Times of London

How many Jews must die for Israel to claim the moral high ground?

Here’s the latest Peter Brooks cartoon published at The Times (of London) 

times moral calculus

First, note that the pile of dead Israeli bodies shows a mix of soldiers and civilians, while the Palestinian pile seems to depict only civilians.  Evidently, Brooks is uncritically accepting figures provided by the Hamas run Gaza Health Ministry (cited uncritically by the media) claiming that up to 80% of those killed in Gaza have been civilians, rather alternative figures suggesting that the number may end up being closer to 50% civilians.

However, more interesting than his statistical assumption is his specious moral calculus, one which seems to rest upon the argument that the disparity in casualties between Gaza and Israel demolishes Israel’s claim to the moral high ground. This faulty assumption is refuted by examining the disparity in casualties in other just wars, such as the Kosovo Campaign, in which NATO forces suffered no casualties during their 77 days of bombings, while over 500 Yugoslav civilians and another 500 or so combatants were killed.  

Would anyone argue that the NATO campaign (to stop the ethnic cleansing of Albanians), was morally compromised by virtue of this huge disparity pf roughly 1,000 to 0?

Of course, similar disparities in casualties were evident in the NATO operation in Afghanistan and the ongoing US drone campaign on al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan. Yet, very few would suggest that NATO lost the moral high ground by virtue of this imbalance in deaths. 

The real moral disparity in this war relates to the fact that the IDF diligently protects its own citizens while taking precautions few if any other armies would take to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. While Hamas, on the other hand – whose leaders just repeated their mantra that they love death while Israelis love life – launches rockets almost exclusively at Israeli civilians, while intentionally placing their own civilians in harm’s way (the documented use of human shields) to protect their fighters and gain PR points when civilians are killed.  

Since the start of the war, Hamas has fired 2,830 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities, while the IDF has struck over 4200 Hamas targets.  Though of course there have been Israeli misfires, and Palestinian civilians have tragically been killed as the result of Hamas forces firing from civilian buildings, drawing IDF return fire.  Yet, despite the sensational media reports suggesting otherwise, Israeli forces don’t intentionally target Palestinian civilians. 

If the Times cartoonist is suggesting that more Israeli deaths would allow the state to lay claim to the moral high ground, he should remember that the primary duty of any country is to protect its citizens from harm, that there is neither nobility nor virtue in victim-hood, and Israelis certainty need not apologize for their effectiveness at protecting their citizens from attacks launched, let’s remember, by an antisemitic extremist group which seeks its destruction.   


52 replies »

  1. The cartoon distorts the truth. The pile of Gazan dead should be about 10 times bigger to show the true ratio of the killings by both sides

    • Tony, you’re just upset because your govt doesn’t care about your welfare in the same way the Israeli govt cares about their citizens.

      • It’s difficult, if not impossible to claim the moral high ground when hundreds of women and children have been reported killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

        • Oh…. Reportedly blown up by Israel.

          But not reportedly blown up by Hamas.

          Because, see, Donnie knows EVERYTHING. He sees it all from Mommy’s basement.

          Also interesting how the death tally never mentions Hamas fighters. THAT MUST MEAN THAT ISRAEL ISN’T KILLING ANY HAMAS.

          Say, Donnie, maybe when you can grab numbers NOT SUPPLIED BY HAMAS we might take you seriously.

          Oh…. you can’t do that?

          To quote a great American: Welcome the party, Pal.

        • Actually it is very easy to not only claim it but prove it beyond a shadow of doubt.

          We send flyers, we call individuals, we notify UNRWA, the media and ICRC of intended operations.

          The people living there know where the tunnels are, they know where the rockets are being fired from, they know where rockets are stored, they know where the headquarters are. They are well informed of the targets.

          Hamas orders and beats their women and children to stay and be killed, scream how they are going to commit genocide, hide their rockets in mosques, homes, schools and hospitals. They scream how they are going to drink our blood, rape our women and butcher our children. They dare us to do anything to stop them, hell they beg us to try, they are getting exactly what they asked for

          So exactly what moral ground do the Arabs have? Only among total morons do they have any at all

      • Congratulations on spectacularly missing the point! Tony is upset because Israel doesn’t give a toss about the welfare of the Palestinians, as seen by the flagrant disregard for the lives of Gazan children (how many now – 200? 300?). Had the Palestinians killed even a fraction of that number of Israeli civilians, the whole world would be howling in outrage.

    • The pile of bodies under the Hamas representative should be twice as large with bodies in Arab dress to include those killed by rockets that fell short and the execution of alleged “collaborators”

    • If you could pry the children out of the hands of Hamas who uses them as shields, the piles would be much more equal.

    • Where are the 160+ children (as of summer 2012) that Hamas admit died digging their tunnels for them? Not to mention all the other civilians who have died down the years in “work accidents”, weapons cache explosions, and (summary) executions for alleged collaboration.

        • Hey Donnie, the same engineers behind these tunnels (Qatar) are also using slave labor from Nepal to build the stadiums for the World Cup. But, of course, you don’t get that news in Mommy’s basement, so I guess it’s not really, really true, even though it is.

          Thanks for another super duper pooper-scooper of a contribution. I’d be happy to tell you when peace comes to this planet, but I’ve got a sneaky suspicion you’ll be dead by then.

          You and Hamas are fighting losing battles. WAY TO STAY ACTIVE, CHAMP.

        • That number comes from the Journal of Palestine Studies, which is edited by Rashid Khalidi. It is an academic journal sympathetic to the Palestinian narrative. It is not a right wing website and it is, at best, an underestimate of the children killed by Hamas to build tunnels because it is only concerned with the commercial tunnels to Egypt built through 2012. But that’s ok, you can handwave facts all you like without bothering to do the research, though I would have expected you to be a Khalidi fan and familiar with his work. I believe the saying is “better to keep your mouth closed and look the fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

          • I read the article and didn’t see the number 160.
            I also note that the tunnels weren’t necessarily built by Hamas itself, but by private entrepreneurs, and that, shortly after coming into power, Hamas put in place regulations to reduce the casualties taking place within tunnel construction, which is the only place in the article that the deaths of children is mentioned.

            • Sure. Hamas is so very progressive. They put in place regulations to reduce the casualties that result from the widespread use of child labor to dig tunnels. It shows the kinder, gentler face of genocidal muslim supremacism for sure. Maybe they should put in place more regulation to stop other “work accidents,” such as rockets blowing up while their martyrs are building them (of course that would reduce all that glorious martyrdom they’re so hot for), or perhaps the ones where their rockets keep falling on their own people, i.e., muslims (easy to deal with that, just say Israel really did it, and that it’s a willful war crime against the “Palestinian People” – a supine western media will dutifully repeat it).

              By the way, all those terror tunnels dug into Israeli territory having nothing to do with private entrepreneurship – Hamas built those tunnels, and you can bet children worked and died digging them.

            • CBinTH, then read it again. Here is the quote from the article: “A similarly cavalier approach to child labor and tunnel fatalities damaged the movement’s standing with human-rights groups, despite government assurances dating back to 2008 that it was considering curbs. During a police patrol that the author was permitted to accompany in December 2011, nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies. At least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials. Safety controls on imports appear similarly lax, although the TAC insists that a sixteen-man contingent carries out sporadic spot-checks.” So much for safety controls. Next time, please do your own research before making baseless claims.

  2. You ask how many Jews must die for Israel to claim the high moral ground? I don’t know why, but as each day passes the figure of 6 million keeps entering my head. In 1945 the world decided that the Jews had the high moral ground but only after the event. Jews win the high moral ground by being dead.

    Here’s another question: How many Syrians have to die before people switch their attention from Gaza? The UN estimates that 150,000 have died in 3 years and that currently the deaths may be 15,000 per month. Here’s another question: How many warnings do the various combatant parties in Syria give to civilians before they obliterate whatever part of Aleppo or Homs offends them?

    It is a question of that well worn word ‘proportionality’. When it comes to journalism there is no such thing as proportionality. There is just a case of which story is the sexiest for us to report. People are bored with Syria so let’s switch to Gaza. After all we have Jews involved there don’t we and that has to be a bonus.

    • Michael, Western modern journalism is filled with racism.
      They equate Israelis to, and even above, their standards while assuming Arab standards cannot be as high due to their nature or lack of options.

      • As George Orwell put it “four legs good, two legs bad”. He knew a thing or two that guy. These journalists should remind themselves of the functions of the “Ministry of Love” in “1984”, and observe the striking similarities with the modus operandi of organisations such as Hamas. Perhaps, sadly, they never read that book.

        • Oh they read it but sadly are so focused on the US being the baddy that they fail to grasp that baddies come in all shape and sizes…

  3. and isis dids?and wath hapand in sudan or libia?they kiling there own moslems and crictians-well they are not jewish…..i wonder were are those histerical moslems protestors wen that hapans!

  4. The next question: How many truces does Hamas need to shatter before folks start considering them war criminals?

    Western Media can suck it, mostly because they already are.

  5. How many Jews must die for Israel to claim the moral high ground?
    Zero. The lengths Israel goes to in order to protect its people is only one of the many proofs that it has moral high ground. The lengths it goes to in order to spare the lives of its enemies is another.

    How many misrepresentations of Israel, its people, and its intentions do media whores need to make to convince an unsuspecting public that Israel is the problem? Quite a lot, and they’ve been at it quite a while.

    How obsessed with Israel and Jews does one need to be to ignore almost completely the world’s serial human rights abusers.

  6. Theresienstadt , again.

    In WWII the Nazis were worried about the world finding out that they were murdering Jews in concentration camps so they made a “model” camp where Jews lived “in peace”, ate well and even played in concerts. It was called Theresienstadt.

    The Red Cross visited and was satisfied that the Jews did not have it so bad.

    NO ONE asked what right the nazis had to lock us up in ANY type of camp where we were not allowed to leave.

    Today Israel is attacked by HAMAS and because we have the IRON DOME and have foiled hamas from doing to us what the nazis did, the world is not concerned about what is happening to the Jews.

    NO ONE asks what right hamas has for firing rockets at our towns in the first place.

    Theresienstadt , again

    • And Hamas are having the opposite Theresienstadt by using operatives to plant fake wounded and by duplicating names of dead and adding many “unknown” dead civilians that were potentially fighters.

      Israel is claiming that at least 700 – 800 Hamas fighters have been killed (this morning news).
      The BBC claims that 1650 Palestinians were killed mostly civilians.
      Yesterday the BBC left unchallenged repeated live allegations by PA spokesman and other UN spokesman that 80% of the dead are civilians.

      These blatant lies cannot go on for long.
      Surely the media must be accountable to its quick unverified reporting after the dust has settled and the truth comes out.

      • That’s pretty desperate. Even if there may be some uncertainty about the figures, a LOT of civilians have died – TV and print journalists from a lot of different nations have confirmed that, as have the UN. Quibbling about the numbers is missing the point.

        • The same TV and print jounralists who didn`t report one Hamas casualitiy.
          At least questionable, if not outright embedded journalism, Hamas embedded, that is.

  7. Israeli soldiers are DYING TO PROTECT ARAB CIVILIANS, otherwise they would just bomb them from the air and not care about civilians.

    • “otherwise they would just bomb them from the air and not care about civilians”

      Has it escaped your attention that a lot of people in Gaza have died after “being bombed from the air”. And plenty more after being shelled by tanks (which amounts to the same thing if you’re on the end of it).

      • Has it escaped your mind that Hamas has been responsible for every suicide bombing and attack in Israel? Over 800 civilians killed… no-one remembers. Or after 9/11 the Palestinians were dancing in the street burning the American flag praising Osama, and chanting death to Israel. BTW, Hamas was a huge supporter of several terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda. If I’m not mistaken over 3,000 people were killed on 9/11. Did ANY Palestinian relief organization come to help… no. But the Israelis did…. they have the most sophisticated ways of search and rescue (as they are bombed by Palestinian terrorists frequently,). Infact at most disasters around the world they are first ones there’s, even in Muslim countries *gasp*. So yes Israel will protect herself from tyrannical terrorist who if God forbid take over will aim their rockets at all Western Civilization and do exactly what their mandate says, “kill all Jews, kill all infidels.” You are welcome to read it, it’s public information.

  8. I got an idea that would stop all this blood shed. Remove all non Jew from Palestine and send them to the U.S. Send all U.S. Jews to Palestine. Swap land for land all the new U.S. Palestine get all the home left by the Jews and all the Jews get the homes left by the Palestine. Then you can close your boarders and not let anyone but a Jew in.