by James Kirchick
The persistence of rationalizing terrorism against Israel
In order to make the “disproportionate” argument,
Lamenting the greater number of Palestinian civilian casualties (due almost entirely to the Hamas practice of placing its weaponry and soldiers in hospitals and schools, and to its use of women and children as human shields) is a perennial tactic of
Analogies are perilous instruments. Despite Yglesias’s insistence that he wasn’t making an analogy, his comparison, if you will, is preposterous. As Reason’s Michael Moynihan pointed out, for Yglesias’s rough-neighborhood allegory to approximate the reality of what was happening with Hamas and Israel, there would have to be hundreds of kids throwing dozens of rocks and causing actual damage—not just the terror that comes from being the possible victim of a hurled stone, but death, maiming, damage to property, and trauma (a recent study found that most of the children aged 4 to 18 in Sderot—the Israeli town most affected by Hamas’s rocket attacks—suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome). For Yglesias, however, it seems that a terrorist organization’s launching rockets into sovereign territory just isn’t that big a deal and that the Israelis ought to suck it up.
Such minimization of Israeli suffering abounds. A Guardian news report referred to the rocket attacks as a “manageable irritant.” Pat Buchanan compared
For their “disproportionate” argument to make sense,
These may be “irritating” questions for those who criticize, from the comfort of their keyboards thousands of miles away, the actions of a beleaguered democracy under siege from terrorists—terrorists suborned, in turn, by a theocratic regime building a nuclear capacity with the express aim of wiping that democracy from the face of the earth. But they are hardly as irritating as Hamas’s war crimes, or the pedants who excuse them.
James Kirchick is an assistant editor of The New Republic
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