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