I’m always deeply amused when I hear certain politicians – like say, the president – intone that Israel has the right to defend itself.
It’s the equivalent of when politicians – like, say, the president – avow, I take full responsibility for what happened.
Because the next sentence always provides a contradiction. How many times did we hear President Obama or former Secretary of State Clinton say they take responsibility for things that happen under their watch and then go right ahead and blame someone else?
So it is with Israel, which supposedly is out ally, the one Mideast nation whose back we always got, and whose right to defend herself we say we fully support.
Said Obama to assembled Muslims at last night’s White House Iftar Dinner:
And I will say very clearly, no country can accept rocket fired indiscriminately at citizens. And so, we’ve been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas.
So sayeth Obama! Then sayeth Obama:
I believe further escalation benefits no one, least of all the Israeli and the Palestinian people.
That is, Israel has the right to defend itself AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T DEFEND ITSELF.
If not through escalation – i.e. military action – how is Israel supposed to ward off attack? Just crouch in shelters and pray the Iron Dome takes care of the rockets being showered upon it? Like deer in the forest hoping the rain will end?
At the same time, on top of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that we’ve worked long and hard to alleviate, the death and injury of Palestinian civilians is a tragedy, which is why we’ve emphasized the need to protect civilians, regardless of who they are or where they live.
Certainly the death and injury of Palestinian civilians is a tragedy. And such death and injury is occurring because that’s where Hamas is hiding. Is not the warning to protect civilians, regardless of who they are or where they live little more than a demand for Israel to stand down?
Our goal has been and continues to be peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Peace and security for Palestinians? Is Israel, unprovoked, attacking Palestinians? Endangering their security?
The biggest danger to Palestinians’ security is the Hamas organization the Palestinians themselves voted for.
More broadly, however, the situation in Gaza reminds us again that the status quo is unsustainable and that the only path to true security is a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, where differences are resolved peacefully and in ways that respect the dignity of all people.
Israel is faced with a population of people, from the shopkeeper to the extremist firing missiles, who seek to plunge the Jews into the sea. Obama, when Israel is under attack, should be expressing more than caveated support. He should unequivocally make clear who the aggressor and provocateurs are, and who is the democratic ally of the United States.
Unless, of course, he’s confused about that.
Speaking from the house floor Monday, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) wasn’t the least bit confused. If only my fellow Jews who populate the Democratic Party had the same sense of clarity.