If you’re the sort of person who sees no difference between the Israeli military defending its citizens and Hamas terrorizing civilians, you might want to pass on this column. You simply aren’t in the same ballpark with me. In fact, you are playing an entirely different game, so let’s just agree to disagree (and that you are crazy) and not engage. We will both avoid, as my grandma Mamie would say, a jumpy stomach.
This column is for the sort of person who realizes that violence is horrible, that killing civilians is horrific, that politics is dirty and that the world is not designed for the peacemakers. This column is also for those who will disagree on how we get to a point where warring tribes can come to some middle ground of safety and understanding. It is a column that recognizes the profound policy clashes between Netanyahu and Abbas, and it’s directed at those who might even differ on the role that the United States should be playing as mediator.
What it is not, is a press release written by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, that focuses on the humanity of Palestinian children while ignoring that Israeli children have a right not to have their schools, homes and highways destroyed by rockets subsidized by Russia, Iran and the other usual suspects.
I would also mention that those Israeli children shouldn’t expect that the United States would, even inadvertently, help pay for those rockets by supplying what some call “humanitarian aid” to Palestine. As I noted on my Facebook page, money is fungible, and any of it that goes for food and other “humanitarian needs” frees up money for decidedly non-humanitarian things, like rockets.
If I sound bitter, I am. I have many Jewish friends with family in Israel who’ve spent the last week on the phone, on the internet, and on their knees praying. I also have many Arab friends, some Muslim, some Christian, who are horrified at this renewed Intifadah that threatens the welfare of their own loved ones. Not one of those friends, regardless of how they pray, supports Hamas. Not a one.
And that’s the point of this column, which I hope is not being read by the sort of person who finds equivalence between an organization of terrorists and the only true democracy of the Middle East. That sort of person doesn’t understand logic, let alone have access to the lexicon of human decency. That sort of person is represented by the rhetoric of Ilhan Omar, who has put her anti-Jewish bigotry on defiant display. That sort of person finds communion (excuse the pun) with Rashida Tlaib, whose concern for dead children seems limited to those in Gaza.
I am not an expert in the geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East. I am an expert in refugees and the displaced, and have handled the cases of Palestinians who were forced to carry passports from “Jordan” or some other country that had given them refuge. I understand the pain of loss, of severed roots, of wandering with no fixed destination. My own roots sink deep into the soil of my ancestors, Irish and Italian, French and Swedish. My identity is tied up in people who died centuries before I was even born.
So I do not dismiss the pain of the Palestinian, the ones who seek a home and a peace they can bequeath their grandchildren.
But I cannot ignore the Faustian bargain that some Palestinians and their more vocal western supporters have made with the devil, a devil that rains rockets down on the heads of innocent Israeli children. That is not a myth. That is what is happening as you read these words, in your safe corner of the world.
You can talk to me about Sabra and Shatilla, and other atrocities, and I will listen politely. You can talk to me about the arrogance of settlers, and I might even agree with you. You can talk to me about Netanyahu’s hard line in the fertile earth, and I would not reject it. You can even talk to me about the fact that America has poured billions over the decades into the Israeli army that is using its weapons against Hamas, and in the process, killing innocent citizens used as human shields by the terrorists.
I will agree that it is not a black and white situation.
But what is black and white is that Hamas is evil, and the failure to condemn it unconditionally is equally evil.
What has no nuance is the fact that Israel has been fighting for her existence since before I was born, surrounded by enemies or, at the very least, people who would not weep if her buildings were razed and her people pushed into the sea.
Sadly, many of those people also live here, in America. They hide their bigotry behind political platitudes. They write editorials. They send money to organizations that, through indirect means, support terror campaigns. They invite speakers to college campuses who push for the destruction of our best ally in the holiest of lands. They do all this, but they cannot hide their intentions. They are Ilhan, and Rashida, and the members of CAIR, and all of those who make no distinction between children murdered with deliberation by terrorists, and children who were the tragic and collateral damage of an attempt to cut out the terror tumor.
God bless the innocent, and the children. And God save Israel.
Christine Flowers is an attorney. Her column appears Sunday and Thursday. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.