The second reason that using the term “disproportionate” is silly is that most of the major and earth shattering events of history seem to be disproportionate responses to apparently trivial incidents. Only a fool thinks that the American War of Independence was launched by a tea tax or a shot fired on a village green in Lexington. Only a fool thinks that the War Between the States was launched by Confederate fire on a fort in Charleston Harbor.
Of course we all realize that those seemingly trivial incidents did not really trigger great upheavals all on their own. They might have been the proverbial straw that pushed things one step too far. The little incident is merely the small visible part of the iceberg. Only a fool would say that World War II was England’s disproportionate response to Hitler. ~Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Rabbi Lapin is right that proximate causes are not the only causes of wars. There are long-term political tensions that predate the firing of the first shot, and there are economic or ideological interests that are at stake that push governments over the edge into the abyss. But this little lesson in causality tells us nothing about the question at hand. If I read this annoying article correctly, Rabbi Lapin seems to be saying: all great conflicts start with a single, small incident, so why worry if Israel escalates a small incident into a large-scale war that inflicts terrible, unnecessary and, yes, disproportionate damage on Lebanon? As I said some time ago: gone is the trope of Israel’s tremendous restraint; now we have the idea of the virtue of her disproportionate violence. If Israel’s apologists want to embrace disproportionate violence as a virtue, they are welcome to do so, but they can expect the criticism and opprobrium of those who still take principles of justice seriously.