OpinionIsrael at War

Let’s begin with some introspection

Perhaps those attacking Israel should consider the actions of their own country.

Israeli soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip, April 6, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Israeli soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip, April 6, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Sarah N. Stern
Sarah N. Stern
Sarah N. Stern is the founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), a think tank that specializes in the Middle East. She is the author of Saudi Arabia and the Global Terrorist Network (2011).  

Too many people in positions of power have all too conveniently forgotten what Israel is up against. And what we in the United States are up against, for that matter. Israel has been fighting a war of no choice. It is an existential war. It was forced upon Israel on Oct. 7, when the most brutal atrocities imaginable—the worst since the days of the Holocaust—were inflicted on Israelis.

Now that six months have passed since Oct. 7, it’s time to ask a few pointed questions: Has the world forgotten the babies who were decapitated and burned in ovens in front of their parents who had been tied to chairs? Have they forgotten the brutally raped women whose breasts were cut off? The sexually terrorized women with knives penetrating their vaginas?

Do they understand what it’s like for the hostages sitting in the shivering cold with no visits or medication from the International Red Cross, with perhaps one pita a day to eat? Do they understand, or even want to, what it might be like for these women to be carrying the babies of their terrorist rapists and to have to give birth to them under these horrific conditions? Does anyone even take a moment to fathom the pain of the remaining 133 families whose loved ones have been waiting for half a year for some hint of assurance that they have not been forgotten in the underground swamp of a metro system of tunnels?

Do our “intelligentsia” and the “useful idiots” who follow them on our college campuses who shriek the genocidal chant “from the river to the sea” understand that all this and much worse could happen to every single one of the 9.5 million citizens of Israel if there were no IDF?

Do they take a moment to understand that each gesture President Joe Biden makes towards the Muslim community in Michigan or the growing radical left of the Democratic Party serves to empower Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and all of Iran’s terror proxies? Do they know how feeble the U.S. looks to the rest of the international community and to our remaining friends and allies? Do they take a nanosecond to understand the rapidly emerging ties between Moscow, Beijing and Iran and their hatred of the U.S.?

This past week has been a black one in the IDF’s proud history. It began with the very unfortunate accidental killing of seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen, including an American-Canadian citizen. Of course, the IDF did an immediate investigation. Upon the results of the investigation, the IDF immediately fired a colonel and a major involved. Many officers were severely rebuked.

But that did not prevent Biden from harshly reprimanding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Thursday. Biden warned that if conditions do not improve in Gaza, he would consider stark consequences for America’s strongest ally in the region. Some 40 Democratic House members sent a letter to the president and the secretary of state threatening to withhold current and future arms transfers to Israel unless a complete investigation is completed—which it has been—and if Israel “fails to mitigate harm to innocent civilians in Gaza, including aid workers” or “denies or restricts the transport and delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.” Israel is attempting to mitigate harm and bring in humanitarian aid, which appears to mean nothing to these congresspeople.

May I remind these members of Congress, plus Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who has described Israel’s alleged blocking of food as a “war crime” and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who libelously said it is “plausible” that “Israel has committed acts of genocide,” that Israel has facilitated the transfer of massive amounts of food, water and fuel to Gaza while under constant assault by Hamas? Hamas has also compounded the problem by continuously obstructing delivery trucks and stealing the aid.

Of course, war crimes do occur, but not committed by Israel. They have been committed by many other nations. Might I remind these 40 members of Congress, Sen. Van Hollen and Sen. Warren of the horrific rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, as well as her parents and six-year-old sister in Muhammadiyah, Iraq by U.S. soldiers? Or of the secret detentions, enforced disappearances and torture by American forces in Iraq?

And what of the United Nations, which states that more than 40% of civilian casualties during our war in Afghanistan were children? What of our 20-year history of working with translators and special assistants to the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, only to precipitously withdraw and abandon them, along with Afghani women and young girls, to the savage forces of the Taliban?

What of the killing fields of Vietnam, the My Lai massacre, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden? What of the single night of March 9-10, 1945, when we dropped bombs over 16 square miles of Tokyo, leaving 100,000 civilians dead?

War is hell. If we are going to pass judgment on other nations, I would like to suggest that we begin with a small degree of self-reflection.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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