Friday, July 18, 2014

Israel Vs Hamas: Winning the War and Losing the Propaganda

A Marxist friend relentlessly posted messages and articles against Israel and finally called support of Israel as evil as supporting Nazism. Of course such stupidities are always trotted out with the excuse "oh I am not an anti-semite". She then proceeds to delegitimize the existence of Israel just like Hamas. I mean at what point would anybody concede their anti-semitism. So many nations have been formed and destroyed in the course of human history and particularly between 1940-1990 but only the formation of Israel irks the preening human rightists. Strangely this Marxist and her acolytes are silent about Chechnya and Saudi Arabia and China.

It is beyond indecent to see idiotic statements on Facebook that say" Israel does unto Hamas what Nazis did unto Jews". 6 million Jews died without raising a finger, as loyal citizens of the many countries they resided in, with nobody to give them voice and no rockets to launch at the Nazi state. Yes, Hamas is no match for Israel's military might but by that logic Osama Bin Laden was no match for USA either. Comparing holocaust to the current battle in Gaza is plain idiocy and does not bear scrutiny. Unfortunately such silly idiocies have the strength to become a rooted myth that makes reality look like a lie.

For the millionth time let me reiterate that Israel was NOT the consolation price that a guilt ridden West offered the Jews for holocaust. The promise of Israel was made in the Balfour declaration in 1917, nearly 21 years before Kristallnacht.

Another Facebook simpleton posted a photo showing the shrinking borders of Palestine from what the UN mandated to what it is today in 2014. True, it is shrunken and for that the Palestinians can congratulate themselves and their Arab brethren. As I've repeatedly pointed out Israel pleaded to be left alone in 1948 when the UN mandate created two states but Palestinians egged on by their Arab neighbors vowed to push the Jews into the Red sea but lost. That a beleaguered people, with far less international help than what Hamas gets today, even survived such a war is the greatest miracle of modern history. Not satisfied with the damage wrought the Arabs tried again in 1967 with Jordan, Syria and Egypt to snuff out Israel only to be defeated in the most humiliating manner. And yes, the borders shrank once again as a victorious Israel.

Life is unfair and Israel learned that, yet again, during the Yom Kippur war. Humiliated by the defeat in 1967 Anwar Sadat launched the Yom Kippur war that almost destroyed Israel. Unlike the 1967 war this time Israel slept and ignored the signs of war. In addition, Israel's Golda Meir also realized that another pre-emptive strike would alienate the American establishment. With great bravery Israel defended itself and marched into Egypt. Sadat, in a face saving gesture, declared victory and got on a plane to sign truce with Israel.

Life is unfair and Israel, yet and yet again, learned that in 1991. In 1991 the Arab nations pleaded with America to stop Saddam Hussein but their one condition was that Israel should not be involved. If Israel got into the war, the Arab coalition warned that they would oppose. Seeking to use that condition to destroy the alliance Saddam Hussein launched missile attacks into Tel Aviv. By every international law Israel was entitled to retaliate and yet its hand was stayed by America just to save the coalition.

Anything to do with Israel brings out the worst from many of its opponents. Let us be clear that the current round of violence was initiated by Hamas with the kidnapping and subsequent brutal killing of 3 Israelis. While Israel looked for the kidnapped citizens Palestine, Hamas and the world cared a damn. When the bodies turned up and a revenge killing happened, which Israeli government condemned and did everything to apprehend the guilty, the world started taking notice. Then Hamas started firing rockets into Israel and Israel replied back in kind. Now human rights advocates and activists sprouted from every corner of the world like locusts. A pornography of grief has ensued with the tragic killing of 3 children, playing on a beach, during an Israeli bombing.

Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb threatens Saudi Arabia as much as it threatens Israel or US. Yet, Saudi regime is relaxing knowing full well that America and Israel will take care of it. This duplicity is what paints America and Israel into a corner.

So much is made of America's aid to Palestine. America buys oil from Arab states and funds totalitarian regimes in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Unlike Israel those nations who enjoy American dollars have repaid US in treachery. Russia is the backer of the murderous regime in Syria. Where is the indignation for that? What is the level of indignation against a terrorist army like ISIS or even the Boko Haram?

There is so much of hue and a cry about Palestinian casualties as against almost zero Israeli casualty. Hamas locates its rocket launchers in homes and schools and purposefully leaves its citizens unprotected. In fact Hamas wants more casualties so they can parade corpses. This is the ugliest truth. An Israeli mother writing in a letter to New York Times editor said that she cried reading about the dead Gazan children even as she herself was hiding from rockets fired by Hamas. The rockets fired by Hamas were 'intended' to kill civilians unlike Israel's rockets.

The ever redoubtable Charles Krauthammer offers the stark contrast in 'moral clarity' with a quote from an Israeli minister "we are using missile defense to protect our civilians they are using civilians to protect their missiles". As Krauthammer, with his anger barely concealed, points out Israel had exited out of Gaza in the full glare of international TVs and there is no occupation in Gaza or even the much hated settlements. Instead of building a state for its citizens Palestniians sought to create a sanctuary for terror with a view to nurturing a permanent state of war with Israel.

Another much circulated cartoon on Facebook shows Israel showering rockets on Gaza in response to one rocket from Gaza. New York Times which ran many critical article against Israel, including a much well documented one on the 4 children being killed, also ran another article that stated "sheer number (of rockets) fired by militants since July 8th has shaken Israeli society". Israel's fabled 'iron dome' defense foils most of the rocket attacks and therefore Israeli casualty is almost zero. But that is NOT the point. While the dome protects life imagine living under a barrage of rockets and perpetual air raid sirens.

Terrorist organizations have the aura and romance of being some nitwits idea of a freedom fighter. Hamas is romanticized by unscrupulous idiots. Hamas happened because Arafat's Al Fatah was a corrupt and effete organization. And Hamas too is corrupt with many of its top leaders being millionaires. The tragedy of Palestinians is not the state of Israel but its leadership.

Even school textbooks are vehicles of hate in the Middle East. To be sure Israeli textbooks have their share of scaremongering. But the Palestinian textbooks go beyond scaremongering into hate mongering.

Unlike those who hate Israel and are blind to Hamas's fault I shall not be blind towards Israel. The current ground war is pointless and it only alienates much more. As much as Krauthammer might take comfort in the 'roof knocking' it is grotesque and useless. Telling a family to pick up its bags and run to god knows where in the face of an impending rocket strike is unfathomably horrendous. I admire Israel for how it has grown into a formidable economic and military power amidst unprecedented existential threats but such growth places great responsibility too.

All that said it is sheer propaganda to place the blame disproportionately on Israel's head. As the Israeli mother wrote to New York Times it is a wonder why Hamas builds tunnels to hide its weapons but no shelters against Israeli rockets. As one who considers himself a student of Jewish history I'll never say that Israel should heed world opinion. The world opinion be damned. In another of his long list of sharp and clarifying op-eds Krauthammer pointed out that it is silly to harp on how the world loved America on 9/11 and Le Monde writing 'we are all New Yorkers now', because on just two days later the same editorials were calling for America to stand silent. Krauthammer acidly remarked that the world loves America when it is weak. Its the age old Nietzchean struggle of the world hating the strong. World opinion has never been of help to Israel and will never stand up for Israel.

A case in point in point is the flotilla to Gaza that Israel embargoed in 2010. Then too many cried hoarse about how Israel was preventing just food and unarmed activists from going to Gaza. Later investigations revealed how the flotilla had no intention of promoting anything but peace and were in fact armed.

It is a region where there is no hope for sense or rationality. I'll not offer any prescriptions to any side. The reality is far too complex and intractable for legions of arm chair analysts, including me.


1. Israeli mother's letter to NYT

2. Charles Krauthammer's column in Washington Post, 'Moral clarity in Gaza',

3. New York Times detailed reporting on the killing of 4 Gaza children

4. New York Times article on rockets fired Hamas

5. Textbook propaganda in Israel and Palestine - from Economist

1 comment:

AJAX said...

The only non-idiotic article that i read on this topic :) Leave facebook guys.Facebook is filled with idiots who don't have knowledge of anything.