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Civilization is hard work

Thesis statement:

The leading front of anti-Semitism is always a lazy rain shower of path-of-least-resistance thinking and blame-shifting, spreading out from a hard core of murderous hatred.  The Jews have always been easy scapegoats.  When they formed the nation of Israel, it became an easy global scapegoat.  The people who generally accept the proposition that Israel has no right to defend itself from terrorist rocket attacks – leading inexorably to the ultimate conclusion that it has no right to exist at all, which is the next step after blaming Israel for somehow forcing Palestinian terror gangs to shoot rockets at it – are above all else lazy.  They don’t want to face the searing moral choices imposed on those who have a sworn duty to protect Israeli civilians.

For example, the Hollywood Reporter tells us of a letter signed by an assortment of Spanish movie people, including actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz:

In an open letter published on Tuesday, they described Israel’s actions as “genocide.”

They also called on the European Union to “condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”

In the open letter, they demanded a cease-fire by the Israeli military and urged Israel to “lift the blockade, which the Gaza Strip has suffered for more than a decade.”

The letter also said: “Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air. Palestinians’ homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing.”

If Israel was interested in committing “genocide” against the residents of the Gaza Strip, it could have done so long ago, and it would have taken a week at most.  It is a profound insult to the actual victims of genocide – including, but sadly not limited to, the Jews – to misappropriate the term for this nauseating little screed.  It’s a strange “genocide” when the major activity of the Israeli Defense Force in Gaza, prior to the outbreak of the current conflict, was delivering tons of humanitarian assistance.  They even have a blog dedicated to tracking these shipments, because they wisely understood the necessity of reminding everyone about them, once the Palestinian propaganda machine got churning.

As for the civilian deaths in Gaza, those are solely and entirely the fault of Hamas, which put those people in harm’s way.  No Israeli had anything to do with Hamas’ decision to use schools as munitions dumps, or residential buildings as launch pads.

But Bardem, Cruz, et al know all this.  They’re evil, not stupid.  More to the point, they’re lazy.  They don’t want to deal with the ramifications of insisting that Palestinian terrorists have an unlimited license to bombard Israeli populations at will, deliberately targeting civilians, because if the Israeli military responds, human-shield tactics guarantee that Palestinian civilians would be killed.

They also don’t seem concerned that the action has shifted into the terror tunnel network, where Israeli forces are suffering significant casualties due to close-quarters fighting.  The Israelis do not want to be down in those tunnels, but the tenor of this conflict shifted dramatically when they got a look at the full extent of the network… which includes tunnels dug into Israeli territory, for the express purpose of murdering and kidnapping civilians.  What the Israelis found beneath the ground in Gaza clearly terrified them.  It should also sicken anyone with sincere humanitarian concerns, because that vast tunnel network is irrefutable evidence of what the terrorist masters of the Palestinian people actually do with their foreign aid.  They spend their money on weapons and tunnels.  They stash rockets in schools built by the United Nations Relief Works Agency.

But that’s all hard intellectual work – the necessary work of civilization.  Civilization is founded on some immutable principles, most importantly including a basic injunction against using violence to achieve personal or political ends.  Using terror tactics to threaten others into compliance is much easier than persuading them.  Resisting those tactics is long, hard work.  Conflict is always a contest of will.  It is the unique disadvantage of civilized people to forget that willpower is necessary to sustain what they have created.  They tend to believe civilization will be universally seen as superior to barbarism; it’s not necessary to vigorously defend what only madmen would want to destroy.  No amount of bloody lessons to the contrary will shake this belief in the Western world… at least, not until they’re the ones facing daily rocket attacks from the barbarians.

All forms of power have a way of following the path of least resistance.  In the United States, we’ve seen numerous demonstrations of how our gigantic government will harass the living hell out of law-abiding, well-meaning citizens, while ignoring various forms of flagrant lawbreaking and corruption.  This is partially due to the fact that leaning on those law-abiding, well-meaning people is relatively easy.  They have a lot to lose.  It’s easy to find and punish them.  They want to be good citizens and obey the law.  They have a great capacity for shame, which is easily exploited to manipulate them.

Jews, as a group, tend to have those qualities, while Israel is the law-abiding, well-meaning neighbor in a very rough neighborhood.  That’s why anti-Semitism is such a good indicator of civilization-level rot.  In Israel’s case, a good deal of the international Western civilization they belong to has lost its ability to distinguish between terrorists who hide behind non-combatants to fire missiles at civilians, and the professional military fighting to block those attacks with minimal loss of life all around.  People who would scream for immediate military protection if their neighborhoods sounded air-raid alerts every day feel comfortable criticizing Israel’s response to the same situation.  No squad of armed killers is going to come boiling out of a secret tunnel into Penelope Cruz’s backyard.

For many of the people who aren’t actually living in Israel while it’s under fire from Hamas, this is all something of an academic discussion, and in such discussions it’s always sobering to watch how quickly the core principles of civilization are sacrificed, because vigorously defending them is too difficult.  This is an ancient cycle of decay for every lawful nation mankind has ever constructed, for the civilized have a natural tendency to become complacent, while barbarians are energetic by definition.  And it’s so easy to compromise principles, such as the injunction against violent compulsion, before sacrificing them altogether.  Just make a little allowance for how people who are really pissed off should be allowed to kill a few victims to gain political leverage, and the cracks will quickly spread through those marble columns holding up the edifice of law and justice.

Of course, the people who sincerely think Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth are guilty of no particular hypocrisy by standing up for Hamas… only dishonesty.  But if the good people of the world are willing to extend Hamas sympathizers credit for “humanitarian” goodwill… well, there go the cracks in those marble columns again.  Defending civilization is hard work indeed, and you never get a day off.

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Civilization is hard work

Barbarism is nourished with a few concessions from ostensibly civilized people who should know better.

Thesis statement:

The leading front of anti-Semitism is always a lazy rain shower of path-of-least-resistance thinking and blame-shifting, spreading out from a hard core of murderous hatred.  The Jews have always been easy scapegoats.  When they formed the nation of Israel, it became an easy global scapegoat.  The people who generally accept the proposition that Israel has no right to defend itself from terrorist rocket attacks – leading inexorably to the ultimate conclusion that it has no right to exist at all, which is the next step after blaming Israel for somehow forcing Palestinian terror gangs to shoot rockets at it – are above all else lazy.  They don’t want to face the searing moral choices imposed on those who have a sworn duty to protect Israeli civilians.

For example, the Hollywood Reporter tells us of a letter signed by an assortment of Spanish movie people, including actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz:

In an open letter published on Tuesday, they described Israel??s actions as “genocide.”

They also called on the European Union to “condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”

In the open letter, they demanded a cease-fire by the Israeli military and urged Israel to “lift the blockade, which the Gaza Strip has suffered for more than a decade.”

The letter also said: “Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air. Palestinians’ homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing.”

If Israel was interested in committing “genocide” against the residents of the Gaza Strip, it could have done so long ago, and it would have taken a week at most.  It is a profound insult to the actual victims of genocide – including, but sadly not limited to, the Jews – to misappropriate the term for this nauseating little screed.  It’s a strange “genocide” when the major activity of the Israeli Defense Force in Gaza, prior to the outbreak of the current conflict, was delivering tons of humanitarian assistance.  They even have a blog dedicated to tracking these shipments, because they wisely understood the necessity of reminding everyone about them, once the Palestinian propaganda machine got churning.

As for the civilian deaths in Gaza, those are solely and entirely the fault of Hamas, which put those people in harm’s way.  No Israeli had anything to do with Hamas’ decision to use schools as munitions dumps, or residential buildings as launch pads.

But Bardem, Cruz, et al know all this.  They’re evil, not stupid.  More to the point, they’re lazy.  They don’t want to deal with the ramifications of insisting that Palestinian terrorists have an unlimited license to bombard Israeli populations at will, deliberately targeting civilians, because if the Israeli military responds, human-shield tactics guarantee that Palestinian civilians would be killed.

They also don’t seem concerned that the action has shifted into the terror tunnel network, where Israeli forces are suffering significant casualties due to close-quarters fighting.  The Israelis do not want to be down in those tunnels, but the tenor of this conflict shifted dramatically when they got a look at the full extent of the network… which includes tunnels dug into Israeli territory, for the express purpose of murdering and kidnapping civilians.  What the Israelis found beneath the ground in Gaza clearly terrified them.  It should also sicken anyone with sincere humanitarian concerns, because that vast tunnel network is irrefutable evidence of what the terrorist masters of the Palestinian people actually do with their foreign aid.  They spend their money on weapons and tunnels.  They stash rockets in schools built by the United Nations Relief Works Agency.

But that’s all hard intellectual work – the necessary work of civilization.  Civilization is founded on some immutable principles, most importantly including a basic injunction against using violence to achieve personal or political ends.  Using terror tactics to threaten others into compliance is much easier than persuading them.  Resisting those tactics is long, hard work.  Conflict is always a contest of will.  It is the unique disadvantage of civilized people to forget that willpower is necessary to sustain what they have created.  They tend to believe civilization will be universally seen as superior to barbarism; it’s not necessary to vigorously defend what only madmen would want to destroy.  No amount of bloody lessons to the contrary will shake this belief in the Western world… at least, not until they’re the ones facing daily rocket attacks from the barbarians.

All forms of power have a way of following the path of least resistance.  In the United States, we’ve seen numerous demonstrations of how our gigantic government will harass the living hell out of law-abiding, well-meaning citizens, while ignoring various forms of flagrant lawbreaking and corruption.  This is partially due to the fact that leaning on those law-abiding, well-meaning people is relatively easy.  They have a lot to lose.  It’s easy to find and punish them.  They want to be good citizens and obey the law.  They have a great capacity for shame, which is easily exploited to manipulate them.

Jews, as a group, tend to have those qualities, while Israel is the law-abiding, well-meaning neighbor in a very rough neighborhood.  That’s why anti-Semitism is such a good indicator of civilization-level rot.  In Israel’s case, a good deal of the international Western civilization they belong to has lost its ability to distinguish between terrorists who hide behind non-combatants to fire missiles at civilians, and the professional military fighting to block those attacks with minimal loss of life all around.  People who would scream for immediate military protection if their neighborhoods sounded air-raid alerts every day feel comfortable criticizing Israel’s response to the same situation.  No squad of armed killers is going to come boiling out of a secret tunnel into Penelope Cruz’s backyard.

For many of the people who aren’t actually living in Israel while it’s under fire from Hamas, this is all something of an academic discussion, and in such discussions it’s always sobering to watch how quickly the core principles of civilization are sacrificed, because vigorously defending them is too difficult.  This is an ancient cycle of decay for every lawful nation mankind has ever constructed, for the civilized have a natural tendency to become complacent, while barbarians are energetic by definition.  And it’s so easy to compromise principles, such as the injunction against violent compulsion, before sacrificing them altogether.  Just make a little allowance for how people who are really pissed off should be allowed to kill a few victims to gain political leverage, and the cracks will quickly spread through those marble columns holding up the edifice of law and justice.

Of course, the people who sincerely think Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth are guilty of no particular hypocrisy by standing up for Hamas… only dishonesty.  But if the good people of the world are willing to extend Hamas sympathizers credit for “humanitarian” goodwill… well, there go the cracks in those marble columns again.  Defending civilization is hard work indeed, and you never get a day off.

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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