07/28/2006 02:09 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Non "Jewey Jew" Defense of Israel

I'm not the most Jewish guy in the world. I think the last time I went to temple, I was probably forced to, to attend a wedding or Bar Mitzvah or something. My mom, I suspect, cries nightly because I tell her there's no way I'm marrying a Jewish girl because I don't want to be stuck with a yenta like her (yes, this is tongue-in-cheek, but don't tell my mom). Yeah, maybe I love money, and I'm cut "down there." But, I don't control Hollywood. Not yet, anyway. So, honestly, don't dismiss me as a really "Jewey" Jew. I'm only a little Jewey.

Nor am I someone that is never critical of moves Israel makes. For instance, I didn't personally agree with Israel's decision on occasion to expand settlements in occupied territories, after progress was made towards a two-state solution. I remember when I was ten years old, I had an argument with my grandmother over whether Yitzhak Shamir was a good prime minister. I thought he was too hard-line. Of course, I also thought at the time that using cardboard and glue I could make a working replica of Voltron, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, I'm not someone who thinks Israel can do no wrong. So don't dismiss me on those grounds.

Israel is acting entirely properly in the current conflict, and those in this nation who believe otherwise are operating under moral relativism run amok, at best.

Charles Krauthammer, who I rarely agree with (if ever), points this out fairly well in the Washington Post today. The main contention among those opposed to Israel's actions is that the response has been disproportionate. Yet, it is unlikely that any of those people would apply the same standard to any "just" wars of the past. Krauthammer focuses on World War II, but the same responses to aggression could apply to the attack on Fort Sumter and the Union's "disproportionate" response.

I'll add one more example to Krauthammer's list - 9/11. Can anyone who believes Israel is not acting justly honestly say that the United States acted "disproportionately" in its military response in Afghanistan? Al Qaeda - a group, not a nation - destroyed two buildings, damaged one more, and killed 3000 on 9/11. Our response was to invade Afghanistan - a country, not a group - bombing exponentially more buildings and pieces of infrastructure than they did, and killing far more civilians than they killed of ours.

Unfortunately, that was what had to be done to severely hamper the threat posed by the terrorists to the United States. Very few people questioned our response then, but they virulently criticize Israel now.

If anything, Hezbollah posed a much greater threat to Israel for many years, yet Israel showed tremendous restraint. Restraint it is unlikely that any American would tolerate from their President. Imagine if Canada was the home base for al Qaeda, which amassed on the border of the U.S. in direct violation of a United Nations mandate (I know, it's not too hard to imagine Mounties like Dudley Dooright letting that happen). Imagine if nearly every day they held rallies and marches promising the annihilation of the United States. Imagine if our government knew they were amassing a cache of 10000 missiles on the border, but did nothing about it. I guarantee you that most readers of this site would call for the impeachment of such a President. Yet, that is what Israel did for six years, as Hezbollah dug in and imported weapons - while the world ignored it.

Now that Hezbollah has made their move and crossed over the border into a sovereign nation and captured a member of its military, and set off a flurry of missile deliberately targeted to kill civilians, Israel is wrong to target their places of operation and drive the terrorist army far enough north to provide a security zone?

Have civilians died tragically? Absolutely. Did civilians die tragically in Afghanistan? Yes. Did we do everything we could to avoid civilian death there? Yes. Have the Israelis? Positively. There is no doubt that Israel could have leveled the entire country of Lebanon by now, if they so wished. But they have been decidedly measured in what they hit, keeping activity to a limited number of areas - even going as far as to warn residents (and terrorists) before they hit an area, to give them time to escape.

Some who fault Israel's response take the position is that they are just doing what Hezbollah wanted them to do - give the terrorist organization a reason to fire missiles, escalate the war, and derail any peace with the Palestinians. Those people then must maintain that we were just duped into the response that Osama bin Laden wanted, when he made it abundantly clear that the purpose of the 9.11 attacks was to spark the great religious war of radical Islam vs. the west. They must maintain that we would have been smarter to not respond to the 9.11 attacks.

Any sovereign nation, especially a democratic one, has the right to defend itself. The act of national defense is pretty much always greater than the attack that spurred it into action. This doesn't make it wrong. It did not make it wrong when we decimated Japan for their aggression, it did not make it wrong when Britain responded to Nazi air attacks with greater force, it did not make it wrong when we waged all out war with our own people after a fort in South Carolina was attacked. And, it doesn't make Israel's response wrong now.

I'm not a very Jewish guy. I'm not a knee-jerk Israel backer. But, I still approve this message.