By Larry Gordon
We are at last getting an interesting insight into the mechanics of anti-Semitism in the aftermath of the rather intense clashes between Israel and Hamas two weeks ago.
It seems that after all this time, this is not really just anti-Semitism. That is too sophisticated a term to be used in a situation like this, and not enough people can understand or appreciate what that really is or how it works. What we truly have at play here is unbridled Jew-hatred. That some people hate Jews and do not even need a reason is more easily digestible and understandable to many. Why get bogged down in the details of analyzing the reasons why someone might deserve to be dealt with in a hostile fashion if you can just jump directly to plainly hating them?
Harboring an innate animosity and enmity for Jews or any group or individual is clearly wrong and destructive. But those feelings do indeed exist and have existed from time immemorial.
The matter, however, of instigating those attitudes and sentiments is especially egregious. And that is what a good deal of the anti-Israel media—in particular The New York Times—has attempted to do in the aftermath of Israel’s clashes with Hamas in Gaza.
So hating Jews is not anything new. It seems that this awful attitude toward Jews was built into the creation of the world.
On occasion, here in New York and in other densely Jewish-populated cities around the U.S., there are stories about swastikas being spray-painted on mailboxes or on sidewalks in front of a shul or a yeshiva. A few days later you might read that a 16-year-old high-school student was arrested and is being charged with a hate crime.
In such a case, you can be certain about at least one thing—the young person who drew the swastika has no idea what it means or why Jews especially find it so offensive and hurtful. All the teenager knows is that a swastika offends Jews and expresses hate and disdain for Jews, and that is all that he or she hopes to accomplish. It would not even pay to ask the perpetrators why they did it. All they know is that they are supposed to hate Jews and this expresses that sentiment.
There is no need to recount what happened between Israel and Gaza recently, as that is fairly well-known to our readers. But some of what does not get proper exposure is something like the puzzling nature of the alliance between evil terrorists who kill on impulse and that of what is supposed to be a sophisticated and accomplished media entity like The New York Times.
Last week the Times featured a startling front-page display of what they say are 67 photos of children under 18 years old who were killed during the fighting in Gaza. The Times reporters have no idea if any of these children actually did die or whether it is just another piece of Hamas deception, as is their custom. The photo says that the information comes from what they refer to as “initial reports,” and in the past their source was the Gaza Health Ministry—not exactly what anyone would call a purveyor of reliable data.
Earlier this week, Israel revealed that one of the “children” was a 17-year-old member of a Hamas-linked terrorist group. Khalid al-Qanou was killed in an Israeli air strike in the Northern Gaza Strip on May 13. But a terrorist group called Mujhadeen Brigades, which the U.S. has blacklisted for its terrorist activities and ties to Hamas, later claimed that al-Qanou was a member.
As Israel continues to investigate, more information like that will be revealed, though the Times most likely will not cover that story. The Times’ front-page caption additionally informed readers that those child victims pictured “had wanted to be doctors, artists, and leaders.” How they knew that about all 67 is a mystery.
At a news conference following the announcement of the ceasefire, Prime Minister Netanyahu made it known that of the almost 4,000 missiles fired at Israel out of Gaza, close to 1,000 of those rockets landed inside Gaza. Those rockets killed and injured scores of people inside Gaza; perhaps many of those were on the front page of the Times last week.
The Times display was irresponsible and incendiary. Unfortunately, after all these years of exactly that type of reporting emanating from the Times, while it was a disturbing display of an effort to further denigrate and defame the Middle East’s only democracy, it is also accepted by many as valid on its face.
Media entities like the Times and others find themselves in a quandary of sorts. Disliking or harboring animus for Jews does not require any rationale or reason. It is just something that people do. But here we are attempting to assign logic to a type of madness that is illogical.
The Times is not just part of this anti-Israel, anti-Jewish assault; they are leaders of the mob. The sentiment from the left and mainstream media is almost unanimous. Casual observers will conclude that it has to be impossible for so many famous people with tens of millions of followers on social media to be wrong.
Last week Gigi Hadid led a pro-Palestinian rally in Brooklyn. She led the chant: “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free.” That, by the way, is a call for the elimination of Israel from the map of the Middle East. It does not take a giant intellectual leap to understand what that means. No mention of a two-state solution there.
In case you don’t know, Gigi is a model. Her father is Lebanese. She has over 65 million followers on social media. I don’t believe, however, that anyone is “following” her because of her insight on Middle East policy or any political issues for that matter. That is not her area of expertise. I think we are safe on that count.
On a positive note, a voice from the left did emerge quite courageously last week. HBO’s Bill Maher, who is usually an extreme leftist on just about every issue, including being virulently critical of Donald Trump, spoke out eloquently in defense of Israel in the aftermath of the Gaza mini war.
His guest was another leftist, Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times. Kristof, like so many others like him, could not let go of his insistence that Israel committed war crimes during the 11-day clash. Kristof interjected that information when Maher seemed to compliment him on a recent column in which he wrote that Israel treats their Arab minority better than most of the Arab countries treat their own citizens.
You could see by his expression that Kristof sensed he might be getting into trouble in the blogosphere for being misunderstood as being a bit too pro-Israel. So he quickly stated that Israel does do some good things but that they also “may have committed war crimes.”
No, Maher pointed out, it is not a war crime to defend your country, adding that Hamas uses their civilians as defensive shields. Maher then made a comment that we do not hear anywhere, and that is that by its very nature, war itself is a crime.
He then stunningly made a brief but cogent presentation about the Jewish attachment to the land of Israel more than 3,000 years ago. He said that there were Jews on what is today the land of Israel 1,000 years before there was anything called Islam.
Bill Maher is a lone voice in the anti-Israel leftist forest. If you watch his weekly program you will hear a lot of things that you will find irksome. Interestingly though, it is that precise reality that makes his pronouncement last week so important. Maher is a Jew who is just not comfortable being awash in a sea of distorted anti-Israel sentiment.
One of the outstanding complaints about Israel versus Hamas, the angry critics say, is that it is an unfair fight because Israel is too strong, That is a little ironic considering that in this week’s Torah reading, those chosen by Moshe to spy out the Land of Israel reported that those who occupied the land at the time were too strong and that the Jewish people who were promised the Land by G-d were too weak.
In the purview of the left and the media they dominate, the problem they grapple with and are so flustered by is precisely that a historically small and weak nation is so wonderfully and beautifully strong. To them that is not fair or tolerable.
Read more of Larry Gordon’s articles at 5TJT.com. Follow 5 Towns Jewish Times on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and live videos. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome at 5TJT.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.