An unidentified group attempted to open a second front in the current Palestinian war by firing rockets into northern Israel from across the border with Lebanon. While the gesture is no less impotent than Hamas's own stunts that provoked the present fighting, and is perhaps more so due to the perpetrators' anonymity, I have to say that their hearts are in the right place. While everyone else simply threatens to hold their breath and turn blue until Israel stops beating up Gaza, or looks for unarmed Jews to beat up elsewhere in the world, these guys at least made a show of fighting. My rule still applies: these mystery men ("Not us!" says Hezbollah) shouldn't start crying if Israel diverts a few bombers to the north to deal with them. But my point about not whining or not acting surprised has never meant that I think that Palestinians or other Arabs have no right to make war on Israel. All I've been saying is that, if you're going to make war, don't pretend you're not. Be prepared to accept the consequences.
To be honest, my judgments have been aesthetic rather than strategic. I'm fairly certain that the Palestinians have anticipated the consequences, and that whining about them has been their actual strategy. While I still see a "counting coup" quality in the rocket attacks, they're probably also meant to work as a form of "propaganda of the deed." If so, the whole idea is to provoke an outrageous reprisal so that they can whine about it and somehow this time convince the people who count that Israel is a beastly entity. In that case, Israel has responded according to the program, as usual, but the strategy is just as unlikely to work as ever. It'll take a lot more than the present atrocities to turn U.S. public opinion against Israel. This has less to do with the invincible power of an Israeli Lobby, though there certainly is a powerful one, than with the fact that many Americans are bigoted against Arabs. I suspect that they feel an affinity with Zionism as a "pioneer" movement similar to the U.S. itself, with the Palestinians relegated to the role of backward, "savage" aboriginals and the Israelis playing the purveyors of civilization and "democracy." It doesn't help that most Palestinians espouse a religion that many Americans despise for its own degree of backwardness and savagery. It may all be unfair, but that's what you're up against if you're out to change public opinion. The big challenge is not to prove the perfidy of the Israelis, but to humanize the Palestinians in American eyes so that Israel's treatment of them might finally seem perfidious to more people. It won't do to cry "imperialism," "colonialism," or "racism," since these are buzzwords that Americans are trained to ignore as signs of Commie propaganda. If I make the task look extremely difficult, that's because lots of well-meaning people have been trying to turn the tide for years. The books, the magazine articles, the documentaries, are all out there. They have not been suppressed. But there is an American resistance to the Palestinian cause that defies simplistic analysis and quack remedies.
This has been a rather tedious attempt to suggest that Palestinians and Arabs in general should perhaps worry less about winning Pyrrhic battles for public opinion and concentrate on finding a way to win real battles. That's not going to be easy, either, and I can understand if they think it impossible without winning the public opinion battle. But they've got to do something more substantial or else face the fate of "weaker" peoples throughout history, in a diaspora or worse.