I’m not under the impression that anything I write or don’t write will make one iota of difference to anything happening in the Middle East, and none of us really have enough information about what's happening on the ground to be making definitive judgments.
I am getting increasingly frustrated at some of the garbage I’ve been reading of late on the Liblogs aggregate though. I’m staunchly in favour of people’s right to free speech, even if what they say makes them look stupid, and luckily that same right to free speech also allows me to speak-up and say so when people are saying stuff that is pretty dammed stupid. And there’s been a lot of that the last few days.
Stupid like implying that, because the Liberal Party thinks Israel has the right to defend itself from constant rocket and terror attacks, that the Liberal Party is directly responsible for the death of 40 people at a school in Gaza. That’s absolutely ridiculous. I’m not sure what this blogger is trying to accomplish or contribute here, and I echo Red Tory’s sentiments. If you really think “Liberals” are “kill”ing people, maybe you’re supporting the wrong party. Actually, strike the maybe. You are.
So many on both sides of this issue see it as either/or, which is why I’m generally loathe to engage in it. And they automatically dismiss anything that doesn’t fit their bias. Take this attack on the school yesterday that killed 40. According to reports Hamas militants were using the school as a base/shield for attacks. It seems to be a common Hamas tactic. But I read many blog commentaries that either fail to mention the reports Hamas was using the school as a shield while they condemned the Israeli attack, or dismissed it outright as lies and propaganda. Why, because a terrorist organization like Hamas would never do such a terrible thing? Please, that’s stupid. You must know better than that. They’re terrorists!
This blogger even went as far as to claim Israel is deliberately assassinating innocent civilians, a completely asinine contention that, even if we accepted it, makes absolutely no sense. Why would they do that, exactly? For kicks? Because they’re evil? What military purpose would it serve?
Let me be clear. I think the death of those 40 people is tragic. I think Israel should do everything it can to avoid civilian casualties, and I think Hamas should as well, and that includes stopping using civilians as human shields. But if Israeli forces are taking fire from Hamas terrorists shielding themselves with civilians, what exactly are they supposed to do? There’s no easy answers there. And to just blame one side in that tragic situation, and for that side to NOT be the people using civilians as human shields, is just dammed ridiculous.
As I’ve said before, I’m loathe to wade into the Middle East mess. But I’m also loathe to be associated with some of the anti-Israel bigotry that has been appearing on the Liblogs aggregate. And while people are free to expose their stupidity, I’m going to speak up to make clear I don’t support it.
Oh, and not for nothing, but maybe Sid Ryan should spend more time trying to get York TAs back to work and less time making an ass of himself. This kind of bullshit is why labour unions, which have and do play important roles in our economy, get a bad name.
Finally, while I’m talking about things that piss me off, let’s talk about Ezra Levant. Ezra is playing a patently transparent game that is extremely repugnant and obvious.
First, he’s cherry-picking examples of objectionable comments by some Liberal bloggers to impugn all Liberal bloggers, and by association the Liberal Party as a whole. That’s idiotic. A diversity of opinion has been expressed on the aggregate, from pro and anti either side to a more middle of the road view. And if we’re going to tar all members of an aggregate, and the political party they support, with the views of a few of its members, then as members of the Blogging Tories, Ezra, Stephen Taylor and co. have some explaining to do, as does Stephen Harper, because they have some serious moonbats in their midst.
Secondly though, what Ezra is trying to do here is use the Gaza crisis as an opportunity to score political points for the Conservative Party, in whose war room he worked last election, by convincing Jewish voters the Liberal Party is anti-Israel because of the comments of a few rogue bloggers. The fact Ezra is trying to use this war, and these deaths, to score political points is utterly repugnant and shameful.
Finally, once again, here is my view on Gaza and the larger Middle East quagmire. And while there are hardliners on either side, I think the majority are, like me, somewhere in between, and those that seek to polarize things aren’t helping anything at all.
I have no easy answers on the Middle East. Obviously, no one does. I believe in a few things. I believe in a free, safe and independent Jewish state of Israel, and I believe that country has a right to defend itself. I also believe in a free, safe and independent Palestinian state that also recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and the rights of both its peoples to live in peace.
On the current Gaza conflict, I believe Israel has the right to defend itself, and that includes from the ongoing and regular rocket attacks, and it has a right to take actions to try to stop those attacks if local authorities are unable or unwilling to do so.
That said, it’s unclear to me how the current military campaign, which now includes a ground attack, will accomplish either Israel’s short-term or long-term objectives. Indeed, it may well only serve to breed new hatred against Israel amongst the Palestinian people, creating yet another cycle of violence and attacks. Their options, however, are limited. And stuck in the middle are the ordinary people that just want to live their lives.
I'll add that this war in Gaza needs to come to an end now. Caught in the middle of Hamas and Israel are the innocent civilians, and no matter who you blame, they're paying too high a price. I support an immediate cease fire, but a cease fire that returns to the status quo, a barricaded people in Gaza and rockets raining on Israel, is unacceptable. I don't think Israel can disarm Hamas by military means. But it's incumbent on the international community to give them another option. End the war, get aid to the civilians, disarm Hamas. How? That's for people smarter than I.
With that, I am off to have lunch and await the vitriolic slings and arrows from all sides, some of which will even make it out of moderation. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers