A very bad man

Ron Paul (Guardian)I’ve been following an online acquaintance’s Facebook page for some time now—he’s a follower of Ron Paul— watching as he posts one anti-Israel link after another.

The question that keeps coming to my mind is why do people who claim to be non-interventionists not merely argue that we should be disengaged from all our alliances, including Israel? Just stay out of everybody else’s business? Including Israel’s?

But Paulites—and Ron Paul himself—don’t do that.

They don’t simply preach non-involvement; they actually involve themselves by taking sides. And the side they take, the side they become active, daily apologists for is the side of the terrorists. They do it with every interview, every article, every link. I have yet to encounter a Ron Paul supporter who, while continuing to preach non-U.S. involvement, defends Israel’s right to defend itself against an aggressor who has pledged to destroy it.

Not one.

This morning I read a column by Jonah Goldberg, Who’re the real Nazis?, and I have now decided that enough is enough. It is time to name names and make people choose. Too many conservatives and libertarians are either ignoring this anti-Israel—no, this pro-terrorist—agenda or actively joining in it and getting away with it by hiding behind “Bush shredding the Constitution” or “Bush promised smaller government [which he didn’t] and gave us huge government growth [which he did]” rhetoric. Am I the only one who’s noticed that the only coalition partners Paulites are ever comfortable with are anti-war leftists? They won’t ever cite National Review, but, boy howdy, they have links to every anti-war site on the internet.

Libertarians. Paulites. Conservatives. It is time to choose. Are you on the side of terrorists, like Hamas, sworn to the destruction of Israel? Or are you against them?

Is Goldberg describing you?

“Go back to the oven! You need a big oven, that’s what you need!”

This is what one young woman thought passed for acceptable discourse last week during an anti-Israel rally in, of all places, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Other chants were similarly unlovely. You can watch it on YouTube, if you like.

But why bother? The Fort Lauderdale outburst is just one window on the upside-down world of Israel hatred. Across the Islamic world, and in too many points West, it is still considered a penetrating and poignant insight to call Zionists the “new Nazis.” For instance, in Sunday’s Gulf News, Mohammad Abdullah al Mutawa, a sociology professor at United Arab Emirates University, penned an essay titled “Zionists are the new Nazis.” He began: “Today, the whole world stands as a witness to the fact that the Nazi Holocaust was a mere lie, which was devised by the Zionists to blackmail humanity.”

At a Saturday New York protest against Israel’s military assault on Gaza, some carried signs that read: “Israel: The Fourth Reich”; “Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors”; “Stop Israel’s Holocaust”; “Holocaust in Gaza”; and “Stop the Zionist Genocide in Gaza.”

What kind of warped minds buy into this stuff? The truth is hiding in plain sight—unless you’re so blinded by hatred you can’t see it:

First, let us note that if supposedly all-powerful Israel is dedicated to exterminating the Palestinian people, it is doing a very bad job. The Palestinian population has only grown since 1948. There are more Arab citizens living in Israel proper today than there were in all of Palestine the year Israel was founded.

Perhaps one reason Israel fails at genocide is that it isn’t interested in genocide? That would explain why Israel warned thousands of Gazans by cellphone to leave homes near Hamas rocket stockpiles. It would clarify why, even amid all-out war, it offers aid to enemy civilians. It would even illuminate the otherwise mysterious clamor from Israelis for a viable “peace partner.”

But no. For millions of Israel haters, the more plausible explanation is that the “defiant” Palestinians have miraculously survived Israel’s determination to wipe them out.

Meanwhile, calls for the complete extermination of Israel are routine. The Hamas charter, invoking the fraudulent “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as justification, demands the destruction of Israel. Indeed, Hamas exists solely because it is dedicated to the complete obliteration of the “Zionist entity.” Remove that “principle” and Hamas is meaningless.

Where does Ron Paul stand on all this? Look at the video below. But before you do, notice the headline. It came from the video’s YouTube link. Notice the word “Neutrality.” I want you to come back to that word after you listen to what Congressman Paul says. “Neutrality.” That’s the Holy Grail for Paulites. “Neutrality.” I want you to decide: Is what Congressman Paul advocating really neutrality? Or is it based on something else? Who is he blaming for this conflict? What does he say is the root of the conflict? To whom does he assign responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians living in Gaza? What is his solution?

Ron Paul Stresses Neutrality in Foreign Affairs and Gaza in PressTV Interview 1/5/09

For whom is Ron Paul an apologist?

I’ll have more to say on this later.

 

Photograph: Charlie Neibergall/AP

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4 thoughts on “A very bad man”

  1. A true libertarian believes in not entangling oneself or their country with foreign lands. Therefore, the only comments that should be said would be to leave Israel alone and let them deal with it. Anything anti this or anti that is getting involved with other nations. Either ignorance is being played or here or hypocrisy. Good article.

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    1. CC: Don’t you think it would be proper for him to say, “Look, we’ve given money to both sides of this and we need to stop”?

      Or even, “We’ve given vastly more money to Israel than to the Palestinians and we need to stop”?

      But PRETENDING to be neutral and then coming down on one side is appalling.

      This man is clearly not what he claims to be. Paulites need to be confronted with this. And, by that, I don’t mean they should all join the Israel Lobby. But they need to see how hypocritical this all is.

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  2. Dear Charles,
    Just as I was beginning to hope that there is the possibility of a forthright discussion of political differences, you begin a post this way, and end this way… “This man is clearly not what he claims to be?” Really?

    You say it as though he’s not the single person in congress to vote on principle. Simply because you dislike those principles doesn’t mean you should imply he has none or doesn’t adhere to them.

    Let me hash out the finer points:
    He espouses neutrality as the desirable and moral position for a nation, e.g. the U.S., to hold regarding the affairs of other nations. There are a lot of philosophical foundations for this, but simply put, it stems from the non-aggression axiom and the belief in a minimalist government whose job is only to protect the citizen from real harm.

    Now, espousing neutrality as an appropriate foreign policy is not a problem is it? Not inherently immoral or hypocritical anyway.

    Now, his description of what’s happening in Gaza as a “massacre” certainly seems like it’s not neutral. It’s not. Nor is it his recommendation for a foreign policy position. He makes the distinction, you should note, between his personal opinions of the crisis and the political positions he advocates. Since he’s made that distinction, the least you can do is to recognize it. Now, we can argue about the validity or viability of the neutrality idea at some other point, but what about his criticism of Israel?

    You should note the neither he nor any other libertarian I’ve ever heard of disputes Israel’s right to defend itself from attack. That would be absurd. But let’s recognize that the problem in Israel/Gaza is far more complicated than: they shot rockets at us so we’re going to bomb them into tarnation.

    So let’s attempt a still cursory, but at least more critical examination than to say that “either you’re against the terrorists or with them.”

    Now, first, let’s discuss moral considerations:
    In principle, these come out in Israel’s favor:
    – Israel only practically and not philosophically opposed to a Palestinian state.
    – Hamas (note, not all Palestinians) is opposed to the existence of Israel.

    How about in terms of military action, violence?
    – Israel’s actions are usually retributive or else assassinations targeted at known “bad guys” (though acting on this presumption certainly isn’t based on a “fair trial.”)
    – Hamas and other Palestinian radicals initiate violence against civilians in order to further their goals.

    But let’s consider how the real-world conditions give weight to these above considerations:
    – Israel is a modern, militarily equipped, industrialized nation.
    – Hamas is little better than a gang running a tribe, and the rest of Palestine is in such shambles that it may as well be the third world.
    – All Israeli citizens must serve in and may be called up for the armed services.
    – Hamas/Palestine doesn’t have any armed services in a modern sense, but only a loosely knit militia-type organization.

    Now one problem is that there is a vast discrepancy between the relative power of these two entities. As Mr. Goldberg noted, Israel could annihilate the Palestinians. The Palestinians, whatever they would like, can barely feed themselves.

    The ultimate problem, though, is the killing of civilians. In any war, whatever the groups involved, we pretty universally decry this. Now, Hamas and other militant organizations have done and continue to do just this. This, of course, is the rationale for Israel’s retribution. But just as anger directed at Israel cannot be justly taken out on any citizen who is a part, anger at Palestinian bombings of civilians can’t justify the same in response.

    But that’s what’s been happening. That’s why people are upset, because the more powerful entity, and supposedly (usually) more ethical is engaging in the morally offensive actions of the weaker: killing civilians. If these actions are inherently immoral, they are more evil when carried out in greater frequency and breadth. Now with that in mind, take a look at the following statistic from a Reuters article (link posted below):

    “More than 600 Palestinians have been killed and at least 2,700 wounded since Israel began the campaign last month with the declared aim of ending rocket attacks by Hamas Islamist militants on its southern towns. Ten Israelis, including three civilians hit by rocket fire, have been killed.”

    Now, just assuming that the rate of civilians killed for the Palestinians is the same as the rate for Israelis (3/10), that means that 3/10ths of 600, or 180 Palestinian civilians have been killed. This is probably a low estimate, given the use of large bombs in this operation. Now, ideologies and blame aside, isn’t one justified in getting upset about the death of 3 innocents? How about 180?

    Now, all of those Palestinians were not Hamas militants. Some of them, for instance, were the wives and children (around 15 or so) of a Hamas figure whose entire house was bombed. That’s not exactly an attack targeted to spare civilians… 600 to 10? Really, that fits just fine with your sense of justice? Maybe if it were a “fair fight,” or if both numbers consisted of only solidiers, but that’s not the case.

    The problem is that, unfortunately, there is not perfectly moral side in this debate, no easy answer for “whose to blame.” The problem is, it’s not simply just “islamic terrorists,” against everybody else. There are a number of material, political, sociological dynamics that don’t fit easily into any explicit moral schema. There is no easy answer. But in this situation, especially given Israel’s overwhelming military and economic superiority, the shear casualty ratio of 1:60, and the proportion of these that are civilian reveal something disastrously wrong.

    It’s always wrong to kill civilians. When Hamas does it they are wrong and justify retribution. When in retribution, Israel commits the same, they are also wrong.

    When Israel has it in it’s power to ensure that an absolutely smaller number of innocent civilians are harmed, but chooses instead to ensure simply that fewer of its civilians are killed without regard to the number of dead “enemy civilians,” then certainly neutral parties will object.

    All this only goes to show that the situation is in need of deeper reflection. I don’t exactly know where I come down on this dilemma, the “whose to blame” question that seems so clear-cut to you. Israel can’t be removed, neither can the Palestinians. Quandry. Let’s just admit that it’s not that Israel is always right and infallible, and it’s not justified to say that if a Palestinian dies he probably deserved it.

    Either way, don’t use an instance of political disagreement to insinuate something sinister, or call a “very bad man,” someone on the other side.

    If you only see one side, you haven’t seen either.

    Links you should check out:

    http://voanews.com/english/2009-01-06-voa37.cfm

    Above quote from:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/middleeastCrisis/idUSN06451838

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