Commentary Magazine


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The Juicebox Mafia on Gaza

The Juicebox Mafia is working shifts on the Gaza crisis. Matthew Yglesias writes something dumb enough that it needs no elaboration:

But already the number of Israelis killed by Hamas rockets has increased (from a baseline of zero) since the retaliatory attack that was supposed to prevent such killings.

Spencer Ackerman, who becomes very Jewish when it comes time to condemn Israel:

Fellow lit’ry tribesman: do you believe for a moment that leveling Gaza will stop the rockets? Well, then you’ve lost your right to call the peaceniks naive.

As a matter of fact, it’s interesting to note that since the summer 2006 war, Hezbollah has been completely quiet on Israel’s border — even after their terrorist superhero, Imad Mughniyah, was assassinated, and Syria’s nuclear reactor was bombed, and Hezbollah’s liason to Damascus had an unfortunate run-in with a rifle bullet on his balcony one afternoon. Right now, Nasrallah futilely rants from Lebanon, while Hezbollah watches its ally in Gaza get pummeled. Deterrence is a real thing, and while it’s too early to judge the outcome of the current engagement, it’s also too early to declare that Hamas’ experience of being whipped and humiliated — the first time in the group’s history — will not establish some new behavioral guidelines.

Ezra Klein:

Hamas lacks the technology to aim its rockets. They’re taking potshots. In response, the Israeli government launched air strikes that have now killed more than 280 Palestinians…There is nothing proportionate in this response. No way to fit it into a larger strategy that leads towards eventual peace. No way to fool ourselves into believing that it will reduce bloodshed and stop terrorist attacks. It is simple vengeance. There’s a saying in the Jewish community: “Israel, right or wrong.” But sometimes Israel is simply wrong.

Ignore the fact that nobody in the history of the Jewish community has ever actually uttered the words, “Israel, right or wrong,” and ignore the disgraceful apologetic for Hamas’ rocket war (Klein should go to Sderot and tell the people living in bomb shelters to come out from hiding, because Hamas is only taking potshots).

No, what is interesting about the collective opinion of the Juicebox Mafia is the proposed rule of just war: Whoever kills more is the guilty party. This amounts to a total rejection of the distinction between aggression and self-defense and indeed the entire concept of deterrence. Taken to its logical conclusion, moral victory becomes impossible, because the moment one side has dispatched with a greater number of enemy than casualties have been suffered, justice has been forfeited. The only means of ethical conduct is pure immolation — which is indeed the prescription for Israel, which is expected to behave as the only true Christian nation on earth, responding to attacks by endlessly turning the other cheek.

There is something else about the Juicebox Mafia that is grating beyond its simple inanity: The only time its members write about Israel is when they can condemn it. The truth of the matter is that they have nothing invested in Israel other than their American liberalism and their Jewish surnames. Being a Jewish critic of Israel is ever so much more compelling and melodramatic than being just another leftist critic of Israel: Instead of trafficking in banalities, one can claim disillusionment, embarrassment, and betrayal. Pardon me if I call this out for what it is — moral preening and pure cynicism.