Column: Hamas Defenders Can’t Handle the Truth

“Does the whole world hate the Jews?”

The question was posed by a self-identified Democrat from Waterbury, Conn., who called into C-Span Saturday morning to confess that he believed white nationalists owned antisemitism in America. With reports of the dreadful Hamas raid dominating the news, the caller said he now recognizes that many liberals have been bashing Israel.

The caller’s turnaround signals new trends in Middle East thinking that will help the standing of Israel and Diaspora Jews, while rendering pro-Arab activists irrelevant. If the Connecticut man is indicative of the public’s thinking, then advocates for the Palestinians will squander their undeserved influence. Those who previously sympathized with the Palestinians will disregard pro-Arab arguments and allow Israel more leeway in carrying out its strategies.

In the process, the savagery of Hamas in southern Israel punctures arguments that the conflict is about Israel oppressing the Palestinians. People will no longer trust the Palestinian point of view and will be willing to take Israeli attitudes more seriously. This transformation will be rooted in the Arabs’ long history of distorting the course of the conflict that was blasted apart on October 7 when hundreds of low-lifes from Hamas slaughtered more than 1300 Jews and others.

Case in point: The New York Times headlined a story thus: “Palestinian Americans Say Historical Context Is Being Overlooked.”

They should feel relieved that the “historical context is being overlooked.” The most compelling “context” lies in Israel’s proposal for a Palestinian state 23 years ago after President Clinton met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David.

The Palestinians would govern all of Gaza, roughly 95 percent of the West Bank and portions of eastern Jerusalem. They would likely have an independent state today, except…

Arafat refused to work with Clinton and Barak. When the summit wrapped up in late July 2000, he returned to the Middle East and either started or facilitated an uprising that left more than 1000 Israelis and 3000 Palestinians dead.

Soon after the war commenced, Barak was ousted from office by the far more hawkish Ariel Sharon, and Israelis steadily elected a series of rightwing members to Parliament up to now. The current coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with massive opposition to its plan to revamp the judicial operation. The coalition also seeks to expand communities in the West Bank and annex this area.

Their plans are indefensible, but Sharon and Netanyahu in particular owe their jobs to Arafat and defiant Palestinians who respond to Israeli outreach with terrorism. Is this their idea of lack of context?

Nearly each time they complain about Israel, defenders of the Palestinians make sweeping accusations against Israel with no basis in the facts. They almost never provide specific examples.

Their single most credible complaint should certainly be dealt with. Authorities must stop Israelis who attack Arab villagers, a relatively new action preceded by decades of Arab terrorist attacks in the West Bank. So far, the perpetrators represent a low percentage of settlers.

Palestinians routinely gripe about checkpoints that hold up traffic for long periods. It is common knowledge that Israel set up the checkpoints for security purposes. The harsher critics of Israel know that as well as everyone else.

They also complain that Israel and Egypt have been blockading Gaza for several years. Palestinians cannot comprehend that the Israeli-Egyptian blockade is disrupting Hamas’ efforts to smuggle military weapons into Gaza.

Their demands are so silly that they cannot stand the idea of any Jews praying on the Temple Mount, the site of the second temple in Jerusalem. What harm can that do?

This kind of context has been played down for more than two decades. Apologists for the Palestinians in America and Canada have created all kinds of disruptions, committed mostly low-level crimes amid their protests and persisted in affirming that, in snarling Jack Nicholson-style, they “can’t handle the truth.” Most Americans and Canadians tolerated their conduct.

Mostly right-wing Jews who themselves had credibility problems called them out. I know of few instances in which authorities prosecuted pro-Arab apologists for crimes. As an exception to the rule, a prosecutor in Orange County, California, won convictions against students who disrupted a speech by Michael Oren, then Israel’s ambassador to the United States, at the University of California campus in Irvine.

Those days may be over. Signs are cropping up that Americans will no longer let them get away with it. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has called Israel an “apartheid state,” denounced a rally in New York City where attendees were accused of celebrating Hamas’ massacre. U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit walked back a statement defending Hamas.

A law firm rescinded a job offer to a student at New York University after she posted anti-Israel comments. Philadelphia’s City Council, mostly if not all non-Jewish, is expected to vote on a resolution condemning the raid with all members co-sponsoring the bill. Two pro-Israel rallies in Philadelphia were crammed with supporters. Jewish donors to the University of Pennsylvania, along with some non-Jews, are threatening to cut off funding because of the university’s weak response to a conference on campus that was linked to antisemitism.

Most striking is the sense of betrayal that young Jews in New York City expressed because of “the response of their lefty friends,” Rabbi Misha Shulman told Michelle Goldberg, a Times columnist. She wrote that their progressive allies “were either justifying Hamas’s atrocities or celebrating them outright.”

That disclosure demands special attention. Those who pity the poor Palestinians are fond of touting the sympathy of liberal Jews for the Palestinian cause. Whatever that is, to repeat my own perception in past writings. Losing the aid of liberal Jews would surely jolt pro-Arab activists.

Perhaps Jack Nicholson, who portrayed the bullying, half-mad Marine Col. Nathan R. Jessup in “A Few Good Men,” will be pleased that his fellow citizens can now “handle the truth.”

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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