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We must be willing to be unwilling towards Israel

By James McConvill - posted Monday, 7 August 2006

Fighting between Israel and Hezbollah has again focussed international attention on the Middle East. We are told that the Middle East is a highly volatile region due to the threat of nuclear attack by Iran and Syria, and the dire situation which continues in Iraq.

Iran, Iraq, as well as North Korea, were famously labelled by US President George W. Bush as comprising the “axis of evil”.

But the real evil stems from within the territory of Israel, and the unquestionable influence and propaganda directed from an ubiquitous group of individuals - the “Israel Lobby”.


The latest developments in the Middle East highlight just how far the global community, and more particularly powerful international leaders, are willing to put to one side vital ideals such as justice, humanity and peace to appease Israel.

Israel is not a vulnerable, precious democratic nation. As events over the last few days have shown, it can be an unprincipled basket case that will kill, maim, whatever it takes, to protect its borders.

The so-called “Coalition of the Willing” spent big and exerted significant energy to stop Saddam Hussein's regime killing fellow Iraqis, but this time has only been “willing” to sit by and allow Israel kill innocent civilians and destroy civilian infrastructure in Lebanon. Israel is supposed to be an ally of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, but initially it wasn't even prepared to allow our citizens safe passage out of war-torn Lebanon.

The Coalition of the Willing is in deep trouble if it remains willing to place Israel on a pedestal in the Middle East. The murdering of civilians, including young children, will simply continue.

Take for instance the comments of prominent American Jew and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz writing in the Wall Street Journal in July. According to Dershowitz, the killing of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians by Israel is acceptable because, “Hezbollah and Hamas deliberately operate military wings out of densely populated areas ... If Israel decides not to go after them for fear of harming civilians, the terrorists win by continuing to have free rein in attacking civilians with rockets.”

It is disturbing enough that a law professor of Dershowitz's stature is putting his name to an argument which demonstrates a deep misunderstanding of the laws of war. But what is even more disturbing is that US foreign policy, and inevitably therefore the foreign policy of the United Kingdom and Australia, appears to be siding with such nonsense.


Further, this is far from the first time that logic and compassion have been washed away by the force of Israeli influence. Ever since the creation of the State of Israel, following World War II, Western nations have been blinded by the bright light of adherents to Israel. It is rife in the United States; it is rife in Australia too.

Indeed, in a paper released earlier this year in the London Review of Books, entitled The Israel Lobby (pdf 1.17MB), John Mearsheimer (professor of political science at the University of Chicago) and Stephen Walt (professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government) discuss the “unmatched power” of the Israel Lobby - which they describe as “shorthand for the loose coalition of individuals and organisations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction”.

According to Mearsheimer and Walt:

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About the Author

James McConvill is a Melbourne lawyer. The opinions expressed are his personal views only, and were written in the
spirit of academic freedom when James was employed as a university lecturer.

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