Criticism is Good for Israel.

A flash in the eye and black hair stands on end when criticism directed at Israel comes her way. My friend Diana will be first to point out that no one condemns Syria in a united world front for its war crimes but everyone seems to condemn Israel the minute conflict breaks out in Middle East. To be honest, I have the exact same reaction by the way. I’ll argue for hours in person and online, bringing up Israels history, its right to defend itself and explaining that Hamas is the one who is shooting non-stop. I’ve often wondered where is the world outrage when it comes to many issues. It is so surprising for Israel and United States to be scowled and grilled unlike any other nation in spite of all the violence going on that far surpasses the justified violence that United States and Israel are forced into.

But if you think about it from a different perspective, all this criticism is actually quiet flattering. The reason why most other countries don’t get the blistering criticism is because no one expects more of them. Those other countries are not actually moral standards for anyone and no one actually expects them to live up to a standard. I’d compare them to a poor uneducated bruit stealing a TV and looting in a street, we don’t gasp in surprise, but instead nod our heads saying “Well, that’s what they do. Maybe he will learn better in jail.” When we see a Somali warlord raid a village, we don’t gasp in surprise, we feel pity for the victims but at the same time feel a certain lack of surprise because that is the behavior we expect from a Somali warlord.

This is why when America can’t find a way to get Saddam Hussein to stop his aggression, or when Israel after developing a defense system pounds Gaza back into stone age, the world does gasp. I thought that it was because Israel and supporters of Israel generally think it is because the world is Anti-Israel. But then I thought about it and maybe, just maybe, it is not because the world is Anti-Israel, but because it is pro-Israel. Because it expects no better of Hamas or Palestinians that when they shoot it knows that it is what Hamas does and that Israel will find a way to defend itself. But when Israel responds, it is surprised just like one would feel that giving a death penalty to a thief is too harsh and not worthy of a great nation like Israel.

What’s more, this is great for Israel, because this keeps it great. Were it not for the international pressure, it would not work so hard to keep civilian deaths to a minimum, it may not open hospitals and bring in humanitarian aid, it may not work so hard with Egypt and other countries to bring cease-fires that would hurt it and make the job for them harder. This makes Israel a model for other countries, showing that it is possible to lead a very tough urban warfare with minimal casualties.

What’s more, all this criticism makes every Israeli an immediate expert in war crimes and war laws and all of a sudden, all the division which were in Israel between the religious and the non-religious, the right wing and the left wing, the blacks and the whites, disappear, and Israel becomes united and all the Jews around the world come to defense whether by going there, or by arguing with those who criticism it and writing about it and we all become one nation across time and space.

So instead of getting angry and defensive, maybe we ought to welcome the criticism, welcome the fact that when we act, the world is watching because it looks for guidance from this tiny nation of 10 million on how to conduct itself even when attacked by beasts and criminals, because those terrorists, were at one time children, affected by war and other violent and uneducated men and those children and mothers and fathers, good and bad, will one day be neighbors. The world is watching, Jews are watching, and together, even in the worst of days, even in the terror of war, we shall make a better world.

So next time I hear some criticism, maybe I’ll stop Diana and the flash of anger in her eyes, and maybe I won’t assume my friend is anti-Israel or anti-anything, and appreciate that fact that this tiny nation is worth the attention of the world and that what it does and how it acts, matters for the world, and that is not a bad thing.

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