Thursday, July 24, 2014

Disproportionality, Israel, Counterfeit Humanitarianism

The West reinvents Humanitarianism to war against Israel. It turns international law on its head. It perverts legal definitions in order to demonize Israel.

All of this is done in the name of a Humanitarianism that is fake—a counterfeit. It is a Humanitarianism that seduces the UN. It leads the UN to embrace International Immorality.

Despite evidence that Hamas uses human shields, the West continues to blame Israel for ‘too many civilian deaths’ in Gaza. To the West’s Counterfeit Humanitarians, Israel’s military behaves inhumanely. They see Israel as the brutal bully whose cruelty appears to know no limit.

Therefore, the Counterfeit Humanitarianism declares, Israel must be ‘restrained’ (“International flights to and from Israel suspended over security concerns”, The Guardian, July 23, 2014).

To see this fake Humanitarianism in action, consider the entertainer Jon Stewart. This comedian has enormous influence on young adult political opinions (“How Jon Stewart Made It Okay to Care About Palestinian Suffering”, The Daily Beast, July 21, 2014). In comic routines, he identifies Israel as brutal. He identifies Gazans as victims (ibid). As a result, many of Stewart’s viewers now feel that Israel has sole responsibility for Gazan suffering. As another entertainment celebrity has already twitted, “It’s about humanity—Pray for Gaza” (ibid).

That twitter hit the mark. It received more than 605,000 ‘likes’ (ibid). It captured the essence of Counterfeit Humanitarianism. It’s all about body count. It’s about TV pictures.  

But the truth is, Counterfeit Humanitarianism confuses effect with cause. Look at Hamas. It doesn’t care about humanity. It doesn’t care about its own civilians. It uses its civilians to shield military targets. When those civilians die, true Humanitarianism does not turn on Israel. It understands (because it’s based on international law) that when Hamas uses those civilians as human shields, it—not Israel--becomes liable for those deaths.

But the West doesn’t understand Humanitarian law. It only looks at pictures. It only looks at numbers. As a result, the West has created a Counterfeit Humanitarianism that fails to protect anyone. It certainly doen’t protect Gazans. Instead, it validates the hate of those who, with cruelty and cynicism, kill their own people.

This Humanitarianism is a fake for a second reason: it perverts law.

Western Humanitarians (including UN personnel) are deeply concerned about Israel’s ‘disproportionality’ in Gaza. That’s what drives their criticism of Israel. They look at the ‘raw’ (unanalysed) daily ‘body-count’ numbers and jump to tell Israel ‘to stop the bloodshed’.

But Western Humanitarians jumps at the wrong Party. They focus only on the number of civilian deaths caused by Israeli bombs. They say those bombs create a ‘disproportional’ body-count (“As Gaza deaths mount, UK media leads world trend to criticize Israel”, Times of Israel, July 13, 2014, and “Abbas Asks for 'Protection for Palestine'”, Arutz Sheva, July 14, 2014). But such disproportionality is counterfeit. It is not the true definition of disproportionality.

The rules of ethical war require ‘proportionality’ (Laurie Blank and Gregory Gordon, “Goldstone, Gaza and (Dis)Proportionality: Three Strikes”, University of Pittsburgh Law School, November 4, 2009). Proportionality focuses on military personnel, not civilian deaths. It requires military personnel to take precautions when targeting the enemy to ensure that the expected civilian losses are not excessive compared to the anticipated military advantage (ibid). Unanalysed body count numbers are not part of the legal definition. Instead, the legal definition focuses on the commander's perspective at the time of the attack (ibid). The law assesses whether his actions were reasonable given the information he had access to--taking into account the ‘fog of war’ (ibid).

Within this true legal definition of proportionality, there is no after-the-fact judgment. That is to say, proportionality is not measured after the fact by looking at unanalysed civilian casualty numbers or actual military advantages (ibid).

Yet this is exactly what the West does. It is the body-count in Gaza that has provoked, ‘it’s the humanity, damnit. Stop Israel! Save Gaza!’ 

Legal Humanitarianism recognizes a nation’s right to defend itself. Legal Humanitarianism recognizes a nation’s right to use military force to kill. Legal Humanitarianism dictates that if Gazan civilians die because Hamas uses them as human shields, Israel is not guilty of those deaths.

Only Counterfeit Humanitarians forbid Israel to use force if civilians die. Only Counterfeit Humanitarians suggest that, for example, it is illegal for Israel to kill children who were used as human shields (“UN's Navi Pillay warns of Israel Gaza war crimes”, BBC News, July 23, 2014). Only Counterfeit Humanitarians pervert the legal definition of ‘proportionality’.

As Ms Blank and Mr Gordon point out, if disproportionality was based on body-count, ‘no military could ever engage in any operations’ (above). Nevertheless, that is precisely what Counterfeit Humanitarians do with Israel. They create counterfeit rules. Those rules allow the West to ignore Hamas war crimes--and to demonize Israel.

The G-d of Israel watches these Counterfeit Humanitarians.

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