The dictionary defines “self-defense” as: “The act of defending one’s person when physically attacked, as by countering blows or overcoming an assailant.”
Apparently, some schools and nations have a very different idea of what constitutes self-defense.
In May, A 16-year-old girl at Santa Rosa High School was suspended for fighting on campus–after she was attacked by two other girls from another school.
The May 16 fight was recorded on cell phone video by a third student.
Mia Danley, the girl’s mother. claims her daughter was jumped by two girls who had been cyber-bullying her for months. The reason: she was dating one of their former boyfriends.
Reacting to the cellphone footage of her daughter being assaulted, she said: “I see my baby being attacked viciously and I see her defending herself like we taught her to.”
Allen Danley, the girl’s father, showed school officials the cellphone texts that one of his daughter’s assailants sent threatening a fight.
But this made no difference to school authorities.
Santa Rosa High School has a strict no-fighting policy. But Allan Danley pointed out to school officials that their own student handbook states that “a student cannot be arrested or suspenced for defending themselves.”
They, in turn, claimed that his daughter didn’t cry out for help during the fight. So she was considered a willing participant.
Now let’s turn to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, Canada, Japan, the European Union, Jordan, Egypt and the United States.
On July 8, it began launching hundreds of missiles at Israel.
Hamas rocket blasts toward Israel
And Israel, to stop the attacks, responded in kind.
As a result, Israel has come under repeated verbal attacks by Hamas-sympathetic nations.
The charge: Israel is being too effective at defending itself, killing more Palestinians than Hamas is able to kill Israelis.
Reuven Berko, a former soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) recently addressed this charge in a guest column in the online newsletter, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
A major reason for so many civilian deaths among Palestinians, writes Berko, is that Hamas turns them into human shields by hiding its missiles in heavily-populated centers.
On July 17, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Far East (UNRWA) discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant UN school in the Gaza Strip.
“UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations,” said the agency in an announcement. “This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.”
UNRWA claimed that “this incident…is the first of its kind in Gaza.” But Israel counters that this is just one of many proven instances of Hamas hiding its fighters and munitions among a heavily civilian population.
At the heart of Berko’s editorial is the subject of “proportionality.”
Writes Berko: “Israel is held to an impossible moral double standard.
“Israelis, proportionality advocates seem to believe, should be killed by Hamas rockets instead of following Home Front Command instructions and running to shelters, to say nothing of Israel’s blatant unfairness in protecting its civilians with the Iron Dome aerial defense system….
“Anyone who demands that Israel agree to a life of terror governed by a continuous barrage of rockets and mortar shells on the heads of its women and children in the name of restraint and ‘proportionality’ would never agree to risk the safety of their own families in a similar situation.”
Berko points out that during World War 11, the Allies didn’t hesitate to retaliate for the Nazi blitz of London. In February, 1945, British and American planes firebombed Dresden, killing about 25,000 people.
Nor did America feel guilty about dropping two atomic bombs on Japan, killing about 250,000 civilians.
Summing up his argument, Berko writes: “The ridiculous demand for proportionality contradicts every basic principle of warfare.
“According to American strategist Thomas Schelling, you have to strike your enemy hard enough to make it not worthwhile for him to continue….
“In the Western world, killing someone in self-defense is considered justifiable homicide.”
Berko could just as easily have ended his column with the words of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, whose Union forces cut a swath of destruction across the South in his famous “March to the Sea.”
William Tecumseh Sherman
Wrote Sherman: “Those people made war on us, defied and dared us to come south to their country, where they boasted they would kill us and do all manner of horrible things.
“We accepted their challenge, and now for them to whine and complain of the natural and necessary results is beneath contempt.”