Now that the fighting has stopped, sober analysis of the most recent war has begun. Here are four articles I believe worth reading, among many.

1. Failure in Gaza, By Assaf Sharon – New York Review of Books

Assaf Sharon is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. He is the academic director of Molad: The Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy.

“Understanding how we got to this point—and, more importantly, how we can move beyond it—calls for an examination of the political events that led up to the operation and the political context in which it took place.”

“False assumptions, miscalculations, and obsolete conceptions robbed Israel of initiative. Lacking clear aims, Israel was dragged, by its own actions, into a confrontation it did not seek and did not control. Israel was merely stumbling along, with no strategy, chasing events instead of dictating them. What emerged as the operative aim was simply “to hit Hamas,” which for the troops translates as a license for extensive and unchecked use of force.”

2. Israel’s Lessons From the Gaza Wars, by Ali Jarbawi – NY Times, September 4, 2014

Ali Jarbawi is a political scientist and a former minister of the Palestinian Authority. This article was translated by Ghenwa Hayek from the Arabic.

“The road to peace is both clearly delineated and short: It is the public acceptance of the legitimate right of the Palestinians to end the occupation and establish a state.”

3. Israel’s land appropriation: Foolish, ill-timed and self-destructive – By Rabbi Eric Yoffie – Haaretz – Sep. 3, 2014

Rabbi Eric Yoffie is the immediate past president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and is now writes frequently in Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post –

“Perhaps there could be a more foolish, ill-timed, and self-destructive decision than the one made by Israel’s cabinet this week, but it is hard to imagine what it might be.
Israel’s enemies in the Middle East and throughout the world are rejoicing. If you really despise the Jewish state, nothing makes you happier than a move by Israeli leaders to expand settlements. The move, in this case, was a decision by the cabinet to appropriate 1000 acres of West Bank land for settlement building in the Etzion settlement bloc, near Bethlehem. The land has been designated as “state land,” even though ownership is claimed by local Palestinians.”

“Nothing unites the world against Israel like settlement building. Even Israel’s staunchest supporters abroad, trying to make Israel’s case to a skeptical public after the Gaza war, are asking: Why undermine us now?

4. Muzzled by the Minority, By Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Reform Judaism Magazine, Fall 2013

“Many rabbis don’t express their true views about Israel publicly for fear of clashing with a handful of congregants who might lash out against them. But there are ways to navigate this minefield of divided opinion.”

Rabbi Yoffie worries aloud about the lack of civility in the American Jewish community vis a vis Israel, and offers a five-fold approach to resolving this issue. He confronts, as well, a number of challenges facing American rabbis and American Jews generally in our relationship to the state of Israel, and sites a number of opinion surveys of American Jewish attitudes towards Israel, the occupation, settlements, and the rightful role that American Zionists have in expressing views publicly that may counter the policy positions of the government of Israel. He notes that according to the 2013 Pew Research Center poll, the majority of American Jews remain strongly devoted to Israel without necessarily agreeing with everything Israel’s leaders do, and that the majority opinion in the American Jewish community is dovish, not hawkish, contrary to what many organized American Jewish organizations say and would like us to believe.