Syrian refugees in Hungary

Some of our, um, less informed readers need to start following Anshel Pfeffer’s Twitter reports from Hungary.

If your response is, “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?” my response to you is, “Fuck off.”

And if you think I don’t hold Barack Obama responsible for his failure to deal seriously with Assad’s brutality, you’re wrong. I’ve made the same points before, but (for once) I agree with Michael Gerson:

At many points during the past four years, even relatively small actions might have reduced the pace of civilian casualties in Syria. How hard would it have been to destroy the helicopters dropping barrel bombs on neighborhoods? A number of options well short of major intervention might have reduced the regime’s destructive power and/or strengthened the capabilities of more responsible forces. All were untaken.

This was not some humanitarian problem distant from the center of U.S. interests. It was a crisis at the heart of the Middle East that produced a vacuum of sovereignty that has attracted and empowered some of the worst people in the world. Inaction was a conscious, determined choice on the part of the Obama White House. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and CIA Director David Petraeus advocated arming favorable proxies. Sunni friends and allies in the region asked, then begged, for U.S. leadership. All were overruled or ignored.

Update: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked that Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria be allowed to come to the West Bank.

Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, representing Israel at its best, said Israel should also take in some of the refugees fleeing Syria.

“Jews cannot be apathetic when hundreds of thousands of refugees are searching for safe haven,” he said, referring to the plight of Europe’s Jews in the run-up to the Holocaust.

Former British chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks made a similar appeal on Thursday, telling the BBC that Britain should make a “very clear and conspicuous humanitarian gesture, like Kindertransport” – the absorption of hundreds of Jewish children fleeing the Nazis before the outbreak of World War II.