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Living in a Bad Neighborhood

There are many news media, internet blog and Jewish leadership POV's on Israels "Operation Cast Lead" Gaza campaign. Although you periodically hear some voices from the lunatic fringes that appear to rejoice in or black-and-white condemn Israel's actions, most Jewish leadership take the position that, sadly enough, sometimes war is necessary to protect a nation's citizens. Other than jingoists and Marx Brothers comedies, no one initiates war gleefully. At some point a country must say enough is enough and must respond, especially when its people are being bombed each day.

Some voices declare a moral relativism between Hamas' bombing incursions into Israel and Israel's response. Some have insisted that Israel should be delivering a "proportional response." Some imply that if only Israel were to do this or that, then Hamas, Hezbollah and her other avowed enemies would go away quietly. I disagree with all these positions. There is NO moral relativism between (a) Hamas' deliberately bombing Israeli citizens and (b) Israel's both deliberately targeting military installations and sending warning notices beforehand. There is NO moral relativism between the stated goals of the main players: Hamas wants to destroy Israel, and Israel wants to protect its citizens. And quite frankly, Israel walked away from Gaza lock, stock and barrel - leaving an economic infrastructure for the new Gazan regime, which immediately *destroyed* everything Israel had left for it.
If Israel were to respond proportionally, her military would have lobbed bombs into Gaza specifically targeting schools, hospitals, civilian centers.

One of my colleagues - for whom Israeli self-defense is always wrong, never right - wrote recently, "
I constantly hear the argument that the US would never tolerate Mexico hurling projectiles into San Diego. But would Mexico tolerate a complete and total physical and economic blockade of all it’s border crossings and ports? I think not, and according to my understanding of international law, such a blockade would be considered an act of war and might even justify a military response."

My response:
If the United States from the north or Guatemala or Belize from the south were smuggling weapons and terrorists into Mexico, if the US or Guatemala or Belize were firing rockets every day at Mexican civilians, if the US or Guatemala or Belize had declared that Mexico as a sovereign nation was an illegitimate enterprise deserving of total destruction ... then Mexico would not - nor should not be expected to - tolerate "a complete and total physical and economic blockade of all it's border crossings and ports." A glance at today's New York Times suggests that none of the above is happening.

I believe that everything Israel does is not right; Israel is not perfect and has made some serious blunders in her day - as have all countries. Should Israel's government be taken to task for wrongs committed? Yes.

I do believe this: What makes Israel extraordinary is - for one thing - that she has a Supreme Court that periodically takes on the role of Nathan excoriating David, of speaking truth to power, and - for another thing - her willingness to open herself up to criticism from her own citizens and the outside world.

And I do believe this: Israel has the right to defend herself beyond picking herself up and disappearing. Israel has the right to struggle with her imperfections.


Alison said…
Penny, RIGHT ON. AMEN. (Alison Wissot)

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