The Associated Press, noting the overwhelming support among Israelis for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the war effort in Gaza, concludes that the minority of Israelis who dissent are being “silenced.”
It is a tired, false charge often made by Israeli and Jewish leftists even during peacetime–a canard that confuses losing an argument on the merits with being suppressed, and which is often calculated to damage Israel’s reputation.
The AP quotes–without irony–an op-ed published by a left-wing writer in one of the country’s most widely read newspapers, complaining that those who oppose war are being cast as traitors.
Publishing an opinion is an odd way of “silencing” it.
What the Israeli left–and its imitators abroad, such as the factually challenged Peter Beinart–really resent is that they have lost their customary preeminence, because reality has simply changed.
Hamas has pursued the latest war with an unusual degree of brutality, even for a terrorist organization–and not just toward Israeli civilians, but toward Palestinian civilians.
It used child labor–causing hundreds of deaths–to dig its terror tunnels. It is reportedly seizing UN food coupons from the population to keep its fighters fed. It has rejected and violated even brief humanitarian ceasefires. Its evil is what has united the Israeli population.
The Israeli left still exists. It even held a protest in Rabin Square on Saturday–albeit one cut short when Hamas fired rockets towards Tel Aviv. Israelis are not united on every question regarding the war: they are split, for example, about taking over Gaza. Israel remains a country that celebrates dissent.
Yet healthy societies also pull together to face danger–and freely set aside faulty, sentimental ideas that are luxuries of safety and distance.