May 14, 2021 — Berlin, Germany
This piece originally appeared in The Telegraph.
By Julie Lenarz
Israel, the lone democracy in the Middle East, has come under relentless attack from Hamas, a vicious terrorist organisation, founded in 1987 with the stated goal to wipe out the only Jewish state in the world. Over 2,000 rockets have been fired from neighbouring Hamas-ruled Gaza at Israeli towns and cities since violence broke out on Monday – that is one rocket every three minutes. There should be no question over which side we in the West find ourselves on.
When the United States was attacked by Al Qaeda, the international community rallied around Americans. After a string of Islamic State atrocities in France, we saw mass vigils, hashtag campaigns, and landmarks around the world lit up in solidarity.
But by stark contrast, Israel is being vilified not only for defending its population against genocidal terrorists, but for even existing as a sovereign nation in the ancient homeland of the Jews. The moral double standards, deliberate manipulation of facts, and complete distortion of reality that we see every day on television news and read in papers and on social media platforms are despicable.
Meanwhile, advocates of truth have paid a heavy price for their courage. Celebrities like Gal Gadot are being vilified for making the most anodyne of calls for peace. Congressman Richie Torres was unjustly attacked by the “woke” brigade because, in their twisted mind, one cannot be both progressive and pro-Israel. Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan, who had to flee her country for having a picture taken with Miss Israel, received rape and death threats on Instagram for denouncing Hamas terrorism.
This begs the question of what it would take for Israel to attract the sympathy of the Western commentariat. Would Israel’s detractors be happier if they switched off the Iron Dome defence system and allowed the thousands of rockets to meet their targets? How many Israelis would need to die for virulent anti-Israel activists to call the conflict “proportionate”? 100? 1,000? 10,000? Cease to exist as a state altogether? The idea that you decide who is morally 'right' according to the death toll is abhorrent and dehumanising. It ignores the extraordinary and unprecedented steps the Jewish state is taking to minimise civilian casualties - including hundreds of leaflets, telephone calls, and text messages to warn civilians in Gaza of impending attacks aimed at ending the onslaught from Hamas.
Despite its claims to the contrary, the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinian people. Hamas has invested heavily in rocket and missile production, storing them in civilian homes, using schools and hospitals as launchpads. The hardship of Gaza's residents is their lifeline. It is the fertile ground on which its extremist ideology flourishes and from which it recruits its fighters. The more misery the better. Hamas is a death-worshipping jihadist terrorist group. Israel is a democratic state that protects all of its citizens - Jews and Arabs alike - against their murderous actions.