Apartment building in Gaza leveled by Israeli airstrikes. Photo Credit: Ali Hamad via Wikimedia Commons

Online Exclusive 10/16/2023 Blog

What We've Been Reading

From the Editors

Welcome to our roundup of news and current events related to ethics and international affairs! Here’s some of what we’ve been reading this past month:

The Washington Post: What Israel's siege of Gaza would look like

In a significant escalation following the breach of the Gaza-Israel border on October 7 by Hamas militants and the subsequent massacre of over 1,200 Israelis, PM Netanyahu’s newly formed “war cabinet” has imposed a comprehensive blockade on the Gaza Strip. This was preceded by significant airstrikes and counter offensives from the IDF, leading to the death of over 1,400 Palestinians and the displacement of more than 330,000. Even before these events, the region faced critical shortages of essential resources such as clean water, electricity, and healthcare services. The situation further escalated when Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered the cessation of fuel, water, and medical supplies, in preparation for a “complete siege” of Gaza, calling in 300,000 IDF reservists to the border. The resulting shutdown of Gaza's only power plant indicates an impending blackout that threatens to disrupt vital services, from basic water purification to medical care. Given these circumstances and the potential for a ground offensive, there are growing concerns about the ability of Palestinians to communicate their situation to the global community.

Read more about peace studies and state sovereignty in Ethics & International Affairs:

Sharing Responsibility: The History and Future of Protection from Atrocities (2022: 36-2)

The State's Imperial Shadows (2021: 35-4)

Lengthening the Shadow of International Law (2020: 34-2)

Yes campaign table for the 2023 Australian Indigenous Voice referendum. Photo Credit: Sam Wilson via Wikimedia Commons

The Guardian: Australians look set to vote against plan for Indigenous voice to parliament

As Australia prepares for a pivotal referendum on integrating an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory body into its constitution, the nation finds itself grappling with deep-seated political divides. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese champions the proposal as a constructive step forward, yet a powerful conservative backlash threatens its adoption. Current polling indicates a lead for the "No" campaign, driven by a blend of mainstream conservative narratives, indigenous political voices, and far-right populism. Meanwhile, the Australian Labor Party's (ALP) centrist strategy backing the "Yes" campaign has faced criticism, especially amid Australia's ongoing cost-of-living crisis. This referendum not only spotlights Australia's internal struggles with its colonial past and present socio-political dynamics but also underscores the ALP's challenges in resonating with an evolving electorate.

Read more about indigenous determination and social justice in Ethics & International Affairs:

Toward a Global Water Ethic: Learning from Indigenous Communities (2018: 32-3)

Introduction: Representing Vulnerable Communities and Future Generations in the Face of Climate Change (2022: 36-2)

Introduction: Democratizing Global Justice (2022: 36-3)

"Israel Stands with Ukraine" rally at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, corresponding with Volodymyr Zelenskyy's online address to the Knesset. Photo Credit: Oren Rozen via Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times: As World's Eyes Shift, Ukraine and Russia Look to Sway Opinions

In the aftermath of Hamas' attacks on October 7th, Ukraine has swiftly positioned itself in solidarity with Israel and its government, suggesting that Russia might exploit the situation to estrange Ukraine from its supporting nations. Russian officials argue that the Gaza conflict underscores the inadequacy of Western, particularly U.S., policies in the region. Ukraine's military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, insinuates that Russia provided Hamas with weapons obtained from Ukraine, further painting Russia as a destabilizing actor in the Israel-Hamas conflict. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has been vocal in supporting Israel, further aligning himself with western allies in a strong condemnation of Iran’s connection to Hamas; Iran has supplied thousands of drones to Russia in the last year of the invasion. This has allowed Ukraine to highlight connections between Hamas, Iran, and Russia, strengthening its ties with Western leaders, yet the Israel-Hamas conflict has also overshadowed Ukraine's own struggles, potentially weakening broader international support.

Read more about war studies & interventionism in Ethics & International Affairs:

Taking Measure of the UN’s Legacy at Seventy-Five (2020: 34-3)

Russia and the Liberal World Order (2018: 32-1)

Introduction: Alternatives to War (2018: 32-3)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ("National Volunteer Organization") demonstration waving the bhagwa dhwaj ("saffron flag"). Photo Credit: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh via Flickr

TIME: How India’s Hindu nationalists are weaponizing history against Muslims

India is experiencing a noticeable rise in Hindu nationalism and anti-Muslim violence. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has links to the far-right paramilitary group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an organization promoting Hindu nationalism despite no historical role in India's independence movement. Over the years, some leaders associated with these groups have expressed strong views on India's Muslims, who make up 14 percent of the total population. For instance, BJP policies have emphasized a certain historical revisionism regarding the Mughal dynasty, such as changes in the representation of the Taj Mahal in tourist materials and modifications to school textbooks about the Mughal era. With the increasing incitement of religious violence and nationalism, the BJP could face difficulties cooperating with primarily Muslim neighbors like Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Read more about state identity and religious values in Ethics & International Affairs:

India and the International Order: Accommodation and Adjustment (2018: 32-1)

Secessionist Conflict: A Happy Marriage between Norms and Interests? (2019: 33-1)

Innocents Abroad? Liberal Educators in Illiberal Societies (2015: 29-2)