I Beg to Differ, Mr. Obama

by | Nov 9, 2023

Innocent Gaza citizens should criticize Hamas for their misery and suffering, not Israel.

Dear Mr. Obama:

You are reported as having said, regarding the Israel-Hamas war; that it  is complicated and that both sides are complicit in unethical behavior.

I would like to say, with due respect, not so fast. Confusion arises when people do not think in terms of context and of principles. What context and principles are relevant here?

  • Every person or country that respects the rights of its citizens has the absolute right to self defense when attacked by an enemy. Israel is a country of the enlightenment. It was declared to be a sovereign country by the not always trustworthy U.N. after centuries of persecution including the Holocaust.  It allowed freedom of religion, freedom of the press, a multi-party system with free elections, separation of powers, and capitalism.
  • It has been repeatedly attacked by various Muslim countries whose populations numbered in the millions. These countries were religious dictatorships bent on  exterminating Israel. They became especially enraged by the fact that Israel, because of its dedication to reason and freedom, built a modern, prosperous, industrial civilization which far surpassed what had existed before. Israel won every war and each time thought they had made their country secure. Each time the Palestinians, with the help of allies, like Iran, simply started a new war.
  • This time the Palestinians decided to focus their attack just on civilians, murdering hundreds and taking others hostage. Israel, by right, struck back.
  • Here is where the issue, for some people, becomes muddy. At  the end of World War II, both Germany and Japan were attacked (both cities and miliary facilities) without mercy and totally defeated. The allies demanded unconditional surrender and got it. Their leaders were put to death and both countries were occupied to make sure the surrender was total.  Both countries have since been peaceful. This was in marked contrast to the end of World War 1 when Germany itself was not even invaded–we all know the tragic result of that so-called peace deal. The Israeli victories have resembled WWI, not WWII.
  • This time Israel  correctly decided it had to attack all Hamas strongholds and find or kill the leaders and destroy the infrastructure. Hamas soldiers have aways hid within the civilian population and then claimed they were victims. This time they are not getting away with it.

Totally innocent Gaza citizens should criticize Hamas for their misery. and suffering, not Israel. And the world should fully support Israel’s determination to protect themselves againstthe disgraceful, repeated attacks on their right to be free. This is what justice demands.

Edwin A. Locke is Dean's Professor of Leadership and Motivation Emeritus at the R.H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial & Organizational Behavior, and the Academy of Management. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award (Society for I/O Psychology), the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Management (OB Division), the J. M. Cattell Award (APS) and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Academy of Management. He, with Gary Latham, has spent over 50 years developing Goal Setting Theory, ranked No. 1 in importance among 73 management theories. He has published over 320 chapters, articles, reviews and notes, and has authored or edited 13 books including (w. Kenner) The Selfish Path to Romance, (w. Latham) New Directions in Goal Setting and Task Performance, and The Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators. He is internationally known for his research on motivation, job satisfaction, leadership, and other topics. His website is: EdwinLocke.com

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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