Yesterday marked a month since the 7 October atrocities, but religious Jews in the diaspora didn’t learn the details until late on 8 October, a month ago today, when Simchat Torah finished. In the month since then, my mood has been all over the place and I can’t stop thinking and reading about Israel and the war. However, I have largely avoided graphic accounts, images or videos of what happened. I don’t want those things in my head. Jews usually respect the dignity of the dead. That’s why in previous flare-ups between Israel and the Palestinians, you saw dead Palestinians, but not dead Jews. When Jews are murdered, we at least try to bury them with dignity. This time we showed the world our murdered loved ones, to try to get them to understand. Instead, we’ve already been accused of faking the whole thing. It’s sick.
I’ve noticed I rarely think of the hostages, although as time has gone on, I’ve been thinking of them more. I think it’s taken me weeks to get to the point where I can even conceptualise the nightmare they’re enduring. I’m still scared to think of what they’re going through, in the hands of Jew-hating sadists and refused access to the Red Cross. My mind just refuses to think about it. They go into a dark hole in the ground, literally and metaphorically, and I can’t see them any more.
I do think about the savage gang rapes of 7 October. To me, this is the greatest evidence of Hamas’ savagery and pure Jew-hate, rather than “resistance.” For what purpose does rape serve? This applies even more so to Hamas’ useful idiots in the West. How can people who call themselves feminists and tweet #believewomen support rape as a weapon of war? Even more so the people celebrating, in the Middle East and elsewhere, at the news of such pointless brutality, as if it achieved something for them.
Rapes reported against IDF soldiers are incredibly rare. Ten or fifteen years ago, someone published a PhD thesis saying that the almost total lack of rape allegations proved just how racist Israelis are, that they consider Palestinians so sub-human that they won’t even rape them. If someone says “You’re racist because you won’t commit rape,” we’ve clearly entered the world of Through the Looking-Glass morality. The really shocking thing was that this thesis was written in Israel (the University of Tel Aviv, I think), by a Jewish student with a Jewish supervisor, because, yes, Jewish self-hatred is real.
Soldiers under pressure make mistakes, sometimes tragic ones. Soldiers at checkpoints on the West Bank (generally eighteen or nineteen years old, often tired, bored, hungry and a bit scared) have to split-second decisions as to whether someone acting strangely is benign or a terrorist. Sometimes they get it wrong and shoot an innocent person, tragically. But you can never mistakenly rape someone. It is always an act of malevolence, about sadism, power and humiliation as much as sex. It is therefore telling that this evil is almost entirely absent from the IDF, while the exact number of rapes committed by Hamas on 7 October is unknown and probably will never be known, it is so large.
Moving from 7 October to the future, it is depressing that The Daily Telegraph, the most conservative, hawkish, pro-Israel “quality” newspaper in the UK, has readers (according to the letters page) who think that if Israel lays down its arms, Hamas will negotiate and peace will come. Seriously? Then why didn’t it happen when Israel stopped fighting Hamas in 2021 and Hamas started planning the greatest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust? I know newspaper letters editors often print letters that go against the newspaper’s editorial line and that of most readers to generate controversy, but it’s still annoying me.
I’m also sick of the (mostly Labour) MPs talking about needing a ceasefire “for Gaza’s children.” Gaza’s children do not deserve to be bombed, but they don’t deserve to live under a brutal misogynistic, homophobic, theocracy either. Israel has tried as far as humanly possible to minimise civilian casualties (e.g. here). Hamas has tried as far as inhumanly possible to maximise them (e.g. here). Gaza’s children deserve better than Hamas and right now that’s only going to happen with an Israeli victory.
More to the point, what about Israel’s children? Doesn’t the Israeli government have a duty to defend them? Don’t they deserve better than to live next-door to a death cult that has sworn to repeat the atrocities of 7 October again and again and again until all the Jews are dead? Don’t they count? Apparently not.
One MP said this has to end in a ceasefire, so we should bring it about now. No, it does not have to end in a ceasefire and it should not end in a ceasefire, any more than World War II should have ended in a ceasefire that left the Nazis in charge of much of Europe or even just Germany. It must end in a clear defeat for Hamas. The destruction of Hamas is probably impossible, but their military capabilities, in terms of leaders, foot-soldiers, materiel and money, must be so degraded that they can’t do anything like 7 October again for a very long time.
As I said yesterday and will keep saying: There was a ceasefire. Hamas broke it, brutally, on 7 October. They have said they want to do that again and again and again. It is enshrined in their Charter that they will never recognise Israel’s existence or make peace with it. Now Israel and the international community need to make sure that they can not do it ever again. If you don’t see that, I’m sorry for you, but please don’t think you’re being “even-handed” and “unbiased” and please don’t lecture me about morality. There is no morality in drawing an equivalence between a quasi-Fascist death cult and a human rights-recognising liberal democracy. In this case, I am very much biased in favour of the human rights-recognising liberal democracy and against the quasi-Fascist death cult.
It’s bizarre that the contemporary left spends so much time on talking social media about “fighting Fascism” and yet when presented with a regime that brainwashes children as young as six and trains them to be terrorists and indoctrinates its citizens to see Jews as subhuman vermin and the source of all the world’s troubles who have to be wiped out – classic Fascist or Nazi behaviour even without the repression of domestic dissent and nonconformity – it decides the regime is merely misunderstood and needs to be compromised with. It does not. It must be eradicated. As we learnt in 1939, and again one month ago, you can not appease pure evil. It will always turn on you eventually. You have to fight it to the death.