“In a war between the civilised man and the savage, support the civilised man.” So declared billboards on New York’s subways paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) early in August.
But, let’s face it, in these days of horrific mass slaughter, it can be difficult to determine who is who. So the AFDI ads spell it out: “Support Israel! Defeat Jihad!”
This is wise advice to keep in mind as anti-Semitic voices whine about Palestinian civilians and children being killed in Israel’s latest exercise in legitimate self-defence against homemade rockets by setting a high-tech military machine against a besieged population that has never recovered from the last full-scale military assault three years ago.
The thing that needs to be kept in mind with dead Palestinian babies is it is not like they are civilised babies. Don’t forget which side you should support in a war between the civilised white phosphorous bomb and the savage 11-month-old baby (like, for instance, Omar Misharawi, son of a BBC Arabic cameraman, who was killed on November 14).
The Nobel Peace Prize-winner and recently re-elected President of the United States, Barack Obama, knows a few things about killing savages. Every Tuesday, he signs a “kill list” that designates enemies to be assassinated.
So when the US commander-in-chief speaks about the need to stop Hamas rockets, he speaks with the authority of a man who has ordered many civilised drone strikes and can tell the difference between a civilised rocket and a savage, unguided one fired with backyard technology.
Our government, too, backs the civilised forces of Israel. Because locking up desperate people in isolated detention camps in horrific conditions condemned by the United Nations, which provokes mass hunger strikes and suicide attempts definitely gives our government a well-honed sense in how to spot the savages in any situation.
Beware the propaganda of savages. They might try to point out that, actually, Hamas was maintaining a ceasefire when Israel killed Ahmed Jabiri, head of its military wing, on November 14. They might point out that Palestinian rocket fire has actually occurred in response to much-deadlier Israeli attacks.
They might try to bamboozle you with facts, such as Israel’s 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead war killing as many as 1400 Palestinians (including hundreds of children) compared with 13 Israeli deaths (all but three of whom were soldiers).
But never lose sight of the fundamental fact: when one side is civilised democrats and the other savage jihadis, it is not about comparing death tolls as though these lives were somehow equal.
Defenders of Israel say it is just defending itself against terrorists, responsible for far worse crimes, and the very survival of the Israeli population is under threat. No doubt, then, Israel would not object to my proposal for a simple solution. How about a swap?
How about the international community oversee negotiations with Israel and the Gazan authorities to arrange a complete switching of positions. Gaza gets all of Israel's high-powered military hardware and Israel gets all of the unguided, homemade rockets now in the hands of Palestinian resistance groups.
Israel can finally be free of the terror of these rockets, now replaced by the hellfire Israel has been raining down on Gaza, with its borders totally closed and medical and humanitarian aid unable to enter. And the Gazans can get a taste of their own dodgy-rocket-firing medicine, while fresh military hardware is rushed by the US through its now open borders, along with desperately needed aid.
And faced with this choice, should Israel decide it does not like the idea of Israeli children being incinerated by white phosphorous bombs, then I have another modest proposal: stop playing the victim and stop killing Palestinians.