Paul Kessler went to a pro-Hamas demonstration in the Los Angeles area waving an Israeli flag to stand down the crowd gathered to support the genocide of Jews. A pro-Hamas demonstrator, who tracked the 69-year-old before he approached him, clubbed Kessler in the head with a megaphone. Kessler fell to the ground and died of cerebral bleeding.
Forty-eight hours after Kessler was killed, his murderer was still free, even though the police know who he is. Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryoff hadn’t arrested him because he couldn’t decide whether the murderer’s blow was the reason that Kessler died. Maybe he would have fallen on the ground head-first anyway. These things happen.
Fryoff isn’t the only one who can’t see the connection between A and B these days.
From coast to coast, university presidents can’t figure out whether Israel is to be supported and Hamas condemned, or Hamas is to be supported and Israel is to be condemned. It’s true Hamas murderers savagely executed, raped, sodomized, decapitated, dismembered and kidnapped thousands of innocent Israelis. But then again, Israel retaliated and stuff.
The confusion isn’t limited to police chiefs and professors.
Consider Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Socialist from Vermont told CNN that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is impossible. As he put it, “I don’t know how you can have a ceasefire, a permanent ceasefire with an organization like Hamas, which is dedicated to turmoil and chaos and destroying the State of Israel.”
But then again, Sanders said: “The immediate task right now is to end the bombing, to end the horrific humanitarian disaster, to build — go forward with the entire world for a two-tier, two-state solution to the crisis to give the Palestinian people hope.”
So, on the one hand, you can’t have a ceasefire because Hamas won’t cease firing since it seeks Israel’s annihilation. And on the other hand, Israel needs to stop firing on Hamas and give the people who elected Hamas a state. Sanders’s confusion makes sense, given his Jewish roots on the one hand, and his ties to the Hamas caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives on the other.
The obvious contradiction in his position resonates with President Joe Biden’s viewpoints as well. True, Biden says, Israel has a right and a duty to defeat Hamas. But it must do so without harming any of Hamas’s human shields, and it needs to accept a ceasefire that will allow Hamas to regroup, resupply and rearm.
True, Biden admits, Hamas wants to annihilate the Jews. And true (although he won’t acknowledge it), the unpopular PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority also wants to annihilate the Jews. All the same, Biden insists that they must always be empowered and never punished for anything.
n Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News that after the war, Israel will need to maintain overall security control over the Gaza Strip to prevent Hamas from rebuilding its military capabilities. The next day, the U.S. State Department publicly rejected the notion that Israel might stick around. State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters, “Our viewpoint is that Palestinians must be at the forefront of these decisions, and Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land.”
People keep comparing Hamas’s slaughter of civilians to Sept. 11 and Israel’s counterattack as its invasion of Iraq. But as Capt. Thomas Wheatley, a professor of international law at West Point, explained in a paper he published in a George Mason University international legal journal, the analogy is wrong. Hamas didn’t hijack a plane. It invaded Israel. It occupied Israeli territory for several hours and used its time in power to conduct crimes against humanity and genocidal acts. It seized 244 hostages. The proper analogy of Israel’s counterattacks isn’t Mosul but Normandy. Israel needs to treat Gaza how the United States and the Allies treated Nazi Germany, Wheatley explained.
Why can’t the West’s “best and brightest” understand this basic truth?
Israelis like to blame ourselves for this fiasco. We say that our public diplomacy, aka hasbara, is a complete failure. Our spokespeople are incompetent, the critics insist. But the truth is different. Israel’s official spokesmen are generally competent and often well-spoken. Palestinian spokesmen are just as often incompetent, and look and sound like terrorists.
The problem is much deeper than the competence of official spokespeople.
Partly, it’s that a lot of people around the world simply hate Jews. We’ve been getting a good look at the dimensions of the phenomenon since the Oct. 7 mass slaughter. Jew-haters from Pakistan to Philadelphia like Hamas because Hamas is killing Jews.
But not all of the people who insist that Israel is in the wrong — or simply can’t see the difference between Israel and Hamas — are motivated primarily by bigotry.
Their problem isn’t that they despise Jews or even that Israel isn’t providing the facts. Their problem is that they have been trained to care more about “the narrative” than the facts. And “the narrative” tells them to stand with the Palestinians, who seek to annihilate the Jews.
Whether the problem began with Edward Said’s destruction of Middle East Studies with the publication of his anti-intellectual and glamorous Orientalism in 1978 — or with the imposition of groupthink under the title “political correctness” as a litmus test for social, academic and professional advancement in the 1990s — over the last generation and a half, the details of the narrative were filled in. Across all fields of human endeavor and experience, humankind was divided into the oppressed, who can do no wrong, and the oppressors, who can do no right.
It took 30 years, billions in petrodollars and billions more from cultural Marxists to develop a language of lies and manipulation that placed Jews in Israel and the Diaspora in the oppressor column. But with enough money and indoctrination, David was transformed into Goliath, and Goliath was transformed into the Jews who were so scared of the Philistine giant that they sent a 13-year-old shepherd with a slingshot in to defend them.
one of this made any sense. None of it had anything to do with history, facts or scholarship. Indeed, to believe these lies, it was necessary to reject objective truth as a measuring rod for academic or professional advancement.
Faced with a state of affairs where public discourse was dominated by a narrative that vilified Jews, Jewish liberals in Israel and the United States invented their own narrative they hoped would satisfy their indoctrinated and incentivized colleagues in the West. They based their narrative on the same oppressor-oppressed narrative their Western counterparts embraced. But their narrative distinguished between “good Jews” and “bad Jews.”
They were the good Jews. And as good Jews, they accepted that Israel was Goliath. But they insisted that they didn’t want to be Goliath. They wanted to give the oppressed Palestinian David a state. They embraced the “two-state solution” that requires Israel to give up Israel’s biblical heartland — Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem along with the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. The “bad Jews,” the oppressor Jews, refused to do so based on their atavistic, messianic belief that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.
The key to peace, the “good Jews” proclaimed, is for the liberal Jews to be supported by all right-thinking people. Right-thinking, narrative-driven people need to oppose the leaders of the “bad Jews” — first and foremost, Netanyahu — and to deny tenure, promotions and even legitimacy to Jews in Israel and abroad who think like Netanyahu about certain things, particularly the “two-state solution.”
Like their Western counterparts, these Jewish liberals were immune to rational debate. True, the Palestinians rejected the “two-state solution,” and all factions of Palestinian society call for the elimination of Israel. And true, the “two-state solution” foresees Israel shrinking to indefensible boundaries that invite invasion. But since the “two-state solution” would end Israel’s status as an oppressor, the Palestinians and their allies would bury the hatchet, and Israel could live securely in indefensible boundaries because no one would think of attacking it. Many liberal Jews accepted the slaughter of wrong-thinking Jews with something bordering on equanimity. They were asking for it, of course, by refusing to end the so-called “occupation.”
The problem with liberal Israelis’ and Diaspora Jewry’s acceptance of narrative over facts is that facts have proven their narrative — and the broader oppressed/oppressor narrative — false. As they wake up to the realization that Israel’s enemies see no difference between “good” Jews who support the “two-state solution” and the “bad” Jews who oppose it, they are coming to realize that their colleagues on the left really don’t care. They prefer their narrative to reality — and won’t reject it even if keeping the faith with the oppressed means embracing the eliminationist slogan, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free.”
Which brings us back to public diplomacy.
It is the liberal Jewish embrace of the oppressor-oppressed narrative about themselves that has rendered Israel’s hasbara efforts dead in the water. If Israel is in the wrong and the Palestinians are in the right, then Hamas is right to slaughter and rape and abduct Israeli Jews. After all, we had it coming. And Israel has no right to annihilate Hamas because Hamas is oppressed. Rape isn’t a form of oppression if it is carried out by the oppressed against the oppressor. What does it matter how many women were brutalized? The same is the case with burning babies.
What’s missing from Israel’s hasbara isn’t facts and figures — of dead, of atrocities, of dates and of genocidal covenants, or even decent English.
What is missing is our story. Our history is the most compelling tale of human will and hope that the world has ever known. Our Jewish state is an apotheosis of justice. Jewish freedom is the triumph of the oppressed Jews against an oppressive humanity. Jewish settlement of the land of Israel from north to south, east to west is the victory of a native people against centuries of colonialist, imperialist invaders and occupiers. The Palestinians have organized themselves as a cult that sanctifies death, sadism, mass murder and destruction. They have no identity independent of their hatred of Israel. Were Israel to vanish, the Palestinians would be forgotten immediately.
It’s time to tell the truth about them, too.
Perhaps more than we need to tell our story to the world, we need to tell it to ourselves. We need to let the truth remind us of who we are after a generation of unwarranted and deeply destructive self-flagellation. The more we tell our story, the less we will care whether people are persuaded because we will understand that our greatest triumphs across time happened when we were true to ourselves, our people, our traditions and our G-d. And when we stop caring whether we are alone or not, we will see that people of goodwill around the world will be standing with us.