Sunday, December 28, 2008

God Bless the State of Israel

I've written a couple of times now on the left's response to the outbreak of war in the Middle East. Still, Ezra Klein deserves an honorable mention in this rogue's gallery of self-styled 1930s-appeasement look-alikes. Klein, for example, has this to say in response to a New York Times' report that attacks from Gaza were "deeply disturbing" even though there were "no recent deaths and few injuries":

The rocket attacks were undoubtedly "deeply disturbing" to Israelis. But so too are the checkpoints, the road closures, the restricted movement, the terrible joblessness, the unflinching oppression, the daily humiliations, the illegal settlement - I'm sorry, "outpost" - construction, "deeply disturbing" to the Palestinians, and far more injurious. And the 300 dead Palestinians should be disturbing to us all.

There is nothing proportionate in this response. No way to fit it into a larger strategy that leads towards eventual peace. No way to fool ourselves into believing that it will reduce bloodshed and stop terrorist attacks. It is simple vengeance. There's a saying in the Jewish community: "Israel, right or wrong." But sometimes Israel is simply wrong.
I have nothing but contempt for ignorant peaceniks like Klein. [Note that Klein, the "journalist," actually quotes this article, not the one linked to at the post.] But instead of tearing him a new one, let me share Caroline Glick's righteous response to the events in Israel:

This morning I knew the strike against Gaza was beginning when the thunderous roar of jet fighters en route to their mission shook my home. I was immediately overwhelmed by a profound sense of hope and relief.

Finally, after months of passivity, incompetence and empty threats that simply eroded Israel's credibility in the eyes of our enemies and friends alike still further, the IDF has been ordered to defend the country. Finally after the anger and defiance of residents of Ashkelon, Sderot and the kibbutzim and moshavim around Gaza had long been transformed into pleas of desperation, the government seems finally to be fulfilling its most important duty - protecting the citizens of the State of Israel.

I have my doubts about the goals of this mission and about the competence of this government to secure the country. And I will address these issues in due course. But today, all I can do is pray - for the safety of all Israelis in the line of fire and for the success and safety of our brave pilots and soldiers. I pray that God will grant wisdom to our commanders and our leaders so that we will defeat our enemies and remove the threat of rockets, mortars and missiles from our southern cities.

God bless the State of Israel. God bless the people of Israel. God bless the IDF.
Ezra Klein is an American Jew who abandoned his religion for a life of leftist agnosticism and punditry. Caroline Glick is an American Jew who made an aliyah to Israel in 1991 and joined the Israeli Defense Forces. She's served in the Israeli government and today is a neoconservative foreign affairs columnist at the Jerusalem Post.

It'd be hard to find a more pronounced difference in outlooks between two Americans of similar national and religious origins. I'll let readers judge which of these two commentators is on the side of right, goodness, and justice in the world.


AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Philippe. I do hope there's a lasting victory, as you suggest.

shoprat said...

Sadly there are times when peace is simply not possible. This appears to be one of those times.

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Shoprat!

Ema Nymton said...


Your contempt notwithstanding, the people of Gaza do have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

And the actions of Israel are carried out by people (who make mistakes and who may be _wrong_..


Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...

Hi Donald,

I read the excerpt of the article by Klein. It puzzled me. The thought came to me, "If this author heard a story about a teenager murdering his parents in cold blood... this author would say, 'Now some people would see this act of violence as unwarranted. But little do they know the times this young man was not offered $20 to go to the movies with his friends, the fact that he had to share a room with his brother, and the trials he faced. Before judging this act, think of how guilty his parents really were.'"

It's just insane. It's a roundabout justification of violence that leaves the victims redefined as the "pleasure deniers" of those who attack them.

Perhaps she should dedicate her career to the persecution of women who are beaten by their husbands. After all, in her worldview, "they deserve it". You can't blame a person for hostility and aggression. You blame the victim. Then you tell the victim they're not allowed to defend themselves.

Again, I invite Ms. Klein to move into Gaza to share the culture of those who she defends. They are so misunderstood, oppressed... and I'm certain they will embrace her and welcome her because they are so good and noble.

I'm sure none of them would have a picture taken at window to braggardly show their two hands - with her blood on them.. because she is Jewish. Nah... they're just poor misunderstood little darlings who haven't been given enough benefits. Please, do tell me when she relocates to Hamas controlled territory and can give me her firsthand impressions of these misunderstood victims who have to pass through checkpoints (because while other moms send their kids with packed lunches, these moms send children strapped with bombs on suicidebombing missions to kill Jews in Israel).

I'm looking forward to her "Straight from the heart of GAZA" new multicultural blog. Wonder when she'll start writing that one??


AmPowerBlog said...

The people of Gaza, Ema, need to put pressure on their leaders to stop the rocket attacks. Israel has a right to defend itself, and I have no respect for people like Ezra Klein and his moral equivalence.

AmPowerBlog said...

Grace: Ezra is a he, but you raise some good points. He's long bothered me, an American communist if there ever was one.

Tom the Redhunter said...

Yes Ema, the people of Gaza do have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

As did non-slave owners in the antebellum American South. But as the Gazeans (term?) haven't stood up to Hamas, neither did the Southern non-slave owners stand up for the rights of blacks. They did not "deserve" the ravages of the Federal Army, but neither were they completely innocent, either.

The analogy is not perfect, but that's why they call them analogies.

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks for visiting, Tom. I think its "Gazans," but no big deal either way. Israel needs to destroy Hamas, and quickly, to avoid the international condemnation we say in 2006.

Anonymous said...

This might be the subject for an entire post, but I'd ask Philippe Ohlund and our esteemed host. both of whom want to see an Israeli victory, actually define what victory would be for Israel and tell us how such could be achieved.

I have said here that peace is impossible without a military victory, and that the only definable military victory that could be achieved is for Israel to kill a very significant portion of the Palestinians fighting aged men and expel the entire Palestinian population from Gaza and Judea and Samaria into Jordan, shortening her defensive perimeters.

I've also said that such could have been done following the 1967 war, but is almost certainly impossible today.

I'd be interested in reading your (plural) definitions of success and victory.

Norm said...

I wonder if Mr. Klein ever thinks of Daniel Pearl?

Stogie said...

Ezra Klein and liberals like him should all walk around with a sign on their back saying "Kick Me." They seem to relish self-destruction. How many Jews must die just so Ezra Klein can pose and posture as a great humanitarian, or feed his egotistical feeling of moral superiority?

His blog slogan is "Liberal Intelligence," an oxymoron if there ever was one.

Stogie said...

Dana, I do agree with you that Israel needs to kill a significant number of Palestinians to weaken their ability to make war. Also, moving them out of Israel, by force, would appear to be an effective long-term solution, if it is feasible.

Until such time as this might be achieved, however, Israel will be obligated to clean out the rats nests of terrorists in Gaza and other places from time to time.

We can never get rid of rats, so an ongoing program of pest control will undoubtedly be necessary, to keep their numbers down to manageable levels.

Van Zan said...

It's not "right, goodness, and justice", as heartwarming as those words are for Roger Ramjet set. It's simple survival and politics.

This operation has been six months in the planning and Shin Bet and Aman have been very busy in that truce time.

Israel has early elections in February too, and the opposition is in front, so the time to act is now, even though the truce reduced rocket fire from hundreds a month to less than twenty.

The plan is there, the intelligence is warm, and non-clarity in election outcomes won't help Israel if they wait.

And so Israel wins, Hamas doesn't recognize annihilation as defeat anyway, and the Palestinians lose. Again.

bluespapa said...

Israel must surely defend itself, and of course has the right; Hamas has not acted responsibly for the people whom it represents (though the people of Gaza elected Hamas partly for the bellicosity of its leaders).

However, if we believe that war should be a last resort, and not merely a tool in a political grab bag, this must surely represent failure, once again, for all sides seeking peace, security, justice, and dignity. It's way too easy to applaud those with the stronger hand, and way to easy to condemn them. Political leaders have a responsibility that goes beyond the winning of a campaign. And perhaps that is ultimately the difference I have with Prof. Douglas, that he sees a right being exercised, as a political scientist who understands the balance of rights and responsibilities enumerated in bills and constitutions, the designation of military under executive, and the execution of authority. This violence represents an important calculation explainable in declarations and enumerated in bills, supported by appropriations, allotted at fixed points in time to designated agents.

But this violence represents a horrible failure of the leadership, the will, the spirit, the magnanimity, and the courage of all of the peoples involved (and the United States is surely involved in this conflict). As a last resort we ask for a courage of last resort from our troops, as Israel asks of its, and as Hamas has foolishly demanded of its. Hamas does not in itself represent an existential threat to the survival of Israel; it has, nevertheless, been a threat to its citizens, for which a people cannot sit idly by.

It is the failure to realize that we are watching the failure of all sides that brings pain to the wise. As Golda Meir famously said at a 1969 peace summit, "When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons." What is shameful in what we are witnessing is everything for which humanity stands. It is cruel and cold-hearted to say it is a matter of rights. Surely it is, but cause for war is also a matter of honor and dignity, and above all humility. It is hubris that brings us here, certainty in the correctness of a right. It is the lack of honor, dignity, and humility that once again permits us the hubris of this certainty. True leadership is not merely carrying a big stick; that is true cowardice. A right gives its holder honor, dignity, and humility to seek beyond what appears to be the last resort, of killing one in fellowship of humanity. Certainly war is sometimes unavoidable, but waging it must require imagination to understand that it must be waged first non-violently, that it must be waged imaginatively, that it must be waged with humility well before it is waged with arms.

We see no evidence of that understanding from any of the leaders involved here. It must be to our shame.

Anonymous said...

Wars will continue until one side wins decisively. Truce only serve to continue the violence.
Israel needs to put an end to it if they do not want to keep fighting the same war over and over. Wars are either won or lost. There is no in between. All the rest simple just kills far more people than would have happened otherwise. It is the reason why wars should not be entered in if there is not the desire to end it decisively.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Just as Truman had to use the atomic bomb to quickly end WWII, Israel has no choice but to finally win against those that hate it. Islam is not evil. It has been hijacked by scum to use as a tool of oppression and hatred. Israel can continue with phony peace talks or take the necessary action to keep it's citizens safe and free to excersise their faith. Or keep getting rockets lobbed at them. I give the chances that the average man on the street in the Arab World will rise up against Hamas and other terror organizations because Israel is fighting back much more creedence than staying on the same path while rockets are being lobbed at Israel.

AmPowerBlog said...

"...that the only definable military victory that could be achieved is for Israel to kill a very significant portion of the Palestinians fighting aged men and expel the entire Palestinian population from Gaza and Judea and Samaria into Jordan, shortening her defensive perimeters..."

That's fine with me, Dana!

AmPowerBlog said...


"Also, moving them out of Israel, by force, would appear to be an effective long-term solution, if it is feasible."

Don't know if it will be ... being a democracy, Israel will follow human rights practice. It will have to decide if demography is a threat to the state's existence and act accordingly. If the answer is yes, we should see all kinds of restrictions on Israeli Arabs. Interesting, in any case.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

I have to disagree with you partly Mr. Ohlund. You say that Islam is evil because the 911 creeps "died for Allah" These jokers were brainwashed into believing they died for Allah.
Your view is akin to saying Catholicism is evil because IRA terrorists killed for God. Or Protestantism is evil because of Sinn Fein.

Stogie said...

Truth 101, I have to agree with Philippe. Islam IS evil, period.

I have read 12 or 13 books on the subject by recognized scholars, as well as the Quran and much of the Hadith. Islamic violence is not analogous to Sinn Fein or the Spanish Inquisition. Christian violence is an aberration that is not supported by Christian teachings or scriptures, whereas Islamic violence is an express commandment of Muhmmad.

Muhammad taught that Muslims must "make war on all mankind" until the entire world is Muslim. Muhammed said that only those who die in battle against the infidel are guaranteed a spot in Heaven.

Muhammad expressly taught violence by word and deed: he was a mass murderer, rapist, kidnapper and thief.

Islam is evil because of its nature and that of its doctrines, traditions and precepts.

You should get yourself a good book on the subject and inform yourself.

AmPowerBlog said...

Philippe ... be careful on the statements of evil. There is evil in the world, but Christianity is the basis of Western goodness and morality. Christianity has never launched suicide bombers, and by doctrine, Christianity is not out to colonize the world, as Islam's push for a new caliphate is.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Man is capable of incredible evil without the help of God or the devil Mr. Ohlund. My premise is that Islam has been hijacked. There are verses in the Bible that are disturbing. On the other hand, Samson was a bad you know what. So were Jesus, Joshua, David, Paul, Saul and loads of others. I'll stick with the Bible if that means anything to you.

Van Zan said...

DD writes "Christianity has never launched suicide bombers, and by doctrine, Christianity is not out to colonize the world, as Islam's push for a new caliphate is."

No… Christianity is not partial to suicide bombers as its favored tactic, but throughout its history it has aggressively propagated itself throughout the world, provided moral justifications for slavery and conquest. It has also provided motivation for some the most cruel and bloody incidents in human history, many of them perpetrated against the Jewish people.

AmPowerBlog said...

"Christianity is not partial to suicide bombers as its favored tactic, but throughout its history it has aggressively propagated itself throughout the world, provided moral justifications for slavery and conquest."

No Van Zan, not as it's basic doctrine. No at all. Contrast that to Islam itself with calls explicture in Muslim scripture for death to the infidels. You cannot win this debate, as you're on the wrong side of the good.

Van Zan said...


With respect, you cannot reasonably assert that the Christian religion has never been used for extreme acts of cruelty and violence.

The sack of Magdeburg, Spanish Inquisition, Taiping rebellion… etc etc etc… all had an origin or justification that was faith-based.

It's an evasion to say that none of that counts because it is not written in the Bible that infidels must die (In any case, it's not hard to find justifications for heinous acts of inhumanity in the Old Testament). The fact is, people killed thinking that's what God wanted them to do.

It's not a matter of debate, opinion, interpretation or spin. It's fact. It happened.

I don't stand against private Christian faith, but I do stand against religiously inspired violence no matter which faith is being used.

I reference to the post topic, as I inferred earlier, I do think Israel has a justification for this strike against Hamas.

Dana's suggestion to kill "a significant portion" of the Palestinian male population further above is reprehensible, however. Suddenly it's no longer the defanging of Hamas being spoken about, but something like a pogrom. Nasty, dangerous, genocidal.

AmPowerBlog said...

Van Zan: I'm saying the Bible doesn't authorize it (the Inquisition is church practice, not Biblical command), whereas the Koran does.

Christianity is the basis for Western progress, warts and all. It's hardly the case that Islam matches that record.

Van Zan said...


I recognize your distinction between Biblical teaching and "Church practice" and do not dispute that point.

I don't know enough about the Koran to debate your other point.

Christianity - and 'the church' for that matter - have done (and continue to do) much that is positive, and preserved much from antiquity that would have been lost otherwise.

I maintain, however, that much blood has also been spilt in the name of the Christian God, and we must not prejudice our understanding of history by ignoring that fact.

Thank you for your counter-comments.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Islam led the way in the study of science and architecture while Christianity was backward during the dark ages.
And Mr. Ohlund. I stand by what I said about Jesus being bad. You just misunderstand that I meant the good kind of bad. Like Shaft. He was a bad you know what Brother. Anybody that can scare hell out of the establishment and go through what he did to pay for the sins of a world totally unworthy is the baddest dude ever. And any time he wanted to call it off he could have. Amen Brother.