Hamas’ (and the World’s) Anti-Semitism

The Times tonight reports how a senior Hamas leader has declared Israel’s actions in Gaza mean Jewish children throughout the world are now legitimate targets. Not Israeli children, mind you, but rather in response to an Israeli attack on Gaza they single out all Jewish children. Never mind that diaspora Jews are not Israeli, or that many Jews (including our own Foreign Secretary and the comedian Alexei Sayle) have condemned strongly Israel’s actions in Gaza in recent days. No, Hamas has demonstrated its anti-Semitic hatred, which is well-known but so conveniently forgotten, just like that of Hezbollah’s. And I doubt this is an empty threat (consider Hezbollah’s similar attacks on Jewish interests in the 1990s, notably in Argentina). But of course, tonight’s Hamas statement will not change extreme anti-Israeli opinion which crosses over into anti-Semitism one iota, ironically even though the Hard Left is obsessed with rooting out all forms of racism. Clearly, anti-Semitism is an “understandable” form of racism when it comes to Israel’s actions.

Imagine if, after the death of some of it citizens from Hamas rockets (5000 so far in the past couple or so years) or its many suicide bombings, the Israeli government made a repulsive vow to the effect that thenceforth Arab children worldwide were now legitimate targets. Imagine the anger, the backlash (and rightly so), the vociferous condemnations.

You see, the world often views and treats Israel differently than other countries. That there will be no anger about Hamas’ statement merely demonstrates this. Moreover, when legitimate criticism of Israel turns into demonisation, then it becomes fully-fledged anti-Semitism. Yet the world has been doing it for so long now that Hamas can be forgiven for thinking they can get away with it. And they will, of course. I’ll be watching out for the condemnation of Hamas for this statement (but I won’t hold my breath). Neither will I expect much of the Church to condemn Hamas for its vile threat. After all, it’s been so busy in its anti-Semitism over the centuries why should it break a habit of a lifetime? Going back to the demonisation issue which helps to differentiate between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, just check out some of the anti-Israel Christian blog posts in recent days. The same old suspects, same old message, same old anti-Semitism, that is, comment which goes well beyond legitimate criticism to outright demonisation. Hamas knows it, too. Sad, really, how Hamas and Hezbollah try to court anti-Israeli Christians. Even sadder how some succumb to flattery and fall for it.

PS If you disagree with me please, please post an intelligent reply (I welcome them). Just don’t use that silly, nonsensical statement that Arabs, who are a Semitic people, cannot therefore by anti-Semites.  We all know what anti-Semitism is – hatred of Jews (the kind of hatred that leads you to say you will target Jewish children worldwide). Arans can hate Jews, just as some Semitic Jews are quite capable of hating Arabs. So that one is a non-starter.

ADDENDUM

Consider how the Guardian newspaper reports what Hamas said compared with The Times report. The threat to Jewish children is removed, while it simply reports Hamas “hinted” at reprisals worldwide. This is juxtaposed with various references to Gazan children in the same article. Why this imbalance? By all means the suffering and death of children in Gaza is a legitimate issue, as today’s horrific pictures of dead and dying children in demonstrates. But why not also report the Hamas threat to Jewish children? Such subtle one-sidedness, whether unwitting or deliberate, makes it all the more difficult to seek solutions to the Middle East crisis based on rational, objective and honest debate.

  1. Hello Dr Calvin,

    Thank-you for your recent comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Following I just have some musings on certain matters I have thought about while reading yours.

    Today Prime Minister Olmert has said that he sees the suggested cease-fire in a positive light. It is said that Javier Solana, the EU’s high representative for Foreign Affairs will be meeting with Ehud Barak to discuss a ceasefire. In the same breath Hamas terrorist and operative Musa Abu-Marzuk said, “There will be no decision of a permanent ceasefire with Israel.’

    In my opinion, if Olmert stops the offensive now and even if a UNIFL force were placed along the borders, and even if the International community supported Egypt to stop smuggling of weapons, two things will happen:
    1. After months the nation will reflect and call the war a failure because we will essentially achieve nothing of substance.
    2. Hamas will find ways to stockpile weapons until they are in a far stronger position than they are today EXACTLY like Hezbollah have done in the north.

    Has the 2nd Lebanon war not taught us anything? Did Rwanda not teach us anything? (I’ll get back to that). We agreed to a UNIFL force in Lebanon and a part of its function was to stop Hezbollah from rearming. What has happened? Restraints are placed on Israel due to the UN resolution 1701 and the presence of the UNIFL force on the border (a resolution that called for the disarmament of Hezbollah by UNIFL and the Lebanese government) but…both the UNIFL force and the Lebanese government have stated they will not disarm Hezbollah (they can’t and its as simple as that), and Hezbollah are far stronger today than when they started the 2nd Lebanon war! In other words, UNIFL has not done its job, and Hezbollah has rearmed with better weapons! Does the West care?

    So, Israel needs to continue this offensive until the infrastructure of Hamas is severely damaged before they agree to another pointless UN resolution (Don’t forget we are talking about terrorists not a democratic people. They do not care about the honour that should exist in the fundamental nature of a resolution).

    At the end of the day, we are not going to destroy Hamas. As long as one man is left standing there stands their extremist ideology that threatens not only Israeli life and security but also global peace. Yet, we can knock them back 10 or 20 years in development and slow the process down.

    However, one thing is for sure, a ceasefire is not going to do that at this stage, it will be a mistake if done too prematurely.

    I was also thinking about your comments on the biased reported of the western media against Israel and found MK Silvan Shalom’s comments interesting today who learned from the IDF that in-actual fact it was not 40 or so dead in the UNWRA school but 8-10. However what will people remember – 50 or 60 more likely!

    Where in the western media is it reported that Hamas use children as human shields and tactically enter schools or residential buildings to booby trap Israeli soldiers and sent rockets into Israel? Also about how Hamas are executing Palestinians as they suspect them of being informants? Of Hamas who murdered numerous members of Fatah at the beginning of the war for fear they would inform Israel of sensitive information? Where is the emphasis in the western media that Israel want to, if security enables them to, send in tons and tons of food and supplies to the Palestinian people? What about the emphasis in the western media that Israel are not fighting the Palestinian people in general but specifically terrorist organisations and in this instance Hamas. Where is it reported in the western media that in August 2005 we gave the Palestinians Gaza back to develop into a prosperous society? Yet, instead terrorist organisations used it as a permanent base to train and home terrorists, as a rocket launching pad into Israel, a place to oppress the Palestinians people (half of which probably support Hamas out of fear of reprisal).

    Furthermore, the west is so obstinate to actually think we should just give the Arabs back full control of the West Bank so they can do the same there!!! Please do not tell me Abbas is a moderate and he would not allow it (Not you Dr Calvin but those that would). Ever heard of the saying, “Wolf in sheeps clothing?” That’s Abbas. Look at his statements on the Arab web-sites and newspapers not the English propaganda ones. Furthermore, we only took Gaza, the West Bank and the Golani heights during the 1967 six day war because President Nasser was preparing to attack us in the first place. That’s called self-defence. Yes, in accordance with the 1947 UN resolution we, being democratic, should try to honour agreements (of which we did at the time but it was the Arabs who could not accept it). However, surely we cannot give land back or agree to a ‘ceasefire’ or another ‘resolution’ if that giving or agreeing is done without a guarantee of substantial security or a complete ceasing of rocket fire into Israel and a ‘real’ cessation of rearmament by terrorist organisations. Also what about Hamas formally declaring Israel’s right to exist and live in the Land? What about Hamas’ formal statement that they are interested in a working relationship with Israel by peaceful means? If Musa Abu-Marzuk’s words mean anything that is not going to happen. So what kind of ‘peace’ will this be?

    For those of faith we realise that at some point a false peace will be made and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis shows clearly how this could be done at some point in the future. However we also know the end…

    “You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 5 You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,” says Adonai Elokim.”

    Should I go on…it goes without saying that G-d has not finished with Israel and will in the end fight on their behalf (literally, not allegorically of course – nod, nod, wink wink ).

    Finally, all Jews should sympathise for the innocents in Gaza who may die either by accident from the IDF or by extermination at the hands of Hamas terrorists. This is war and such things sadly are a circumstance of war. We must pray for the Palestinian people while at the same time recognising the need to fulfil substantial objectives so that Israel will not be left in a far worse position 20 years down the road when we are surrounded by rearmed terrorist organisations and Arab nations that hate us and want us dead. In such a scenario UNIFL may well disappear as fast as the UN did in Rwanda leaving the Tutsi’s to be slaughtered at the hands of the Hutu’s.

    Apart from that I was going to comment on the integral anti-Semitism that exists in British society and religious organisations but I think the above is enough.

    Finally just before I send this I hear that Israel has presently refused the proposed cease-fire but I think I will send it to you anyway.

    Regards, A Jewish person.

  2. Personally, I believe sadly much of our unbalanced treatment of Israel in this country is fuelled by Christians and Christian-organizations.

    My mother-in-law, for example, is a Methodist and supporter of Christian Aid. While I otherwise respect her as a good Christian sister I deplore her subscription to replacement theology and opinions regarding Israel and its right (or rather lack of rights as she sees it) to exist in Israel. Coupled with this is the frequent allegations of anti-Semitism by Christian Aid made in the British press (to the extent where I decided long ago to boycott it). My husband, being brought up in this environment, while conceding that his views are less extreme – still finds significant disagreement with me and we have been having very heated discussions over Israel.

    Those holding to replacement theology tend to portray the opposing side, the Zionists, as condoning Israel regardless of its behaviour (as if it could never do any wrong), an argument even my husband will use against me whenever Israel goes to war. Yet in peace-time he knows this is ridiculous. Anti-Zionists (for want of a better word) seem to excel at straw-man making. Personally, the amount of blindedness, name-calling, and ridiculous over-emphasis on one small country (even Tibet doesn’t generate this much fuss) convinces me that there is something very evil at the heart of anti-Semitism and world-views that deny modern Israel.

    I think the Church tends to underestimate just how much influence we still have. Most Britons still know what an “ideal” Christian should look like – they are very quick to point out when someone is behaving in an un-Christian fashion – with affairs, child abuse, embezzlement (far quicker sadly than Christians are). When the Church tells the rest of the country that Israel has no right to exist and should not defend itself against it neighbours (what other country would be expected to just sit there and take the missiles) I think that non-Christians, who as the Bible says are of the Devil anyway, are only too happy to be led along that path.

  3. Kate, I agree with much of what you say. So divisive and polarised is this issue that it causes tensions within the British public, between friends and family, and of course in the Church.

    The key for me, which is what I am trying to do (and encourage other pro-Israel Christians likewise to do) is to be objective and avoid the rhetoric, polemics and needless pejorative language which reduces the debate to nothing more than a screaming match. Often times, the arguments, if presented objectively, disappasionately and convincingly, speak for themselves. In this particular instance Israel has, learning from its media mistakes in the 2006 Lebanon War, managed to transmit a narrative which, while dismissed by those enemies who will never make peace with Israel, has resulted in the world during the present conflict being somewhat more divided in its response to what is happening in Gaza. This is because Israel has convincingly put across that it cannot simply go on ignoring thousands of rocket attacks upon the south of the country from Gaza militiamen.

    Unfortunately, some Christian Zionists can sometiems be as extreme and polemical as their replacementist counterparts, taking an “Israel right or wrong” position that merely serve to lose them credibility. They are simply regarded as pro-Israel stooges who will always excuse Israel whenever she is in the wrong.

    I am a close friend of Israel. Like you, I see her demonisation as irrational, even supernatural. I believe the Jews remain God’s chosen people and that they will be eschatologically restored to the land (whether the present state of Israel is such a restoration and we are in the last days, or if that restoration is yet to come, divides the broadly pro-Israel Christian camp). But despite seeing God’s continued love for His people and plans for them, that does not mean I necessarily agree with all Israel does. After all, if biblical Israel sinned it is folly to suggest that modern Israel, a secular state with a largely secular government, is always without blame or never acts unwisely.

    I think the key for pro-Israel Christians is to avoid the silly screaming the Christian Palestinian side engages in, even at its most extreme coming out with absurd comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany (such demonisation is clearly anti-Semitic – there is just no comparison with ISrael’s actions and the Holocaust… in fact, I’m not ure there is any comparison with Israel’s actions and the death of civilians in wars carried out by the Allies in Iraq and Afghanistan). Let’s be good friends and defend Israel with facts and solid arguments (theological, historical and political). The problem is, of course, this takes a lot of time and effort to research the facts, but believe me it wins nearly every time.

    Let’s also be good friends of Israel by acknowledging when she is unwise or makes mistakes. People will still regard us as pro-Israel, but by weaving convincing arguments built on facts and solid research, at the very least it forces the other side to respond in a more measured way. One well-known anti-Israel Christian has recently been forced to take on more measured language, as well as delete previous blog posts containing inflammatory rhetoric and inaccuracies, since others decided to taken him on and exposed his arguments for what they were. And who know? As well as forcing Israel’s enemies on the back foot, perhaps a more measured, reflective and well argued approach may even win over some of the undecideds.

    I don’t know if this helps. I’d be interested to know what you think, as well as the views of friends and enemies of Israel.

  4. Out of the closet, and still invisible | Likelihood of Success - pingback on January 11, 2009 at 5:08 am

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