You are NOT cringe for having principles and opposing the slaughter of civilians. Repeat after me “I am not cringe”

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Once again, you're overlooking the fact that Israel is facing Hamas which not only completely disregards civilian casualties but actually craves for them.

I don't think there's a precedent in history. There are countless exemples of conquerors who exterminated their enemies. There are some exemples leaders who got a large part of their population killed by sheer incompetence or because they wanted to quench a rebellion (Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot...) But I can't think of any past tyrant who saw the death of their own people as a major, if not their main path to victory.

Of course they only do this because they are facing Israel. You mention Syria. Nobody would use the Hamas strategy against Assad because he'll happily slaughter any number of civilians and nobody cares about Arabs killing other Arabs.

On a purely logical point of view, you do a good job of proving that Israel doesn't do "everything it can" to prevent civilian casualties (a position I haven't seen anyone hold), then conclude wrongly that they just happily bomb the shit out of Gaza.

My perception is that Israel obviously shifted the cursor of the (military value) / (civilian risk) ratio after 10/7 but I don't think it's clear they're morally or legally wrong (of course, Hamas completely ignores such bourgeois topics, and nobody holds it against them). Interestingly you chose to illustrate your post with Sakakini's story but the parallel you're trying to build doesn't hold. Sakakini praised the deliberate targeting of civilians with no remote military interest (akin to 10/7 without the barbary); I don't see Israeli supports praising the slaughter of Palestinian civilians even though the military interest is plausible. If there were a clear cut instance of Israelis deliberately killing civilians absent any military interest, I think the vast majority of Israel supports would condemn it. I certainly would.

Before I finish, I too oppose the killing of civilians. I believe the moral responsibility for the Palestinian deaths squarely rests on Hamas for starting this whole mess with the barbaric attack of 10/7 and keeping it going by refusing to release the hostages. My great-grandfather was killed by an allied bombing in August '44. My family didn't blame his death on the British, it was obviously the fault of the Germans.

I grieve for the Palestinians as I don't think they could have a worse leadership than Hamas (maybe Kim Jong-Un). I sincerely believe that their best hope for peace and prosperity is to get rid of Hamas, renounce violence and trade with Israel.

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Agree with most of your empirical analysis but none of your normative claims.

1. It's not clear that the most relevant metric is "rate of casualties". Ultimately, what matters is the total civilian casualties relative to military objectives accomplished. If israel only stays in Gaza for one more month and the rate of casualties go down (which I believe they will), we might end up with something like 30,000 civilians casualties. That's the price we paid for ISIS - and its a fair price to pay for dismantling Hamas.

2. Israel almost certainly isn’t doing “everything it can” to minimize casualties, but there’s no reason to think minimizing casualties is the most moral thing to do here. I see the Palestinians as a group with legitimate historical grievances but a group who have refused to move past the grievance, despite losing war after war after war. And to make things worse, a group that's let radical islam weaponize those grievances into fighting the next negative expected value battle. I’m sure Philippe has a point that the Israeli haven’t offered optimal deals but when you lose, you take sub-optimal deals so you and your kids can have a better life. What I ultimately care about is the welfare of individuals, not the creation of a Palestinian state. And for that reason, I’m happy for Israel to squash any incentive the population may have to keep fighting this war for generations to come.

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I agree that Israel is not worrying too much about civilian casualties, and I think they are right to do so. But I’d prefer the smokescreen narrative because it makes it more likely Israel will be able to win.

I was interested to see you dismiss the idea of thinning out the population of Gaza. Clearly this would be the humane thing to do. You also argue it can’t work. I disagree, but it seems to me that you think it would be bad, and I have a hard time understanding why.

Finally you get at something pretty deep with Arabs turning away from humanism, but it’s wrong to blame Israel rather than Arab society. These societies are just poorly equipped for modernity, given Islam, rates of cousin marriage, and other factors. So they look for scapegoats instead of looking inward. Germany and Japan are actually good at being modern states so they had something to look forward to after militarism was crushed. The Palestinians don’t and it’s their own fault, and it doesn’t help them to indulge their hateful worldview that says it’s all the fault of Jews.

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This is spot on. It’s obvious to anyone paying attention that the stated goals of this war for PR cover—destroying Hamas and preventing another 10/7–are at best secondary considerations. That’s not to say Israel does not also want to accomplish these things but the first is impossible and the second is easily done without the type of brutality we are seeing, as you’ve written before.

Israeli leaders have been talking about WWII from the beginning and the goal here is quite obviously Dresden. (Never mind the insanity of analogizing to total war between great powers 75 years ago as a means of justifying the same behavior now against a militia.) The idea is clearly to punish Palestinians at large in an attempt to either drive them out of their land permanently or subjugate them by making Gaza unlivable.

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1. I don't buy all these 'proxies'. UNRWA workers can very well be Hamas. Journalists have a professional reason for being exposed. Ultimately, if the data was favourable to Hamas, Hamas would just publish the truth. The fact they need to lie says it all.

2. One needs to compare the overall campaign, and not rate of casualties/time. If Israel was slower but _with the same result_, everything would have been better and more moral? Obviously not. Israel is on track for finishing this with less civcas than the one taken in the war against ISIS which had much less justification.

3. It's not in the West's interests to argue that a jihadist organization can embed itself in a large city and then be allowed to do anything. Only a matter of time before this is used against someone else. In general, the idea that the West can buy itself safety by turning against Israel hasn't shown itself to be very successful.

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You should learn by your countryman Renaud Camus, Phillyboy and learn to appreciate how Israel asphalting the palestoid race is a blessing for our race.

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Dec 10, 2023·edited Dec 10, 2023

"If I had grown up in Gaza, it’s quite possible I would have become a terrorist, but I didn’t and this doesn’t prevent me from criticizing Palestinian terrorism."

The protestations of not, in fact, being a cringe liberal ring hollow if you say liberal nonsense like this. Human beings are not interchangeable widgets. If someone with the your innate genotypic intelligence, propensity to violence, big 5 personality traits etc. had been born in Gaza, they would not have become a terrorist, they would have got sick of being surrounded by depraved morons, got a foreign passport, and not look back. But this wouldn't have happened because your grandparents would have already have gone to South America, and you would be living it up among the elite of Argentina or whatever. If we extend the thought experiment to Palestinians as a whole and imagine they had the same range of innate cognitive and behavioural traits as the French, we would not be having this conversation because Palestinians would not constantly do incredibly depraved and stupid s**t, they would not be Muslims (because only stupid and/or psychologically disturbed people are attracted to Islam), and they would not come out in public to spit on the corpse of a young woman who had been raped and murdered. Gazans live in squalor and misery because they are depraved morons, they are not depraved morons because they live in squalor and misery.

Which brings me to by main objection. On both Substack and Twitter you repeatedly come back to the claim that Israel is to blame because they have never made a reasonable offer to the Palestinians. When pushed to explain, you just say you are too busy, but trust me bro, I've read loads of books. Well I can read a lot of books and become an expert on French society and authoritatively tell you that North African immigration has been an unqualified blessing for France, but the French are too bigoted and hateful and hence force Moroccans to commit crime all the time. That's the consensus view in academia, so it must be correct.

So, in short, put up or shut up. I honestly don't know what your case is. I suspect it's total bullshit that only someone willfully ignorant of basic facts about human biodiversity among other things could believe, but I have no idea, because you won't say. So instead of writing article after article about how the world must intervene to defend the inalienable right of Gazans to deliriously celebrate the rape and murder of Israeli peace activists, actually explain your case why it's Israel's fault they are this way, and how we can fix it. We are fighting the way we are not because of Smotrich and Ben Queer, but because Gallant, Gantz and Herzog think there is no other choice. Quit with the trust-me-bro and explain why they are wrong.

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The fact of the matter is that ethnically cleansing Gaza via death or displacement would end the military threat from Hamas. If you have a better solution I’d like to hear it.

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