Fred Maroun
A believer in peace and human dignity

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators deserve no respect

Pro-Palestinian demonstration at the University of California, Berkeley, on October 25, 2023 (credit: Wikimedia Commons).

Demonstrations demanding a ceasefire in Gaza are now frequent. One may feel that these demonstrators are driven by a humanitarian impulse to support the Palestinians in Gaza, but there is nothing humanitarian about these demonstrations.

The first thought that comes to my mind when I see these demonstrators is to wonder how many of them celebrated the massacre and kidnappings perpetrated by Hamas on October 7.

As documented by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), such celebrations were widespread within the pro-Palestinian US community: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), National Students for Justice in Palestine, Within Our Lifetime-United for Palestine (WOL), American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Young Democrats of America Black Caucus, the Boston Mapping Project, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and others.

Macabre celebrations of the gruesome slaughter of defenseless women, children, and the elderly also occurred in Gaza and the West Bank where Palestinians joyfully handed out sweets and fired guns in the air, as well as in many other places in the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Even staff of the United Nations joined in celebrating the massacre of 1400 Jews and the kidnapping of 240.

So, it is fair to ask, how many of those who claim to care about the effect of the ongoing war on the Palestinians cheered the crimes that started the war?

But even if some of today’s demonstrators didn’t celebrate Hamas’ murders, what we know is that they didn’t denounce them either. Even the supposedly moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas still has not denounced those crimes, a full month after the fact. He even became furious when a member of his staff wrote on his behalf that the massacre “does not represent the Palestinian people”.

If pro-Palestinian demonstrators honestly wanted a ceasefire, they would demand the one thing that we know would achieve it, the release of the hostages held by the terrorists. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that a ceasefire would occur if that happened.

But these demonstrators never demand that. They never demand that Gaza be freed from Hamas. Instead, they demand that Gaza be “freed” from Israel defending itself.

What do they think would happen if the war ended now? Hamas told us exactly what would happen. They would try to commit such massacres again and again.

Is that what these demonstrators want? It is fair to assume that those who celebrated the October 7 massacre would want that, but even the others appear to be okay with it too because they have proposed no alternative to Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas.

But this state of mind is not new. Attacks against Israel from Gaza have occurred many times before, causing various levels of responses from Israel, including four major wars (2008-09, 2012, 2014, and 2021). It was clear that if terrorists remained in charge of Gaza, more wars would occur again and again. And knowing that the terrorists place their military infrastructure within and even underneath cities, wars are bound to affect Palestinian civilians, no matter how careful Israel is.

But pro-Palestinian demonstrators never demonstrated against Hamas. They were okay with letting the inevitability of war hang over the heads of the Palestinians of Gaza. And now that the inevitable has happened, they aren’t blaming themselves. They are blaming Israel for wanting to make sure that Hamas never has the ability again to start another war.

If Israel achieves its goal of freeing Gaza from the terrorists, and I certainly hope that it does, the main beneficiaries besides Israel itself will be the Palestinians. They rebuilt after previous wars, but the rebuilding was an exercise in futility since it was obvious that more wars would occur if terrorists remained in charge. After Israel achieves its goal, the Palestinians of Gaza will finally be able to breathe, to build a life for themselves and their children.

The pro-Palestinian demonstrators, if they were honest and if they were concerned about the welfare of the Palestinians, would be praising Israel and demonizing Hamas, but they are doing the opposite. I cannot respect such hypocrisy.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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