A friend sends this insightful bit of analysis on Gaza by one Ian O’Doherty. First, he goes after the moral equivalence claptrap which has absorbed the Left and much of the western media:
It’s a common feeling amongst residents of southern Israeli towns who have been the silent victims of a long campaign of violence, intimidation and murder carried out by Hamas. And now, finally, that the Israelis have said that enough is enough, they are somehow meant to be the aggressors?
There are people of good conscience on both sides of this argument, but one of the main problems in this debate lies in the cowardly tendency of the Western media to apply equivalence to both sides.
Thus, Hamas is seen to be as legitimate a government as the Israelis, and its rocket attacks across the border from Gaza are seen as being part of a yet another, intractable, interminable Middle Eastern dispute.
There’s just one problem with that approach — it’s completely wrong.
Hamas is a fundamentalist Islamic organisation intent on the eradication of the state of Israel and all its citizens; a violent fascist regime that allows honour killings and the execution of homosexuals to continue in its sphere of influence. Bankrolled by Iran, it manages to make even Hezbollah look like a moderate organisation.
But Hamas is clever.
As a friend of mine from Sderot pointed out, one of its favourite tactics is to launch Qassams from Palestinian schoolyards — while the schools are still in session.
Hamas does this, you see, knowing that the IDF can’t immediately strike back (they can vector a rocket launch site within 90 seconds) because the last thing the Israelis need is footage of a devastated Palestinian school with dead kids.
And then he addresses the Left’s failure to perceive which side in the conflict is its political and moral ally:
But there’s a bigger picture here, something which Israelis have been trying to broadcast to the world, but which, thanks to their spectacular inability to accurately and sympathetically portray their point of view, has not been properly transmitted. It’s this — Israel is the front line of the war between democracy and Islamic fascism.
Would you rather live in a society with a free press, equal rights for women — and anyone who knows an Israeli woman will know that they’re not easily suppressed, anyway — equal rights for gay people and a proud and stubborn belief in the right of the individual to lead their life in the way that they see fit or would you rather exist in a society where women who dare to speak their mind are executed, where gay people are not just shunned but murdered and where having a dissenting thought marks you out for death?
The civilian deaths in Gaza are to be mourned, and anyone who says otherwise is reprehensible. But in a sick and twisted irony, they are mourned more by Israelis than by Hamas, who know that every dead Palestinian kid is worth another piece of propaganda.
Here in the West, where we share the same values as Israel, we need to start standing shoulder with this tiny oasis of democracy in a vast desert of savagery.
To do otherwise is moral cowardice of the most repugnant kind.
The temptation is great to avert your gaze or plead intellectual exhaustion when there seems to be suffering and death on every cable news station, day after day. But this latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict, like every other one that proceeded it, demands some intellectual clarity. Who is the aggressor? What does the right of self-defense entail? How do you live with an unrepentant foe on your doorstep?
There are plenty of facts — historical and current — to aid in the inquiries. What is in short supply is some honesty and a willingness by those on the Left (who claim to possess exquisitely fined-tuned antennae for injustice) to accept that simply because the Right, Israel, George W. Bush, and most mainstream Democrats agree on a position they needn’t reflexively oppose it.