We’re now a month into the Hamas-orchestrated “March of Return” along the Gaza border, and the situation is unfolding exactly as anybody with a modicum of historical perspective would have predicted. Riots, gunfire and scores of terrorists, intermingled with the young and the innocent killed after their brainwashing by a cynical, power-hungry terrorist organization whose leaders always send someone else’s kids to join the martyrs in a culture of death.
Young Arabs, who like their Israeli counterparts, surely dreamed of becoming engineers, doctors and nurses, entrepreneurs, professors, chefs and painters. So with some 1,500 Palestinians wounded or dead — and the reality that Israel is there to stay — any leaders who cared a whit about their children would fold the tents. Why then do Gaza’s rulers insist on putting Palestinian children in harm’s way?
Because as far as they, their allies and enablers are concerned, it’s a winning formula.
Media outlets that should know better willfully drink the lie that these marches are “peaceful protests” — firebombs, explosive-laden kites, sophisticated tunnels and known-terrorists co-mingling with civilians notwithstanding. “Israel has a right to defend itself and maintain civil order, but it also has an obligation to respect peaceful protests and not use live ammunition on unarmed demonstrators Israel’s response appears to have been excessive, as human rights groups have asserted,” The New York Times’ editorial board opined after the riots began.
To put it as mildly as possible, this is appalling. While Hamas was indoctrinating Palestinian youth to ignore Israel’s many warnings, cross borders illegally and start tire fires so they can shoot at Israeli soldiers — kids themselves — tasked with protecting their civilians, we all saw hundreds of thousands of American teen-agers assemble in Washington to peacefully demand new laws that would curb gun violence.
Regardless of one’s position on gun control, it’s hard not to be deeply moved at the sight of many young Americans peacefully and eloquently exercising their rights. It would be risible if not so dangerous that the world’s “newspaper of record” fell for the fiction that Hamas’ protests are, in any way, equivalent to peaceful demonstrations throughout history that have educated the masses and led to change.
In our time of social media-driven “facts,” responsible journalism still matters. But some mainstream media can be relied upon to aim a poison pen when it comes to the Jewish state. The common caricature is of Israel as a greedy, fascist nation populated by genocidal land thieves, who haven’t learned from several millennia of persecution is the backdrop for this recent cartoon published by Volkskrant, Holland’s fourth-largest daily newspaper. It shows a strapping Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier, with a huge, bright-blue Star of David on his pack, preparing to execute a scared, malnourished and presumably innocent Palestinian, who is shivering against a border fence. Bullet holes that spell “Happy Birthday to Me” riddle the fence-referring to Israel’s 70th birthday.
I have spoken with generations of Israeli soldiers who have experienced combat and seen their comrades and their Arab foes fall in combat. Israel’s wars have been defensive and no one I know, from Israel’s left or right relished the shedding of blood.
Where was the news coverage a few weeks ago when Israeli police arrested a citizen who spoke of committing atrocities against Arabs? Where are the stories and protests over the “pay to slay” of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authorities that rewards families of young people who murder innocent Israelis by any means possible, including random stabbings and car rammings?
And you would be hard-pressed to read the dramatic copy describing Israelis rushing severely wounded Syrian civilian and combatants from the border to hospitals throughout Northern Israel? Simply put, such facts don’t fit the narrative of big bully Israel surrounding and beating up its defenseless neighbors. And so each and every social media posting, every media headline about “heroic” Palestinians bleeding and dying, enrages the Arab and Muslim world while demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and its Zionists supporters.
What the world is witnessing, but not internalizing, is the 21st century Moloch (the ritual sacrifice of children). Yet, U.N. agencies, human rights NGOs and much of the Fourth Estate stick to the “David vs. Goliath” script that Hamas and its supporters have come to rely on.
Hamas’ Moloch is as brutal as the ancient pagan ritual with one key difference: Far from masking the deaths of children as the ancients did, Hamas records each shooting, casualty and funeral to go viral and live on Al Jazeera. We doubt if any media has the guts to ask residents of Gaza if they are truly happy to be led by those who teach “fighters” to hide in hospitals, who use UNRWA schools to launch rockets, who sent children deep underground to dig highways of death into Israel, and who cynically select their constituents — to serve as human shields and cannon fodder?
The question that goes unasked is: Who will save the people of Gaza from Hamas’ murderous Moloch?
We need not look to the U.N. or E.U. They failed miserably to save Syrian children from repeated gassing by their own Moloch. Until journalists, diplomats, politicians and NGOs with the courage to call out Hamas’ deadly hubris, the violence in the Holy Land will not end.
• Abraham Cooper is associate dean and director of global social action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
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