Saturday, February 10, 2024

Cheering Israel's self-destructive behavior

Given the reaction of even the pro-peace friends and relatives I have in my life, I'm not surprised at all that J Street has largely supported Israel's war in Gaza. What I don't get is why so many people who both support Israel and really do seem to care about Palestinian lives (even if, in the end, they are valued less than Israeli lives), think it is supporting Israel to cheer them into a war that they will probably lose. And Israel almost certainly will lose. I mean, the goal they set, to "destroy Hamas" cannot be achieved with military force. Even if they kill every Hamas member (which is not a real possibility), Hamas' popularity skyrockets whenever they brutalize civilians and Hamas is the only force fighting back. Almost all of Hamas' leadership is outside of Gaza and this is the best recruitment ploy they could ever dream of.

Israel, like many countries, including the U.S., has over-idealized the military victories in their founding myths. The Israel-against-all-odds-defeated-a-half-dozen-Arab-states (based largely on 1948 and 1967) leaves Israelis with the idea that military force is more effective than it actually is. Plus, Israel in the 40s and 60s is very different than Israel is today. Back then, Israel did not have to care about what the world thought about them. They were a minor economy that was not strongly tied to anyone else. Nowadays the Israeli economy, especially its tech sector, is deeply integrated into the European, American, Canadian, and Australian markets, plus the markets of numerous developing countries, such as India, and the former Soviet Union. It actually matters if the world consensus decides that Israel is committing war crimes, and that is potentially a massive blow to the Israeli economy. I just can't see any scenario where this war plausibly makes Israel more safe or better off in any way. Watching friends and relatives cheer on Israel's self-destructive behavior in the name of being pro-Israel is a truly strange sight.