I had no idea anti-Israeli/anti-Semitic sentiment ran so high beyond the confines of the hard left and the extreme right (what an interesting coalescence that is). Not to mention that toxic dwarf Mel Gibson. In the last week I’ve experienced (well, endured would be a more accurate description) several conversations, with people I consider to be reasonable and intelligent human beings, about the current conflict in Israel and Lebanon and found myself aghast at their position on the subject. One argument was functional: "the Israeli response is disproportionate to the threat they face, too many innocent people are being killed and nobody has ever been successful in a campaign against a guerrilla army". Another was, quite frankly, disgusting: "the Israeli response is disproportionate and, in any case, the country has no right to exist."
The latter isn’t even worthy of response, but for the first I would ask this: how, exactly, should a country respond when a terrorist organisation committed to your eradication starts firing hundreds of rockets at your civilians from beyond your national borders? Rockets provided mostly by Iran – a theocratic dinosaur with nuclear ambitions - whose fanatical leader has also expressed his wish to see your country removed from the map? Then, to compound matters further, said terrorist organisation blend their weapons and 'soldiers' amongst their host nation’s civilian population? You certainly cannot negotiate – the people you are fighting do not even recognise your right to exist – and there are no military targets to specifically go after because they have purposefully integrated into residential areas to both hide themselves and ensure as high a death count as possible in the hope that it will trigger a pan-Islamic response.
Israel has unquestionably made some tactical errors, and innocent lives have been tragically lost, but I lay all blame squarely at the feet of Hezbollah and their Iranian/Syrian backers. And these people who see equivalence between the actions of the state of Israel and those of a terrorist organisation essentially bankrolled by a fascist dictatorship are seriously deluded.
“We are all Hezbollah now”, read one of the placards on the anti-war demo in London last weekend. Oh, how low some on the left have sunk. There’s a huge debate raging over at The Guardian’s Comment is Free blog right now, prompted by a post from Harold Evans criticising those who are comfortable to share a platform with these people. It’s worth a read, if only for the rarity value of a comment piece in The Guardian that doesn’t instinctively take an anti-Israel position.