Ctrl-F-Genocide: Sam Harris versus Andrew Sullivan on Gaza

Sullivan: I see now: “Genocide and ethnic cleansing.” You’re right. But he does believe in killing every civilian in Gaza who resists—

Harris: Andrew, he does not believe in killing every civilian in Gaza. He’s talking about combatants. I only know this person from your blog, but I read what you wrote, and I read what you quoted. The man wants to separate the civilians from the militants so that the IDF can bomb the hell out of the militants.

It’s an important distinction, but Sullivan does not concede the point. Nor is he moved—arguing that “rather than seizing land” in Palestine, all Jews might have settled in America, where they could live peaceful and prosperous lives—by Harris’s historical reminder that America had turned down boatfuls of Jewish refugees seeking to flee the Nazi inferno. Sullivan writes it off to “a shameful episode in American history;” that Zionism was the natural and logical answer to such shameful episodes hardly bothers him.

Nor would the blogger concede that Israel has any legitimate claims when it strives to defend itself against its attackers. Instead, he offers this account of what really troubles the Middle East:

In fact, you can say that one of the major sources of jihadist Islam and anti-Western terrorism has been not just the founding of Israel, but its expansion and its constant presence in the lives of so many Arabs in the Middle East.