What was the moral justification for attacking not just al-Qaida but also Afghanistan after September 11, 2001?
Quite simple: it was based on the argument that those who give safe haven to terrorists are as morally culpable as the terrorists.
Yes, it was that simple. And therefore the Taliban were attacked for giving safe haven to al-Qaida. No one questioned this clear moral principle, and it served as a lesson to all.
Israel, following its 2005 unilateral disengagement from Gaza, thought they were leaving the Palestinian Authority in control but, after winning an election, Hamas took control. The people of Gaza elected in Hamas a leadership committed to Israel’s destruction.
Recently the Palestinian Authority unified with Hamas and has kept that unity throughout this Hamas attack on Israel. Accordingly, Israel knows clearly now that any more land they were to give up would become launching pads for more terrorism against Israel. The question for Israel now is not land for peace but land for terror.
Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza had worldwide support. However, when it backfired and Israel instead fell victim to Hamas raining rockets into Israeli towns the world watched. Silently. It was something the Jewish people had come to expect.
Now imagine al-Qaida controlling the area on the Mexican side of its border with the United States. And imagine the missiles directed at U.S. border cities are being fired from the most densely populated civilian areas, purposefully, to deter any response to take out the rockets because they would certainly lead to significant civilian casualties. Of course the civilian casualties would be exploited to engender a public opinion victory for the terrorists. What would the reaction be in Arizona to such a situation? The answer is obvious.
It is as astonishing as it is disheartening to hear the frequent criticisms directed to Israel’s response. Many have called on Israel to exercise either proportionality or restraint despite the unyielding and indiscriminate missile attacks on its civilians.
Which brings the question: should a nation defending itself do so in a manner where its casualties are expected to equal those against whom they retaliate? And correlatively, should it be criticized or condemned simply because its capability to administer punishment exceeds that of the belligerent who initiated the hostility? Of course not!
Only the intellectually dishonest would suggest that a nation whose children are kidnapped and murdered may respond to their murderers only “moderately.” Especially, when but for the response many more of their children would be murdered.
Let’s be clear: No normal or sane country would act with the restraint that they expect of Israel. If anything, that misbegotten expectation is what is asymmetrical about this conflict. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed it clearly when he stated Israel uses its Iron Dome system to defend its people from missiles against those who use their people to shield their missiles.
The world needs to place the blame where it belongs — on Hamas.
William Penn correctly opined, “Right is right, even if everyone is against it, wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.” Israel is fighting for its survival against those committed to its destruction and violating every rule of proper conduct in the process.
Does Israel have the fundamental right to defend themselves and live in peace, and out of their bomb shelters? Absolutely!
Farley Weiss is National President of the National Council of Young Israel and past president of Young Israel of Phoenix