Commentary Magazine


Israel’s Critics Wage War on Reality

It tells you all you need to know about Hamas that its biggest victory to date against Israel–one that is no doubt being celebrated in the fortified bunkers that house its leadership–was the death of four young Palestinian boys on a Gaza City beach on Wednesday. The boys were apparently killed by an Israeli bomb or missile.

Needless to say, the Israel Defense Forces do not deliberately target children–any more than do the armed forces of the United States or other civilized powers. That is both morally abhorrent and strategically stupid: What possible purpose can be served in killing children? But while deeply harmful and counterproductive for Israel, this inadvertent strike was a big win for Hamas. It produced the most coveted of victories in modern warfare: a front-page picture, taken by the storied New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks, of one dead boy lying on the Gaza sand and another being carried in a man’s arms.

There is no surer or better way for Hamas to make its propaganda point, which is the only point of this entire exercise from its standpoint. Hamas, like other terrorist groups, knows it cannot win a military victory against a much more powerful enemy, but it can win a public-relations victory by fostering the illusion that Israel is the aggressor and the Palestinians its victims.

Such an image is as powerful as it is misleading. All informed observers know the facts.

They know that Israel accepted a cease-fire to end this conflict while Hamas rejected it.

They know that Israel gave up all of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in 2005 in the hope that peace would break out but that the result has only been an unending series of attacks on Israel that no nation could possibly tolerate.

They know that the IDF is careful to keep civilian casualties to a minimum but this is hard to do because Hamas deliberately places its headquarters and rocket-launching sites in the midst of civilian neighborhoods in the knowledge that this will either deter Israeli strikes or, if Israeli strikes occur nevertheless, they will result in collateral damage which Palestinian propagandists can use against Israel.

They know, finally, that it is Hamas, not Israel, that indiscriminately targets civilians by firing hundreds of rockets into Israel seemingly at random.

Israel is, in some ways, a victim of its own success because its Iron Dome anti-rocket system has shot down so many of the Hamas rockets that only one Israeli has been killed in the entire war–and he was a victim of a mortar shell, not a rocket. In the battle of victims, Israel is losing–there are more dead Palestinians than dead Israelis. But that does not make the Hamas cause just, any more than the fact that, in World War II, the U.S. armed forces inflicted a lot more casualties on Germany and Japan than they themselves suffered made the cause of the Nazis and Japanese militarists a just one.

Those are the incontrovertible facts. But what are facts before the power of an image?

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3 Responses to “Israel’s Critics Wage War on Reality”

  1. STEVEN LEVINE says:

    You hit the nail on the head. The image in ones head of Hamas leadership in their bunkers perversely cheering this development is chilling. It creates a kind of win/win for the terrorists, an I win or you lose scenario.

  2. DAVID BETHUNE says:

    I just want to say that Max Boot’s commentary on the restraint that Israel has shown during this conflict with Hamas is “right on target.” Hamas will sacrifice its own supporters to gain the public relations advantage in its war against Israel. Everyone should strive to realize and understand just how despicable and tyrannical this Islamist movement truly is and we must give our wholehearted support to our Israeli allies and friends, especially when so many others do not.

  3. TIKI SHAPIRA says:

    If Hamas would have stopped firing rockets (13 years) on Israeli citizens, all the women & children would have been alive today.

    It’s about time for the Western Useful Idiots to acknowledge that fact and start putting the blame where it belongs….squirely at the terrorists, firing rockets on innocent Israeli citizens.

    It might be hard to believe for some, but Israeli’s are innocent citizens to.

    Had Israel not build the Iron Dome & safety rooms for it’s
    citizens, a new Holocaust would have been a fact!

    That’s what’s bothering the protesters of “Humanists & Gütmenschen”….strong Jews fighting back!

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