10 days ago I watched the new Planet of the Apes movie in theaters. We strolled down to Georgetown to catch it, and while I was mostly underwhelmed, it did strike a chord with the carnage that's happening presently in Israel.
**Disclaimer: I hate using the words 'they' and 'Israel' (as an example) instead of specific sources (in general). I think it's lazy and moreover, inaccurate. When I write 'they' or 'Israel' or other pronoun, I am referring to decision makers in the military/government. I do not pretend to include anyone more than those particular individual(s). And that goes with any other writing too. We should only attribute actions and statements to those who do and say them. No one else. Please keep in mind. It's important.
I'm a long time fan of the Planet of the Apes series. Keeping with my general misanthropy, I enjoy cheering for the oppressed (Apes). A couple years ago, I rented all the classic versions in succession, and they are (for the most part) much better than the contemporary editions. The latest installment is the prelude to the mayhem. Minor spoiler alert: The crux of the film's impetus for war, is attributable to aberrant behavior by a very small minority.
Fairly applicable to today, wouldn't you say?
The kidnapping of three young Israelis and the retaliatory burning of a Palestinian teenager instigated the bloodshed that is now tallied at roughly 700 lives lost. 700. Wow. That's a big fucking number. It's not perhaps historically, or even in the context of war, but right now as we speak Israel is a war zone.
My feelings are predictably mixed and complex. I am part Jewish. I have been to Israel due in whole part to the generosity of other Jews. I am married to a Jew. I've participated in the Maccabi Games for my state and was chosen to represent the USA. I've worked at a Jewish Community Center - so hopefully that gives you a general idea of my background framing this issue.
Despite those connections, I am disgusted by Israel's wanton disregard for human life during the past few weeks. The civilian casualties discredit any argument for Israel's moral high ground. Not to mention, it discredits the notion that the intelligence and technology employed by the IDF is precise and unparalleled. If this is precision, than a junker car is a Tesla.
Perhaps Israel would retain a shred of integrity if they were honest with the public regarding their mission. They claim to act in self-defense. But tanks on the ground and aerial bombing of schools and hospitals is what's reality. Intercepting missiles via Iron Dome is one thing. But the reckless mass slaughtering of children and women and others is despicable and makes it hard to sleep well at night. Especially when, like me, you have an affinity for Jewish culture and the people.
While I'm not a game theorist, nor a 'realist', I could actually appreciate Israel's take on the situation if they were honest and transparent. If they came out and said that their goal is to cripple Hamas, show that their military strength knows no boundaries and to prove that they are willing to decimate land and people without pause, I'll tell you how I'd react. I'd be repulsed. I'd be upset. I'd be stricken by the lack of ethics and compassion.
However, I'd at least philosophically understand that mission and viewpoint. I may not agree with it (I don't), but I can appreciate the honesty. But the wishy-washy statements I've read and the offensively defensive statements made are making it hard for people to view Israel as the 'Apes' in this scenario.
Quite simply, they're not.
I do not make excuses for Hamas' erratic statements either nor their lust for violence. They are despicable as well. The entire situation is tragic.
I suppose I just expect better from Israel. If not consistency and honesty, then how about actual humanity and ethics. For a people who suffered greatly over the past centuries, it's quite astounding how trivially they're approaching this war.
And the media's portrayal has been just as awful. But that's another story...