The Unreasonable Party Always Wins: Israel and Gaza

 

The only paid job I have ever had was teaching teenage girls how to lie. The High School in question called it “Model UN,” but I ran it like my own little fiefdom in which I dispensed wisdom and argued with students with reckless abandon.

One of the axioms I taught is that, in any brokered settlement, “The Unreasonable Party Always Wins.” This sticks in the craw, but it is true. Here are a few examples:

Imagine there are 12 matchsticks. A teacher tells two students to divide the sticks between them. The reasonable student suggests a 6/6 split. The unreasonable student claims victimhood of some kind, and says she needs all 12.

The teacher/arbiter comes in, and splits the difference! Halfway between 6 and 12 is 9, so 9 sticks go to the unreasonable party, and 3 to the reasonable party. Voila!

The very same thing happens in EVERY brokered settlement. Consider divorce: the party with the most hard-line demands wins, almost every time.

In sports, the referees end up being pushed around by the more physically aggressive team, so more fouls are called on the “nicer” team. Double standards are the net result, necessarily and every time.

Which brings us to Gaza. Hamas wants to kill all the Jews. Israel wants Hamas to stop killing Jews. So the brokered agreement, should there be one, would be to only kill half the Jews. Isn’t that only fair?

This inherent feature explains why the Arab instinctively know they should never, ever, back down from the most outrageous demands they can make. If anyone can impose a settlement, the Arabs will have moved the needle far away from any actual reasonable position.

The only way the reasonable party wins is to simply refuse to discuss the issue. Reject all intermediaries or judges or referees. In other words: make sure the situation is not brokered. Israel must do what it needs to do to end the threat to its own existence. And Israel must totally ignore the United Nations, a body that is somehow given legitimization as a democratic body, even though most of its own members came to power by ruthlessly murdering their opponents. There is no moral authority in the United Nations. Might should not Make Right, and Righteousness is not subject to majority approval.

Israel must hold absolutely firm to its position, and it must refuse all offers of “referees.”

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  1. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):
    anybody who thought that was okay can’t make a moral objection to it happening the other way.

    This makes it clearer, a bit, but it avoids providing a clear answer. For example, you use X and Y without explaining who they represent.

    X is the Israelis, Y is the Palestinians.

    But the point is X and Y can be any equivalent group. In this case national group but you could extrapolate to political group as well.

    My question is: Is this double standard morally allowed to stand?

    You need to ask someone who does have a double standard. For example, someone who thinks it’s okay to treat Israelis and Palestinians, as a group, differently and that it’s moral to do so. I don’t believe this, but there are plenty on Ricochet who seem to. Ask them.

    Are you saying that you don’t think there’s a double standard or that you don’t know whether it is allowed? Are you agnostic on the issue?

    I don’t think a double standard is legit, pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli.

    You should ask someone who does have a double standard.

    • #31
  2. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Meaning: we need to be consistent.  

    IF it’s morally okay to drive X into the sea then it is also okay to drive Y into the sea.

    But also

    If it is NOT morally okay to drive X into the sea then it is also NOT okay to drive Y into the sea.

     

    I am not in favor of driving anyone into the sea.

    But the above assumes that all parties are equally good. That G-d values every human life regardless of its choices

    The problem is that this is clearly contra-indicated by my own moral code. The Torah makes it abundantly clear with Sodom and Gomorrah that there are societies that are so corrupted by hatred and violence that they are beyond hope of redemption. And G-d destroys Sodom.

    Similarly, the Canaanites were all the way down the sexual rabbit hole of perversion.  In the Torah, they no longer had rights to exist. And they no longer exist, perhaps by death, emigration or assimilation. 

    It can be morally OK to kill Hitler and not morally OK to kill Churchill. In fact, if one cannot state this clearly, then one’s morality is untethered to any recognizable moral code at all.

    • #32
  3. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Are you saying that you don’t think there’s a double standard or that you don’t know whether it is allowed? Are you agnostic on the issue?

    I don’t think a double standard is legit, pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli.

    You should ask someone who does have a double standard.

    Why shouldn’t I ask you if there’s a double standard?

    • #33
  4. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Are you saying that you don’t think there’s a double standard or that you don’t know whether it is allowed? Are you agnostic on the issue?

    I don’t think a double standard is legit, pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli.

    You should ask someone who does have a double standard.

    Why shouldn’t I ask you if there’s a double standard?

    I don’t think there should be.  Some people do seem to have one. 

    • #34
  5. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    iWe (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Meaning: we need to be consistent.

    IF it’s morally okay to drive X into the sea then it is also okay to drive Y into the sea.

    But also

    If it is NOT morally okay to drive X into the sea then it is also NOT okay to drive Y into the sea.

    I am not in favor of driving anyone into the sea.

    Well that’s a relief.

    But the above assumes that all parties are equally good. That G-d values every human life regardless of its choices.

    That’s the problem with dragging religion into politics.  We don’t all believe the same thing.  It gives subjective opinions the veneer of objectivity ‘because God’.

    Similarly, the Canaanites were all the way down the sexual rabbit hole of perversion.

    Awesome. Do you have their number?

    • #35
  6. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Are you saying that you don’t think there’s a double standard or that you don’t know whether it is allowed? Are you agnostic on the issue?

    I don’t think a double standard is legit, pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli.

    You should ask someone who does have a double standard.

    Why shouldn’t I ask you if there’s a double standard?

    I don’t think there should be. Some people do seem to have one.

    Is there a double standard?

    • #36
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Are you saying that you don’t think there’s a double standard or that you don’t know whether it is allowed? Are you agnostic on the issue?

    I don’t think a double standard is legit, pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli.

    You should ask someone who does have a double standard.

    Why shouldn’t I ask you if there’s a double standard?

    I don’t think there should be. Some people do seem to have one.

    Is there a double standard?

    On Ricochet when it comes to Israeli and Palestinian lives? Seems to be.  Though people always have ‘reasons’ to justify it.

    • #37
  8. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Are you saying that you don’t think there’s a double standard or that you don’t know whether it is allowed? Are you agnostic on the issue?

    I don’t think a double standard is legit, pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli.

    You should ask someone who does have a double standard.

    Why shouldn’t I ask you if there’s a double standard?

    I don’t think there should be. Some people do seem to have one.

    Is there a double standard?

    On Ricochet when it comes to Israeli and Palestinian lives? Seems to be. Though people always have ‘reasons’ to justify it.

    You’re still not answering the question.  I mean, in your view, is there a double standard in the contrast between Palestine wanting to drive all the Jews into the sea, and yet calling to the world for humanitarian aid and a ceasefire and proportionality and calling for Palestinian civilian protections when reprisals come from Israel?

    • #38
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):
    You’re still not answering the question.  I mean, in your view, is there a double standard in the contrast between Palestine wanting to drive all the Jews into the sea, and yet calling to the world for humanitarian aid and a ceasefire and proportionality and calling for Palestinian civilian protections when reprisals come from Israel?

    Any group that is fine with killing another group’s civilians but raises a moral objection to its own civilians being killed by the other group is displaying a double standard.

    • #39
  10. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):
    You’re still not answering the question. I mean, in your view, is there a double standard in the contrast between Palestine wanting to drive all the Jews into the sea, and yet calling to the world for humanitarian aid and a ceasefire and proportionality and calling for Palestinian civilian protections when reprisals come from Israel?

    Any group that is fine with killing another group’s civilians but raises a moral objection to its own civilians being killed by the other group is displaying a double standard.

    Thank you.  I won’t even ask again if this should be allowed to stand.  But thanks for answering.

    • #40
  11. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    We got there in the end.

    • #41
  12. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):
    You’re still not answering the question. I mean, in your view, is there a double standard in the contrast between Palestine wanting to drive all the Jews into the sea, and yet calling to the world for humanitarian aid and a ceasefire and proportionality and calling for Palestinian civilian protections when reprisals come from Israel?

    Any group that is fine with killing another group’s civilians but raises a moral objection to its own civilians being killed by the other group is displaying a double standard.

    So you agree at last that Hamas has the double standard.

    • #42
  13. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    kedavis (View Comment):
    So you agree at last that Hamas has the double standard.

    Nobody’s directly asked me if Hamas has a double standard. 

    When it comes to killing civilians in Israel/Palestine I think it does.  I think the Israeli Government does.  I think a lot of people on Ricochet do.  I think a lot of Western Governments do.

    • #43
  14. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Zafar (View Comment):

    But the above assumes that all parties are equally good. That G-d values every human life regardless of its choices.

    That’s the problem with dragging religion into politics.  We don’t all believe the same thing.  It gives subjective opinions the veneer of objectivity ‘because God’.

    It is at the heart of the problem of deciding whether a murderer should live while an innocent man goes free.  Why is one life more valued than the other?

    • #44
  15. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Zafar (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    So you agree at last that Hamas has the double standard.

    Nobody’s directly asked me if Hamas has a double standard.

    When it comes to killing civilians in Israel/Palestine I think it does. I think the Israeli Government does. I think a lot of people on Ricochet do. I think a lot of Western Governments do.

    What Israel has is not a double standard of their own, it’s just a recognition of the Palestinian/Gazan double standard.  And really, it would be irrational not to recognize the Palestinian/Gazan double standard, and then behave accordingly.

    • #45
  16. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    iWe (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    But the above assumes that all parties are equally good. That G-d values every human life regardless of its choices.

    That’s the problem with dragging religion into politics. We don’t all believe the same thing. It gives subjective opinions the veneer of objectivity ‘because God’.

    It is at the heart of the problem of deciding whether a murderer should live while an innocent man goes free. Why is one life more valued than the other?

    Is the answer always ‘because God’?

    • #46
  17. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Zafar (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    But the above assumes that all parties are equally good. That G-d values every human life regardless of its choices.

    That’s the problem with dragging religion into politics. We don’t all believe the same thing. It gives subjective opinions the veneer of objectivity ‘because God’.

    It is at the heart of the problem of deciding whether a murderer should live while an innocent man goes free. Why is one life more valued than the other?

    Is the answer always ‘because God’?

    Would you be happier if they said it was “because Allah?”

    • #47
  18. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Is the answer always ‘because God’?

    Would you be happier if they said it was “because Allah?”

    It’s the same answer.

    • #48
  19. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):
    You’re still not answering the question. I mean, in your view, is there a double standard in the contrast between Palestine wanting to drive all the Jews into the sea, and yet calling to the world for humanitarian aid and a ceasefire and proportionality and calling for Palestinian civilian protections when reprisals come from Israel?

    Any group that is fine with killing another group’s civilians but raises a moral objection to its own civilians being killed by the other group is displaying a double standard.

    https://x.com/KurtSchlichter/status/1716979142678433987

     

    • #49
  20. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Zafar (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    So you agree at last that Hamas has the double standard.

    Nobody’s directly asked me if Hamas has a double standard.

    When it comes to killing civilians in Israel/Palestine I think it does. I think the Israeli Government does. I think a lot of people on Ricochet do. I think a lot of Western Governments do.

    I’m very happy to confess to a double standard.

    It’s good when Nazis and Commies get killed.

    It’s bad when Americans  (excluding the Nazis and Commies among us) get killed.

    Hamas is essentially a Nazi party in the mideast.  Kill them.

     

     

    • #50
  21. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Hamas Official Mousa Abu Marzouk: The Tunnels in Gaza Were Built to Protect Hamas Fighters, Not Civilians; Protecting Gaza Civilians Is the Responsibility of the U.N. and Israel:

    • #51
  22. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    But the above assumes that all parties are equally good. That G-d values every human life regardless of its choices.

    That’s the problem with dragging religion into politics. We don’t all believe the same thing. It gives subjective opinions the veneer of objectivity ‘because God’.

    It is at the heart of the problem of deciding whether a murderer should live while an innocent man goes free. Why is one life more valued than the other?

    Is the answer always ‘because God’?

    Would you be happier if they said it was “because Allah?”

    It certainly cannot be “because of quantum mechanics and general relativity”.

    • #52
  23. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    But the above assumes that all parties are equally good. That G-d values every human life regardless of its choices.

    That’s the problem with dragging religion into politics. We don’t all believe the same thing. It gives subjective opinions the veneer of objectivity ‘because God’.

    It is at the heart of the problem of deciding whether a murderer should live while an innocent man goes free. Why is one life more valued than the other?

    Is the answer always ‘because God’?

    Would you be happier if they said it was “because Allah?”

    It certainly cannot be “because of quantum mechanics and general relativity”.

    This is not a small question. It is at the heart of the justification for any society or any person over any other. 

    At least judaism and Christianity both see inherent value in each person on the basis of having a soul gifted by the divine. If it were not for religion, human life would have no inherent value at all. 

    • #53
  24. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    iWe (View Comment):
    If it were not for religion, human life would have no inherent value at all. 

    So how will that play out over time? We’ve moved strongly from people who espouse at least a nominal religion to “nones” in a generation. Carry that forward to the point where “nones” make up virtually the whole population. At some point along that process the value of a human life asymptotically approaches zero. I don’t know when or how long that will take, but once there society has achieved functional nihilism.

    At that point nothing is right and nothing is wrong. If A kills B, who would care that A is gone? At most, a few people who themselves have no inherent value, so who cares what they think?

    I’m glad I’m old enough not to see that take fruition. It’s bad enough now.

    • #54
  25. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    iWe (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    But the above assumes that all parties are equally good. That G-d values every human life regardless of its choices.

    That’s the problem with dragging religion into politics. We don’t all believe the same thing. It gives subjective opinions the veneer of objectivity ‘because God’.

    It is at the heart of the problem of deciding whether a murderer should live while an innocent man goes free. Why is one life more valued than the other?

    Is the answer always ‘because God’?

    Would you be happier if they said it was “because Allah?”

    It certainly cannot be “because of quantum mechanics and general relativity”.

    This is not a small question. It is at the heart of the justification for any society or any person over any other.

    At least judaism and Christianity both see inherent value in each person on the basis of having a soul gifted by the divine. If it were not for religion, human life would have no inherent value at all.

    “no inherent value” as exemplified by the postmodernist idea that there is no objective truth, only competing struggles for power and the various Marxist perversions of the idea of justice.

    • #55
  26. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Hamas Official Mousa Abu Marzouk: The Tunnels in Gaza Were Built to Protect Hamas Fighters, Not Civilians; Protecting Gaza Civilians Is the Responsibility of the U.N. and Israel:

    Wow.

    Well, at least he’s honest about it.

    • #56
  27. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Hamas Official Mousa Abu Marzouk: The Tunnels in Gaza Were Built to Protect Hamas Fighters, Not Civilians; Protecting Gaza Civilians Is the Responsibility of the U.N. and Israel:

    Imagine Winston Churchill telling Hitler that the safety of women and children in London is the responsibility of the Nazi military.  I wonder what Hitler’s response would have been?

    • #57
  28. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Hamas Official Mousa Abu Marzouk: The Tunnels in Gaza Were Built to Protect Hamas Fighters, Not Civilians; Protecting Gaza Civilians Is the Responsibility of the U.N. and Israel:

     

    Wow.

    Well, at least he’s honest about it.

    When you think about it, what the Hamas spokesman is clearly saying, is that he agrees with the cartoon above.

    He’s saying that the cartoon is not slander, but rather represents official Hamas policy.

    Golly.

    I’m continually astounded that there are people who are unsure which side they’re on in this dispute.

    • #58
  29. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Hamas Official Mousa Abu Marzouk: The Tunnels in Gaza Were Built to Protect Hamas Fighters, Not Civilians; Protecting Gaza Civilians Is the Responsibility of the U.N. and Israel:

     

    Wow.

    Well, at least he’s honest about it.

    When you think about it, what the Hamas spokesman is clearly saying, is that he agrees with the cartoon above.

    He’s saying that the cartoon is not slander, but rather represents official Hamas policy.

    Golly.

    I’m continually astounded that there are people who are unsure which side they’re on in this dispute.

    MEMRI can be a very useful resource for seeing what Muslims say to each other.

    • #59
  30. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Hamas Official Mousa Abu Marzouk: The Tunnels in Gaza Were Built to Protect Hamas Fighters, Not Civilians; Protecting Gaza Civilians Is the Responsibility of the U.N. and Israel:

    So, if protecting Gaza civilians is the responsibility of the Israelis, does that mean that protecting Israeli civilians is the responsibility of the Palestinians?  Did Hamas fail in its duty to protect Israeli civilians on Oct 7?

    Does this guy think that he’s making any sense at all?  How does he say such absurd stuff without giggling?

    • #60
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