Israel is routinely beset by attacks, physical and rhetorical, at the hands of its hostile neighbors and the Western media and elite. Our mistake is to assume that we can counter those attacks with logic, reason, and evidence. We assume that we are presenting our arguments to people who want to objectively examine the arguments on each side of the conflict, and then come to a rational conclusion to discern right and wrong.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Take this example. Just days after Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of Iran publicly claimed that the Holocaust was a fabrication, Mark Steyn reminds us that Benjamin Netanyahu thundered his disagreement at the U.N. General Assembly:
Mr. Netanyahu then explained that he’d recently visited a villa in Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, and been shown the minutes of a meeting held there on January 20, 1942, at which senior German officials formulated precisely their plan for the extermination of the Jews. “Here is a copy of those minutes,” the Prime Minister told the UN. “Is this a lie?” The day before, he’d been given a photocopy- this time of the original construction plans, signed by Heinrich Himmler, for the AuschwitzBirkenau concentration camp, wherein one million Jews would be killed. “Here is a copy of the plans,” Mr. Netanyahu said to the assembled ranks of world leaders. “Is this too a lie?”
One sympathizes with the Prime Minister, reduced, seventy years after Neville Chamberlain, to standing before the world waving pieces of paper from Herr Hitler. But he’s missing the point. Ahmedinejad and Company aren’t Holocaust deniers because of the dearth of historical documentation. They deny it because they can, and because it suits their interest to do so, and because, in the regimes they represent, the state lies to its people as a matter of course and to such a degree that there is no longer an objective reality, only a self-constructed one.
Similarly, we can sympathize with Netanyahu for now being reduced to publicly standing before the world to defend Israel’s right to exist without Hamas’s rockets being indiscriminately lobbed into Israeli townships.
Just as someone even passively familiar with World War II could tell you that the Holocaust was a very real, very well-documented, and very irrefutable fact, anyone even passively aware of Hamas’s rhetoric and the Hamas Covenantknows that Hamas’s stated ambition does not allow for peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state of Israel. The concrete words inscribed in the Hamas Covenant, penned in 1988 and never rescinded, clearly define Hamas’s aim as “discarding the evil, crushing and defeating it so that… calls for prayer be heard from the mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state.”
A reasonably observant person already knows that Hamas seeks to destroy Israel and will accept no alternative to that outcome. So when we see Secretary of State John Kerry leading a Western chorus calling for a ceasefire on the specious grounds that Hamas might accept terms that would allow for Israel’s peaceful existence, we might be tempted to wave the Hamas Charter in his face, pointing out that the document conspicuously states that “[t]he time 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 on and kill him!’” We might be tempted to point out that past instances where Israel has committed to ceasefires with Hamas before first annihilating its weaponry and infrastructure have only resulted in brief lulls in combat followed by further rocket attacks against Israeli citizens. We might even try pointing out that civilian casualties in Gaza are largely the result of Hamas using citizens as human shields and hiding munitions in ambulances, schools, and mosques, and that it was indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas three weeks ago, sending millions of Israelis into bomb shelters, that caused Israel to undertake its current campaign inretaliation against Hamas’s aggression.
But to argue any of that is as futile as Netanyahu trying to convince the world that the Holocaust actually happened. John Kerry, the New York Times, and your average naysayer decrying Israel already likely know all of that – if they don’t, they are guilty of unforgivable ignorance that rivals Holocaust denial, given the stubborn facts that can be easily observed. No, they ignore those facts and condemn Israel because they can. It suits their ideological whimsy to do so, and they prefer to adhere not to an objective reality, but to a self-constructed fantasy where everyone in the world wants peace with everyone else. There is nothing more substantial behind their position.
So what else can we possibly say? The insanity of such ignorance might lead someone to react as Joan Rivers did to one goading reporter, by shouting, “They started it!” in hopes that this one simple fact and the evidence that proves it might dent their anti-Israel resolve.
But it won’t. And that is because they are enemies of the truth, and ultimately, friends of Hamas. Their pacifism makes them objectively pro-Hamas for the same reason that Orwell once noted that pacifists in his time were “pro-Nazi.” The West’s pacifism enables Hamas’s ambition of conquest in the same manner that Chamberlain’s enabled Nazi Germany’s – by ignoring the threat it poses, and by allowing it time and capability to build infrastructure and amass weapons to reach its stated aims.
Better that we come to understand that this is who they are than to engage them with hopes that they might be swayed by reality or objective proof.