Our president, after all, is a consummate “peacenik” and a timeless icon of political correctness. He is wined and dined and feted by the trendiest global Who’s Who and jet-setter celebs. He is considered the face of Israel which those usually not too well-disposed toward the Jewish state (to say the least) are most able to tolerate.
It’s telling when even Peres waxes indignant. There must be more than run-of-the-mill provocation to elicit uncommon anger from one otherwise prone to ingratiation rather than confrontation.
Even our indefatigable Nobel Peace Laureate couldn’t keep pretending, as is his wont, that all is peaches and cream and good feeling after the nabobs of international enlightenment reacted with remarkable aplomb to the Gazan anti-tank missile fired at a yellow school bus well within Israel’s Green Line – well inside territory which prevalent opinion generously claims to regard as a zone in which Israeli children deserve safety.
To fail to rail against an obvious atrocity is in effect to pronounce Israeli children as legitimate targets. There’s no other way to interpret this. Hamas and Islamic Jihad read the signals unambiguously. This applies not only to the school bus outrage but equally to the Fogel family members slaughtered in their beds and to the many thousands of Israelis terrorized capriciously, out-of-the-blue, throughout this country’s South.
Murdered, maimed or traumatized Israeli tots at most merit brief obligatory lip-service overseas, followed by quid-pro-quo denunciation of Israeli self-defense.
It’s patently uncool to as much as mention who the Israeli victims are. The Fogels were faceless “settlers” and that very epithet served to dehumanize them. The school bus passengers were tendentiously labeled as nondescript “Israelis” and the nature of the vehicle in which they were traveling remained largely unspecified abroad.
Moreover Peres’s preeminent VIP interlocutors studiously managed not to rise to his challenge and acknowledge the atrocities for what they were.
Take, for instance, Peres’s conversation with Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe, here on a whirlwind tour last week. Peres justly argued that neutrality isn’t an option when children are indiscriminately attacked. Felipe courteously mouthed meaningless refrains about us knowing that his country is always at the ready to promote mediation and coexistence among all warring Mideasterners.
That’s the gist of it. Details are immaterial because Felipe’s words were deliberately empty. The prince, representing one of Europe’s most endemically Judeophobic societies, found it expedient not to resist the zeitgeist, an end which apparently justifies all hypocrisies.
To be fair, this isn’t a uniquely Spanish quirk but one which encompasses the collective conventional wisdom of perfidious Europe. Try as we may, we can find no righteous exception. In Europe as a whole silence over an injustice to Jews somehow constitutes the respectable hallmark of consecrated impartiality.
Why should we expect targeting a school bus or slitting a three-month-old infant’s throat to shake refined consciences? After all, at the outset of this school year French teacher Catherine Pederzoli was suspended for “overzealously” teaching the Holocaust with “insufficient neutrality.”
One wonders how the topic of the willful execution of six million Jews for the crime of being born can be handled with appropriate disinterested detachment.
Did Pederzoli omit stressing the positive aspects of genocide? Should she have discussed the transgressions of the million and a half Jewish children tortured to death? Should she have taken note of Muslim sensitivities and emphasized that Jews are forever villainous?
Pederzoli was eventually reinstated but the anti-Jewish ambiance of Europe hasn’t abated. If Europe’s burgeoning Muslim multitudes aver that the Holocaust never was, or is overblown, doesn’t evenhandedness dictate that their prejudice be given a hearing equal to the facts?
Given such zeitgeist, can we really expect that photos of the bloodied little bodies of slain Jewish children would at all be shown, much less horrify anyone in rarified Europe? This too isn’t a localized aberration, certainly not exclusively European. The pride of Korea, Ban Ki-Moon – the latest humbug at the UN’s helm – would fit snugly into Madrid’s or Paris’s duplicity.
Peres tried to impress on him as well the moral message that there’s no neutrality in the face of evil. That attempt too flopped – a mere few days before Peres’s chinwag with Felipe.
Peres bent Ban’s reluctant ear about the Fogels, the school bus and blanket rocket barrages. “I cannot describe to you the mood in my country,” he exclaimed. “We ask, ‘why?’ The Israeli nation also needs answers, and we won’t hesitate to defend ourselves.”
Peres was forced to reiterate what should have been self-evident. He implored the UN secretary-general not to maintain disingenuous neutrality. All he got was Ban’s wan disapproval of Hamas’s shelling, followed by a torrent of condemnation of the IDF strikes, which in Ban’s words, “lead to unwarranted Palestinian deaths.”
Ban’s prescription was that “both sides should deescalate hostilities and solve the situation by peaceful means.” No kidding!
It was as if the most-honorable Ban somehow failed to hear Israel’s premier peace-peddler fulminate about how Israel exited Gaza unilaterally and fully, “but still they started shooting at us, backed by calls to destroy the state of Israel… The UN cannot remain neutral in such circumstances.”
Yet Ban left no room for doubt. He won’t desist from equating genocidal anti-Israel aggression with Israeli self-defense.
His is a policy fraught with as much malice aforethought as the “Zionism is racism” UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 of November 10, 1975. That ignominy had since been rescinded but the fact remains that no other national liberation movement was likewise maligned. Israel is weighed on different scales.
Surely Ban, of all opinionated people, knows that he inherently delegitimizes Israeli self-defense, because any Israeli response is automatically castigated as “disproportionate.”
No nation ever emerged victorious from any conflict by exercising pedantic proportionality because defeating an enemy results from some degree of disproportionality.
The request for rigorous proportionality from Israel alone is tantamount to disallowing an Israeli victory. Plain and simple, Israel is told it’s not permitted to win.
The demand for proportionality is a preposterous eye-for-an-eye recommendation.
Does Ban expect Israel to encourage its citizens to fire rockets at Gaza from apartment house rooftops? Should Israel take special care to hit the back of one Gazan school bus with one anti-tank missile, inflicting fatal wounds on one single boy?
That isn’t what’s seriously demanded of Israel. What is demanded is that Israel not respond, that it further weaken itself through risky territorial sacrifices, that it render itself increasingly more vulnerable.
Perhaps the only hopeful note in the bleakness of world moral bankruptcy was the following quote from no other but the Prophet of Oslo. And so quipped Peres after his non-too-pleasant banter with Ban: “Israel cannot leave places in the West Bank without making sure the Gazan story won’t be repeated there.”
A blessed epiphany? Better late than never.