Israel in the Public Eye

November 25, 2012 3:02 am 0 comments

Ethiopian children spend their fifth day in Ashkelon bomb shelter, Sunday, November 18. Photo: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency.

JERUSALEM—You don’t have to be a prophet to anticipate that there would be civilian deaths in Gaza. Hamas embeds its weapons depots and rocket launchers in civilian neighborhoods, near homes, schools, mosques, and apartment complexes. It uses women and children as human shields. It widely broadcasts the tragic deaths of children, even when the deaths were caused by Hamas rockets and even when the photos are recycled from the tragedies in Syria. Hamas and allied terrorists intentionally dress in civilian clothing so their deaths will appear to be civilian deaths. These are war crimes.

There are voices charging that Israel is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. These critics ignore background, such as the 13,000 missiles fired from Gaza at Israel’s southern communities over the last 12 years, leaving Israeli men, women, and children traumatized and terrorized. Too often, they ignore the fact that Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005 to promote peace. Instead of creating a government and society that could improve the future of Gaza’s Palestinians, Palestinian leaders created a culture of death based on anti-Semitism and violent jihad. They ignore the fact that Hamas is an Iranian proxy dedicated to the murder of Jews and “obliteration” of Israel.

The immediate cause of Operation Pillar of Defense is the escalation from Nov. 10-12, when Hamas fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF jeep patrolling in Israel, followed by 150 rockets attacks. Hamas’s longer-range rockets reached as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, targeting an area where 80 percent of Israeli Jews live. Their attacks shut down normal life as schools and businesses shut down and civilians ran into shelters for cover. I was here when a rocket aimed at the Israeli Knesset misfired into Gush Etzion miles to the south. My eyes went wide, but the Israelis said, “we are used to it.” Do we dismiss an inaccurate missile? It is wrong for Israel to be targeted by even one missile. If rockets were fired indiscriminately from Tijuana, Mexico, into San Diego, Americans would demand an overwhelming and disproportionate response.

Yet the UN and International Court of Justice have remained silent about years of rocket attacks against Israelis despite the fact that targeting civilians is an egregious war crime. Israel is perhaps the only nation in the world that has absorbed thousands of rockets during the last 12 years, and is expected to ignore this terrorism. Israel had to respond. The first obligation of a nation is to protect its citizens, and Israel’s restraint is historically unprecedented.

I hope that peace will prevail, but am pessimistic because Hamas will likely remain in control of Gaza. Hamas, an Iranian proxy, is also an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which now governs Egypt. What should Israel do? Should it send in its citizen soldiers, endangering them in order to weaken or destroy Hamas? What would the result be? Israel regularly wrestles with these difficult problems.

As missiles continue to reign down on civilians in Israel, we are reminded that the Israeli army has demonstrated unbelievable restraint over the years, and gone out of its way, sometimes compromising its objectives, to protect innocent Palestinians. We are reminded that Israel is responding to a recent history of thousands of Hamas rocket attacks, and that Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel, not peace. This is wrong by any standards. As Americans, we need to remind our fellow citizens that Israel is the canary in the coal mine, on the front lines against the violent terrorism emanating from fundamentalists that have no tolerance for Israel or any other liberal democracy.

Eric Mandel, MD, is the co-chair of the StandWithUs/New York office.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Theater US & Canada New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    In his new play Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv, playwright Oren Safdie tackles an issue that he has a major concern with: the relationship between Israelis and left-leaning Diaspora Jews with their “I know better” critical views. At the heart of the one-act play is Tony, a Jewish and gay Palestinian sympathizer who expresses strong anti-Israel sentiments when the play begins and at one point even sides with a Palestinian terrorist who holds his captive. Tony, who is also an [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    A Jewish comedy troupe released a parody video on Wednesday of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off in which they joke about taking extensive time off from work for Jewish holidays. “And the goyim gonna stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. And the Jews are gonna pray, pray pray, pray, pray. I’m just gonna take, take, take, take, take. I’m taking off,” goes the chorus for I’m Taking Off. Menachem Weinstein, the video’s lead singer, is the creative director at [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.