We like his strategy: quote one’s adversaries — or the adversaries’ bosses.
There’s plenty to discuss in this video. What we think is most notable — besides Mr. Neuer’s overpowering command of the facts — is the fake reasonableness of Bill Van Esvald, the representative of Human Rights Watch. His feigned evenhandedness is endemic to the approach that many NGO’s take toward the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Some context: Every single rocket that Hamas fires is aimed at civilians. Every single rocket that Hamas fires is therefore a war crime and a violation of human rights, regardless of whether Israel has the ability to knock it down. It’s that simple.
That Hamas is committing war crimes and human rights violations as its very aim in this and every conflict doesn’t require investigators “on the ground” or a “neutral inquiry.” Yet the obviousness of Hamas’s crimes leads Mr. Van Esvald to minimize their significance when it should have the opposite effect. Note how little time he spends discussing them or debating anything of substance with Ms. Buttu. That makes no sense.
We here at TJP generally like to keep things all high-brow, see. We tend to believe that the best way to lose an argument is to overstate it, and that the second-best way to lose an argument is to appear… uncouth. But what’s going on in Europe right now is difficult to digest without belching up a few ad hominems.
You see, Europeans are very, very upset about what’s going on in Gaza. And this is natural. Europeans have a deep concern for the universal application of basic human rights. This is something we don’t always fathom here in America. We’re too individualistic; we identify too much with strength. And strength can be, you know… mean.
That deep concern for the universal application of basic human rights is, of course, the source of widespread European opposition to Israeli policies regarding Gaza.
Just look at the peaceful, humanitarian nature of European actions of late:
Concern for the universal application of basic human rights is why synagogues and kosher stores in France are being attacked and burned down.
Concern for the universal application of basic human rights is why (British, not Israeli) Jews in Stamford Hill are receiving death threats. Why a woman in a niqab in northern London stoned a Jewish boy riding a bicycle, hitting him in the head. Why “HitlerWasRight” is a trending hashtag on Twitter. Why the alleged human rights violations occurring in Israel and Gaza matter more to Europeans than those occurring in other places that are orders of magnitude greater in scale and tragedy.
It’s not “occupation” when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza almost a decade ago, forcibly uprooting many Jewish families in the process.
“Hamas was perfectly well aware what would happen if they started raining rockets on Israel. They fired a thousand of them, and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them.”
There aren’t too many explanations for the profusion of baseless anti-Israel arguments and clearly Antisemitic vitriol and attacks in Europe right now. Ditto for the spineless expressions of bewilderment that seem to be the European’s stiffest response to the hatred on the streets.
We can think of only two explanations for the proliferation of “protests” (read: “violent mobs spewing genocidal slogans”) throughout Europe — and please, if you’re more imaginative, let us know. Europe is either too scared of its Arab/Muslim populations or too tacitly antisemiticto take on a simple, though perhaps dangerous task: to stand up and argue for the very Western values that Europe birthed.
And by “Western Values,” please don’t think we’re talking about some anti-Islamic (or otherwise xenophobic) crusade; that would be the antithesis of the Western values we’re discussing. As we’ve argued before, Israel embodies many Western values, but we’ll keep this simple. A basic Western value that could most easily be defended is simply the making of rational distinctions: like the distinction between genocidal aggression and the defense of a fundamentally liberal, fundamentally peaceful democracy. Not too long ago, at least Churchill seemed to understand this. And he didn’t shy away from a fight that needed to be fought.
But what’s needed in Europe now isn’t even the taking up of arms. What Europeans are too afraid (or too antisemitic) to do is simply argue with the violent anti-Semitic ideologues who are drowning out reason across the continent. The virtual absence of any argument on the issue of Israel in Europe only brings about a “new normal” in which otherwise thinking people accept violent Antisemitism as received wisdom. And so Europe devolves into further self-contradiction: advancing human rights… through the extermination of the Jews.
Europe, your spinelessness (or antisemitism… take your pick…) is playing directly into the hands of terrorists whose stated aims are to destroy the very pillars of modern culture… pillars to which you should lay a well-deserved claim. All you need to do is find a voice to call out the oxymoronic hate and violence that fills your streets.