Genocide and Israel and Hamas and Rockets and Rockets
We’ve gone back and forth on this issue on Twitter, but I wanted to take a few minutes to write a bit about the problem that Cunningham faces, as well as to provide my reasons for refusing to go nuclear on the topic of Israel.
First, I should begin by noting that I don’t think Hamas rockets and Israeli airstrikes should be thought of as being similar in any way. I condemn both of them, but they aren’t comparable. I’m tired of seeing Facebook and Tumblr posts about the terror of Hamas rocket attacks, as if a) they occur in a vacuum and b) they are somehow terrorizing the Israeli populace in even a remotely similar way that Israeli airstrikes are terrorizing Gazans. But I’m also tired of the Facebook and Tumblr posts about how the ineffectiveness of the rocket attacks somehow means that they are the equivalent of not shooting rockets at civilians.
In other words, it’s possible for the Israeli government to be acting immorally and it’s possible for Hamas to also be acting immorally … even if the results of their immoral behavior are not equally terrible. There’s no moral high ground here. The fact that Hamas rockets aren’t killing more Israeli civilians doesn’t negate the fact that the intention of the shooters is to kill Israeli civilians. The fact of Israel’s reprehensible treatment of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza doesn’t give Hamas carte blanche to attempt to terrorize and kill Israeli citizens. But nor do Hamas rockets give the Israeli government carte blanche to terrorize and kill Gazans. Nor is there any reason, as far as I’m concerned, for Israel to maintain its abusive treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. . . .
I'm gonna level with you: Even setting aside the Hamas charter as a "historical document," and accepting that its weird anti-Semitic screeds don't *really* represent the *real* positions of the *current* Hamas leadership, I still don't know what to do with the fact that Hamas leaders like Ismail Haniyeh are met with adoring chants of "Death to the Jews," and that they make hay with that. I mean, maybe it's hard to be really specific in an Arabic political slogan--maybe the throngs really *do* mean something more like "Death to the Jews Who Are Enlisted in the IDF and Actively Shelling Our Communities!" But all I'm hearing them say is "Death to the Jews"--which includes me and my children, which includes Kohen (who is an ethics prof in Nebraska, and an admirably more even-keeled thinker than I), and which *kinda sorta* sounds like advocating genocide--but, whatevs. Just saying'.
Frankly, that chant (and the weird conspiracy stuff in the Hamas charter--which I know, I know, I said I was gonna let be water under the bridge) makes me feel bad in exactly the same way as Ann Coulter saying something like "We should invade their [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" makes me feel bad. In fact, now that I think about it, both statements make me feel *threatened* in roughly the same way--with the obvious proviso that Hamas is unlikely to build a rocket that can reach me, while Coulter might well (inadvertently?) rile up a brain-addled patriot who'll take it upon himself to wreck some havoc domestically.
*sigh* I guess that's Thanksgiving for you. My, I'm thankful to be largely out of range of all of this. Amen.
*DISCLOSURE* I know Ari from way back in knucklehead days.