+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

The world is letting Israel get away with it again

The assault on Gaza has hurt this country’s image, and it doesn’t care.

There’s no doubt that this past month of heavily televised overkill in Gaza – well, heavily televised everywhere but here – has hurt Israel’s standing in the world. The IDF has killed too many civilians, wiped out too many families, bombed too many UN shelters. Even Washington has used words like “indefensible” and “disgraceful” to describe some of Israel’s acts. And while the world’s powers-that-be don’t like Hamas, they do like the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and they know very well that the Netanyahu government has continuously trashed any chance of making peace with him.

So in terms of high politics, of Israel’s international relations, and considering Israel’s image in international public opinion, Operation Protective Edge has been a great failure. If before the war Israel’s liberal friends had warned that its policies were driving people away and leaving the country increasingly “isolated,” Israel’s behavior over the last month has aggravated that condition badly.

The Al-Susi Mosque lies in ruins in Shati' Refugee Camp following Israeli attacks, Gaza City, August 2, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The Al-Susi Mosque lies in ruins in Shati’ Refugee Camp following Israeli attacks, Gaza City, August 2, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

To which Israel says: who cares? If I may mangle Ben-Gurion’s famous dictum, it doesn’t matter what the goyim say, it matters what the goyim do, and the goyim are doing nothing. Even now, after this month-long horror show in Gaza, which isn’t over.

And since the goyim – along with the liberal Jews who are appalled by Israel’s actions – are doing nothing, meaning they’re not punishing or penalizing Israel in any manner, not holding it in any way accountable for what it has done to Gaza and its people, then Israel indeed has no reason to care what the goyim or liberal Jews say.

The world is shocked by the death and devastation in Gaza, it understands that the “root cause” is Israel’s half-century denial of freedom to the Palestinians, and it knows that the Netanyahu government has no interest whatsoever in setting the Palestinians free – yet the world, even now, is letting Israel get away with it.

Just compare: Russia takes back Crimea, which made most Crimeans very happy, and which got no one killed, and the world immediately imposed economic sanctions on Russia. But after Operation Protective Edge – nothing.

It goes without saying that the United States isn’t going to do a thing to Israel, but neither is “left-wing, pro-Palestinian” Europe. The title of Amira Hass’ column in Monday’s Haaretz, “A European green light to kill, destroy and pulverize Gaza” pretty much tells the story.

The only concrete punishment I’ve heard being discussed by anyone important is the call by major politicians in Britain – though not Prime Minister David Cameron – to curtail British arms sales to Israel. There’s been a lot of backtracking on this demand, though, and at any rate Britain sells no more than about $10 million a year to Israel in strictly military equipment, so we’re not talking about more than a slap on the wrist even if such a sanction were imposed.

Other than that, as far as I know, it’s business as usual.

How many op-eds have been written this month by liberals distraught over Gaza, moaning about the occupation and crying out for the two-state solution? Yet none of them said a word about how this solution is supposed to be achieved. Everybody knows the problem, everybody knows the solution, but nobody will talk about how to get there because that means holding Israel accountable. That means not the carrot but the stick, excuse the expression, and such a notion remains taboo in the Western world. Even now.

The stuff that Israel’s political immunity is made of – American Judeophilia and Islamophobia, especially among the Christian Right; the pro-Israel lobbies in the U.S., Britain, France and other countries; and European Holocaust guilt – must be very, very powerful if it can neutralize the political effect of all those harrowing scenes and stories from Gaza. Short of starting a war that gets masses of Westerners killed, I can’t see what Israel might do to get the U.S. and Europe to finally read it the riot act and say: end the occupation or find yourself some new friends.

I think the American left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky once said that an issue isn’t an issue unless you can do something about it. On that basis, the events of the past month, together with the Western powers’ cowardly reaction to them, suggest that Palestinian subjugation and suffering may have ceased to be a political issue, and become a humanitarian issue of all the more urgency.

By the same token, the brutalization of Israel may have stopped being a political issue, and turned into a humanitarian issue focused on this country’s victims.

Read this article in Hebrew on Local Call.

This is what life in Gaza sounds like
Gaza war: It’s about keeping the Palestinians under control

Newsletter banner 6 -540

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Pedro X

      The world has allowed Hamas to escape responsibility for its attacks and wars on Israel in the past. No Gaza leader will be made to stand trial unless Israel captures him.

      The fact is that the majority of the people of world do not care what happens to the Palestinians or the Israelis for that matter. There are people who inhabit the fringes of societies who advocate for the destruction of Israel and the replacement of it by an Arab state. However, many in the world support Israel’s right of self defense against those who seek its destruction.

      Many see groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad as no different than ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. Therefore many support Israel’s right of self defense which necessarily entails collateral damage to civilians.

      Hamas fighting manual makes it clear that it fighters are to use civilians as human shields. It is clear that Hamas has embedded its military complex in civilian areas instead of agricultural areas where Hamas’ and Israel’s armies could have fought a war away from the urban areas of Gaza. Hamas chose the battleground so that the war would injure and kill as many civilians as possible. Israel does not need to apologize for defending its people against Hamas who ensured many Gaza civilians would die.

      Reply to Comment
      • “Many see groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad as no different than ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban or Al-Qaeda.”

        So part of Israel’s support comes from a blatant lie: Hamas has nothing to do with any of the groups you mention. Bin Laden even expressed disdain for the Palestinian struggle because he saw the resistance as ‘regionalist’, not quite getting the “bigger picture”.

        Much of the rest of the support for Israel in the US is based on the lack of information about what really has been going on in Palestine for the last 70 years or so. The American public has been lied to (on so many fronts) but eyes are slowly being opened as the Zionist media blockade is now cracking badly.

        And then there’s US Evangelical support for Israel: a large group so totally dumb they believe the Earth is 6,000 years old and that Armageddon is around the corner, somewhere in Israel. Massive conversions of Jews to Christianity to be expected, acc. to these dumbos.

        Only in the US can politicians (crooks and liars, mostly) get away with misleading the public in such a manifest way.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Americans have a long history of supporting Israel even before the modern recreation of the state in 1948. The earliest pilgrims saw themselves as the new Israelites coming to establish a new Israel.

          For centuries American Christians have listened to readings from the Hebrew and Christian bible about life in Israel. Jewish names like Joseph, Benjamin, Noah, and Jonah are ubiquitous in Christian families. The American culture is an extension of Judeo-Christian culture.

          It was only natural that the United States in 1924 ratified the Mandate for Palestine passed by the League of Nations.

          Reply to Comment
          • Like so many Zionists you’re stark raving bonkers.

            Reply to Comment
      • Craig Vale

        So typical of the finger only pointing to one of the combatants. It is never turned inwards at Israel as witnessed by the Israeli foreign ministers remarks re: the UN Geneva council looking into war crime accusations against both sides. The foreign minister has already condemned the investigation labeling it an inquiry by a Kangaroo Court. The rhetorical question still remains however. ” If there is nothing to hide, what are you afraid of? ” Well the answer is obvious as there is plenty to hide.The savagery unleashed on a civilian population is as astounding as it is profound. Israel always sees itself as being above the law and this will never change. The best that can happen is that Israel is exposed worldwide for their crimes against humanity and hopefully a worldwide boycott will effect eventual change. Economic punishment is about the only thing that ever moves oppressive governments to change. Morality seldom does and given that Israel is incredibly bereft of that morality, change is not likely to come anytime soon. Nothing short of savages who relish in the deaths of Gazan’s be they old or young, it makes no difference. They see it as one less enemy to contend with in the future.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          A brief word on why Israel would say that the UN has appointed another Kangaroo Court. The Free dictionary defines Kangaroo Court to include:

          ” 2) slang for a court of law in which the violations of procedure, precedents, and due process are so gross that fundamental justice is denied. It usually means that the judge is incompetent or obviously biased>

          In the case of the chairman of the UN court, William Schabas, has made past comments about Prime Minister Netanyahu having committed war crimes and said Netanyahu would be
          “his favorite” to take to the ICC because of his involvement in the 2008 war in Gaza.

          It is only a small matter that Netanyahu was not leading or even part of the government of Israel at the time of the 208 to 2009 war. Thus William Schabas has shown one, he is incompetent and two, he is severely biased. Any proceeding with him involved can only be a kangaroo court.

          Reply to Comment
      • Victor

        Hamas is weak, Israel is strong. This is an assymetric conflict. It would be insane for Hamas or any guerilla force to engage with a superior enemy on an open battlefield. And then you have the extreme population density of Gaza. This critique of Hamas doesnt stand a moments reflection. You are regurgitating Israeli and Zionist propaganda.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      Barack Obama just may be the most cynical, hypocritical and downright shameless politician that has ever set his butt in the swivel chair in the oval office. I cannot recall a president that has deviated from his set of ideals (or purported pre-presidential set of ideals) as much as this one has. Even his shiny Nobel peace medal did nothing to sway him towards supporting the Palestinians even a little bit.

      No. It is clear that this president is interested in one thing and one thing only: Himself. Justice and human rights be damned. This president has shown himself to be two-faced: He both hates and loves Bibi Netanyahu. The hatred is innate, since Obama knows that Netanyahu is an anathema to everything Obama has ever stood for (pre-president, of course). The Bibi-love is ordained by the likes of Abe Foxman and Alan Dershowitz, and it is iron-clad to the point where the U.S. sells Israel more weapons of mass terror when the latter runs out during its Gaza offensive.

      I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am now convinced that George W. Bush was a better president for world peace than Barack Obama. G.W.B. was certainly better for the Palestinians, forcing Sharon to quit Gaza (albeit in the worst possible way). But a disengagement is a disengagement. Where is Obama’s disengagement?

      At this point, the only disengagement I’d like to see will be Obama from the oval office.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gaudi

        Let’s examine the data:

        GWB started two wars that directly killed hundreds of thousands, ushered in the Iraqi civil war and elevated Iran to a position of hegemony.

        GWB was also a very good friend to Ariel Sharon and supported his “disengagement” scheme whose entire purpose was and remains to kill any overall peace initiative break Palestinian society into separate enclaves.

        Obama inherited a disastrous economy and two active wars. He actively wound down the two wars and did the little that a president can do in returning the economy to normal.

        The powers of the US president are quite limited. Congress regularly circumvents his policy, the examples of the Iran nuclear talks and the many impromptu Israel aid packages are but two examples.

        Whereas GWB spilled blood freely, through ideology high gloss strategic stupidity, Obama does the unemotional and unsexy thing of minimizing damage, realizing that there are not always good and immediate solutions and very much recognizing the limits of force.
        He may not be popular, but that is the least important thing about leaders.

        Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say GWB was a man of peace. All I said was that he did more for peace between Israel and the Palestinians than did Obama. He actually restrained Israel much more in their offensives than Obama has.

          Not impressed with Obama’s bumbling style of conflict management and containment. He’s supposed to be a leader, not a manager.

          Under his watch that Arab-Israeli peace has become a virtual impossibility.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            There’s another theory, regarding Obama’s actions as being driven by over-cautiousness and a pathological aversion to ideological conflict, rather than out-and-out cynicism. Consider how he always wants people to see him as a “moderate,” bringing “understanding” between opposing entities, rather than actually picking a side (except in terms of international policy, of course), which of course just means him moving the goalposts to suit the right-wingers (in his mind). Of course we all know that nothing he does is ever enough for them, but he doesn’t care, because he hates the idea of rocking the boat and having to actually fight other politicians for what he probably knows is right. In such a way, I guess self-interest could enter into the issue, but only in terms of personal cowardice and fear of making “powerful” people angry with him.

            Reply to Comment
        • Ben Zakkai

          Actually Obama more than tripled the number of US troops in Afghanistan, if memory serves me.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Natalie Strecker

      Great to hear such balanced reporting, I am not too sure how the suffering of one people has given that people a ‘Carte Blanche’to do what they like to another. Those who have suffered so much ought to have more empathy. It wonderful for those of Jewish heritage to speak with such courage the truth. Thank you so much and respect to you sir.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        It is difficult to have empathy for a people who tried to exterminate the Jewish people in 1947-48 and have been trying to destroy the Jewish state since then. Just the other day Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tiraw stated that the goal of the Palestinians was to drive “out the occupier from the entire pure land, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea.”

        Fatah’s facebook page is bragging that Fatah has killed 11,000 Israelis, including 3 workers killed in the Mother Bus attack, so named because the many of the passengers were working Israeli women.

        Note that these are the so called moderates, the so called partners for peace. Meanwhile Hamas’ officials talk about sending female suicide bombers into Israel, harvesting the skulls of Jews, killing Jews when they are submissive and killing each and every Jew. These are extremists who rule Gaza.

        Reply to Comment
        • Madeeha

          “Turn Gaza into a cemetry”
          “The gaza strip must be destroyed”
          “Your mothers are whores” (to the pro-peace leftist jews)
          “Their children will grow up to be terrorists, so we are just preempting that. We are killing their children”
          “Arabs are sons of bitches. Jews are darlings”
          “The most moral thing to do is to flatten Gaza into a parking lot”
          and lastly are the words of prime minister Natenyahu putting words into the ideology of the “enemy”, which they have never claimed.


          Reply to Comment
    4. Mikesailor

      Actually, Dammy I think you are at least 1/2 right. Y think Obama hates Netanyahu’s guts almost viscerally. The distatste he has for Bibi is evident. Yet you ask: Why doesn’t he do something about it? Because he still has a November election to win if he doesn’t want to consign himself to a complete lame duck status,That means holding on to the Senate. What scares Bibi and the Zionists is what will happen when the election is over and Obama doesn’t feel constrained? Obama has a lot he can do, if he wants. From dropping Security Council vetoes, to slow-walking any arms in the pipeline, to cutting a deal with Iran over their nuclear program. The only thing we can do is wait and see and hope that he will see justice done. If he still has any balls left.

      Reply to Comment
      • Eliza

        I don’t think its a question of Obama having balls or not. Obama understands the limitation of power, both his as President and of the USA in general.

        I’m sure he despises Netanyahu (as did Bill Clinton before him) but foreign policy is not based on individual likes or dislikes.

        I think he has not understandably concluded that there is very little he can do to affect the I/P problem. And lets not forget that Israel is also a domestic issue for the US. As a Democrat he does have a responsibility to promote the electoral success of his party.

        Its not nice, but why should Obama (or any American President) put too much political capital into restraining Israel? His foremost duty is to the well-being of Americans.

        Right now the Palestinian people are very expendable. They can die in their thousands and remain occupied for another few decades and the US cannot do a thing about it.

        But Israel is going over the edge and its possible that the day will come when the USA will also treat Israel and Israelis as expendable.

        Israel cannot count on its friends in the West to bring it into line. I think this is the point Larry is making. We know that change for the better cannot spring from within Israel; we know that many more Palestinians will die, be imprisoned etc. But nation states that become rogue – and I think Israel is a rogue nation – eventually go the way of the dinosaur. When this happens, my guess is the West will just let it be. Zionism is making Israeli Jews crazy.

        Reply to Comment
        • Mikesailor

          Actually, there is quite a lot he could do. Like publicize the aid to Israel and the conditions it is given. Can you think of any other country that gets $3 billion a year base military aid promised 10 years in advance? Especially when Congress won’t approve money for domestic requirements? Or how our Congress is bought and sold? How Israel settlements are funded by taz-exempt organizations which means US taxpayers are indirectly funding them. Or that not only is Israel the only country that can publicly6 recruit in the US, but there are taz-exempt organizations which can further support them through our tax code, again forcing US taxpayers to indirectly fund them. But he would have to have the guts to do so, and sadly, so far he has shown none.

          Reply to Comment
          • Eliza

            Yes, I agree with you here. Obama could work towards highlighting the millions given to Israel by the USA. Not Obama himself as he should remain above the fray, but he could unleash the dogs, if you like, and try and change the discourse in the USA.

            I’m sure that there are other bits of information so far safely locked away that could be put out there – the SS Liberty comes to mind – and then the other things that we are not aware of.

            The Democrats and/or others in the know, could do more behind the scenes. Until the conversation changes in the USA and it becomes politically unacceptable to support Israeli policies despite AIPAC money, I don’t think it is reasonable to expect any American President to openly and directly challenge Israel.

            But maybe we do need to ask why Obama and his ilk do not appear to be trying to change the conversation.

            I just don’t think it is reasonable for Liberal Zionists like Larry to lament the fact that the West allows Israel to act with impunity. There are other more pressing matters needing political will and capital – which just might be fixable. If Liberal Zionists want to fix and save Israel, then they must understand they have to do it themselves.

            Unfortunately and BTW, I think Hillary Clinton will be far worse than Obama if and when she becomes President.

            Reply to Comment
        • Liz

          Eliza – I am a Zionist – unlike you, it seems – but I agree with your comments on the political restraints faced by Obama. The problem is that there is no international statesman, international body such as the UN or EU, or first-world nation that is prepared to remove itself from the “political game” and loudly and repeatedly demand that sufficient leverage be imposed on Israel until there is a 2-state resolution. Obama could have done more in spite of the limitations he faces. He began his first term in office with a major foreign policy speech in Cairo in which he focused on the urgent need for a 2-state solution. Maybe, some of us hoped, we were about to see someone in the White House who was going to use his position to challenge Israel head-on and encourage the international community to join in the fight to end the occupation. He has failed to do so. For all his apparent personal battles with Netanyahu he has continued to ensure that Israel has not had to shift one inch from its plans to maintain and extend the occupation and keep the Palestinians stateless. He has certainly done everything to show that he is a lame duck!

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            It just doesn’t matter to you people what Hamas does.

            Everything is always Israel’s fault.

            According to you people, Israel should just withdraw unconditionally to the 1967 lines and allow Hamas to continue doing from there what it is doing now. Right?

            Reply to Comment
          • Peter hindrup

            No, to the 1948 proposed division, as the starting point for deciding, what, if anything the Israeli Jews get, and the compensation they must pay, and the reparations to be made.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Thank you for your honesty but what you advocate is only your wet dream.

            However, if I am wrong and you even get near a whisker of your sick vision, the Arabs will pay a very very very heavy price and you too will. A price which in hindsight you would all realise it wouldn’t be worth paying but by then it would be too late.

            Pray that your wet dream just stays a wet dream, Peter Hindrup.

            Reply to Comment
    5. othello

      Why no criticism of Hamas behavior?

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Hamas done nothing wrong?

        What about their rocket fire on Israeli civilians since 2001?

        What about their habit of breaking every ceasfire?

        What about them not agreeing to humanitarian ceasefires when Israel agrees to it?

        What about their obscene habit of displaying their dead and hurt civilians on TV purely to gain advantage instead of stopping their suffering?

        Nothing wrong, you say? The above are just a few of the wrongs that they do.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Ben Zakkai

      The worst thing you can do to anyone is let them get away with everything. Eventually they cross too many lines and pay a price.

      Reply to Comment
    7. bar


      1. Take what Derfner says.

      2. Flip it around 180 degrees.

      Result? Truth.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Tomer

      Why is the Jihadi, Yvonne Ripley, allowed to post here?

      This woman is a spokesperson for the Shiite Fundamentalist State of Iran! She works for Press TV -an Iranian-run outfit. Iran is a racist apartheid state that persecutes Gay people and women.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Gustav

      Larry Derfner and his faithful puppies who post here either supporting him or exceeding him in their anyi-Israel tirades, suffer from a mental disorder known as:


      It is a disorder akin to delusion. Those who suffer from it are prone to:

      – Tell half truths.
      – Ommit facts.
      – Have selective sympathies
      – Exaggerate
      – Invent facts

      In summary, the people who suffer from this illness, tend to look at effects only while ignoring cause. In other words, they ignore history.

      That, sums up why they talk about what happened in Gaza now, in the way that this article does. In a biased way.

      No point in debunking it because in + 972 land it is just like water off a duck’s back. Besides, after a while it just becomes tiring and boring. It’s called:


      Also known as


      We just get exhausted which is what they are counting on.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Gustav

      Oh, I forgot to add the most important component of the disease:


      It is an extreme form of hatred.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Dan

      Haven’t really checked the whereabouts of Dershner since he was booted off the JPost. Now that I’ve stumbled upon him here, I am quiet relieved. He’s stuck in an obscure outpost on the Web where he can rant all he wants and not do damage to anyone but himself.

      Reply to Comment
    12. The writer of this have no historical knowledge or current knowledge about the Israeli Arab conflict.
      You just your distance Jewish affiliate to go after the state of Israel, while you feel safe far from any physical harm.
      Learn the issue before writing lies.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Click here to load previous comments