The pictures are horrific: schoolroom walls covered in blood, parents running with injured children against a backdrop of bombed-out rubble, women with outstretched arms imploring Heaven. But they do not tell the full story of what is happening in Gaza any more than the casualty or rocket tallies printed daily in The New York Times and elsewhere do.
Midweek, the Times reported that 1,410 Palestinians have died and only 59 Israelis, while Israel had launched 3,577 rockets into Gaza compared to 2,753 fired by Hamas at Israel. But these figures are grotesquely dishonest, implying a moral equivalence that simply does not exist.
The escalating bloodshed could cease at any point. But Hamas chooses to keep the blood flowing, rivers of it meant to drown the resolve of Israel to dismantle the terrorist network that has impoverished Gaza and seeks to destroy the Jewish state.
Shedding innocent blood has always been the preferred tool of Hamas -- preferably the blood of Jews. But if it serves its propaganda purposes, Hamas is happy to sacrifice Muslim women and children by using them as human shields.
This point seems to be lost on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has blamed Israel for the deaths of 20 Palestinians at a UN school allegedly hit by Israeli rockets. Never mind that the UN has found weapons hidden in three of its own schools since the beginning of the conflict, and Israel Defense Forces have discovered weapons hidden in mosques and hospitals in Gaza, as well.
The technique seems to be working -- at least in rousing anti-Israel sentiment around the world, including among certain segments of the U.S. population. While more Americans believe Hamas is to blame for the bloodshed in Gaza, 40 percent to 19 percent, Democrats are nearly equally divided on the issue, with 29 percent blaming Hamas and 26 percent blaming Israel, according to a new Pew Research poll. Republicans, on the other hand, overwhelmingly say Hamas bears the burden of guilt for innocent lives lost, 60 to 13 percent.
Israel, which once enjoyed nearly universal respect and support in the West, has suddenly become the villain in all too many eyes. The shift in public opinion didn't begin with Operation Protective Edge, the Israel Defense Forces' move into Gaza earlier this month. As Joshua Muravchik outlines in his meticulously researched book "Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel" (Encounter Books 2014), the tide began to turn decades ago, especially on the left.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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