One of the most stressful things about times like these, when Israel is under attack from our neighbors in Gaza, is watching the ignorance of the international media and its followers turn against us during a time when we need their support most.
I have friends and acquaintances abroad who are shocked to see my Facebook updates about rockets heading into Israel every five minutes because the news they are receiving focuses almost entirely on the damage occurring in Gaza. It is sad and frustrating to know that so many Israelis and Palestinians are suffering, but that half of the story remains in the dark. Unfortunately, it is nothing new that Israel is losing the propaganda war.
There are little to no media outlets that support Israel or strive towards a balance in their representation of the conflict. Fox News of course, staunchly supporting Israel, has featured reports and interviews highlighting the moral imbalance between Hamas terror versus Israeli military defense. And Canada’s Sun News Network has been interviewing Israeli Canadians all week to get our perspective as well. The BBC has a history of focusing on the Palestinian perspective, and has recently called out various media sources for erroneously using outdated images of civilian casualties in Syria and Iraq to showcase the situation of civilians in Gaza.
Unfortunately though, these are very rare examples of media outlets that exist outside of Israel that acknowledge the difficulties Israel is facing against an enemy that propagates hatred and terror. The majority of the public who know little about the history or reality of this war are mostly exposed to media that easily influences them to be biased against Israel. I went to University in Canada and I know what it is like to try and engage in conversations with students, professors and people that you meet that have no idea what is going on in our region or are brainwashed by the sweeping persuasion of the media’s anti-Israel agenda for no reason other than they truly believe it is what’s right and just.
I hope all of the Israel advocates out there will be prepared when their coworker or classmate asks them how they can support a country that kills innocent people in the Gaza Strip. I want my fellow Jews and Zionists abroad to be the brave voice of reason that will help educate the masses of ignorance that the media is corrupting. I want Israel advocates to be strongly defensive of Israel’s actions and eloquently offensive of the many values that Israel has which our terrorist enemies do not.
Many of them may be sitting at home watching the news, talking to family in Israel and wishing there was something they could do. And there is. They can lead a campaign of public diplomacy to show the world that Israel is pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli and seeks to destroy terror in the aims of providing all people who live in this region with peace. They can tell people about cities like Sderot and Ashkelon, where families are living in bomb shelters because life in the summer sun is unlivable under the constant threat of terror. They can explain that one month ago, while Hamas was building rockets and practicing Shariah Law against their people, we were developing technology and dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv celebrating Gay Pride. They can show the world the humanity behind our story.
There is one thing that I don’t believe in and that is engaging in dialogue with adversaries of Israel who are Anti-Semitic and don’t believe the State of Israel has a right to exist. These are the people who are the extended voice of extremism and refer to Hamas’ rocket barrages as “freedom fighting”. It is hard to change their minds, and they are not worth the time because they are irrational and condone murdering innocent people. As Israel cannot negotiate with terrorists, Israel advocates will have no such luck conversing with terrorist sympathizers. Energy is best spent with people who are willing to embark on an intellectual discourse while recognizing Israel’s right to exist and can be open-minded to multiple perspectives.
So, what are some of the talking points that arise in conversations about the current conflict, and how can we respond?
Firstly, the media is obsessed with making a point of stating that Israel has killed more Palestinians than Hamas has killed Israelis. The truth is, Hamas is responsible for the death of innocent civilians in Gaza. Hamas operates from within densely populated civilian areas. They launch rockets in proximity with houses, schools and UN buildings.They purposely put their own people in harm’s way by deploying terror cells among their own people. When the Israeli army retaliates, and targets terrorists, innocent civilians lose their lives because Hamas uses them as human shields. This is another tactic in their propaganda war and a part of radical Muslim mentality that no life is sacred in the quest to murder Jews. Hamas wants more Palestinians to perish, because it enables them to gain support from the international community as it condemns Israel. Because of this tactic, Hamas is committing a double war crime by killing our civilians and their own.
Unlike the Palestinians, Israel has developed defense mechanisms to protect our people from impending violence from the other side. We allocate our money and resources to build bomb shelters, install warning sirens and deploy the Iron Dome Anti-Rocket system to keep our civilians safe. Hamas has used their money and resources to build murderous weapons and shelters to protect them with. While our children run from sirens into safe rooms, Hamas encourages their children to sacrifice their lives on roofs while the missiles take refuge underground.
Next, many people claim that Hamas terror is a response to Israeli aggression and land occupation. The simple and inconvenient truth is that Hamas terror stems from an ideological hatred of Jews. It is difficult for people to grasp the fact that Hamas terror does not just stem from political or socio-economic grievances. It is difficult to truly accept the irrationality behind the culture of hate that Hamas teaches. The reality is, Hamas does not want to improve the lives of their people, they just want to destroy Israel. They were founded by the Muslim Brotherhood which has direct ties to Iran. The international terrorist network that sustains Hamas and provides them with resources could care less about settlements and how poor Gaza is. And the corrupt governments and organizations around the world that fund them, clearly don’t either.The charter upon which Hamas is based states “The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and left the Palestinians with the gift of independence. It was under the promise that it would become the Singapore of the Middle-East. The Palestinians elected terrorists to their government and instead of building infrastructure and improving their societal conditions; Hamas continued to wage terror against Israel, neglecting their people and watching them plunge further into poverty and despair.This is proof that Hamas has never been interested in concessions or diplomatic stipulations, and that they care more about murdering Jews than providing their people with a functioning, flourishing society.
Despite the perpetual violence coming out of Gaza since 2005, Israel has continued to ship food, water, goods and electricity into Gaza on a daily basis, providing citizens with the basic needs and human rights that Hamas deprives them of. Israel has brought hundreds of Gazans into Israel through the Kerem Shalom border crossing to provide them with medical treatment and healthcare.The only actor committing human rights abuses against the Palestinian people is the organization that claims to govern them, but in reality uses them as pawns in their treacherous holy Jihad.
It is extremely important to understand that the conflict between Israel and Hamas should not be examined from the perspective of physical force alone. Although it is extremely fortunate that there have been significantly less Israeli casualties, we are losing a much bigger battle. We are losing a psychological war that paralyzes everyday life and a propaganda war that if not mended, will have extreme consequences for us politically, economically and in terms of our security in a bitter and hostile environment. Hamas is relatively small and weak compared to the strength of Israel and her potential allies. But Hamas is smart, and knows that they can get away with instigating a much stronger power that can easily be portrayed as the aggressor thanks to the ignorance and disturbing logic of the international community which includes the most powerful country in the world and their disgrace of a President.
I hope that the media can one day show this asymmetrical conflict for what it is, and that the truth behind Israel’s intent to preserve life and Hamas’ death games can be exposed. Maybe then the world will understand that sometimes the only way to bring peace unto a nation that is governed by the twisted immorality of terror is through the act of moral war.