Sneering at Sderot

I’m well aware that most of the people of Gaza are suffering severe hardships now, greater than those on the Israeli side– although who bears the ultimate responsibility for this is a matter we’ve fought over here numerous times.

But regardless of whom you decide to blame, it should be possible– as a human being with some sense of compassion– to feel sympathy for the ordinary people of Sderot, Israel, whose lives have been made miserable by the constant barrage of rockets fired from Gaza and abetted by Hamas.

It appears such compassion is beyond the capacity of Richard Seymour, who sneers:

Poor old Sderot. Poor, wretched Sderot. Gaza is a place where “rage” boils and bubbles over, especially since the “Hamas takeover” (the failed Fatah putsch, in other words), and Sderot pays the price. Rockets, empty streets, fleeing mattresses, the dog not getting walked. Poor, miserable Sderot.
Oh, but the luckless Sderot happens to be located nearby, thus copping a few miserable Qassam rockets that leave potholes in the streets and damage the walls. Poor, woebegone Sderot.

Is it beyond Seymour’s understanding that if, for whatever reason, someone was constantly firing Qassams at his neighborhood in London, he would find ordinary life impossible– even if casualties were relatively rare? If he reacted to the suffering of his neighbors by making sarcastic comments about their poor, miserable, woebegone lives, he would probably get what he deserved.

Seymour’s “fleeing mattresses” reference is to the decision of a mattress manufacturer in Sderot to relocate operations due to the dangers caused by the Qassams. For an alleged socialist, Seymour is remarkably coldhearted about the disruptions this will cause in the lives of the factory workers (who are, after all, part of the international working class) and their families.

Worst of all is Seymour’s Jon Snow-like obliviousness to the fact that Qassam rockets actually have injured and killed residents of Sderot.

It was Snow who, in an interview with the Israeli ambassador in 2006, tried to minimize the impact of Qassams on Israel:

Well, rockets are pretty pathetic things. Nobody gets injured, they are homemade, and you well know they have nothing much stronger than an AK-47: no RPGs, they have no weapons and you are delivering some of the most sophisticated bombardment that has ever been subjected to a defenseless people. Is it an act of terror would you say?

I pointed out that among those killed by the “pathetic” rockets were two children of Ethiopian immigrants living in Sderot. (Other reports of Qassam-related deaths are here and here.)

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Their parents are mourning more than potholes and damage to the walls.

I fear it’s necessary to repeat, even if some won’t believe me: I do sympathize with the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza. Seymour notwithstanding, it is possible to understand the anguish on one side without trivializing it on the other.