There are four arguments people often make to support Israel’s bombing campaign, and all of them are hollow.

by Adam Johnson, The Nation

Since Hamas attacked Southern Israel on October 7 and the Israeli government retaliated with a bombing campaign on Gaza, there have been growing calls across the globe for a cease-fire. Tens of millions of people—from protesters to human rights groups led by OxFam, to Amnesty International, Hollywood celebrities, and the majority of voters in both parties—have coalesced around a simple demand for Israel to stop its indiscriminate slaughter in Gaza. Obviously, this demand is the lowest of low floors. Calling for an end to the blockade, siege, and apartheid are of great import, but these issues cannot be addressed without, at least, giving the Palestinians in Gaza peace to bury their dead.

Recognizing the potential PR disaster among their domestic base in supporting what very well may be an ethnic cleansing campaign, if not a genocide, liberal electeds backing Israel’s incessant siege of Gaza have centered around four main talking points to deflect criticism from those who are demanding that their nominally progressive leaders end the bloodshed and call for a cease-fire. After all, polls show that 80 percent of Democrats now support a cease-fire, although over 90 percent of Democrats in Congress are not pushing for one. And the square has to be circled. The four talking points, and holes in their subsequent arguments, look like this:

a child stands amid the ruins of a bombed building in gaza

1. “Biden has no control over what Israel does.” or “Biden is doing all he can to prevent civilian deaths.”

Over the past few days, partisan messaging hacks have claimed that if Biden—and by extension Democrats in Congress—called for a cease-fire, it would serve no functional purpose. Israel is going to do what it’s going to do regardless, these pundits claim, and thus the most effective way to “rein in” Israel and “reduce atrocities” is to “change things from the inside,” and stand by their side with respect to public comments and military, financial, and logistical support, but, “behind the scenes,” “push” Israel to reduce its aggregate number of war crimes.

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