Ceasefire is a Bad Idea - for Israelis, Palestinians, and for Justice
"I truly believe that my friends who express concern for the Palestinians being hurt by IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip and call for a #ceasefirenow are doing it for altruistic, pure reasons – the basic desire to protect human lives, especially children. But I think they are unaware of the implications of their call on the ability to protect human lives in the future.
The high number of casualties is first and foremost a result of Hamas’ tactics. Hamas militants are hiding in safe underground tunnels to which civilians are denied access. These tactics are designed to create as many civilian casualties as possible, to sway global public opinion – and they indeed exert significant influence.
Surrendering to such tactics will grant Hamas, and in fact any other war crimes-committing organization, a de-facto veto power in any military confrontation. They will be able to attack civilians freely and then simply hide behind their human shields, thus putting the defending nation in an unwinnable position.
Just imagine what would have happened if the world stopped the international coalition against ISIS due to the many casualties in Mosul or Raqqa – is it not clear that ISIS’ caliphate would’ve continued to grow and take over more territories, recruit more fighters abroad, and control more natural resources?
Giving Hamas that veto power would be a grave mistake. Handing it that power will impact not only Israel’s fight against the war criminals who orchestrated and carried out the atrocities of October 7th but the efforts of any country in the free world that is dealing with that kind of threat.
The legitimate, worthy concern for Palestinian lives can and should be channeled to acts that would actually save and improve them – increasing access to humanitarian aid, assisting with the evacuation and treatment of the wounded, and developing ideas and resources for civil reconstruction so that a viable regime can be created and sustained in the day after Hamas is defeated.
Jews are people just like any other
No one thinks that a protest calling to reinstate slavery is context-dependent. No one thinks an open letter calling for redefining homosexuality as a mental illness is context-dependent. Why, according to three university presidents', isn't it the same for Jews and for Israel?
Our job is to make sure that whatever you may think about the Israeli government, its policies, or its composition, everybody agrees on the following: the Jewish people deserve to live free and secure in their own democratic nation-state, just like any other people. Jews outside of that nation-state are a minority who deserve protection against hate speech and incitement, like any other minority.
Our job is also to present a liberal story for Israel: an Israeli story that is real, not fantasy or fake, that liberals and progressives in America can identify with and would like to be a part of. It is not an easy story to tell or to practice, but it is possible and necessary.