The charge of Israeli cynicism is false

Israel was sick and tired of having thousands of missiles launched at it by Hamas, by its suicide bombers attacking them in restaurants and schools, from being picked off in twos and threes by these terrorist group members as they shot at Jews hither and thither.

By Walter E. Block   April  18/24

The charge of extreme Israeli cynicism is forcefully made by world-class economist and historian Tom DiLorenzo, president of the Mises Institute, a think tank devoted to Austrian economics and libertarianism:

“Today we are supposed to believe that Israel’s vaunted Mossad, assisted by the CIA and the massive American ‘intelligence community,’ the Pentagon, and the entire might of the US military-industrial complex, was totally surprised by Palestinians on motor bikes and on foot who easily and conveniently broke through the ‘impregnable’ barriers into Israel. According to news reports, it was as easy as with the January 6, 2021 protesters who, after being invited in by the police, entered the US Capitol building. The motor bike riding Palestinians did some barbaric and reprehensible things, randomly shooting and killing hundreds of innocent Israeli citizens (although there is now evidence that many of the Israeli victims were victims of “friendly fire” by their own military). As the entire world now knows, the government of Israel, like Lincoln, used this event as a reason to wage total war on all Palestinians in Gaza, women and children included.”

Wow, those Israelis are cynics are they not? This scenario sounds superficially plausible, at least in the fever swamps of those who hate Jews with an unrelieved purple passion. However, a moment’s reflection will reveal numerous logical holes in any such contention.

If the Israeli high command was so cynical to arrange for this “own goal” against itself why did they not carry through in the same vein in the aftermath? If Israeli citizens could be used as pawns to be sacrificed in this chess type grandmaster maneuver, what explains the usual IDF pattern of trying to save as many Gazan non-combatants as they could? If they can in effect murder their own folk on October 7, why be so niggardly with Palestinian deaths? Why not kick some serious butt, up to, and maybe even, dropping a very clean atom bomb on this territory? If the IDF actually was responsible for the murder of some 1200 of its citizens, and the capture of 250 or so hostages on the part of Hamas, there would simply be nothing off the table, absolutely nothing. Does this sound like Israel to any rational person? Of course not.

Moreover, why did Israel need the agonizing episode of October 7, 2023 in order to wage war against Hamas? This country has been at war with its Arab neighbors on numerous occasions since 1948, and never once, before, had they shot themselves in the foot; indeed, much higher up than that appendage, in order to engage in such warfare. No, there was simply no need on the part of the Israelis to contrive with Hamas for their October 7 attack, a day that will live in infamy forever. They could have simply hauled off at any time of their devising, and taught Hamas a lesson it would never forget.

It is not Israel that uses its people as shields in any such manner. It is not Israel that places rocket launchers in schools, hospitals, children’s playgrounds. Is it not Israel that cynically encourages the murder of its own citizens. Rather, it is Hamas that is accurately described in this manner. If Hamas were charged with such cynical behavior, it would be plausible. What DiLorenzo has done is akin to accusing Israel of engaging in a Holocaust. This is a ploy used by the enemies of Israel: accuse it of the very monstrous and evil behavior employed by its enemies against Jews.

DiLorenzo then goes on to liken the present Israeli war against Hamas to General Sherman’s march through Georgia during the War Between the States during the 1860s. But there are such gigantic disanalogies between the two cases that one wonders how any rational person could make this equation, let alone a world-class scholar of the accomplishments of this author.

The obvious disparity is that the IDF is using every technique humanly possible to limit civilian deaths (leaflets, warnings) while the Union Army was purposefully targeting civilians. An important disanalogy was that Hamas infamously utilizes its own people as shields, while the South never did anything approaching or resembling that type of war crime.

Then there is the point that the war in the US was fought over secession, not slavery. As DiLorenzo himself eloquently points out, “… in his first inaugural address Lincoln pledged his support for the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution that would have prohibited the government from ever interfering with slavery.” My learned friend also avers: “… the 1861 War Aims Resolution of the US Congress (the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution) that declared to the world that the invasion of the Southern states had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery.” If any icing were needed on this particular cake, it would be that Lincoln famously stated: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save thise (sic) Union…”

The point here is that secession can be justified under the libertarian principle of free association; no one should be compelled to associate with anyone else against his will. Thus, the North was in the wrong to prevent secession. The analogy between this historical episode and what is now occurring in Gaza is akin to that between chalk and cheese; there is no such analogy, DiLorenzo to the contrary notwithstanding. One wonders what DiLorenzo was thinking about in likening the two.

Nor does this end the disanalogies between the two episodes. The North was on the wrong side of the war, since it was not fought to end slavery; rather, it was to prevent Southern secession. But the Israelis are now fighting on the right side of history, since they are engaged in a defensive war. Whether or not their pants were caught down around their ankles on October 7, 2023, the undeniable fact is that Hamas initiated this war. Israel did not attack Gaza on this occasion. Rather, the offense and the defense were entirely the other way around.

DiLorenzo spoke truth when he stated: “By the mid-nineteenth century international law had evolved to the point where everyone understood that intentionally targeting civilians was a war crime that deserved the severest of punishments, and such punishments did occur.” Well, who is it that is guilty of “intentionally targeting civilians?” Yes, as he avers, the North was indeed guilty of this “war crime.” How about Hamas on October 7? You would need a particular and very sharp sense of moral blindness to deny this of that terrorist organization. They even filmed their atrocities, and bragged about them.

What about the IDF at present? Are they to be charged with “intentionally targeting civilians?” No, no, a thousand times no, any fair-minded person will allow (DiLorenzo’s fair-mindedness seems to have deserted him). Yes, there is collateral damage, and Gazans have suffered greatly. But there was not a smidgen of “intentionally targeting civilians” involved. Not a gram. Not an ounce. Not an atom’s worth. Rather, the IDF has to the degree humanly possible, attempted to preserve civilian lives. What DiLorenzo seems to miss, however, is that it is exceedingly difficult to do so when Gazans are being used as shields by Hamas. DiLorenzo’s implicit advice to Israel is to allow Hamas to remain in existence, so as to be able to engage in its atrocities upon future occasions, since any attempt to pulverize them would pretty much necessarily result in “UNintentionally targeting civilians.”

That of course would mean suicide for Israel. Is that DiLorenzo’s goal? One can only wonder.

What is a more plausible explanation for the failure of the IDF to ward off the Hamas attack of October 7, 2023? It is simply that no one is perfect. Yes, the Israeli military, man for man, is rated amongst the very best in the entire world. But even they are composed of fallible human beings. When the Hamas war is over, hopefully, sooner rather than later, and these terrorists are completely vanquished, there will come a time when Israel will be doing a bit of housecleaning concerning this event (and by the way, while they are at it, they should develop a strong munitions industry, so they are no longer dependent upon “allies” such as the US). Then, presumably, the people responsible for this massive oversight failure will be demoted or fired from their positions. But Israel is not the only sophisticated military ever caught unawares. The US lost some 3000 innocent people on 9/11 thanks to Al Qaida. Another 1900 people lost their lives as a result of Katrina, and the failure of the Army Corp of Engineers to maintain their Mississippi levies. More recently, Russia, no slouch in terms of police sophistication, suffered the loss of at least 137 people who were murdered in a Moscow concert hall. It took an entire hour for this mayhem to occur, and the guilty parties then drove away from the scene of this horrendous crime.

There is thus no need to concoct out of the whole cloth the most cynical explanation possible for the failure of Israel to prevent the atrocities of October 7. Human failure is much more plausible than this particular conspiracy theory.

June 16, 2024 | 2 Comments »

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  1. This is an excellent article describing the Jew Derangement Syndrom quite well.
    What I find encouraging is that the so-called Palestinians must be punished for their crimes, akin to the punishment eked out on the Germans towards the end of WW2.
    It has been reported that all of these so-called Palestinians supported and continue to support the efforts of their brethern to the point of demanding genocide on all Israelis and Jews wherever they can be found.

  2. As if the Arabs have never set about as total a war as they are capable of not only on Israel but the entire Christian West throughout history!
    Between the “fall of Rome” and the rise of maritime Europe ie Spain and Britain, the imperialistas were and still are the Arabs and Moslems generally. The Arabs wer in Spain (and all N.Africa) by invasion NOT by invitation. The Turks ravaged the Balkans and slave raided the Ukraine – the frontier land – by force NOT by invitation; and the same goes for the Mogul imposition of minority imperialist rule on India till those wicked Britsh knocked them off. The funniest thing about the British Raj is that when the British left the Raj had created a Hindu unified India and the Moslems walked out of a majority Hindu united Indian sub continent because Moslems are suppremacists by their own precedents AND in 1947 with the photos of the Holocaust on the front pages Jinnah was worried that eventually the Hindu majority would do something similar to the Moslems of the Indian sub continent. The Partition Riots justified the fear and worry – in both directions.