Michael Rubin: The Moral Contortionist

Michael Rubin has posted yet another rant on National Review’s “The Corner.” This time he goes after the petty Europeans and “chattering class” for their quaint beliefs in proportionality.

As Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe have pointed out, Michael Rubin has been banging out post after post about the Israeli attack on civilian ships in international water.

Rubin has tried to make lemonade from the lemons that the IDF handed him on Monday by claiming that now, more than ever, the U.S. should unconditionally support Israel and that a failure to offer such support could result in Israel unilaterally attacking Iran.

So, according to Rubin, the U.S. relationship with Israel boils down to our responsibility to enable a self-destructive friend while permitting that friend to dictate our foreign policy through blackmail.

In his post last night, Rubin attacks the liberal European notion of proportionality and charges that the European response to the Israeli attack on the “Free Gaza” flotilla is naive and ignores the importance of disproportionality in protecting freedom and security.

Rubin writes:

A Question of Proportionality [Michael Rubin]

A lot of the criticism surrounding Israel’s actions against the Free Gaza flotilla center on proportionality. Did Israel apply disproportionate force? The same charges form the basis of the criticism leveled by the Goldstone Report and, indeed, also were leveled against Israel following the 2006 Hezbollah War and, before that, Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.

But why should any democratic government empowered to defend its citizenry accept Europe’s idea of proportion? When attacked, why should not a stronger nation or its representatives try to both protects its own personnel at all costs and, in the wider scheme of things, defeat its adversaries?

Likewise, when terrorists seek to strike at the United States, why should we find ourselves constrained by an artificial notion of proportionality when responding to those terrorists or their state sponsors?

Ultimately, it may be time to recognize that, in the face of growing threats to Western liberalism, strength and disproportionality matter more to security and the protection of democracy than the approval of the chattering class of Europe or the U.N. secretary general, a man whose conciliatory policies as foreign minister of South Korea proved to be a strategic disaster.

One final note on proportionality: Fifteen “peace” activists dead is a tragedy, but they represent only one one-thousandth of the death toll of a French heatwave.

Rubin clearly stated his loyalties to Israel in an earlier post on Monday. Still, it’s worth asking what Israel would have to do to earn a condemnation from him. The moral and logical contortions exhibited in Rubin’s posts on Monday would suggest that he will go to any length to defend Israel’s attack on civilian ships in international waters.

Rubin argues that notions of proportionality are a threat to Western liberalism. A more reasoned analysis might suggest that uncompromising support of an ally’s flagrant disregard of international law and reckless behaviors which needlessly result in civilian deaths is morally indefensible, bad politics and, to put it in the words that Rubin would use, a threat to Western liberalism.

Author: Eli Clifton

Visit Lobelog.com for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service's Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

19 thoughts on “Michael Rubin: The Moral Contortionist”

  1. I suggest we all read the " Helsinki Principles on the Law of Maritime Neutrality " attached below.
    I fully understand that we all got used to the idea and the pictures portraying hundreds of Jews in striped pyjamas with one lone german soldier in proximity. We've all asked the question why they don't fight back? This went on for centuries until the Zionist secular movement came to the conclusion that God is too busy playing golf and Jews like any other group of people should defend themselves. I know it looks weird and funny, jews fighting back, but get used to it; they only do what we would all have done under the same circumstances.
    Helsinki Principles on the Law of Maritime Neutrality in following post

  2. 5.1.2(3) Merchant ships flying the flag of a neutral State may be attacked if they are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search, capture or diversion.
    5.1.2(4) Merchant ships flying the flag of a neutral State may be attacked if they:
    (a) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
    (c) are incorporated into or assist the enemy’s intelligence system;
    (e) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy’s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

  3. 5.2.1 Visit and search
    As an exception to Principle 5.1.2 paragraph 1 and in accordance with Principle 1.3 (2nd sentence), belligerent warships have a right to visit and search vis-à-vis neutral commercial ships in order to ascertain the character and destination of their cargo. If a ship tries to evade this control or offers resistance, measures of coercion necessary to exercise this right are permissible. This includes the right to divert a ship where visit and search at the place where the ship is encountered are not practical.
    5.2.10 Blockade
    Blockade, i.e. the interdiction of all or certain maritime traffic coming from or going to a port or coast of a belligerent, is a legitimate method of naval warfare. In order to be valid, the blockade must be declared, notified to belligerent and neutral States, effective and applied impartially to ships of all States. A blockade may not bar access to neutral ports or coasts. Neutral vessels believed on reasonable and probable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be stopped and captured. If they, after prior warning, clearly resist capture, they may be attacked.

  4. the 2 previous posts refer to the Helsinki Principles on the Law of Maritime Neutrality.

    Where is my first post?

    1. And so, Martin troll, what was Israel's reasonable excuse to accost the flotilla on the high seas? I notice too in the red herring you drag across the page not a single reference to boarding ships in international waters. Do you mean to say that one nation could interdict another nation's ships anywhere on earth under your Helsinki Principles? Besides, the flotilla didn't start from nor was heading to "the coast of a belligerent."

      Have a nice day attacking Billy Goat Gruff and his brothers.

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  6. That whole proportionality thing – and the "just war" theory in general – is so 14th century.

    1. Much older than that–"just war" is ancient Roman, and apparently before that Latin, in origin actually, and long before any "Christians".

      A good case can be made that opposed ideas, including Hobbes' bellum omnium contra omnes, are specifically Protestant and British in origin, though rooted in turn in the Old Testament.

      Roman culture was one of the least racist of any known in the ancient world, shared also with the Greeks, for whom "barbaroi" was a strictly linguistic category.

      For all that, it was exactly after the late Roman Empire became Christianized, that Romans began to exhibit racism, particularly against the Germans, who had earlier actually been idealized–by Tacitus for example.

      But this is a very complex subject.

  7. Michael Rubin is a rabid Zionist Israel-firster. He ought to be deported to Israel–it’s where his loyalties truly lie, after all.

  8. Comparing the deliberate murder of innocent people to those who died during a heat wave in France is just sick. Every time I think Israel's supporters have sunk to their lowest point, along comes someone like Rubin to prove me wrong!

    1. Partly it is the numbers game that is an essential part of the Capitalist mythos, and which most Americans fall for without even being conscious of it.

      But notice also that in Public Relations and Propaganda the effort is just the reverse–to personalize and emotionalize in a supposedly "individual" mode.

      But the psychological context goes deeper than that, including the separation of reality into "creating"and "created" in the Old Testament.

      If you pay attention very closely, for example, the Capitalist PR machine is trying to present the British Petroleum catastrophe as a narrative of natural disaster, and not man-made one at all.

  9. " The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency."

    High School Kid.

    ABC News

  10. 19 year old American citizen shot in the head four times and once in the chest (through the heart?) by pirates boarding Turkish civilian ship in international waters.

  11. A Question of Knobwaddery

    One final note on knobwaddery: Fifteen dead "peace" activists is a tragedy, but they represent an infinitesimally small percentage of all the people on earth, who will all die someday. Therefore, Israel and others so disposed: Blaze away!. You can't possibly do enough harm to substantially harm the human race.

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