EDITORIAL: Hoarse Blinders

By Jewish Light Editorial

As we hope for an effective and lasting cease-fire and truce, still the most common story line being screamed around the world about Israel’s Pillar of Defense response to indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire is woven together this way:

• Hamas’ rockets — you know, the thousands that have been fired into Israel over the past decade and hundreds more this year alone before the war began — are just little toys, in comparison to Israel’s sophisticated military strength, therefore Israel has no right to treat them seriously or use them as a justification for self-defense.

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• So when Israel responded, it was by definition the “aggressor.”

• What’s more, not only is Israel the aggressor but it’s a “terrorist” nation, engaged in “ethnic cleansing.” Yes, truly, that’s what Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said only this Tuesday.

How does one respond to this fabricated plotline, which is about as fraudulently false as can be?

Indiscriminate rocket fire into civilian areas cannot accomplish anything constructive. Period. It does not achieve peace, or improve the human condition, or make a better world for the next generation.

And yet, this has been the status quo emanating from Gaza for years — both before and after Israel’s pullout from Gaza and the elections that installed Hamas in 2006.

Only those without a grip on reality make the argument that Israel is obligated to sit by and watch as rockets come crashing through the sky into its sovereign territory. A democratic nation, attacked from the outside, has not only the right, but the moral obligation, to defend its lands and citizens.

Opponents of Israel can use whatever back story they want, construct any false narrative, but it doesn’t change the facts on the ground. Hamas wants to inflict terror, anarchy and hatred on Israeli populations. In the past, its aerial assaults were directed primarily toward primarily Jewish areas, but now with their rocket fire capable of reaching the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, it is obvious that Hamas doesn’t really care who it kills, as long as it’s all for the cause of perpetuating pure hatred and destruction.

Israel has responded with perhaps the most tailored approach possible: Target Hamas leaders and installations with precision strikes and — if you can believe this — use social networks to tell Hamas leaders to stay under cover and hidden if they don’t want to be attacked. Phone calls, leaflets, roof-knocking noise bombs and cessation of strikes when civilians are spotted, are just some of the other tactics Israel utilizes to minimize casualties.

Some make the argument, as they did during Operation Cast Lead, that Israel’s response must be “proportional.” We agree in the same sense that author and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz agreed writing in Haaretz last weekend: “Israel’s response to the Hamas rockets must of course be proportional, but proportionality does not require that Israel wait until a large number of its civilians are actually killed or seriously injured. Israel’s response must be proportionate to the threat faced by its civilian population.  Indeed, the goal of its actions must be to prevent even a single Israeli civilian death. “

There are those who foolishly confuse the political back story with the situation on the ground. New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, in chastising Israel, said this: “Young Arabs are thinking about their own societies. Israel, stuck in the patterns of the past, has another option: Testing Palestinian good will rather than punishing Palestinian bad faith. Under (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu, it has not even tried.” Never mind that Cohen and others conveniently ignore that the rocketry has rained on Israel during the last four prime ministers’ tenures.

You don’t have to agree with the policies or practices of Netanyahu’s government. One can fairly debate whether its approach is detrimental to the prospects for an effective and lasting two-state solution. Of course, one can argue as well whether peace can ever be made with an organization, such as Hamas, whose leaders have repeatedly urged the destruction of the State of Israel.

But that stuff really doesn’t matter much right now. If you believe in the continued safe and secure existence of Israel, you will support Israel’s right to reasonably defend itself from outside terror attack. We would expect no less from our own government on our own American soil.