My traffic has been down this holiday season so I thought a headline like the one above might draw the curious - and at least some liberals and far right wackos who think it an accurate statement and wish to read something with which they agree.
Sorry to disappoint, but the truth is a lot less prosaic. The fact is, even a lot of Palestinian sympathizers are wondering what the hell Hamas was thinking. The terrorists launched hundreds of rockets at Israel, trying to kill babies - hoping to kill babies - and as is their right under the UN Charter, the Jewish state is choosing to defend itself.
Even the “Blame Israel First” crowd is acknowledging these facts. So what’s the beef? Incredibly, it seems that the quality of Israel’s arms and their supremely competent air force is the problem. They are hitting back and it’s just not fair.
Hamas lacks the technology to aim its rockets. They’re taking potshots. In response, the Israeli government launched air strikes that have now killed more than 280 Palestinians, injured hundreds beyond that, and further radicalized thousands in the Occupied Territories and millions in the region. The response will not come today, of course. It will come in months, or even in years, when an angry orphan detonates a belt filled with shrapnel, killing himself and 25 Israelis. At which point the Israelis will launch air strikes killing another 70 Palestinians, radicalizing thousands more, leading to more bombings, and so the cycle continues.
The rocket attacks were undoubtedly “deeply disturbing” to Israelis. But so too are the checkpoints, the road closures, the restricted movement, the terrible joblessness, the unflinching oppression, the daily humiliations, the illegal settlement — I’m sorry, “outpost” — construction, “deeply disturbing” to the Palestinians, and far more injurious. And the 300 dead Palestinians should be disturbing to us all.
There is nothing proportionate in this response. No way to fit it into a larger strategy that leads towards eventual peace. No way to fool ourselves into believing that it will reduce bloodshed and stop terrorist attacks. It is simple vengeance. There’s a saying in the Jewish community: “Israel, right or wrong.” But sometimes Israel is simply wrong.
The idea of “proportionate response” is a favorite among liberals. It appeals to their sense of “fairness” and besides, it makes them look like statesmen. Rather than using their jets, Israel should build an airforce of Sopwith Camels and drop cowpies on the terrorists. Better still, they should ask citizens to build the Israeli version of the Kassam rocket in their basements complete with crude homemade launchers and the occasional accident that prematurely blows up and kills a few kids along the way.
Klein’s laughable thesis boils down to this; Israel refuses to commit suicide. The idea that this or any other military action should fit into a “larger strategy that leads to eventual peace” could only be uttered by someone so clueless (or dangerously naive) that they are ignorant of the fact that the only “peace” Hamas has ever indicated that it wishes from Israel is for every Jew to be lying peacefully in their grave. And they have proven this singular attitude time and time again over the years. If this sounds simplistic, it is. There is no nuance in the Palestinians desire to kill the Jews and take their land. Those who purport to see any are fools.
Somehow when Klein - or Lambchop - berates Israel for defending itself, this notion of extermination and the Palestinians refusing to recognize Israel or any Israeli’s right to exist never seems to make it into their arguments. Instead, they prattle on about Israel not fighting fair, a la Klein and his “potshot” theory. Where in God’s name do liberals get these cockamamie ideas that it is necessary for a nation under attack to restrain itself or limit its response just to please the opinion and sensibilities of critics? Any nation has a right to defend itself as it sees best - except Israel and the United States who must play by a different set of rules than their bloodthirsty adversaries. “Don’t act too beastly towards the terrorists,” is not a military strategy.
I don’t like picking on Mr. Klein who, after all, is brighter than your average liberal and seems a very nice fellow. But this kind of sophistry has to be shown up if only to highlight a certain blind spot present in many on the left who believe that no matter what the provocation, Israel should refrain from carrying out sensible military actions like trying to degrade their enemy’s ability to fire rockets at their citizens because it is not helping the peace process. Klein lists many actions Israel has taken to defend itself short of war - checkpoints, restricted movements the “joblessness” (Israel’s fault Hamas is lousy at governing?), the “unflinching oppression” (Huh?), and still criticizes the Jewish state even when they don’t send in the IDF.
Evidently, Klein believes Israel is carrying out these measures not for purposes of defense but because they enjoy oppressing the Palestinians. Indeed, Mr. Klein and his liberal think alikes believe that Israel should just sit there and take the blows delivered by Hamas and try to woo the terrorists attempting to kill them all with soft words and grandiloquent gestures.
This is the “Obama way” and it is an attitude prevelant on the left because they refuse to believe that there are people and nations on this earth where talking does no good, where dialog is used as a tactic to further war aims rather than as a means to reach a settlement of differences. Israel is under no illusions when it comes to the intent of Palestinians. Why should lefties like Klein and Greenwald create them?
And speaking of Lambchop, Robert McCain has a great takedown of Greenwald’s diatribe against the Israelis who have incurred the sock puppet’s wrath because they refuse to stand down in the face of naked agression. McCain uses General Sherman’s thoughts on war to blast Lambchop’s idiotic posturing:
Greenwald correctly asserts: “Opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute are so entrenched that any single outbreak of violence is automatically evaluated through a pre-existing lens, shaped by one’s typically immovable beliefs about which side bears most of the blame for the conflict.” And he is certainly not exempted from the effects of entrenched opinion and immovable belief, unequivocally placing himself in the Blame Israel First camp.
Are there no innocent Israelis, no “numerous children” imperiled by the haphazard Hamas rocket and mortar attacks of recent days? Did not Israel warn Hamas that a continuation of the attacks would not be tolerated? It seems to me that one must either justify the Hamas attacks or else admit Israel’s right to act in self-defense. Greenwald and other critics might argue that Israel had a right to act, but has overreacted. However, in doing so they seek to make themselves arbiters of Israeli defense policy.
Sherman’s remonstrance that “war is hell” is lost on those who insist on believing that war should be fought the 17th century way - a contest between gentlemanly combatants where both sides refrain from firing on officers else the battle would get out of control and mobs of commoners would have at each other. Israel can’t use its jets because Hamas doesn’t have any - that’s unfair, don’t you know. Israel should forswear the use of its armor or sophisticated artillery - that just wouldn’t be “proportional.”
Israel should take being showered by rockets, smile, and invite Hamas for a cup of tea - that’s the way to demonstrate seriousness in peace negotiations. The fact that Hamas is not serious about peace is never the issue. After all, why criticize someone who would laugh in your face and spit in your eye for suggesting such a ludicrous idea as “peace.?” Better to rail against the Israelis who have to listen to the US, their best and most important ally rather than be tortured with the thought that Palestinian terrorists could give a fig what you think.
If there’s anything a liberal hates it’s being ignored.