Throwing punches at Klitschko

Wladimir Klitschko holds many boxing titles15 November 2012

Boxing–Gaza analogy

There’s a war going on. I guess I don’t have to remind you and much of the discussion is only clichés. Israel doesn’t use disproportionate force†.  Some casualties are innocent victims but most are not‡. Much of the criticism can be condensed down to labeling Israel a big bully or worse, a murdering, evil, big bully.

Trying to explain this to some of the people I’m forced to debate is like explaining algebra to a five-year old. And when caught with unanswerable facts or logic the Palestinian Two-Step surfaces. We need an analogy that even intellectually challenged ‘supporters’†† of the Palestinians can understand. So I have developed the Klitschko Analogy.

The Klitschko Analogy

Let us say I’m walking down the street when I encounter Wladimir Klitschko who has just defended one of his alphabet soup, World Heavyweight Boxing titles yet again. There is plenty of reason to be jealous. He’s bigger than me; more successful than me; more famous than me; wealthier than me; is dating a Hollywood actress (at least he was last time I watched E channel) and could easily be smarter than me. So I take a swing at him. Damn him. He’s walking on my footpath like he owns it.

It’s possible I might get lucky and connect. His chin is really out of range and a champion athlete’s reflexes may push his chin beyond my reach. Hit him? Maybe. Hurt him? Less likely. Irritate him? You bet. Knock him out? Only in a dream or a pop music video! Even with the advantage of surprise.

By all accounts, Mr. Klitschko is a gentleman and well aware of the PR fallout if he strikes a much weaker opponent, out of the ring. He would probably respond with an, “OK. You’ve had your fun. Don’t do it again”.

But I’m drunk with success and try another punch, convinced that I can do it again and even achieve my goals of kicking him off my street and/or recovering lost pride. Did I mention he’s a Christian or at least I think he might be?

The champions response could be a light, warning tap, to remind me what I would be getting into. Unfortunately for me the tap of a trained boxer with about a 32 kilogram (71 pound)  weight advantage would probably send me flying off my feet and stretched on the ground. In the process an onlooker is knocked over by my hurdling body?

But I’m tough, determined and not a little bone-headed. Not only do I come to my feet but I attack with everything I have left jabs, uppercuts, hooks, straight-rights. I ignore the verbal and physical warnings, Marquis of Queensberry rules and hitting below the belt. There is no doubt in my mind that I will open the Gates of Hell or a can of whup-ass. (If you’re an Aussie whup-arse).

The results are obvious, inevitable and very painful. The man known as Dr. Steelhammer defends himself. Perhaps not as brutally as he would do in the ring against a worthy opponent. You don’t reach his level without discipline. Still he does it with enough force to end the attack and stop me, at least temporarily, from continuing with it. Some onlookers try to assist me but it is not clear whether it is in my fight or in my escape. They don’t escape unscathed.

So here’s the moral conundrums:

  • At what point in this episode is Klitschko/Israel a bully?
  • At what point is he/they obliged to concede victory for no other reason than Five Minutes for Israel/Gaza attack.
  • At what point is he/we using disproportionate force?
  • At what point is Five Minutes for Israel/Gaza morally responsible for what happens to him/them?
  • At what point am I/we legally responsible for the attack or any damage I/we might cause to him, like a torn suit or a scratched cheek?
  • At what point are we or they responsible for any injuries to bystanders? Does it matter if they were involved?


The Palestinian two-step

The Palestinian two-step is a popular dance move seen often in Klitschko situations. Some boxers are said to dance across the ring as most defenders of Palestinian terrorism dance across logic.

Think of it with a one-one … two  beat and repeat.

The initiating gambit: “Israel is a murdering, Nazi, terrorist state that kills innocent children for no reason.”
The response: “Israel responds to your rockets, suicide bombs and kidnapping”.

Followed by the counter: “You are occupiers. Palestine has every right to defend itself”.


Five Minutes for Israel

Five Minutes for Israel

Wladimir Kilitschko

Wladimir Klitschko

†For the use of force to be necessary, it must yield a direct military advantage that contributes to thwarting the aggression and be no greater than required for this object. Surely if the rockets are still firing Israel has not used disproportionate force. As one would expect, there is no criterion, not even a theory, for determining  when the use of force carries an excessive cost to civilian bystanders (Fletcher).
Really worth reading: Sense and Nonsense about Disproportionate Force, George P. Fletcher and What is Disproportionate Force, David Blewett.

‡ International law recognises collateral damage may be unavoidable and Hamas using human shields won’t legally protect military targets. It also, not coincidentally is a war crime. “The presence of protected persons may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.” Article 28 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations. Article 51(7) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I
Read it all: Practice Relating to Rule 97. Human Shields, International Committee of the Red Cross.

†† Why the inverted commas around ‘supporters’? Because I can’t see how someone who considers gay and womens’ rights; toleration of other beliefs; artistic freedom; media freedom; democracy; or protection from corruption, intimidation and torture to be essential can possibly want to inflict Hamas or the slightly better dressed Fatah on Palestinians.

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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