The facts that pro-Palestinian demonstrators need to know
The writer below sees a knowledge of the full facts as an antidote to the present upsurge of antisemitism. I think he is being far too optimistic. What the pro-Palestinian demonstrations reveal is how deeply runs the river of antisemitism in the West, a river that has now burst its banks.
Memories of Germany's Nazi horror have long kept antisemitism from being expressed in Western societies but that historic hatred has always been there and the Gaza conflict has caused it to burst into the open.
The big fault in Jews that causes them to be hated is their success in all sorts of ways -- particularly financial. And that provokes envy, a powerful destructive force that is such an ancient human folly that it is expressly forbidden in the Ten Commandments. It is a huge mental affliction that seethes in the minds of many unbalanced people.
And if Jewish success generally is offensive, Israel is REALLY offensive. Israel is not only succesful at building prosperity in what was once desert, it is TRIUMPHANT. It has repeatedly defeated attacks on it despite all odds against it. And that triumph provokes burning rage. A triumphant Jew is the very antithesis of what Jew-critics want. It is a towering insult to the envier mind
And where a towering rage is what is driving antisemitism, reason, rationality and facts are of no effect. What the pro Palestinian demonstrators say is founded in rage only, with the facts being completely irrelevant. The facts will be rearranged to suit the rage
And where does the rage come from? It comes from the Left, for whom rage is basic. The eruption of hate that emerged when Trump was elected reveals what drives Leftists. Rage and hate are the drives of most Leftists. So, where I see Israel as admirable in its success, the Leftist sees it as outrageous and deserving of total hate.
The divide over the Gaza war is a window into the ghastly reality of what drives the Left/Right divide in modern Western societies. Its "pro-Palestinan" motive is just window dressing for Leftist hate. It is not "pro" anything. It is just a demonstration of deeply-rooted hate.
During a call-in show with the late Christopher Hitchens, many years ago, a lady asked a simple but discerning question. After praising Hitchens for his insight, she asked how much of that insight came from talent and what rested on simply ‘knowing about stuff’.
While few can attain the knowledge, experience, and wit of Hitchens, knowing a few basics facts is surely considered the bare minimum to be a member of a society who wishes to participate in the marketplace of ideas… Or, if you don’t know ‘stuff’, you should at least be open to learning.
In our self-censorious age, it is more fashionable and pseudo-sophisticated to regurgitate the prefabricated phrases of the ‘bien-pensant’. It saves the effort of learning and thinking. Given this, we should not be surprised to find so many spouting propaganda without knowing the depth of their ignorance. Nothing illustrates this better than the Israel-Gaza conflict.
Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel, beginning on October 7, killed around 1,200 Israelis, mainly civilians, making it the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. One mustn’t forget that many Israeli Arabs also perished. One of these inconvenient facts forgotten by pro-Palestinian placard-wavers (who are really pro-Hamas, even if they don’t know it), is that some 20 per cent of Israelis are Arabs and 17 per cent are Muslim. Documents found on the bodies of Hamas terrorists show that the intent of Hamas was to kill as many civilians as possible, including detailed plans to target elementary schools. Another note, recovered by the Israeli Defence Force, read as follows:
‘You must sharpen the blades of your swords and be pure in your intentions before Allah. Know that the enemy is a disease that has no cure, except beheading and removing the hearts and livers. Attack them!’
Video footage, gathered from bodycams of the terrorists, shows them torturing their victims. The bodies found of Hamas’ victims bear the scars of the inhuman suffering they were subjected to before they were killed. There is a recording of a Hamas terrorist calling his parents with the phone of his victim, bragging with glee that he killed 10 people. Another is of terrorists boasting of having cut off the heads of their victims and playing with them.
This is the conduct of Hamas, an organisation designated as a terrorist group by, among others, the US, the UK, the European Union, and Australia. Remember, Hamas was voted into power in 2006 by a slim margin over Fatah in the Gaza Strip, they never allowed another election.
Another ignored fact is the fundamental difference between Israel and Hamas in how they treat their citizens and civilians during conflicts. While the former has made sure that every one of its citizens have access to shelters from the random rocket attacks, Hamas shelters their rockets in schools and hospitals, using civilians as human shields for weaponry and combatants, knowing that Israel will hesitate to attack due to humanitarian reasons. For Hamas, this is a win-win situation – either its civilians will prevent Israel from attacking, or if Israel does strike, the civilian casualties will be used for PR and engender sympathy among the gullible.
The actual welfare of the civilians has never been a consideration for Hamas, underscored by a report that said Hamas is hoarding 200,000 gallons of fuel for its militants, who hide in hundreds of kilometres of tunnels, while hospitals and water treatment plants are running low. Hamas openly calls for the destruction of Israel, and yet Israel is the one providing clean water to Gaza.
Even after the slaughter of Israelis, the Israeli military sent advice to residents in Gaza to move to the south in anticipation of their ground offensive in an attempt to reduce civilian casualties. Which other country will tell their enemies in advance of their combat strategy to avoid civilian casualties? The Hamas leadership, on the other hand, has ordered the civilians in the north to stay.
Around the world, mindless mobs have gathered and marched in support of Hamas and in condemnation of Israel, as if there is any moral equivalence. It is petulant and self-righteous. In Victoria, protestors saw fit to storm the office of Defence Minister Richard Marles. In Sydney, protestors were shouting ‘F*** the Jews!’ Elsewhere, the language reveals the callous nature of pro-Hamas protesters, with one man in London saying that ‘Hitler knew deal with these people’.
One might be tempted to say, and many do, that the slaughter of 1,200 Israelis is the culmination of Israel’s occupation of Gaza. But Israel does not have any presence in Gaza. In 1967, during the Third Arab-Israeli War, Israel occupied the then-Egypt-controlled Gaza (which is seldom mentioned), only after being fired upon from positions within Gaza. In 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza, forcibly removing the few thousand Jews who settled there.
But Israel has cemented the borders of Gaza, meaning that it is an open-air prison, others might pipe up. Perhaps Israel wouldn’t need to if the Hamas Charter didn’t specifically say that it intends to obliterate the state of Israel. But Gaza also has a border with Egypt, which the Egyptians have kept closed without any condemnation. Is it not morally worse for Egypt, an Islamic country that had occupied Gaza for years, as well as all the other Arab states in the area, many of whom very wealthy, not to open their doors to their brother and sister Muslims? The reality is that the Arab nations, like Hamas, care not a jot for the citizens of Gaza, whom they see only as a useful chess piece in the game of international relations against Israel.
The moral confusion over the Israel-Hamas conflict stems from not knowing ‘about stuff’. For if people knew a little more, there would be mass pro-Palestinian protests against Hamas. As such, in the utter moral confusion, antisemitism of the crassest kind is allowed to flourish again in the West, decades after ‘never again’ was promised.