LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Israel does not target civilians

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 | 2:32 p.m. CST

The Missourian has published my letter supporting a speaker at MU who came to raise awareness of the 12,700 Hamas rocket attacks fired at Israeli civilians.

Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) protested against the speaker, and I argued that FOR was defending Hamas.

The Fellowship sent me an email stating, “FOR condemns such violence.” But, went on to say, “along with…Israeli military violence launched upon residents of Gaza.” Does Israel practice violence against “residents?”

After Judge (Richard) Goldstone’s U.N. investigation into the Gaza War, he wrote, “Civilians were not intentionally targeted (by Israel).”

About Hamas policy: “Its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets. …I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case.”

Former Hamas member Mosab Yousef stated, “When Israel kills innocent people, that is a mistake. But, Hamas has no principles, no laws, and no limits, whereas Israel is bound by law.”

And feminist Phyllis Chesler writes, “Israeli women and girls constituted almost 40 percent of the Israeli non-combatants killed by Palestinians. Of the Palestinian deaths, over 95 percent were male… . Palestinians purposefully went after women, children… Israelis fought against armed male soldiers.”

There are legitimate criticisms of Israel, but targeting civilians is not one. The Fellowship of Reconciliation is using libel. The outcome is, as philosopher Jean Elshtain writes, “If we cannot distinguish the killing of combatants from the intended targeting of peaceable civilians, we live in a world of moral nihilism.”

Daniel Swindell lives in Columbia.


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