My friend, Michael Aaronson, from Regba, Israel, has sent a few notes to me, which I warmly recommend you to read, as they sincerely convey some of the frustration and real concern most Israelis feel nowadays when we listen to certain responses made in the western world with regards to the asymmetrical and unfortunate war that HAMAS in Gaza forced upon Israel, as described in parts I & II of this blog. Here's what Michael writes:
The level of hypocrisy shown by the western world is rising to new levels.
The results of war are always horrific no matter where it is waged but the distinction made by governments as to what is perceived as okay and what is not is amazing.
When it is a western country waging war – there are a few distinctions that are absolute:
- The war is just beyond any dispute by the western governments (Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia – just in the recent 30 years).
- All civilian casualties were unavoidable.
- The amount of force used was proportionate and necessary to achieve the goals.
When the issue is the Israeli response to repeated bombardment of civilian population by thousands of rockets during more than 10 years, then the terms used are the absolute opposite:
- The war is disputable.
- All (or most) civilian casualties were avoidable.
- Force used (by Israel only) was disproportionate.
The outcome of these distinctions is the call of "war crimes" that have seemingly been committed and various reports that deal with legal sanctions and a general rebuffing of the country – the only one that is really democratic in this vast part of the world - and its citizens.
The double standard, by which Israel is judged is to such an extent that these criticisms achieve the opposite effect: disregard and ridicule in Israel, which – being a western democracy, as opposed to terror organizations such as HAMAS - is by definition sensitive to fair criticism that is based on truth. In that sense, the western criticism not only misses its point, but creates an "anti-effect", as explained in the following.
The world that affects public opinion in Israel is naturally the western liberal world and it is this world that judges us by these biased standards as compared to its self-judgment. The concern is obvious but the reluctance to show the full understanding and support is very dismaying and disappointing.
We (Israel and the Jews, each in their time) have been let down by the western world so many times before: The persecution, the degradation and humiliation and extermination of the past 2000 years have taught us the most important lesson, and that would be to build our own standards and abide by them and let us be the judge of how we have done in that respect.
Seeing as we are the ones who built the initial codes of western moral (the Bible) and gave them to the world and seeing as we have built the most vibrant, modern and successful country within the last 66 years (Unprecedented in any other instance throughout the history of the world), whilst being threatened by annihilation all through that period, it seems that we know quite well to do that.
The loud screams of so many communities that call for boycotts and severing relations with Israel seems as the practical modern return of anti-Judaism, which characterized the darkest eras in human history. Our frustration is tremendous. On the belligerent side is the HAMAS, an internationally recognized terror organization who forces innocent Gazans to become its human shields because HAMAS knows in advance that Israel is a western democracy (remember they regard all democracies as flaccid and weak). On the other side is Israel, trying to defend its very existence against this contemptuous strategy while doing beyond its utmost - including the sacrifice of Israeli soldiers – to try save civilian lives in Gaza and keep Israel's moral code and basic values. And who receives criticism and calls for boycott from the western countries? The sad answer is – Israel, the only side that stands firm by western values.
Our expectation for decency and fair judgment by the western countries that share almost all our values relates to the terms of judgment as well as decency and eventually relates to the most elementary codes of behavior shared by us all.
Let's all use the same ruler when coming to measure or as we tell our kids "Don’t judge someone until you are in his place"!