Getting Tough

Marty Peretz on the Gaza attacks:

Message: do not fuck with the Jews.

I think that’s exactly right, and also incredibly idiotic. To people who feel besieged and impotent to resolve the political paralysis afflicting their country, something like sending the message “do not fuck with the Jews” must feel incredibly cathartic. But you have to ask yourself which Palestinian having lived through decades of Israeli occupation and all sorts of different ups-and-downs of Israeli policy and all manner of retaliatory strikes and cease-fires is really unaware that Israel doesn’t like being fucked with? The psychology of catastrophe is that one wants (a) to improve the situation, and (b) to lash out at a bad guy.

Under the circumstances, the temptation to decide that you can best accomplish (a) by doing (b) is overwhelming and so you respond to 9/11 by invading Iraq. But already the number of Israelis killed by Hamas rockets has increased (from a baseline of zero) since the retaliatory attack that was supposed to prevent such killings.