As Palestinians worldwide cheer Hamas, Israelis – and Jews – feel pain and denial of humanity while daring to defend themselves
Speaking at Dubai’s COP28 Summit, US Vice President Kamala Harris said “we cannot conflate Hamas with the Palestinian people.” “We” Israelis, Americans, Westerners, don’t have to – the Palestinians and their thuggish enablers keep doing it by deifying Hamas.
Harris’s comments sounded foolish to most Arabs’ ears – they know the truth. For decades, the world has absolved Palestinians of responsibility for the violence they keep encouraging.
This morally idiotic free pass continues, even as Palestinians worldwide cheer Hamas, even as we hear reports of doctors and UNWRA teachers holding innocent Israelis hostage, even as polls show that 75% of Palestinians support Hamas – especially the October 7 massacre, which Gazans facilitated. Just last week, Gazans threatened to lynch the hostages being freed – bizarrely, the Hamas war criminals protected the Israeli women and children from the mob.
Absolving responsibility for violence
That three-quarters of Palestinians champion the savagery reflects a broad Palestinian consensus. Only 36% of Americans approve of Harris, yet she represents them. Westerners proclaiming Palestinian “innocence” or warning that, by defending itself, Israel might alienate Palestinians ignore how Jew-killing thrills the Palestinian street. Note the absence of Palestinian resistance to Hamas, even in free countries.
Harris and her fellow Western dupes should learn Roni Krivoi’s story – Israelis know it well.
The first male Israeli adult hostage freed, Krivoi is a 25-year-old Russian-Israeli soundman who staffed the Supernova music festival. That desecration of the love celebration is now Israel’s worst single terrorist attack, murdering 364 civilians, wounding hundreds more, kidnapping 40. The terrorists’ own Go-Pro cameras broadcast searing images of Palestinians raping, kidnapping, and killing.
Dragged to Gaza, Krivoi eventually escaped his captors amid the chaos following a bombing. But unlike in World War II movies, there were no “good Germans” to save him from these modern Nazis – a serious Palestinian resistance exists only in Western hallucinations. After four days, his aunt reported, “the Gazans captured him and returned him to the terrorists’ hands.”
Krivoi’s recapture explains why, to many Israelis, it’s not just about Hamas. Even before the polls proved it, Gazans shared videos of themselves celebrating the violence and following the terrorists into Israel to rape, pillage, and murder.
Raided kibbutznikim recognized workers whom they had befriended participating enthusiastically, sometimes directing the evil. That’s why Western leaders who pretend that only Hamas committed these war crimes sound naive to their Arab interlocutors in Dubai, let alone to Israelis.
THE BLIZZARD of lies denying Israeli suffering while forgiving Palestinians reflects an age-old phenomenon – the dehumanization of the Jews.
In the 1590s, William Shakespeare recognized that bigots first degrade individuals. “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” Shylock the Jew in The Merchant of Venice famously asked. “If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”
Today, Israelis – and Jews – feel that same erasure of pain, that denial of humanity, and that self-righteous fury against us for daring to defend ourselves. Today, many Jewish women wonder: “If you deny you raped us, do we not suffer?”
Similarly, it’s dehumanizing to deny the widespread Palestinian Jew-hatred, or to restrain Israel’s army in ways American generals wouldn’t tolerate. The campuses were calm in 2017 when America helped liberate Mosul from ISIS, despite killing 10,000-plus innocent, nonhostile civilians as “collateral damage.” And the firepower America and the Allies unleashed against civilians to defeat Nazi Germany and fascist Japan in World War II shows how surgical Israel’s assault is.
Calls for an Israeli “ceasefire” lack credibility, after international pressure imposed “ceasefires” in 2009, 2012, 2014, 2019, and 2021 – whenever Israel defended itself before.
“Remember, there was a ceasefire on October 6, that Hamas broke by their barbaric assault on peaceful civilians,” former secretary of state Hillary Clinton explained on The View. Clinton added: “Hamas have consistently broken ceasefires…,” while affirming: “Israel has a right to defend itself, as does Ukraine.”
Such moral clarity doesn’t prevent Israelis from mourning the deaths of Palestinian children and any innocents caught in the crossfire. It just emphasizes that Hamas started the war and must reap the consequences, while the Palestinians’ failure to pressure Hamas to free the hostages and leave Gaza only extends their own suffering.
Israel tries minimizing civilian deaths, but its primary responsibility is to protect its citizens, then Western civilization.
US President Joe Biden spoke authoritatively in October – and should say it again. Hamas must be removed. Most Palestinians, in Gaza and abroad, support Hamas’s evil. Biden’s moral cry reflects just war theory.
It’s the only realistic way of ending today’s humanitarian crisis in Gaza, while allowing Roni Krivoi and thousands of other Israeli survivors a shot at sleeping soundly at night, as they did before October 7.
The writer is an American presidential historian and, most recently, the editor of a three-volume set, Theodor Herzl: Zionist Writings, the inaugural publication of The Library of the Jewish People.