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Ron Radosh

Mr. Kristof knows this, because  he continues to note that Hamas is violent towards its own people as well as Israel, and does not even try to avoid civilian casualties. He also writes that it is more repressive and unpopular at home, to which I would add now it is even more so, since the residents of Gaza know what game Hamas is playing and that their own leaders purposely put them in danger. Kristof even puts in a good barb, noting that “Hamas sometimes seems to have more support on certain college campuses in America or Europe than within Gaza.”

But next, he digs up the old moral-equivalence canard, writing that on both sides, the “hawks are in charge, and they empower each other.” This is simply patent nonsense. Just two days ago, the moderate and peace-minded leader of Israel’s security cabinet, Tzipi Livni, told reporters that Israel would not rule out the possibility, as David Horovitz put it, “of this conflict expanding to the point where Israel seeks to bring down Hamas altogether.” Livni is known in Israel as such a dove that Horovitz noted that at her interview, the TV reporters “almost fell off their chairs.”

So, it is not just hawks who favor a tough response to Hamas. Virtually all Israeli leaders understand that they are fighting against those committed to anything but a solution, unless it is one that allows them to gain their stated ends. Mr. Kristof, however, argues that both sides are the same. He writes as if Prime Minister Netanyahu does not mind if innocent civilians perish, and compares Israel’s response to aggression to those residents of Gaza who are so “suffocating under the Israeli embargo” that they think the only way out is to “fire rockets — and if some Israeli children die — that’s too bad.” He then reminds us that 100 times as many Palestinian children are dying. Whose fault is that, Mr. Kristof? We know that the fault lies with Hamas — which cynically, as Netanyahu put it recently, “uses civilians to protect their rockets, while Israel uses rockets to protect its civilians.”

Hamas will not adopt Mr Kristof’s suggestion that they turn to “Gandhi-style nonviolence resistance campaigns.” Against whom — their own leadership? Gandhi was fighting in India for the right of independence; Hamas is fighting in Gaza to destroy Israel. How is non-violence going to help them gain their ends, and why would they even contemplate adopting it?

Sitting in his home safe for the time being in our country, Nicholas Kristof writes that if we were being bombarded by rockets, we too “might cheer an invasion of Gaza.” Israelis are supporting their soldiers who are protecting them.  They are not cheering. The citizens of Israel understand that there will be casualties and death on their own side, and what they are doing is offering support to the young men and women who are serving to protect their countrymen.  They hope only that those soldiers fighting to prevent their country’s destruction manage to impede the effort of Hamas and make it further away from doing real damage to Israel. They cheer only the soldiers’ bravery, and their willingness to offer all they have to defend the Jewish state.

Yes, we need a “cease fire that includes an end to Hamas rocket attacks and a withdrawal from Gaza by Israel.” But tellingly, Mr. Kristof does not comment on why Hamas rejected the Egyptian proposal, which would have produced exactly that end. It is not, as he maintains, “a conflict between right and right.” Hamas is not fighting for any goal that is right — and he confuses its aims with those of the relatively few Palestinians who actually believe in a two-state solution. The few who do live in the West Bank, where they precariously rule. They are not in Gaza and are not members of Hamas. And even the Palestinian Authority has acted against those living there who vocally accept the need for real concessions made by their own side.

Finally, Mr. Kristof urges diplomacy. Fine. With whom? When is Hamas willing to engage in diplomacy? We’ve seen how far it has got when Israel talks with Saeb Erekat, the PA negotiator, who pledged never to give up the “right of return,” which he says is non-negotiable.

The symmetry Nicholas Kristof thinks exist is not there. Israel does all it can to move to peace, and is forced by its enemies to resort to war. Hamas rejects any moves to peace, and hopes aggression and the death of civilians will move the international community to condemn Israel. So Mr. Kristof ends saying that no, they are not the same, “and what I see isn’t equivalence.”

After an entire column arguing just that, he contradicts himself because he knows how foolish his previous words are. There are no hard-liners on Israel’s side who have hijacked the leadership, as he believes is the case. As many have recently observed, Benjamin Netanyahu is a centrist, opposed on his right by Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman and others. The Hamas leadership are all hard-liners, who have not hijacked their power from moderates since none exist in their organization. As for the peace camp, it hardly has any members left in Israel, since so many of its former adherents, such as journalist Ari Shavit, know that its original raison d’etre has been proven wrong. The illusions they had about the Oslo peace process proved to be an empty vessel.

His end conclusion? Mr. Kristof says there is “painful symmetry,” and that “each side vigorously denies that there is any symmetry at all.” On that, both sides are right. Hamas is to blame, and Israel is justly responding to aggression against its very existence.

I guess that in the world that is ganging up on Israel, Nicholas Kristof’s doctrine of moral equivalence, or symmetry, is an improvement on those who openly want Israel’s destruction.

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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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (42)
All Comments   (42)
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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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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..
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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?
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hamas’ tactics are inhumane and repellent on principle.

Their tactics are war crimes.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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?
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
That comment thread really saddens me.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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.
10 weeks ago
10 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
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
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