Failed to con­demn Ha­mas? You have no right to ou­trage at Is­rael’s re­sponse

COM­MENT

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - EY­LON AS­LAN-LEVY

WHEN IS­RAEL ex­pands its of­fen­sive against Ha­mas in the Gaza Strip, many people — watch­ing from a safe dis­tance — are go­ing to be very cross. Hu­man Rights Watch will be up in arms; Amnesty will be out­raged. The BBC and CNN will show har­row­ing pic­tures (real and fab­ri­cated) of Is­rael’s “dis­pro­por­tion­ate” ac­tion. My Face­book feed will be full of friends ex­press­ing hor­ror at Is­raeli airstrikes; #Gaza­Un­der­At­tack will be trend­ing on Twit­ter. All this, to the tune of an­other cho­rus of “re­straint” from for­eign diplo­matic choirs.

So to ev­ery­one who will soon be tut­ting and sigh­ing in con­dem­na­tion when Is­rael strikes back, I say this: speak now, or for­ever hold your peace.

I say this as some­one who wants peace, which I imag­ine you want too (right?). I say this as a friend, whose stomach churns when he sees pic­tures of in­jured chil­dren and whose heart breaks when he sees pic­tures of them dead. I don’t want an­other Cast Lead or Pil­lar of De­fence, so take this as friendly ad­vice, from one who cares des­per­ately about hu­man rights

On the night be­fore Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge was launched, be­tween 8pm and 9pm, Ha­mas fired one rocket a minute at Is­rael. Res­i­dents of the south have had 15 sec­onds to run for cover. Hos­pi­tals moved pre­ma­ture ba­bies into bomb shel­ters. Aero­planes now cir­cle the Mediter­ranean be­cause of con­ges­tion on the Ben-Gu­rion run­way, due to the mis­sile alert.

Is­rael launched its oper­a­tion 48 hours af­ter its 48-hour ul­ti­ma­tum to Ha­mas ex­pired. Don’t say you weren’t warned. If you fail to con­demn Pales­tinian ter­ror­ism, sav­ing your ou­trage for Is­rael’s re­sponse, you will have no moral right to com­plain.

When you say you care about in­no­cent civil­ians, no­body in Is­rael will be­lieve you. When you say you want peace, Is­raelis will laugh in your face. When you say that vi­o­lence is not the so­lu­tion, many will agree with you, but ev­ery­one will want to know where you were yes­ter­day, and why you only just re­mem­bered you care about cry­ing chil­dren it is when Pales­tinian chil­dren who are shed­ding the tears.

Here’s why this mat­ters: if you don’t protest now with all your might, you will have zero cred­i­bil­ity with the people whose be­hav­iour you wish to in­flu­ence.

You won’t con­vince Is­rael to hold its fire when it’s clear that you don’t care about its people. Why should they lis­ten to you? You will never be able to per­suade Is­raelis to trust your so­lu­tion if they per­ceive you as a pa­thetic rent-a-gob at best or an apol­o­gist for global ji­had at worst.

So take your “Stop the War”signs and march straight to Trafal­gar Square. Speak now, and speak loudly, be­cause right now, over the wail­ing of the sirens and shouts of “ev­ery­one to the bomb shel­ters!”, it is the echo of your own moral vac­u­ous­ness and in­sin­cer­ity that re­ver­ber­ates

most loudly. Ey­lon As­lan-Levy is Chair­man of the Na­tional Coun­cil of the Union of Jewish Stu­dents and a mem­ber of the Board of Deputies

PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

A young Pales­tinian vic­tim of the con­flict

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