Published on June 14th, 2010 | by Daniel Luban2
Victor Davis Hanson Is Very Confused
Victor Davis Hanson: With Obama and his moral equivalence, Israel is hardly any better than Hamas or Hezbollah or the Palestinian Authority. I wonder, though, if they really believe that.
What if a Jew says he wants to live in Ramallah because it’s a nice place? Arabs live in Nazareth and other places in Israel, so what if a Jew says he wants to be a Palestinian citizen?
Michael J. Totten: That’s impossible.
VDH: Jews aren’t allowed there.
MJT: It’s crazy, isn’t it?
VDH: That fact all by itself should tell the Obama administration that there’s something weird about that place and there’s no moral equivalence.
—Interview with Michael J. Totten
VDH’s implication — that Palestinians are free to move to Israel at will, while Israelis are not similarly free to move to the West Bank — is, to say the least, peculiar. Still, he has no need to worry. Any Jew who takes a fancy to the Ramallah area — whether or not they’ve so much as set foot in the region before — is free to move to any of the several settlements that surround the city, where he or she will enjoy tax breaks, cheap housing, and government subsidies. But what about the reverse? What if a Palestinian from Ramallah decides that he or she wants to live in Tel Aviv (“because it’s a nice place”)? More to the point, what if a Palestinian whose family was driven from the Nazareth area in 1948 wants to move to Nazareth? VDH settles for implying (rather than stating explicitly) that they are free to do so, because he clearly knows (but chooses not to dwell on) the fact that this would be impossible. To allow it would be to open the door to the right of return, and thus — as VDH would surely warn apocalyptically — the “destruction of Israel”.
It should surprise no one that VDH displays an understanding of the issues at stake that is almost entirely backward. Still, it’s revealing that he holds up this particular example as proof that “there’s no moral equivalence” in the conflict.
(For anyone who hasn’t read it, now is as good a time as any to plug Chase Madar’s brilliant VDH parody from last year’s American Conservative.)
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