To kill a….Canary

When heading deep into coal mines, it is said that miners would take caged canaries down with them.  This was done as a safety measure against deadly gases.  The canary’s sensitivity to methane and carbon monoxide served as an early warning and so when these canaries started showing signs of distress and dying, the miners knew that the mines were saturated with toxic gases and that they were next.

In looking at the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, I would strongly recommend that you view Israel as the world’s canary.  It would seem that the last several decades of conflict between those who believe in democracy and the values of freedom and life and those who hold fundamentalist ideologies and celebrate death – have demonstrated a simple and sad truth:  that which plagues Israel, will soon enough plague other western democracies.

Unfortunately, even in light of the long list of examples to this effect, many western countries, including their intellectual leaders and their mass media outlets, have still failed to understand this basic rule:  today Israel – tomorrow you.

Instead, they continue to pursue their values with complete disregard for the fact that toxic gases cannot be negotiated with.  You cannot meet poison “half way” and live to talk about it.

In this armed conflict, Hamas has emerged as much more than a terrorist organization. All would be wise to view Hamas as a symbol of brutal disregard for basic human rights; of its own people as well as its enemy’s.

Hamas is toxic!  It will kill any who try to inhale it.  Co-exist with it.  Or reason with it.

Good intentions are good.  I truly believe that all who quiver and weep at the sight of tragic images from Gaza have only the best of intentions. I believe the sincerity of those who question the morality of military force and who call for “other”, less violent ways of resolving this conflict.  They see the world as they would wish for it to be. Sadly, they do not also see the world as it currently is, and while I whole heartedly share their aspirations – I do not share their methods of getting there (at least not in this current conflict with Hamas).

These true idealists appear to me to be blind to the fact that sometimes the path to realizing these moral aspirations is a counter-intuitive one. Sometimes, as I believe the case with Hamas, the only path to peace (even if only temporarily) is war.  Sometimes, NOT waging war is the immoral course of action.  This blindness leads them to react almost automatically with indignation for Israel.

Scrutiny and indignation of Israel these past few weeks is similar to the miners yelling at the canary for holding its breath while completely disregarding the real problem (and danger):  the poisonous gases.

For me, an Israeli, this is upsetting and very frustrating – but who cares about Israel!?  Let’s forget Israel for just a moment.  The canary can be spared (by you at least).  Here’s what you need to understand and keep in mind at all times:  toxic gas is lethal to all human beings.  It’s poisonous impact is not dependent on the nationality, gender, race or color of the person who inhales it.  And while today it is Israel that is dealing with this toxin – tomorrow it will be you.  Unless of course such toxins are identified in time and dealt with before they can cause you any harm.  This is exactly what Israel is doing right now.

About the Author
Ariel Halevi co-founded Debate Company (now Vayomar) together with Gur Braslavi back in 2003. Ariel holds an MA in Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism and a BA in Government and Diplomacy from the Interdisciplinary College in Hetrzlia (Israel). Prior to his studies, Ariel founded and managed several Israel hi-tech companies. Ariel holds a Master’s degree in Government specializing in National Security Studies and Counter-Terrorism (at the school for International Students conducted in English). During his academic studies, Ariel was the President of the competitive Debate Club at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya and was the Debate champion in Israel for two consecutive years and in Oxford, England.
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