Another take on the double standard question…

I haven’t said much about the horrors going on in Gaza on this blog. What is there to say? Michael Leunig says it rather nicely with this cartoon in today’s edition of The Age. I wonder what criticism there will be in tomorrow’s edition?

Advertisements

20 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

20 responses to “Another take on the double standard question…

  1. Louise

    Hmmmm. But then all the news outlets here are very anti-Israel. In much the same way that the news outlets in the States are very pro-Israel.

    Nobody denies that we have the right to defend ourselves even if it means killing our attackers.

    I certainly don’t know what the answer is, but a cease-fire would be good if it could be achieved.

  2. Louise

    Nobody denies that we have the right to defend ourselves even if it means killing our attackers.

    Obviously, I am outlining the general principle of self-defence, not identifying as a citizen of Israel!

  3. Schütz

    Usually when there is conflict between Israel and Palestine there is a fair number of letters to the editor putting the Israeli point of view. I haven’t see that with this current conflict. There wasn’t even any backlash against Leunig in today’s paper. Maybe tomorrow…? But it seems to me everyone is a bit shocked at the violence we are observing, whatever the original justification for it may have been.

  4. Mikha'el

    He (that is God) did tell them (all humans) not to take an innocent person’s life. It’s called natural law.

    Also, David, if you have a moment, could you add a comment on the doctrine of just war and proportionality? Israel has the right to defend itself from an aggressor, but that right is naturally limited. Have the Israeli Government and Army conducted themselves in an appropriate manner? Consider some of the effects on Gaza of Israel’s response to the shelling by Hamas:

    – many innocent people have been killed
    – a UN school has been bombed because it was alleged that militants were firing from it. The UN established that it contained no militants (http://www.theage.com.au/world/no-militants-in-bombed-school-un-director-says-20090107-7bzo.html). This is unnerving given the bombing of the UN compound and consequent death of 4 UN observers in the recent war with Lebanon (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5215366.stm)
    – two medical clinics have been razed, one owned by Caritas Jerusalem and the other by Christian Aid
    – the Israeli Judiciary has ordered the Israeli Government to permit journalists into Gaza to cover the war, but that has not happened, so who knows what else is going on in there
    – and Israeli politicians have called for the world to support them, but when the world has spoken through the UN calling for an immediate cease fire, they have been ignored (14/15 member states of the Security Council voted for this resolution, with the US abstaining)

    People of all creeds have protested against this behaviour, including Israelis in Israel.

    Surely, the God of Abrahan, Isaac and Jacob would not approve of all this (though I, of course, accept His decision whatever it may be).

  5. Louise

    But it seems to me everyone is a bit shocked at the violence we are observing, whatever the original justification for it may have been.

    Has it been worse that previously, then? Really, I’m finding it very hard to get at the facts.

    For further clarifiction, I am certainly not suggesting that Israel has the right to be blowing up innocent civilians all over the place.

  6. Louise

    Mikha’el, that list you have there sure is a bunch of wickedness and if it’s all true (I’m ssuming it is) then Israel is certainly in the wrong.

  7. Schütz

    Actually, Lou, I think the evidence concerning this current violence is pretty damning. From all I have seen, it is way beyond proportionality.

    And “proportionality” in the Just War theory didn’t mean “give as good as you got”, it meant to use no more force than was necessary to achieve your own defence.

  8. Son of Trypho

    I don’t like to get involved in these discussions because they generally become very toxic, very quickly, however I feel inclined to ask you Schutz what do you think Israel should have done to stop the rockets?
    (Please take into account the religious/political/ideological goals and intentions of Hamas in your response if you don’t mind).

  9. Louise

    Actually, Lou, I think the evidence concerning this current violence is pretty damning. From all I have seen, it is way beyond proportionality.

    Righto.

    ST does raise an important point about how the heck Israel *is* supposed to deal with Hamas. I don’t think Hamas just want back a bit of land.

  10. Mikha'el

    Son of Trypho, I agree with you- they can quickly become very toxic.

    However, Jesus is our example. He spoke up for the sake of those who crucified him (Jews and Gentiles), so if we are truly concerned with the salvation of souls, we must play our part compassionately.

  11. Son of Trypho

    Mikha’el

    Thanks – and don’t get me wrong but I’m not sure how you translate your contribution to actual actions on the ground.

    Secondly, although for Christians Jesus is our example, for Jews or Muslims he isn’t.

    Can you elaborate on some concrete actions that Israel should have taken to stop the rockets taking into account Hamas’ religious/political/ideological goals and intentions.

    I’d be interested to read your thoughts.

  12. Mikha'el

    Not a problem Son of Trypho.

    “Thanks – and don’t get me wrong but I’m not sure how you translate your contribution to actual actions on the ground.”

    Actions depend on the person acting and the circumstances. Let’s take a Christian man for example. If he is blogging, he speaks the truth, as the Samaritan woman spoke the truth to Jesus at the well. It is probable that she did not foresee that her truthfulness would lead to a whole town coming to meet Jesus. Or if the Christian man comes face to face with a person perpetuating evil, he (appropriately) calls that person out as John the Baptist called Herod to account.

    This even works on the state level, when an MP expresses his or her concerns during governmental deliberations, which may lead to that state’s diplomat at the United Nations voting for a resolution of the Security Council demanding a cease fire.

    And if he is especially devout, he can call on the Almighty through prayer. That prayer can be for God, for example, to lead and strengthen the Holy See in their efforts.

    These are some examples, and I am sure you can throw some back at me. Please do.

    “Secondly, although for Christians Jesus is our example, for Jews or Muslims he isn’t.”

    I think Jesus is their example, on at least two levels. First, to the extent that any human being encounters the truth, whether they are Jews, Muslins, Buddhists, or atheists, they encounter Jesus. Consider the natural law, which to a large extent is knowable through reason alone. Second, Jesus is very much The example to the Jews through the Old Testament. As for Muslims, they believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob too, even though it is to a more imperfect degree.

    “Can you elaborate on some concrete actions that Israel should have taken to stop the rockets taking into account Hamas’ religious/political/ideological goals and intentions.”

    I can not answer this question because I am not knowledgeable in the art of war or in the doctrine of just war. I can say that Israel has a right to defend itself against the rocket attacks, but that right is circumscribed. From their actions, it appears that they have overstepped even secular standards of conduct in the engagement of war.

    PS: I am new to blogging. Can anyone tell me how to use italics?

  13. Son of Trypho

    Mikha’el

    With regards to your first point; there is of course a responsibility to speak out against evil, but it cannot be selective and cannot refuse to take into account the circumstances and context of the situation involved – especially if it is discussing political policy which is (not always for the best) determined in the national interest.

    With regards to your second point; what I meant was that Jews and Muslims do not take up the example of Jesus, they choose otherwise.

    He, of course, is an example for all. By not choosing to use Jesus as an example, these faiths do not see situations in the same way that Christians do and do not conduct themselves similarly. Muslims see Mohammed as their example and Jews have a range of figures – the Maccabees/Hasmonaeans, David etc.

    As to your third response;
    I appreciate your admission that you are unsure, however you have come on here and made comments with implied value judgements about the situation.

    You constantly refer to Israel’s right to defend itself, circumscribed by conditions, but don’t actually present any real examples of what they could have done instead – this makes it very hard to discuss the topic with you.

    It would be like me responding to your question about italics with;

    Mikha’el you can use italics on the blog within certain conditions.

    I have affirmed that you can do it, but haven’t actually answered your question. Do you see the similarity?

  14. Mikha'el

    “With regards to your first point; there is of course a responsibility to speak out against evil, but it cannot be selective and cannot refuse to take into account the circumstances and context of the situation involved – especially if it is discussing political policy which is (not always for the best) determined in the national interest.”

    I am unsure if you are implying that I am being partial in my comments. If so, please show me where and I will reply.

    “With regards to your second point; what I meant was that Jews and Muslims do not take up the example of Jesus, they choose otherwise.

    He, of course, is an example for all. By not choosing to use Jesus as an example, these faiths do not see situations in the same way that Christians do and do not conduct themselves similarly. Muslims see Mohammed as their example and Jews have a range of figures – the Maccabees/Hasmonaeans, David etc.”

    Yes, I acknowledge that they do not take up the historical person of Jesus as their example. But they have the natural law inscribed on their hearts and their conscious bears witness to it. Jesus is the author of both. So to the extent that they act accordingly, they do as Jesus wills them to do.

    And this, I believe, is precisely why Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly called attention to the need for an appreciation natural law. For example, his holiness said:

    ‘It is precisely in the light of this contestation that all the urgency of the necessity to reflect upon the theme of natural law and to rediscover its truth common to all men appears. The said law, to which the Apostle Paul refers (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is written on the heart of man and is consequently, even today, accessible.

    In these values are expressed unbreakable and contingent norms that do not depend on the will of the legislator and not even on the consensus that the State can and must give. They are, in fact, norms that precede any human law: as such, they are not subject to modification by anyone. The natural law, together with fundamental rights, is the source from which ethical imperatives also flow, which it is only right to honor.

    Natural law is, definitively, the only valid bulwark against the arbitrary power or the deception of ideological manipulation. The knowledge of this law inscribed on the heart of man increases with the progress of the moral conscience.
    The first duty for all, and particularly for those with public responsibility, must therefore be to promote the maturation of the moral conscience. This is the fundamental progress without which all other progress proves non-authentic.’
    http://www.zenit.org/article-18989?l=english

    So, to tie my point back to the original caricature, it is incorrect for Moses to say to God ‘You should also be telling THEM not to kill’, because God DID tell them not to kill an innocent person when He inscribed the natural law on their hearts (i.e. the hearts of ALL men).

    “As to your third response;
    I appreciate your admission that you are unsure, however you have come on here and made comments with implied value judgements about the situation.

    You constantly refer to Israel’s right to defend itself, circumscribed by conditions, but don’t actually present any real examples of what they could have done instead – this makes it very hard to discuss the topic with you.

    It would be like me responding to your question about italics with;

    Mikha’el you can use italics on the blog within certain conditions.

    I have affirmed that you can do it, but haven’t actually answered your question. Do you see the similarity?”

    Of course I make ‘value judgements’. For example, abortion is a mortal sin capable of resulting in a man’s damnation. If you ask me how to stop abortion, I could give you some suggestions, but even if I could not give any suggestions, I would still insist that abortion is wrong. If I or anyone knew what the solution was then there would be no need for any man to work out his salvation with trembling and fear (Philippains 2:12). In other words, I can judge an act to be immoral without being able to prescribe preventative measures.

    More importantly, can anyone tell me how to use italics?

  15. Schütz

    Mikh'ael, since no one has answered you question, let me say that the way to do italics in the combox is to put < i > at the beginning of the text (but without the blanks between the brackets and the "i" – I had to do that or it would not come out right in appearance) and at the other end of the text you "close the brackets" with a < / i > – but again without the spaces. This works for bold too, as in < b > and < / b >.

  16. Mikha'el

    Thanks David

  17. Past Elder

    Defend itself against what?

    13 Israeli dead from crap weapons that are lucky to hit the broadside of a barn, over 1000 Palestinian dead from a well financed state of the art military.

  18. eulogos

    For another point of view, the now Catholic blogger
    Dawn Eden

    http://dawneden.blogspot.com/2009/01/news-you-wont-see-on-cnn-night-hamas.html

    If someone is good at making links, please do it for me. I always have to go to a blog that has the instructions and painfully copy them, and I never remember until the next time.

    Susan Peterson

  19. Mikha'el

    Pastor Elder

    It may be that the rockets fired by Hamas into Israel do not cause much property damage or result in many deaths. But the damage inflicted by those rockets is broader than that. For example, consider the fear induced into Israeli citizens every time a warning alarm sounds and they have to rush into bomb shelters. This disruption to ordinary life is very damaging, especially for the young and elderly. It may be that Hamas is simply trying to cause the maximum amount of inconvenience and fear among the greatest number of Israelis possible. Israel does have a right to defend itself against such behavior, but if that right exists, it is not a blank cheque. Israel must respond appropriately to the threat, so I think the main issue is one of proportionality.

  20. Past Elder

    Ever seen a dead body that got that way from bullets, explosions, or flying debris therefrom?

    They have a way of inducing fear that disrupts ordinary life too, besides the ones whose ordinary life is ended.