ZOA Criticizes Obama’s Call To Stop Violence Against Hamas
March 24, 2011


And Obama’s equivalence between terrorism & self-defense






The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized President Barack Obama’s inappropriate moral equivalence between Palestinian Arab terrorist acts and Israeli self-defense actions. This was made evident when President Obama stated yesterday that, while he condemned the bombing in Jerusalem and “offered my deepest condolences for those injured or killed” (forty people were injured and one killed), he then added his “deepest condolences for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza yesterday” (when Israel retaliated for 60 Hamas rockets attacks upon Israel). President Obama’s statement draws a moral equivalence between yesterday’s attack in Jerusalem, in which Jewish civilians were intentionally targeted by Arab terrorists, and the death of four Palestinian civilians, who were unintentionally killed in an Israel Defense Force (IDF) strike targeting a site used by Jew-killing terrorists in Gaza to launch mortars into nearby Jewish population centers. The IDF said in a statement that they believed they were targeting a terrorist rocket team and were unaware that civilians were in the vicinity.


Additionally troubling was that, although President Obama’s statement claimed that Israel “has a right to self-defense,” he immediately took away this right by “stress[ing] the importance of calm and urg[ing] all parties [ZOA emphasis] to do everything in their power to prevent further violence and civilian casualties.” Also, he did not condemn Hamas by name and, by referring to “all parties,” he again makes a moral equivalence between Hamas terrorists deliberately attacking Israeli civilians and Israeli soldiers legitimately acting in self-defense (‘Statement by the President on Bombing in Jerusalem,’ March 23, 2011). If Hamas did not launch rocket attacks from civilian areas in Gaza against Israel, Israel would not have needed to retaliate and no Arab civilians would have been harmed. The blood of these Arab civilians is on Hamas’ hands.


It is the aggressor who should be urged to stop violence, not the defender who strikes back when attacked. If President Obama really believes what he said in his statement about the need for “all sides” including Israel to “prevent further violence and civilian casualties,” then U.S. forces in Afghanistan, or the U.S. planes presently bombing targets in Libya, should be ending their attacks, not continuing them. Such a position is clearly absurd. This especially, when the U.S. response in Libya is against a regime that is even not presently attacking or threatening any American – unlike Hamas, which is attacking and threatening Israeli Jews.


If President Obama is demanding that no hostilities at all be engaged in when civilians are put at risk, then dictators, tyrants and terrorists will triumph everywhere, since no human-rights loving democracies could ever retaliate or go to war when such actions would inevitably cause civilian deaths. He does not take such a position on Afghanistan or on Libya. He should not take such a position on Gaza.


In this terrible attack, in which a bomb was left at a phone booth across the street from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, a site often packed with pedestrians and commuters, Howard Katzoff, a member of Philadelphia ZOA’s Board, happened to have been on a visit to Jerusalem and was a mere 40 yards from the scene of explosion at the time. He and his wife Patti quickly went to the scene to help. He said afterwards, “I cried tears of grief and, truthfully, tears of anger at the futility of all Israel attempts to satisfy the world, and to satisfy all those that will condemn Israel … as the Palestinians wish to put the Israel/Palestinian issue at the forefront … They will call Israel’s response an ‘escalation’ … We are here, we are witnesses to the terror which must be exposed as such … and ask the World to understand that this has nothing to do with the fiction of oppression … but [rather] merely that no Jew should Inhabit this Holy Land.”


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