I would really like to punch Ismail Hanieh, the Hamas prime minister of the Gaza Strip, in the face. I would derive great pleasure from seeing every Hamas facility in Gaza reduced to rubble and every fanatical Islamic Jew-hater there blown to smithereens.
I just want to put that on the record for the readers of this left-wing accommodationist blog. Because, as always, some readers who disagree with me seem to think I’m a wimp. That rankles. I mean, I have nothing against wimps. Wimps can be fine people to know, especially if they are standing in front of you in a long line at the bank or have just picked the juiciest, finest-looking apple out of the pile at the supermarket. They’re so deferential, so anxious to please.
But that’s not me. In my guts, I’m as eager to bomb Gaza into the stone age as your average kindergarten bully is to push little Yoram off the sliding board. No cease fires for Yoram. Not even for a minute.
Alas, Gaza is not a kindergarten playground and I’ve learned a few things about self-control and clear thinking in my nearly five post-preschool decades. I realize that punching Hanieh in the face might be hugely satisfying in the short run, but will not help me and my country achieve our long-term goals and protect our vital interests.
I value the critiques offered here on SoJo by thoughtful right-wingers. We disagree on our assessment of the facts, our analysis of the geopolitical factors in play in this war, about the efficacy of military force, and about what goals it can reasonably be expected to achieve. Those are all legitimate disagreements. But I really dislike the implication by others that the reason that I favor a cease fire and talks with Hamas is because I’m a coward, or a traitor, or a lily-livered bleeding heart who thinks that if we make nice to our enemies they will make nice in return.
I’ve done my time in the IDF and have a son in an elite unit. With my encouragement, my older daughter has for the last year and a half studied and lived in Sderot. In other words, I and my family do not shrink from responsibility. We have direct experience of the realities of the conflict.
Its precisely that experience and commitment that makes me skeptical of what military force can accomplish and aware of how killing hundreds of Palestinians and destroying their homes can exacerbate the conflict in the long term.
That’s why I don’t let my primal urges determine my politics. “Mi-hu gibor? Ha-kovesh et yitzro,” said the Sages. Or in free translation: “Who’s not a wimp? The guy who puts his guts in their place.”