Hitting the wrong target

The false-passport row denies Israel’s right to act against those trying to destroy it.

FOR average Israelis, members of the silent majority (as distinct from the country’s chattering cliquey elite), the false-passports brouhaha abroad is just another sideshow in the international community’s theatre of the absurd.

In this global burlesque, everything can be turned upside down. The lie is granted equal standing with truth, and flagrant canards frequently gain the ascendancy and are paraded as fact. Values are devalued. Good and evil are interchangeable. Anything goes.

In this environment of intellectual anarchy, Israel’s existential struggle stands no chance of being granted anything vaguely resembling a fair hearing.

The case of terror kingpin Mahmoud al-Mabhouh is instructive. After his body was discovered in a Dubai hotel, his own son, Abdel-Rauf, bragged on TV that the late lamented ”fought the Jews, hit the Jews, kidnapped and killed Israelis. He outfitted and dispatched suicide-bombers.” That evidently made him an object for admiration. Killing Jews is a noble objective, one to take pride in, to revere.

Mabhouh co-founded the Hamas military wing and Hamas declared war on Israel. He was a self-confessed murderer.

Last year he boasted on

al-Jazeera about his personal culpability in the separate 1989 kidnap-murders of Israeli soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon.

He crowed about smuggling into Gaza thousands of Iranian-made missiles for the sole purpose of making the lives of Israeli civilians hellish in the country’s heartland, including Tel Aviv.

So when Israelis point to Mabhouh’s gory record, it isn’t just their biased say-so. It’s hardly an unsubstantiated assertion, an excuse to justify assassination.

Accustomed and resigned as Israelis are to the world’s double standards, they nevertheless watch with renewed amazement as Mabhouh’s suspected killers are placed on Interpol’s wanted list, where Mabhouh himself never appeared – soaked with blood as his hands were. Has anyone, incidentally, bothered inquiring which passport Mabhouh was travelling under and why he was allowed to enter Dubai on a gun-running mission?

The hullabaloo about secret agents using fake passports is just a very telling footnote to the larger travesty. To begin with, none of the supposedly offended countries possesses credible proof of Israeli involvement, though it’s easy to point fingers at Israel because from its perspective Mabhouh was an implacable foe. But so he was, too, to certain Palestinian factions and perhaps to some Iranian contacts (two alleged assassins escaped by boat to Iran, after all).

But let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that it was Israel’s Mossad that got its man. Even so, isn’t the righteous hand-wringing about passport-forging a tad excessive and more than a little hypocritical? Is there honestly a single country whose intelligence operatives don’t resort to using less-than-genuine documents?

Or is it that given sets of rules apply for all nations, but others are imposed on beleaguered, existentially threatened Israel? Give us all a break, please.

The British, French, Irish, Germans and Australians all know in their heart-of-hearts that there is no real cause to fear that the tradecraft employed in this assassination (assuming the cloak-and-dagger tales are true) jeopardises any one of their nationals. The terror syndicates, which increasingly menace Westerners anywhere, need no pretexts. They have no trouble fabricating provocations.

The only reason for Israel’s fellow democracies to harp on the purported insult to their hallowed papers is to curry favour with the terror-sponsors and bask in the warm ambience of the Israel-bashing fraternity. This presumably accords them some temporary anti-aggression insurance.

The illusion may be sweet, but weren’t Australians targeted in the Bali atrocity without an Israeli link? If anything, we are in the same boat rather than on opposing sides. It behoves Western democracies not to lose sight of the fact there are instances in which ends do justify means.

Adolf Eichmann was apprehended in Argentina and taken to Israel by means that weren’t quite orthodox. Yet wasn’t it justice? Had Osama bin Laden been bumped off in Dubai, would the outcry have been as vehement?

Overlooking the crime and focusing on technical, legalistic niceties attests to a skewed moral compass, indeed, to outright moral impoverishment. It signals to Israelis that their blood is cheaper than passport-paper. It signals acceptance by the West of lopsided Arab logic whereby Arabs have the right to inflict incalculable harm on Jews, and to do so in the most sadistically inventive ways, while the Jews’ attempts to deflect such blows are evil and deserving of punishment.

The counterfeit passport kerfuffle underscores the fact that the international community appears to deny Israel any possible measure in aid of its self-preservation. Campaigns like Defensive Shield, the Lebanon war or Cast Lead are decried for ”lack of proportionality”.

However, there is censure even for pinpointed targeting such as perhaps the Mabhouh caper was.

Another case in point is the recent Nablus killing (in an exchange of fire during an attempted arrest) of the three ambushers who had earlier slain Israeli civilian Meir Avshalom Chai in a drive-by shooting. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a moderate by world conventional wisdom, described them as ”ruthlessly executed martyrs”. Even the trials and convictions of murderers such as Marwan Barghouti are portrayed overseas as illegitimate. There plainly is just nothing Israel may do to secure itself. Even the most legalistically scrupulous remedies are repudiated.

Since it’s less than likely that the International Criminal Court or the UN Human Rights Council would have indicted Mabhouh for violating Israelis’ basic human right to life, what then is left to Israelis? Are they to submit to the precept Jews must die and have no right to resist? That this is their lot? That is too much to expect of anyone, even Jews.

1 thought on “Hitting the wrong target

  1. When Jewish nazi hunters were capturing nazis all over the world countries such as Argentina and Austria complained.

    But this did not stop our people from going after them.

    The current fuss over the passports will subside, and the ignorant and morally bankrupt will move on to something else.

    Best thing to do is ignore them.

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