Commentary Magazine


The Shocking ‘Iron Dome Is Bad’ Argument

One of the more peculiar twists in “gee, let me try to find something interesting to say about the war with Hamas” punditry is the argument that suggests Israel’s use of anti-missile technology is bad for Israel, bad for Gaza, and bad for the world. This argument has two facets, both examples of the downside of the Internet: How it allows people with half-baked, half-considered ideas access to the court of world opinion to make a case any rational editor would have thrown out in the old days.

Facet #1 is nominally pro-Israel. It suggests Israelis are somehow being inured to the dangers posed by Hamas by the fact that Iron Dome is successfully shooting down rockets. They’re still going to malls, to the beach, to work. As a result, they are being lulled into a false sense of security, for surely Iron Dome will fail at some point. And (this is the hawkish argument) perhaps the false sense of security is making it possible for Bibi Netanyahu to avoid making the tough but necessary decision to go in on the ground in Gaza and destroy Hamas’s rocket cache and that of Islamic Jihad as well.

Facet #2 is anti-Israel. It suggests that Iron Dome is bad precisely because it is saving Israeli lives—and if Hamas’s attacks on the populace were successful, that might force Israel to the bargaining table. In this reckoning, significant Israeli pain and suffering would be a good thing. By denying Hamas this victory, Israel is effectively rejecting the two-state solution.

Facet #2 is, quite simply, depraved—it effectively accepts the idea that every person in Israel is an appropriate military target, an idea that voids the very notion of the nation-state as it has been understood by the West since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648. No wonder, therefore, that it has been advanced by several of the columnists for Haaretz, the Israeli organ that is on the verge of permanently establishing itself as the Tokyo Rose of Israel.

But Facet #1 is also nuts, and—when voiced by people who live thousands of miles away from Israel—points out the dangers of writing about what life is like in a war zone when you’re not in a war zone. Israelis all over the country have spent a considerable amount of time in stairwells and bomb shelters over the past week, following screaming sirens that terrify children and have caused heart attacks in at least two American visitors. In addition, 40,000 Israelis have been called up in preparation of a possible ground attack. This means that literally every family in the country either has a member or a close friend in the call-up. That includes my family.

So people running for safety and sitting with a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads in the form of an invasion of Gaza are somehow being excused by technological magic overhead from reckoning with the war Hamas has launched against them? The idea is contemptible, and should shame those who are making it.

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7 Responses to “The Shocking ‘Iron Dome Is Bad’ Argument”

  1. BEN ORLANSKI says:

    Well said, especially this: “Haaretz, the Israeli organ that is on the verge of permanently establishing itself as the Tokyo Rose of Israel.”

    The depravity of Haaretz is worth exploring further. I hope Commentary does so on an extended basis in a print-edition full length article.

  2. TIKI SHAPIRA says:

    The argument ‘if the Iron Dome is good or bad is a complete stupid one.

    The argument should be ‘why the Iron Dome is necessary!

    Why the so called ‘civilized world allows a democratic country to be targeted with rockets!

    Why is it that a complete country is being held hostage by a fanatic, radical group of Islamists, making the point openly that their goal is to annihilate all the citizens, but the ‘civilized world has nothing better to do than to argue about this from far away places.

    Because a majority of Jews is living there is probably the answer to that argument!

    The international community should shut up & butt out for today’s Israel is tomorrows Europe, make no mistake about it.

  3. D W HENDRICKS says:

    Has anyone calculated the cost to the people of Gaza of the hundreds of missiles fired uselessly at Israel? It is a commonplace of antiwar arguments in our country to contrast the cost of a fighter plane with the possible ways the money could have been spent on education.I wonder how all this expenditure contrasts with the social service budget in Gaza.

    • BEN ORLANSKI says:

      I get your point, but I suspect that the utterly twisted response of the pro-Pal activists would be “Ending the Occupation is the Ultimate Social Service”!

    • JACK LEVEY says:

      And who would care? The people of Gaza, whose priority is martyrdom or ending the existence of Israel? The silent minority of Gaza who think that war on Israel is a bad idea, but know that saying so means death at the hands of their government or their neighbors? The UN, NGOs, or the press, who all have an endless stream of gratuitous condemnation and suicidal advice for Israel, urging harsh sanctions, but who dedicate themselves to making sure the Palestinians never suffer the consequences of attempting to stamp out the Jewish state?

  4. JACK LEVEY says:

    And as a recent speaker here pointed out, not everyone can make it into a shelter. What do you do when the siren sounds and you are a mother at home with 4 small kids? What if you can’t round them all up to get them all into the shelter in time? What if you are an elderly man in a walker or a wheel chair, or recovering from surgery, or at home with an elderly parent?

    Thank G*d for the shelters, and thank G*d for Iron Dome. But neither the shelters nor Iron Dome is a panacea.


    I fully concur with Ben Orlanski’s opinion of Haaretz, and would also like Commentary to devote some space to an analysis of that dreadful newspaper. I would add that the NY Times often seems to take its cues from Haaretz – or is it the other way around? Each publication is despicable in its own way, but animosity toward the Jewish state is a common element in both.

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