I know it’s trendy and hipster-y, and liberal these days to bash on Israel and say they’ve made the entire Gaza Strip a concentration camp for Palestinians by securing the Israeli-Gaza border, but I’m not drinking that Kool-Aide. It’s total bullshit. Keep in mind there are many people here in the USA saying we need to build an even stronger, taller wall between us and Mexico. Heck, it looks like we’re about to deploy National Guard troops on our Mexican border because a bunch of children have been crossing it. Would that mean we’d turn Mexico into a concentration camp, that we’d be an apartheid country? Of course not.

It’s ironic that agnostic, even atheistic hipster liberals are drawn to bash on Israel as Judaism is one of the most benign, moderate, and secular (for lack of a better word) religions out there. Yes it has an orthodox side, but by in large Jews have never sought to convert others or launched crusades or issued fatwahs or any of that. If you dislike fundamentalist and extremism in a religion, you’re going to prefer Judaism over Islam. (Not that any of us should be picking winners and losers when it comes to religions, I’m just making a point and trying to provide some context.)

And before you go and say “yeah but the Jews stole the Arab’s land!!” you should know that the Jews are essentially kicked out of and are not really welcome in any of the 22 Arab countries. Oh, and 6 million of them were exterminated by Nazi Germany.

Fun Fact: followers of Islam represent 23% of the world’s population, followers of Judaism represent 0.2%.

Another Fun Fact: the landmass of the 22 Arab countries is bigger than that of the USA, the landmass of Israel is about the same as New Jersey.

Unfortunately the idea that the Palestinian people in Gaza will morph into a moderate and productive people as soon as Israel opens its border with it is naive. During the time the border has been most locked down, Hamas has used the few resources coming into Gaza to build up its arms stockpile and to build tunnels into Israel to launch attacks, not to build infrastructure and institutions for its people. A lot of the schools in Gaza were actually built by the UN. There are plenty of other Arab countries that don’t have this border issue with Israel that aren’t exactly thriving: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt. These countries are all involved in civil wars where Arab against Arab violence is killing many people. As the writer below notes, some 200,000 Arabs (and rising I’ll add) have been killed by other Arabs in the past few years. I’m not being an Arab basher here, I have nothing against Arabs or any people, but one has to take an objective look at current events in the entire Middle East region before forming an informed opinion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Both Hamas (the ruling government in Gaza) and ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) are Sunni Muslim, and both are officially recognized as terrorist organizations. ISIS has been called an existential threat to the USA due to its desire to export terrorism beyond the Middle East and to stead Sharia law everywhere. It’s not hard to imagine Hamas and ISIS uniting at some point, if Israel didn’t stand between them they probably would have done so already.

After we didn’t find WMD’s and toppled Sadam Hussein in Iraq, we tried to set up a moderate, inclusive government there. We failed. We spent a decade, trillions of dollars, thousand of US soldier’s lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives trying. That’s how hard it is to set up a moderate government in the Middle East and it’s a testament to what Israel has accomplished.

Look, Israel isn’t perfect, no country is, not even the USA (or Norway!), but Israel is doing a remarkable job in one of the most lawless and barbaric parts of the world. This article sheds a lot of light on the situation and you should read it right now.