Empathizing with Gaza does NOT make me anti-Semitic, nor pro-Hamas or anti-Israel. It makes me human. David Harris-Gershon (@David_EHG)
Over the past two weeks, I have struggled with my own ignorance about the Gaza conflict. My attempts to read news reports have left me frustrated with the obvious bias of the media and annoyed that my own knowledge of the situation is so limited.
My heart and mind ache for the people of both Israel and Palestine, particularly the everyday people whose lives are endangered by the fighting and those parents who watch their sons go off to fight in battles from which they may not return.
I feel particular concern for the Palestinians, for all they have lost and for the parents who must find it so incredibly hard to raise their children with any sense of hope for the future. Their situation seems so bleak and forbidding and I can only imagine their mourning at all they have lost of their heritage and independence.
Yet, it seems incredibly arrogant on my part to identify with one side or the other. There are certainly reasons to feel sympathy and concern for all those whose lives have been impacted by the fighting. I think that is why I connected with the quote above so strongly. I am not pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian, pro-Hamas or anti-Semitic. I don’t want to learn more about this conflict because I think it will make it easier for me to choose sides or assign blame, but rather because I think that being better informed is the least I can do to show respect to those whose lives are impacted directly by this situation.
As I have sought to understand the Gaza conflict this week (a mammoth undertaking, I know), I have been gathering links to news articles, websites and other sources. I have included them below for anyone who is interested. I have read some and have bookmarked others to read soon. I have tended towards information aimed at those with little background knowledge and away from intense political discourse, which is particularly evident in the book titles listed.
I would like to offer my thanks to author Randa Abdel-Fattah who has been very generous with her time in supplying me with several of the references mentioned below. Randa is a passionate advocate for the Palestinian people, but she went out of her way to provide me with references to Israeli and Jewish references as well as Palestinian sources.
The link to this video is included below, but I found it a useful overview before reading other information.
Mondoweiss – a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective.
B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
Global Policy Forum – Independant policy watchdog monitoring the work of the United Nations and scrutinizing global policymaking. The page on Israel, Palestine and the Occupied Territories includes several links to further information including details of UN resolutions related to the conflict.
Middle East Research and Information Project – aims to provide information and analysis on the Middle East suitable for reference by journalists.
ABC The Drum – It’s about time Australian put pressure on Israel by Ben Saul
New Matilda – Israel’s Bloody Apartheid: What Happened And Why You Should Be Outraged by Michael Brull
Sydney Morning Herald – How language changes views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Gaza by Randa Abdel-Fattah
The Lancet – Open letter for the people in Gaza by doctors and scientists (24 signatories)
The New Yorker – Israel’s Other War by Etgar Keret
New Matilda – Two Jews, Two Palestinians: An Open Letter on the Simple Truth by Michael Brull, Samah Sabawi, Peter Slezak and Randa Abdel-Fattah
Daily Kos – Empathizing with Gaza does NOT make me anti-Semitic, nor pro-Hamas or anti-Israel. It makes me human by David Harris-Gershon
ABC Religion and Ethics website – Not in My Name: Response to Alex Ryvchin by Michael Brull
NGOs letter to the Attorney General of Israel regarding Offensive policy in Gaza in Operation Protective Edge
Jews for Justice booklet – Origin of the Palestine/Israel Conflict
David Byrne website – Gaza and the Loss of Civilisation: Letters by Brian Eno and Peter Schwartz
The Promise mini-series directed by Peter Kosminsky.
ABC The Drum article by Larry Stillman about controversy surrounding the screening of the mini-series on SBS
COMMENTATORS (Wikipedia profile links provided)
Ilan Pappé – Israeli historian and social activist
Gideon Levy – Israeli journalist
Jonathan Cook – freelance journalist
Ben White – journalist and activist
James Longley documentary – Gaza Strip
BOOKS – Non-Fiction
Cry Palestine – Said Aburish
Palestine Inside Out – Saree Makdisi
Sharon and My Mother-in-Law (Ramallah Diaries) – Suad Amiry
Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine – Raja Shehadeh
Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel’s Separation Barrier. For Fun. – Mark Thomas
BOOKS – Fiction
Where the Streets Had a Name – Randa Abdel-Fattah
Before We Say Goodbye – Gabriella Ambrosio