- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2006

If the Jews would just die without making a lot of noise, the Nice People could get on with the really important things in life, stuffing their faces with salmon and bean sprouts, watching the Rev. Billy Don Moyers pontificate on PBS, and making more Nice People.

The Nice People, manipulated by the coverage of the fighting in Lebanon, are getting fed up with the Israelis, who are acting as if they have the right to survive in peace to live lives of quiet exasperation. But the Jews insist on “disproportionality,” on firing back when fired on by the Hezbollah “guerrillas,” as the newspaper and television correspondents insist on calling “terrorists.”

Louise Arbour, the high commissioner of human rights at the United Nations, is typical of the Nice People of the West who are losing patience with the Jews. She’s against killing, and not only that, she “strongly condemns” it. Or some of it. She demands an investigation, but only of the Israelis, and not just an investigation by anybody. She wants “international expertise.”

“In order to establish facts and conduct an impartial legal analysis,” her “office” says, employing the magisterial third person, “the high commissioner reiterated the need for independent investigations.” To this end, she advocates “the active involvement of international expertise.”

It’s important to be fair, even to be fairer to some than to others, so we can guess who these paragons of “international expertise” might be, recruited from the crowded ranks of the compassionate of Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iran, maybe even North Korea, all, naturally, determined to protect and preserve human rights.

The Israelis, once efficient and savvy, now seem to be as confused as everyone else in the West, so fearful of giving public-relations offense that they can’t speak for themselves. There’s plenty to show and tell, but they’re allowing the world media to get away with the usual evasions, distortions and prevarications, to draw the outlines of the fighting with the moral equivalence so prized in the salons of the West. The photographs of the dead children of Qana would break the hearts of anyone but an Islamist terrorist, but the photographs of the Hezbollah artillery and missile batteries, planted among the women and children precisely to draw Israeli fire, were smuggled out of Lebanon by an Australian journalist and published yesterday in the Herald Sun of Melbourne. The photographs are proof of Hezbollah courage, of terrorists hiding behind the chadors of their women and cowering with the children.

“Israel is losing this war because it is not fighting it in a manner calculated to win it decisively,” observes Jed Babbin of the American Spectator. “It is fighting only Hezbollah, a proxy of its real enemies. If Israel accepts a cease-fire without breaking Hezbollah’s hold on southern Lebanon, all of Lebanon will become a colony of terrorist Iran. And Israel will have suffered a strategic defeat. On the ground and on the airwaves, the war must be fought … to win decisively, or lose inevitably.”

But enabling Hezbollah will be more than a defeat for Israel. George W. Bush understands this. The restraint so admired in the West is regarded as the weakness of poltroons in the land of Allah, and grand talk of diplomacy and compromise is merely the funk and fear of frightened old women. The extraordinary ordinary American gets it, as he nearly always does, even when others don’t. Everyone is “tired of war,” a barber in Des Moines tells an inquiring reporter for The Washington Times. “The consensus here is that if Israel laid down their arms, there would still be fighting. But if Hezbollah laid down its arms, there would not be.”

The president laid down “clear objectives” yesterday, and for the sake of Lebanon as well as for Israel and the United States, he must stick to them. This means that Syria and Iran must for once behave themselves.

“It’s important to remember this crisis began with Hezbollah’s unprovoked attacks against Israel,” he said. “Israel is exercising its right to defend itself.” And so it is. Survival is often noisy, and the rest of the world will just have to put up with it — and thank the Jews.

Pruden on Politics runs Tuesdays and Fridays.


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