Legal vs. Right - My Thoughts on the Gaza Flotilla

I am a Zionist and an ardent supporter of Israel. I consider Israel to be my ancestral home and I have an undying love for the land and the people of Israel. When I visit Israel - and I try to get there as often as possible - I feel the spirituality of the land and especially the city of Jerusalem and it is rejuvenating.

That love for Israel prompts me to be alert for Israel in the news. I want Israel to succeed as a nation. I want it to live up to its vision of being "a light unto the nations". I want other nations to grant Israel the legitimacy it rightly deserves.

Yet in reflecting upon the Israeli Navy and the flotilla I recognize how stupid - and media commentators used that epithet - Israel's actions were. It must have known that it was a no-win situation and yet for some reason it decided to conduct that action anyway.

Which leads me to think about the difference between legal and right, i.e. just because something is legal doesn't make it right. Slavery was legal in the U.S. but that didn't make it right. It may be legal to call in a debt, but if the person is poor it may not be the right action to take. You get my point. Just because the blockade of Gaza is legal doesn't make it right.

I am not a politician. I don't live in Israel. I am fully aware of the bombs that continue to rain down on Israel from Gaza. I am fully aware that Hamas is a terrorist organization that is hell-bent on Israel's destruction. But I am also aware that there are regular citizens of Gaza who are suffering under the brutal Hamas regime and also under the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Though the blockade has succeeded in quelling most of the bombs it has now long past served its purpose. Just because it is still legal doesn't mean that it is still right.

Our Torah portion this past shabbat - Korach - highlighted God's actions against Korach and his band of rebels. God, as God did throughout the Bible, acted violently against the rebels making the earth swallow them. Perhaps some have learned from the Bible that violent force is permitted to advance a cause. If God commanded it then it must be sanctioned.

But perhaps we should interpret it differently. Maybe only God can act that way. We - humanity - instead need to live up to different standards. We need to be reminded that we are God's creatures and that God is reflected in everything in the world around us. If we can live up to that ideal then we should never consider violence or subjugation as an option for individuals or governments. It may be legal, but it isn't right.

I love Israel and I will always love Israel and it is out of love that I share these concerns.