In the preface to his wonderful book of essays, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, the late Tony Judt wrote of the “perverse contemporary insistence on not understanding the context of our present dilemmas … on seeking actively to forget rather than to remember, to deny continuity and proclaim novelty on every possible occasion.”
I was reminded of these words while watching the interminable Israeli self-justifications on TV during the recent bombing of Gaza. Neither the missile-weary residents of southern Israel nor the representatives of the army and government were able to frame the conflict in any but the most context-less, self-serving and solipsistic of terms. The Palestinians of Gaza were launching attacks on Israel without provocation and Israel was well within its rights to respond as massively as it did. Period.