I’m not used to quoting a Canadian government official in the course of citing an example of steadfast and principled foreign policy, but I came across this gem last month from John Baird, Canada’s foreign minister:
“The scourge of terrorism must be wholly rejected by all peace-loving people around the world. We must never allow moral relativism to act as cover for the indiscriminate attacks on Israel we have seen over the past eight days.
“We believe that Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself, from the continued campaign of terror being waged by Hamas.”
Good stuff, that. Especially when compared to the moral relativism coming from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in his bumbling attempt to impose a “cease-fire” during the recent Gaza war.
Never mind that it was opposed by some 86 percent of Israelis (whom one suspects might have grown vexed at having rockets fired at them on a regular basis) or that it went squarely against the first and most basic rule of international relations — the inherent right of a people to defend themselves. Kerry’s bit of diplomatic sophistry came across as especially condescending considering the Obama administration’s distaste for global or strategic leadership. In this instance, the United States needn’t have done anything aside from offer moral support and stay the hell out of the way. Instead, in an almost comical attempt to try and regain some stature on the world stage, Barack Obama and John Kerry made the worst possible move they could make. To put it into context, imagine if during the Battle of Britain FDR had sent Cordell Hull to London to try and work out a deal whereby Churchill would not shoot down any more German planes.
If the U.S. remains, in any sense, the world’s policeman, it is now of the Keystone Cops variety.
It needs to be noted, Kerry’s characteristic incompetence aside, that Congress did, in fact, authorize some $225 million for Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system and Kerry is, in fact, in something of a political bind. For as weak as the administration’s support for Israel is, it’s considerably more than a great deal of the liberal base would like.
Hatred for Israel is as much a part of the left wing’s genetic composition as is economic bewilderment and fondness for abortion. It points to a skewed notion of “fairness,” a romanticization of groups like Hamas, based on their perception as the underdog. In this view, Israel is wrong simply because it’s stronger than Hamas.
But does this give Hamas a free pass? Does the underdog, simply because he’s the underdog, possess an inherent right to provoke and harm those who are stronger? If the kid bullied on the playground happens to have 3 inches and a solid 20 pounds over his tormenter, is the bully any less a bully?
Then there’s the matter of moral equivalence. Aside from a warped and misallocated sense of fair play, many on the left fail to distinguish a moral deviance between the two parties — some even tilt the scales in favor of Hamas, claiming Israeli “oppression.”
This is an interesting claim, in as much as Gaza is under the control of Hamas, not Israel. Recall, if you will, the scene several years ago when the Israelis, as part of a grand scheme to ensure peace, pulled completely out of Gaza, dismantling settlements, turning the entirety of the territory over to the Palestinians and even setting up greenhouses for them. If that’s oppression, I venture it’s a type which must be envy of the world’s oppressed. Oh, and by the way, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) includes several Palestinian members, a right that, for instance, Cuba’s government denies to most Cubans.
The Israel bashers like to point out that Israel has curtailed shipment of critical supplies to Gaza. Cement, for example, is a necessary material for helping to rebuild infrastructure and get the local economy going. Submitting to the wisdom of that argument, Israel did, in fact, allow shipments of cement into the territory. Surely it was used to rebuild schools, hospitals and homes? Nope, although it did employ what might be Hamas’ equivalent to combat engineers, in the construction of elaborate networks of tunnels snaking into Israel for the purpose of exporting death to civilians.
Israel doesn’t need to apologize for its relative strength any more than it need apologize for its success in its recent Gaza operations. The little nation was born, lest we forget, out of the ashes of real oppression and genocide, a manifestation of the vow that such horrors would never again be inflicted upon them. Their response to yet another attack on their civilian population was proper and just. It’s about time the rest of the western world follow Mr. Baird’s lead in recognizing it as so.