Choosing The Right Side In Conflict
“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Wiesel, professor, author and former prisoner at Auschwitz
When choosing a side in conflict, it should be our moral dispositions that trump political correctness and ideology. Morality offers a simple solution to an array of complex problems. Secondly, knowledge and facts are powerful tools for determining which side is worthy of our support. Choosing to support a side that promotes everything that goes against our own common morality makes the least amount of sense. Murder, tyranny, genocide, racism and indiscriminate hatred (or the advocacy of those things) go against our common morality. To most of us, it's incomprehensible to accept any of those things as conducive to the well-being of our families.
Stephen Harper said it best during his time as a Canadian Alliance MP:
“We understand that the great geopolitical battles against modern tyrants and threats are battles over values. Conservatives must take the moral stand, with our allies, in favour of the fundamental values of our society, including democracy, free enterprise and individual freedom.”
- Stephen Harper, 2003
Democracy, free enterprise and individual freedom are the things that define Canada. They're things that all Canadians value. The same can be said for the United States. Preserving and protecting these things is fundamental if we want to preserve and keep our two countries as we know them.
Ronald Reagan said the following about his country in 1964, while quoting a conversation with a Cuban businessman who had escaped to the United States:
“And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth. This idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.”
- Ronald Reagan, 1964
It's as simple as that, isn't it? If we agree with Stephen Harper and Ronald Reagan, we can't possibly choose a side that advocates for less personal freedom, the death and extermination of any one race, or for the elimination of democracy. It would make no sense if we chose such a side, especially if that side were to somehow prevail and implement its own values upon us. Human rights, equality, freedom and personal responsibility make up a majority of our moral values. Letting our reactionary emotional responses and our need for political correctness overrule our values is the same as letting go of those values all together.
Choosing the side of the Nazis would have been viewed as immoral, not just because of its doctrine of genocide and mass murder, but because Nazism goes against democracy, individual freedom and the idea of equality under the law.
With that being said, it's unfathomable to imagine how anyone who values democracy and freedom could refuse to support Israel in its quest to secure its longevity in a hostile region. A region that is full of enemies advocating for Israel's destruction, the slaughter of Jews and the implementation of Sharia Law over democracy.
“The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews, until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 'Oh Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!'” - Article 7, Hamas Constitution
“...Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day Of Resurrection...This is the status in Islamic Sharia, and is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force...,” - Article 11, Hamas Constitution
“Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.” - Article 28, Hamas Constitution
“Leaving the circle of conflict with Israel is a major act of treason and it will bring curse on its perpetrators.” - Article 32, Hamas Constitution
Now let's take a look at some of Israel's Basic Laws:
“The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
There shall be no violation of the life, body or dignity of any person as such.
There shall be no violation of the property of a person.
All persons are entitled to protection of their life, body and dignity.
All persons have the right to privacy and to intimacy.
All government authorities are bound to respect the rights under this Basic Law."
Interesting, isn't it? Israel's most basic laws don't call for the extermination of anyone, let alone anyone belonging to a particular religion or ethnicity. In stark contrast to Hamas and Islamic Sharia Law, intimacy and privacy are basic rights in Israel. Furthermore, no one is expected to sacrifice their lives or the lives of their children for the sake of killing a Muslim. In fact, Israel's values are nearly identical to Canadian values.
Yes, Israel has killed several children and civilians in Gaza. Unlike Hamas, however, Israel doesn't target civilians on purpose or use them as shields. One excuse being repeated within some political circles to justify Hamas' use of civilians for protection is that Gaza is densely populated, making it difficult for Hamas to launch rockets at Israel from anywhere else. Luckily, Harvard's own, Alan Dershowitz, blew that theory out of the water using maps, satellite images and facts.
“The fact that these sparsely populated areas exist in the Gaza Strip raise several important moral questions: First, why don't the media show the relatively open areas in the Gaza Strip? Why do they only show the densely populated cities? There are several possible reasons. There is no fighting going on in the sparsely populated areas, so showing them would be boring. But that's precisely the point – to show areas from which Hamas could be firing rockets and building tunnels but has chosen not to.”
- Alan Dershowitz, “Empty Spaces In Gaza”, Gatestone Institute
According to this density map, most of the Gaza Strip is free, sparsely inhabited space. Yet, many prominent political figures and media continue to give Hamas the benefit of the doubt – even though there isn't any room left to doubt their need to sacrifice innocent civilians for Allah.
“Hamas puts its missiles, its rockets in civilian areas, part of it because Gaza is pretty small and densely populated.”
- Hillary Clinton, Fusion TV interview
To her credit, in her interview with Fusion TV, Hillary Clinton did admit that she believes Hamas is a terrorist organization and that it intentionally provoked Israel in the latest conflict. However, the fact that a potential 2016 presidential candidate is willing to disseminate such blatant lies about population density in Gaza should raise red flags.
The most mythical – and most damaging – of the pro-Hamas arguments within political circles is the one that claims Jews have no right to occupy Israel. The mythical notion that Jews have no ancestral connection to Israel, or that Jews magically appeared in Israel only after the UN declared it a state, is not only historically inaccurate, it's rooted in anti-semitism.
The name Israel dates back to 1209 BC and was found engraved on a Stele in an ancient temple in Thebes by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie. The reference to Israel was rather bleak, but it helped historians put Israel's age into perspective.
“The Canaan has been plundered into every sort of woe; Ashkelon has been overcome; Gezer has been captured; Yanoam is made non-existent; Israel is laid waste and his seed is not;”
- Merneptah Stele
Most historians agree that sometime during the Iron Age, an ethnic group emerged known as the Israelites. The oldest Hebrew text dates back to between 1050 and 970 BCE and was found near an ancient Israelite settlement known as Elah Fortress. The kingdoms of Judah and Israel date back to 930 BCE.
No legitimate historians will argue the ancestral and historical existence of Jewish people in Israel. The ones who do, they've chosen to disregard archaeological evidence and historical texts. Their reasons for rejecting scientific evidence are open to speculation, although it would be far-fetched to assume that anti-semitism and religious ideology have nothing to do with it.
When it comes down to facts, Israel is a secular democracy that promotes individual freedom. Israel is home to Jews, Christians, Muslims and atheists. It's government recognizes gay marriage and the right to intimacy and privacy. Although Gaza is considered a democracy, the values expressed by its elected governments are not conducive to personal freedom and liberty. Furthermore, Israel has been occupied by people of Jewish heritage since before the life and death of Jesus Christ.
The bottom line is: just like Palestine, Israel has earned its right to coexist in the Middle East alongside its Arab neighbours. Its right to defend itself from aggression is not only necessary, but morally justified.