Friday, September 08, 2006

Why I'm "Never Critical" About Israel

A complaint I occassionally received on some web forums, or from e-mails when on TalkSport Radio, was that I was "never critical of Israel," or for that matter America. I always defended them and they "could do no wrong."

It was as if, in these listener's minds, that every argument had another side -- more of a sign of their moral equivlance -- that all sides needed "another side" and no one side was correct.

This posting (from the "Angry Reader" section of his site) by one of my favourite academics, Victor Davis Hanson encapsulates why I am never critical of Israel (or America) and am right to be:

Reader: Have you ever written, Mr. Hanson, anything critical of Israel. Come on, show both sides.

Hanson: Israel, like the U.S., is a democratic republic, so it is an honest reflection of human nature and argumentation, and of course subject to mistakes as is any liberal state. But we are talking of disagreements within definite parameters of lawfulness and transparency. Hamas, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt simply have no liberal institutions. State-run megaphones puppet the party-line. Anti-Semitism is a national creed. There are no human rights as we know them. So it hard to insist on moral equivalence, when in one state Arabs vote and enjoy legal protection, and in another Jews would be hounded and killed or ethnically cleansed. After all, the entire matter is Orwellian: there are no illegal Arab aliens in Syria, for example, but plenty in Israel. So they must know something you do not.

If the Palestinians were to forget about a disputed 10% of land on the West Bank for 10 years, use petromoney from their friends, reform and open the economy and insist on the rule of law, they could craft a humane society that could very easily come to an agreement with Israel. But then, that would require growing up, rejecting easy handouts to militias, renouncing the mystique of terror, questioning patriarchy, gender apartheid, fundamentalism, and autocracy — and being more like Israel than like Syria or Iran. And that apparently is just too much.

The reason I am never critical of Israel is because what I am defending is their right to exist and their rights as a self-determinent and sovereign state. Most of the arguments about Israel are political and belong in that realm and are probably best left to the Israelis.


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