New Israeli leaders take on the insane American left
The formation last week of a new Israeli government, made up of members of parliament from across the country’s political spectrum, was good news for Israel, which must move away from longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The election of Isaac Herzog, the widely respected former leader of the Labor Party, as Israel’s new president reinforced this good news.
Israeli leaders preside over a nation that is both extremely prosperous and extremely contested. Among their challenges is an American left which is increasingly embracing the narrative that the massive rocket fire at Israeli civilians by Hamas is more or less good, and Israeli attempts to stop it constitute crimes of war. This nonsense captivates American progressives, who have swallowed it whole.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof illustrates this point. Whenever Hamas has used Gazans as human shields to fire thousands of rockets at Israeli communities – in 2009, 2012, 2014 and most recently – Kristof’s choice has been to bitterly criticize Israel because – shocking! – when Israel tried to stop the rocket fire and reduced Hamas’s ability to carry it out, Gazans whom Hamas was happy to sacrifice for public relations gains were killed. It doesn’t take any genius to figure out that Hamas really wants to kill Israelis in order to terrorize them and wants Gazans to die to fool the left into blaming Israel, but Kristof and others, including some really smart people, seem not to. understand.
Appearing on “Real Time with Bill Maher” last month, Kristof was left stammered when Maher asked him what he, Kristof, suggested Israel do to defend against Hamas rockets. Seeking to resuscitate himself days later, Kristof wrote a column offering the meaningless pablum that Israel should act “with more restraint and wisdom,” a triviality that is both precious and foolish. Would it be “wisdom” for Israel to simply allow Hamas to line Israeli civilians with thousands of rockets whenever it sees fit, without trying to protect its civilians? As for “restraint,” Kristof has no idea how much Israel tries to avoid harming civilians. As any serious person who thinks about it for a minute realizes, there is no way for Israel to stop Hamas from waging war on it without the Gazans getting hurt, especially since Hamas intends to hurt Gazans – so that those who can always be relied upon to criticize Israel, no matter what, will do so again.
Those with a little more knowledge of the implications of trying to stop the thousands of rockets that columnists and columnists praise Israel as the gold standard of military morality. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of President Obama’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, was among those with real expertise who praised the “extraordinary measures” the Israel Defense Forces are taking to minimize damage to Gazans. while trying to protect the Israelis. “They did extraordinary things to try to limit civilian casualties,” Dempsey said in 2014, the last time Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israelis for the left to attack Israel. “The Israeli army is not interested in causing civilian casualties. They are interested in stopping rocket and missile fire from the Gaza Strip and into Israel.
So true, so obvious, and just as true and obvious this last time as before. And so irrelevant when it comes to the left. Fortunately, not everyone on the Democratic left has lost their heads – and their backbone. U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres, an openly gay black congressman representing the South Bronx, doesn’t buy the hogwash peddled by congressional colleagues like Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others, who present themselves as all progressives. apologizing for Hamas’s crimes against Gazans and Israelis. “Israel’s hysterical demonization has sparked a global wave of anti-Semitic violence and vitriol,” Torres said a few days ago.
He is right. And a worrying number of Democrats share the blame.
Jeff Robbins is a Boston lawyer and former US delegate to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.