The Undiplomatic Michael Oren, Ctd

A reader writes:

As a Jew, I could not agree more with your post.  Thank you for your eloquent articulation of these points.  I assume you will be attacked as a Jew hating anti-Zionist Nazi for this, but know that you are not.  The Occupation is, in my opinion a corrupting cancer not just on the State of Israel, but on the whole of the Jewish people.  The sooner it ends, the sooner our recovery can begin.  The Shoah has made many of us paranoid, but operating from fear is a losing proposition in almost all cases, especially when it is totally irrational fear about what is without question the most powerful country in the region. 

During this Jewish High Holiday season we pray “Turn us unto You and we shall return” from the book of Lamentations.  This is my wish for Israel and the Jewish people- that we return, as you put it, “to our ancient moral values”.

I do want to say that my reference to "Jews" in the last two sentences was not meant to ignore the countless Israelis and Jews who have indeed eschewed paranoia for realism and hope. My occasional mantra "Know Hope" was written by Israelis. They inspire me. Another writes:

The latest letter from your reader, especially this quote:

It means a show of force that involves something more that just an E4E.  If the other side realizes that 100 of theirs will die for every one of ours they kill, well then that might cause them to re-think that strategy now wouldn't it?

illustrates the classic neoconservative fallacy about human nature, and particularly the nature of Arab peoples.

These people have been fighting this war for centuries. Literally centuries. Not all Arabs, of course, but the people executing these rocket attacks view this conflict as existential, apocalyptic, and commanded by God. Given that, we can't break them. If we kill their family it strengthens their resolve. If we kill a hundred for every one, it strengthens their resolve.

Oren, your reader, and various right-wing pundits arrive at this sort of calculus because they make the mistake of assuming that Arabs are JUST LIKE US! That's how WE think about things, because in our society the greatest given is that death is always the worst outcome in any situation. That's just not true for radical Muslims, death is not considered a bad outcome.

Need proof? Let's ask this way: Israel fought a massive war in Gaza and killed Palestinians all out of proportion to the losses they had suffered. Have the rockets stopped? Has Palestine admitted that Israel was right all along and moved off their land? No. We've been in Afghanistan 8 years, been in Iraq 6 years, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. Have Afghanistan and Iraq become pacified and lain down in awe of the might and will of the USA? No. So maybe it's time to stop assuming that such a capitulation will be the outcome.