Over two months have passed since the unexpected and tragic attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023, targeting communities bordering the Gaza Strip. The lack of significant opposition in the critical initial hours has left many Israelis and global observers grappling with how such a failure could occur. While numerous explanations circulate, including the “conception” and troop movements from the Gaza border to other areas, comprehensive investigations are pending publication, likely delayed until the conclusion of the Gaza war.
The ongoing war initiated by Hamas’s surprise attack has opened extensive public relations channels for Palestinians, conveying often distorted and misleading information. It is now the subject of discussions and inquiries in major news media channels, podcasts, and more. Some interviews are challenging to digest due to the scarce condemnation of Hamas’s unthinkable violence against unarmed civilians, including entire families and children who were either killed or taken hostage.
Tareq Baconi, the author of the 2018 Stanford University Press book “Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance,” asserts, “The speed with which Israel mobilized and the scale of its assault underscore the Palestinian conviction that the settler colonial regime is executing long-held plans for mass expulsion” (see here for the complete article.) Mr. Baconi is a historian whose expertise in Hamas is now in high demand. He recently appeared in “The Ezra Klein Show”, a New York Times podcast, for a one-hour long interview (see here). “Zionism was, and is, an illegitimate movement that allowed the colonization of the land of Palestine to settle Jews in Palestine and create a Jewish homeland and a Jewish state,” states Mr. Baconi in his interview with Ezra Klein.
Unfortunately, Mr. Baconi’s statement about the rapid mobilization of Israel’s security forces as a reaction to Hamas’s attack demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of the Israeli society. Israel is not a “colonial regime” and there are no “long-held plans for mass expulsion”.
It is just one instance of discourse to which US audiences are now extensively exposed, distorting historical facts and employing misleading terminology that may pervade and gain acceptance.
This presents a fitting occasion to reference the late political scientist Professor Shlomo Avineri, who recently passed away (1933-2023). In his examination of the Arab response to the partition of Mandatory Palestine into two states, an initiative accepted by the Jewish community, Professor Avineri notes, “Here, an absolutist position – we have all the rights, the Jews don’t have any right – continued to be the foundation of their response to the idea of partition. Not only that: the Arabs of Palestine, and Arab states (some of them members of the United Nations), went to war not only against the emerging Jewish state but also against a UN resolution. This is the only case known to me when member states of the UN not only did not abide by a UN resolution but went to war against it” (see here, Page 39).
Effectively conveying Israel’s positions abroad has become increasingly imperative. Until now, Israel has aimed to secure and uphold international acknowledgment of the legitimacy of its military operations in Gaza and the associated objectives. Hopefully, plans are underway to navigate the complexities of media communication campaigns during the extended period required for the attainment of a stable situation.