I thought ambassadors were supposed to smoothe over rifts, not inflame them. And I thought they were supposed to speak to the broadest number of citizens in the countries to which they have been appointed, not provide inflammatory rants to the already-persuaded. But this Michael Oren piece in TNR abandons any pretense of diplomatic balance.
The premise of Oren's piece is that Israel faces a new Nazism represented by Ahmadinejad and Holocaust deniers but, to an even greater extent, by the South African liberal, Richard Goldstone, and the United Nations. Oren seems to be arguing that Gaza was a war of survival for the Jewish state and that Israel had no choice but to launch a war that killed, by one conservative Israeli count, 320 children, destroyed 4,000 homes, and up to 80 government buildings. Even if one is sympathetic to the horrific barrage of Hamas rockets that Israeli citizens endured (and what decent human being wouldn't be?) - every single rocket being a war crime - it helps no one to use language this extreme or to distort history in this manner.
One might ask what the response of Michael Oren would be if Palestinian terrorists pulled off a major coup by killing 320 Jewish children, and destroying 4,000 homes in Tel Aviv, because Israel had lobbed primitive missiles at its territory, missing human targets an overwhelming proportion of the time. This is not to defend Hamas' wickedness and war crimes. It is not to say that Israel deliberately targeted children. It is to insist that the laws of war be applied equally to both parties in a conflict. It is to ask Israel to live up to its own ancient moral values - values that were pioneered when my own ancestors were running around painted in wode.