When the combatants are morally unequal, it is immoral to treat them in the same way

One of the really icky things about the Left is that it lacks a moral compass.  There is no good or evil.  There are only evil haves and victimized have-nots.

In a sane moral universe, cultural arbiters would readily be able to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys in the Middle East.  The good guys are the ones that give equal rights to all religions, whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, or Atheist.  The bad guys are the ones that impose horrific burdens on those who do not follow the bad guys’ faith, with those burdens ranging from increased taxes, exile from the land of their ancestors, beatings, and mass murder.

The good guys are the ones that do not torture or kill people because of their sexual orientation.  The bad guys are the ones who routinely torture and hang gay men.

The good guys are the ones who acknowledge that women are fully equal to men, and are therefore entitled to both respect and civil rights.  The bad guys are the ones who view women as inherently evil, lascivious, stupid, and dangerous and, to that end segregate them; dehumanize them through clothing; institutionalize pedophilia; mutilate them; deprive them of basic freedoms, liberties, and rights; and turn any of their infractions, whether criminal or social, into capital crimes.

The good guys are the ones who put into place a defense system that allows them to suffer through thousands of rocket attacks before making the decision to retaliate and who, when they retaliate, will abort solid attacks against known targets if they realize that children are in the line of fire.  The bad guys are the ones who take land for peace, only to break their bargain immediately and rain rockets down upon the opposite entity in the exchange.  And the bad guys are the one who view children as both targets and shields, because they care more about propaganda than lives.

In a sane world, if these two entities went to war because the good guys got tired of years of being the bad guys’ target practice, coverage would be much like the news was in the years leading up to and during WWII:  the good guys would be praised and supported, while the bad guys would be excoriated.  Back in those days, the media knew that the Allies had some bad individuals amongst them and that there were Axis soldiers who were forced to fight and hated what they did.  The media understoid the fundmentak difference, though, between the Axis powers and the Allies — the latter was a healthy society fighting against a sick one before the sick society’s cancer could spread.

Those days of sanity are over.  The media hasn’t gone quite so far as to pretend that the bad guys — the Palestinians, the Iranians, and the Islamists — are actually fighting a good fight.  They do something much more insidious, because only people who pay attention are aware — as Dennis Prager explains, they pretend that the two sides are the same:

[A]n evil entity made war on a peaceful, decent entity, and the latter responded.

How has the New York Times reported this?

On Friday, on its front page, the Times featured two three-column-wide photos. The top one was of Gaza Muslim mourners alongside the dead body of al-Jabari. The photo below was of Israeli Jews mourning alongside the dead body of Mira Scharf, a 27-year-old mother of three.

What possible reason could there be for the New York Times to give identical space to these two pictures? One of the dead, after all, was a murderer, and the other was one of his victims.

The most plausible reason is that the Times wanted to depict through pictures a sort of moral equivalence: Look, sophisticated Times readers! Virtually identical scenes of death and mourning on both sides of the conflict. How tragic.

If one had no idea what had triggered this war, one would read and see the Times coverage and conclude that two sides killing each other were both equally at fault.

The Times technique works only too well.  Just today, one of the women in my mother’s retirement community said that none of this would happen if the Israelis would just give Gaza back to the Palestinians.  She was surprised when my mother told her that Israel had already done this years ago, only to be rewarded with a barrage of rockets.  The MSM, which this lady watches assiduously, failed to make that point clear.

Prager’s conclusion, after giving more examples of the Times inability to understand moral absolutes, is the same as that with which I started this post:

As the flagship news source of the Left, the New York Times reveals the great moral failing inherent to leftism — its combination of moral relativism and the division of the world between strong and weak, Western and non-Western, and rich and poor rather than between good and evil.

Why Gingrich said something important when he talked about an “invented” people

Others have said it, but I like best the way Evelyn Gordon said it.  After confirming the historic accuracy of Newt’s claim (namely, that Arabs moved into the land at the end of the 19th century, rather than having lived there since time immemorial), Gordon goes on:

One might ask why this should matter: Regardless of when either Jews or Palestinians arrived, millions of both live east of the Jordan River​ today, and that’s the reality policymakers must deal with. But in truth, it matters greatly – because Western support for Palestinian negotiating positions stems largely from the widespread view that Palestinians are an indigenous people whose land was stolen by Western (Jewish) interlopers.

Current demographic realities would probably suffice to convince most Westerners that a Palestinian state should exist. But the same can’t be said of Western insistence that its border must be the 1967 lines, with adjustments possible only via one-to-one territorial swaps and only if the Palestinians consent. Indeed, just 44 years ago, UN Resolution 242 was carefully crafted to reflect a Western consensus that the 1967 lines shouldn’t be the permanent border. So what changed?

The answer lies in the phrase routinely used to describe the West Bank and Gaza today, but which almost nobody used back in 1967, when Israel captured these areas from Jordan and Egypt, respectively: “occupied Palestinian territory.” This phrase implies that the land belongs to the Palestinians and always has. And if so, why shouldn’t Israel be required to give back every last inch?

But if the land hasn’t belonged to the Palestinians “from time immemorial” – if instead, both Palestinians and Jews comprise small indigenous populations augmented by massive immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the West Bank and Gaza becoming fully Judenrein only after Jordan and Egypt occupied them in 1948 – then there’s no inherent reason why the border must necessarily be in one place rather than another. To create two states, a border must be drawn somewhere, but that “somewhere” should depend only on the parties’ current needs – just as the drafters of Resolution 242 envisioned.

Read the rest here.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Yesterday, White House officials were telling Jake Tapper that Obama would support Israel.  Any minute moments of hope I cherished that the administration actually meant what it said were swiftly dashed.  This is Obama’s version of support:

The Obama administration considers Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for another approach to ensure Israel’s security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area, senior American officials said Wednesday.

The officials say that Israel’s deadly attack on a flotilla trying to break the siege and the resulting international condemnation create a new opportunity to push for increased engagement with the Palestinian Authority and a less harsh policy toward Gaza.

As is this:

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip was “tragic”, but he stopped short of condemning the actions of Israeli forces.

While Obama said the deaths of nine people were unnecessary, he said the U.S. wants to wait for “an investigation of international standards” to determine the facts. Israel, he said, should agree to such an investigation.

“They recognize that this can’t be good for Israel’s long-term security,” Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King airing Thursday night.

Just so you know, even though the Obama administration seems to have misunderstood the facts on the ground, there is a good reason for the blockade:

Hezbollah in Lebanon, which shares a land border with Syria and is not under blockade, has a gigantic arsenal of rockets and missiles, more than most governments in the Middle East, and that arsenal includes missiles that can reach every single inch of Israeli territory, including Jerusalem, downtown Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport, and the Dimona nuclear power plant. The next war between Israel and Hezbollah will likely mean missiles, artillery shells, and payloads from air strikes will explode all over the Eastern Mediterranean, making last year’s small war in Gaza look even smaller.

Hamas has a relatively tiny arsenal of crude rockets, but if the Gaza Strip were not under military blockade, it could acquire whatever weapons Syria and Iran felt like sending by ship. Gaza could bristle with as many destructive projectiles as Hezbollah has. Food and medicines are allowed into the Strip already, so the most significant difference between Gaza now and a Gaza without a blockade will be the importation of weapons and war material.

More Israelis would be likely to die during the ensuing hostilities, and an even larger number of Palestinians would be likely to die when Israel fights back harder against a better armed and more dangerous adversary.

And again, let me remind everyone (although I know Obama isn’t listening to little ol’ me), the blockade blocks weapons, not anything else.

Having now gotten a glimpse at Obama’s “support,” I have to ask:  What the Hell does life look like if you’re on Obama’s enemies list, rather than receiving his “support”?  Does he come in the night and flay you alive while robotically reciting his boring, pompous meaningless speeches?  I’m no longer pretending that Obama is inept, or misguided, or stupid, although I think he is all those things.  I’m convinced he is evil, as only a true antisemite can be.

It’s a sad day when the only person in a presidential administration making any sense and showing any signs of human decency is Joe Biden, who really stepped up and said the right thing this time:

“I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest. I put all this back on two things: one, Hamas, and, two, Israel’s need to be more generous relative to the Palestinian people who are in trouble in Gaza,” Biden said, according to a transcript of the interview, in which he went on to discuss Hamas’s control of Gaza:

“[The Israelis have] said, ‘Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship–if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.’ So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight–3,000 rockets on my people,’ ” Biden said.

Kudos to Biden.  He’s not right often, but when he’s right, he lands it square in the middle of the target.

To clear your brain from the miasma that is Obama-think, please read Michael Oren’s op-ed, which the New York Times at least had the decency to publish.

Israel blocks leftists — including McKinney — from delivery aid to Gaza

Israel stopped a contingent of Hamas supporters who tried to run a blockade bringing money and supplies into Gaza.  Cynthia McKinney figures prominently in their number:

The Israeli navy intercepted a ship carrying foreign peace activists – including a San Rafael woman – trying to break a blockade of Gaza on Tuesday and forced it to sail to an Israeli port, the military said.

A statement said the Greek-registered freighter Arion ignored a radio message from the Israeli military saying it would not be allowed to enter Gaza waters and ordering it to turn back.

[snip]

Also on board (in addition to a Marin County resident) is former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire and other activists from Britain, Ireland, Bahrain and Jamaica.

[snip]

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel was planning to free the crew and passengers. “Nobody wants to keep them here,” he said. “They will be released as soon as they are checked.”

The Free Gaza Movement has organized five boat trips to Gaza since August 2008, defying a blockade imposed by Israel when the militant group Hamas seized control of the territory from its Palestinian rivals in June 2007.

This blockade running is a stunt, of course.  Unlike sieges of old, Israel is not imposing a blockade in order to cause the citizens of Gaza to experience famine and disease.  The amount of government-sanctioned money flowing into Gaza from all points of the world is staggering.   In 2009 alone, Saudi Arabia promised $58.9 million; President Obama (bless his little Leftist heart) promised a staggering $900 million; and, ‘tho I can’t find 2009 figures, as little as two years ago, Europe was giving annual aid at the 500 million Euro level.  None of this, of course, is chump change.  If the Palestinians had spent it wisely, they could have had a true Utopia.  As it is, because they are a mix of corruption and murderous hatred, they’ve created a foul dystopia.

But I digress.  Given the money that pours into Gaza, and given that Israel allows food, water and electricity to flow into that hate-filled territory, why the Israeli blockade?  Only useful idiots would fail to see that the blockade is a desperate effort to prevent arms from flowing into Gaza.  As it is, despite the blockade, Israel deals with thousands of rocket attacks annually.  One only shudders to think what would happen without a blockade.

I’m willing to believe that the useful idiots on that ship have nothing to do with arms smuggling.  Frankly, they’re too dumb to be trusted with what is, after all, a delicate task.  They are cover, pure and simple.  Hamas has discovered that there’s no better way simultaneously to hide and support their murderous agenda than to encourage the belief on the part of the credulous on the Left that Palestinians are victims of a genocidal Israel plot.  One of the hallmarks of Leftists, both those who are informed and committed, and those who are merely stupid, is the inability to realize that not all Goliaths (that is, all big guys) are bad, and not all Davids (that would be the little guys) are good.

As I’ve said time and again in this blog, it’s not enough to be little.  You have to stand for something good to be deserving of the David appellation and the world’s assistance.  Right now, there are Davids in the world, but they are the Iranian citizens facing the guns and axes of their own government in an effort to bring some small measure of freedom to their totalitarian corner of the world.

Somehow, though,  I don’t think I’ll see Cynthia McKinney and her fellow-travelers making a stand for Iranian citizens any time soon.  She takes her cue from our President, who seemingly has never met a totalitarian government he hasn’t liked.

Fighting an enemy that uses its own people as weapons

Using your own people as weapons is not a new tactic.  During WWII, the Soviet Union was effective against the Germans, not because it had good weapons, but because it had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of cannon fodder.  When the Germans advanced on Russia, the Soviets threw unarmed men in front of the Germans, causing the Germans to exhaust their missiles and bullets, even as the Soviets willingly threw more bodies in front of the guns.

What the Soviets did was just a numbers game — “our population is so big that, even semi-armed, it can absorb all your bullets and leave you dangling” — but what Hamas did in 2008 in the Gaza strip was little bit different.  Hamas fighters made a calculated decision to use civilians as an integral part of Hamas’ own weapons infrastructure.  This IDF, using data discovered during Operation Cast Lead, explains how Hamas operated:

AP serves as Hamas propaganda arm — again

Here’s a sickening AP story blaming Israel for the “trauma” inflicted on Gazan children.  The story’s only acknowledgment that Hamas itself placed the children in the line of fire is the following paragraph, one that is carefully crafted to make it seem as if it was Israel’s fault that the poor Hamas fighters had to crowd into those child-infested residential areas:

Facing the Israeli invasion, Hamas gunmen often operated from densely populated Gaza neighborhoods, drawing massive Israeli fire that killed and wounded large numbers of civilians, along with fighters. Tens of thousands fled their homes, seeking shelter in U.N. schools.

Even worse, the whole article fails even to mention that Hamas has been raining rockets on Israel for years, with schools as its favorite target, or that it is Hamas that has created a perpetual war culture that puts its children at risk.

The story is a gross piece of propaganda that is entirely consistent with AP’s manifest bias.  And I say all this with due sympathy for the poor children who are victimized, not by Israel — a nation that called in its attacks in advance to give the children time to escape — but by their own countrymen, who gleefully use them as intentional targets precisely so that they can garner this kind of maudlin, dishonest (but sadly far-reaching) press coverage.

A mish-mash

It’s been an incoherent day, one that never gave me the opportunity for contemplation and writing.  Instead, I’ve been bopping here and there, and dealing with one thing and another.  Nevertheless, I have been tracking the news, so I thought I’d just write up a mish-mash of thoughts about current issues and events.

Gaza

The top issue/event, obviously, is Gaza.  By now you’ve all seen the hysterical headline about Israel having blown up a UN school, killing scores of civilians.  At the exact second I read the words “UN school,” I knew it wasn’t a school at all but was, instead, a weapons storage facility and a headquarters for fighters.  Why did I know this?  Because the UN in Gaza is completely complicit with Hamas.  In that part of the world, the two are one and the same entity.  I also knew that the school wasn’t really a school because Gaza intentionally places fighters and weapons around children precisely so that it garner this type of scare headline.  Michelle Malkin has a fact-filled post detailing all the many ways in which my instincts on this one were dead on the money.

Speaking of Hamas setting its children up as targets so that it can further vilify Israel in the eyes of the world, you really must read Ron Rosenbaum’s article explaining why, to the extent there are differences between Hamas and the Nazis, Hamas is infinitely worse.  As part of that line of thinking, it’s worth noting that even the Nazis weren’t willing to sacrifice their own children merely to score propaganda points.

As is always the case, everyone in the world outside of America is urging Israel to back down.  (In America, while Obama is ominously quiet, even Dirty Harry Reid has acknowledged Israel’s right to defend against the non-stop rocket attacks that have poured death and destruction on the land for years now.)  In the past, Israel has listened.  This time, I’m hoping against hope that she gives the world the middle finger and does what she has to do to defend herself.  I’ve never understood why Israel, rather like the pathetic nerdy kid in high school, keeps twisting herself into damaging contortions to satisfy people who will despise her regardless.  Eventually, the nerd just has to go it alone and the hell with the critics.

Incidentally, although the world doesn’t deserve good fortune, if Israel is wise enough to give it the finger, it may just get good fortune anyway — the good fortune in this case being that an Israeli victory against Hamas in Gaza is also an Israeli victory against the mad Mullahs in Iran.  As has been the case for decades now, Israel is our proxy, and we should be grateful that she’s putting her bodies on the line so we don’t have to.

And one last word on the subject:  Reader Lulu send me an email pointing out something interesting, which is that Hezbollah is doing nothing right now.  You’d think that this would be a perfect time for Hezbollah to force a two-front war on Israel.  That it’s not doing so might be a good indication that, all propaganda to the contrary, Israel may have inflicted serious damage on it back in 2006.  Iran can replace the arms, but maybe she can’t replace the men.

God

In England, the atheists have launched an ad campaign encouraging people to abandon religion so that they can be happy.  One of the brains behind this initiative is Ariane Sherine. She decided to launch the ad campaign because “she became angry after noticing a set of Christian advertisements carrying a website address which warned that people who reject God are condemned to spend all eternity to ‘torment in Hell.’”

I’m perfectly willing to admit that trying to scare people into religion may not be the smartest way to go about things.  I do find the ad campaign peculiar, though, because I was under the impression that polls show religious people are more happy, not less happy, than the average atheist (putting aside the fact that the average vocal atheist always seem to be a pretty darn angry person).

As you all know, I’m a big believer in the many virtues of religion, although not particularly religious myself.  Aside from liking the core moral aspects religion brings, I’ve also always appreciated (and envied) the way religion brings meaning to life.

In a religious world, man is not just a random collection of atoms, molecules, cells and organs, put on earth to procreate and scrabble for food until he dies.  Instead, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition with which I’m familiar, man’s life has meaning and purpose.  Whether God used evolution as his tool or instant creation, man exists in God’s image.  His corporeal body may not necessarily be the mirror image of God’s being, but he is in God’s image to the extent that his mind and spirit are attuned to justice and a higher purpose.  We’re not just meaningless bugs.  We are something special and our time on earth has meaning, whether we emphasize that in our own lives or not.

All of which is to say that it strikes me as mighty darn peculiar to advertise an absence of religion as the answer to the search for happiness.  You might as well say, “You’re a meaningless bug.  Get used to it.”

Tolerance

While the first wave of hysteria following the passage in California of Prop. 8 has finally died down, hard feelings continue.  A Catholic Church in San Francisco was covered with offensive graffiti, likening the church and its parishioners to Nazis. The beautiful irony of this story is that this particular church, located near the Castro district, has always been a welcoming place to gays.

Aside from the fact that vandals, by their very nature, can’t be expected to be intelligent (I guess), I find it strange that we live in a world in which hewing to unexceptional traditional values that span all cultures and all times is an invitation to vandalism.  As you know, I’d be perfectly happy to see the state get out of the marriage business, leaving that to religion, and instead get into the domestic partnership business, with an emphasis on encouraging stable behaviors that strengthen society.  Pending that unlikely situation, however, I can’t help but wonder if the gay marriage advocates realize that offending ordinary people who support ordinary values is not likely to advance their cause.

How liberals would fight wars *UPDATED*

Vacation is over and I’m back to my work schedule, which means no more morning blogging (not that I was very inspired in the morning during vacation).  Still, I had to share this gem with you.

I spoke with a liberal friend yesterday, who is lukewarm about Israel, and he told me that Israel absolutely cannot fight this war because it’s killing children and that’s unacceptable.  This dialogue ensued:

Me:  Did you know that before any strike on a building, Israel gives a warning to the residents to evacuate?

LF:  No.  If that were true, it would be headlined in the news.

Me:  It is true.  It’s just buried in the stories.  What’s also buried is that the Gazans use those warnings to hustle children back into the buildings.

LF:  No.  That’s not true.  If it were true, it would be headlined in the news.

(This went a few rounds and then stopped.)

Me:  You do know that Gaza has fired over 5,000 rockets into Israel, right?

LF:  Yeah, but they didn’t do any harm.

Me:  You do know that the last few, supplied by Iran, fell within about 13 miles of Tel Aviv?  (Note:  I think I got those mileage stats correct.)

LF:  Well, I guess they have to defend themselves.

Me:  How would you have them defend themselves?

LF:  They should have announced to the world that, if Gaza didn’t stop firing rockets by January 2, then they’d attack Gaza.

Me:  They did announce to the world that they were going to attack Gaza.

LF:  No.  that’s not true.  If it were true, it would be headlined in the news.

At this point, we glared at each other in frustration, and the conversation ended.

UPDATE:  I wonder if this kind of editorial, in a reputable liberal paper (the LA Times), would change my friend’s mind.  It spells out carefully the real issues involved in the current war (Iranian hegemony in the Middle East, the fact that Israel is not the only nation out there that fears Iran, and the way in which Hamas manipulates the media precisely in order to fool credulous liberals).

The attack on Gaza

Israel finally said “enough is enough” and counterattacked Gaza.  I think John Podhoretz nails everything that needs to be said on the subject in the short-term, and I’m impressed enough with his depth and brevity to reproduce his entire paragraph right here:

Israel launched a massive air campaign against the infrastructure of Hamas terror in Gaza — which is what it actually means when you read in the media that Israel’s strike was on “Palestinian security forces.” It will be a day or two until it becomes clear what happened and how successful the mission was. But there are three things to say about it immediately. First, when you hear people call on Israel to show “restraint,” remember that “restraint” is precisely what Israel has been showing for the past three and a half years as Hamas has launched thousands of Kassam rockets at Sderot and other locations inside Israel. Second, this was not an attack but a counter-attack, almost purely an act of self-defense that featured extensive warnings in the days before it was launched in an effort to minimize civilian casualties. Third, the Hamas terror bases were evidently located in civilian neighborhoods. According to international law, the responsibility for any civilian casualties in such a situation rests entirely with those who a) failed to wear uniforms and b) interwove themselves with non-combatants. The fault is Hamas’s, not Israel’s.

Call me Ishmael

I’ve been reading two things that seem to twine together.  The first is the ongoing news out of Gaza, about Hamas continuously firing missiles into Israel (as well as into their own population).  Noah Pollak wrote a very good commentary in response to a question about why Hamas, through its outpost in Gaza, keeps fighting and fighting and fighting.  The answer, of course, is that Hamas fights because that is its nature.  Fighting is its raison d’etre.  Without fighting, there is nothing.

The second thing I’ve been reading, which at first glance seems unrelated, is Rabbi Joseph Teluskin’s Biblical Literacy: The Most Important People, Events, and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible — a very informative and enjoyable retelling of the Old Testament, along with Rabbinical commentary.

The story of Abraham and Sarah, of course, brings up the history of Hagar and Ishmael. Telushkin reminds us of two things about Ishmael. First, he repeats the prophecy that God’s angel made about Ishmael:  “He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” (Genesis, 16:12.) The second is the fact that the Muslim Arabs claim descent from this same Ishmael.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

[Link fixed. Thanks, Gringo.]

Is it hard to be this stupid? *UPDATED*

A local Marin woman hitched a ride with a peace group to stay with some Palestinians, and came back filled with useful information.  Anna Rogers found “shocking . . . how much Arab land has been taken over and how crazily restrictive it is for the Palestinians.”  That’s an interesting thing to say, of course, since in the last few years, Israel has been giving land back to the Palestinians.  So considering that this is apparently her first trip to the Middle East, when she refers to being shocked at “how much Arab land has been taken over” she must mean “since the creation of Israel.” Or, in other words — Israelis should just get the Hell out of there.

As for the crazy restrictions, Rogers also thought it was so, so unfair that these poor Palestinians couldn’t move around freely.  The article in which she is interviewed helpfully advises that there’s some kind rumor about these same Palestinians killing Israelis:  “The Israeli government has said it established checkpoints to protect settlements from suicide bombers and other attackers.”  (In a sane journalistic world, rather than attributing this statement to the Israeli government, as if it’s factually suspect, the reporter might actually have pointed out that it is in fact true that a huge number of Palestinians, trained from the cradle, are determined to kill Israeli civilians.)

Ms. Rogers is having none of this stupid Israeli government propaganda.  She’s seen what’s going on in Israel with her own eyes, and assures us that it’s nothing to worry about:

Rogers said she visited a kibbutz near where rockets from Gaza are landing. She said the rockets are crude and usually miss their targets.

“They’re an annoyance,” Rogers said. “I think a lot of people were annoyed with Israel’s government for not making some kind of peace agreement with Gaza even though Hamas is there.”

Although I’m not thrilled about the reporter’s passive approach to the reason behind the Israeli checkpoints (see my comments, above), he gets full kudos for providing an opposing point of view.  Thus, at the end of the article, a spokesman for a local Jewish group provides an intelligent counterpoint to Ms. Rogers’ insane blatherings:

But Michael Harris of San Rafael, one of the leaders of San Francisco Voice for Israel, a local advocacy group, said the situation constitutes more than “an annoyance.”

“I don’t think the residents of Larkspur would consider it a nuisance if 20 rockets a day were launched from Corte Madera into Larkspur. [The two communities are side by side.]  Bad aim does not excuse that these rockets are designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to murder civilians.”

Harris noted that “Gaza is ruled by Hamas, which took over in a coup and has stated on multiple occasions that it has no interest whatsoever in peace with Israel. Its entire existence is predicated on the destruction of Israel.”

I find it impossible to come up with any excuse for Ms. Rogers’ attitude, which is that Israelis should just stand aside and let themselves be killed so that those nice Palestinians can . . . well, kill some more.  What’s even more insane about her view is that, while in Gaza, she stayed with a Christian family, and yet somehow managed to remain entirely unaware of the horrors Muslim Gazans visit on their Christian compatriots.  This is a lady whose head is firmly fixed in an ideological bubble, and she’s doing her best to spread her ignorance.

UPDATE:  A few more of those “nuisances” rained down on Israel last night:

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip bombarded southern Israel with dozens of mortars and rockets on Wednesday, sowing panic and despair there and burdening diplomatic efforts to revive an expired truce.

Ironically, while no Israelis were injured, those poor “militants” suffered some Ayers-ian accidents:

No Israelis were injured in the barrages. The attacks took a steeper toll in Gaza as explosives apparently misfired, wounding three civilians and killing two militants. One of the injured civilians works for a conflict resolution center.

Good idea, bad leader *UPDATED*

Richard Baehr initially supported Ariel Sharon’s decision to withdraw Israel from the Gaza Strip.  He now believes that the withdrawal was a terrible mistake, and carefully explains why.  As for me, I don’t think it was a mistake then.  I think it collapsed for a reason that could not be foreseen.  Let me explain.

What I said at the time was that, as long as the territories were under Israel’s aegis, Israel could not wage war against them.  If they were a separate hostile nation, however, she could treat them as one would any other hostile nation on one’s own border — with full-scale warfare.  I believe that Ariel Sharon would have done that.  However, Ariel Sharon was struck down, and in his place is Olmert, whose only significant skill seems to be to retain office with a zero approval rating.  Sharon would not have allowed 3,000 rockets to rain down on Israel from an enemy nation.  Olmert has.

Olmert is terrified of looking bad in the eyes of the world.  Mr. Olmert, a hint:  The world already hates Israel.  Short of voluntarily turning the country over to the Arabs and then having all Jewish residents take a farewell march into the Meditteranean, the world will always hate you.  You are the unpopular kid in school, and nothing will change that.  Stop trying to get in with the in-crowd and take care of yourself.

UPDATEHere’s a bit more about the truly horrible Olmert.

The myth of the occupied territories

I’m beginning to think that incrementalism is one of the most dangerous things out there, whether it’s the way Obama leaks out the truth about his big lies or the way in which the jihadists keep asking for little things from us — no pigs, no dogs, no occupied territories.  As to that latter bit of incrementalism, Charles Krauthammer reminds us of the big lie behind the current theory that the whole problem with Israel is the occupied territories  (so that, if she just gave them up, everything would be hunky-dory, with no further demands against her):

[In the 1948 War of Independence, which had all the Arab nations massed at 650,000 Jews] Israel prevailed, another miracle. But at a very high cost — not just to the Palestinians displaced as a result of a war designed to extinguish Israel at birth, but also to the Israelis, whose war losses were staggering: 6,373 dead. One percent of the population. In American terms, it would take 35 Vietnam memorials to encompass such a monumental loss of life.

You rarely hear about Israel’s terrible suffering in that 1948-49 war. You hear only the Palestinian side. Today, in the same vein, you hear that Israeli settlements and checkpoints and occupation are the continuing root causes of terrorism and instability in the region.

But in 1948, there were no “occupied territories.” Nor in 1967 when Egypt, Syria and Jordan joined together in a second war of annihilation against Israel.

Look at Gaza today. No Israeli occupation, no settlements, not a single Jew left. The Palestinian response? Unremitting rocket fire killing and maiming Israeli civilians. The declared casus belli of the Palestinian government in Gaza behind these rockets? The very existence of a Jewish state.

Israel’s crime is not its policies but its insistence on living. On the day the Arabs — and the Palestinians in particular — make a collective decision to accept the Jewish state, there will be peace, as Israel proved with its treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Until that day, there will be nothing but war. And every “peace process,” however cynical or well-meaning, will come to nothing.

The Palestinians

Starting with a recent poll taken of Palestinians — one that showed that, despite the Gaza withdrawal, they fully support increased killings in Israel — Richard Baehr has written an exceptionally good article examining the Palestinians.  For me to analyze it or try to summarize it would be a waste of your time, when you can simply scooch on over and read the original.

Here’s a surprise

For a year, Gaza has rained over 2,000 rockets onto Israeli soil, aiming specifically for civilian communities.  There was, of course, nary a peep from the UN.  Now that Israel has struck back, targeting specifically militants who happen to hide amongst civilian populations, the UN Rights Council springs into action:

The U.N. Human Rights Council has condemned Israel’s offensive in Gaza and called on Palestinians to stop rocket fire into Israel. The resolution passed Thursday said Israeli incursions into the Palestinian territory inflicted collective punishment on the civilian population.

Israel launched the offensive last week in response to Palestinian militants barraging southern Israel with rockets. More than 120 Palestinians have been killed, Gaza officials say. Four Israeli have also been killed.

The 47-member rights body approved the resolution 33-1 after a debate on the situation in Gaza. Thirteen countries abstained. The resolution was sponsored by Pakistan and Muslim countries. Russia, China and India support it, European countries abstained, and Canada voted against it.  (Emphasis mine.)

It would be a recurring joke if it weren’t for the real world ramifications. My feeling, every time this joke repeats itself, is that Israel should just give the UN a middle fingered salute and get on with things in the real world.

Incidentally, my only disappointment was to see India’s name on that list.  Given India’s struggles with its own Muslim extremists, both inside and outside of its borders, one would think it would be a bit more sympathetic to Israel’s plight.

An enemy or not an enemy *UPDATED*

My father, who was a veteran of World War II and the Israeli War of Independence, was still alive during the first Gulf War. I vividly remember his comment that it was idiotic how much the press made of how nice Americans were and how our troops were so good that they didn’t want to hurt the enemy. He said, “You fight wars to win. That was the problem in Vietnam. The Americans never fought to win.” My Dad was not talking about burning down all the buildings, slaughtering all the citizens, destroying the food crops and sowing the fields with salt. Instead, he was saying that treating a war as a police action, where you’re trying to be a bit punitive without a clear goal in mind (their surrender, your victory), is a waste of time and lives, both in the short and in the long term.

I thought of that when I read this morning that the Israelis, after two days of banging away, had already withdrawn from Gaza. Keep in mind that Israel didn’t go into Gaza on a whim. She went in because the Gazans had been launching thousands of rockets against Israel. I don’t know about you, but I see what the Gazans did as as an act of war. Certainly we would consider that we were at War if Canada suddenly went berzerk and launched thousands of missiles at US soil. In the face of this war and the murderous intent behind it, Israel retaliated by taking out some buildings and killing 70 people. After the yada, yada about each death being a tragedy, reconsider those 70 people, and keep in mind that they come from a society that doesn’t celebrate life, but celebrates death — it sees death as a religious martyrdom, a civic duty, and a useful propaganda tool. So, while family and friends may mourn the death of the individual, Gaza as a whole has to be delighted that the sole consequence for a year of unlimited missile firing into Israel was 70 propaganda moments. Yay!

Israel continue to be on the receiving end of those rocket launches until (a) she takes seriously the fact that you don’t defeat an enemy with the war equivalent of lashes with a wet noodle, and (b) she begins to understand that these limited incursions, rather than demoralizing Gazans, give them hope. And while the Gazan rocket launches, so far, have been somewhat limited in their scope, merely killing or wounding a few of the citizens that Israel values most when they are alive, not dead,that’s going to change one of these days. The rockets will get bigger and stronger and will be able to travel further (certainly with Iran and Syria’s help). Even if they don’t get better, there’s going to be a lucky hit on a nursery school or crowded apartment building. And then, even as Israel mourns her dead, the Gazans will be dancing in the street.

UPDATE: Alan Dershowitz looks at the Muslim death-cult to which I allude, above:

As more women and children are recruited by their mothers and their religious leaders to become suicide bombers, more women and children will be shot at — some mistakenly. That too is part of the grand plan of our enemies. They want us to kill their civilians, who they also consider martyrs, because when we accidentally kill a civilian, they win in the court of public opinion. One Western diplomat called this the “harsh arithmetic of pain,” whereby civilian casualties on both sides “play in their favor.” Democracies lose, both politically and emotionally, when they kill civilians, even inadvertently. As Golda Meir once put it: “We can perhaps someday forgive you for killing our children, but we cannot forgive you for making us kill your children.”

Civilian casualties also increase when terrorists operate from within civilian enclaves and hide behind human shields. This relatively new phenomenon undercuts the second basic premise of conventional warfare: Combatants can easily be distinguished from noncombatants. Has Zahra Maladan become a combatant by urging her son to blow himself up? Have the religious leaders who preach a culture of death lost their status as noncombatants? What about “civilians” who willingly allow themselves to be used as human shields? Or their homes as launching pads for terrorist rockets?

The traditional sharp distinction between soldiers in uniform and civilians in nonmilitary garb has given way to a continuum. At the more civilian end are babies and true noncombatants; at the more military end are the religious leaders who incite mass murder; in the middle are ordinary citizens who facilitate, finance or encourage terrorism. There are no hard and fast lines of demarcation, and mistakes are inevitable — as the terrorists well understand.

UPDATE IIThis LGF post exposes the dual enemies Israel faces, in the media and amongst the Palestinians, and explains why polite “police actions” will never quiet either the Palestinians or the press.