Monday, February 9, 2009

The "disproportionate" debacle

The Hasbara world is in disarray over Israel's increasingly explicit admission that its response to the annoying, but relatively harmless, Palestinian rockets is disproportionate. First it was the Israeli ambassador to the UN who, during the Second Lebanon War, stated, to the dismay of the Hasbaristas: "And to those countries who claim we are using disproportionate force, I have only this to say: you're damn right we are!" At that time it was dismissed as a hot-blooded outburst during a harangue. But then came military analysts and generals who confirmed that, in fact, there existed an adopted policy of disproportionality. Finally, it was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who declared that each Palestinian rocket would be met with disproportionate force.

Zionists around the world tend to be more Catholic than the Israeli pope, and it's amusing to watch their embarrassment when their own masters deny what they, the Hasbara peddlers, had been claiming all along in Israel's defense. This tends to confirm a theory I have long held, namely that Israelis are actually fed up with their Western lapdogs, are deeply annoyed by their efforts to angelize the country, and would actually enjoy it if the lapdogs could bring themselves to criticize even a single aspect of the State of Israel for a change. But it ain't gonna happen.

Be it as it may, the Hasbara troupe is faced with many Israeli people candidly admitting to disporportionality. There have been two lines of response to this.

The primary reaction has been to claim that the Israelis are talking nonsense. Olmert simply has no clue what disproportionate means. Neither he nor his generals are aware of the true meaning of this word, but people whose closest approximation to a military conflict has been typing on a keyboard with spelling mistakes claim they do understand the term, and according to their grasp thereof Israel is not disproportionate. However, this is not very convincing, because generals, in general (bad pun intended), tend to know a lot more about military terminology than pundits or bloggers.

A slightly more elaborate reaction has been to claim that the nature of conflicts has changed, and that the Geneva conventions did not foresee the rise of terrorism. Therefore, the very concept of disproportionality is null and void, because overwhelming force may be actually needed to fend off the terrorist scourge. To some extent this is a variation of the first reaction. The flat-screen generals on the blogs want us to believe the authors of the Geneva conventions did not know that a guy called Guy (terrible pun again intended) Fawkes once tried to blow up the British Parliament, and therefore were not aware of a phenomenon called terrorism and did not set forth special provisions to combat it.

But that is not so. The message of the Geneva convention was, precisely, that an army must respond in a civilized way even to uncivilized enemies. To make an everyday analogy, if you spit on my sister this doesn't mean I'm entitled to kill your aunt. Examples of countries that did not react disproportionately to persistent terror abound, but a case in point is the British reaction to Jewish terror in the 1940s, which didn't include massively shooting Haganah people or blowing up their headquarters.

Those of us who have opposed any excuse for Palestinian terrorism, and who refuse to accept the theory that in asymmetrical warfare certain actions may be allowed that would be forbidden in a war between equals, are dismayed to see Zionists propounding a very similar theory: that there exist "special situations" which require rules to be waived.

In sum, yes, when the Israelis say "disproportionate" they mean disproportionate, and no, there are no exceptions to the rule requiring a proportional retribution to war actions. The Zionist attempt to claim otherwise represents a further dive into intellectual dishonesty by a Hasbara brigade with already very solid bad faith credentials.


Ernie Halfdram said...

In so called ‘just war theory’, the concept of proportionality is determined not by the relative numbers of casualties, but in relation to the military objective. If you take the hasbarists’ word for it, ‘Operation cast lead’ intended to protect thousands of innocent Israeli civilians from the ‘incessant’ rain of lethal Qassam rockets they had endured for eight years. Moreover, in attacking Hamas, Israel was doing the entire world a service, both by fighting in the front line of the ‘war on terror’ and by disarming an organisation cast as an Iranian proxy. So a few hundred Arabs is a small price to pay.

When you write, ‘The Hasbara world is in disarray over Israel's increasingly explicit admission that its response to the annoying, but relatively harmless, Palestinian rockets is disproportionate’, it’s not entirely clear whether it’s you or the Hasbara world who claim there was a ‘response to…rockets’. Certainly, most of the liberal discourse on the subject excoriates Israel’s ‘disproportionate response’ to the provocation of the rockets. In my view, it’s crucial to dismantle this hasbara. The massacre of Gaza was not a ‘disproportionate response’ to Qassam fire. The Qassam fire was a response to Israel’s violations of the tahadiyyah, first by refusing to open the crossings, as agreed, and second, by its attack of 4 November.

As for Israel’s lapdogs,

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

I didn't actually mean that Hamas began the hostilities; in a previous post I had clarified that Israel broke the truce when it killed 6 Palestinians on Nov. 8. The Israeli invasion was not the first incident in a chain, but a response to the response to a truce breach that was, without a trace of a doubt, Israel's fault.

Medical Blog said...

The massacre of Gaza was not a ‘disproportionate response’ to Qassam fire.