On October 17, a rocket fell on the Al-Ahli hospital in the Gaza Strip. Immediately, the American media and a bevy of governments across the world vociferously condemned Israel for allegedly targeting a civilian area with an airstrike, killing hundreds.
Headlines from The New York Times and various other publications took Hamas-aligned organizations who reported on the event at their word. There was no reflection upon the fact that terrorist groups have every reason to blame Israel after they kill Palestinian civilians, in the process of attempting to slaughter Jews.
Instead, the uncritical promulgation of another contemporary blood libel took place. And when the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) released incontrovertible proof that a misfired rocket from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was actually responsible for the tragedy at the Al-Ahli hospital, no apologies were issued.
It is laughably alleged by anti-Semities that American media companies are controlled by “Zionists” attempting to foist pro-Israel beliefs on the public. But the moral equivalence drawn between Israel and her enemies by these entities should put this absurd conspiracy theory to bed.
Following the massacres of October 7, a day on which more Jews were butchered than any other since the Holocaust, there appeared to be a wave of support for Israel even from those who have only tepidly exhibited this in the past.
Not among those mourning the civilians slaughtered for the great crime of living and breathing as Jews were protesters from Florida State’s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which framed the wanton murders of innocent Israelis as a justified act of resistance against “apartheid.”
Of course, no other group of civilians could be deliberately targeted and butchered by terrorists, regardless of the geopolitics surrounding their living situation, and have it cheered by a significant percentage of the public. It’s only Jews.
But for a moment, it seemed this was a small minority. Quickly, however, many political leaders and media figures have retreated to their political priors and lambasted Israel for attempting to defend itself against Hamas attacks with their term du jour – “disproportionality.”
Every civilian death, on both sides of this conflict, is a tragedy. And the blame for these rests squarely on Hamas, which deliberately carried out an attack against Israeli civilians unlike anything seen since the nation’s inception, knowing that the Jewish state would respond with overwhelming force.
For those who may still be confused, let’s make it clear.
The people who butcher over one thousand Israeli innocents, from babies to Holocaust survivors, are the bad guys. The people who embed their weaponry and terror headquarters in civilian areas, in violation of the international law they selectively cite, are the bad guys. The people who prevent civilians from fleeing a war zone despite warnings because they know their corpses can be used as part of their propaganda efforts, are the bad guys.
The people who launch rockets that fall on their own hospitals and kill innocents, are the bad guys. The people who say they “love death as our enemies love life,” are the bad guys. The people who divert resources intended for infrastructure to build missiles – some of which kill the Palestinian civilians they govern instead of the Israeli civilians they target – are the bad guys.
As this conflict drags on, the plague of ambivalence will begin to spread like wildfire across our political landscape. There is already nascent resistance to support for Israel on the political left – and among some on the political right – who claim that we must avoid our next “endless war.”
For those on the left who excuse the activities of Hamas based on a nebulously “anti-Zionist” philosophy that is effectively indistinguishable from anti-Semitism, I’d urge a reorientation of your moral compass.
And for those on the right reluctant to support Israel, your righteous opposition to the deployment of American forces in this conflict does not warrant tacit or explicit support for the terrorist predations of radicals who wish to kill Israelis and Americans alike. Call me old-fashioned, but siding with Israel against her adversaries while wishing for America to remain largely or entirely uninvolved militarily are positions that can be held simultaneously. I would know, because I hold them both.
I’m aware that writing this article isn’t going to bring about regional peace, or tangibly impact any part of this conflict. I’m just a college student – yes, a Jewish college student – with an opinion.
But in a time of moral confusion, what’s most needed is clarity. If this piece can help provide even an ounce of that, it will have done its job.