Who now recalls that when Hamas was elected, the world responded with disgust? Hamas was on everyone's terrorist list. Flailing, the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and United States asked Hamas to recognize Israel, renounce terror and agree to live by previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority. Hamas refused. Nevertheless, its image is much improved.
Hamas enjoys killing Israelis and Jews -- "By God, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine," one of its leaders, Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, told Al Jazeera -- but thanks to Israel's self-defense, opportunities for that pleasure are limited. Hamas has successfully terrorized southern Israel -- and more recently, central Israel -- with its deliberate missile attacks on civilians, and they take satisfaction in that. But their chief aim and greatest victory is in forcing Israelis to kill Palestinians. It's almost a matter of indifference to Hamas whether a dead child is an Israeli killed by a Hamas rocket deliberately aimed at a village or a Palestinian child killed because Israel returned fire and the launcher was located in a kindergarten. If it's the latter, the child's image becomes part of the psychological war on Israel.
This script has been followed year after year. Elite world opinion seems incapable of seeing the truth -- that every dead Palestinian civilian (and, of course, every Israeli) is a victim of Hamas. Maybe it's just too pleasurable to indulge in guilt-free anti-Semitism. Notice that attacks in Europe have targeted synagogues, not Israeli embassies.
Hamas has been successful at libeling Israel and stirring anti-Semitism globally. Obama ought to speak for our values and forcefully push back against this dark, spreading stain, but he doesn't. He hasn't spoken up for Christians persecuted throughout the world, either.
Rather than denouncing Hamas' depravity, he has issued tepid endorsements of Israel's right to self-defense (undermined by privately delivered warnings). Canada's Stephen Harper, who has lately seemed, by default, the leader of the free world, was stalwart. "It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region." In light of that, "Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict."