Tuesday 27 November 2012

Cos we’re worth it

One reason being offered by huge numbers of people for condemning Israel and siding with the Palestinians during Operation Pillar of Defence was that “Israel started it” by breaking a “ceasefire”, or at any rate ending a lull in the ongoing hostilities, by:
i) the assassination of Jabari, who was supposed to be ‘in the middle of negotiating a plan for peace’. 
ii) assassinations of various Palestinians including one ‘mentally disabled’ Palestinian man and a 13 year old boy.

When it became clear to everyone except Owen Jones and other anti-Israel-activists that the operation was in retaliation for a largely unreported barrage of rockets from Gaza aimed at Israeli citizens, other theories took off and  ‘trended’. 
A common theory with BBC pundits was that the Israeli Prime Minister was deliberately posing as a hard and steadfast leader because of the Israeli elections.

The main justification for condemning Israel remained the same; the 'disproportionate' theory, namely that there were many more casualties in Gaza than in Israel.

Throughout the conflict, long-held myths (tropes) re-emerged as further justification for condemning Israel. Top of the list remains the number of children killed. Thereafter, in no particular order:

a) Stolen Land, 
b) Settlements, 
c) Arms supplied to Israel by America. 
d) Apartheid state.
e) Siege
f) Brutal occupation
g) Violations of International law, various.
h) Political racist motives

All these accusations have been leveled at Israel, in various BBC broadcasts, from a variety of people, in a variety of programmes. Occasionally, in Israel’s defence, we heard about:

a) Iran
b) Rockets coming into Israel
c) That the operation was retaliatory.

The most oft-quoted justification for condemning Israel was the number of Palestinian civilian and child victims. The figures, including the ratio of fighters to civilians given by Palestinians were taken, trustingly, at face value. The tactic of rocket-launching from sites amongst children and civilians was excused by quoting the easily (Google) verifiable falsehood that Gaza is the most heavily populated place on the planet, and the absence of shelters provided for Palestinian civilians was cited as an unfair disadvantage about which nothing could possibly be done; not by Hamas, not by Allah.

There is a generally accepted assumption that Israel must never harm a Palestinian child, whatever the provocation, coupled with resentment that Israelis do have the shelters that neither Allah nor the Palestinian government has provided for the poor Palestinians.

Some of the solutions I’ve heard offered: Equality should be established by curtailing Israel’s military superiority, reducing Israel’s bomb shelters and complying with the Palestinians’ demands for unrestricted access to and from Israel etc.

The theory seems to be that peace will be achieved by: Dismantling Jewish settlements, giving ‘stolen’ land and ‘stolen homes’ to several million Palestinian refugees and their descendants; in other words a  Jew-free Palestinian state alongside a Jewish minority Israel. 

They see no connection between the rise of Islamism in the Arab world, and Israel’s current difficulties with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran as well as those on the horizon from the newly Islamised Arab and African countries.

When it comes to Israel everyone seems to abandon reason. Showing pictures of dead or injured children is enough of an argument to silence people who dare to speak up for Israel. 

Unfortunately the go-to website Harry’s Place seems to be down at the moment, but before that happened I read an impressive guest post by the HP commenter ‘Mettaculture’.

Reading the comments below the article I misread “Write a comment” as “Write a compliment” which, given the merits of the piece, seemed, even in my confusion, an unnecessary demand.
He patiently unravelled the kind of  tangled up thoughts constantly buzzing around our brains.

Broaching Israel’s experimental withdrawal from Gaza, the author quoted Max Boot’s reasons for supporting this strategy, pre-withdrawal, and his subsequent, post-withdrawal analysis of the reasons for its failure. When weighing up the pros and cons he had questioned whether, in the overall scheme of things, it was ‘worth’ jeopardising the lives of Israeli soldiers, just for the sake of protecting the well-being of 8,000 Jews trying to exist amongst a million hostile Arabs in Gaza.
As it turned out, as far as securing any improvement in Arab/Israeli relations was concerned, the withdrawal was as futile as the jeopardising. At the present time, people who admit that nothing less than Israel’s elimination will satisfy Hamas are asking the same question about Israel’s very existence.

The worrying thing about the HP article is that it was written in response to an earlier pro-Palestinian piece by Peter Tatchell.  Thoughtful, eloquent and articulate as Mettaculture’s arguments were, in the overall scheme of things, who cares what nonsense Peter Tatchell  decides to believe? The real problem is that too many others, including a large number of our MPs  believe it too.

Is Israel’s continuing presence in the Middle East worth all this trouble and strife?

Extrapolate it and despair. Would dismantling the Jewish state, even in the unlikely event that  all the practicalities could be somehow resolved, appease the Islamists once and for all?  Or, to put it another way, is it worth jeopardising everyone in the western world by resisting what they see as the thin end of a future world-wide Islamic caliphate wedge? Why not just cave in? Lie down and die.

The failed experiment in Gaza demonstrated that moral superiority won’t bring about peace. Not only that, but as long as the blindness to Islamist  ideology continues to erode our ability to think, moral superiority wouldn’t even be recognised as moral superiority, but as weakness, 
Here is Pat Condell, saying what Mettaculture said, but in a slightly different way.

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