When being critical of brutality, one must criticize all parties involved, looking at the bigger picture, without getting affected by knee-jerk morality
I had a conversation with a friend on Facebook recently, who blamed Israel for the brutality of the conflict, insisting that all one has to do is follow the blood to see who’s at fault.
My response was:
The fact there’s no dead Israeli babies on the news is not indicative of Hamas’s civility. It’s indicative of Israel’s defensive shield. Following the blood is therefore wrong — a sensationalist way to interpret what’s happening.
I also explained that a spherical point of view would include equal outrage at the attempt to blow up any babies, anywhere. Turning a blind eye to Hamas’s failed attempts to strike civilian areas in Israel and following only the blood is playing right into the hands of the ratings-driven media. Blaming people for being able to defend themselves is just plain wrong. Blaming people for retaliating in a cold-blooded way is another matter — they deserve the blame — but blaming the IDF should go hand in hand with blaming Hamas for provoking the ongoing atrocity for its own political gains.
Bottom line is, Hamas isn’t just using its people to protect its rockets. It’s using them to do marketing.
Bottom line is, Hamas isn’t just using its people to protect its rockets. It’s using them to do marketing. Call the IDF cold-blooded and ruthless for its hawkish policies, but at the same time call Hamas a sick, vile, filthy organization.
And my friend said:
I don’t have an issue with your point. There is however a difference (and not a subtle one) between a state and what essentially is a terrorist political party. One should view slaughter by a state differently to slaughter by a bunch of thugs.
And I said:
I’m not sure if many people would agree with your two-tier slaughter system, in which one massacre is more condemnable than another. In terms of overall behavior, yes, Israel needs to be held to the standards all sovereign states are held to. It is, in fact, being held to extremely lofty ones, which is both a compliment and a bane. Considering the circumstances, it has done well for itself, especially when bearing in mind its position — how it’s surrounded not only by organizations that explicitly call for its annihilation, but by sovereign states, by cultures and peoples chanting the ‘Jews are the devil’ mantra. Consider that for a moment, see what it foments and how it determines the situation. How about those standards? Why are they conspicuously omitted when we criticize the brutality of the ongoing conflict?
To be properly indignant we need to explicitly call out all sides for their maliciousness or risk being conveniently biased
Now I do admit that the Holocaust card may be getting old — people are tired of having it presented to them as the Jewry’s excuse to lash out with fury whenever they’re angered. Yes, the genocide the Jewish people experienced was a horrific tragedy, but we’re moving on — and I mention this because it’s how a vast majority of non-Jewish people think, which makes it perfectly valid feedback (see The Economist Leaders article Winning The Battle, Losing The War on how not all critical feedback toward Israel is anti-semitic — how some of it is quite illuminating, if not useful).
Only we can’t move on as we’d like to. There’s people out there — strike that — there are states out there, such as Iran, which deny the holocaust happened altogether. This spurious opinion is not the result of some passing administration’s antics. It’s the official, long-standing and wide-reaching policy of Iran toward Israel ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which not only denies history, but also summons millions of people to the cause of Israel’s liquidation. A number of other states are sympathetic to this cause, harboring systemic hatred for the Jews not just on state level, but also on the ground, among their own citizens and subjects.
Where is our indignation over this state of a airs? Where are our valuable standards? To be properly indignant we need to explicitly call out all sides for their maliciousness or risk being conveniently biased in favor of points of view that are based on an ancient, cultural hatred, a point of view completely unbecoming of rational man, or good geopolitics.
And I continued: I, for one, cannot rule in favor of states that are stuck in outmoded belief systems — that promote ways of life that keep people incarcerated in prisons for the mind. I can’t condone setups that disregard other points of view with such blatant self-righteousness. But that’s just me, being selectively biased on account of the bigger picture, not the media’s latest war production.
And I continued: In Ukraine around 1,500 people have been reported dead, 800 of which were civilians [late July]. A large number of these casualties were the result of Ukraine’s new and aggressive shelling of the city of Sloviansk. Where is the public outcry for that massacre? Where are the media and why are they not screaming bloody murder for the civilian casualties in east Ukraine? I’ll tell you where they are: in Israel and Gaza, busy gathering info on their latest war production, driving up ratings via a sordid combination of explosions, blood, and selectively morality. The two-tier slaughter system is alive and well, after all.
Since we’re talking two-tier slaughter and selective indignation, let me juxtapose Israel’s siege and assault on Gaza over the systematic, chronic and deliberate destruction of man’s body and spirit taking place in many states around the world. Where in particular? Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Chechnya, Somalia, Mali, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Sudan, and all places where jihadism or religious fundamentalism are rife. Let’s juxtapose the two onslaughts on humanity and balance the picture. Let’s observe things spherically, gaging a few of the atrocities no one is talking about in order to gain some much-needed perspective.
See, Israel, when at its best, has the foundations of a democracy, an open society conducive to enterprise, innovation, research, information exchange and progress. Conversely, when at their best, and as they stand, the places I mentioned above are prisons for the human soul, ruled by strongmen and warlords whose creeds are founded on absolute authority that stems from absolutist faith that considers itself infallible and committed to a supreme leader’s work, be it an Ayatollah, a Seikh, a King or a Sultan, or just an intransigent and omnipotent ruler. The cost? Whatever, it doesn’t matter. The destruction of everything that doesn’t agree with them and the distress that comes with it are for them a small price to pay.
If you find this statement extreme, please look at the facts — the living standards, state functions and social norms characterizing such states, as expressed by their national statistics and indices, their treatment of women and immigrants, and their hostility to critical points of view. They tell the story better than any op-ed perspective ever could.
If you still find this statement extreme, please, highlight the parts you deem inaccurate, providing data to the contrary.
Like I said, we either call out all sides for their faults, applying equal measures of criticism/outrage to their transgressions, or risk being selectively biased.
So repeat after me: When calling out Israel for violating the standards a state should uphold, it would be wise to also criticize the states and people who openly call for its annihilation
So repeat after me: When calling out Israel for violating the standards a state should uphold, it would be wise to also criticize the states and people who openly call for its annihilation. It would be fair to explicitly condemn those who feed the conflict and tension, who arm the terrorist organizations that target it, who fuel their people’s minds with Jihad hatred, who create organizations like Hamas, ISIL, Islamic states, caliphates, and other such sinister setups, the standards of which are way, way low on any conceivable scale. Failure to do so and we’re guilty of turning a blind eye to the part of the conflict that doesn’t serve our agenda, employing double standards, which result in a two-tier slaughter system.