dimanche 11 janvier 2009

We're not often right!....but we're worng again

There was a pro-war march! London yesterday 15000 pro-Israeli's turned out to condemn Hamas, support the troops and say proportionality has nothing to do with it when there's a war on. (It's refreshing that in the reports there's none of this scepticism about how many attended. 15000 exactly, none of the "1000 according to the police" nonsense!)

There's some serious theoretical work being done on the term 'proportionality' of late. The idea that Israel actions might be disproportionate hurts its supporters. It looks like a form of irrationality. Thus Glucksman (below), Walzer on Aaranovitch watch, the talking head from the Stewart clip on the Tomb and the geezer on the demo. Their case seems to be (I need to translate the Glucksman piece) that Israel can act in any way it sees fit, and thus 'out of proportion' because its very existence is under threat. There is no limit set by the proponesnts of this argument. How many must die, they ask rhetorically, 'a lot', Walzer answers and Glucksman gives the impression that he believes the same.
Thus, all 1.5 million Palestinians who live in Gaza could be exterminated and this would not be out of proportion for firing a thousand Qassam rockets into a old military town like Sderot. Arguments against proportionality are dangerous things. They end up justifying mass graves for the slightest misdemeanour. It is the case that few would find life tolerable under the threat of rocket fire. But then again, few of us live in land stolen from somebody else. Is firing rockets a disproportionate for having the land beneath your feet taken away from you in a criminal action? I don't know for sure. But once you start eroding the idea of proportionality, which is the same as not over reacting, staying calm - then you end up justifying (without realising) suicide bombers and nuclear attacks.