Hamas started the current war with Israel. That is not even in dispute among serious people. Islamic terrorists are currently waging killing sprees against civilians in Nigeria, Iraq and Israel, among other places, but only when Israel stands up to defend itself does the world cry out for a cease-fire.
Why is that?
Anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitism have to be at least part of the explanation.
Israel should ignore calls for a cease-fire and destroy Hamas as a political and fighting force now. In fact, this war may be its last chance to defeat Hamas and have any possibility of getting to a two-state solution that stands any chance, however remote, of achieving peace.
1. Hamas’ evil is never going to be more obvious. Hamas weaponizes women, children and animals. Hamas started the current war and they have rejected five cease-fires (and counting). Hamas has been caught hiding its missiles in UNRWA schools. This week, Hamas leadership have re-iterated that their goal is to destroy Israel entirely. Hamas will never live with a two-state solution.
The Israel Defense Forces are making good progress destroying Hamas’ tunnels and missile arsenal. A cease-fire at this point only gives Hamas the chance to re-arm, force children to dig more tunnels, and rebuild Palestinian morale that shows evidence of eroding during this war. If Israel does not destroy Hamas now, there is always the chance that Hamas obtains even more powerful weapons, either from Turkey or Iran or another source, and uses them against Israel.
The Islamist revival that is powering terrorism all over the world may eventually abate, and the majority of Muslims may yet follow Egypt’s lead and reject the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, but at the moment, Iran is still a radical threat, Turkey is becoming more radical, and Europe is succumbing to its own domestic Islamist threat and to its old habit of anti-Semitism. The way to bet right now is that global opinion of Israel is going to get worse, not better, over the next few decades.
2. The U.S. intelligentsia on the left are losing their moral compass when it comes to Israel. Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe. The Democrats as a party can no longer be counted on to support Israel in the U.S. or overseas. Writers like Josh Marshall and Jonathan Chait, influential on the left, are being seduced to turn neutral, if not outright hostile. The settlements issue and Israel’s apparent overwhelming strength in comparison to Hamas are working against Israel in the minds of some thinkers on the left and among libertarians.
By the end of Obama’s second term, it’s not out of the question that the U.S. government could remove Hamas from the State Department’s terrorist group list. That may sound implausible now, but Secretary of State John Kerry has essentially acted as Hamas’ advocate during the current war, presenting a one-sided Hamas-Turkey-Qatar cease-fire as a viable option, while rejecting a more sensible proposal from Egypt and other U.S. allies that stood a chance of marginalizing Hamas. Israel’s cabinet rejected Kerry’s proposal, and the rift between the U.S. and Israel is growing. Hamas is losing popularity but it is the government of Gaza, at least for now. If President Obama intends to spend the final two years of his presidency provoking domestic division, as he appears intent on doing, then removing Hamas from the terrorist list and tilting even further away from Israel could happen. That would certainly provoke a storm of protest in the U.S., but mainly on the right, among Americans whose opinions simply do not matter to President Obama and his government. The Democrats signaled their true beliefs in September 2012, when they booed both God and naming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the opening of their national convention.
3. America’s next generations are less likely to support Israel than previous generations. The majorities of America’s older generations still support Israel. But the rising X, Y and millennial generations do not. Gallup recently found out that Israel has a future problem in the U.S.
The 18-49 year old U.S. age groups are rising to power behind the Baby Boomers. Majorities of our generations, educated in ever more leftist-tilting public schools and less and less aware of American history and traditional values, cannot be counted on to support Israel even when its mission is unambiguously right. Our generations are, by and large, just not reliable allies for Israel, at least not yet.
The millennial generation stands to transform America in profound ways unless their attitudes change quickly. They tend to be more socialistic, less religious and less tolerant of traditional religious beliefs, and less supportive of Israel than previous generations.
If those attitudes, especially the one in the poll above, do not change, the window of America’s unwavering support for Israel may be closing fast.
Israel has Hamas on the ropes in the current war. The Obama administration is feckless when it comes to supporting our allies, but its anti-intervention tendencies might at least keep the U.S. from becoming openly hostile to Israel for a short while.
There’s no time like the present for Israel to go ahead and destroy Hamas. They should do it.