By Paul M
As I sit down to try and clarify my thoughts through the anger and sadness, it is a day and a half since Palestinian terrorists smashed their way through the Gaza border fence and took off on an orgy of brutal savagery. Current reporting is 700 murdered—civilians and soldiers as opportunity presented itself—2500 wounded and a hundred or so snatched as hostages. These, of course, are not yet the final numbers.
And yet as I write, celebration of the slaughter by Palestinians and their supporters has begun in places across the West, and the Western press has begun its work of minimizing and contextualizing it. The invading horde are nowhere “terrorists.” They are “militants,” in some places just “fighters.” Israel launches attacks and declares a siege; Palestinians do nothing, though occasionally Hamas does. For the most part, rockets fire themselves passively and mysteriously “from Gaza” and Israelis “are killed.”
My morning newspaper’s main headline is “Israel declares war after attacks.” Every word is true, so what’s to complain about? Nothing much, in one headline. The evil is in the cumulative effect of decades in which Israel is always the actor and the Palestinians are either passive victims or else reacting to Israeli spite.
A BBC headline today reads “Death toll crosses 1000 in Israel and Gaza following Hamas attack.” As if Israel, too, is murdering random young people at music festivals, and who is to say who’s right and who’s wrong? It’s as well that I’m powerless, because today, if I could, I would be tempted to brand those words into the flesh of the BBC’s Director General and every one of its Middle East editors and reporters.
Those are just two headlines out of many, but there’s not the time or space for them all and there are other things to say. What’s not reported matters too. At its conference paralleling the Labour Party’s one, the British far left—so recently at the gates of government—cheered a speaker expressing pride in the massacres. But I had to learn that from The Jewish Chronicle (circulation 20,000 British Jews) not the BBC, seen, heard and read by millions worldwide.
Social media are reportedly awash with videos of raped Jewish women, trampled Jewish corpses and abused Jewish children, proudly disseminated by the culprits. The better news outlets mention them (while mercifully refusing to provide links) but for too many others it’s as if they simply didn’t exist.
The US Council of Muslim Organizations leapt to put out a statement that “in Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Calls for Immediate End” not of Hamas’s butchery, which is nowhere mentioned, but “to Atrocities in [the] Occupied Territories.” The USCMO is an umbrella for leading American Muslim organizations: Shouldn’t its position matter to non-Muslims there and throughout the West? Well, good luck finding mention of it anywhere but their own website or the Times of Israel. ToI and other Jewish news sources also detail celebrations and marches in support of the terror in London, New York and elsewhere, but you’ll have to dig to find them in the mainstream media. Was there rejoicing too in Dearborn or Los Angeles, or on the West’s university campuses? I don’t know; I only know I can’t trust the MSM to tell me.
I can understand Hamas’s position, shared by so many other Palestinians, even as I reject it. They hold true to their century-long belief that only they have a right to national existence in the land, that they must be the masters there over all others. “Others” includes the increasingly small communities of Arab Christians and of non-Arabs. It emphatically does not include Jews, who are hated not just by them, but by God. All of this has been said repeatedly and explicitly and not only by the Islamists, though not always in English. This conflict was never about Jewish settlements (of which there are none in Gaza, nor any Jews either save two live hostages and two dead ones, until this week). It is about Israel’s existence, and the meaning of From the River to the Sea could not have been made more clear than it just has.
What I can’t accept and will not forgive are their Western supporters who abet, admire and excuse this wanton carnage and the cause it serves. How can they? At one time we used to talk about means and ends. The means we are seeing here are against everything civilized people profess to stand for: justice, human rights and international law. And to what end? Violence for violence’s sake, the wet dream of people who cannot see beyond the horizon of their hate? Many comparisons have been made with the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but this is not the Israel of 50 years ago and the Palestinians are not Egypt & Syria. This rampage won’t destroy Israel, only cause widespread misery for Israelis and, with absolute predictability, for Gazans too.
I do not like Nazi comparisons and I don’t make them. That era was a mutant episode in modern Western history and nothing since then has, so far, marked its repetition. It is not 1939 again—but I can’t help feeling today that this might be a taste of what it was like to live in the Germany of 1934 or -5. Jews have committed no genocide, no ethnic cleansing, no apartheid, but people who see themselves as civilized and benign have eagerly learned to demonize us without any effort at restraint or rationality until we are reduced to non-humans, beyond a claim to understanding or compassion, to whom anything at all may be done in good conscience.
I can’t see any point in trying to change the hearts of anti-Zionists. Another perspective is beyond their reach and they’re not interested in evidence that points to a different reality. I don’t even really want the Harry’s Place audience, who overwhelmingly understand what has been happening. What I would desperately like is to be able to reach the ordinary people of our societies, to open their eyes belatedly to what the intellectuals and opinion-makers have been doing for so long and to show them the poison that academia has been pouring into their children’s ears and the media have been dripping into their own, on this and so many other subjects. I want this for the sake of the Jews, but even more so for the countries of the West, the inheritors of the Enlightenment, who have never felt so close to throwing all that human progress away. Most of us still understand what we would be losing.