Facts and Opinions’ Natural Security columnist Chris Wood reported from the first Palestinian intifada in 1988, for Canada’s Maclean’s magazine. The fierce global debate over Israel’s latest conflict with residents of Gaza prompted him to reflect on the alleged ‘double standard’ of criticizing Israel amid the region’s wider violence. Here is an excerpt of his essay Israel at the Boundary, in F&O’s Loose Leaf column (free public access):
I have been privileged (and I don’t use the word lightly) as a reporter to witness a moderately wide range of human sorrows. One of my most vivid memories is of the hospital in Gaza City, so overwhelmed by the injured at the hands of Israeli Defence Force beatings, and so undersupplied, that a reeking yellow stream of blood, urine and puss oozed thickly down a bare concrete hallway.
That was in 1988, before Israeli-Palestinian relations reached their present abyss. Perhaps the experience has affected my judgment in the present. But I find that reality has a way of doing that to me.
A friend — I hope I may still call him one — recently chastised me for selectiveness in my criticism on social networks of Israel’s Gaza campaign, and my comparative silence about the horrors occurring in Syria and Iraq. The unspoken implication that there was something particular about Israel that inclined me to single it out, embedded another: that the something particular was Israel’s Jewishness.
The suggestions are sufficiently morally impugning, and implicate enough of my personal friendships, that they deserve a thoughtful response … click here to read Israel at the Boundary, by Chris Wood (Free public access).
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