Michael Jackson

The World, Gazan Kids, and Israel    

Many countries in the non-democratic world, e.g. Russia, China, Arab countries, Muslim countries, and other dictatorships, are very critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza.  These countries were also critical of Israel long before October 7th.  Most of these countries are hypocritical in the sense that their own morally repulsive actions stand in contrast to their stated moral disapproval of Israel.  Some of these nations did not bother to condemn Hamas’s brutal attack and atrocities on October 7th.  We can add the United Nations to this list of long-term critics of Israel. 

However, the UK and Germany, fairly reliable allies of Israel, have recently increased verbal condemnations of Israel’s operations in Gaza.  Also, the Biden administration recently has been more critical.  But these actions are verbal only.  Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the Japanese company Itochu Corporation have suspended arms transfers to Israel.  The European Union also recently discouraged arms exports to Israel.

It is true that in the Sudanese civil war, the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) have probably killed more civilians than those killed in Gaza as well as creating millions of refugees.  But there is little or no journalist coverage of these atrocities.  The world is hypocritical about its focus on certain groups and indifference to the suffering of others.  Even the Hutu barbarities which murdered about 8,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates a day, i.e. a rate perhaps 80 times the daily rate of Gazan civilians killed, did not cause the global anguish and anger generated by Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Before October 7th, Noam Chomsky wrote that the Chinese were viciously persecuting the Uighur Muslims in western China.  Still, we in the West can do nothing about that while he says, correctly, that the West (especially America) could do a lot about the West Bank and Gaza.

Still, the West condemns Russia’s barbarities in Ukraine which have caused about 11,500 dead Ukrainian civilians over more than 2 years.  Gaza has almost twice as many dead civilians in a quarter of the time or about eight times the monthly Ukrainian rate. Since Ukraine has over 17 times the population of Gaza, the deaths of Gazan civilians per million is about 35 times the Ukrainian civilian deaths per million. So perhaps the relative slowness of the West’s condemnation of Israel has other causes. At least, most Ukrainians have adequate electricity, water, food, and shelter. Most Gazans do not.

About 11,000 Gazan kids under the age of 14 have been killed.  I will not quibble on the numbers – make it 8,000, if you like.  Most Israelis supported by right-wing American Zionists and most American Orthodox Jews care far, far more about the safety and return of the hostages than the thousands of dead Gazan kids.  Israeli government statements, Israeli media, American Jewish publications, and American Jewish campaigns for the hostages’ return all testify to this.  There is little discussion in these groups about the killing, starvation, disease, and suffering among Gazan kids and civilians.  The hostages have suffered, are suffering, and should immediately be released.  Still, to the world and, I think, to any objective observer, the pain, suffering, and deaths of thousands of Gazan kids are a far greater moral concern.

The world is hypocritical.  Gazan kids are suffering immeasurably.  Where does this leave Israel?

The hypocrisy of the accuser cannot infer the innocence of the accused. The hypocrisy of the accuser does not imply the innocence of the accused.  The hypocrisy of the world does not exonerate Israel. Hamas planned and committed the atrocities of rape, murder, carnage, destruction, and hostage-taking on October 7th.  Does Israel have a right to respond?  Absolutely.  Does it have the right to destroy Hamas?  Absolutely.  Does it have the right to invade Gaza to achieve this?  Absolutely.  Given that this invasion will necessitate the killing of many civilians, does it have the right to invade?  Absolutely.   Unplanned and unintended killing of civilians in pursuit of legitimate, proportional military goals is allowed by the Geneva Conventions.  Here we get to the difficult part.  

Has Israel taken enough steps to minimize civilian casualties in both military operations and in the supply of food and medicines to civilians in captured or besieged areas?  I believe that the world is correct in stating that it has not.  The BBC analyzed the IDF’s evacuation warnings.  There were errors in some of the maps and descriptions. Also, given the lack of electrical supply in Gaza, many Gazans could not access the maps and instructions. Also, the use of 2,000-pound bombs in areas that the IDF told Gazans to flee to underlines a callousness concerning Gazan civilians.  Israel has slowed down aid going into Gaza.  It also closes the crossings for Shabbat.  Some lurid statements, some racist, some expansionist, and most careless of all Gazan human life have been stated by senior Israeli government and military officials.

For many years, Israel has put a low premium on Arab lives in the West Bank, far lower than that of the settlers living there.  Before October 7th, under the present Israeli government, extreme settlers expanded pogroms and expulsions against West Bank Arabs.  This behavior has intensified since October 7th.   Gaza has driven the value of Arab life for many Israelis to a new lower level.   The world, including the decent world, sees this and is horrified.  Israel is becoming more extreme, more racist, and less democratic.  

Meanwhile, dozens of Gazan kids die daily.  The October 7th atrocities have caused much of Israel and the Jewish world to lose its moral compass.

About the Author
Born in London in 1949. Studied Maths at Warwick University. Came to Israel (WUJS program at Arad) in 1971. I became a citizen and served in the army in 1973. Returned to the UK in 1974. Worked in Information Systems. Married an American Orthodox woman in 1977 and moved to America. For a few years I have led a retiree philosophy class.
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