A Very Strange Argument From Israel's Ambassador to the United States
Michael Oren is upset that a U.N. fact-finding mission found Israel (and Hamas) guilty of war crimes during the Gaza confrontation. As Oren has often done during his long career as a writer, he took to The New Republic to pen an angry rebuttal that first goes a bit too far, and then goes much too far. In particular, it says, "the report does not only hamstring Israel; it portrays the Jews as the deliberate murderers of innocents – as Nazis. And a Nazi state not only lacks the need and right to defend itself; it must rather be destroyed." It's seriously nutty stuff. A few years ago, it could have been dismissed as just another rant from Oren, a professional polemicist. But Oren now serves as Israel's ambassador to the United States. That makes this more than a simple overreaction: It makes it an official overreaction.
It's also evidence of one of the weirder quirks of the debate over Israel's policy. Serious critics of Israeli policy don't liken Jews to Nazis very frequently. But serious defenders of Israeli policy constantly claim that critics are likening Jews to Nazis -- as Oren does in this case, with laughable results. It's a strange attempt to turn Godwin's Law into a rhetorical weapon capable of being used offensively, and it almost never works.
In any case, if you want a more sober take on the U.N. report, Jessica Montell, the director of B'Tselem, has you covered. As a post-script, I saw Oren on PBS a few weeks ago explaining that Israel does everything in its power to avoid killing innocent civilians. But it was in Israel's power to not launch an unnecessary war against Gaza, and if it was going to launch an unnecessary war against Gaza, to use a strategy other than aerial bombing of a crowded urban center. Oren's point is a bit like saying, sure, I played football on the freeway, but don't worry, I tried to dodge the cars.
Photo credit: By Mahmud Hams – Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Posted by: srw3 | October 7, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: truck1 | October 7, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TheFingerman | October 7, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: octopi213 | October 7, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rmgregory | October 7, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MosBen | October 7, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: octopi213 | October 7, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: octopi213 | October 7, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: zosima | October 7, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: truck1 | October 8, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.