What war is good for: Jonathan Freedland and the empty platitudes of ‘peace’

“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things;
the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings
which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.
A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight,
nothing which is more important than his own personal safety,
is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free
unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

John Stuart Mill

The memo at Guardian HQ explaining the ‘root cause’ of Israel’s operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ evidently has been distributed far and wide within their coven of activist journalists.

While Guardian reporters, and ‘Comment is Free’ contributors, have varied in the degree of malice they impute to the Jewish state for launching strikes against terror targets in Gaza, the message they’ve conveyed to their readers is clear: Don’t believe the Israeli ‘narrative’ that the state is acting to stop thousands of rockets from being launched at their cities by a malevolent Islamist terror group committed to its destruction.

Harriet Sherwood, Simon Tisdall,  and, of course Steve Bell, are among the Guardian reporters and commentators who are vexed by the idea that the Jewish state would see fit to defend its citizens from a well-armed terrorist movement on its border, and see something more cynical – indeed something much darker – in the decision to launch ‘Pillar Of Defense’.

Jonathan Freedland’s video commentary – ‘Why has Israel decided to attack Gaza now?‘, focusing almost entirely on the supposed electoral reasons behind the war – is a telling case because Freedland is a unique Guardian journalist; he’s a proud Jew who supports Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Not that Freedland hasn’t in the past succumbed to ‘J Street/Yachad/Peter Beinart leftist narrative which mistakes love for Israel with obsessive criticism, but, by all accounts, he is a decent, reasonable and mostly sober commentator.

However, as you watch this video, you’ll note that Freedland spends about 2 minutes and 37 seconds (out of a 2 minute and 52 second interview) on the alleged electoral reasons, and only 15 seconds explaining the context of Hamas rocket fire.

Additionally, in a full commentary about the war at ‘Comment is Free’, Freedland, in ‘The battle between Israel and Gaza solves nothing, Nov. 15, repeats the same reasoning:

“Why did Israel hit back now? The Hebrew press immediately assumed the key date was political, not military: 22 January, when Israelis go to the polls. There are plenty of precedents for outgoing governments taking military action, hoping to create a wave of national unity that will carry them to victory: Cast Lead itself fits that pattern. Binyamin Netanyahu may well have wanted to push aside his Labor rival and prevent his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, making a planned comeback – forcing both to fall into line as patriotic cheerleaders. Similarly, Barak found a way to remind voters of his supposed indispensability.”

However, Freedland’s suspicion of Israeli motives is as notable as his facile understanding of the broader issues of war and peace. 

His commentary ends, thus.

“Above all, the pain and anguish inflicted by yet another round of civilian deaths and injury will sow hatred in the hearts of another generation, who will grow up bent on revenge and yet more bloodshed. This keeps happening, decade after decade, for one simple reason: there can be no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides will say the action they have taken is necessary. But it will solve nothing.” [emphasis added]

This last highlighted passage gets to the heart of the matter, and defines, as much as anything, the false, and dangerous, political assumptions of the Guardian Left.

A basic understanding of Israeli history, it seems, would inspire Freedland to take note of the fact that it was the use of force, and the credible threat of force, which has protected the Jewish state from Arab efforts, over the last 64 years, to ‘throw the Jews into the sea’.  Negotiations with its enemies didn’t occur organically, but only as the result of Israeli military victories which prompted its defeated foes to grudgingly accept that they did not have the capacity to fulfill their destructive aims.

By what means, other than through military force, would Jonathan Freedland suggest should be used by Israel to defang terrorist groups in Gaza (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees, and others) which possess thousands of rockets and the will to martyr thousands of their citizens in the cause of Jihad?

The perception of weakness and a lack of resolve – for any nation, yet alone the tiny Jewish state –  represents a dangerous provocation.

‘Peace’, when dealing with an enemy committed to your destruction, is not a serious strategy, but merely an empty and quite dangerous platitude.

The overwhelming majority of Israelis, their passionate supporters abroad and defenders of Western democracy more broadly understand this intuitive moral and political fact. 

26 replies »

  1. Freedland, although basically a decent man and supporter of Israel, has been at the Guardian too long and has ‘gone native.’ As has been pointed out, if the operation goes badly, Bibi won’t have done his electoral chances a lot of good! It’s “Occam’s Razor” don’t look for the complicated answer but the simple one. The situation was intolerable and had to be dealt with.

  2. Freedland has been exposed as a fraud again.
    Keep in mind, 10 years ago, Freedland was one of the Pallywood liars of the fake Jenin massacre. You can read it here.

    Freedland today like 10 years ago, opposed Israel defending itself in Jenin and targeting the Islamo mass murderers in Jenin who were slaughtering hundreds of Israeli civilians in buses, shopping centers, disco’s, passover seders, pizzeria’s etc.

    Then if you read the article from 10 years ago, Freedland condemns Israel for arresting mass murderer Barghouti in 02.
    Barghouti was such a sadist, he murdered a monk in Israel.
    Here’s a great article who Barghouti was.
    Free a mass-murderer for peace?

    The following are some of the more heinous terror attacks for which Marwan Barghouti is responsible:
    Jun 12, 2001 – The murder of a Greek Orthodox monk on the road to Ma’ale Adumim.
    Jan 17, 2002 – The shooting attack during a bat mitzva celebration at a banquet hall in Hadera. Six Israelis were killed in this attack, 26 were injured.
    Jan 22, 2002 – The shooting spree on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem. Two Israelis were killed, 37 wounded.
    Feb 25, 2002 – The shooting attack in the Jerusalem residential neighborhood of Neve Ya’acov. One Israeli policewoman was killed, 9 Israelis were wounded.
    Feb 27, 2002 – The murder of an Israeli at a coffee factory in the Atarot industrial zone of Jerusalem.
    Feb 27, 2002 – The suicide attack perpetrated by Daryan Abu Aysha at the Maccabim checkpoint in which two policeman were injured.
    Mar 5, 2002 – The shooting spree at the Tel Aviv Seafood restaurant. Three Israelis were killed, 31 wounded.
    Mar 8, 2002 – A suicide terrorist was killed in Daheat el Barid as he was on his way to carry out an attack in Jerusalem.
    Mar 27, 2002 – The interception of an ambulance and the confiscation of an explosive belt which was being smuggled from Samaria into Barghouti’s terrorist infrastructure in Ramallah.
    Marwan Barghouti was also directly responsible for operating the terrorist cell of Raed Karmi in Tulkaram which carried out a series of deadly terrorist attacks.

    • Kibbitzer ” The situation was intolerable and had to be dealt with”
      Exactly!! all the rest is BS by the ones of Nat and realzionist jew hater bastards

  3. Freedland should be talking about Pallywood and how its lies are being exposed thanks to Cifwatch and honestreporting.
    Thank goodness for Anderson Cooper at CNN.
    He didn’t fall for the Pallywood lies.
    Even Cooper see’s the lying Palestinians for their propaganda.
    Why cant Freedland see this?
    Once again, Freeland exposed for the Arabist he is.
    This is why he writes for the Der Stumer Guardian.
    UPDATE: BBC and CNN React to Pallywood Video Footage
    NOVEMBER 18, 2012
    The footage of a beige jacketed Palestinian man making a miraculous recovery after appearing to be injured in an Israeli airstrike was broadcast not only on the BBC but also on CNN.

    HonestReporting’s video of this sequence has now been viewed over a quarter of a million times on YouTube, helping to expose Pallywood to an audience beyond our regular readership.

    The reactions from the BBC and CNN when confronted with the evidence could not have been more different.

    CNN’s Anderson Cooper made an on-air statement (Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon):

    Anderson Cooper’s statement:

    The video we aired came from the news agency Reuters and their feed to us did not include the image of the man standing. We asked Reuters about it today. They say they don’t know the source of the image of that man standing or when that image was shot. They also say they never saw or shot any similar image. The bottom line is that we cannot independently verify when the image of the man standing was taken… whether it was taken before or after.

    The other image was taken of the man being dragged away. We obviously will not be using either of these images again. It is not only a traditional military conflict but also one that is being waged in the media as well and our only goal, as always, is to report the truth, the facts on all fronts and that’s why we’ve sent so many of our own reporters and producers into the field.

    But what about the BBC? The Guido Fawkes blog published the BBC’s response:

    To the best of our knowledge the pictures do not show any kind of ‘staged’ event – and were run in good faith. The footage shown by BBC News was edited from a longer sequence provided by the Reuters news agency in which the man in question is shown being lifted from the ground. He is then given attention at the roadside, before appearing later having recovered.

    We ran a shorter edit of those pictures, and would point out that some re-uses of our output by others online have compressed the sequence further. Steps have been taken to ensure any re-broadcast reflects the full sequence so that it is absolutely clear to our audiences.

    In response, HonestReporting’s CEO Joe Hyams said:

    How is it that Reuters does not know the source of its own footage? It’s completely unacceptable for a supposedly respectable news agency to package unsourced and unverified footage, particularly when the Pallywood phenomenon is a known possibility.

    It’s disturbing enough that outside media outlets evidently do not bother to check the footage that is supplied to them by Reuters and other agencies but it is even worse that the BBC cannot bring itself to admit the obvious even when it is staring them in the face.

    Muddying the waters by questioning the credibility of HonestReporting and others who republished the sequence of footage is simply a poor attempt to divert responsibility from where it really lies.

    While the BBC may be unrepentant, this episode has served to put the media on alert for any further instances of Pallywood staging going on in Gaza.

    You can see the footage below if you have not already viewed it.

    Keep up to date on all the latest breaking news and media bias on HonestReporting by checking our homepage and live blog as events happen.

  4. An aerial map of the IDF showed that the Palestinians put rocket launchers right next to playgrounds and kindergartens. These people are evil. They target Jewish children for death with missles and homicide bombers and then use their own children as propaganda weapons in their war against Israel and idiot emotional whiny leftists like Freedland fall for their propaganda.

    I’m glad Anderson Cooper didn’t fall for Pallywood.

  5. The biggest disconnect between standard Freedland writing and standard CiF writing is that historically, he has not automatically and always assumed that Israel’s intentions are stupid and evil and cynical, while the CiF generally proceeds with every article relating to Israel with such an assumption as its core belief. However, he does use this belief a fair amount of the time–and very rarely applies the same consideration to Palestinians or Arabs–and that’s why it is hard to take him very seriously despite his talent and the fact that he’s a cut away above the likes of Sherwood and Milne.

    • Also, this “crap”.

      “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
      ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

        • Well, at least I don´t pose like a fake “epistemologist”, pseudo-linguistic babbler and know-all about JSM “crap”. You ask so many tough questions…

  6. I guess he had his moments but doesn’t every dog. But anyway Adam how do you think JSM would feel about your suppression of opinion of you know who ?

    • You love those little rethorical questions, eh, pseudo-zionist, as if you were a kind of moral paragon or something. Let’s play this game: so, how do you think JSM would react to your moral relativism, propaganda and hypocrisy?

      • Dunno perhaps he would challenge you to give some examples of this moral relativism, propaganda and hypocracy, or even just one.

        • Dunno, perhaps he would challenge you about the concept of truth, begining with your nick. He’d would ask, say, what is a “realzionist”. He would also be upset about your “utilitarian crap” accusation, which is pretty rude. Who knows?

  7. Oh I don’t have an issue with JSM his heart was in the right place. But you have to admit his utilitarianism nonsense was thinking on a par with you know whos speech at the latest ” pro Israel ” rally.

    • Whew, what a relief! We’re all happy to know you don’t have an issue with JSM (in spite of his “utilitiarian crap”). We were all eargerly awaiting you approval. Many thanks.

    • Who’s the “you know who” you are talking about?
      Is it the same you know who you reffered to earlier? And if so who’s that cause we obviously don’t know.
      This is why the human race developed names…

      • Cept I am forbidden to mention this particular name. I am not sure JSM would apporove of this conception of freedom.

        • How do you know so much about what JSM would think? Can you communicate with the dead? Or are you just extremely arrogant? Just rethorical questions, mind you, as you like them so much.

    • Indeed. You are a great source of laughter. Particularly when you are in that “epistemological” mode. A real joker.

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