Get PJ Media on your Apple

Ron Radosh

Writing on these pages a few years ago, I called Nicholas Kristof “the worst columnist in the Sunday New York Times.” That may have been somewhat of an exaggeration, although I tried to make out a careful case for my claim. At any rate, Kristof read it, and actually tweeted my column with a sarcastic comment.

Today Mr. Kristof vies for the title once again. This time, he reveals himself to be nothing less than the Apostle of Moral Equivalence. His topic is the fighting now going on in Gaza, as the IDF is doing its best to dismantle the scores of secret tunnels by which Hamas has been hoping to get both its troops and weaponry into Israel. As for Hamas,  David Horovitz, editor of The Times of Israel, lays out its objective in clear and precise terms:

Its overall stated objective remains the destruction of the State of Israel. Its interim objective is ensuring that its rule in Gaza is maintained and flourishes, at maximal pain to Israel, and no matter what the cost to Gazans. As the deputy head of its political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk told Mahmoud Abbas last week in Cairo, “What are 200 martyrs compared with lifting the siege?” — a reference to the Israeli-Egyptian security blockade that had so weakened the Gaza economy and thus so harmed Hamas’s standing in Gaza before this round of conflict erupted.

The fighting, then, is the result of Hamas’ decision to attack Israel on a daily basis with thousands of rockets—some of which are able to reach far into Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Bill Clinton understands this. Here reprinted in full is his candid explanation, given to an interviewer without any hesitation:

Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen if they started raining rockets into Israel. They fired one thousand and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them.

They (Israel) know when Hamas attacks them that Hamas has set up a situation which politically it can’t lose, because they (Israelis) can say ‘well if I attack them back they always hide behind civilians and I’ll kill civilians, and if I don’t we’ll look like fools letting somebody shoot a thousand  rockets at us and not responding.’

In the short and medium term Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage by forcing (Israel) to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas. But it’s a crass strategy that takes all of our eyes off the real objective which is a peace that gets Israel security and recognition and a peace that gets the Palestinians their state.

Somehow, Nicholas Kristof shows his readers that he does not get it. Instead, he writes, “this is a war in which both peoples have a considerable amount of right on their sides. The failure to acknowledge the humanity and legitimate interests of people on the other side has led to cross-demonization. That results in a series of military escalations that leave both peoples worse off.”

Let us pause to parse this paragraph. Does Hamas (not the Palestinian citizens of Gaza forced to endure their rule) have any humanity and consideration of its citizens’ needs? This is a terrorist group that has no compunction about setting up its own people to act as human shields in the hope that when Israel hits a terrorist target, these civilians will be killed and then Hamas can show grisly videos of the innocent women and children Israel has murdered. Hamas puts its rocket launchers in hospitals and elementary schools, knowing that Israel will hesitate before aiming a rocket at them. It loads weapons into ambulances, in the hope that Israel will let them by, since medical-aid vehicles are exempted from targeting. Hamas’ tactics are inhumane and repellent on principle. Israel’s tactics are a response to Hamas’ aggression.

Israel accepted the proposed peace treaty suggested by Egypt, which is supported as well by the United States. Hamas rejected it, because it wants the fighting to continue, hoping that as time passes, its objectives will be reached or at least leave them in a better place to continue fighting for their ultimate goal — the destruction of Israel — at a later time of their own choosing.

What does Nicholas Kristof say? First, he confuses two issues. He writes that “Israelis are absolutely correct that they have a right not be hit with rockets by Hamas, not to be kidnapped, not to be subjected to terrorist bombings.” True.  But in his very next sentence, he writes:

Palestinians are absolutely right they have a right to a state…a right to live in freedom rather than be relegated to second-class citizenship in their own land.

Does not Mr. Kristof comprehend that Hamas does not want a state, unless it is the entire area that is Israel totally under its complete control? Indeed, its first act upon being handed Gaza when Israel gave up its control of the area was to destroy the greenhouses that Israel left them, as well as water-purifying plants, that would have allowed them to build up their infrastructure and to function in a productive way. They want nothing that was developed by Israel, even though Israel gave Hamas the mechanism to start building a viable and peaceful area in Gaza.  Nothing will satisfy them, except gaining ground in their war to destroy the Jewish state.

So why should anyone accept Mr. Kristof’s argument that we should “put away the good vs. evil narrative…”? Anyone looking at the situation knows that this is a case of good vs. evil, if ever there was one. Let me put it boldly: Hamas is the very personification of evil. It is not the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, even with its flaws and the PA’s  half-hearted policies that contradict its expressed intent to establish two states in the region.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The Muslims have no right to a state on lands they stole from Christians and Jews. If they want a state, let them migrate to Saudi Arabia. And, Kristof is a moron...as usual.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any non-Jew who sees moral equivalence between A terror state that targets civilians and
Uses its own children as suicide bombs and shields and a democracy that is fighting in the most
Civilized and humane manner in the history of mankind is either grossly uninformed or a Jew-hater.
And any Jew who sees moral equivalence is either a self-hating masochistic
Fool or just an imbecile. And I won't apologize for this
Generalization. As a Jew who loves Israel I say "No more
Apologies. No more having to justify our desire to survive to a world
That was largely apathetic when my great-grandparents and 6 million other
Jews were systematically slaughtered. We owe no explanations and no
Regrets for those who suffer for the violence of their leaders against us.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I refuse to give Kristof or any of the other moral-equivalencers above college freshman level the benefit of the doubt anymore. You are either for Israel's right to exist or you favor its destruction. Any attempt to equate the two puts you in the latter camp.

If Israel has such a punishing embargo, how is Hamas able to smuggle in so many missiles? Smuggle in food instead of rockets, and use the concrete to build housing instead of hardened missile sites.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (42)
All Comments   (42)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
This is just "me too." Can anyone (except high-priced, bubble-living NYT columnists) sanely debate the relativity of this situation? One hears college students shooting their mouths off with insipid opinions but we'll give them a pass for a couple years. Adults are supposed to know better. There is not much room for argument here.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I oppose any two-state solution. The two-state solution was handed to the Arabs on a platter in the late 1940's, when the British Protectorate of Palestine was divided into TWO STATES - Israel for the Jews and Jordan for the Arabs. Israel welcomes peaceable non-Jews into full Israeli citizenship. The nations surrounding Israel (or at least, significant factions in them) have for over 70 years been trying to destroy Israel. Though the open battle waxes and wanes, it's never gone away. As a result of one of the times it heated up, Israel in defending itself acquired the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, thereby finally obtaining minimally-defensible borders. Those borders should be recognized by the international community, and Israel should insist on maintaining order under Israeli law within those national borders. Period. There's no longer any validity in negotiating for ANOTHER new state in the Middle East.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your hstory is incorrect. Transjordan was split off from the Palestine mandate in 1920, not the late '40s. The 1947 partition proposal was to split what's now Israel into a Jewish and Arab state, in addition to Jordan and all the other Arab states. The proposal was grossly unfair to the Jews, but they agreed to it anyway, figuring something was better than nothing. The Arabs rejected it, and that proposal is no longer on the table.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
One has to wonder what the end goal in this military action is? I fully support Israel and its position, but I do not agree with their military strategy in this situation, simply because history shows that this is not going to stop attacks upon Israel's people and will not provide a lasting security. The present course of military strategy is not in Israel's best interest, despite the Hawk mentality expressed here which emotionally convinces itself otherwise.

Yes, much of what is observed in the original blog above is true, but with due respect, much of what is written is hawkishly biased and highlights 'partial truths' which create a distorted and skewed picture. If this level of military action had a chance of stopping future attacks on Israel and achieving a peace for its people, I would wholeheartedly support it.

But does anyone actually believe that even if Israel wiped out every living Hamas terrorist and supporter, that this problem would not manifest itself again in another form with yet another insane, power seeking terrorist group? Is perpetual war in Israel's best interest rather than a working peace strategy? It seems obvious that Israel has everything to lose thru war and the Palestinians, nothing. At some point, continued actions as these will lead to either a destruction of Israel and/or a world war in which everyone loses everything.

Yes, I absolutely agree that Israel has the right, and should, defend itself. I am not a dove, or a hawk. And by no means do I feel Israel should be militarily passive. But, based on recent history, objective observation, and an awareness of world events, I do not see Israel's present course of action as the best or most effective strategy by which to achieve security and peace for its citizens.

It seems obvious that Israel has been baited into reacting precisely how Hamas wanted them to react. Yes, it should be obvious to the world that Hamas doesn't care about the lives of Palestinians, and is completely responsible for the casualties which are occurring. And yes, I feel Hamas is evil incarnate. But Israel is doing precisely what Hamas wants it to do in order for the terrorist organization to gain world sympathy and support. I feel Israel needs to be more clever in dealing with the devil.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
And what should they do, let the rockets constantly come down on them without fighting back. At the very least if they destroy much of the Hamas leadership, the unlaunched rockets, hamas arms stocks, and destroy the tunnels, they will have significantly reduced hamas ability to attack them in the future. And while israel also suffers with continued war, they would suffer even more if they dont resist, the holacaust taught them that much.
As for peace, that requires a partner who also has some interest in peace, and decides that the lives of their people are more important than carrying on their war, and that does not fit hamas. Israel has already proven, with both egypt and jordan, that they can make peace with anybody who is actually interested in peace. But hamas cant even make peace with their own population, and fellow muslims, much less israel..
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are right; Israel's current strategy of targeting only those actively involved in attacking it, and doing everything it can to spare "civilians" who are just as hostile to it, will never end the problem. The "civilians" willingly cooperate with the "soldiers", arm them, feed them, shelter them, and educate their chidlren to admire them and join them. Until Israel seriously accepts that the whole populatoin of the Gaza Strip is its enemy, until it goes to war with that population, with the intention of winning, the problem will keep coming back.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
What would you have them do? The rocketry is so heavy and relentless that normal commercial activity in Israel has virtually ceased. Their economy cannot continue under a siege like this. They have to try to put a stop to it relatively quickly. Additionally, since we have unilaterally withdrawn from the Middle East (and libs and progressives, how do you like the result?) there is no power willing to exert themselves on behalf of Israel. I understand you not being comfortable with the killing of civilians, but what is the alternative?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Arabs, including Hamas, still cling the the "three no's" of the Khartoum Resolutions regarding Israel: No peace, no recognition, no negotiation.

It's difficult to see how Israel can "deal" with that, "cleverly" or otherwise.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
ObjectiveReasoner

Wow, simply one 0f the most incoherent posts it has been my displeasure to read.

Israel is good, Hamas is evil
Israel has a right to defend itself and should do just that, Hamas has no moral right to cynically engage with Israel the way it is.
Israel will be miss-understood and will loose the public relations battle whish is/was Hamas' original intent.
Therefore, Israel should engage Hamas militarily for to do so will cost them in the public relations arena on the world stage.
So yes, Hamas is attacking Israel and yes Israel has a right and obligation to defend itself and yes, Israel is in the right and Hamas in the wrong but no, Israel shouldn't respond militarily.

The above is all nonsense and accurately describes your post.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hamas’ tactics are inhumane and repellent on principle.

Their tactics are war crimes.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kristof is just a rank and file example of the shallow posturing that substitutes for mature thought on the Left today. He does not appear to be among the growing number true anti-Semites on the Left. But he wants to posture as thoughtful, compassionate, nuanced and fair. "Compassion" for a leftist today means ignoring or minimizing a suffering person's own contribution to his suffering. Every suffering person is only a victim of external circumstances and the unfair or exploitative actions of others, never an agent of his own poor choices or outright criminal actions. So whether "the poor," domestic criminals or in this case the wretched members of a twisted death cult culture, all must be victims of others who are somehow responsible for their own actions when "victims" are not responsible for theirs, and for the suffering of said victims.

Kristof isn't really thinking about what is happening in Gaza. He is simply reciting the leftist catechism and applying it to the topic of the day. That is his job, and it is all he is capable of or interested in doing.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
LOL, 'leftist catechism'. It has become a religion, hasn't it? Such a sad commentary on the state of our country.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Moral equivalence at it's most grotesque level. But spoken like a true Times man and contemporary "liberal". Consider his comments as a disgraceful attempt to defend Hamas and by extension other groups of kill crazy islamists.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
One thing this column is wrong about is presuming that the PA is less evil than Hamas. It is every bit as evil, just more subtle. The PA is just as committed to the total destruction of Israel. To brand them the "good cop" in the situation is to play right into their hands.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I didn't see that presumption. This article is about Hamas. It only mentions the PA in passing, and doesn't say anything nice about it. That the PA accepts a "two state solution" (but not any of the concessions it must make to achieve that) is not a compliment.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The thing is, Israel lost the argument years ago. It's now a matter of fact in most people's mind that they are the ones in the wrong.

For instance, here's a thread on a video gaming site. 23 pages, pretty much all anti-Israel

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=858478

Again, a video game site. Young people of today who are going to be voting this policy in the future.

It's no longer material if Israel is morally right. It's the perception. The US is the only country in the world that really supports Israel and once that is lost, which is inevitable given the demographics, well, what then?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe in the promises of the Bible. The LORD gave Israel the land and made them His chosen people. He punished them for their behavior, but made promises to them. He promised them a hope and a future. He keeps His promises. Read Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, just for starters.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Israel didn't lose the argument, they lost the propaganda war largely due to the coverage by lefty mediaswine like Kristof and others of his ilk, particularly at the NYT.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
That comment thread really saddens me.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
You raise some very disturbing points. I'd like to think that the participants on a gaming site are a narrow, self-selecting, and segment of the population that is not representational of the U.S. as a whole. But I may just be dreaming.

And if I am, I think we all know the eventual answer to "What then?" There will be no winners in the Middle East, probably none in the U.S, and perhaps none anywhere.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
" (not the Palestinian citizens of Gaza forced to endure their rule) " Bullsh** Ron. The Gazans elected Hamas. Hamas and the citizenry of Gaza are only acting out the inherent expression of Gazan culture. You can weep that this is reality, but don't waste sympathy on people who are dying by virtue of their expressing their own evil.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those who think that Hamas and the Israelis are morally equivalent would have made excuses for Krystalnacht.


Here are the NYT heroes in action.

http://joeforamerica.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Hamas-Nazi-Salute-300x177.jpg

A hearty Sieg Heil to the NYT and all the friends of Hamas
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 Next View All