Vlad asked my opinion on his piece, my republishing it is a direct thumbs up approval of his most excellent response to the boiler plate anti-Israel mumbo jumbo bromides offered by ”Sue”.
Israel, Hamas and moral equivalence.
A woman posting as ‘Sue’ wrote a comment on the current Israel/Hamas conflict under the post of the forged Netenyahu speech posted yesterday at this site.
Her comment struck me as being so typical of many of the misconceptions that are now the common form of thought, especially amongst university students but in general for many people that I thought it was worth offering a decent answer.
Since I posted my original answer perhaps an hour or so ago, several videos have appeared that deal with a similar issue. So I will post links to them below the text.
First, Sue’s questions:
How can anyone thing war is good? Killing children good?
In the past 11 years, rocket fire from Gaza has claimed 17 Israeli lives; in the past three days, Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed at least 81 Palestinians, among them 22 children-and over 550 injured as a result of the air force dropping hundreds of bombs. A driver for journalists was killed, as were Palestinians watching the World Cup at a beach coffee shop.
Israel has an absolute right to self defense but The Occupation is wrong. It is akin to apartheid as John Kerry alluded during the negotiations. The United States should make it clear we do not support apartheid and The Occupation through economic and political sanctions.
I hope that you will show the patience in reading my reply, that I will show in writing it. This may take a while.
1. Thinking of war as good or not I find kind of childish. The question is, will war obtain the objective or goal more effectively or more economically than some other method? Once you establish that, the next question is, what is the objective you feel you need to achieve? That part certainly should be judged for its moral or ethical value.
Hamas, as well as all islamic groups, as far as I can tell, in the world, has as it’s objective, the extinction of the Jewish people beginning with the destruction of a Jewish state in the middle of a sea of totalitarian Islamic rule. The fact that muslims who live in Israel have more rights, more freedoms, prefer to live in Israel than anywhere else (Israel does have the right of exit unlike North Korea, the former Soviet Union etc) gives some idea of the ethical nature of Israel as a classically liberal state.
I am not saying that Hamas and Islamic groups seek the extinction of Jews by the way. They are. From their various charters (The Hamas charter for one) to their most sacred scriptures to the chants muslims make across the world expressing this desire. The Kybar chant most famously. You will not, by contrast, hear Jewish groups chant for the extinction of all Arabs or muslims, although I myself would like to see the ideology of Islam vanish from the face of the Earth, there are no groups that seek this. You will hear Jewish people and groups chant for the right to their own survival often however and for the survival for their one tiny state. Am Israel Chi I think is the chant.
This would suggest that the two sides do not have morally equivalent reasons for fighting. One seeks the extinction of the other, while the other wishes to continue to exist.
At this point it bears mentioning that Israel has the military capacity to eliminate the threat to itself utterly and completely in about 25 minutes from whenever they want.
The end of the Palestinian threat is one red button push away. For that matter, the end of the Iranian threat, Saudi and so on. Unofficially, the Israelis have had this capacity since the 1950s. But they have never used it nor have they even threatened it, and even when horrifically attacked by enemies, they have not resorted to WMD’s.
I think it is safe to assume that even you know, if the enemies of Israel had a nuke they would use it against Israel at first opportunity.
So this should cover the notion of the goodness of war somewhat. Basically the idea of war being bad is what held the allies back from stopping Hitler before he started something so big it cost 50 million dead and an incalculable cost to civilization. It was in fact, the peace freaks that multiplied the horror of WW2 by 10,000X. Had they just read Mein Kampf and saw what Hitler was doing they could have moved in before he took Czechoslovakia.
2. Killing children as a good thing.
If you have been paying attention to this conflict and frankly all the other ones with muslims on one or both sides, the Israelis have been doing everything in their power not only to save their own children but actually costing themselves opportunity, blood and treasure in their own defense trying not to kill children of the people in Gaza. You may also notice that Muslims, especially in Gaza but ISIS and Al-Qaeda as well have been slaughtering children for being spies or whatever reason, infidels and so on, or have been turning their own children into suicide-bombers feeling this was a great and noble thing to do. There are many MEMRI videos with interviews on this subject from across the islamic world.
Take your time and watch them. Palestinian Media Watch also shows kindergaartens full of kids leaning the art of killing Jews and wearing explosives and training for both killing and dying. I would argue this shows a different ethos than yours. At least I hope so. So lets take that off the table as its too easily demonstrated who thinks killing kids is good, and who thinks its bad.
Now we come to 3. Your idea that a score can be kept of the dead as a moral compass and that the side with the higher number of kills must be the more morally inferior.
I have to say that is a false idea. The question is always who was killed and why, not how many. If a column of 5000 jihadis were marching on a town of 200 people with the intention of killing all the men and old people and taking the young women as life long sex slaves (and yes, historically this happened a lot as well as now in Africa) and then taking the town for Islam, I would be perfectly OK if those townsfolk could hit a button and wipe those jihadis off the face of the earth till not even the stench of them remained.
Seriously, i would donate money to see that happen.
This is because there is no moral equivalence between offense and defense. That a people should have the moral right to do whatever it is in their power to do to defend themselves from that kind of aggression. Because this is a natural truth even to muslims, islam developed complex rhetorical devices to convince each other and their victims that what they do when they attack you, is defending their faith. That is, that by killing you or enslaving you or subjecting you to sharia law, they are defending themselves and their religion against you, because you would stop them from doing it. So their offense is defensive, if you can follow that logic without an Aspirin.
Now the matter of collateral damage. I will concede the part that claims people who should not have suffered did in Israeli response to the hundreds and hundreds of rockets fired at civilian infrastructure, elementary schools and so on and point out that in the entire history of warfare around the world the amount of collateral damage that has been done is so massive that it is measured in the millions when not in the hundreds of thousands. The fact that you can in this case, actually find the individual names and occupations of all the people who may have suffered in this way is the best, yes the best possible testament to the compassion of the IDF.
Again, seriously. I mean that.
Tell me about the people in the last 4 hours that Al-Qaeda, Al Shabab, and other Muslim Brotherhood groups have murdered in Africa and the Middle East and the Maghreb. Tell me their names and occupations. And when you can’t remind yourself that they were not collateral damage but the actual intended targets of these groups. They meant to murder as many people as they could and the weakest people they could. And why? Because of Ishaq:326
“If you come upon them, deal so forcibly as to terrify those who would follow, that they may be warned. Make a severe example of them by terrorizing Allah’s enemies.”
Many more examples of Islam’s scriptural justification for the use of terror can be found with a simple google search. Try the keywords: ‘Allah has made me victorious with terror’
So once again, your choice of examples to try and draw moral equivalence is, shall we say, baseless.
I am curious to know what exactly you mean by ‘the occupation’ and before you answer you better make sure there is no other country on earth with a similar enough circumstance about which you do not use that phrase and have never objected. I also recommend that you read some articles or watch some videos by black men who actually lived under South African Apartheid and then try and explain how that is the case in Israel for anyone at all.
While you do that consider this.
A Jewish man buys land from a muslim man who is the rightful owner. The deed is legal and all is free and voluntary as the Jewish man is offering more money than the land would be worth on an open market. The muslim man’s family finds out about the sale and then murders the muslim man who sold his property to the Jewish man and then proceeds to claim that the Jewish man has no right to live on land claimed to be for muslims.
And now I would like to ask you:
Exactly how is this Apartheid applied?
If you read this far, thank you for your patience.
Below the MORE, a couple of SUN videos from today which also deal with moral equivalence: