One of the few things I generally do not talk about is about the Israel-Gaza situation. My reason is simple, over exposure. In the Netherlands there is a cultural connection with the Jewish community and Israel. After the Dutch kicked out their previous Spanish rulers after 80 years of war, the Seven Provinces became a relatively safe territory for minorities and prosecuted groups in Europe. Sure Protestantism was the religion here but economic and cultural tolerance were often more important.
I grew up with the Bible, Dutch culture and Dutch history. In Dutch history, ever since the Flemish territory was subject to Spanish led Catholic purges the Jewish communities fled to Amsterdam which made Amsterdam a very wealthy city. Fast forward to three somewhat stable centuries until the Second World War and Amsterdam’s Jewish community had increased in size. Amsterdam was known for its Jewish community and the heritage of the Jewish culture in Amsterdam.
After the Second World War the state of Israel was founded with the permission of the allied forces, particularly Great Britain. From the Bible, to Canaan, to the diaspora over empires and continents to 1948 a long story takes place. This story is based on religious stories, heritage and traditions that meander like small streams into a big river.
My view on the situation is simple. Since 1948 many things happened. As a spectator you can either become a cynic, become apathetic or hope for peace in the region of the ancient fertile crescent. I am serious about this because either the Israel-Gaza region destroys itself through wars and violence or thrives as a peaceful region for many people.
When it comes to war and violence there is not much anyone can do. Either you pick a side or you take the pacifist stance. I prefer peace because the longer a war goes on the more it is going to cost from everyone. Wars historically tend to expand pretty quickly when they go on. In the Netherlands the disagreement about the events in Israel and Gaza is also very personal for many people of several backgrounds.
A very interesting perspective comes from Sam Harris with his post “Why Don’t I Critize Israel?”. I tend to agree with him because the ideological and social aspects are also very present. The 20th century has been bloody enough. A bloody 21st century is not on my wish list…