When Non-Violence is Violence

When does the use of non-violent tactics cease to be non-violent? When does non-violence instead become violence?

Marches on borders with the dismantling of security barriers, even if conducted entirely without firing guns and lobbing missiles, do violence.

Take a look at this definition of “violence” from Merriam-Webster:

1: a: Exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in warfare effecting illegal entry into a house)

Mobs dismantling borders are doing violence even if they do it without firing guns.

Meanwhile, throwing rocks, as the Palestinian mobs did, may not be the same as firing guns, but the difference is only quantitative, not qualitative. Throwing rocks is violent mob behavior. Sticks and stones can break bones. They can and do kill and injure. Firebombs, which were also thrown, can certainly kill and do harm.

The marches from Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, were merely attempts to achieve the military objectives that more extreme forms of violence failed to achieve. Non-violent tactics can cross the line into violence, not only when rocks are thrown, but when threats are made or damage is done. Breaking security barriers erected to prevent harm from being done is not a non-violent act.

One can be a non-violent hater, a non-violent Jew hater, a non-violent advocate for the elimination of the Jewish state through non-violent means, a non-violent advocate for the expulsion of the Jews from the land.

We may argue about whether or not certain border fences should be where they are and whether certain lands will be Israel’s or part of a future Palestinian state, but the use of non-violent tactics to achieve those goals rather than negotiations is only qualitatively different from using more violent tactics.

In effect, one can execute a non-violent attack and attempts to harm Israelis by harming Israeli security are exactly such attacks. This is why non-violent protests that attempt to do harm to Israel’s security are met with a response as if Israel were under attack. They are in fact attacks.

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