For biased critics of Israel, even its defensive actions violate human rights
Legitimate debate is one thing. But reflexive bias against Israel means even basic security efforts to defend innocent civilians are criticized as violations of human rights.
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Similarly, from 2000 to 2008, the working class families of southern Israel were subjected to somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 rockets, missiles, and bombs fired at them by Hamas gunmen embedded in civilian neighborhoods in Gaza. The use of innocent Palestinians as human shields from which to fire rockets at innocent Israelis surely constituted the Daily Double of human rights violations.Skip to next paragraph
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And yet for that 8 year period the progressive community remained largely silent – silent about the Palestinian use of civilians as human shields, and silent about the targeting of innocent Israeli civilians, who were doing nothing more than trying to live their lives and send their children to school in the morning with some confidence that they would return alive in the afternoon.
When in late 2008, the Israelis finally acted to stop the missile fire, here is what Richard Kemp, the former commander of Britain’s military forces in Afghanistan, had to say about their efforts to minimize the harm done to Palestinians while trying to protect Israeli civilians from the attacks: “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when an army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the Israeli Defense Forces is doing today in Gaza.”
Now, had it not been for the 8 years of rocketing of Israeli civilians from Gaza there never would have been any need for an Israeli response at all. Yet, those who had remained largely uninterested in the attacks on Israeli civilians for 8 years found themselves appalled that the Israelis had actually taken steps to stop them.
It turned out that it wasn’t the 8 years of targeting Israeli civilians that was the human rights violation.
It was the Israeli effort to stop the attacks.
So it has gone with issue after issue when it comes to the Mideast conflict. Those who from all appearances have to stifle a yawn when it comes to the suffering endured by Israelis can, with perfect predictability, be expected to criticize Israel for trying to stop that suffering.
And so it was only weeks ago with the flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza.
Virtually no mention was made of the broader issue of the smuggling of rockets, missiles, and bombs into Gaza, which were used against Israelis, are presently being used against Israelis, and will be used against Israelis in the future. It was hardly as though the dilemma of the Israelis, who are trying to protect their civilians from ever more dangerous weapons with ever greater range, should be taxing to understand, and yet the basic Israeli reasons for the blockade went all but unmentioned.
Thus, when nine members of the Turkish boat died after its passengers began attacking Israeli sailors, The Boston Globe – epitomizing reflexive, rather than considered, judgment – immediately urged the Obama administration to condemn Israel, without even asking first for an investigation, let alone waiting for one to take place.
The anti-Israel fashion that is so enthralling to so many in so many places provides a comfortable setting for those who are determined to indict Israel whatever the facts, whatever the circumstances. Those doing the indicting deny that they are biased.
And that is understandable. “Bias” is not the sort of label one wants on his coat lapel.