UPDATE: For the "Nate Silver wonks" among my readers the following piece by Phan Nguyen dissecting the IDF rocket numbers spin that is bombarding the social media is a must-read.
And Robert Wright and Emily Hauser make the important point that it is pretty hard to determine who started the current round of hostilities. It all depends on the day you pick. What can be said is that only one people has had control over the other people's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for years.
While MSNBC, the so-called "progressive network," continues to shill for Obama's reelection and avoids the Gaza crisis like the plague, other networks have stepped up to the plate to shill for Israel -- or at least against Hamas.
Israeli officials and spokespeople line for interviews with the networks, but have you seen Hamas government officials (those who don't live in constant fear of assassinations), or even officials in Gaza being interviewed? At best you have a Washington-based PA official, usually a Fatah aparatchik, who is not unhappy to see Hamas weakened.
Heck, I saw the neoconservative Fouad Ajami, a close family friend of the Netanyahus, who blurbed Benzion Netanyahus book on the Spanish Inquisition (!) being interviewed as an expert on Israel/Palestine!
We have been treated to a parade of statistics for rocket firings provide the IDF spokesperson, never followed by any statistics of Israeli firepower against the Gazans.
In short, the "narrative" is entirely left to the Israelis and their surrogates. Since the networks and cable news are incapable of coming up with with good follow-up questions, here's my holiday gift to them:
1. "Israel has the right to defend itself militarily against rocket attacks."
Do the Gazans have the same right to defend themselves militarily against shells, missiles, and bombs?
2. "If the Hamas stops shooting rockets, Israel will call off its operation."
Why did Israel on November 8 initiate hostilities after a two week break where there were little to no rocket firing, and none from Hamas?
3. "Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist."
Does Hamas have the right to conduct hostilities against Israel, which doesn't recognize Hamas's legitimacy?
4. "Israel does not negotiate with terrorists."
Why did Israel negotiate with General Jabari over the Shalit exchange?
5. General Jabari has blood on his hands.
Doesn't Ehud Barak have a lot more blood on his hands?
6. How can you compare? Jabari was reponsible for rocket firing.
But wasn't it reported in Haaretz that Jabari was the "subcontractor" for Israel who prevented rocket-firing in Israel, and who had agreed to a long-term cease fire brokered by Egypt -- right before he was assassinated by Israel?
7. There is no moral comparison between Hamas's indiscriminate firing of rockets and Israel's targeted firing of military installations.
If your little sister were killed "unintentionally" by a bomb fired in a civilian area, would you feel less upset because she was only "collateral damage" of a campaign designed to establish deterrence?
8. If a Hamas civilian is killed, that's because terrorists cynically position themselves among civilians.
Where is the IDF's headquarters located?
9. There's still no comparison -- Hamas fires hundreds of rockets, whereas we pinpoint our targets.
If your chief of staff were assassinated, and the only weapons you had were rockets, would you refrain from using them?
10. We withdrew from Gaza, and they answered with rocket fire....
How many years have gone by since Operation Cast Lead, and how have you eased conditions on the Gazans since then?
11. Israel will do everything it can to protect itself.
Especially after Netanyahu lost one election, and can pick up a few seats with the new one -- and Ehud Barak can keep his career and his ego intact.
Another Shabbat without Shalom