Thursday, July 26, 2018

It would behoove Israel to clearly remind its critics of this simple truth - by Martin Sherman

When all is said and done, demanding that one entity treat an enemy entity – with which it is fighting – in precisely the same manner it treats its friends isn't just patently irrational it is also patently immoral.

Martin Sherman..
Israel Hayom..
26 July '18..

One of the most prevalent and unfounded falsehoods around is that Israeli self-defense in the face of Arab hostility – which targets Jews solely because they are Jews – is racist in nature. This accusation stems from the enforcement measures required for this self-defense, which are implemented differently (and therefore, according to the claim, are discriminatory) toward Palestinians Arabs compared to Jewish Israelis.

On the fundamental level, claiming that collective preventive measures by one particular side against the collective efforts of another side to harm it or its allies are tainted with unacceptable group hatred is a baseless argument – conceptually, morally and practically. On the Israeli-Palestinian level, this argument is baseless tenfold.

When all is said and done, demanding that one entity treat an enemy entity – with which it is fighting – in precisely the same manner it treats its friends isn't just patently irrational it is also patently immoral. Indeed, intrinsically it means erasing, or at the very least eroding the right to self-defense, the right to protect the security of the entity itself as a group, and to protect the security of the group's members.

To the best of my knowledge, the democratic doctrine does not negate the possibility of hostility toward a democratic state, even when racist undertones do not even exist. Likewise, this hostility can certainly stem from the entity whose ethnic identity differs from that of the majority of the citizens in the democracy. How, therefore, can it be claimed that the moral conduct of a democracy is flawed when it identifies an enemy as an enemy and treats it as such?

When the questions are presented in this manner, the answers seem obvious and simple, almost self-evident. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case when it comes to Israel – particularly as it pertains to the conflict with the Palestinians.

In this conflict, democratic Israel is pitted against a bitter, uncompromising enemy with a collective, burning desire to harm it and its citizens; a desire that is essentially its raison d'etre. Moreover, in its leaders' very declarations, its foundational documents and the behavior of its members, the Palestinian collective defines itself, unequivocally, as an enemy.

Thus Israel cannot be expected to match its means of thwarting, deterring and punishing the enemy's hostile acts – to the measures it applies against its own citizens, who are devoid of said hostility. It is within this context that we must view the battery of measures implemented against those who self-identify with the Palestinian collective but not against the citizens of Israel, such as, travel restrictions on certain roads, security inspections at checkpoints, administrative detentions, home demolitions, early morning raids and restrictions on other liberties.

These enforcement measures are not rooted in a doctrine of racial superiority, but rather in the obligation to provide security for Israeli citizens. These measures are the net result of decades of bitter experience with murder and destruction. One can, of course, disagree with how wise, effective and necessary each or any of these measures is, but not with why they exist. Without a shadow of a doubt, they exist because of Arab hostility, not the Arab ethnicity.

It would behoove Israel, therefore, to clearly remind its critics of this simple truth, which has either been forgotten or hidden: Identifying an enemy as an enemy is not racism; it is dictated by common sense and the instinct to survive.

Martin Sherman is the founder and CEO of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

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