The pious madness of the squad

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One cannot imagine why the Squad just voted to sentence so many Palestinians – men, women and children to death. If their action against supporting the Iron Dome had prevailed, the result would have done just that. It must be assumed that this was not their intention, which was quite simply noble: to oppose the Israeli occupation and support the Palestinian cause. Well done!

Yet their actions did the exact opposite.

Let me explain.

The Iron Dome has been remarkably effective in bringing down missiles to Israel launched from Gaza by Hamas or even more radical forces. And because it was effective, few missiles landed, and even fewer caused human or material damage.

Anyone who knows anything about the Middle East understands that if missiles from Gaza land in Israel and hit the civilian population, political pressure within Israel would force the Israeli government – like any government, even the most peaceful government – to respond by firing at targets inside Gaza. Because Hamas missiles are kept in civilian quarters and even in schools, hospitals and apartment buildings, the result would be the same since Israel left Gaza: innocent Palestinians, as well as some who were far away. to be innocent, killed as “collateral damage.” “

Imagine how the United States would react if missiles fired from Mexico fell on American citizens in Texas or California.

Anyone who has paid even minimal attention to conflict understands that the Iron Dome prevents war; it not only preserves Israeli lives, but also protects more Palestinian lives since even when Israel responds with restraint, Palestinian losses are disproportionate to the Israelis. We have seen this scenario unfold over and over again. Too bad for Gaza.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah proudly proclaims that it has missiles aimed at Israeli targets. They do not distinguish between civilians and the military because they consider all Israelis to be military enemies. If missiles were fired at Israel and hit civilians, Israel would be compelled by legitimate internal political pressure to respond. After all, the primary responsibility of a government is to protect the lives of its citizens. More Lebanese or Palestinians would be killed, and Lebanon, which is on the verge of disintegration right now, could be pushed over the cliff.

So with the noblest of intentions – and how could anyone challenge their sense of compassion, their commitment to human rights and to the oppressed Palestinians – their position, had it been adopted by their colleagues, would surely have resulted in greater loss of Palestinian lives, more deaths, devastation, maybe even another war.

We have seen that the radical right is capable of fomenting dissent and mischief, but unable to govern or even articulate the goals it wants the government to achieve as it meddles with conspiracy theories and the myth of the stolen election, which withstands empirical evidence to the contrary even when produced by its own forces.

The Squad presented themselves as ready for Prime Time: knowledgeable, intelligent, dedicated, and most importantly, serious in accomplishing their goal and implementing their agenda. Time and time again, they have shown themselves capable of attracting attention, but often working in a way that is counterproductive to their goals. This most recent vote against continued US support for the Iron Dome is another example.

If only the team had taken the time to learn something about the Middle East. But they didn’t, and that makes them dangerous not only to the Israelis but also to the Palestinians whose cause they apparently revere.

If only the team had taken the time to learn something about the Middle East. But they didn’t, and that makes them dangerous not only to the Israelis but also to the Palestinians whose cause they apparently revere.

Those of us who support – against our better judgment, I should add – the cause of peace and the end of the Israeli occupation understand that Israel will never compromise if it believes that its people civilian is in danger.

Save us from pious madness. A little knowledge would gain a lot more respect.


Michel berenbaum is Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute and Professor of Jewish Studies at American Jewish University.


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