In the aftermath of Israel’s latest conflict with Hamas terrorists, it seems that the Jewish state’s greatest failing was that it did not suffer enough casualties to satisfy its critics. And so, once again, the world is railing against “Israeli aggression” and casting its sympathies with those who seek to slaughter its civilians, and this despite the outrageous statements of the Islamic radicals hell-bent on destroying Israel.
On Thursday, November 23rd, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said, “Israel screamed with pain from what the resistance did to it. I thank everyone who provided us with arms and money, especially Iran.” Yes, to make Israel scream with pain is something virtuous.
Shortly after the bomb blast in Tel Aviv that wounded 22 Israelis, Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV aired a report showing footage of the bloody scene and commenting: “These are scenes of the casualties. God willing, we will soon see black body bags. I pray to God the exalted we will see body bags in a short while. . . . Right now in these moments, the mosques in the Gaza Strip, their minarets are loudly sounding cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and cries of joy, and the residents of the Gaza Strip are bowing down to Allah for this offering [or, gift]. The morale of the Gaza residents is in the sky right now, and is rising just as the rockets of the resistance.”
This is in keeping with Articles 6 and 8 of the Hamas charter which read (in part): “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it … The Islamic Resistance Movement…strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine … Allah is our goal, the Prophet our model, the Qur’an our Constitution, Jihad our path and death for the cause of Allah our most sublime belief.” (The last sentence is the motto of Hamas.)
Danny Ayalon, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, noted “that Hamas's charter includes the aspiration that ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)’.” In contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pointed out that, “For us, every time there are civilian casualties, that’s an operational failure. For them, every time there are civilian casualties, that’s an operational success.”
In fact, an Israeli soldier cannot leave base without having in his or her possession the Israel Defense Forces Code of Ethics, including values like these: “The IDF serviceman will, above all, preserve human life, in the recognition of its supreme value and will place himself or others at risk solely to the extent required to carry out his mission.
“The sanctity of life in the eyes of the IDF servicemen will find expression in all of their actions, in deliberate and meticulous planning, in safe and intelligent training and in proper execution of their mission. In evaluating the risk to self and others, they will use the appropriate standards and will exercise constant care to limit injury to life to the extent required to accomplish the mission.”
Yet so much of the world still sees Israel as the evil aggressor, and when a caller to Geraldo Rivera’s KABC radio show observed that, “there's absolutely no moral equivalency between a free democratic nation trying to protect its citizens and a terrorist organization that's trying to sow conflict by firing rockets at innocent civilians from amongst highly populated residential, civilian areas,” Rivera replied, “No moral equivalency? Yeah, yeah, I get that too, I get that too, except that's not the way the world sees it. You know, that's just not the way the world sees it. And there is, you got 116 dead Palestinians and three dead Israelis. I mean, that’s a, where's the equivalence there either?”
If only there were more dead Jews!
In keeping with this perverse mentality, on November 20th, in an interview with Gil Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post, BBC World News presenter Mishal Hussein asked, “OK, you say that Israelis have been running for their lives ..erm…from rockets from Gaza, so tell me then; until this current confrontation, how many Israelis have been killed by these rockets from Gaza this year?”
Similarly, BBC correspondent Kevin Connolly claimed that on the Israeli side, “there is anxiety . . . there is fear,” whereas he claimed that the people of Gaza (in the words of one woman) are “surrounded by death.” Connolly also noted that, “I think we have to be clear about this, that there is an asymmetry in the casualty figures . . . and there is a colossal asymmetry in military hardware deployed here as well.”
How dare Israel defend itself so forcefully. And how dare its new Iron Dome defense system work so well in intercepting more than 400 Hamas rockets, including new long range missiles supplied by Iran. If only more Jews had been killed!
Even before Israel began its attack on Hamas last week, the student senate at the University of California Irvine (UCI) passed a resolution by a vote of 16-0, accusing Israel of “human rights abuse and institutionalized structural violence against the Palestinian people.” But terrorist groups like Hamas are apparently guilty of no such thing.
If only their rockets and missiles were more accurate. If only more Israelis died. Then Israel wouldn’t be quite so evil in the eyes of the world.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.