Anyway, Ms. Narwani’s work on the HP is dedicated to either defaming Israel or telling her enemies’ “side of the story.” And her latest work, “Israel Coming Unhinged?” is not any different. In sum, she claims that Israel loves war, any war, against any foe. Why? Because they are crazy (or in her words “psychopathic”) or because they need an enemy to distract attention away from their failings. Not exactly the most academic of arguments, nor the most original. Regardless, click the link below to read more about Ms. Narwani’s work and my response to it.
Ms. Narwani starts with a claim that war is “looming,” though she won’t provide any more details or sources, but she considers it to be “clear” that Israel will take part in it. A fair enough assumption, but it does tell you a thing or two about where she is coming from. It is at this point that she makes her first major error,"
“Since the Jewish state's military attack on Lebanon in 2006, it has been itching for a "do-over." Why? Because for the first time in its history, Israel did not win a war. The month-long bombardment of Lebanon resulted in a stalemate -- an intolerable outcome by the standards of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).”Ms. Narwani references the Yom Kippur War later in her article, so she must be aware that it happened. But that seems to be the limits of her knowledge: The events of 1973 made a clear impression on Israeli society, and made them realize that the invincibility they thought they had gained in 1967 was an illusion. It even led to Golda Meir’s resignation. Although Israel did win the Golan Heights and circled Egypt’s Third Army, the decision of “who won” is still a matter of historical debate. Regardless, the armchair psychology of Ms. Narwani here is absurd. Israel went into both Lebanon and Gaza because they needed to protect their people, not because they refuse to accept anything less than victory. Why would Israel provoke a war if they thought they would have a repeat of Lebanon? The point: Ms. Narwani is using the psychologist’s fallacy, it makes sense that Israel would be motivated by a desire to restore their perfect record…but she has no proof that it is.
Fortunately, in her next paragraph she switches to a realpolitik theory: That Israel’s deterrence is the “cornerstone” of their strategy. I’m not going to argue with the claim that Israel’s deterrence is important, Israeli politicians have been saying such things for years. Ms. Narwani concludes with the following statement, “Loss -- or even perceived loss -- is not an option.” And for once, we are at an agreement. But I don’t think Ms. Narwani quite understands why deterrence is so important to Israel.
Israel needs to be a deterrent because otherwise they could be facing attacks from multiple fronts. I will discuss this in a future blog post. Ms. Narwani, on the other hand, seems to think that Israel only needs to keep it’s deterrence because they are paranoid and their leaders don’t want to feel like girly men. If I were to say she isn’t seeing Israel’s point of view, somehow I don’t think that would be the most original of observations.
So Ms. Narwani continues with an accusation that Israel is threatening it’s neighbors (more on that later) because they refuse to look at their own failings and because they need a “diversion.” Of course, she fails to mention that Israel has been investing it’s conduct in Cast Lead for months now, and is currently undergoing a “crisis of democracy” over the New Israel Fund. Again, she seems to be looking at the actions of people hundreds of miles away from her and providing her own (notably anti-Israel) interpretation on their actions.
So then we get to the “meat” of her article, the claim that Israeli officials have made “inflammatory statements about conflict” in six different areas. Where she fails, though, is that no context is provided with any of her examples. Let’s go through them:
Syria: The best Ms. Narwani can provide here is a response by Lieberman after Syrian President Assad claimed what amounts to the same point Ms. Narwani is making with her article. Lieberman’s response was basically: “If you mess with us you’ll regret it!” Inflammatory? I suppose so. But it hardly constitutes evidence that Israel is provoking a war with Syria.
Gaza: Major General Yom Tov Samia said that war with Hamas is “inevitable,” and Ehud Barak told Hamas to “watch their step, and not to cry crocodile tears if they force [us] to take action.” Weak, Ms. Narwani, very weak. Another war might be inevitable, in some peoples’ opinions, but that doesn’t back up her thesis: That Israel is just waiting for another shot at Gaza.
Lebanon: Israel has definitely been threatening Hezbollah. But, as Ms. Narwani conveniently forgets, Hezbollah has been threatening Israel too. And they have been doing it for years, not just since they were elected. Let’s not forget that Hezbollah (which Narwani calls a “resistance group",” resistance to what?) is an organization that is considered to be illegal by UN Resolution 1559, as you can read in the first link above.
Iran: I don’t really need to provide examples of Iranian leaders making inflammatory statements and speeding up their nuclear program, do I? Israel is not motivated by paranoia here, though Ms. Narwani swears that Iran’s nuke program is just “civilian.” And she also ignores most of the world sanctioning Iran too, I see. Perhaps they are all victims of the Zionist conspiracy?
Turkey: The best example Ms. Narwani can find is an Israeli diplomat (Ayalon) humiliating a Turkish envoy. Definitely a dick move on his part, but he also apologized after the rest of the Israeli government demanded he do so. Things between Israel and Turkey have been rocky, definitely, but Israel was certainly not the one who began the latest diplomatic crisis, and they certainly aren’t threatening Turkey with violence.
Ms. Narwani concludes with citing Gideon Levy (explains a lot) and makes the same accusations anti-Zionists always do: Israel exploits the Holocaust, Israel is too paranoid, Israel is trying to deflect attention, etc. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before, and it’s still just as weak. Ms. Narwani’s latest anti-Israel screed is more lovingly detailed than usual, but it’s still built on a weak foundation: It’s all just her own opinion. There is no actual facts backing up that Israel is becoming “unhinged” and will fight anyone for no reason at all. If she could provide some, she would have.