When Obtuse Becomes Evil
There are many people who wonder how so many Jews can support Trump, in light of his having said (and done) so many outrageous things. These people should contemplate the political events of the day.
Senator Bernie Sanders had the following to say about the clashes in Gaza:
“The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.”
Yes, it is the right of all people to peacefully protest for a better future without a violent response. Though one suspects that in Gaza and other Arab countries, people are often not able to exercise this right, and Sanders doesn't much care about that.
But it is not the right of all people to violently engage in warfare without a violent response.
Does Sanders really think that the members and supporters of Hamas were all peacefully standing and singing and waving flags, and the IDF was just randomly shooting at them? In an interview, he claimed that there were "tens and tens of thousands of people engaged in a non-violent protest." Can he really be that obtuse? Has he not bothered to look at the photos?
Or does he think that when people rush at the border fence while firing guns, throwing molotov cocktails and the like, then the IDF should just let that happen?
What would have happened if Hamas would have burned down the fence? Should Israel just let hundreds of thousands of hostile, murderous Arabs storm into the kibbutzim on the border? How many lives would have been lost in that situation - on both sides?
Sanders grants that "it’s a difficult situation" but adds that "my assessment is that Israel overreacted." On what possible basis can he make such an assessment? How much experience does he have in warfare? What's his preferred technique to stop combatants in such a situation?
It reminds me of Sanders' comments during the Gaza war, when he kept saying that Israel's actions were "disproportionate." Again, what was his basis for such a claim? Surely a proportionate response is one that halts the enemy action; it's not a matter of ensuring that there are roughly equal losses on both sides.
Now I don't think that Sanders is a truly evil person. I don't even think he's a Corbyn. I think that he probably really is a good-hearted person. Yet he is able to make a public statement which is indeed evil - condemning a country for doing what is necessary to protect the lives of its citizens.
It's Trump's appointees, such as Nikki Haley and John Bolton, who call out such things for what they are. So, no matter what Trump's other faults, it is only natural that many Jews are going to see this as being of great significance. There is a certain basic moral clarity about the hugely personally important issue of Israel's survival which Trump (and his team) possess, and which much of the world largely lacks.
I spent the first day of Pesach at the home of my sister in Neve Tsuf. On erev chag, I picked maror from prickly lettuce growing wild in the abandoned home of her next-door neighbors, the Salomon family. Tova Salomon has moved away since her husband and children were murdered by a knife-wielding terrorist. My nephew stopped the terrorist by shooting him; the shot happened to be non-fatal, but it easily could have been fatal. Would that have been disproportionate, and overreacting, since the terrorist was only armed with a knife, and not a gun? It seems that the only reason why people would not say that is that the terrorist had already killed people. But why should it be any different if he was merely rushing towards them with a knife?
The left seems to think of themselves as "the nice guys." But they're not. Chazal had it absolutely correct when they said that if someone comes to kill you, you kill them first. And when they said that those who are compassionate towards the cruel, end up being cruel to the compassionate. A good heart that is not coupled with intellectual and moral clarity results in evil words and evil actions.
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It's Pesach, and it's a mitzvah to be happy. So here is a photo of one of the three hundred visitors today at the Biblical Museum of Natural History. (We had to turn away many people, due to lack of space, but hopefully by next Pesach we will be in a much larger home.) Chag sameach!