When I was a little kid in the mid-70s, there was a Public Service Announcement that (if my memory serves me correctly), I still remember verbatim.
There was a boy—perhaps fishing—with his grandfather.
Boy: Grandpa, David says that I am prejudiced. What does “prejudiced” mean?
Grandpa: (okay…I don’t remember this verbatim) “Prejudiced” means that you judge someone because they are different. Maybe because of their religion or the color of the skin.
Boy: But, I’m not prejudiced. David is my best Jewish friend.
Grandpa: You see, then, you are prejudiced, because you think of him as your best Jewish friend instead of your best friend.
That was an a-ha moment that has stuck with me for about 40 years since. That sometimes even the best-intentioned people hold prejudices that color their world in ways they don’t even realize.
In the pro-Israel community, we are acutely aware of UN and media bias and the blatant double-standards that they hold Israel to. Nowhere is this more visible—or more harmful—than in their constant censure of Israel’s right to defend herself against terrorism.
The fact is that no country in the history of warfare has done more than Israel to avoid civilian casualties. From Israeli restraint in fighting back, to its comprehensive warning systems, to its use of non-lethal force whenever possible, to its strategic, surgical and highly targeted attacks, Israel goes to tremendous lengths to save lives on both sides of the conflict.
Not to mention the fact that Israel actually provides humanitarian aid to its enemy nations, even in times of war. What other nation does that? Easy answer. None.
And yet, each time there is a conflict, the media publicizes every single casualty and the UN rushes to vilify Israel as fast and as furiously as possible. In fact, about five times as many civilians have been killed in the Syrian civil war in the past six years than Palestinians have been killed in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. But who’s reporting those numbers? Easy answer. No one.
Which leads me to this week, that started out with a Stanford-educated friend (no dummy) who considers herself pro-Israel, telling me that, vis-à-vis the current Gaza border riots, she wishes Israel had other, non-lethal means of dealing with the conflict. And then…being literally bombarded all week by other “pro-Israel advocates” making the same point.
Let’s review: Israel already uses massive amounts of non-lethal means to try to avert casualties. That includes, but is not limited to: tear gas, water cannons, drones, giant fans, rubber bullets, and rancid-smelling water. But eventually, Israel has to defend herself. What’s more, she has every right to do so.
When a terrorist attacks in London, or Paris, or Brussels, or Las Vegas, no one questions the decision to shoot the person dead on sight. No one asks if non-lethal force should be employed. In fact, the world cheers when an attacker is shot dead.
What would any rational country on earth do if tens of thousands of rioters stormed the border with the express, stated intent of breaking through to kill as many citizens as possible? Hint: the force would be lethal.
And despite the restraint, at some point Israel has to do what she has to do to defend herself, her borders and her people. By Hamas’s own admission, over 50 of the 62 killed on May 14 were all Hamas operatives. I.e. terrorists. Not innocent civilians. Terrorists.
But why are innocent civilians there in the middle of the riots anyway? Picnicking with their children in gas masks? Because casualties feed the narrative. Hamas throws women and children into conflict zones to draw casualties and, hence, public sentiment.
As public sentiment hugs in the hapless Gazan “victims”, the double-standard digs in its heels.
Only Israel is not allowed to defend herself. Only Israel is condemned for doing exactly what any other country on earth would do in the same situation.
The reason: prejudice.
Now, you may not think this applies to you. You, the Israel lover. You, the pro-Israel advocate. You, the Jew.
But if you are among the people who ask why Israel can’t just use non-lethal force, you are prejudiced. Like the boy in the boat, you may not know it, but you are. You are applying the same detrimental double-standard that you accuse the rest of the world of applying. You are propagating the idea that Israel should conduct herself differently than any other country. And you are implicitly condemning her for something you would otherwise condone from your own government.
You are looking at Israel as an aggressor nation, and not just a nation. You are prejudiced.