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Finneran: The Rockets’ Red Glare

Friday, July 25, 2014

 

Pity Israel. Rockets rain down on her people. She reacts in defense of those people, fulfilling the most basic and essential function of all nations and governments everywhere and for all time, namely the defense of her citizens. The world reacts with sad predictability- blame the Jews. Better yet, in the eyes of too many nations, let’s kill the Jews. All of them. It’s a hatred as old as the soil.

Take note of the hand-wringing of even nominally supportive nations such as our own. We decry the cycle of violence and then take Israel to task for its asymmetric response to the hundreds of rockets dropping upon her cities and her fields. Someone should remind Israel’s critics of the “Powell Doctrine,” named after former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Colin Powell. The Secretary’s doctrine calls for amassing and applying overwhelming force as the quickest, surest, most humane way of conducting the inhumane action of war. It’s called “breaking things and killing people.”

Hamas fires hundreds of rockets. Blame Israel for provocation. Hamas tunnels its way forward under and onto Israel’s soil, bearing grenades and grisly intent. Blame Israel for provocation. Hamas aims to kill civilian women and children as readily, perhaps more readily, than it aims to kill Israeli soldiers. Blame Israel for provocation. By now you should have mastered the formula for the allocation of blame and responsibility- just blame Israel for everything. It’s the quickest surest route to a New York Times op-ed and to a tenured faculty position.

For a clear-eyed analysis of the current battle and its recent antecedents go read Charles Krauthammer’s most recent column. As usual, Charles K’s column is a treat. He is a national treasure. His most recent book, Things That Matter, makes for delightful and insightful reading. More on that in a future column…

Regarding our hygienic preference for “symmetrical warfare,” I have one question for its proponents: What do you think the United States would do if hundreds of rockets started hitting Ohio? I suspect that our nation’s response would be to wage war on the provocateur in a most vengeful and destructive way. Not too many Americans would respond to repetitive bloody noses with a request for permission from some non-existent international community to administer an exactly equal number of bloody noses. Rather, we would repetitively break the arms of the guys who started the fight so that they’d rue the day they started it and they’d never start another one again. Americans from all fifty states would bypass the U.N. and report directly to Quantico or Parris Island, all the while asking for an extra allotment of ammo. And if I’m wrong in my assessment of American grit and resolve, then I not only weep for Israel. I weep for America too.

It’s no sin to take sides in this fight. The Palestinian leadership from the phony Arafat to the inept Abbas has been glaringly corrupt and frightfully incompetent. That woeful combination of talents has condemned the Palestinian people to a horrid past, a horrid present, and a horrid future. The Arafat/Abbas response to this ugly reality has been to put the bad guy black-hat of history on the Jews. I suppose that every two-bit fraud needs a scapegoat, and Israel and its people are just too convenient a target. It’s called creating a diversion and it’s an age-old trick of frauds everywhere.

The problem for the Palestinian leadership is not only their corruption and incompetence. They have now encountered a nation that is no longer passive about its fate. Israel has chosen to act, energetically, in confronting the malignant hatred of its many enemies. I suspect that the meekness of nineteenth and twentieth century Russian and European Jews has been forever displaced, with good reason. Israel’s Jews have chosen action rather than meek acceptance of the world’s hatred. One might consult the history books to determine why. I’m rooting for Israel.

Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio.

 

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