On Saturday in Jerusalem, I participated in a moving religious service to honor one of Israel’s most celebrated heroes from last summer’s war against the Hezbollah terrorists.
Lieutenant Eli Kahn, 23, led a unit of elite Paratrooper Commandos advancing against heavily defended Hezbollah positions in the Southern Lebanon town of Maroun al-Ras in the early days of the fighting. The Israelis, hoping to knock out Katyusha rockets that had already taken a bloody toll on civilian targets, drew unexpectedly intense fire from the enemy and sustained heavy casualties.
While tending to one of his wounded paratroopers, Lt. Kahn saw a terrorist run toward them and throw a grenade that landed at their feet. Rather than jumping out of the way and abandoning his comrade to certain death, Lt. Kahn immediately picked up the grenade and threw it directly back at the Hezbollah fighter --- killing the terrorist and turning the tide of battle. For his leadership and quick thinking, he received the Medal of Valor – Israel’s equivalent of America’s Medal of Honor. The young hero’s father, Howie Kahn, remembered that his boy played Little League before the family immigrated to Israel from the United States and suggested that his skills as a slick-fielding shortstop paid off with that one fateful and well-aimed toss on the field of battle.
Hearing the story of Eli Kahn, most Americans would feel gratified and inspired but the service I attended at the lieutenant’s Orthodox synagogue nonetheless serves to highlight the deeper, unspoken reasons that Israel provokes such visceral hostility from the international left.
The Middle East’s only democracy has recently enjoyed spectacular economic progress and unprecedented success in blocking and deterring terror attacks from its many Islamo-Nazi adversaries. Why, then, the increasingly shrill demands from politically correct activists throughout Western Europe and from college campuses in the United States for boycotts, UN condemnation, sanctions and diplomatic isolation aimed at punishing the Jewish state?
Why does the death of a few dozen Palestinians (mostly gunmen or racketeers from Hamas and Islamic Jihad) provoke more international indignation than the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents in Darfur, or the butchery of additional thousands by Muslim terrorists in Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Algeria, Yemen, the Philippines and even Thailand?
The common explanations for singling out Israel for international denunciation make no sense when placed in any reasonably well-informed historical context.