Israel Has The Right To Defend Itself — The Issue Is That It Doesn’t
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s National Review article “Violence In Israel Is The Price Of Biden’s Weakness” — an article which exists for no other reason than to attack Biden’s Israel policy (Biden, for the record, is a self-described Zionist who has backed Israel throughout its ten-day-long bombing campaign in Gaza) — is one of the most dishonest things I’ve read regarding Israel in a long time. Just take the second paragraph of the article as an example:
Many Americans witnessing the recent bloodshed in Israel are perplexed by how quickly violence erupted after years of calm. The answer is that President Biden and congressional Democrats have abandoned unambiguous support for our ally Israel, emboldened our enemies, and turned their back on the policy that yielded historic peace deals in the Middle East.
The issue at hand is obvious, there was no “historic peace in the Middle East” while Donald Trump was President. Even if we just limit this conversation to Israel, we would have to ignore the Gaza border protests that took place from 2018 until 2019, in which 183 Palestinians were killed and over 9,200 more were injured. (One of these massacres occurred while Donald Trump was in Israel because he decided to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem.) If we open it up to the Middle East in general, we have a man who betrayed our Kurdish allies, couldn’t make up his mind of if we should remain in Afghanistan or not, and who nearly got the United States in a war with Iran at the start of his final year in office.
Also, Biden has not abandoned support for Israel, that’s just a lie. Here’s what Biden had to say using the White House official Twitter account on 5/15/2021:
Today the President spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, reaffirmed his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza, and condemned these indiscriminate attacks against Israel.
As for the Democratic Party as a whole, while some like Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib have been more critical of Israel than we’ve seen in the past from Democrats, the Democratic Party overall still remains safely in support of Israel. The most anti-Israel candidate who ran for President in 2020 was Bernie Sanders — and he’s still a supporter of Israel, he’s even lived in Israel at certain points in his life, but he does not believe Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions — a movement that calls for those things against Israel, usually just called BDS — should be outlawed on the federal level.
Or how about this:
Apparently, Biden learned nothing from the tragic foreign-policy blunders made during his time as vice president. President Obama’s thin “red line” in Syria, his decision to “lead from behind” in Libya, and his slipshod withdrawal from Iraq each created power vacuums that were quickly filled by America’s enemies.
On those efforts in Libya (which were NATO-led, and were only successful because of its support from the people of Libya), Pence was in complete support of the actions at the time. Here’s Pence on NATO intervention in Libya on 3/1/2011:
I want to thank the Secretary of State [Hillary Clinton] for her testimony and her service to the country. It’s good to see you back before the committee. I also want to thank you, specifically, for the efforts by the [Obama] administration and your offices to further isolate Libya during a time of extraordinary tragedy in the streets, tragedy of which I think we’re probably only partially aware.
I want to continue to encourage and urge the administration to stand with those that are standing in that now bifurcated country to use all means at our disposal to provide support. I certainly associate myself with [Congressman from California] Mr. [Ed] Royce’s comments about isolating radio communications and — and would express appreciation for your efforts at Geneva and elsewhere to facilitate a coordinated international response, including a no-fly zone. [Libyan President Muammar] Qadhafi must go. I’m grateful to hear the secretary of state and the administration take that position unambiguously.
But, among all his lies, Pence decided to add the biggest lie told about Israel, that people are denying Israel the right to defend itself against terrorist organizations:
President Biden and every American leader should uphold Israel’s right to self-defense and condemn the terrorists of Hamas — as well as their supporters and apologists — in the strongest possible terms.
This is the common claim about Israel, that the only thing it does is defend itself against Hamas aggression. If one reads the National Review — which is not recommended — you’ll find this argument constantly. Here’s David Harsanyi on 5/17/2021:
As more than 1,500 Hamas rockets were flying toward Israeli cities with the express purpose of murdering civilians, CNN could spare only around four minutes — in total — to cover the topic during an entire week of prime time. Typically, it’s only when the Jewish state begins defending itself that the story gets any real traction.
Other right-wing websites have been using this same talking point Here’s Oliver North over at Townhall on 5/18/2021:
Demanding unilateral de-escalation by Israel is tantamount to insisting Israel forego defending itself. This is an impossible choice for the Jewish nation. Weakness and appeasement invite further aggression by Iranian proxies in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Here’s Larry O’Connor on 5/19/2021 for the same website:
Earlier this week, Democrats threatened to suspend a sale of military supplies that would help Israel defend herself in the midst of this latest terror attack.
Here’s Derek Hunter on 5/18/2021:
While Biden hasn’t gone full anti-Israel (yet), his party has. Democrats in the House of Representatives spent a day last week denouncing Israel for striking back against the terrorists launching rockets into their country.
There’s a term for this kind of argument, a strawman. As summed up by yourlogicalfallacyis.com:
By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone’s argument, it’s much easier to present your own position as being reasonable, but this kind of dishonesty serves to undermine honest rational debate.
Because, in truth, no anti-Zionist believes Israel does not have a right to defend itself against aggression against Hamas, what we believe is that Israel has not been acting in self-defense with its drone strike policy. As of 5/18/2021, Israeli drone strikes have killed over 210 Palestinians, sixty of which were children. Meanwhile, Hamas rockets have killed no more than ten Israelis, two of them children.
Let’s just remind everyone some of what Israel has done over the past couple of weeks in Gaza:
- Bomb at least three apartment buildings
- Bomb a refugee camp
- Bomb a building that contained both the Associated Press and Al Jazeera
- Bomb a building that contained an office for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund
Of these, the most we’ve heard about is the bombing of the building with both the Associated Press and Al Jazeera — a building that Israel constantly claims had Hamas officials in it as well, they have also claimed that they gave the evidence of this to Joe Biden. Meanwhile, Israel has refused to give The Associated Press any evidence of this, The Intercept writer Ken Klippenstein was unable to get evidence of it from President Biden, and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Press Secretary Jen Psaki have both said they have seen no evidence from Israel of these claims.
Let’s not forget why this happened in the first place, because Israel raided the third holiest Mosque in all of Islam during Ramadan. This is because Israel is still an occupying force around Gaza, and the people of Gaza are unable to get anywhere close to the Gaza Fence without being killed by the Israeli Defense Force. (You could even say they live in an “apart-hood” or Aparthide compared to how those in Israel live.)
And, by the way, Hamas has attempted to make the violence stop. Even ignoring its 2015 offer for a two-state solution (which had to be introduced to the United Nations by Jordan because Gaza is not considered a state), Hamas has offered two separate ceasefire agreements that Israel has refused. In fact, after the first one, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz — who is considered the more moderate alternative to Benjamin Netanyahu — said the following on television:
Today, I am Minister of Defense, and Hamas does not stop its violence the strike of 2021 will be harder and more painful than that of 2014. Hamas leaders bear responsibility for your being hunkered down in your homes instead of preparing for the holiday. Unfortunately, they operate out of civilian areas and therefore the damage will be extensive and intense. They are sacrificing you for their personal interests. If citizens of Israel have to sleep in shelters, then Gaza will burn. There is no other equation.
For the record, those strikes from 2014 killed over 2,000 people and injured roughly 10,000 others — many of them civilians. For that matter, Israeli citizens would not have to sleep in bunkers (which, by the way, they already don’t have to because Hamas rocket attacks are almost always stopped by Israel’s Iron Dome) if Israel would accept the cease-fire Hamas just put on the table.
And, one more thing, if Israel really just wanted peace in the Middle East, as Zionists keep saying is the case, then they could not make a single worse statement than “Gaza will burn.” And, of course, when Israel refuses a ceasefire they, therefore, allow a war to keep continuing which only means Hamas will fire more rockets. Meaning, when rockets are fired that do kill citizens of Israel — as some do, although rather rarely — then you can blame Netanyahu and Gantz for refusing Hamas’s offer to stop the fighting near the start of this conflict.
The only conditions for those ceasefires were that Israel stops raiding Palestinian Mosques and stop evicting Palestinian citizens from their own land — something the Israeli Supreme Court gave Israel the go-ahead on just before the conflict started. The more you learn about the conflict, the clearer it becomes that it was the fault of Israel and not of Gaza.
Obviously, Israel has killed members of Hamas with their drone strikes — and nobody is denying that, nor is anybody arguing those deaths were unjustified. However, if you truly believe that of the over two hundred people killed, all of them are members of Hamas, then you are negatively stereotyping the over two million people in Gaza based on the actions of a select few. And we all know what that can lead you to believe:
Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage. This is not a difficult issue. #settlementsrock — Ben Shapiro, 9/27/2010
(Side note: To quote Nathan Robinson “it’s amusing that Shapiro can see Gazan children swimming in sewage and think ‘Wow, Arabs must just really have a thing for sewage,’ a train of reasoning roughly akin to ‘Wow, Haitians must really love dying in earthquakes, since a lot of them seem to have done it.’” Also, can it now be said that Israelis are also rather found of “bombing crap” ?— although, credit where it’s due, to my knowledge nobody in Israel likes to “live in open sewage.”)
If Israel wanted to defend itself, it would be doing targeted boots on the ground against specific members of Hamas. Apprairtenly, they are able to use boots on the ground while they’re looking for rocks in Mosques, but they are unable to when they need to hit a target in a building with United States media and children’s charities in them.
The Israeli government is very inconsistent on what it can and can’t do regarding Gaza, and it seems to be nothing more than whatever is easiest. The issue is, however, that respecting human rights — especially the human rights of an enemy nation — is not always easy. That occasionally you will have to put soldiers in danger, and that you can not always rely on bombs to solve all your problems. Israel has the luxury of being able to stop worrying and love the bomb, a luxury that has cost thousands of innocent lives in Gaza.