The current conflict between Hamas and Israel has been seized upon by some to be a pivotal moment to re-evaluate the United States’ posture towards our ally in the Middle East. I specifically use the word ‘ally’ because on many different levels, that is what Israel is. Before we kick our ally to the curb and abandon the only Democracy in the Middle East to Hamas, whose charter specifically calls for Israel’s destruction, it would do us all well to throw the jingoisms from both the Right and the Left in the trash and look at the situation as it presents itself to those committed to the ideals of the Enlightenment wherever they may be found today.
Much is being made of Israel’s bombing of Gaza, specifically the targets chosen by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). As of this writing a cease-fire has been brokered, but over 1,000 buildings in Gaza have been destroyed, including 17 hospitals and the offices of the Associate Press. Hamas has a long and documented history of using schools, hospitals and other “soft targets”, as they are called, to hide weapons and fighters so absent a significant ground invasion of Gaza by IDF forces, the only alternative available to Israel was to return like fire. This brings up an important point which is noticeably lacking in most of the current discussions: what triggered this current conflict? Look no further than the 4,000 or so rockets that Hamas fired into Israel indiscriminately. The goal of Hamas’s bombing efforts was to kill as many Jews as possible: Jews in hospitals, Jews in schools, Jews in old age homes, Jews sleeping in their beds, Jews wherever they may be. This fact seems to be overlooked by many, especially from many pundits on the Left, who instead actually approve of Hamas’s actions. It is interesting to read some of the Left’s screeds justifying the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians by Hamas. Internationally, over 70% of UN condemnations are directed at Israel while the systematic starvation of the Yemeni people by Saudi Arabia, the religious cleansing going on in Myanmar, China’s genocide of the Uighurs, and North Korea’s brutal treatment of its own people, to name but a few, are mostly ignored. I’d go so far to say, dear reader, that some of the above examples may have slipped your mind, all of which are far worse than anything done or alleged to have been done by the IDF. Yet, if one is to believe some of the op-eds, Israel has ignored Nietzsche’s warning about staring into the abyss and have become no different than Nazi’s.
As I said earlier, Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East and that fact alone should have every single thinking person supporting Israel against the current aggression by Hamas. This does not mean supporting the Netanyahu government’s egregious actions towards the Palestinian people but it does mean that the criticism currently being directed at Israel as a whole is misplaced. It is not the Israeli people, who are also burying their loved ones because of this horrific state of affairs, but the actions of their current government that should be the target of criticism.
The solution is to root out and destroy Hamas where ever its supporters rear their ugly head. If the IDF forces had enough intelligence to target locations where Hamas stored and launched weapons and where they gathered then a ground offensive by the IDF to root them out was and continues to be the proper response. The collateral damage, specifically the killing of Palestinian non-combatants, would be reduced significantly. This alone makes the argument for boots on the ground extremely persuasive. Those actions and policies of the Netanyahu government which cross the line of international law should be condemned by the United States quickly and forcefully. In much the same way that the rest of the world made a clear distinction between the Trump administration and the American people, the same distinction should be made between Israel’s current government and the Israeli people and the State of Israel. The current rhetoric comingles the two and smacks of anti-Semitism which is on the rise here in the US as a result of the conflict.
Finally, I’ll leave you, dear reader, with a question. If a hostile foreign power started lobbing a few hundred missiles a day into your hometown while chanting, “Death to the American pigs!”, and it turns out that some of your loved ones were killed when the Middle School was turned into a smoking crater, what do you think you would want your government to do? I doubt very much you would shrug your shoulders and justify their actions in the same way Hamas’s actions are being justified in some of the US press.