Contextual harassment

Once again, I meandered over to Arab News, and found this rather enlightened editorial. It decries the civilian deaths in the recent fighting in the Middle East, in very unrestrained language. In fact, it’s hard to quibble with the outrage of the author.

But reading it over, I can’t help but note a pronounced absence of certain pertinent facts.

If one only read this editorial, one might readily come to the conclusion that Israel suddenly started wholesale bombing of Lebanon, killing civilians willy-nilly.

“Hey, Avi, got any plans for the weekend?”

“Nothing much, Yitzhak. The wife wants us to take the kids up to see the in-laws.”

“Oh, you can do that any time. Why not come with me? A bunch of buddies and I are gonna go bomb Lebanon.”

“Sounds like a plan!”

The author (it’s unsigned) doesn’t feel it worthy to mention just what triggered the violence — years of Hezbollah firing rockets and missiles into Israel and numerous invasions, culminating with one assault that killed three Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two others.

Nor does the author waste any tears on the Israeli civilians killed in the fighting — or in the years of bombardment.

No, that’s not right. They weren’t killed IN the fighting, but DURING the fighting. Hezbollah has been firing off their rockets and missiles for years with relative impunity; the Israeli counteroffensive merely ratcheted up the speed with which they struck.

I guess the old rule that “there are no civilians in Israel” applies here. It seems that since Israel has pretty much universal military conscription for its Jewish citizens, they’re considered combatants.

But Israeli Arabs and Muslims don’t have to serve. (Many do, with distinction, but that’s irrelevant.) Several of them were killed by Hezbollah’s random rockets and missiles, so why aren’t they mentioned?

I hate to be a cynic, but I think it’s an application of the principle Meryl Yourish dubbed “Israeli Double Standard Time.”

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  1. Steve Crickmore August 23, 2006
  2. Socratease August 23, 2006
  3. Faith+1 August 23, 2006