Thursday, January 8, 2009

Just war

Both Ross Douthat and Daniel Larison have been musing about the merits of Just War theory and its applicability to the Gaza conflict.

The problem with this approach--i.e., approaching the normative question of what actions are just in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--is that a reliance on abstract theories aiming for general applicability is ultimately futile in this context. In polite society, the notion that Israel doesn't have a right to be a Jewish state is anathema. Yet the notion that nation-states should be purely secular--in the abstract--is a much more common position that the idea that Israel shouldn't be Jewish. The point here is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is sui generis, and bringing abstract principles into this particular conflict ultimately results in the abandonment of the principle or adopting a position that ensures the intractability of the conflict.

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