Don’t blame Israel

When a person takes bold action to prevent calamity in their personal lives—say, saving cash when they are unsure how long they will keep their job—we call these things “pro-active” or “prudent.”

When a person takes bold action to prevent calamity in their personal lives—say, saving cash when they are unsure how long they will keep their job—we call these things “pro-active” or “prudent.”

Nearly a million Israelis in southern Israel have been in range of the 7,200 missiles courtesy of Hamas since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, fleeing to bomb shelters upon the alarm.

But when Israel responds to a threat that is immediate and has promised to worsen, media, world opinion and even our own college campus call it “oppression,” “massacre,” “disproportionate” and the king of all—”genocide.”

All miss the point. All show media and college bias in favor of the almighty world opinion—primarily that of the U.N. and its member nations. 

Many leaders, including France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, have called Israel’s attacks “disproportionate.” And the Palestinian death toll is often used to blame Israel for attacking with the “upper hand”—and calling the fight unfair.

But Israel must fight before the fight is fair—before Hamas can hit Tel Aviv. Fair fights are the romance of duels. Proportionate response is for legal systems. Winning is for wars and ending threats.

I’m not sure if Hamas could be clearer about what threat it hopes to pose, carrying coffins on which “Death to Israel” was written right outside the U.N. building Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited in Gaza. Yet the man still talks only of Palestinian devastation and grief and Israel’s “disproportionate” response.

And again, quoting Palestinian civilian deaths, media largely has ignored that Hamas uses civilians as shields, firing from schools, hospitals and residential areas. Hamas hasn’t provided any bomb shelters for its people.

In fact, Hamas destroyed anything good that Israel left behind during the 2005 withdrawal—Israeli farmers had built productive greenhouses, leaving them intact for Palestinian farmers.

But Hamas destroyed them all. Sounds like a group with its people’s best interest in mind, huh?

Now, the U.N. apparently is stuck with footing the food bills—about 80 percent right now. So the U.N. is feeding Hamas. Meanwhile Gaza has no room for its Jewish population and Israel remains pluralistic.

A brief NBC news piece last week showed five minutes of Israeli air strikes and mourning Palestinians when a U.N. embassy was hit—but with no mention of what might have been there, nor the fact that the Hamas likes to use civilians as shields.

Nor did it mention the suppression of internal dissent by murder; Hamas notably just carried out “punishment shootings” on its rival Fatah—calling them collaborators with Israel.

An Associated Press article by Steven Gutkin says, “Israel must also do something for the Palestinians who live [in Gaza].”

Okay, here’s some of what Israel has done, and what oft remains unsaid:

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warned neighborhoods they were entering far in advance. They warned areas they were going to bomb and invade, dropping leaflets. This is more than the 15 seconds Sderot residents had upon the alarm’s sound.

And Israel provided humanitarian relief to Gaza, and allowed relief workers in, halting strikes. It might be more effective to deny it, but Israel (maybe to its danger) is not callous enough. Israel opened a border medical center to help care for injured Gazans.

But roughly a third of the articles in The New York Times over the last month focused not on the conflict, but on Gaza—its devastation, its deaths, its mourning—often with genuinely sad pictures.

One article dripped in despair: “The destruction was so complete … that it looked surreal. Even the animals were confused.” Agreed, a sad price to pay—but animals?

World opinion—and what I have seen in displays, flyers and articles at Portland State, all have a short memory. Besides more than 8,000 Israelis wounded, more than 1,000 killed (mostly in suicide bombings) and the destruction of hundreds of buildings by rockets, Hamas’ stated goal is the destruction of Israel.

War is tragic, but only Israel receives such unequal treatment in the media and world opinion.

As of last year, a worldwide opinion poll showed only Iran viewed more negatively than Israel. Who then can take the world’s opinion seriously? And how many countries would plan “to take appropriate responsibility for the civilian casualties,” as professor and IDF member Michael Oren says (remarkably low, by urban warfare standards)?

Just as terrible is the notion of any moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel. Both are condemned in the same sentences by political leaders, so it must be some sort of racism that pities Hamas. How else could you try to compare it to Israel’s actions?

By sympathetically tracing Hamas and its supporters’ actions to Gaza’s poverty, then you have lowered your expectations for an entire people—as if they couldn’t help it or control themselves.

That, amidst Israel’s incursion into Gaza, Malaysian leaders actually encouraged the boycott of American goods shows all too clearly that the Qassam missiles are about much more than closed borders, and Israel is hated in part because of its relationship with the U.S.