Disturbing, shocking and eye-opening. Israel attempts to legally prevent Iranian missiles and rockets from being delivered to Gaza, controlled by the internationally recognized terrorist group, Hamas; yet the world and media condemn the Jewish state, and mourn the nine Hamas supporters killed by Israel in self-defense. And remember: Israel stops weapons, but daily allows delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza.
By striking contrast, for example, North Korea’s unprovoked torpedoing and sinking a South Korean ship, killing 45 on board, evokes little response. The Sudanese regime’s endless massacre of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese Christians and animists is greeted with relative silence.
Colonel Richard Kemp, former British commander in Afghanistan, said: “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF in Gaza.” Yet we live in a world in which people increasingly ignore real war crimes while obsessing on fabricated Israeli ones.
Israel’s reaction to the one ship of the Gaza flotilla that refused to comply with the blockade was hardly an overreaction. Expecting only some noisy pro-Palestinian activists, the Israelis carried merely paintball guns, often used in riot control, and side arms, which were not even drawn.
However, the jihadists and their sympathizers on board — who were armed with weapons, night-vision goggles and bullet-proof vests — assaulted, seized and overpowered the Israelis with metal rods, bats, and knives, and even shot and wounded some of the Israelis with the Israelis’ own side arms.
The Turkish IHH — known to be Al Qaeda supporters and aligned with Iran — were the violent Hamas supporters’ enablers. The Turkish government, which permitted the flotilla to sail, claimed falsely that no weapons were on board. But there is no outrage at the violent pro-Hamas activists, the IHH or the Turkish government, who caused or made possible the bloodshed — only the Israelis who defended their lives got lambasted.
In short, this is not merely a case of biased reporting, confusion or lack of relevant data. It is a case of anti-Semitic agitation. What is occurring is not just the attempted delegitimizing of Israel; this is also the re-legitimizing of anti-Semitism, the idea that Jews are a uniquely sinister force for evil in the world. Anti-Semitism produces the distorted vision that sees Jews as inflicting evil, regardless of the facts.
This resurgent disease is also evident in the generalized criticism of Israel grounded in the false notion that Israel is to blame for the absence of peace. Israeli concessions of territory, money, arms and assets to the Palestinians over 17 years since the 1993 Oslo accords are airbrushed from history. Palestinian terrorism is ignored or rationalized, as is the incitement to hatred and murder within the Palestinian Authority and Gaza that feeds it.
Israel is held out as the aggressor, the inflexible power unwilling to make the concessions to the Palestinians that would bring peace. Israel obtains little support for taking justifiable action anyone else wouldn’t hesitate to take — like boarding a ship defying a blockade.
Anti-Semitism demands that Jews do nothing: not fight wars, not kill terrorists, not even block funds and arms reaching their would-be genocidal enemies. Anti-Semitism regards anything short of Jews being defenseless as a violation of the natural order. That is why the State of Israel is being widely condemned when it is simply trying to protect its own citizens.
Spanish leftist politician Pilar Rahola has asked of today’s European left: “Why, of all the world’s conflicts, only this one interests them? Why a tiny country which struggles to survive is criminalized? … why when it is the only country in the world which is threatened with destruction, it is the only one that nobody considers a victim?”
The tragic answer, as Rahola rightly concludes, is that this is how anti-Semites behave.
Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Daniel Mandel is director of ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy and a Fellow in History at Melbourne University.