Speaking of charlatans

The Weekly Standard attempts to redefine the term “protest”:

They’re not protests. They’re suicide-riots.

On Monday President Donald Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to move the United States embassy in Israel to the country’s capital, Jerusalem. As usual, the American and European media’s coverage interpreted the event in the worst possible light for the nation of Israel. One learns very little from our mainstream news sources about what the move may mean for the nations primarily concerned—Israel and the United States—but a great deal about the Palestinian “protests” happening along Israel’s southern border with Gaza: Headlines in the New York Times and Washington Post proclaimed (misleadingly) “Israel Kills Dozens and Wounds 1700 at Gaza Border” and “Over 50 Killed in Gaza Protests as U.S. Opens Embassy in Jerusalem.”

We put the word “protests” in quotation marks advisedly. In ordinary English usage, a protest is a collective action or gesture meant to bring pressure on a government or corporate entity. The Gaza “protests” are meant to bring pressure on Israel, but they’re intended mainly to kill and maim both Israelis and the Palestinian “protesters” themselves.

These demonstrations would be better described as suicide-riots. For nearly two months, Hamas and other militant factions have been encouraging young Palestinian men to storm the fence separating Gaza from Israel. The rioters cut holes in the fence, charge Israeli guards with crude weapons like axes, and lob fire bombs over the wall in attempts to set Israeli fields on fire. Hamas has pledged to massacre those on the other side of the fence, and these riots are expressions of that intention. Israeli defense forces are obliged to respond with force. An axe-clutching Palestinian insanely charging into Israeli territory isn’t a “protester” but a combatant and a terrorist. The fact that he doesn’t expect to prevail against the might of the Israel Defense Forces—he is in essence on a suicide mission—doesn’t somehow oblige Israeli soldiers not to use force to stop him. The Israelis have no choice but to fire back, and they do, often with deadly results.

If the Gaza protests are intended mainly to kill and maim Israelis, they are making an incredibly ineffective job of it, given the lack of Israeli casualties. On the other hand, these “suicide-riots” are proving to be very effective at bringing political pressure on the Israeli government from a broad global spectrum.

The Turks have expelled the Israeli ambassador. China has expressed serious concern. Russia has condemned the “indiscriminate” nature of the thousands of shootings. The UK government has urged restraint. These protests may be suicidal, but they are absolutely and without question protests, and to the extent their objective is to put international pressure on the Israeli government, they are successful.

Prime Minister Netanyahu clearly needs to read more Martin van Creveld than he has.