Renee Garfinkel

Don’t treat body counts as scorecards

“If it bleeds, it leads” has long been the news producer’s mantra.  The images of crumbling buildings, broken bodies, and distraught family members, especially if they have lost a child, rivet viewers.  Yes, every innocent civilian fatality is tragic and regrettable.

It’s not a matter of numbers.  Even one is too many.

Nevertheless, relying solely on body counts, as many reporters, analysts, and even politicians do, is a dangerously lazy way to think about international events.  If we focus only on body counts, we remain blind to the destructive consequences of a regional strategy that has already ravaged other states in the Middle East and now threatens Israel and Gaza.

So, let’s tear ourselves away from the visually compelling scenes of violent destruction and zoom out — widen the lens to see the bigger picture.  Within this context, we see Hamas taking its turn in promoting regional suffering orchestrated by Iran as well as others, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

The most prominently destroyed nation is Syria, which has been reduced to a failed state, with thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people. The Iranians, Russians, and Turks have used it to project power in the region and achieve military goals.

The neighboring country of Lebanon is on its way to failure too, thanks to Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist proxy, which has drained its resources to build up a giant missile arsenal.

Then there’s Yemen — the images of its starving children will break anyone’s heart.  Another Iranian proxy, the Houthis, have all but destroyed Yemen, fighting against the recognized Yemeni government and its neighbor for years.

Each of these countries is different.  Each has a unique history, culture, and war narrative.  The particulars are important, and so is what they share: they presented an opportunity to the predatory intentions of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, who supported and directed terror and destruction.

Hamas was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Like Hezbollah and the Houthis, Hamas is funded and supported by Iran.  Just a few days ago, according to Iranian state media, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IGRC), General Esmail Qaani, assured Hamas of his full support.

We see it happening: inciting riots and mob violence within Israel and supplying rockets for ongoing launching from Gaza without offering any protection to civilians — this is a page out of Iran’s regional strategy playbook.

Our front-row seats in Israel allow us to see events unfold in real-time. It is past time for those outside the conflict zone to heed these lessons.


About the Author
Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, television commentator and podcast host of the Van Leer Series on Ideas with Renee Garfinkel
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