It takes a time like this for the full fury of Israel’s leftists to erupt in the face of their own country and government. While it’s true that, at least for now, Israel’s anti-Hamas offensive has garnered widespread domestic support, that’s hardly been the case among the country’s left-wing elite.
Many of the Monitor’s readers may have read some of the op-ed pieces that have appeared in Haaretz since the Gaza operation began, and it’s not exactly news that the Israeli daily is a hothouse of far-left sensibilities (hence its popularity among foreign journalists and pro-Palestinian bloggers).
But to truly get an appreciation for the depths of pathology routinely exhibited by Haaretz’s opinion columnists, one needs to look at several days’ worth of their work product. Drowning out the occasional token centrist or rightist perspective are waves of anti-Israel invective of which the following is just a representative sampling. Read it and weep.
Akiva Eldar: “The question that must be asked … is how many Palestinians and Israelis must die before the Israeli public wakes up from its new-old illusion that tanks and planes can perpetuate the occupation. The answer: As long as Israelis expect Palestinians to raise white flags, a black flag will fly over their own head.”
Gideon Levy: “Israel embarked yesterday on yet another unnecessary, ill-fated war. On July 16, 2006, four days after the start of the Second Lebanon War, I wrote: ‘Every neighborhood has one, a loud-mouthed bully who shouldn’t be provoked into anger… Not that the bully’s not right – someone did harm him. But the reaction, what a reaction!’
“Two and a half years later, these words repeat themselves, to our horror, with chilling precision. Within the span of a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, the IDF sowed death and destruction on a scale that the Qassam rockets never approached in all their years, and Operation ‘Cast Lead’ is only in its infancy.
“Once again, Israel’s violent responses, even if there is justification for them, exceed all proportion and cross every red line of humaneness, morality, international law and wisdom. What began yesterday in Gaza is a war crime and the foolishness of a country….
“A hero against the weak, [the IDF] bombed dozens of targets from the air yesterday, and the pictures of blood and fire are designed to show Israelis, Arabs and the entire world that the neighborhood bully’s strength has yet to wane. When the bully is on a rampage, nobody can stop him.”
David Grossman: “We should in no way strike [Gaza] so violently, even if Hamas, for years, has made life intolerably miserable for the people of southern Israel, and even if their leaders have refused every Israeli and Egyptian attempt to reach a compromise….”
Amira Hass: “This is the time to speak of our own satisfaction and enjoyment. Satisfaction from tanks once again raising and lowering their barrels in preparation for a ground attack, satisfaction from our leaders’ threatening finger-waving at the enemy. That’s how we like our leaders – calling up reservists, sending pilots to bomb our enemies….”
Tom Segev: “All of Israel’s wars have been based on yet another assumption that has been with us from the start: that we are only defending ourselves…. It is admittedly impossible to live with daily missile fire, even if virtually no place in the world today enjoys a situation of zero terror. But Hamas is not a terrorist organization holding Gaza residents hostage: It is a religious nationalist movement, and a majority of Gaza residents believe in its path. One can certainly attack it, and with Knesset elections in the offing, this attack might even produce some kind of cease-fire.
“But there is another historical truth worth recalling in this context: Since the dawn of the Zionist presence in the Land of Israel, no military operation has ever advanced dialogue with the Palestinians.
“Most dangerous of all is the cliche that there is no one to talk to. That has never been true. There are even ways to talk with Hamas, and Israel has something to offer the organization. Ending the siege of Gaza and allowing freedom of movement between Gaza and the West Bank could rehabilitate life in the Strip.”
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org