Thursday, January 15, 2009

But is it a Crime?

The economist isn't antisemitic, and it isn't Zionist, either. It does it's best to be factual and thoughtful in a rational way. Personally, I think its line could afford to be a bit more understanding of Israel's situation, but that's just me. And of course, there's an advantage to the fact that you can't plausibly see them as pro-Israel: it enhances their reliability when they land on Israel's side of an argument.

As seems sort of to happened on the issue of war crimes. Somebody at the Economist went looking for British experts on the laws of war and civilian casualties, and came back with the understanding that what Israel is doing in Gaza may include war crimes, but only in specific cases, once they've been investigated. The fact of killing civilians itself - while tragic and horrific - is not illegal, and there are even indications Israel is making an effort not to cross red lines.

Of course you might ask if the Economist regularly poses this question whenever anyone else (the UK included) goes to war, and the answer is probably no. What that means, however, is moot. It could easily be an antipathy to Israel; but it just as easily could be an antipathy to the screeches of the Guardian and its ilk.

Ah, yes: it is indeed sweet when the Economist is more on our side than our own so-called human rights organizations, ACRI and their ilk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why Mexicans don't fire rockets at the US - by Randall Kuhn
Date: 15 / 01 / 2009 Time: 19:07
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As Israel's air force began bombing Gaza in late December, its defense minister asked us to "think about what would happen if for seven years rockets had been fired at San Diego, California from Tijuana, Mexico."

Within hours, scores of American pundits and politicians had mimicked Ehud Barak's comparisons almost verbatim.

On 9 January, US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor ended an opinion piece by saying, "America would never sit still if terrorists were lobbing missiles across our border into Texas or Montana."

But let's see if our political and pundit class can parrot this analogy:

Think about what would happen if San Diego expelled most of its Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American and Native-American population, about 48 percent of the total, and forcibly relocated them to Tijuana?

Not just immigrants, but even those who had lived in the United States for many generations. Not just the unemployed or the criminals or the America haters, but the school teachers, the small business owners, the soldiers--even the baseball players.

What if we established government and faith-based agencies to help move white people into their former homes? And what if we razed hundreds of their houses in rural areas and, with the aid of charitable donations from people in the United States and abroad, planted forests on their former towns, creating nature preserves for whites to enjoy?

Sounds pretty awful, huh? I'm sure I'll be called anti-Semitic for saying this. However, I'm Jewish and the scenario above is what prominent Israeli scholars say happened when Israel expelled Palestinians from southern Israel and forced them into Gaza. But this analogy is just getting started.

What if the United Nations kept San Diego's discarded minorities in crowded, festering camps in Tijuana for 19 years? Then, the United States invaded Mexico, occupied it for 40 more years and began to build large housing developments in Tijuana, where only whites could live.

And what if the United States built a network of highways, connecting American citizens who voluntarily (and illegally) moved to Tijuana, to the United States?

And checkpoints, not just between Mexico and the United States, but also around every neighborhood inside Tijuana? What if we required every Tijuana resident, refugee or native, to show an ID card to the US military on demand?

What if thousands of Tijuana residents lost their homes, their jobs, their businesses, their children, their sense of self worth to this hypothetical occupation? Would we be surprised to hear of a protest movement in Tijuana that sometimes became violent and hateful?

After all that think about what would happen if, after expelling all of the minorities from San Diego to Tijuana and subjecting them to 40 years of brutal military occupation, we just left Tijuana, removing all the white settlers and the soldiers.

Only instead of giving them their freedom, we built a 20-foot tall electrified wall around Tijuana. Not just on the sides bordering San Diego, but on all the Mexico crossings as well.

And say we set up 50-foot high watchtowers, with machine gun batteries, and told them that if they stood within 100 yards of this wall we would shoot them dead on sight.

And if four out of every five days we kept every single one of those border crossings closed, not even allowing food, clothing, or medicine to enter.

And what if we patrolled their air space with our state-of-the-art fighter jets but didn't allow them so much as a crop duster. And we patrolled their waters with destroyers and submarines, but didn't even allow them to fish.

Would we be at all surprised to hear that these resistance groups in Tijuana, even after having been "freed" from their occupation but starved half to death, kept on firing rockets at the United States? Probably not.

What might actually surprise us would be if the majority of people in Tijuana never picked up a rocket or a gun or a weapon of any kind. If the majority, instead, supported against all hope negotiations toward a peaceful solution that would provide security, freedom and equal rights to both people in two independent states living side by side as neighbors.

This is the sound analogy to Israel's military onslaught in the Gaza Strip.

Maybe someday soon, common sense will prevail and no corpus of misleading analogies abut Tijuana or the crazy guy across the hall who wants to murder your daughter will be able to obscure the truth.

***Randall Kuhn is an assistant professor and director of the Global Health Affairs Program at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies.