Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Letter to Christian Critics of Israel (updated)


Operation Christian Pillar of Defense -- Caergwrle Wales

At Connexions the blog of Richard Hall, a Methodist Minister in Wales, there is this discussion in the immediate wake of Pillar of Cloud. At the start of Pillar of Cloud Richard Hall linked with approval an article in The Conversation by an Australian academic that condemned Pillar of Cloud as illegal within hours of the killing of Ahmed Jabari.

This  is a comment from Kim Fabricius  also a Methodist Minister.
Kim 11.21.12 at 6:22 pm 
Personally, I think the Palestinians should be grateful for the generous humanitarian gesture of the Israeli minister that “the goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” Compared, say, to US General Curtis LeMay’s May 1964 message to the Vietnamese that “they’ve got to draw in their horns or we’re going to bomb them back into the Stone Age.” I mean, the Stone Age ended between 4,ooo and 6,500 years ago, so a send-back to the Middle Ages, a mere few centuries, constitutes real moral progress, the war-plan of a truly civilised society. 
I suppose it would be churlish to mention that, of course, LeMay lived to eat his words. Churlish too to mention that in Amos 1-2, the prophet pronounces judgement on the war-crimes of Israel’s neighbours — including Gaza! (1:6-8) — his hearers no doubt shouting in righteous triumph, until — what goes around, comes around — he pronounces that same judgement on the people of Israel themselves (2:6ff.). 
By the way, on “just war” doctrine, Judaism has developed its own ethical norms. Interestingly, however, unlike traditional Christian jus in bello doctrine, these do not include “proportionality”. 
This a letter that I have left for Richard Hall and his readers:

Good morning Richard.

I promised you another comment and I have waited until the dust has settled in Gaza and tempers in the West have cooled as the hudna holds and the news cycle moves on.

Let’s reflect on Pillar of Cloud for a moment in isolation and see if there is anything in it that the outspoken West has to learn.

I use the word hudna carefully by the way. This is a hudna. It is not a cease-fire or a truce and even less an armistice and it would be a good idea for those with an opinion to learn the difference.

From the standpoint of Hamas and its defenders (the entire Islamic world and especially Iran, of which Hamas is a proxy) this is a tactical cessation of just one form of the attack on Israel and the West while Hamas regroups and rearms.

From the standpoint of Israel and its defenders they don’t care what you call it so long as Hamas and the other killers agree to stop trying to murder people at random in Israel in this way. And if they do try again they and the world can expect another "Pillar of Cloud."

The process of rearming Hamas and the other terrorist gangs has already begun.  Iranian missiles have already been intercepted on their way to Gaza.

That is what the “blockade” is about incidentally.  The one do-good-pests from Europe like to try to run for the stunt-mad international media.

It is not a blockade on Gaza at all. It is a blockade on Iran and and al-Qaeda and the Salafist gangs many of which are based in Egypt

Israel supplies Gaza. Egypt does not. Nor does Jordan. Even at the height of Pillar of Cloud Israel was still able to get vital supplies of food, medicines, and other essentials through to the civilian population

Even after Hamas shelled the crossing.

No doubt Hamas and its occasionally warring allies and their armies totalling 20,000 or more ate the food, too, and drank the water and used the power nearly all of which Israel supplies.

I am going to make a proposition that I think cannot be honestly denied.

There is nothing to celebrate about Pillar of Cloud.  It’s cost in resources is enormous and together with Iron Dome, the other wing of Israel’s defense, it is a heavy burden that Israelis must bear.

But that it was extraordinary skilful, and achieved a level of precision and sheer moral care for the innocents tragically caught up in war, never before approached by a modern military and way beyond the capability of any European country is just the simple truth.

The suggestions that it breached international law are absurd.

I invite you and others to examine your instinctive reactions to this affair from the start, because it is an on going affair.

What we have here is the double standard that has become so much a part of the West’s and especially European perspectives that it is barely noticeable. In fact the double standard is so vast in this case it is obscene.

Israel has behaved far better in the face of these attacks on her civilian population than any European country ever has or would or could if faced with anything like what Israel faces. Another simple truth.

I suppose we could excuse Czechoslovakia that when betrayed simply surrendered. Is that what you would have Israel do?

The Jews of the Middle East in living memory were once dispersed throughout Muslim lands but are concentrated now almost entirely in one remarkable little country where they form about half the Jewish population. The other half (and they are quickly intermarrying) are largely the descendants of Jews that in living memory were dispersed throughout Christian lands in Europe and who, too, were uprooted and dispossessed.

Someone here said that these Jews acted disproportionately.  Christians would not do this was the clear inference or at the very least Christians should not do this.  This is not a religious argument for me . By any common definition I am not a religious man. I have not seen the inside of a functioning synagogue for more than forty years. I take no pride in that. It just is, is all.

But I call bullshit.

You can not expect the Jews to behave with more care for the civilian population of an enemy regime than they do for their own. You can not expect them to stand by while their own are threatened and murdered and to do nothing because they value the lives of their own less than they do the lives of others.

Christians never have.  Christians never would.

What do you expect these Jews in their own homeland to do when faced with such unrelenting genocidal hatred on such a scale and subject to continuous attacks with a ferocity that almost ranks among the attacks by the Muslim states and groups on one another?

Behave like Super Christians?

That is not a rhetorical question. Because this double standard has become so universal that it strikes me that it now amounts to this.


Richard Hall replies:

Richard 11.28.12 at 2:50 pm
I’m sorry geoff: I don’t see that we’ve got any basis on which to continue this conversation. Your presentation of Israel simply as an innocent victim of Arab aggression suggests we have no common ground at all. Let’s leave it there.

And indeed the traffic from the UK in the last day or two has been negligible. They are just not interested. I get more curiosity  about what I have to say from the Palestinian Territories or Qatar than I get from Wales. That can't be good.

Still this is progress of a sort.  It was only a few weeks ago that I got banned (temporarily) by Richard Hall from a thread    for saying that antizionism was just another form of antisemitism. I was then deemed off topic on another thread for saying this

cross posted Geoffff's Joint


  1. Now THAT, my friend, is a great comment!

  2. Kim Fabricius doesn't understand the meaning of "proportionality" in war.

    What it means is that no more force of arms should be used beyond that needed to accomplish the goal, whatever the goal might be. To the extent that the military goes beyond that it is acting in a manner that is disproportional.

    What she seems to think it means, in this case, is that if Hamas shoots a rocket, Israel can do no more than shoot a single rocket back for the purposes of some moral proportionality.

    I, however, still believe that Israel should eliminate Hamas completely. They call quite specifically for the genocide of the Jews in their much ballyhooed charter.

    And, I tell ya, to this day I really don't quite understand the Islamist obsession with the Freemasons, but that's an entirely other question.

    1. A disproportionate attack is one that may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

      It is not something determined in hindsight, but at the moment the order is made, based on the knowledge existing at the time.

    2. Your first paragraph represents, more or less, the formal definition and is consistent with my claim.

      I am not so sure about your second paragraph, School.

      Is that also part of the formal definition?

    3. It is the standard under which the principle is to be applied when making a determination.

  3. Found the link to the original comment.

    Is it just me, or does that "hmm" at the end of it bump the entire thing up seven levels of ugly?

    1. It does send that indescribable shiver down one side of the back of the neck, doesn't it Jay. Hmm. You can just see the smug knowing "isn't it obvious" look on his oh so superior clergyman moonface

      If you ever met him you would have to fight an urge to put this "turn the other cheek" theory to the test.

      Or is that just me?

    2. I have a very simple policy on busybodies like Hall and Fabricius:

      One well-reasoned post to try to convince them, like Geoffff has written, and that's it; if it doesn't—as Hall's reply so plainly shows—tell them this regional conflict is none of their business, and that no one has the right to dispute the Jewish nation's sovereign political rights, including unlimited inhabitation and including unrestricted self-defense with no regard to any "proportionality" nonsense.

      Who appointed them judges? What instills in them such insolence as to think they can tell the Jewish nation-state what to do? Accursed be this meddlesome internationalism to the lowest hell! Those cowards would never opine so high-handedly on any other conflict in the world.

  4. Heh. Gotta love Richard Hall's final reply, don't you geoffff?

    He should have saved a few seconds and just typed, "You're not accepting my false reality, so good day sir!"

  5. What does this mean?

    Your presentation of Israel simply as an innocent victim of Arab aggression suggests we have no common ground at all.

    What's the real message that is being sent?

    Of course, Israel is not simply an innocent victim.

    Is there any country that is entirely "innocent"? Is Colombia innocent? How about Malaysia? Is that country entirely innocent? What does this mean?

    What it really means is that the Arabs have every right to try to murder Jews in that part of the world.

    That is directly what is behind the claim.

    For a whole year Israel withstood something like 800 rockets into its southern half and these people were silent.

    So what he is really saying is that in this generation, just as in past generations, those who seek to murder the Jewish people are fully within their rights to do so and if we fight back, through the Israeli military, than we are the aggressors.

    That's his meaning.

    He is, for all intents and purposes, therefore, a Nazi.