HL 180 – The Idiocy of the False But Prevalent View of Proportionality

February 20, 2024

Home | Blog | HL 180 – The Idiocy of the False But Prevalent View of Proportionality

Back on the pavement thinkin about the idiocy of the false but prevalent view of the doctrine of proportionality under international law.  And most specifically relative to Israel’s response to October 7 and America’s response to the January 28 drone attack by the Iran-backed “Islamic Resistance in Iraq.”  That attack killed three American soldiers based in Jordan.

Rashida Tlaib & Ilhan Omar

First, with regard to the war between Israel and Hamas, there is an ugly American mosaic of no nothings, should know betters and anti-Semites peddling the assertion that a proportional response to October 7 is an eye for an eye.  Under that Hammurabic/Old Testament, but inapposite, formula once Israel killed more than the 1200 killed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad on 10/7 it violated the rules of proportionality.[1]

The Squad, Representative Pramila Jayapal and some others in the Progressive Caucus are blocks in this shitty patchwork.  While it is debatable whether certain among them are no nothings, should know betters or anti-Semites, it is clear that some occupy more than one of these categories.  That’s true of Representative Ilhan Omar of the “It’s All About the Benjamins Baby.” With her it’s clearly all about being in more than one category.  Same with Representative Rashida Tlaib, who not only refused to condemn Hamas but refused to condemn the rapes and other sexual violence against Israeli women on October 7 – the only such member of Congress.  For Tlaib and the 35 student groups at Harvard that assign total responsibility for October 7 to Israel – proportionality is not an issue.  No Israeli response is permitted other than perhaps moving the Jewish state to Madagascar, Kenya or Ethiopia as was proposed by the Third Reich, Italian Fascists, and Joseph Chamberlain (Neville’s daddy), when he was Britain’s Colonial Secretary.

Nick Rostow

The actual international legal doctrine of proportionality is not “stripe for stripe and burning for burning” but allows a response sufficient to prevent the instigators from perpetrating further attacks and murders.  Not without regard to preventable collateral death and destruction to innocents, including non-collaborating civilians.  But with recognition that the instigators use of innocents as shields will increase the number of casualties and affect the line between what is permissible and what is prohibited.  For readers interested in an excellent concise scholarly discussion of the real doctrine of proportionality, I have hot buttoned Nick Rostow’s Revisiting International Law in The Gaza Contextrecently published in the “Just Security” online forum.

Though neither an ignorant, dissembler nor Jew-hater, our Commander-in-Chief implicitly pronounced on proportionality when saying that Israel’s response to October 7 had been “over the top.”  Without knowing where Biden thinks that top is, it is instructive to examine the Chief’s own response to the January 28 drone attack that killed three of our soldiers.  Where he will draw that line is a work in progress because we are assured that the American response is ongoing.

On February 2 and 3, B-1 bombers based in Texas, flew 15,000-mile roundtrips to lead an air assault on seven sites and 85 targets in Iraq and Syria.  80 were destroyed.  Sixteen people were killed in the headquarters of the “Popular Mobilization Forces” in Iraq.  Three homes used by members of Kata’ib Hezbollah were destroyed.  In Syria, 29 were reported killed by the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” as observed from their headquarters in Coventry, England.

Pramila Jayapal

On February 7, a second U.S. responsive attack killed three Kata’ib Hezbollah militants, including a senior commander.  And while “the hits just keep on coming” the tab to date is 81 targets hit and 48 known killed in response to one drone attack that killed three Americans.

I hear some say that Biden’s ongoing response comes after more than 160 attacks by various Iranian proxies, including the Yemen-based Houthis.

The Israeli response to October 7 came after more than 20,000 rockets launched by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Iranian proxies.  All after Israel ended its occupation of Gaza and the civilians in Gaza elected a terror organization, committed to the destruction of Israel and the killing of all Jews everywhere.

Those 20,000+ rockets were not aimed at anything but Israel.  And the rockets that got past Iron Dome randomly fell wherever, including homes, schools, houses of worship and medical facilities.  The call for a ceasefire before Hamas’ terror capabilities are eliminated, and if not totally then virtually, is a call for the continuation of indiscriminate terror attacks on additional homes, schools, hospitals and houses of worship, including those that shelter, educate and house the worship of Israel’s more than 1.7 million Muslims.  And this ceasefire demand is justified in large measure by a false and idiotic definition of proportionality.

[1]   Of course, Israel can’t take 240 hostages or drag Palestinian corpses across the Israel-Gaza border, as those acts, in and of themselves are criminal and proportionality is inapplicable to such atrocities.  But such atrocities are the basic day-to-day work of Hamas, which is recognized by the United States and the European Union as a terror organization.


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