Thursday, 22 January 2009

Anti-Israel protesters routinely shout "We are all Hamas"

"The recent Gaza operation left many well-meaning foreigners baffled by one question. As New York Times correspondent Ethan Bronner put it: "How can a war that looks so awful... be supported by such a vast Israeli public?" Bronner's article offered some correct answers: Hamas' deliberate use of human shields, which makes civilian casualties inevitable; our conviction that our army nevertheless strives to avoid such casualties; Hamas' commitment to our destruction.

However, there is also another factor. It is often termed "double standards," but goes considerably deeper than that. Consider a few examples: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!" was the slogan shouted at a Dutch rally against the Gaza war last week. Similarly offensive slogans were shouted at rallies in other countries, which collectively drew hundreds of thousands of protesters.

Many Israelis have asked where all these protesters were while 6,000 Hamas mortar shells and rockets pounded the South over the last three years. But that is actually the wrong question. Hundreds of thousands worldwide also protested America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet would never have dreamed of protesting against Saddam Hussein or the Taliban. There is a known double standard among some Westerners whereby only Western actions merit condemnation, while non-Western thugs get a pass. This is outrageous and should be fought, but it is not unique to Israel.

No anti-American demonstration, however, ever featured protesters shouting "Americans to the gas!" Nor did anti-American demonstrators shout "we are all al-Qaida," thereby implying support for the 9/11 attacks - whereas anti-Israel protesters routinely shout "we are all Hamas," thereby expressing support for suicide bombings, shootings and rocket launchings that have killed hundreds of civilians.

Hence the underlying message of these demonstrations is not "we object to killing Palestinians," but rather "we support killing Jews." Worse, that message is not socially unacceptable: If it were, hundreds of thousands would not attend rallies where such slogans are chanted; these would be fringe affairs attracting a few dozen people at most.

And that is a major reason why Israelis and foreigners view Gaza differently: A world where publicly calling for killing Jews is socially acceptable is not one whose standards Israelis find morally persuasive. (...)

Other examples abound - like the fact that most of the countries condemning us have killed far more civilians in their own wars than Israel ever has. Or that none of the people who keep proclaiming that this country may defend its citizens, "but not like that," has ever suggested any potentially effective measure that they would consider justified.
The bottom line, however, is this: We can support a war that looks awful to others because we start from different premises - that killing Jews is unacceptable, and this country has an obligation to prevent it; that we are entitled to use the same methods of self-defense as other countries; that international law must apply either to both sides or to neither; and that not every Palestinian accusation parroted by aid workers or journalists is necessarily true.
Granted, our critics claim to accept these premises as well. But their actions, as detailed above, speak far louder than words."
Photos: Brussels, January11, 2009, anti-Israel demonstration: both placards nazify Israel. One reads: "Gaza = Dachaus", the other "Tzipi Livni, Hitler's Wife"

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