From The Other Side Of The Bench

By David J. Seidemann, Esq.

A rocket falls one mile from Ben-Gurion airport, and the FAA, in order to protect citizens from a potential threat, cancels all flights to and from Israel. I guess only when missiles are aimed at Jews should a government avoid taking all steps in its power to prevent injuries and death to its citizens. I guess only when missiles are aimed at non-Jews is this government ready to acknowledge the danger of incoming fire.

Ben Rhodes, a spokesman for President Obama, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, admits that Hamas precipitated the conflict, admits that Hamas is the party that rejected the ceasefires, and admits that Israel has the right to defend itself. But Rhodes continues to espouse the administration’s foolish rhetoric that Israel should do more to ensure the safety of civilians in Gaza. What, exactly, should Israel do, Mr. Obama? Not fire on the very locations from which we are being fired upon? Should we let the missiles fall from the sky and harm our civilians instead of taking affirmative action that unfortunately harms the Gazan civilians? Make no mistake: it’s kill or be killed. Given the choice between protecting Israel’s citizens and those living in Gaza, what is Mr. Netanyahu’s responsibility? Israel did not create this choice. Hamas did, and they will have to live or die with the consequences of such a choice.

It is up to the Palestinians to protect their people and they have failed. Tons of concrete that Hamas could have used to build schools for their children, Hamas has instead used to build tunnels to kill or kidnap Israeli children. The tunnels are the only proof we need to maintain the embargo on Gaza. They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity and they won’t use materials allowed into Gaza to build for any purpose other than to destroy.

Gaza is the only proof we need not to surrender one inch of the West Bank. Our reward for leaving Gaza was the thousands of rockets fired upon our citizenry. Leaving the West Bank would produce the same results. Who is foolish enough to believe it would be different?

Is there any other conflict in the history of the world where the justification of a war was measured by the amount of casualties inflicted by one side and sustained by the other side? Has Obama or Secretary of State Kerry even defined what they mean or what the definition of proportionality or restraint means? They have not, because they can’t. They have not, because no other country in the history of the world, in any conflict, has been told that unless it suffers as many deaths as the enemy, its cause is unjust.

Even Ban Ki-moon, and surprisingly the European Union, has acknowledged that Hamas uses human shields and fires from civilian locations. While they have asked Israel to exercise caution in the future, they have not accused Israel of crossing the line in the past. Not so, our supposed friends Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry.

I am not surprised by Mr. Obama’s words. I called it before he was elected before his first term. Mr. Kerry, on the other hand, has been reduced to a mouthpiece. I truly believe that left to his own devices, Mr. Kerry would be speaking more cautiously.

Make no mistake, when Obama and Kerry are anything less than 100% in favor of Israel, Hamas pounces on every statement and uses it as part of its propaganda. To wit, when Kerry’s off-air open-mike comments castigating Israel were aired on Sunday, it took less than 24 hours for the Palestinian spokesman to quote Kerry as proof that Israel was the aggressor.

This refusal of Obama and Kerry to recognize and denounce evil is a bit confounding. When it comes to Putin and his ilk allegedly shooting down a plane of innocents, there is a delay, but an eventual acknowledgment, that the line between evil and good is clearly delineated. But when it comes to Hamas firing on our civilian homes from their civilian homes, the line is somehow blurred.

If Obama were really invested in Israel, if he really could distinguish good from evil when it comes to Israel, instead of insisting that Ben-Gurion be closed to air travel, he would pick up the phone, call Hamas, and tell them to stop interrupting U.S. air travel to Israel. And if Obama makes that call and there is no one on the other end to pick up the call, that is all the proof you need.

As I write this article, it is permissible to fly over Iraq, but not Israel. Go figure.

Draw your own conclusions as to Obama’s true motives and feelings towards Israel. I have drawn mine.

Two final thoughts. When Obama issued the order to take out Osama Bin Laden, how many special-ops forces entered Bin Laden’s tent? How many protectors did Bin Laden have? How many guns did Bin Laden have at his side? What clear and present danger did Bin Laden display at the moment he was eliminated by a group of U.S. forces? Seems to me there was a bit of “disproportionality” there, wouldn’t you say?

So I sit here typing this article feeling helpless that I am not in Israel lending a hand. Feeling frustrated that Obama and company are undermining Israel’s right to self-defense. Frustrated but not surprised.

Feeling a bit encouraged by the careful words expressed by Ban Ki-moon and the European Union.

Feeling a bit nauseated by the Hamas propaganda machine.

Feeling a bit concerned by the rise of open anti-Semitic incidents across the globe.

But the overriding emotion I feel is pride. I feel such a deep connection and sense of empathy with the families of those that will have to bury their sons who died defending our home. And I feel an equal amount of pride regarding my daughter who is in Israel now who was offered the choice of coming home or remaining there.

And an overwhelming amount of pride regarding my wife’s decision to remain in Israel, lending a hand to the war efforts. Yesterday she helped pack food and clothing for our soldiers. Tomorrow she will attend the funeral of a fellow Californian, Max Steinberg, ob’m, a lone soldier who made aliyah in 2012 and lost his life Sunday in defense of our country, in defense of our future.

She will share a hug and tears with Max’s parents and convey our thanks for his sacrifice.

I conclude with one question to ponder. To the nations of the world that are excoriating Israel for its actions in Gaza: If the casualty numbers were reversed, if G‑d forbid Israel had sustained 670 casualties and the Gazans 27, would you demand that Hamas lay down its arms? If you answer yes, you are delusional. You were silent when Hamas was blowing up our buses, restaurants, and hotels.

We, on the other hand, will not be silent. The days of Jews going silently to their graves are over. The blood of our brothers is crying out to us from the land. Ï–

David Seidemann is a partner with the law firm of Seidemann and Mermelstein and serves as a professor of business law at Touro College. He can be reached at 718-692-1013 or

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