Israeli gears up, or I want an ally with a slow hand..

Can somebody explain to me why there seem to be no shades of gray in the current Israeli/Hezbollah/Lebanese/Palestinean situation?

Can somebody explain to me why it is a conservative position to support Israel without question, and a progressive position to claim that there is more than one side to this story, and a far-lefty position to think that Israel is never right?

I do understand that the President of Iran is a loon who cries out for the destruction of Israel, but I also know that there are plenty of Arab voices who don’t. I do understand that the Hezbollah are largely comprised of terrorists who have been allowed to control large parts of Lebanon (or have taken control of large parts of Lebanon). I understand that the kidnapping of Israeli citizens/soldiers is a cowardly despicable act that demands reprisal.

What I don’t understand is bombing the bejesus out of Lebanon. Yes, I agree with Wolf Blitzer that the Lebanese government needs to take control, but why does it seem like conservatives think that Israel is always right, far lefties think that Israel is never right, and some of us think there is right/wrong on both sides.

There are plenty of victims on the West Bank..many of those are Palestinians. Not every Palestinian is screaming for the destruction of Israel..but if Israel keeps bombing Lebanon, more and more and more Palestians and others will join that foolish bandwagon.

I do know that statements like this reduce a complex and cruel situation into a monochromatic one-sided story:

The Palestinian question has always been a red herring for a broader policy of Israeli destruction. That truth has finally become starkly apparent.

That is a quote from a post by Nathan Moore of Moore Thoughts. He writes and represents well what I’m seeing as the conservative pundit position (I ain’t trying to pick on him..)

I hope and pray that the current situation will ease up and a diplomatic solution can be found. I am not really optimistic this will happen soon, but I do know there are innocent people hurting and dying on both sides of that border.

When this situation does end, there will still be a Palestinian question, and yes, an Israeli question. Hopefully, clear minds will see a bit of either side…

Update after a little more thought: Yes, I know there are exceptions to the political spectrum predicting where a person falls out on this issue..my friend Sharon Cobb is certainly no right-winger and Pat Buchanan will never be described as a liberal, but generally speaking, I think my blatant generalization holds up…

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5 responses to “Israeli gears up, or I want an ally with a slow hand..

  1. I never thought I’d see my name used in the same sentence with Pat Buchanan…that’s a first! Heh.

    My eyeballs hurt. I left a post at NIT where Kevin wrote a post about this. Maybe it will add some context and color.

  2. MCO

    John, your argument is largely a clever effort at triangulation: the right wingers never question, the lefties never support, and reasonable “progressives” like me….

    I would not say that conservatives always support Israel, but we tend to for sometimes differing reasons: the sense of religious connectedness, the fact that Israel is the lone democracy in the middle east, and so forth. What I have frequently wondered is why so many on the left have a knee jerk affinity for Israel’s enemies, given their horrendous record on human rights.

    As to whether Israel’s response is proportionate, I would only say that it is easy for us to talk about proportionality when our country is 3,000 miles wide. When your country is at points less than 20 miles wide and a large group of entirely serious people with weapons and a willingness to kill speak regularly of pushing you into the sea, one at times must take such talk and violence seriously and respond with overwhelming force. Israel has done so, and they have done so by and large justifiably.

  3. MCO – I guess I’m wondering why more people don’t take a more measured response and why ‘your’ political leaning seemingly predicts how you feel about the Israel/Palestinian issue.

    I was being silly re the progressives like me bit, but I really am trying to understand both sides. I don’t understand anyone, left or right, who automatically sides with whomever is against Israel at the moment.

  4. MCO

    John, I think that conservatives are largely inclined to support Israel for the two reasons I mentioned: religious connectedness and democracy. I also think that familiarity with the history of the Jews, biblical and since that time, creates a sense of support for an ethnic group that has suffered so immensely through the millenia.

    I think the reasons for the support of many on the left of the Arab states are more complicated. As I mentioned, that support somewhat curious given their human rights abuses. However, I do think that support of the Arab states is consistent with the left’s view of the history of colonialism. As many on the left have chosen to view non-westerners as virtuous populations until they were ruined by the incursion of evil westerners, they support the “victims” of such colonialism.

    I would point out that many conservatives are not as supportive of Israel, and many liberals, especially Jewish liberals, take the pro-Israel position. Many business leaders, as an example of the former group, would prefer not to disrupt relations with oil rich states. Also, opponents to foreign aid to the Middle East frequently criticize such aid going to Israel.

  5. You must have been a fly on my office wall yesterday, John. That is when I had this very same argument with a warmongering blowhard. He had overheard some other people in the office discussing the dynamics of how this war came to happen, and immediately felt the need to confide in me his frustration with their obviously “Liberal” discussion.

    I then explained to him that I didn’t see it at all as a liberal versus conservative question, that instead what I saw was one nation firing upon another nation, and that the discussion they were having was beyond the scope of our own personal politics. Of course, when he realized he was alone in his wardance, he said I couldn’t see it because I was one of those pansy liberals too.

    So, yeah. Why does the majority on the right automatically see this through bipartisan lenses? Is it only my naive perception or do they always carry so much baggage,eg. religious, moral, historical, with them when trying to decide policy? I mean, I get the whole historical speil{sp}, but can’t they see the bigger picture of where this war could be headed, or is political hubris always the great motivator – forever the Alpha and the Omega for these guys?

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