Whenever I get annoyed that folks aren't concentrating enough on Palestinian or Hezbollah terrorism vis-a-vis the Israeli response, I get chided that the former is never a question: "Everybody knows terrorism is bad. That isn't up for debate. What is a tough question is how to ethically respond to terror." And for the most part, I agree. How to ethically respond to terror is a difficult question, worthy of being debated. And few (though by no means no) persons seriously are willing to defend terror as something legitimate or just.
Sadly, what is a question is whether Israel's responses, even if bad or unwise or unjust, are equally unjust to those of Hezbollah's. This is one of the reasons I think that the debate gets fuzzy. A few days ago, for example, Publius admonished his commenters that merely saying that Israel is justified to respond doesn't mean that this response is justified. Certainly a reasonable point. Publius wrote his post from the perspective of critiquing Israel's particular response, so the pro-Israeli folks came out of the woodwork to debate him in comments. For my part, I've been writing my post trying to argue that Israel's response is "just" (if not "ideal"), so the comments I've been receiving have been more anti-Israel and more prone to try and argue from the "Israel is being evil" front. Take enough from that wing, and you're going to get snippish towards people who even seem like they're arguing that Israel can do nothing without becoming as bad as their enemies.
But that's not the point I want to make. The reason why folks like me are so vigilant in trying to get people to denounce Hezbollah and their allies isn't because we think anyone who opposes an Israeli policy is pro-terror. The reason why we do it is because we want to know that these people recognize that even if they think Israel is bad, what Hezbollah or Hamas is doing is far worse from an ethical standpoint. And that, unfortunately, is a question.
David Bernstein, for example, points to a piece by the former Mid-East Bureau Chief of the New York Times arguing that "We cannot ascribe equal amounts of moral blame to all sides" because Israel is worse than Hezbollah or Hamas. My college friend Ben complained about an Amnesty press release on the conflict because it was equally condemnatory of Israel and Hezbollah, rather than being harsher towards Israel for its "escalation."
It's true that saying "terror is bad" is not something you have to drag out of the liberal critics of Israel. Okay good, that's lesson one. Lesson two is that, as abominable as you may find civilian casualties from airstrikes against military targets, it's not the moral equal of deliberately targeting individuals for no purpose other than to sow terror. That lesson we're still working on.