The Moral Case for Supporting Israel: Response to the "Open Letter for the People in Gaza", in The Lancet
By Amir Shani and Boaz Arad | July 2014
Whenever the State of Israel seeks to fulfill its moral obligation to protect its citizens by retaliating against terrorist attacks and other hostile activities, it is instantaneously accused of "war crimes" by many academics. Nevertheless, the "open letter for the people in Gaza", published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, exceeds the usual accusations against Israel and its actions in self-defense. The letter by five doctors and scientists, writing in behalf of 24 signatories, gives voice to a prevalent and unjust animosity toward Israel. While claiming to uphold moral standards, the authors in reality embrace an inverted morality that blames the victim of Hamas's aggression, Israel. Calculated to demonize Israel, the letter denounces the "military onslaught on civilians in Gaza", and argues that the Israeli attacks "aim to terrorise, wound the soul and the body of the people". Conspicuous by its absence in the letter is any serious moral appraisal of Hamas, its documented initiation of force, its totalitarian Islamist goals, and its flagrant exploitation of Gazans as sacrificial pawns.
The letter makes a mockery of ethical judgment.
Israel and Hamas are morally unequal
There is a wide moral gulf between Israel, the region's only free society, and Hamas, an Islamist faction seeking to subjugate its own people and wage jihad. The many freedoms we in the West take for granted are practically unknown in the Middle East, but protected in Israel. Israel's citizens, regardless of religion (or lack thereof) and race, enjoy the right to express their views, to criticize their government, to form political parties, to publish private newspapers. But Hamas, like the dictatorial regimes prevalent in the region, seeks totalitarian domination. It imposes Islamic law by force; it seeks to tyrannize its own population; and, per its founding charter, to wage jihad on Israel.
Yet the authors of the letter imply that Hamas fights for the people of Gaza, who "want a better and normal life". But the main goal of Hamas has nothing to do with ending the occupation, which ended in 2005; nor the siege that lasts only as long as Gazans shoot rockets into Israel and launch terror attacks; nor with providing a better life to the population of Gaza. Hamas seeks to subjugate its people under Islamic law and wage jihad to liquidate Israel.
Hamas defines itself as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, and seeks to establish an Islamic state to replace the State of Israel. The Hamas Covenant specifically denies the right of Israel to exist: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it". The anti-Semitic Covenant clarifies that Hamas’ struggle is first and foremost a religious one: "Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts," and quotes the Prophet Mohammad: "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him". This message of hatred – a call for the destruction of the Jewish state and the murder of Jews around the world as part of the global Jihad – is communicated and taught in Palestinian schools, universities and mosques, particularly among the young generation.