by Victor Davis Hanson
Blinded by hate.
Peruse campus literature. Watch clips from university protests. Scan interviews with pro-Hamas protestors. Read the chalk propaganda sketched on campus sidewalks. Talk to raging students in the free speech area. And the one common denominator— besides their arrogance—is their abject ignorance. Take their following tired talking points:
We are told that the Palestinians after more than 75 years of residence in the West Bank and Gaza are “refugees.” If that definition were currently true, then, are the 900,000 Jews who were forcibly exiled from Muslim countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia after the 1947, 1956, 1967 wars still “refugees?”
Most fled to Israel. Do they now live in “refugee” camps administrated by the UN? Are they protesting to recover their confiscated homes and wealth in Damascus, Cairo, or Baghdad? Do Jews on Western television dangle their keys to lost homes in Damascus a half-century after they were expelled?
How about the 150,000-200,000 Greek Cypriots who in 1974 were brutally driven out of their ancient homes in Northern Cyprus? Are they today living in “refugee” camps in southern Cyprus? Are Cypriot terrorists blowing themselves up in “occupied” Nicosia to recover what was stolen from them by Turkey?
Turkish president Recep Erdogan lectures the world on Palestinian “refugees,” but does he mention Turkey’s role in the brutal expulsion of 40 percent of the residents of Cyprus?
Are there campus groups organizing against Turkey on behalf of the displaced Cypriots? After being slaughtered and expelled, are the Cypriots a cause celebre in academia? Do the “refugee” cities of southern Cyprus resemble Jenin or Jericho?
For that matter, how about the 12 million German civilians who between 1945-50 were expelled, and mostly walked back from, East Prussia and parts of Eastern Europe, some with Prussian roots going back a millennium and more. Perhaps 1 million died during the expulsions.
Are any current survivors still “refugees?” If so, are they organizing for war to get back “occupied” “Danzig” and “Königsberg” for Germany? So why does the world damn Israel and romanticize the Palestinians in a way it does not with any other “refugee” group?
Israel is said to practice “apartheid,” although since 2005-06 Gaza has been autonomous. Mahmoud Abbas runs in his fashion the West Bank. Like the Hamas clique, he held elections one time in 2005, and then after his election, of course, cancelled any free election in the fashion of the one election, one time Middle East. Who forced him to do that? Zionists? Americans?
At any time, Gaza could have taken its vast wealth in annual foreign aid and become completely independent in fuel, food, and energy, without need of any such help form the “Zionist entity.”
Gaza could have capitalized on its strategic location, the world’s eagerness to help, and the natural beauty of its Mediterranean beaches. Instead, it squandered its income on a labyrinth of terrorist tunnels and rockets. Today, it snidely snickers at any mention of following the Singapore model of prosperity–a former colonial city whose World War II death count vastly surpassed that of the various wars over Gaza.
Are the Israeli Arabs—21 percent of the Israeli population—living under apartheid?
If so, it is a funny sort of oppression when they vote, hold office, form parties, and enjoy more freedom and prosperity than almost anywhere else in the Middle East under Arab autocracies. Are those in sympathy with Hamas fleeing from Israel into Gaza or the West Bank or other Arab countries to live with kindred Muslims under an autocratic and theocratic dictatorship, or do they prefer to stay in the “Zionist entity” under “apartheid?”
Where then is real apartheid?
The Uyghurs in China, fellow Muslims to Middle Easterners, who are ignored by Israel’s Islamic enemies, but who reside in China’s segregated work camps to the silence of the usually loud UN, EU, and Muslim world?
How about the Muslim Kurds? Are they second- or third-class citizens in Muslim Turkey? And how about the tens of thousands of foreign workers from India, Pakistan, and other Asian countries who labor under the kafala system in the Arab Muslim Gulf countries, and are subject to apartheid protocols that allow them no free will about how they live, travel, or the conditions of their labor?
Are campuses erupting to champion the Uyghurs, the Kurds, or the subjugated workers of the Gulf?
Israel is now damned as “disproportionally” bombing Gaza. The campus subtext is that because Gaza’s 7,000-8,000 rockets launched at Israeli civilians have not killed enough Jews, then Israel should not retaliate for October 7 by bombing Hamas targets–shielded by impressed civilians— because it is too effective.
Would a “proportionate” response be counting up all the Israelis murdered, categorizing the horrific manner of their deaths, and then sending Israeli commandoes into Gaza during a “pause” in the fighting to murder an equal number of Gazans in the same satanic fashion?
Does the U.S. lecture Ukraine not to use to the full extent its lethal U.S. imported weaponry since the result is often simply too deadly? After all, perhaps twice as many Russians have been killed, wounded, or are missing than Ukrainian casualties. Should Ukraine have been more “proportionate?” Has President Biden ordered President Zelensky to offer the Russian aggressors a “pause” in the fighting to end the “cycle of violence?”
Or did U.S.-supplied artillery, anti-armor weapons, drones, and missiles “disproportionally” kill too many Russians? Or does the U.S. assume that since Russia attacked Ukraine at a time of peace, it deserves such a “disproportionate” response that alone will lose it the war?
For that matter, the U.S. certainly disproportionately paid back Japan for Pearl Harbor, and the Japanese brutal take-over of the Pacific, much of Asia, and China—and the barbarous way the Japanese military slaughtered millions of civilians, executed prisoners, and mass raped women. Should the U.S. have simply done a one-off retaliatory attack on the imperial fleet at Yokohama, declared a “cease-fire,” and thus ended the “cycle of violence?”
Campus activists scream that Israel has slaughtered “civilians” and is careless about “collateral damage.” They equate retaliating against mass murderers who use civilians to shield them from injury, while warning any Gazans in the region of the targeted response to leave, as the moral equivalent of deliberately butchering civilians in a surprise attack.
So did protestors mass in the second term of Barrack Obama when he focused on Predator drone missions inside Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen to go after Islamic terrorists who deliberately target civilians?
At the time, the hard-left New York Times found the ensuing “collateral damage” in civilian deaths merely “troubling.” No matter—Obama persisted, insisting as he put it, “Let’s kill the people who are trying to kill us.” Note Obama did not expressly say the terrorists in Pakistan or Yemen were killing Americans, but “trying” to kill Americans. For him, that was, quite properly, enough reason “to kill” the potential assassins of Americans.
What would the Harvard President today say of Benjamin Netanyahu saying just that about Hamas?
We have no idea how many women, children, and elderly were in the general vicinity of a targeted terrorist in Pakistan or Yemen when an American drone missile struck. Then CIA Director John Brennan later admitted that he had lied under oath (with zero repercussions), when he testified to Congress that there was no collateral damage in drone targeted assassinations.
Obama was proud of his preemptive assassination program. Indeed, in lighthearted fashion he joked at the White House Correspondence Dinner about his preference for lethal drone missions, when he “warned” celebrities not to date his daughters: “But boys, don’t get any ideas. I have two words for you, ‘predator drones.’ You will never see it coming. You think I’m joking.”
Did the campuses erupt and scream “Not in my name” when their president laughed about his assassination program? After all, Obama had also admitted, “There is no doubt that civilians were killed who shouldn’t have been.” Did he then stop the targeted killings due to collateral damage—as critics now demand a cease fire from Israel?
Genocide is now the most popular charge in the general damnation of Israel, a false smear aimed at calling off the Israeli response to Hamas, burrowed beneath civilians in Gaza City.
But how strange a charge! Pro-Hamas demonstrators the world over chant “From the River to the Sea,” unambiguously calling for the utter destruction of Israel and its 9 million population. Are the Hamas supporters then “genocidal?”
Is genocide the aim of Hamas that launched over 7,000 rockets into Israeli cities without warning? What is the purpose of the purportedly 120,000 rockets in the hands of Hezbollah if not to target Israeli noncombatants? Is all that a genocidal impulse?
Do Hamas and Hezbollah drop leaflets to civilians, as does Israel, to flee the area of a planned missile attack—or is that against their respective charters?
Hamas leaders in Qatar and Beirut continue to give interviews bragging about their October 7 surprise mass murdering of civilians. They even promise more such missions that likewise will be aimed at beheading, torturing, executing, incinerating, and desecrating the bodies of hundreds of Jewish civilians, perhaps again in the early morning during a holiday and a time of peace.
Is that planned continuation of mass killing genocidal? Does the amoral UN recall any other mass murdering spree when the killers beheaded infants, cooked them in ovens, and raped the dead?
Perhaps students at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and Stanford will protest the real genocide in Darfur where some half-million black African Sudanese have been slaughtered by mostly Muslim Arab Sudanese. Did the Cornell professor who claimed he was “exhilarated” on news of beheaded Jewish babies protest the slaughter of the Sudanese? Did the current campus protestors ever assemble to scream about the Islamists who slaughtered the indigenous Africans of Sudan?
Are professors at Stanford organizing to refuse all grants and donations that originate from communist China? Remember, the Chinese communist Party has never apologized for the party’s genocidal murder of some 60-80 millions of its own during the Maoist Cultural Revolution, much less its systematic efforts to eliminate the Uyghur Muslim population?
These examples could easily be expanded. But they suffice to remind us that the Middle-East and Western leftist attacks on Israel for responding to the October 7 mass murdering are neither based on any consistent moral logic nor similarly extended to other nations who really do practice apartheid, genocide, and kill without much worry about collateral damage.
So why does the world apply a special standard to Israel?
To the leftist and Islamist, Israel is guilty of being:
2) Too prosperous, secure, and free;
3) Sufficiently Western to meet the boilerplate smears of colonialist, imperialist, and blah, blah, blah.
Victor Davis Hanson