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Politics and War Are Destroying Our Humanity
Human life is more important than any of your political opinions
Partisans on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict want to accuse the other side of being indifferent to the suffering of the side that they favor, and, frankly, they’re both more right than any of us should be comfortable with. The problem is that the people complaining about this the loudest are usually also the most guilty of doing the same thing. For example, the same people demanding that everyone acknowledge and condemn the murder of Paul Kessler had, in many cases, nothing at all to say about the murder of Wadea Al-Fayoume, and vise versa. Why is it so easy to ignore or even justify the brutal deaths of people you disagree with politically?
The truth is that we’re all susceptible to this mind-state to some degree, and that’s why we all have to be on our guard against ourselves.
Rod Dreher is a conservative writer that I read regularly, and while I wouldn’t say we agree on everything, obviously, I do find his perspective interesting. One thing that I respect about him is how open he is about how in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks against the United States he let his emotions get the best of him and supported policies, such as the Iraq War, that he has now come to regret. He is also an Israeli partisan, I would say, but he acknowledges that the Palestinians do have legitimate grievances against the Israeli government. Despite all of that, even he can’t seem to make a coherent argument when it comes to the death and destruction going on in Israel and Gaza. Dreher writes:
I saw a clip online from some Arab TV channel in which a commentator said that this is all Israel’s fault, and even if Hamas did murder 1,400 civilians, it’s still Israel’s fault, because Israel made them do it. This is the same crackpot logic that refuses to hold sacred minorities in America responsible for their actions, on account of White Supremacy. It’s insane. You can’t whack a hornet’s nest with a baseball bat then complain about how unfair it all is when you get stung.
Yet, in the paragraph that immediately precedes that one, Dreher engages in that exact same “crackpot logic” only applied in reverse.
No decent person can take pleasure in the deaths of innocent people in Gaza. But the fault is entirely Hamas’s. Hamas knew that slaughtering 1,400 Jewish civilians would compel Israel to respond militarily. Hamas also knows that dead Gaza civilians are good for its propaganda, which is why they won’t let civilians leave. What those who say Israel should not respond militarily are really saying is that Hamas should not be held responsible for its Nazi-like acts of terror. War is an evil thing, but Hamas has left the Israelis with no choice. If Hamas had not butchered all those Israelis and taken hostages, all the innocent Gazans who have died in Israeli airstrikes so far would still be alive, and those yet to die in what’s coming would not have to fear for their lives today.
How can it be the case that Hamas is responsible for the Israeli government’s attacks on innocent Palestinian civilians because of October 7th, but the Israeli government is not responsible for Hamas’s attacks on innocent Israeli civilians on October 7th for all of their prior actions against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip? It’s the exact same logic, but because Dreher supports Israel over Gaza he accepts one argument and rejects the other. Either both of those arguments are right or they’re both wrong; I reject them both.
Self-defense is justified, and there can be wars that are justified, in my opinion. What is never justified is the killing of innocent civilians. Period. And that’s the issue here: Too many people are justifying the deaths of innocent Israelis because they support the Palestinian cause, or are justifying the deaths of innocent Palestinians because they support the Israeli cause. You degrade your own humanity when you can look at a picture or video of a suffering or dead human and tell yourself and everyone else that it’s worth it. Evil is evil even if people you otherwise agree with are engaging in it.