Catherine Chatterley

The time is now for intellectual and moral clarity

Massacre of civilians at the outdoor music festival in Israel. Screenshot news coverage.
Massacre of civilians at the outdoor music festival in Israel. Screenshot news coverage.

Originally written on October 9, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains graphic images and descriptions of sexual violence.

Far more involved and serious than a “terrorist attack,” this unprecedented savage assault on the citizens of Israel by Hamas was a well-planned, coordinated, paramilitary invasion designed to provoke a whirlwind response from the Israeli government. What exact chain of events that response, now underway, will unleash on Israelis, Palestinians, and the world is unclear, but we have a lot to worry about at this time.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting what we know already—this assault by Hamas was planned in concert with Hezbollah and Iran. They planned it in Beirut in August. There is rumoured to be a deal between these groups to provoke Israel into the massive destruction of Hamas in Gaza, which will finally trigger the opening up of the northern front with Hezbollah and Iran who, over the last decade or so, have embedded over 200,000 sophisticated guided missiles on the border with Israel. Should this nightmare scenario unfold, this arsenal will overwhelm and shut down the Iron Dome system and Israel will see casualties it has never seen before, across the entire country.

A combination of factors in four main areas have produced this catastrophe at this moment in time.

  1. The Saudi-Israeli peace deal has made progress recently and PM Netanyahu celebrated it in a particularly triumphant speech to the UN General Assembly on September 22, 2023. This, no doubt, was a provocation of the highest order to the Iranian government and to the Palestinian leadership in both Gaza and the West Bank, who were obviously being sidelined and left behind. Hamas has stated publicly that this assault on Israel and its “exposure of Israel’s weakness” was designed to demonstrate to the Saudi Kingdom and other Arab states that Israel cannot provide them with any security in the Middle East.
  1. The extreme divisions between Jews inside Israel and in diaspora communities, especially the United States, has communicated a high degree of chaos and weakness to Israel’s enemies. For months now, Jews have been focused on fighting one another inside Israel and the United States, taking their comfort and security for granted at the same time. There is a tendency on the part of many Israelis to put the Palestinians out of mind as the whole relationship with them is increasingly seen as hopeless (Netanyahu’s speech to the UN is indicative of this ingrained habit). At this time, we do not know what explains the massive intelligence and defence failures of the Netanyahu government but there is no question that his mind has been elsewhere over the last months. It is ironic that this catastrophe occurred on his watch given the fact that protecting Israel from its enemies is perceived to be Netanyahu’s greatest strength and part of his personal self-concept.There are rumblings that Iran knocked out Israel’s surveillance and border sensors with a cyber-attack. And that planning for this was done off the grid—with pencil and paper through human couriers—to avoid electronic surveillance (Bin Laden’s modus operandi). I doubt we will ever know the full truth about how this happened given the consequences for Israel’s security.
  2. Joe Biden and his administration is a disaster—for the United States, for the world, and now for Israelis and Palestinians too. Russia, China, North Korea, and now Iran and Hamas, are all probing the strictures and rules held in place by a post-Soviet uni-polar world under the control of the sole super-power, the United States. This world order has been unravelling for several decades, but it is quickly passing away under Joe Biden and his handlers who have assisted with its demise in a particularly irresponsible manner. With their refusal to negotiate an end to the disastrous and unwinnable war in Ukraine, they have managed to push Russia closer toward China, North Korea, and Iran; they have released 6 billion dollars to the Iranian regime for the release of 5 American hostages (the Iranian anticipation and planning alone for these funds has no doubt had its effects) as well as refused to enforce sanctions on Iranian oil sales (up 40% to China alone); they have given the Palestinian leadership almost one billion dollars, while at the same time, acknowledging that this money could be funnelled into terrorist attacks on Israel, and reinvested in UNRWA, which funds hateful propaganda against Jews—designed to foment the exact kind of violence we witnessed this past weekend. Obviously, humanitarian aid is important; however, there does not appear to be any accounting or oversight to ensure the funds are not misdirected (this is also the case in Ukraine and many other countries receiving aid). Under Biden—a doddering old man with dementia who barely knows where he is half the time—it is the perfect time to invade Ukraine, threaten Taiwan and provoke American and Canadian ships, subs, and planes in the South China Sea and near the coast of Taiwan, and now commit an ISIS-style assault on Israeli civilians, because all of these actors know that there will be no serious consequences. How can you take America seriously with this alte kaker in charge or at least in the position of President? Who knows who is actually directing policy in this White House. And this concern with infirmity due to age goes for both political parties: Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, the late and respected Dianne Feinstein, and any number of others in Congress who should have retired long ago. One cannot also help but notice that images of Biden’s open border, with millions of people pouring through it, can act as inspiration to those who do not recognize other borders like the one between Gaza and Israel. It is only a matter of time before the United States experiences another massive terrorist attack as a result of this outrageously irresponsible—some will argue treasonous—Democratic Party policy.
  3. In this invasion of Israel, we see the unbridled rage of young Palestinian men recruited by Hamas to torture, rape, kill, and abduct Israelis of all ages—not sparing infants, children, the elderly, or women. We see real pure bloodlust and active vengeance for all the suffering they and their families have experienced at the hands of the Israeli military. The depravity and brutality of this assault on Israelis is by design: Mohammed Deif, the head of Hamas’s military, lost an infant son, a three year old daughter, and his wife to the Israeli military. The images these people see of their own people suffering has created a burning hatred inside them and this is what is on display in this assault.
Israeli woman raped and abducted by Hamas. Screenshot from news coverage.

In my opinion, it is a huge strategic mistake to sanitize the coverage of this pogrom in the West—people, especially the Western public, need to see what was done to Israelis and they are not seeing it in the press. I encourage people to seek out the images and videos produced by Hamas and put online—a place to start is on X (Marina Medvin and War Monitor). You will see why I refer to this rampage accurately as a pogrom, including the sexual violence and murders of infants and children that always accompanied these anti-Jewish riots in Eastern Europe. The same enjoyment and pleasure is taken by the perpetrators as well. The new development of taking hostages into the tunnels of Gaza, especially women and children, is more the influence of ISIS as are the statements on these videos calling the hostages “sex slaves.”

The numbers of people taken into Gaza, I believe, are a lot higher than the 163 reported by Hamas. My Facebook feed is full of requests by family and friends to help locate people. The outdoor music concert appears to have been targeted by Hamas hand gliders, with witnesses describing them lining up young Israelis and shooting every third person and raping young women beside the corpses of their dead friends, then killing them or taking them hostage into Gaza.

The corpse of 30 year old German tourist, Shani Louk, who was with friends at the outdoor music concert.

This is the hard and disgusting truth of the matter at hand. What will be very hard to take in the next weeks, and maybe even months, is to witness the celebrations of this massacre as a “brave and emancipatory act of resistance” on the part of the Palestinian people. You will see this everywhere, even in demonstrations in the streets of your city, on your campus, and all over Facebook—and many of the people participating will be normal regular people, even people you know.

The tide will turn very quickly against Israel once the full assault begins inside Gaza (who knows what will happen in the West Bank, too, in the coming weeks), and these horrific events that precipitated the Israeli attack on Gaza will be forgotten by the few people who acknowledged them in the first place.

It is important for Jews in diaspora to be aware of their safety, particularly in larger cities, and for women and children, especially, to take care and protect themselves.

About the Author
Dr. Chatterley is a Canadian historian of Modern Europe trained at the University of Chicago. She is Editor-in-Chief of Antisemitism Studies and Founding Director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA). An award-winning writer, she specializes in the study of European history, with particular emphasis on the history of antisemitism and the dynamic relationship between Jews and non-Jews in Western history.
Related Topics
Related Posts