion fostered by guides provided here. Keep them in mind for your next book group meeting, and check out the full archive of previously recommended titles.

Featured Fiction by Jewish Women

This just in from 614, the ezine of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and its editor, Michelle Cove:

“For our 2nd annual issue on Jewish books, we wanted to find young Jewish women who were writing about themes we haven’t seen dozens of times. This is why you’ll find mention in this issue of cowboys, Madame Bovary, a modern day Jewish heiress, a 12-year-old Iranian, Jewish spies, and a heroic German baker. Rather than post book reviews, we talked to the authors behind these stories and asked them about the inspirations for their books, and also what they think about today’s Jewish fiction in general. Meet Joanna Hershon, Tova Mirvis, Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Dara Horn, Jenna Blum, and Gina Nahai.”

Intrigued? Read on, here.