lady justice 88.
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Justice, it is often said, must not only be done, but must be seen to be done. Unfortunately, in the Western world, especially in left-wing circles, the appearance of justice is often all that matters. The actual doing of justice is scorned if it places one against the side anointed by the Left.
One of the easiest ways of appearing just in western society is by taking the side of the "other." This requires no serious investigation or intellectual rigor. After all, if you're taking a position that seemingly goes against yourself, you must be concerned only with what is right.
This effortless way to be seen as just is seized upon across the western world by students and professors, opinion makers, members of legislative bodies and NGOs, and is prevalent among Jewish students who want to fit in on campuses and Israeli academics, journalists and jurists who want to find favor with their American and European counterparts.
But all those who argue that their position on the Middle East is motivated by considerations of justice must be able to pass the Lady Justice Test. Lady Justice, a bindfolded woman holding the biblically mandated balanced scales, symbolizes the fact that justice must be meted out without fear or favor, regardless of the identity, power or weakness of the opposing sides. Thus, Lady Justice would require that one's views on the Arab-Israeli conflict be the same if the Arabs and Jews swapped positions in every key respect.
It is here that the ethical bona fides of Israel's critics and those who argue that justice demands Israel assume additional risks collapse. The Left cannot pass the Lady Justice Test.
ASSUME THE FOLLOWING: The Jews have 21 largely despotic states stretching over 13,000,000 square miles with a population of over 300 million. Most of these Jewish states prohibit any religion other than Judaism. In fact, virtually all Arabs - close to 900,000 - were expelled from these Jewish countries and their property seized. The Jews allow their own people few freedoms, with most women treated abominably.
In the midst of the 21 Jewish states is one tiny, fiercely democratic and open Arab state - let's call it Arabee - consisting of five million Arabs. The Jewish states have 650 times more territory than Arabee. The expelled Arabs fled to Arabee, where they were resettled by their brethren.
The Arabs had been viciously persecuted outside Arabee throughout history, including by the Jews, who treated them, in the best of cases, like dhimmi - a subjugated class. One-third of the world's Arab population was brutally slaughtered 65 years ago, during which time a chief Jewish religious figure was a guest in the country that led the slaughter, urging that the attempted genocide of the world's Arabs be brought to the Middle East. While Jews also lived in Arabee for centuries (as they did throughout the Middle East), they never created anything resembling a state there, or much else for that matter. Throughout history, only the Arabs had ever been sovereign in Arabee. In fact, only when the Arabs started returning to Arabee after a 2,000-year exile did Jews in turn start moving there in large numbers.
Seven Jewish states tried to destroy Arabee in its infancy. During that war, about 500,000 Jews fled Arabee at the urging of Jewish leaders. But to this day, with rare exceptions, the Jewish states have refused to integrate any of those who fled, or their descendants. Over the past 61 years, various combinations of Jewish states have continued to wage war against Arabee, and Jewish terror organizations have been engaged in an unrelenting 140-year war to uproot any Arab presence in the Middle East.
A few years ago, Arabee withdrew its army and uprooted all its citizens from one of the areas claimed by both Jews and Arabs. The international community purchased from Arabee, on behalf of the Jews, state-of-the-art hothouses built by the Arabs in the areas they withdrew from. But the Jews destroyed the hothouses and turned the agricultural areas into sites for launching missiles against the Arabs. Over 3,200 rockets and mortal shells, typically fired from civilian areas, landed in Arabee during 2008. In its response, Arabee took unprecedented measures to avoid civilian casualties. Nevertheless, Jewish civilians near the launching sites were sometimes killed.
Arabee has a population of over one million Jews. It affords its Jewish citizens full rights, with Jews having full religious freedom, access to health care and education and representation in Parliament and the Supreme Court. Another one and a half million Jews live in 40% of an area that Arabee captured 42 years ago, when three Jewish states launched another war of attempted annihilation against Arabee. This area is the cradle of Arabee's civilization. It was there that its founders lived and are buried, where its kings ruled and its prophets walked. Fifteen years ago, Arabee gave the Jews control of their own affairs in this territory. Since that time, Jewish terror attacks from this area intensified, with over 1200 Arabs killed and thousands more wounded. In the past nine years alone, around 31,000 terror attacks were carried out against Arabee.
Under these circumstances, on which side would we find the Left, especially the Jewish Left? Would we find Jews who think of themselves as liberal taking part in anti-Arabee hate-fests, writing columns and plays that present Arabee as the intransigent aggressors and the Jews as the brutalized victims, or blasting Arabee for placing Arab life and limb ahead of questionable Jewish property claims? Would we find liberal western leaders and parliamentarians or liberal journalists, academicians or college students righteously demanding that Arabee accept the 22 Jewish state solution - that Arabee shrink even further and relinquish areas that were its heartland in order to establish a 22nd Jewish state? Would the Left villainize Arabee's prime minister for refusing to yield to those demands?
I HAVE NO PROBLEM passing the Lady Justice Test. I have no designs on any of the 21 Arab states. My most menacing wish is simply that they cease their efforts to destroy the one Jewish state. Under the opposite circumstances - 21 despotic Jewish states surrounding one free and democratic Arab state - far from being involved in efforts to bring about the demise of Arabee, I would look upon it with a sense of marvel, and as a model for what I hope the 21 Jewish states could become.
The reason the Left cannot pass the Lady Justice Test is that it is not really concerned with justice. Indeed, the Left shows utter contempt for the principles of uniform standards and equality under the law. The most charitable way of explaining the Left's sheer hypocrisy is that it is clueless. Unfortunately, in most cases, the real reasons are far more damning.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is well versed in Israel's historical rights to Judea and Samaria, and in the justness of Israel's case for retaining these areas. But he seems not to have closed the door on the now-discredited notion that a peace agreement may require painful amputation. This would be a colossal error. For in a world unconcerned with Jewish rights but consumed with Arab rights, real and fictional, it would be a fatal fantasy to believe that the Arabs, with all their emphasis on power and pride, would agree to keep a 22nd Arab state demilitarized, or that the world community, including the United States, would long enforce such a limitation.
The writer is an attorney in Israel and New York.