Sunday, August 06, 2006

A War Even A Leftist Could Approve

Le Bernard Henri-Levi(TM) visits Israel. And testifies that he approves the war.

Prepare yourself for a surfeit of nauseating namedropping. Mais, bien sur. For how else to rassurer his leftist confreres, à Paris, that this war is kasher. He even starts, mon dieu, by exploring its relationship to the Spanish civil war, to magic up an added leftist certificate of approval!

Yet, we can't deny, malheureusement, that more of this kind of reassurance is precisely what is needed in Europe and in Britain at this point in time.

Le Bernard(TM) provides much self promotion, drops plenty of leftist names, mentions his personal relationships with all the big-wigs who are leftist bigwigs and makes some very, very odd remarks. For example:
[David Grossman (the author)] is also, along with Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and a few others, one of the country's moral consciences.
Ah yes. I often think to myself: Israel has only a few moral consciences today; and strangely enough they are all leftist novelists.

Ahem. What a spectacularly bizarre way to see and interpret the world.

Or maybe he means these are the only Israelis whose testimony about the war - that it is a just war after all, and not as it is painted in the European media - his confreres would believe, seeing that they, themselves, are mostly all leftist literary types. Or aspiring to be such. N'est-ce pas? It translates this unfamiliar world along axis lines they can suddenly understand and relate to.

Nevertheless, if you can get over all the European atmospherics...okay, the bit about "handsome Peres...[the] prince-priest of Zionism" is utterly revolting, but that is in the peroration, so you can skip it and the next two paragraphs that are even worse - one of which has Shimon Peres mention Bill Clinton and Mahmoud Abbas as -- wait for it:
"The men of good will. My friends. The friends of enlightenment and peace. The ones who will never renounce peace because of terrorism, or nihilism, or defeatism."
Ahem. Isn't Mahmoud Abbas still a holocaust denier? Or has he thought better of that yet? All I can say is thank God that the Arafish is still in a stable state, because otherwise "Shimon" would be tempted to use such prosy, eye-watering diction about him.

Though it does make me wonder whether "Shimon" actually believes this nourishkeit, or whether he isn't, himself, playing to Le Bernard's(TM) sentimental leftism. In which case, he'd be an utter charlatan, but I'd admire him far more than if he were sincere in this case. Although, the other possibility is that compared to having Hamas in office, you lose perspective about reality and all of a sudden, in comparison, Mahmoud Abbas becomes by necessity much better than he is.

As I said, if you can get through all that, it is an interesting piece of work. As BHL tries to explain to the unenlightened Francaises - and, by extension, to the unenlightened readers of the New York Times, where his translated piece turned up today - why this war is necessary, even when it is producing civilian casualties. And how it ties into Iran's confrontation with the West. And he even hints, indirectly - I take it he doesn't feel he could use stronger language lest he lose his audience before he has them - how the French have been a disappointment thus far in playing a responsible role in the developing confrontation with Iran. But, thus, it displays a certain craftsmanship.


On the other hand, we need no reminding that not all leftists are on board with this war, not even all homegrown Israeli ones. And The UK Observer (the Sunday Guardian) goes to some trouble to sniff them out and tell the world about them.

Yonatan Shapiro, a former Blackhawk helicopter pilot dismissed from reserve duty after signing a 'refusenik' letter in 2004, said he had spoken with Israeli F-16 pilots in recent days and learnt that some had aborted missions because of concerns about the reliability of intelligence information. According to Shapiro, some pilots justified aborting missions out of 'common sense' and in the context of the Israeli Defence Force's moral code of conduct, which says every effort should be made to avoiding harming civilians.

Shapiro said: 'Some pilots told me they have shot at the side of targets because they're afraid people will be there, and they don't trust any more those who give them the coordinates and targets.'

He added: 'One pilot told me he was asked to hit a house on a hill, which was supposed to be a place from where Hizbollah was launching Katyusha missiles. But he was afraid civilians were in the house, so he shot next to the house ...

'Pilots are always being told they will be judged on results, but if the results are hundreds of dead civilians while Hizbollah is still able to fire all these rockets, then something is very wrong.'

So far none of the pilots has publicly refused to fly missions but some are wobbling, according to Shapiro. He said: 'Their target could be a house firing a cannon at Israel and it could be a house full of children, so it's a real dilemma; it's not black and white. But ... I'm calling on them to refuse, in order save our country from self-destruction.'
I think we are awfully lucky in this moment that most of the anti-war left in Israel have desisted from such self defeating behavior.


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