We’ve seen this story before: an underdog hero who we know is in the right; a media that portrays him as imbalanced, too outspoken, even crazy; a government calling for peace, when our hero knows, in the given circumstances, it is impossible to back down.
This basic outline of the current Israel-Gaza media war sounds eerily like an exact replica of the wildly popular Harry Potter series. If we look carefully, J.K. Rowling’s magnum opus can provide us with a lens to put the Israel-Gaza media war into clear focus.
If you haven’t read the books, here’s a quick recap of the relevant points:
Harry Potter is the hero of Rowling’s wizarding world, whose arch nemesis, the evil Lord Voldermort, vows for his death and wizarding world domination. As the series opens, Voldermort is near death, as a lethal spell aimed at Harry backfired and left him in critical condition. Eventually, Voldemort brings himself back to life through a potion involving Harry’s blood – so Harry is the only good wizard who sees it happen, and only he knows that Voldemort has returned and is very dangerous. Harry expects the support of the wizarding world in the fight against Voldemort, because Voldermort had killed so many innocent wizards in the past.
But Harry is sadly mistaken. The Minister of Magic, fearing for his job and his comfortable life, sews denial of Voldemort’s return throughout the wizarding government, and insinuates that Harry has become deranged under stress. The situation continues to devolve, with the wizarding world’s newspaper constantly portraying Harry and his supporters as misguided or even insane. All the while, Voldemort gains ground support and convinces the media to turn a blind eye to his return and slander Harry across the wizarding world. By the time the truth about Voldemort’s return finally comes to light, it is too late: he has enough power and supporters to take full control of the media. By the final book of the series, the only truthful reporting is coming from underground radio.
So lets match up the players to our current media war. Lets look at why the wizarding world wanted to deny Voldemort’s return, and likewise, why our world wants to deny Hamas’s evil.
Hamas has been a purely evil terrorist group from the beginning, but somewhere along the line, much of the world decided it was inconvenient to see things that way. Much like in the Harry Potter series – Voldemort’s return to power was inconvenient, and the wizarding world did not want to see the danger brewing underfoot. If they did, they would be terrified. If Voldemort was really back and dangerous, everyone was in peril. It was more comfortable to see Harry as deranged and his actions as imbalanced than to believe Harry and recognize the truth.
And so today, it is more comfortable for the world to see Israel as in the wrong, as misguided and acting disproportionately, than to believe Israel and its supporters and recognize the truth, that Hamas is evil.
Why? Because believing Israel would be terrifying.
If Israel is right and Hamas is evil, what does that mean for the rest of us? It means that nobody is safe – unless Israel wins. Similarly, in the Harry Potter series, nobody would be safe unless Harry won. The majority of the wizarding world did not want to believe their safety relied on a 17-year-old boy. So too, the majority of our world does not want to believe its safety relies on a tiny Jewish country in the Middle East.
If Israel is wrong and Hamas has understandable motives and isn’t evil – the world feels much safer. But that feeling is sorely misguided, because the only way for lasting security is for Hamas to be completely demilitarized and discredited. Denying Hamas’s evil and calling for use of proportionality in fighting them, calling for a cease-fire without demilitarizing them, is of no use to anyone. If Hamas were to destroy Israel, Europe and America would be next. According to Hamas, America is the “Big Satan” – Israel is only the “Little Satan.” And giving credit to Hamas gives credit to terrorists everywhere.
So is the majority of today’s media ignorant, unconsciously supporting the wrong side? I don’t think so.
In the Harry Potter series, things were much more clear-cut: before Voldemort’s return became public, the media was ignorant, fueled by a conscious or subconscious desire to keep their world comfortable, and to report the news people wanted to hear. Then, the media was clearly infiltrated by Voldemort’s supporters, who either wrote the news themselves or used spells to brainwash others to write their story.
Much of today’s world media is coming from both standpoints. Some publishing companies seem to operate consciously or subconsciously from a desire to keep things comfortable and report what people want to hear. But some of today’s news is also coming from obvious Hamas supporters – and most especially, from brainwashed journalists who are fed misinformation through phony pictures, fake statistics, and slanderous words. They have seen countless images of dead Palestinian women and children, without digging deeper to understand that stockpiles of the dead are designed by Hamas for media pictures, without understanding that Hamas is truly using their own citizens as human shields. Hamas sends children out to the streets with guns to try to kill IDF soldiers. Hamas holds babies in one hand while shooting at IDF soldiers with the other. Hamas plants their missile launchers in schools, hospitals, and private homes. Hamas takes all of Gaza’s pre-blockade building materials – some provided by Israel – tons of concrete and metal that could have been used for roads, schools, hospitals, parks, and bomb shelters, and uses it to build terror tunnels and rockets (by the way, that’s why the blockade was imposed). What these journalists can’t see, or refuse to see – through all of the the images and statistics fed to them by Hamas – is that Hamas is actually pure evil. We don’t necessarily like to see things so black and white today, but this is black and white, and anyone who says otherwise is pulling the lid over their own eyes.
Harry had to keep fighting Voldemort and the media, no matter the danger or public opinion. Israel must keep fighting Hamas and the media, until Hamas is demilitarized. If they don’t, the entire Western world is in danger of giving way to radical terrorist power; power that, if given the chance, would kill those they deem unworthy and raise the rest on violence and fear. Hamas openly states its goal of murdering every Jew in the world. And we already see anti-Semitic protests, coming largely from the world of radical Islam, in Europe, and anti-Semitic protests disguised as anti-Israel protests in the U.S. and Canada. But don’t think it’s only the Jews in danger – radical Islam calls for the destruction of the West.
On a final note, lets look at what happened after Harry Potter won. After Harry killed Voldemort, did Harry and his supporters turn on Voldemort’s remaining supporters and destroy them? On the contrary, they offered them peace and welcomed back those who had been astray. And some of Voldemort’s supporters were never happy to have been with him in the first place; they were just scared that he would kill them if they left or opposed him (much like many “eyewitness” accounts from Gazans in Gaza are fabricated out of fear of Hamas killing in retaliation for sharing the truth). After Israel wins – meaning Hamas is demilitarized and all tunnels destroyed, so they have no chance of ever firing rockets or kidnapping or suicide bombing Israelis again – then, and only then, Gazans too will find peace. Whether through citizenship or a two-state solution, Israel will not leave Gazans out of the peace that will reign. We know this as a fact, because Israel tried to give Gazans that peace less than ten years ago when they pulled out of Gaza so that Gaza could establish a Palestinian state, with much horticultural richness left to them by Israelis – and no blockade. But Hamas came to power in the region and controls those in their power through violence and fear.
Supporting Israel, like supporting Harry, is the only path to lasting peace.