From Yerushalayim With Love

Location: Israel

Friday, July 14, 2006

Proportionate Response... Cat Scratch Fever

The UN or EU request for Israel not to respond disproportionately to attacks on its citizens and sovereign territory is absurd.

It is logically impossible for Israel to give a proportionate response to the attacks it suffers.

If Hamas shoots rockets at Israel - regardless of the damage, deaths or injuries caused - the only proportionate response that might satisfy Israel's critics would be a bunch of Israeli citizens or reservists shooting home-made or stolen rockets into Gaza. But such a response could not be authorized by Israel.

There's no possibility of a proportionate response to terrorism from a nation that, like Israel, has a national government - even though Israel's enemies do describe Israel's responses as terrorism....

Really, I don't know much about military matters. And I seldom if ever need to use anything other than reason to eliminate what bothers me. But I have had some experience using force, violence in response to personal attacks:

If a cat scratches me, I give it a slap. If it scratches me again, I slap it again, perhaps a little harder. I don't make a decision to use proportionate force because I am so much more powerful than the cat. I don't resolve to use only my little finger to flick the cat's tail. I try to deter the cat from scratching me. I don't try to kill the cat - and Israel doesn't try to destroy the Arabs: it's just trying to stop them from scratching.

Since Israel is universally reputed to be overwhelmingly more powerful than its neighbors, perhaps its critics could even profit by considering what a man does when a mosquito bites him. And, remember, the mosquito is not trying to destroy the man; it's merely trying to survive, trying to gain sustenance.

Tell me: What is the correct, proportionate response that you critics of Israel employ when a mosquito buzzes near you?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Independence Day

For Americans, today is Independence Day.
For Israel, every day must be Independence Day. For the nation to base its every decision on what other nations may think or do is insane. An individual who concerned himself with the imagined desires of others more than with his own needs or wishes would be considered mentally unhealthy. How much more so with a nation, particularly a nation whose role has been predicted to be a light unto other nations!
The international press - with the occasional exception of the United States - tends to be adversely critical of Israel. No matter what the facts - and the facts, alas, are almost invariably uncertain and disputed - their interpretation seems always to suggest that Israel is at fault.
Consider, for instance, the email I sent to The Guardian in response to an article yesterday, July 3, 2006:

In Patrick Seale's article, "Anything but Negotiation" there is a leap of logic that I do not follow.
He writes: "This past week the US has, as usual, repeated its mantra that 'Israel has the right to defend itself'. The implicit corollary is that no one else has such a right."
Using his logic, if I wrote that Patrick Seale has the right to make a complete fool of himself and expose his prejudices, the implicit corollary would be that no one else has such a right.
Why does Mr. Seale bother to pretend that he uses reason to arrive at his conclusions? It is obvious that he knows what he intends to say before he thinks. He wishes to condemn Israel, no matter what.
Furthermore, since The Guardian's proof readers and copy editors raise no objection to Mr. Seale's atrocious argumentation, it appears that The Guardian similarly wishes to condemn Israel, no matter what.
Yours truly,

(If you check the original essay you may notice that my complaint does not confront the thrust of the piece: my opinion is that it's pointless to argue with hostile opinions when the facts on which they are based are disputed....)
Israel's national press, with the obvious exception of a few right-wing organs, tends to blame the religious for any problems; tragically, the press habitually follows the current government's policy of pretending that it is doing a decent job and that there are few if any problems to be tackled anyway. If Shimon Peres hadn't blurted out his shameful "Kassams, Shmassams," thus providing all the media with an irresistible story, which finally publicized the longstanding battering of Sderot, international opinion would doubtless be even less tolerant of the IDF's current activity in Gaza.
As it is, some critics claim that the whole Gaza withdrawal was intentionally engineered to fail in order to permit Israel's government to back away from its promise to give away more territory. I doubt that is what Olmert and his cronies intended, but I hope that they will see the blunder of giving away land that doesn't belong to the Israeli government anyway.
Olmert is merely the current steward of the State of Israel. Giving away land that Israel won in 1967, using the excuse that it is indefensible, is comparable to the school janitor giving away the parking lot because neighborhood vandals keep breaking the school's windows.