Monday, 28 July 2014

Why I don't criticise Israel

From the inimitable Sam Harris.
Israel is losing the PR battle.  But there's a difference in intent here.  The intent of Hamas is to kill all Jews.  The intent of Israel is to stop the indiscriminate bombing of Israeli civilians.
Sam Harris asks: what would each side do if it could do what it wants?  Hamas would kill all Jews.  Israel would live in peace with peaceful neighbours.  There's a clear moral dichotomy here.
I recall a summary of Israel-Palestine:
"If Palestinian lay down their arms there will be peace; if Israel lays down its arms it will be annihilated".
But what of the West Bank?  Again, if Palestinians had taken on Gaza and focussed on economic development -- instead of bombing Israel -- the west bank issue would already have been sorted. Why should they give over more land, when the land they've already given is used as a base to kill its people?
Sam Harris:
And again, you have to ask yourself, what do these groups want? What would they accomplish if they could accomplish anything? What would the Israelis do if they could do what they want? They would live in peace with their neighbors, if they had neighbors who would live in peace with them. They would simply continue to build out their high tech sector and thrive.
What do groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and even Hamas want? They want to impose their religious views on the rest of humanity. They want stifle every freedom that decent, educated, secular people care about. This is not a trivial difference. And yet judging from the level of condemnation that Israel now receives, you would think the difference ran the other way.
This kind of confusion puts all of us in danger. This is the great story of our time. For the rest of our lives, and the lives of our children, we are going to be confronted by people who don’t want to live peacefully in a secular, pluralistic world, because they are desperate to get to Paradise, and they are willing to destroy the very possibility of human happiness along the way. The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.