Another week of horrible violence in Israel and Gaza has passed, and the world waits for a solution. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are working on it — which rightbloggers consider an outrage. For one thing, diplomacy just isn’t butch enough for them; isn’t the solution in every case just to obliterate one’s enemy and then enjoy the resulting millennia of peace?
For another, while diplomacy by Presidents with names like “Bush” and “Reagan” may be excused as minor infractions, diplomacy by Presidents named “Obama” is always part of a wider effort to destroy America, and that’s what rightbloggers affect to believe the current Administration’s turn at the well-worn Israel-Palestine peace table is all about.
The endless conflict between Israel and the residents of the Gaza Strip (also called Palestinians, though hard-liners argue that no such thing exists) got horribly worse about a month ago when three Israeli teenage hitchhikers were murdered in the West Bank and Israel, blaming Hamas, the elected ruling party of Gaza — notwithstanding that Hamas denied responsibility for the deaths — began bombing the shit out of them.
Hamas has fought back, but they are militarily extremely overmatched, so the death and devastation on their end has been high — and high-profile: Enabled by social media, images of the damage — particular at civilian sites such as hospitals and schools — have spread rapidly, and though Israel is engaged on those platforms as well, it appears the reportage has inflamed world opinion against Israel, leading to large protests in several major cities, including Tel Aviv.
Even among supporters of Israel, the spectacle has been dispiriting — but not for rightbloggers, who seem not to go for any of that human-cost bullshit and have instead been busily seeking ways to exploit the conflict for domestic political advantage.
True, some seem just to really, really want to kill Palestinians, regardless of partisan effect. At the Wall Street Journal, Thane Rosenbaum began his essay, “Let’s state the obvious: No one likes to see dead children. Well, that’s not completely true: Hamas does. They would prefer those children to be Jewish, but there is greater value to them if they are Palestinian.” Believe it or not, it got worse from there.
Rosenbaum then spread his indictment to all the citizens of Gaza, and argued Israel had the right, Geneva Conventions be damned, to kill civilians: “All the ordinary rules of warfare are upended in Gaza… Hamas wears no uniforms and they don’t meet Israeli soldiers on battlefields. With the exception of kaffiyeh scarves, it isn’t possible to distinguish a Hamas militant from a noncombatant pharmacist… Under such maddening circumstances, are the adults, in a legal and moral sense, actual civilians? To qualify as a civilian one has to do more than simply look the part. How you came to find yourself in such a vulnerable state matters… On some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen…”
We don’t have a joke here that God hasn’t already played on humanity.
Most rightbloggers, however, are only really thirsty for the blood of Democrats, and as the President and his Secretary of State have been trying, as has every U.S. Administration for decades, to limit bloodshed between Israel and her enemies through diplomacy, the brethren have hustled to portray this effort as an unprecedented abandonment and/or assault on Israel.
This may seem ridiculous to you, as the present Administration continues to shovel money to Israel (including direct assistance for the Iron Dome that protects it from Gaza rockets), the President continues to announce U.S support for Israel — even in the middle of a Muslim-American dinner at the White House! — and the Administration’s representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council cast the lone vote against investigating Israel for war crimes; but rightbloggers are not constrained by such mundane realities.
” No one has ever accused Kerry of being the brightest bulb in the room, and this pretty much confirms everyone’s previous opinion of him,” snarled Rick Moran at PJ Media. “…It makes you wonder which side Kerry is on.” “There is something dangerously incompetent about Kerry… By not only saving, but empowering Hamas, Kerry’s delusion is dangerous,” dudgeoned William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection.
“Exclusive: See How Obama Could Be Secretly Funding Hamas,” headlined L. Todd Wood at Western Journalism. (The U.S. has been funding Palestinians since the 1990s, but as a “foreign terrorist organization” Hamas is not eligible for funds.) Those who read past the headline would find Wood meant Qatar, a U.S. ally and aid recipient, might be giving money to Hamas, but how many do you figure read that far?
“Will some of the weapons that Qatar bought from American industry find its way into the hands of terrorists from Hamas?” speculated Wood. “…Could Qatar be financing the extensive tunnel networks that Israel has discovered leading to children’s schools and the like inside Israel? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered.” Indeed, especially as Wood offered no evidence of the funding better than this: Qatar “has good relations with the United States,” Wood admitted, “but I wouldn’t turn my back on them in a gunfight, especially if we are fighting terrorists supported by Qatar. Is the Obama administration aware of the Qatari funding of Hamas?… The American public deserves to know the answer to these questions.” Then again, maybe it was all a misunderstanding, like Reagan trading arms to Iran. Questions remain!
“The Obama administration, in its mulish appeasement of the Muslim Brotherhood-Sunni supremacist axis that even Islamic governments (indeed, even the Saudis) are shunning,” wrote National Review‘s Andrew C. McCarthy, “is subverting a golden opportunity to achieve decisive victory over Hamas – the necessary precondition if there is ever to be a stable Israeli-Palestinian settlement.” We doubt Obama will take his advice, but then McCarthy once worked for the Bush Administration, and they didn’t take his advice on Hamas, either.
McCarthy also tried the bit he and his former boss were accustomed to employ in the early days of the Iraq debacle — convincing Americans the U.S. is also a direct target. “As [Caroline] Glick points out, Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood, which makes it a big piece of the global jihad,” he wrote. “Besides being every bit as much America’s enemy as Israel’s, Hamas is now not only motivated but more lethally capable than it has ever been,” because of what Glick called the “rapid advances” in tunnel-digging, which Palestinians have been using to get out of the West Bank (into which they have been walled up by the Palestinians) and which has allowed some of them to kill Israelis, and because of their “missile technology,” which the Wall Street Journal reports has improved to a range of 93 miles; perhaps McCarthy expects Hamas next to burrow under the Atlantic to reach New York, and to improve their rockets’ range sixtyfold.
At the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin has been filling her bile-cup with items like “Israel refuses invitation to commit suicide, snubs the irrelevant Kerry.” Why, she asked, was Kerry asking for a truce at all? “One explanation,” she offered, “is that he is foolish beyond our wildest imagination, entirely disconnected from reality.”
After weighing this proposition, Rubin moved on: “Another possibility,” she said, “is that this is yet one more sign of President Obama’s antipathy toward Israel.” She didn’t say what the previous signs of this had been, but if you’re a Jennifer Rubin reader you probably don’t worry about that, and anyway, Rubin added, “it boils down to Obama’s determination to appease bad actors in the cause of a temporary cessation in violence,” to Rubin a ridiculous idea when there’s a real solution sitting right in front of us, as she explained in a later column:
“…the dividing line between civilian and terrorist has been virtually eliminated by Hamas… The administration might at least comprehend the extent of the problem before mouthing off about the need for Israel to exercise ‘greater caution’ with civilians… If the Israelis can continue to dis-entangle missiles, suicide vests and rockets from the civilian population and to destroy the tunnels, then an end to hostilities can take place.” So, invasion, occupation, and pacification — which should be a snap, right? Just look at the history of the region.
One of the odder casus bellow of the week was the two-day suspension of U.S. air travel to Israel by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Given the flying missiles in the region, and the recent fate of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, this seemed a sensible decision — except to conservatives, who cried conspiracy.
Senator Ted Cruz, for example, declared that “President Obama has just used a federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel.” Rightbloggers were right in there with him.
“Israel earned over $10 billion last year from 3.5 million visitors, the plurality of whom were Americans,” said The Weekly Standard’s Noah Pollak. “Coming at the height of summer tourism season, State’s warning could cost Israel many millions of dollars in lost revenue.” The smoking gun! Pollak further fantasized that Obama meant this as a “shot across the bow — a deniable but very real signal to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Obama administration’s support for Israel’s operation in Gaza has come to an end, and that there will be consequences for its continuation.”
At Commentary, Eugene Kontorovich agreed: “[Israel] Tourism has reached record levels almost every year, as has the number of Israelis traveling abroad,” he said, but with the ban the anti-Semites in Washington had dealt Israel “a major — even if temporary — economic, diplomatic, and psychological setback for Israel.” As for the Malaysian disaster, Kontorovich thought commercial travelers should show some courage: “Everyone is jittery from the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine, they will say,” he sneered. “If so, Hamas has succeeded in turning Israel into Donetsk.” Also, “the timing of the FAA’s absurd and unjustified warning seems to have more to do with Kerry’s visit to the region to impose a cease-fire on Israel.” Yeah, no good reason to expect any trouble around that!
Come on, you cowards — Michael Bloomberg defied the ban, and even flew commercial! Even the hotheads at Breitbart.com were willing to suspend their usual anti-Nanny-Bloomberg grudges in this instance: “While often sparking controversy with left-wing views on gun control, immigration, and a series of municipal initiatives that can only be described as micromanaging the personal care of New Yorkers,” deep-breath’d Frances Martel, “the former mayor has staunchly supported the right of the Israeli state to defend itself against terrorist attacks.” (Alas, Breitbart commenters were less willing to forgive and forget — typical entry: “Too bad they didn’t shoot him down! On less liberal to deal with.”)
With the ban, “President Obama Attempts To Treat Israel Like Apartheid South Africa,” said Tea Party Digest — so they had two reasons to be mad! TPD added that this “isolated a nasty anti-Semitic streak that stretches like a bar-sinister across the standards of the modern progressives.”
Let’s not forget the liberal media, which rightbloggers consider anti-Israel. In this the brethren were joined, the Washington Free Beacon happily reported, by Joan Rivers, who claimed CNN was anti-Israel. Rivers also attacked singer Selena Gomez, who had outraged Rivers by Instagramming “Please pray for those families and babies today. Please always remember what’s important in life. It’s not any of this. We are here to help, inspire and love. Be that change,” and similar provocations.
“Liberal Media Criticizes Israel, Ignores 1000s of Rockets fired by Hamas,” reported Accuracy in Media, unacquainted, it would seem, with the if-it-bleeds-it-leads principle of American journalism. “The Jewish state of Israel does not only have foes on all sides of its border, sans the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” continued AIM, “but the liberal mainstream media in the U.S. and throughout the Western world.” AIM was incensed that a Reuters article “reminded readers that Israel has killed up to 216 Palestinians, mostly civilians” — this was as of July 17; it’s up around 1,000 now — while reporting “‘a civilian has been killed by one of more than 1,000 Palestinian rockets fired and more than half a dozen people have been wounded.’ However, the sheer enormity of Hamas-fired rockets failed to make the headlines.” No one notices the rockets that don’t kill anyone; must be liberal media bias.
“The New York Times and the Washington Post may be with filled stories about anti-Israel protests in London and Paris,” said Sadanand Dhume at the American Enterprise Institute, “but half a world away in India something rather different is unfolding. A strong undercurrent of support for Israel is expressing itself in both government action and public discourse.” Won’t catch them covering worldwide demonstrations! Instead, “a rash of opinion pieces in India have urged India to stand by Israel,” Dhume reported, and the parliament failed to censure Israel. He was forced to admit, perhaps by a wary editor, that “on Wednesday, India voted with fellow BRICS nations for a resolution to launch an inquiry into possible war crimes at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva,” but never mind, “Israel is certainly a lot less isolated than a perfunctory reading of the U.S. newspapers would suggest,” and if you only read the headline and closing, you might believe it.
The rest of the world’s attitude to one side, here in the United States people appear to feel about this cats-in-a-sack situation the way they have felt in the past: mildly supportive of Israel, but more strongly negative toward the Palestinians. This is why rightbloggers are working overtime to portray the hopelessly overmatched Palestinians as a serious threat, and the attempts by the Obama Administration to preserve lives as an attempt to enable Hamas’ overthrow of Israel. It doesn’t have to make sense, or even seriously affect the Democrats’ traditional advantage with Jewish voters — it only has to have been implanted in enough voters’ brains that when they step into the voting booth, it might flash in a few of them and say, as their fingers reach to choose, that Democrats betrayed a friend.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2014