The selective moral posturing of the Chattering Classes

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post, November 20 2012

Last week, as a consequence of humanity’s continual struggle against tyranny and despotism, approximately 42 Kurds were killed by the Turkish air force; 81 Iranians were executed (many more also suffered amputations); while hundreds of Syrian civilians are still being massacred daily (totalling around 40,000 in the last couple of years). If that were not enough, a bloody and brutal civil war in the DR Congo is currently emerging. (This is to say nothing of the continuous horrors the Balochis suffer in their struggle for independence from Pakistan, or the travails of the people of Kashmir, trapped in a ferocious stand-off between Pakistan and India). Yet, despite this, one strip of land barely the size of Wales, but similarly afflicted by conflict and war, seems to be the focus of much hysteria and moral posturing.

Following the firing of 563 rockets and 204 mortars into its territory since January, Israel responded last week by assassinating the Hamas leader, Ahmed Al-Jabari. Since then, violent exchanges have ensued, which have left over 130 Palestinians and five Israelis, dead.

Much fuss has been made about the ‘disproportionality’ of the fighting over the last week. But what do we understand by this term?

Does such ‘disproportionality’ not exist in part because Israel values the lives of its citizens; whether Arab, Jew, Christian or Muslim, and thus does its utmost to protect them?

Would the chattering classes prefer the hundreds of rockets fired into Israel to hit their designated targets, and consequently cause untold misery to a civilian population, just so that the two sides can be on a more equal footing? Perhaps they would rather the Israelis stop their use of the Iron Dome, sit back, and allow rockets to be fired indiscriminately at their citizens. Whatever their preference is, it would be absurd for them to argue that the state of Israel should not take the violent threats of their Arab neighbours seriously. Moreover, the disproportionality in the death toll is reflective of Hamas’ attitude towards human life. By stockpiling weaponry in schools, hospitals, mosques, and allowing their own rockets to fall within Gaza itself, they have shown a complete disregard for the Palestinian people, whom they claim to represent.

Interestingly, Brendan O’Neil pointed out in the Telegraph earlier this week, the very people who enthusiastically supported Obama’s re-election seem to have nothing to say of America’s targeting of militants in Pakistan, but a great deal of anger to voice concerning Israel’s actions in Gaza. This is despite the fact that a great many more civilians are blown up as part of Obama’s policy than Netanyahu’s.

Indeed, Israel makes a point of leafleting during the hours before an attack to warn civilians to leave an area, which is a policy Obama has not used in Pakistan. So where is the moral posturing on Obama? Why don’t the aforementioned chattering classes organize marches outside the US embassy every time the United States drops a couple of bombs on Pakistan?

And would the very same people happily relax, and watch rockets fired into English territory? Historical evidence suggests this is not the case, and as Dan Hodges pointed out last week – if the IRA were firing rockets into mainland Britain from Ireland on a daily basis, we would retaliate and bomb the Falls Road.

The conflicts mentioned at the start of this article, as well as Obama’s activities in Pakistan, are seemingly unworthy of protest and open moral outrage, partly because they are conflicts that do not contain ‘the Jews’. It would appear that, without the Jewish dimension, a conflict is simply not newsworthy. Thus, until this is taken out of the equation, and the chattering classes drop the Jewish question from their agenda, such moral posturing won’t disappear any time soon.


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