Saturday, August 12, 2006

Taking the Lebanese side

I've had a hard time finding sound justification for condemning Israel's current defensive action in Lebanon. While I find the loss of innocent lives in Lebanon a tragedy, I consider it equally tragic when Hezbollah indiscriminately bombs civilian population centers in Israel, killing unsuspecting women and children. To paint Israel as the "bad guy" in this conflict simply because they are killing more Lebanese people than Hezbollah is killing Israelis is to discount innocent human life. Who's to say that X lives are move valuable than Y lives? Therefore, I do not begrudge the tactics Israel has chosen to defend herself. The best defense is a good offense, I say.

That said, after all the fallacious and biased reasons I've heard warranting the claim that Israel is in the wrong which have left me unconvinced, I've finally found one person who makes a sound case for denouncing Israel. It comes as no surprise to me that it is George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, that does so. He first caught my ear when I heard him speaking truth to power before the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Later I discovered him denouncing the Iraq War when he accused Christopher Hitchens of being prepared to "fight to the last drop of other people's blood." What a profound way to portray chicken-hawks like Hitchens!

Earlier this week I found Galloway on Sky News being interviewed by Anna Botting. As one would expect from an outlet like Sky News, Murdock's British version of FOX News, Botting took a conspicuously unbalanced pro-Zionist position during the interview. Nonetheless, in spite of the host's decidedly advantageous control over the interview and her position contrary to Galloway's, he still managed to thoroughly dominate the debate and leave Botting embarrassingly incapable of making her point.

Galloway's main point was that the media views the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict through a zoom lens, focusing only on the past four weeks. He claims that there is decades of history in the Middle East which is much more damning of Israel than what has transpired since Hezbollah kidnapped the two Israeli soldiers and bombed northern Israel just a few weeks ago. Granted, Galloway unconvincingly claimed that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization -- there are plenty of grounds to demonstrate to the contrary (in the interest of focus, I'll save that for another blog). However, the bulk of his responses to Botting made a sound case that Israel is in the wrong regarding the current conflict.

Personally, I'm not ready to condemn Israel in this regard. Nonetheless, Galloway has certainly opened my eyes to a perspective that I did not have before. I'm not going to try to make Galloway's case here because I could never write as eloquently as he speaks. Instead, I'm going to recommend viewing his interview, whether you would be swayed by Galloway or not, if for nothing else than to be better informed about the Lebanese viewpoint when you defend Israel's action the next time you debate it.

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