Watching as the Middle East goes up in a blaze of rhetoric

I hope the Israeli politicians and military planners have a good endgame worked out. Military action to eradicate the threat from Hamas may be both morally justified and necessary to defend the residents of southern Israel, but like Ami Isseroff I have my doubts about what the operation can achieve in practical terms.

The Israeli Defence Forces will have to raise to the ground every Hamas building and take out every operative of the organisation from mid-level up if they are to have any hope of succeeding in this endeavour. As the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen points out, there is a limited amount of time before international pressure for a ceasefire becomes impossible to resist.

There are a few thoughtful commentators in western medialand, but the loudest voices are those of supposedly left-wing Israel haters, Jewish one-staters (Palestine) and outright antisemites. Norman Geras has pointed today to one of the more nauseating examples of their rhetorical overkill.

It beggars belief how anyone can write that:

“[t]errorism is a normative term and not a descriptive concept.”

and go on to accuse Israel of terrorism while describing in celebratory tones the violence of Hamas against Israeli civilians and their own people in Gaza as legitimate resistance. To the greater glory of Allah? I think not. These people are best described as death-worshipping psychopaths.

And how does Nir Rosen justify his line?

“The weak have much less power than the strong, and can do much less damage. The Palestinians would not have ever bombed cafes or used home-made missiles if they had tanks and airplanes. It is only in the current context that their actions are justified, and there are obvious limits.”

If one-stater Rosen believes this stuff, and isn’t just writing to feed the anti-Israel prejudice of your typical Comment is Free reader (it has been known), then he is devoid of functioning brain cells, let alone moral sensibility. This, despite the many references in his long and tortured essay to ethics and the justification for violent resistance to Israeli occupation.