I’m a retired Alabama businessman who likes to write. I’m an American Christian and don’t know every nuance of the Middle East. But I do know right from wrong.
I followed the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas, and one thing was clear to me — Israel was being attacked and was defending itself. That’s why I couldn’t understand all of the criticism of Israel on social media, national media and elsewhere.
How could people not support such a great country and a terrific U.S. ally, when a murderous Iranian-backed group, that the U.S. and other countries consider a terrorist regime, is firing deadly rockets into Israel’s population centers trying to kill as many civilians as possible.
Israel, on the other hand, clearly was trying to avoid civilian casualties — no easy feat when the enemy embeds itself in the civilian population. I doubt that we, or any other country, could have done any better.
In fact, not being immersed in all the details, I could make another observation. I imagined terrorists ensconced in the next county firing death rockets into my suburban Birmingham neighborhood — knowing that they were intended for one purpose: to kill my wife, my son, myself and my neighbors.
Would I have wanted our U.S. military to respond full-throttle? You bet! And, to be honest, I probably would have been angry if our government showed as much restraint as Israel did.
I’ve become more interested in Israel lately because of a conversation, arranged by a mutual friend a few weeks before the recent fighting, with Israel’s Consul General to the Southeast, Anat Sultan-Dadon.
She, like me, has a special needs child and I wanted to learn more about Israel’s approach to special needs. We connected in that unique way in which special needs parents connect.
A few weeks later, during the fighting, I saw a news story about the Consul General meeting with Alabama’s governor Kay Ivey in Montgomery. She joined Gov. Ivey as the governor signed a resolution, passed by the Alabama House and Senate, proclaiming Alabama’s support for Israel.
I was proud of my state and also proud to know the Consul General.
I also was not aware of the longstanding economic, cultural and defense industry ties between Alabama and Israel, things the resolution highlighted.
After 9/11, country music star Alan Jackson, in a song called “The Day the World Stopped Turning,” sang, “I’m not a real political man. I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you the difference in Iraq and Iran.”
Well, I don’t know all that much about Iraq and Iran either.
But I do know that when an important ally is under attack, as the Israelis were from 4000 rockets, it’s wrong, as many on social media and elsewhere have done, to criticize that country for defending itself and performing its most sacred obligation: Protecting the lives of its citizens.