Smoke billows from Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, May 11, 2021. (Photo/JTA-Anas Baba-AFP via Getty Images)
Smoke billows from Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, May 11, 2021. (Photo/JTA-Anas Baba-AFP via Getty Images)

An American in Israel with the facts the leftists are missing

As I write this, it’s been five days since the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect. We in Israel now are hoping that the cease-fire holds. We also hope that we did enough damage to Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction,  so that they do not start firing missiles at our civilians again for a long while.

We also fervently wish that the people of Gaza would throw off the repressive Hamas regime and choose leaders who want to develop a free, vibrant society living in peace with us. We would gladly help them.

In the meantime, while thinking about the situation, I came up with this:

If Israel’s (and Egypt’s) “siege” on Gaza has been so airtight, how did Hamas get 4,000 missiles, or the materials and machinery to make them, as well as the devices needed to shoot them? And, as a friend asked, if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so good on security, how did he let that happen?

If the Associated Press has such reliable and thorough reporters, how did they not know that there were Hamas operations in their building? Pretty much everybody else knew.

If AP, CNN, seemingly millions of others and/or you are in a fit over Israel destroying a building after giving an hour’s notice (!) to get out, but fail to mention that 4,000 missiles are being fired at innocent kids, women and men in Israel, there is a moral screw loose somewhere.

“Proportionality” has got to be the most misused word in the English language right now. Contrary to what John Oliver and Bernie Sanders might think, it does not mean that an equal number of Jews (and their fellow Arab Israeli citizens) must be injured or killed.

It also does not mean that Israel has to use the same amount of force that Hamas is using. (See the U.S. vs. Taliban in Afghanistan or the Allies vs. Dresden in World War II). It means there must be a legitimate military objective and that the force must be appropriate to achieving the objective.

While the Sheikh Jarrah dispute and the Damascus Gate and al-Aksa mosque tensions were an opportunity that Hamas exploited, they were not the reasons Hamas started the war.  They were a pretense. The reason they started firing, as Hamas’ leaders specifically stated, was to halt efforts toward coexistence and normalization of relations.

Assuming those were the reasons, and assuming the commonly misused definition of proportionality, how do those issues justify 4,000 missiles fired at civilians?!

The war was used by many American leftists to attack Israel’s very existence.

According to them, we are a bunch of people who, without any connection to the land, recently and randomly decided to settle in the only place in the Middle East (about 1.5 percent of the total land mass) without water, oil or much else, and we proceeded to kick all of the natives out.

Never mind that Jews have a connection to Israel and a continuous presence in the region going back thousands of years. Never mind that there are 1.9 million Israeli Arabs living within the 1948 armistice lines and millions more in the territories captured in 1967.

And never mind that about 45 percent of Israel’s Jews are from Arab nations, many of them (or their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents) having been among the 850,000 Jews forced to leave those nations in 1948.

But let’s assume that we all just got over here in the last few years. Do these Americans berating us as colonial usurpers with no ties to the land realize that many Israelis have been here longer than many of their families have been in North America, a land to which their families have exactly zero ancestral ties?

Many Israeli families have been here 80 or 90 or 100 years. How many of the families of the critics came to the United States prior to 1920? The family of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who happens to speak fluent Arabic, has been in Jerusalem since 1809. How many families of those characterizing Israel as a bunch of interlopers have been in the New World since 1809?

And by the way, do those geniuses think that North America was just a depopulated, barren wasteland when their families arrived? Do the names Pontiac, Seattle, Malibu, Manhattan, Miami, Mississippi and Chicago simply come from a screwed-up game of Scrabble? Did U.S. sports teams just dream up offensive names?

And then there was President James K. Polk’s little escapade into Mexico.

Are these ignorant, hypocritical critics of our allegedly oppressive colonial usurper regime packing up and going back to Europe anytime soon?

And can somebody tell me when the far left became anti-immigrant? Or does that only apply to Jews immigrating to their ancestral homeland?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of J.

Alan Edelstein
Alan Edelstein

Alan Edelstein is a former president of Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento and was a lawyer and lobbyist at the state Capitol for 30 years. He and his wife have lived in Israel for a good part of each year for the last 11 years.