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Denouncing Israel -- And Bill Maher -- With Love

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Let's parse this carefully. I know I'm rising to Maher's bait, but I'm sick of this idea that criticizing Israel is de facto Jew-bashing.

The reason the world doesn't ask Hezbollah for restraint is precisely because they're a terrorist militia that purposefully targets civilians. These people are not reasonable; they are a vicious anti-Semitic virus, an organization with American blood on its hands that needs to be disarmed and defanged, if not annihilated.

But what is supposed to differentiate a civilized democracy like Israel from the enemy they face is precisely a sense of restraint: an unwillingness to massacre women and children and U.N. peacekeepers in pursuit of its righteous goal of eliminating Hezbollah's army.

Now don't, please, purposefully misunderstand me. I do not believe that Israel intentionally targets civilians. (I reserve judgment, however, about the intention behind the strike on UNIFIL). But Qana happened because Israel has opted for a strategy of collective punishment of Lebanon for the sins of Hezbollah. And in so doing it has debased itself.

Yes, Hezbollah hides out among the civilian population. But, under all but the most extreme of circumstances, that does not excuse bombing apartment buildings and towns that are home to desperate civilians unable or unwilling to abandon their homes. Israel's apparent indifference to the "collateral damage" that is the inevitable consequence of its urban bombing campaign might -- might -- be excusable if these attacks were sure to produce a swift victory: three weeks of death and destruction to eliminate a pernicious threat once and for all.

But Israel appears to be having little luck in degrading Hezbollah's leadership or its military might. Indeed, with 200 rockets fired into Israel yesterday, the campaign seems to be most successful at defanging the dogs of Hezbollah by goading them into mauling Haifa with their katyushas....

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