The anticipated onslaught against Israel whose only crime was defending her citizens against thousands of rockets fired by Hamas has already begun. Despite being the defender in this war, a choir of familiar Israel bashers began firing their opening salvos. In an August article in Foreign Policy, known Israel critics like former President Jimmy Carter, and the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, began the barrage.
They argue, "There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe. There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes."
Then, in vintage Carter style after savaging Israel, he and Robinson throw Israel a line but barely a line. "This is true for both sides. Hamas's indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable." Continuing on with their one sided attack, they said, "However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously."
Not a word from Carter or Robinson acknowledging that this conflict like all the others had the imprimatur of Khaled Mashaal. That in fact, it was Hamas's war, that it was their money and their terrorist, Hossam Kawasmeh, who organized and plotted the kidnapping and murdered three innocent Israeli teenagers. It was their hundreds of rockets fired at 80 percent of Israel's population centers that forced the IDF to do what every country would do, respond. It was not Israel's drones and F16's who displaced hundreds of thousands of Gazans, it was the Palestinians who belong to Hamas and Islamic Jihad who betrayed their fellow citizens who had voted for them in such large numbers in 2006 and who are now forcing them into the streets and into public shelters.
Just as it was Mashaal and Haniya's followers who deliberately used Gazans as human shields who were filmed by both French 24 TV and India NDTV crews placing rocket launchers and firing them meters from heavily populated communities and schools knowing full well that Israel would return fire. Carter and Robinson are right. Gaza is a humanitarian catastrophe, thanks to Hamas. Had they abandoned terrorism when Israel withdrew unilaterally in 2005 and chosen a different path, there would be no need to divert cement for the terror tunnels because the Gaza border would have been open to all. Let our ill-conceived altruism not conceal the fact that even in a thousand years from now, wars will still not be fought with perfect vision.
There is something very wrong with our world where the founders of terrorism are recognized as diplomats and peacemakers, while those who confront and resist them are brought to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. If Jimmy Carter's myopic view that the Israeli response to the firing of thousands of rockets by terrorists at Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem which included warnings by leaflets and phone calls, constituted a crime, then by that standard every war ever waged by the civilized world would be criminal. By those narrow laws of collateral damage, limiting the response of victims of naked aggression only the perpetrators of wars would be the winners. Such illogical rules would put the WWII Allies in the docket for defending themselves against the aggression of a tyrannical regime and saving the lives of millions of people by carpet bombing the cities of Nazi Germany and causing much civilian collateral damage.
Indeed it was two of the foremost leaders of the 'greatest generation' who made it crystal clear just how the civilized world should respond to attacks launched by Hitler's Third Reich .
On 10 May 1942, Winston Churchill warned; "I wish now to make it plain that we shall treat the unprovoked use of poison gas against our Russian ally exactly as if it were used against ourselves, and if we are satisfied that this new outrage has been committed by Hitler, we will use our great and growing air superiority in the west to carry gas warfare on the largest possible scale far and wide upon the towns and cities of Germany." This was followed on June 8, 1943, by Franklin D. Roosevelt; "We promise to any perpetrators of such crimes full and swift retaliation in kind and I feel obliged now to warn the Axis armies and the Axis peoples, in Europe and in Asia, that the terrible consequences of any use of these inhumane methods on their part will be brought down swiftly and surely upon their own heads." It's a good thing that Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson and U.N. Human Rights Council were not sitting in judgment at Nuremberg applying their own logic and standards, because by those false and misguided regulations, the 'greatest generation' would have been in the docket at Nuremberg as well.
Rabbi Marvin Hier is the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center