Are Israel and Hamas Morally Equivalent?
A week ago Saturday, MSNBC’s Mara Schiavocampo asked Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren this question concerning the launching of rockets from Gaza into Israeli territory: “Living under the threat of rocket attack is certainly a psychological trauma. But what would you say to those who would argue that the rockets are essentially very ineffective, they rarely do damage and that the response from the Israelis is disproportional to the threat they are under.”
Keep in mind, these “ineffective” rockets carrying warheads weigh between 20 and 90 kilograms—46 to 198 pounds—and Schiavocampo appeared to be suggesting they are not actually dangerous to human life.
Oren said she might want to pose that question to the three Israelis killed by an “ineffective” rocket in Kiryat Malachi on Thursday. He then asked her what would happen if Hamas were bombing America.
“Imagine if one rocket had fallen in the United States and not now since the year 2009, our last operation, we’ve had something in the vicinity of 8,000 rockets fall on the State of Israel. That’s more than twice all of the German rockets that fell on London during World War II. And you saw how the British and Americans reacted to that,” Oren said.
MSNBC is an arm of NBC and NBC is an arm of the mainstream media. Schiavocampo’s ridiculous question is just one example of the mainstream media’s attempt to paint Israel and Hamas as morally equivalent, or worse, paint the Israelis as being the bad guys.
Media coverage of the hostilities in Gaza tends to focus on rockets, tanks, casualties and diplomacy. What is missed is the fact that there is a huge moral divide between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. Bottom line, Israel is not at war with its terrorist enemies over territory. Israel is at war because of the unbridgeable moral chasm that exists between her and her neighbors.
On one side is a Jewish state that seeks peace with its neighbors and has repeatedly offered deep concessions to achieve it. On the other side is a fanatic regime of jihadists who glorify death, hate Jews and are obsessed with pushing Israel into the sea.
With the resumption of the hostilities between the two sides, the Palestinians have adopted a fierce new song to accompany their intensified conflict with Israel. “Strike A Blow At Tel Aviv,” recorded by Shadi al-Bourini and Qassem al-Najjar, was posted last week on various Palestinian websites, including the Facebook page of the TV show “Fenjan Al-Balad.” The producers of this show say its mission is to “influence young Palestinian society for the better.”
The video, which features images of wounded Israelis and scores of Qassam artillery rockets, opens with these lines:
Strike a blow at Tel Aviv.
Strike a blow at Tel Aviv.
Strike a blow at Tel Aviv and frighten the Zionists.
The more you build it, the more we will destroy it.
Strike a blow at Tel Aviv.
The song features a driving beat and as it continues, the language grows even more harsh. “We don’t want no truce or bargain,” they sing. They exhort the missiles to “explode in the Knesset” and “terrorize Tel Aviv,” while mocking the Israelis in bomb shelters who “cower with fear.”
Over the years, there have been numerous Israeli war songs, but most of them focus on a longing for peace and a desire for normalcy. It is doubtful one could find even one Israeli war song that would come close to the hatred expressed in “Strike A Blow At Tel Aviv.” Israel’s endless conflict with the Arabs has engendered some of the country’s most enduring music, but, as far as I know, nothing even close to “Tel Aviv’s” ecstasy over the prospect of killing the enemy.
In addition to “Tel Aviv,” other Palestinian videos are getting plenty of attention. Al-Aqsa TV, the official Hamas channel, regularly airs messages praising suicide bombings and advising Israelis to get ready for more of them. “We’ve missed the suicide attacks,” jeers one video. “Expect us soon at bus stations and in cafes.”
Another video features images of rockets being fired into Israel and warns “the Zionists” not to go to bed. “We may get you in your sleep,” it says. Hamas is always repeating the boasts of murderous jihadists everywhere. “We love death more than you love life.”
The hate-drenched Hamas Charter says, “Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave.” Article 7 of that charter proclaims success will not come “until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!”
By now, most reasonable people should have figured out, Hamas means what it says. Even the congenitally naïve should know Hamas will never end its quest for Israel’s annihilation. As long as Hamas rules Gaza, it is a de facto Palestinian state and will make the elimination of Jews its top priority.
While it is true, Israel has an enormous military advantage, Hamas knows the value of terror. When it can send hundreds of rockets hurtling into Israel and when it can force Israelis to listen constantly for the sounds of sirens—that means they have only 15 seconds to find shelter—Hamas inches ever closer to its goal.
Unfortunately, it is only when Israel retaliates that the mainstream media begins to take notice and world leaders begin to talk about diplomacy only when Israel finally fights back. But how will diplomacy achieve anything long-term when Hamas continues to reject the basic norms of international behavior? Hamas is indifferent to the sufferings of its own people, but is more than willing to use that suffering for propaganda purposes. These terrorists rejoice in terrorism by suicide and run TV spots promising more of it.
Hamas treats any cease-fire as a victory and continues to foment violence, hatred and death. Diplomacy will never solve the problems created by terrorist regimes. The only solution is to destroy their ability to launch “ineffective” rockets and deprive them of their seats of power. As long as Gaza is ruled by Hamas or any other Israel-hating terrorist entity, peace will only be a dream.
The Bible tells us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6a), but peace may only come at the end of a gun.
Baswell is the host of “Crossfire Radio,” Monday through Friday, 7-9 am, on The Promise, 90.7 FM. The show is streamed live at promisetalkradio.org.