Stephen Pinker famously argues that we are all becoming lambs now. But now the wolf is back…snarling; and what big white teeth he has. All the world startled awake last week. Yes, it was an old-fashioned eye for an eye…mass murder in the Holy Land. Hamas attacked Israel. Israel retaliated. Now, with the whole world on edge, the Israeli Defense Forces are preparing what threatens to be a massacre…ethnic cleansing…genocide. We don’t know exactly what is happening because the Israelis cut off food, water and electricity to Gaza. Nothing gets in. But no information comes out, either.
We are also watching ‘the West’ handle a major foreign policy problem. Pay attention, because this is how it will handle its major domestic challenge (debt) too.
Rules of Engagement
Over the weekend, the Israelis marched along the walls of Gaza, carrying aloft the Ark of the Covenant and lobbing explosives at apartment buildings, hospitals and shopping malls. How many were killed, we don’t know. They also cut off vital supplies to the Palestinians — including medicines for the very young and very old. When Russia targeted Ukrainian infrastructure, Ursula von den Leyen, EU jefe, described it as a ‘war crime.’ But this time it must be different! The Israelis ‘have a right to defend themselves,’ she says.
Sooner or later, Israeli ground forces will attack. It won’t be easy going. House to house; they will face traps, explosives and small arms fire. Hamas must have known how the Israelites would respond. They must have planned for it.
The Israelis too. With all of their sophisticated monitoring…and so many Israeli agents infiltrated within Hamas itself…it is almost unbelievable that they didn’t see this coming. Perhaps they did.
In the Biblical account of the attack on Jericho, with God’s blessing the Israelites wiped out men, women, children, donkeys, oxen and sheep.
The only exception was a prostitute who had betrayed her neighbours by helping Jewish spies.
In January, 1943, the Jewish Ghetto of Warsaw was invaded by German and Ukrainian troops. But the Jews had been preparing a defence — they had a few guns and Molotov cocktails. The Nazis were beaten back. It took them until April to finally pacify the city…and cart the survivors off to Treblinka concentration camp.
‘Israel upholds the rules of war,’ says Joe Biden.
Ultimately, the outcome doesn’t depend on right or wrong…or on the rule of law…or sanctimonious declarations of support. People want to argue about who’s good and who’s bad. But what counts is firepower…and staying power. As in the Warsaw ghetto, the besieged city of Gaza has no chance of victory.
‘Get out now,’ says Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Defense Minister, advising the people of Gaza, who have nowhere to go. ‘We will act everywhere and with full force.’
Many students — innocent of the ways of the world, but informed by the leftish press — showered their sympathy onto the Palestinians. They decried the ‘collective guilt’ put upon a whole nation of people and the death sentences handed down to thousands of women and children, who had nothing to do with terrorism or the resistance movement.
Major governments in ‘the West’ generally, take the Israeli side. After all, that’s where the power and money are. Sen. Josh Hawley:
‘As far as I’m concerned, Israel can bounce the rubble in Gaza. Nothing should be off the table…we will protect our interests.’
What interests? Which way do they cut? Pro-Israel? Pro-Palestine? The satirical journal, The Onion, decided to support the Jews, ‘because we’re less likely to get into trouble that way.’
Taking his cue was one member of Congress. The Hill:
‘Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) arrived Friday on Capitol Hill wearing his military uniform from his service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in a display of unity with the country following the Palestinian militant group Hamas’s surprise attack last weekend.
‘“As the only member to serve with both the United States Army and the Israel Defense Forces, I will always stand with Israel,” Mast wrote in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, alongside several photos of him wearing the uniform Friday.’
No one seems to have asked Mr Mast where the bulk of his divided loyalties lay — with the US or with Israel. So far, no member has dared to wear a Russian army uniform…or an Iraqi military uniform in the halls of Congress.
It scarcely matters. Outside of the killing zone, it is all theatre.
Lambs to Slaughter
But for our purposes, we are focused neither on the wolves nor the lambs, but on the shepherds. In a civilised world…leaders of countries such as the US, France and Germany would be trying to protect the sheep. They would urge restraint. Calm. Negotiation. Deliberation. Most importantly, they would at least make it clear that they could not in good conscience provide aid — guns and ammunition — to be used to slaughter innocent civilians.
This would be deeply hypocritical on their part. But hypocrisy is the proper role of the elites — to preach virtue in public, while enjoying whatever vices they choose at home. Almost all nations at one time or another slip into Old Testament kind of warfare, where they authorise, promote, or overlook the ‘collateral damage’ they cause. But while major nations may not be able to avoid it in themselves, they have the power to curtail it in others.
What is so alarmingly on display in the Levant is the abject failure of The West’s leaders. Even at hypocrisy, they are a flop. Instead of calming people down, they incite them to even more outrageous acts of violence.
And when the next financial crisis comes, it will be, grosso modo, these same corrupt and incompetent leaders who react. Will they urge monetary restraint and economic self-discipline? Not likely.
For The Daily Reckoning Australia