by Bruce S. Thorton // FrontPage Magazine
Israel’s military operation to degrade Hamas’ ability to rain rockets down on Israeli cities has stirred up the usual noisy and nasty protests in Europe. We need not dwell on demonstrations by Muslim immigrants, whose genocidal Jew-hatred has been an Islamic tradition for 14 centuries. More revealing is the hatred of Israel by so many Europeans, ranging from leftover leftists and idealizers of the dark-skinned “other,” to far-right xenophobes and morally addled Christians. Whatever its origins, one thing their bitter hatred of Israel does not have is any foundation in coherent principle.
Take the displeasure aroused by the continually publicized disparity in deaths between Gazans and Israelis in the current ground operation to stop the rockets. Many critics seem affronted that Israel has taken great pains to protect its citizens by building bomb shelters and developing the Iron Dome anti-missile defenses, and so have suffered only 2 civilian deaths. They see the videos of dead Palestinian Arab children and blame those deaths on Israel’s “disproportionate response” instead of Hamas’ indifference to their own people’s safety. They ignore Hamas’s tactic of using their own women and children as human shields, ordering them not to flee the fighting, and storing explosives and munitions in tunnels under mosques, hospitals, apartment buildings, and schools, subterranean space that could be used to protect their people. They wink at Hamas’ conscious aim to engineer such casualties in order to create the “propaganda of the deed,” the purpose of which is to elicit precisely the uncritical condemnations of Israel that European useful idiots reflexively provide. They disregard Israel’s unprecedented efforts to warn civilians that bombs are headed their way––phoning them on cell phones and land-lines, sending text messages, scattering leaflets, and dropping warning duds on the roofs of targets. And of course, the Israel-haters don’t care that Israel’s actions are always a defensive response to terrorist aggression.
So what’s the underlying principle behind criticisms of “disproportionate” actions and casualties? That tactical and matériel advantages in war are unfair? A war is not a game like golf, where an inferior player is given a handicap when he plays a better opponent. The objective is to stop the aggression and save lives, using all the resources at your disposal. Do you think during WWII that anyone gave a damn about “disproportionate” casualties? Japanese bombs killed 74 U.S. civilians during WWII, 68 at Pearl Harbor and an Oregon family of 6 killed by a booby-trapped balloon. The U.S. bombing of Japan killed 500,000. Those are the tragic wages of aggression, what Aeschylus meant when he said, “The doer suffers.”
But the obsession with Palestinian Arab casualties, nearly all of them the consequence of Arab aggression and callous disregard for even their own families, is just another expression of the irrational hatred of Israel. If one calculated, just based on the global media’s intense coverage, how many Arabs have died because of Israel’s defense of its people, you’d think the conflict has taken the lives of millions. In fact, since WWII, 41 million people have died in violent conflicts all over the world––but about 40,000 Arabs have died at the hands of Israel, most the result of 3 wars of aggression waged against the Jewish state. Meanwhile, 11 million Muslims have died in other conflicts, 90% of them killed by fellow Muslims. Indeed, even as international critics are devoting hours of coverage to the casualties in Gaza, tens of thousands of Muslims are dying in Syria and Iraq at the hands of other Muslims. Nor is Israel the premier non-Muslim killer of Muslims. If killing Muslims is an excuse for homicidal hatred, there are much grosser offenders than Israel. Russia killed 100,000 Muslims during the 1979-89 Afghan war, and more recently slaughtered about 150,000 Chechnyans, most of them Muslims. But Russia doesn’t receive a fraction of the global hatred and opprobrium Israel suffers when it defends itself against terrorists like Hamas and Fatah.
Then there are the Israel-hater’s complaints about the “illegal occupation.” This phrase is meaningless, of course, since there has never been a modern nation in Judea and Samaria to occupy according international law, and the territory historically was the Jewish homeland for centuries. But those facts aside, how can anyone take seriously complaints about “occupation” coming from Muslims, one of history’s all-time conquerors and occupiers? Muslims occupied Christian Spain, Sicily, the Balkans, and Greece for centuries. And North Africa, Egypt, and the coast of the eastern Mediterranean are still being “occupied,” the original possessors of those lands, if they managed to survive, still subjugated by the descendants of occupiers and colonists. Nor do decriers of “occupation” say anything about Tibet, occupied by China since 1950, or northern Cyprus, illegally occupied by Turkey since 1974. If a principle exists that “occupation” of another people’s land is a legitimate reason to hound and demonize a country, then why the silence about Turkey and China?
So too with the usual harping on the “Palestinian refugees” who were allegedly ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948, and whose “right of return” has been the perennial deal-breaker preventing peace with Israel. Forget that most willingly fled the conflict, egged on by their so-called “leaders” who promised that they could return to loot Israel once Allah’s armies had prevailed. Forget that, unlike every other refugee group, their ethnic and religious brothers have left them to rot in squalid slums, and refused to integrate them into their own countries. Forget that they are the only group of refugees out of millions to have their very own U.N. agency. If creating refugees is such a heinous crime justifying inveterate hatred, what about the 800,000 Jewish refugees kicked out of lands their ancestors had inhabited for thousands of years before Islam even existed? Or how about the ethnic cleansing of 180,000 Greek Cypriots from northern Cyprus, their land taken by 150,000 Turkish “settlers”? Does anyone even remember the 10 million Germans forcibly removed from Eastern Europe after WWII, at the cost of a million dead? What makes the Palestinian Arabs, who were turned into refugees because of the aggression of their Arab brothers, so special that they have become the permanent wards of the U.N. and international charity, their existence the pretext for international Jew-hatred and terrorist violence?
On count after count, the reasons for hating Israel collapse. In fact, even if every slander and lie about Israel were true, it would still be way down on the list of global offenders, and the hatred directed against it vastly disproportionate. Ideology, not principle or fact, explains this hatred. As a liberal democracy with an economy more capitalist than socialist, Israel is necessarily the enemy of the left, its success like America’s a humiliating reproach to a failed ideology. Those same leftists, still addled by old Leninist obsessions over “imperialism” and “colonialism,” have turned Israel into a neo-imperial outpost of the West appropriating the resources and oppressing the lives of the “indigenous” peoples. A sentimental Third-Worldism that idealizes the dark-skinned “other” victimized by the racist West also finds in the Palestinian Arabs yet another exotic mascot that signifies these Westerners’ superior sensitivity and cosmopolitan sophistication. And the juvenile romanticizing of revolutionary violence and guerrilla “resistance” attracts the same people who hang Che Guevara posters over their beds, and name streets after the vicious cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Finally, there is no question that hatred of Israel reflects the continuing existence of anti-Semitism in Europe, intensified by millions of Muslim immigrants for whom hating Israel is theologically justified. As the generation responsible for the Holocaust dies off, as the current generation grows increasingly tired of guilt for atrocities they had nothing to do with, and as the Holocaust becomes just another distant historical attraction in the museum circuit, a space is created for a return of anti-Semitism, one disguised as “anti-Zionism” and “compassion” for the suffering of “Palestinians.” The “Jew of nations,” Israel is burdened with all the old slanders and bigoted stereotypes, now given a patina of leftist ideology and sentimental Third-Worldism. But it is still the same old ancient evil.
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