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How Terrorism Becomes “Entirely Defensible”

I would have expected some “pro-Israel” hard-liners to complain that the NBC report about the Israeli support for MEK terrorism inside Iran was untrue or unproven. Jonathan Tobin skips past all of that and argues that Israel is compelled to work with a terrorist group:

The MEK are allies of convenience and, just like many wartime allies in other conflicts, share only a common enemy with Israel. But however nasty they may be, Israel need not blush about using them. For a democracy at war, the only truly immoral thing to do would be to let totalitarian Islamists like those in Tehran triumph.

In other words, Israeli state sponsorship of a terrorist group is acceptable because it’s in a good cause. Tobin assures us that this is not just any old cynical “ends justify the means” argument. No, according to him this is “an entirely defensible strategy in which a vicious and tyrannical government’s foes become legitimate allies in what is for all intents and purposes a war.” Never mind that it is “for all intents and purposes a war” because the Israeli government is supporting acts of terrorism against Iranian civilians. Tobin is saying that it would be “immoral” not to partner with a terrorist group to kill Iranian scientists.

Because Israel is overreacting to a perceived threat from Iran, Tobin believes it is entirely defensible for Israel to partner with a recognized terrorist group. In other words, Tobin believes that terrorism is “entirely defensible” so long as it is committed by the right people and directed at the right targets. It’s as if he is going out of his way to vindicate Glenn Greenwald.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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