Freedom. It comes naturally to us to wish all people to be free. When you see people suffering, you want them to be free of their suffering, free to improve their life circumstances. Those sentiments spring from a good place, from a place of humanity. But do you understand what you are wishing for when you wish for a “Free” Gaza or a “Free” Palestine?
There’s a basic distinction between “freedom from” and “freedom to”. When protesters say they want a “Free Gaza” or “Free Palestine”, I guess they want freedom from any Israeli presence in their lives. But will they gain in terms of “freedom to”? What will they be free to do if they achieve their goal?
Maybe the people out protesting are too young to remember September 11. But where were they during the terrorist horrors of the last decade? Did they not watch with repulsion at the footage of ISIS beheading journalists? Is that the freedom they wish on people? Or maybe they are wishing the same fate as the young girls kidnapped by Boko Haram – the freedom to be raped and forced into servile marriage? Or maybe the freedom that has been the impetus for literal genocides in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon?
And not 6 weeks ago, were they not among the 17 million followers of “Humans of New York”’s extensive profile of an older Iranian man? Did they not cringe at his first-hand descriptions of the executions, throwing people off the roofs of buildings, the complete and absolute intolerance for any differing opinions, any resistance to the Ayatollah’s regime? The unabashed murder of honest, hardworking, truth-seeking individuals? Is that the free society that they are rallying for the Gazans to have?
That is literally the freedom they are wishing for. Hamas is a protege of the Ayatollah, a follower of ISIS, and ISIL, and Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda. Not only are they protesting for the residents of Gaza to live under poorer humanitarian conditions than they are now, they are endangering the free world. Islamic jihadists are not limited to one region. The only way to remove Hamas from power in Gaza, is by force. There are civilian casualties – such is the nature of war, but that is not the goal. The goal is to ensure security for Israel, the only real democracy in the Middle East, and to provide a beacon of hope for the moderates in the rest of the region.
This is not to say that I don’t have pity on suffering civilians. The Gazans do live under very poor conditions, but Israel is not to blame for that. Israel is not responsible for them. The people of Gaza elected Hamas as their governing body. They have received billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. That aid could have been invested in the betterment of the lives of the citizens, it could have been used to promote commerce, build factories, set up a welfare system, but it wasn’t. It was hoarded by corrupt leaders, and is spent on a burning hatred for Israel. Golda Meir’s words ring as clearly today as they did 50 years ago, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” Four-hundred kilometers of underground concrete tunnels, whose sole purpose is to breach into Israeli territory to kill Israeli civilians – that is a big investment of resources for such a “poor” area. Thousands upon thousands of rockets and missiles shot at Israel, since the start of this war a month ago. That could have gone a long way in food, supplies, and trade for the Gazan people.
People who support a “Free Gaza” or “Free Palestine” need to think a step beyond today’s trending cause, and consider what that tomorrow would look like. The underdog is not always the victim. Sometimes the underdogs are staunch believers in an unadulterated evil, and capable of truly unspeakable crimes against humanity . And carte blanche freedom from those trying to stop them, is not the solution.