“Israel has the right to defend itself, but…” That is the general refrain we hear whenever a foreigner wants to opine about Israel’s “disproportionate use of force” and “indiscriminate attacks.” Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders recently sat down for an interview with the New York Daily News and this was the central theme of his comments on Israel.
Brian of London already took Sanders to task on his shocking lack of knowledge about nearly everything related to Israel and the most recent war in Gaza. However, his assessment of the conflict is the perfect example of everything wrong with people who attack Israel after it defends itself from terrorism.
So let’s examine what he actually said:
Sanders: Here’s the main point that I want to make. I lived in Israel. I have family in Israel. I believe 100% not only in Israel’s right to exist, a right to exist in peace and security without having to face terrorist attacks. But from the United States’ point of view, I think, long-term, we cannot ignore the reality that you have large numbers of Palestinians who are suffering now, poverty rate off the charts, unemployment off the charts, Gaza remaining a destroyed area…
Daily News: And I’m going to look at 2014, which was the latest conflict. What should Israel have done instead?
Sanders: You’re asking me now to make not only decisions for the Israeli government but for the Israeli military, and I don’t quite think I’m qualified to make decisions. But I think it is fair to say that the level of attacks against civilian areas… and I do know that the Palestinians, some of them, were using civilian areas to launch missiles. Makes it very difficult. But I think most international observers would say that the attacks against Gaza were indiscriminate and that a lot of innocent people were killed who should not have been killed. Look, we are living, for better or worse, in a world of high technology, whether it’s drones out there that could, you know, take your nose off, and Israel has that technology. And I think there is a general belief that, with that technology, they could have been more discriminate in terms of taking out weapons that were threatening them…
I’m just telling you that I happen to believe…anybody help me out here, because I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?
Daily News: I think it’s probably high, but we can look at that.
Sanders: I don’t have it in my number…but I think it’s over 10,000. My understanding is that a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don’t think I’m alone in believing that Israel’s force was more indiscriminate than it should have been.
The leftist cognitive dissonance surrounding Israel is perfectly on display here. In this short exchange we go from a politician who is unshakably pro-Israel (“I have family there.”), who says Israel has the right to defend itself (“a right to exist in peace and security”), to briefly paying lip service to the threat Israel faces (“Palestinians… were using civilian areas to launch missiles”), to parroting Hamas claims about Palestinian suffering, blaming Israel for that suffering, and finally accusing Israel of war crimes and genocide.
The shocking thing here is that after Sanders makes his initial “critique” the journalists actually ask a follow up question of what he would do differently. But of course he has no answer. He makes sure to mention that Hamas was embedded in civilian areas, but then acts as though Israel targeted houses and hospitals for no reason at all. He picks a ridiculously inflated number of casualties that is several times higher than even Hamas’s false numbers and says every Gazan casualty was an innocent civilian.
This is the core problem of the Left. They see a problem (casualties of war), they know their ideal endgame (no casualties at all), but instead of offering an actionable solution, they merely talk about how they want things to be:
It sure would be great if Israel could just fire a missile from a drone and only take out Hamas terrorists.
How can Israel do that when Hamas uses human shields?
I don’t know but Israel should find a way to do it anyway.
Stop ignoring Israeli war crimes!!!
The head of the Israeli Democrats admits this is the ideology in some surprisingly candid comments:
“There is no doubt in my mind that he is committed to Israel. But he’s also committed to the idea that it is in the American and in the Israeli interest to achieve peace, and he would try to make a contribution to move that forward, although he so far hasn’t given any substantial indication of how we would do that,”
You see? It’s very important to achieve peace. Sure, we have absolutely no idea how to do that, but that’s not so important. What’s important is to continue talking about the endgame and if we never come up with an actual solution, we can just blame Israel, America or the Jews.
It is very easy to talk about how important peace is and to say that Israel has the right to defend itself. But actually making those things happen in the real world is not nearly as easy. It is complex, dangerous and, sadly, even after great pains are taken to avoid it, innocent people still sometimes get caught in the crossfire. But that is the world we live in. If only the Left would come live in it with us, we wouldn’t have the need to point all this out.