The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the Republican Party and its President-elect Donald Trump.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

In Defense of Israel

I read with great dismay and frustration the NY Times op-ed Wednesday by Amos Oz, an Israeli writer, journalist and professor with a history of often switching parties and positions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his country's use of military force. The piece is a harsh critique of Israel's controversial raid on a Turkish flotilla Monday, in defending its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza in which nine "passengers" were killed. His position is misguided, to say the least.

Let's not be apologists for terrorists or call them anything but what they are. These passengers were not on some "humanitarian" mission, as Oz claims. They were there simply to provoke Israel and bring about conflict. As the Times states in its editorial Wednesday, "The Gaza Freedom March made its motives clear in a statement before Monday's deadly confrontation: A Violent response from Israel will breathe new life into the Palestine solidarity movement, drawing attention to the blockade." And in preparation for that confrontation these militants were armed with metal pipes, sticks, bats and knives and other weapons. So when Israeli commandos rappelled from helicopters onto the ship's deck, the situation exploded into the desired violence.

Oz writes that "Hamas is not just a terrorist organization. Hamas is an idea, a desperate and fanatical idea that grew out of the desolation and frustration of many Palestinians." But it is a terrorist organization, and one that is hellbent on the destruction of Israel. When Oz writes of "Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip and Monday's violent interception of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid there..." it becomes quite clear that he's cherry picking his incidents to bolster his bias.

I don't profess to have the answers here, but I also take issue with those who in an over simplified manner believe they do. The current Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back at least 63 years to Israel's formation. Since then there have been several wars, violent outbreaks, and attempts at peace, must notably during 2000's Camp David summit when then-Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat rejected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer of Gaza, virtually all of the West Bank, and Palestinian control over Eastern Jerusalem, to be the capital of the new Palestinian state. This is essentially what Oz believes Israel should "quickly" offer up to the Palestinians yet again as a means of solving this complex political, military, religious and cultural conflict that's spanned more than six decades (or thousands of years, depending upon how you view it). There is no quick fix. And as demonstrated by the world's swift, harsh and uniform condemnation of Israel's actions Monday, Israel and it's people are once again alone in this not-very-Jew-friendly world. How come the condemnations aren't that swift when Jewish children are blown to smithereens by Palestinian terrorists?

For the record, I am not a 100% unconditional Israeli loyalist and defender. I believe there needs to be a Palestinian state, and I've often been critical of Israel's actions in working towards that end. And I am also critical of Palestinian leadership, which for decades has failed its people miserably. But the truth is, throughout history and all the horrific persecution that goes with it, no one defends Jews but Jews. Israel must decide for itself how best to combat enemies who wish to "wipe it off the face of the Earth"--including Hamas, Al Qaeda and Ahmadinejad's Iran--and accept the strategic, diplomatic and military consequences.

In his Times piece, Oz exhibits both a naivete and arrogance that recalls that of the German Jews seventy years ago as they stuck their collecvtive heads in the sand even as they were thrown into trains bound for the camps and their eventual deaths. Incredibly for someone raised in Israel and who's served in the IDF, Oz appears to misjudge this enemy and its intentions. What Arafat's ideological miscalculation showed in 2000 is that with any negotiation, it takes two equally motivated, logical, reasonable partners at the table. It's virtually impossible to negotiate with an enemy who's only intention is to destroy you. And that's the point Oz seems to miss.

For a more practical assessment of the conflict, Times readers can hop a couple of inches to the right and check out Tom Friedman who, as usual, provides analysis, common sense and an even hand regarding this very complicated part of the world. If only life, and a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, were as simple as Oz suggests.


  • At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If Israel knew that violence was the desired outcome, they why did they give the enemy what it seeks?

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger The Ostroy Report said…

    It was defneding its blockade. Israel's positions/need to protect itself has never been subjugated by the threat of violence

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger The Ostroy Report said…

    It was defneding its blockade. Israel's positions/need to protect itself has never been subjugated by the threat of violence

  • At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is a Palestinian State. It's called Jordan.

  • At 4:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do not forget their blockade is illegal, and is collective punishment + it happened in international waters, under huge media scrutiny, and they answered fists, sticks and chains with live bullets (why were no rubber bullets used???).
    Overall very poor preparation and execution: deaths, PR disaster, and nothing achieved in their interest. Hamas must be smiling over all this.
    So was it really worth it?

    And if all this is acceptable to some, does this mean that at the next G8 summit, governments may send army troops into the streets to shoot with live rounds at demonstrators when these dare to fight them?
    "Hey, we killed a few demonstrators, sorry about that, but it was pure self defense, some even stole our guns we brought along, and we are sure some in the crowd were linked to radical organizations. And we mention also Al Qaeda & Iran are involved in all this of course. So we do not regret what we did, as it is not our fault."

    Sorry, it just does not make sense, unless Israel is doing it.

    ps: read the FULL Goldstone report, I did, it is mindboggling what is in there! it may change your mind about Israel vs Gaza in general, and the eternal IDF rhetoric of "protecting ourselves against terrorists justified our actions". This flotillagate is yet another sad example of excessive abuse of power of Israel.

  • At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Andy, supporting "israel" is exactly the same as supporting regimes like those of Pol Pot, Slobodan Milosewicz, Radko Mladic, Radavan Karagicz, Agusto Pinochet, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, The Taliban, Tito, Myanmar, Kim Jong Il and Hideki Tojo. Exactly the same. No difference whatsoever. Shame an educated person like you can't see that.

  • At 1:57 PM, Anonymous mildred said…

    Well said!
    It is at times like this that the undercurrent of anti-semitism and hatred of Israel, rears its ugly head - but its always there -
    Your "friend" Sean Hannity passionately and fervently defended Israel against his stupidly critical guests, including a Catholic priest -
    It is said "if the arabs would lay down their arms, there would be peace -
    If Israel would lay down their arms -there would be NO Israel!

  • At 2:18 PM, Anonymous mildred said…

    Israel did exactly as it should have done and what the United States and every other country in the world, would do and has done in the past, for their protection and security.

  • At 6:58 PM, Blogger The Ostroy Report said…

    Anon 607: Really? Israel is the same as those regimes? They were Democracies? And last time I checked, not one of those you mentioned saw their people killed in the millions by outside enemies, nor have their people suffered and been persecuted for centuries. That you compare these brutal, violent, murderous dictatorships to israel just glaringly illustrates your extreme anti-Semitism.

  • At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Demonizing Israel by comparing it with Stalin/Hitler and other loonies is BS IMO, what we see here is a failed balancing act, where Israel is confronted with extremists, and since it is hard to coexist with neighbours who wants you dead, and handicapped with political coalitions made with extremists, we end up in this endless spiral of violence.
    We may not forget this is all driven by small groups on both sides, taking their own civilians hostage in the process. But I still believe, since Israel has most cards in hand, they can stop fueling this spiral, controlled lifting Gaza's blockade is just one step. Prisoners, end of Kassams, Golan, colonies, the wall etc could be next. As soon as you can prove to the world you are willing to be reasonable, it will isolate and stop the brainwashing by the extremists (local and worldwide), but no one does for now, perhaps out of political gain or simply narrow-minded extremism.
    I have Jewish and Arab friends, and to be honest, they are the nicest people in the world, probably because they do not have to endure rockets, suicide bombers and absurd blockades.
    May long-term common sense on both sides win one day. Such excessive demonstration of power from Israel really helps nothing move forward, it is WRONG, same applies to those who send who terorize civilians in Israel with rockets and bombs, it is WRONG. It will probably take more blood before wisdom prevails, sad, but often the case with most deadlocked conflicts we have seen this century.

    ps: Keep up the good work with this excellent blog, Andy!

  • At 2:31 PM, Anonymous mildred said…

    Idiot - you are beyond anti-semitism - you are too brain dead for reason -enjoy life on Mars!


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