Though goodwill would be welcome from those who recognize the existential threats routinely faced by the Jewish nation, it’s not a prerequisite for the exercise of Israeli strength.
So, Israel was attacked by Hamas on Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, the last day of the high holiday season, in a devastating assault against civilians – and some immediately called for Israel’s response to be “proportionate.”
As Israel defended herself and prepared for a likely incursion into Gaza against terrorists who brutally murdered some 1,400 Israeli civilians and kidnapped perhaps hundreds more, an Irish government minister was among the first to urge Israel to proportionalize her response. And in the US, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a member of the radical, anti-Israel Democratic “Squad,” initially took the opportunity to blame Israeli apartheid (though Israel is most definitely not an apartheid state) instead of condemning Hamas terrorism against civilians, while some of her cohorts issued an equivocal denunciation of the attack and simultaneously demanded an immediate ceasefire to prevent Israel from retaliating.
What utter nonsense. Israel has every right to retaliate, and the only correct response would be the annihilation of Hamas, whose charter calls for jihad against Israel and genocide against the Jews.
Indeed, Article 7 of the Hamas Charter specifically states:
“Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion. It links up with the setting out of the Martyr Izz a-din al-Qassam and his brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood who fought the Holy War in 1936; it further relates to another link of the Palestinian Jihad and the Jihad and efforts of the Muslim Brothers during the 1948 War, and to the Jihad operations of the Muslim Brothers in 1968 and thereafter.
“But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: ‘The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).’”
(Hamas Charter, Article Seven.)
Why should Israel be hamstrung by demands for her to limit her response against an enemy whose charter calls for exterminating Jews as brazenly as Hitler’s Mein Kampf? What else besides total destruction constitutes an appropriate answer to terrorists who slaughter innocents in their beds, burn people alive, and decapitate children?
Hamas violated international law by attacking, murdering, and kidnapping civilians, torturing and raping captives, and perpetrating acts of genocide. In contrast, the IDF has always taken careful measures to minimize civilian casualties, including warning Arab civilians of impending actions via mass leaflets, texts, emails, and robocalls. Not to please the world, but because Israel is a decent and civilized country. And although Hamas launched several wars and a continuous stream of terrorism since the ill-conceived disengagement in 2005, Israel continued to provide for Gaza’s infrastructure needs (until now). No other country on earth would have done the same.
Nevertheless, mainstream media outlets were quick to dignify these barbaric terrorists by referring to them as “militants” or “fighters” instead of terrorists, murderers and rapists, and by giving airtime to propagandists posing as regional experts who framed Hamas’s atrocities as understandable reactions to so-called Israeli “occupation.” There is no occupation, but if there were, these atrocities would be understandable? Have we lost all reason?
But truth has no nuance.
Israel’s conduct during wartime differs significantly from that of other nations faced with far less existential threats. There was nary a critical peep during the Afghanistan War, for example, when coalition forces carpet bombed the Taliban in airstrikes that killed, injured, or maimed thousands of noncombatants. Or during World War II, when Great Britain bombed the German city of Dresden into oblivion, inflicting unprecedented civilian casualties. Despite Israel’s history of restraint in confronting unprovoked aggression, and although Hamas started this war with vile attacks against the young, old, and defenseless, Israel will undoubtedly be called upon to keep her actions “proportionate” or cease defending herself altogether to prevent further loss of life; or more accurately, to prevent the loss of non-Jewish life, which always seems more valuable to the international community than Jewish life.
Those who are concerned for Israel must recognize that what motivates both the demand for Israeli proportionality and the media’s compulsion to humanize terrorists is traditional antisemitism. And this is evident when viewed according to the law of contrasts. When Jewish lives are destroyed, the world usually says nothing or blames Jews for bringing it on themselves; but when their aggressors are killed or injured, the international community vilifies Israel and demands that she bare her neck to the sword.
The world only seems to acknowledge the Jews’ humanity when they are dead or subjugated, not when they have control of their own destiny, the power to defend themselves, or the chutzpah to be assertive. The stereotype of Jewish passivity was molded during a long exile when Jews were at the mercy of host societies that abused, ghettoized, and massacred them. The Christian and Muslim worlds simply had no room for Jews who didn’t know their place.
Hamas’s war is not about putting Jews back in ghettos or liberating a country (“Palestine”) that never existed. The myth of “Palestine” is just subterfuge for the goal of destroying the Jewish state and committing genocide. Hamas’s raison d’etre is to kill Jews; and it is enabled by a media establishment that consistently and maliciously portrays Israel in a false light. These terrorists are also abetted by progressive academics, politicians, and ideologues who spew hatred and misinformation about the Jews and their homeland, and by a Biden administration that has worked mightily to delegitimize Netanyahu’s government while financially rewarding Palestinian Arab agencies that subsidize terrorism and an Iranian regime bent on destroying Israel.
As Israelis learned during the Obama years, American reliability can be fickle with a progressive administration in the White House. Moreover, Israel cannot rely on a global community that has difficulty accepting Jews as anything but subservient victims. The world’s initial reaction to the dastardly attack on Israel was to express support, but it won’t last long after Israel begins a ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza or engages Hezbollah in the north. Goodwill towards Israel never lasts; and in fact, the mainstream media is already turning on Israel in tone and accuracy of coverage, as are those governments who now lecture Israel about humanitarian responsibility.
Nevertheless, some people do understand, and Israel will have to accept magnanimity wherever she can find it and ignore those whose support is conditional or nonexistent – especially in the Diaspora.
And this is a lesson I learned long ago.
There were few day-schools when I was young, so most Jewish kids attended public schools to learn secular subjects and Talmud Torahs to learn Hebrew, Tanakh, and Jewish law. Some of us attended supplemental Jewish schools four days or more per week, but public school was daily. In the elementary school we attended, Jewish students comprised an identifiable minority, and we encountered blatant antisemitism from Gentile teachers and students into the 1970s. We also got into fights fairly regularly.
One day, a few of us were called to the principal’s office because of all the fighting. When we were all seated, he closed the door and spoke. “Boys, I know what’s going on,” he said. “I know the other students are picking fights with you, and I also know some of the teachers are letting it happen. They’re antisemites.” Then he said something that still resonates. “I was in the Army, and I know what it’s like to have to defend yourself and your honor. So, I’ll assume when you get into fights that you’re defending yourselves, and that’ll be my assumption unless I discover otherwise. Don’t disappoint me.”
The principal was true to his word. He reprimanded the teachers who allowed us to be targets, and we took care of ourselves when the need arose with our student peers. And the fighting subsided as time went on.
Unlike students in a Diaspora schoolyard, however, Israel doesn’t need anybody’s permission to defend herself or protect her people. Though goodwill would be welcome from those who recognize the existential threats routinely faced by the Jewish nation, it’s not a prerequisite for the exercise of Israeli strength. And when the current wave of pro-Jewish solidarity wanes as it surely will, Israel will have to act in her sole discretion and ignore the inevitable admonitions regarding the proportionality of her response or the demands for agreement to a ceasefire with those intent on genocide.
And thank those few who remain by her side.
©2023. Matthew Hausman, J.D.. All rights reserved.