How to process news of the Israel-Hamas conflict
A guide for the ignorant and perplexed like me
News from war zones is always tough to process but the Israel-Hamas conflict is particularly difficult. First, because it is so hard to know how to think about its basic moral calculus, or what should happen next (unless you’re not thinking about it and just taking a side). When Russia invaded Ukraine most of us had a clear view of the war’s rights and wrongs. A big country with a massive military was going to war on a smaller one without provocation or anything resembling just cause. In Israel/Gaza, things are not so simple, despite what those who shout loudest will loudly insist.
Second, and related to this, we know that behind this conflict lies decades and centuries of complex and contested history, of which we (that is, people as ignorant as me) know only the outline. Third, the conflict is so globally polarising and enflaming that many of the usual sources of information and opinion can’t be trusted to give us an accurate picture of the situation, and there’s a lot of noise.
So, for what it’s worth, I want to offer a few tentative thoughts, based on my own trials and errors, on how to process news about this conflict; how to think and argue about it, even how to feel about it.
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