A moral war

Few of the voices slamming Israel for conducting an "immoral" war in Gaza are those of pacifists.

By
January 4, 2009 22:31
3 minute read.
A moral war

IDF Jenin brilliant 224.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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For pacifists who believe that all wars are immoral, Israel's self-defense operation against Hamas in Gaza is necessarily wrong. To such people we invoke the 18th-century philosopher Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Confronted by a movement that amalgamates fascism with religious extremism and a genocidal platform, our moral imperative demands Jewish self-defense. Few of the voices slamming Israel for conducting an "immoral" war in Gaza are those of pacifists. Take Riyad Mansour, Mahmoud Abbas's man at the UN. He claimed on CNN that "3,000 Palestinians had been killed or injured" in Gaza, then denounced Israel's "targeting 1.5 million Palestinians" as "immoral" and a "crime against humanity." Even as Mansour was pontificating, Hamas gunmen in Gaza were shooting Fatah activists in the knees as a preventive security measure lest they take advantage of the unstable situation. In the West Bank, meanwhile, Mansour's Fatah has been ruthlessly hunting down Hamas members to keep the Islamists from seizing power there when Abbas's presidential term expires next week. Far from there being "3,000 killed and wounded," more like 500 have been killed - 400 of them Hamas "militants," according to Palestinian Arab and UN sources inside Gaza cited by the Associated Press. Israeli sources put the Palestinian civilian death toll at some 50. Pointing this out does not diminish the dreadful loss of dozens of innocent Palestinian lives in a week's worth of fighting. It does show, however, that the IDF continues to do everything possible to avoid "collateral damage." But its prime mandate is to protect the lives of Israeli civilians and minimize risks to our citizen-soldiers. Over the weekend, glitterati including Annie Lennox and Bianca Jagger joined tens of thousands of mostly Muslim protesters in rallies held worldwide against the Israeli "genocide." In fact, we'd be surprised if any other army currently on the battlefield is more conscientious about avoiding civilian casualties. Before it attacks and whenever possible, the IDF leaflets, telephones or sends text messages to residents of buildings used to launch rockets at our territory, warning them of the impending air-strike. Conversely, what sort of "resistance" movement deliberately uses mosques, schools and homes as weapons depots and rocket launching pads? Answer: one that also uses its children and women as human shields. AMONG those troubled by Israel's actions are Jews whose connections to things Jewish are limited to the occasional bagel or lox sandwich. They too march to make clear they're nothing like those pitiless Israelis. "As a Jew, it is very moving to see so many people… outraged at Israel's actions," said comedian Alexei Sayle, who was raised in a strictly orthodox Communist Liverpool household. Not all uncomfortable Jews are cut off from the community. Take Isaac Luria - not the ancient kabbalist, but the young Internet director of J Street, which is devoted to redefining what it means to be pro-Israel. Luria thinks that the IDF is "pushing the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict further down a path of never-ending violence." He's strictly against "raining rockets on Israeli families" (this is bad, he knows, because he spent a year in Israel), but "there is nothing 'right' in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them." Wouldn't it be more intellectually honest to admit that Palestinian suffering is mostly self-inflicted? And that Hamas's anti-Israel agenda is wildly popular among Gaza's masses? And doesn't Luria owe it to himself to look a little closer at the nature of the Israeli military response. The folks at J Street believe "there is no military solution to what is fundamentally a political conflict...." Hamas would beg to differ. Indeed, Hamas has been trying to prove the contrary, forcing Israel's hand. What Israel's critics need to understand is that there can be no political solution while we are under Palestinian bombardment. Those who are sincere about fostering coexistence should stop bashing the IDF and start telling the Palestinians: Stop the violence.

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