Alan Edelstein

Musings and questions

Now that we have a ceasefire, I’ve just been thinking.  So far, I’ve come up with this:

If Israel’s (and Egypt’s) “siege” on Gaza has been so airtight, how the hell did Hamas get 4,000 missiles, or the materials and machinery to make them, as well as the weaponry needed to shoot them?  And, as a friend asked me, if Netanyahu is so good on security, how did he let that happen?

If the AP has such reliable and thorough reporters, how did they not know that there were Hamas operations in their building?  Pretty much everybody else knew.

If AP, CNN, seemingly millions of others, and/or you are in a fit over Israel destroying a building (!) after giving an hour’s notice (!) to get out but fail to mention that 4,000 missiles are being fired at innocent kids, women, and men, there is a moral screw loose somewhere.

“Proportionality” has got to be the most misused word in the English language right now.  Contrary to what John Oliver and Bernie Sanders might think, it does not mean that an equal number of Jews (and their fellow Arab Israeli citizens) must be injured or killed.

It also does not mean that Israel has to use the same amount of force as Hamas.  (e.g. see the U.S. v. Taliban in Afghanistan or the Allies v. Dresden in WWII).  It means there must be a legitimate military objective and that the force must be appropriate to achieving the objective.

While the Sheikh Jarrah dispute and the Damascus Gate and Al-Aqsa Mosque tensions were an opportunity that Hamas exploited, they were not the reason Hamas started the war.  They were a pretense.  But assuming they were the cause, and assuming the commonly misused definition of proportionality, how the hell do those issues justify 4,000 missiles fired at civilians??!!

The war was used by many American leftists to attack Israel’s very existence.  According to them, we are a bunch of people who, without any connection to the land, recently randomly decided to settle in the only place in the Middle East (about one and a half percent of the total landmass) without water, oil, or much else, and we proceeded to kick all of the natives out.

Never mind that Jews have a connection to Israel, and a continuous presence, going back thousands of years. Never mind that there are 1.9 million Israeli Arabs living within the 1948 armistice lines and millions more in the territories captured in 1967.  And never mind that about 45% of Israel’s Jews are from Arab nations, many of them or their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, having been among the 850,000 Jews forced to leave Arab nations in 1948.

But, let’s assume that we all just got over here in the last few years.  Do these people berating us as colonial usurpers with no ties to the land realize that many Israelis have been here longer than many of their families, have been in North America, a land to which their families have exactly zero ancestral ties?

Many Israeli families have been here 80 or 90 or 100 years.  How many of the families of the critics came to America prior to 1920?  The family of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who happens to speak fluent Arabic, has been in Jerusalem since 1809.  How many families of those characterizing Israel as a bunch of interlopers have been in the New World since 1809?

And, by the way, do those geniuses think that North America was just a depopulated barren wasteland when their families arrived?  Do the names Pontiac, Seattle, Malibu, Manhattan, Miami, Mississippi,  and Chicago just come from a screwed-up game of Scrabble?  Did American sports teams just dream up offensive names?

And then there was President Polk’s little escapade into Mexico.

Are these ignorant, hypocritical critics of our oppressive colonial usurper regime packing up and going back to Europe anytime soon?

And, can somebody tell me when the far left became anti-immigrant?  Or does that only apply to Jews immigrating to their ancestral homeland?

Just some thoughts that come to mind.

About the Author
Alan Edelstein made Aliyah in 2011 and lives in Jerusalem. He was the founding partner of a well-respected California government affairs firm and was involved in California government and politics as a lobbyist and consultant for 30 years. He blogs at He can be reached at
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