By Larry Gordon
No, we are not like them. And it has been a little too much this week watching Jewish organizations falling over one another with repetitive statements condemning the six Jewish teens who allegedly teamed up to murder an innocent Arab teen last week. I suppose that as a community we sense that our reputation, among those in the world who have us under a carefully calibrated microscope, is such that they would assume we condone this type of depraved and brutal criminality.
But that is our problem, and we disappointed ourselves with flying colors this week because we apparently think that they think we would not condemn this type of offense. But that is not the case. As I said, we are not like them.
We do not tolerate the murder of innocents, regardless of the rationale. We have somehow been inculcated with the impression that they have of us regardless of the contradictory nature of that image.
As for the six alleged perpetrators, they will rightfully receive their day in court. If convicted at a fair and open trial, they will be sentenced accordingly. Who out there that is fair and honest genuinely believes that, if guilty, these six young men do not represent an exception to the rule and the worst type of aberrant behavior?
The information circulating is that two of the boys who will be charged are from Bet Shemesh. I don’t know who they are yet or what their family life was like, but I know people in Bet Shemesh and, though they know the suspects’ families, no one was out in the street handing out candies or honking their horns in celebration because a young Arab boy had been murdered. The reaction was much the opposite of the reaction to the kidnapping and murder of the three Jewish boys four weeks ago. There is no moral equivalency, because we are not like them. Rather than celebrating death, we mourn and feel revulsion at the acts. This is not our way–not the Jewish way or the way of civilized human beings. It is, however, the way of Islamic leaders in Gaza and Ramallah, who stood idly by after the kidnapping of the three boys and are now encouraging the latest salvo of rockets emanating from Gaza and directed at Israel’s civilian population.
Why did we have to bang into one another condemning the horrible death of the young man from Beit Hanina in Jerusalem? The world knows we do not subscribe to or encourage this way of doing things. But we are suspicious that they doubt us, so we issue statements and press releases with condemnation and denials. And it is no surprise that the chief apologist and excuse-maker, Israel’s President Shimon Peres, came out on Tuesday with the most absurd and unforgivable of comments. He said of this situation, “Evil has emerged from Zion.” Is he kidding? This sordid episode has no reflection whatsoever on Zion, Jews, or Israel.
These are a few wild and obviously irresponsible kids who may still be discovered to be dealing with serious mental deficiencies. No one taught or sent these teens to kill. They acted crazily and on their own, sadly emulating the pathetic killers of the three boys on June 12. This is not a stain on Israel or Jews anywhere. Enemies of Israel and Jew-haters everywhere are already well under way in their efforts to convey that these teens represent the sum total of Jews and Israel. By contorting ourselves with disavowals and apologies, we are complicit in their effort to hang this around our necks.
Jews and Israel do not conduct themselves in this fashion. This is not our way and they know it, and we should conduct ourselves in a way that expresses that we know it as well.
Israel’s leaders have been badgered into worrying about reacting to attacks with restraint and proportionality. As the anti-terror Gaza operation revs up, these are terms you are going to hear a great deal about over the coming days. The sources will include President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and the broken record at the UN–Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The president has already urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to act with restraint. Does the U.S., which sends predator drones to eliminate terrorists and their families in Yemen and Afghanistan, act with restraint? No, those who are not targets of the drone attacks are simply listed by the State Department as collateral damage.
Is the U.S. acting with proportionality when sending these drones in to kill? Well, if Yemen and Afghanistan or the terror merchants that control large swatches of those countries do not have their own drones, then the U.S. is acting with disproportion, which may be a violation of international law according to some. Yet no one in the international community utters as much as a syllable.
The BBC informed viewers in England the other day that they are receiving photos of the killed and injured from sources in Gaza that are either Photoshopped pictures or pictures from the violence in Syria and Iraq. It will not take long for the New York Times to run one of these Syrian pictures with a caption about Israeli bombing runs over Gaza. It is unusual to write the words integrity and BBC in the same sentence, but there you have it.
There is an inherent contradiction that exists between the need for diplomacy and the hard reality of an imperative military response. There is no question that the terrorist Hamas needs to receive a severe beating. The old Israel would have beaten them into submission and surrender. Unfortunately, it looks like that kind of an approach is a thing of the past, with President Obama saying on Tuesday that he urges the two sides to get back to the negotiating table, admonishing them to pursue talks in the direction of a two-state solution. Talk about being disconnected and not attached to reality.
Israel cannot withhold her full power simply because Palestinians in Gaza use human shields, daring Israel to kill civilians when attacking terrorists and their bases. Israel need not be concerned that the world will condemn it for being the cause of civilian casualties in Gaza. That card has already been played, and it’s time that the people there came to the realization that there is an unfortunate price to pay for supporting terror.
This should not be Israel’s concern should the full attack on Gaza take place and the terrorists receive their just punishment. We don’t have to philosophically contort ourselves to explain that our intent is not to hurt civilians. In the few moments in which they may have some flashes of honesty–maybe those fleeting moments occur in the middle of the night when no one is around and they have their eyes closed–they know that Israel is just and right and that it is time for the nations of the world to stand back and let Israel finally do what needs to be done. v
Comments for Larry Gordon are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.