To confuse pejorative language as a substitute for a cogent argument is counterproductive to any democracy. Israel doesn’t benefit from insulting, hate filled dialogue and no democracy can function without debate, discussion, and compromises on all types of issues. While rightwing pundits and fans see things in black and white, good vs. bad, “radical Islam” vs. democracy, unfortunately life is a bit more complicated, and both Israel and America have survived this long because of discourse that provokes thought; not silly banter aimed at personally attacking the person introducing an opposing argument.
Haaretz recently ran an article explaining the Gaza War’s economic impact, something that indignant conservatives never think of when banging the drums of war:
“Operation Protective Edge caused the government’s budget deficit to swell in July as officials allowed businesses in the south of the country to delay making tax payments and as war-related expenses rose, the Finance Ministry reported on Monday.
“The deficit widened to 2.3 billion shekels ($720 million) during the month, as much of the south and center of Israel were pummeled by Hamas rockets, compared with 400 million shekels in the year-earlier month, the Treasury said.”
Israel is now facing the prospect of recession, but if a liberal writer brings this up as one reason to promote peace and not “eradicate” the word “terror,” or if a Jewish comedian offers a differing viewpoint based on long-term security, such views are dismissed as either leftwing or “idiotic” by many passionate conservatives. Israel isn’t the U.S. and can’t afford perpetual war that ruins its economy; this is a reality ignored by those who claim to be true supporters.
Another Haaretz article goes on to explain that the latest Gaza war isn’t like previous battles and a previously spiraling Israeli economy is now further burdened because of the conflict:
Unlike previous years, however, the State of Israel and its citizens won’t be witness to exactly the same scenario as in the past. Even before this summer’s war, the economy began to slip toward recession. In the second quarter, the economy grew by just 1.7%, which on a per-capita basis, taking population growth into account, translates into an economic standstill. And when figures for the third quarter are compiled for a period that included 50 days of military hostilities that brought with them a sharp decline in economic activity – we will get the final diagnosis. It will apparently include further reductions in economic activity, making even the European economy look good by comparison.
My vantage point has always been that terrorists like Hamas want to lure Israel into the economic spiral and trap of perpetual war, but of course, that’s a liberal “nutjob” perspective to many. Furthermore, when presenting a viewpoint contrary to simply bombing Gaza every three years in hopes of eliminating Hamas, may Jews in America feel that negotiations for peace would eliminate a future where, as the Haaretz article states, “even the European economy looks good by comparison” in relation to Israel.
Is it “idiotic” or “anti-Israel” to address the economic impact of war and the unsustainability of never-ending conflict with the Palestinians? Bin-Laden knew very well he couldn’t defeat America militarily, so he managed to lure us into two costly wars, which weakened us economically. Hamas also has that strategy against Israel, as does Iran through Hamas, but of course, this rational dialogue and discourse is inevitably swallowed up in the phrase “anti-Israel” by those who don’t want to hear such nonsense.
Then there’s the death toll upon IDF soldiers, lured by Hamas into a ground war that could have been a far greater and more encompassing ground war (if certain pundits got their way), that illustrates the damage done to nations like Israel through irregular and asymmetric warfare. First, the 253 Palestinian woman and 493 Palestinian children were among the civilians killed in Gaza; sorry conservatives, you’ll have to hear about the death of innocent human beings whether you like it or not. Furthermore, even the United States won’t simply view them as “human shields” in future conflicts, so this euphemism has already lost political capital with the U.S. and other nations. These deaths alone are a moral issue that Israel will always have to deal with in the recent and future wars, and Hamas knows well how to win the media battle in this respect.
Second, and a direct correlation to Israeli security, is the issue of Hamas luring IDF soldiers into pitched battles aimed at furthering a war of attrition. Whereas they don’t have anti-aircraft guns, they do have the ability to bring IDF ground troops into traps, ambushes, etc. and thus far 73 IDF soldiers have died in this latest war. People like Mark Levin or Sean Hannity will never bring this up, or discuss this dangerous reality, but Israel is a small country and can’t sustain massive casualty numbers. Iran, Syria, and others in the region are waging a proxy-war with Israel using Hamas and want nothing more than a future war that kills thousands of IDF soldiers. Yes, Gaza is broken today, but Hamas is not destroyed, and despite the overwhelming bombing raids, the IDF lost a great number of troops. For what purpose? What has changed? Those rockets were being launched up until the last moments, so to say they won’t possibly be launched in the future ignores reality, and the futility of prolonging negotiations for peace.
Is bringing this up anti-Israel? Is it moronic or idiotic? I’d say to ignore these things is anti-Israel, not the other way around.
Then there’s the IDF view, stated recently, that “Israel’s defense establishment will recommend to politicians that they show generosity in indirect negotiations with Hamas when discussing the conditions for a permanent cease-fire, in order to forestall renewed hostilities at the end of September.” So, horrendous carnage and the loss of IDF soldiers, and then “generosity” in negotiations with Hamas? God forbid if Jon Stewart ever used the same sentiment advocated by Israel’s defense establishment, who knows how right-wingers would have reacted?
Finally, Israel is in a conservative mindset at the moment, with understandable reluctance towards a long-term peace, but with this comes the fracturing of democracy in the form of stifling free speech. An NPR article explains how many in Israeli society have become hostile to dissent:
“And then they just told me, you know, ‘You’re a leftist. You’re a traitor,’ ” he says. “And then they just pushed me to this door over there and started beating me and the woman that was with me. Head, chest, arms, legs.”
They were fine, but Blecherman is still shaken.
“Something really, really bad is happening to the Israeli society,” he says. “It will stay here with us even after the war is ending.”
When confronted with an opposing viewpoint, especially one that contradicts their entrenched belief on what is best for Israel, a great many comments or rebuttal start with, “You’re a moron!” or “You’re an idiot.” I must say it is interesting, coming from people who claim to be responsible, pro-democracy advocates and acting like kindergarten aged children, or dictatorial party bosses who’ve just heard something heretical to their ideology. Ego is a big thing, and when bruised, many harken back to when they were little children exhibiting temper tantrums and name calling. Sadly, this behavior doesn’t help a small, yet powerful and flourishing democracy in Israel who faces serious challenges ignored by certain staunch conservatives who see only “radical Islam” and nothing else.
Instead of endless cheerleading and calling people idiots and morons, conservatives and righting pundits should address the IDF lives, economic costs, and free speech threats occurring in Israel today. I find personal attacks proof that my writing has evoked an inability to construct a cogent rebuttal, therefore I’ve won that argument; a great feeling for any writer. However, Israel doesn’t win from brainwashed groupthink that ignores economic and political realities, as well as the true intentions of Hamas and others: to lure Israel into a costly, deadly, and unsustainable never-ending war. Euphemisms like “Stand with” and “pro-Israel” won’t defeat Hamas and ensure long term security, only a negotiated peace with the Palestinians and addressing the ways in which Hamas can hurt Israel (though asymmetric warfare and causing the loss of U.S. support) will defeat terrorism.