Through the course of this war in Gaza, Israel’s third there since it withdrew fully in 2005, I have had to respond publicly to a number of friends and acquaintances who either intentionally or unwittingly committed themselves to the ranks of Israel’s most rabid haters. This is especially true of those who joined the global blood libel chorus that falsely and poisonously accuses Israel of genocide.
I was fully aware that in doing so I risked losing those relationships. But I responded nonetheless. Not just to defend Israel and the Jewish people against the depraved charge of mass murder, but because I heard the cry of those who perished in the seven real genocides in the 100 years since the First World War, whose anniversary we commemorated this year.
When I read about Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz’s obscene charge of an Israeli genocide, I thought of the screaming and wailing I witnessed in Rwanda in April, when I spoke at the Amohoro National Stadium in Kigali to an audience filled with tens of thousands of survivors. I recalled the woman who told me she had not allowed a man to touch her in the 20 years since the Hutus came to her home, smashed the skulls of her children against walls, and gang-raped her. In Rwanda 300 people died every hour for four months. That comes to nearly one million people.
In reading my friend Naomi Wolf’s well-publicized libel, posted on her Facebook page, about a holocaust against the Palestinians in Gaza – “I am mourning genocide in Gaza” – I saw the pain on the luminous and beautiful countenance of my dear friend, mentor, and hero Elie Wiesel, who was 16 at Auschwitz ,where 10,000 Jews were gassed each day.
When I heard the arch anti-Semite and destroyer of Turkish democracy Recep Tayyip Erdogan claim that Israel’s “barbarism has surpassed even Hitler’s,” I recollected the 1.5 million innocent Armenians liquidated by the Ottoman Turks during the First World War. I thought of Erdogan’s despicable attempts to criminalize any acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide, and of Elie Wiesel’s powerful argument that Turkey’s century-old campaign to deny the Armenian genocide amounts to a double murder, seeking as it does also to destroy the memory of the victims.
Genocide is the organized mass murder of a people, nation, or ethnic group for the specific purpose of terminating their group existence. Applying it to Israel’s war against the bloodthirsty terrorists of Hamas constitutes the single greatest blood libel of modern times.
The Nazis did not bomb Jewish fighters who had launched a terror war against innocent Germans. Rather, they shoved Jews on to cattle cars with no food or water to deport them to gas chambers. There, the Nazis murdered six million, including 1.5 million children.
The Hutu Interahamwe militias in Rwanda did not attack murderous Tutsis, who were tunneling under their villages to emerge from the earth and slit their throats. Rather, they came in a frenzy into Tutsi homes, where they hacked whole families to death. There were so many dead bodies of murdered Tutsis discarded into the Kagera river that they served as a natural dam to the flowing waters.
The Khmer Rouge did not launch a military campaign against violent Cambodians who wrote a charter of annihilation against the communists, but rather subjected 2.5 million people to death by mass execution, forced relocation, and malnutrition.
And the Serbs did not bomb Srebrenica because Bosnian Muslims sent out an army of suicide bombers against their buses and coffee shops, but because they sought their indiscriminate and total annihilation.
How dare the haters of Israel belittle and trivialize the deaths of perhaps 12 million people murdered in 20th century genocides by comparing it to the IDF’s warnings to the Palestinian population to stay away from the places where Hamas terrorists launched murderous rockets?
Elie Wiesel and I were so disgusted by these false allegations of genocide against Israel that together we took out 10 full page ads in America’s leading daily newspapers, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, to lay the blame for any tragic and unintended loss of civilian life squarely at the feet of Hamas, which barbarically uses children as human shields.
Wiesel’s headline, “The Jews Rejected Child Sacrifice 3500 Years Ago. Now It’s Hamas’ Turn,” captured how Hamas leaders had gone on the airwaves to call upon Palestinian children to use “their chests and bodies” in the service of Hamas’ bloodthirsty struggle by not evacuating the schools, hospitals, and homes from which Hamas was firing rockets.
Wiesel invoked the story of God staying Abraham’s knife at the binding of Isaac to deplore those terrorists who sacrifice children on the altar of deranged Islamist religious ideals.
Wiesel further argued that while the suffering of those in Gaza is immense and a true tragedy, the blame lies solely with Hamas, which uses children as bullet proof vests and missile silos for cowardly terrorists.
The ads’ purpose was to bring one of the greatest moral voices of our time to respond to the filthy, revolting lies about an Israeli genocide and to call for an end to Hamas’s real genocidal aspirations. Hamas’s charter says: “Israel will exist until Islam will obliterate it.” And further, “The stones and trees will say ‘Oh Muslims, oh Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'”
Not only is it unreasonable to ask Israel not to defend itself against rockets and tunnels, it is also deeply immoral. If Israel did not resist terrorists, it would be guilty of contempt toward the lives of its own citizens.
Israel is a culture of life. Hamas is a gay-murdering, honor-killing, deeply misogynistic, stone-age, barbaric, terrorist death cult, dedicated to genocide. Hamas is an affront to peace-loving Muslims everywhere, who should join in condemning it.
Arab leaders, stretching back to the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, and going all the way up to Hamas and Iran today, call for the total annihilation of the Jewish State of Israel.
I have to ask my friend Naomi Wolf why, if Israel wants to commit genocide against the Palestinians, it allows 1.5 million Israeli Arab citizens to live with more freedom than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East. And why is it not bombing Palestinians in the West Bank.
If Israel seeks genocide, why did it withdraw fully from Gaza in 2005? And why, with Hamas firing rockets at most of Israel’s cities, doesn’t Israel just carpet bomb Gaza? After all, it’s what the British and we Americans did to Germany and Japan, when we fired rockets against London and other British cities. Churchill’s response to the attack was flattening Hamburg and Dresden to the ground. Roosevelt and Truman’s response was Berlin, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.
Indeed, since Israel is widely assumed to possess stockpiles of thermonuclear warheads, why doesn’t it just nuke Gaza? Who has ever heard of a genocidal power that uses text messages, phone calls, leaflets, and other alarms to warn civilians to leave buildings? And who has ever heard of any army that endangers its soldiers’ lives by giving advance warning to its terrorists enemies about where it will strike next?
Only Israel does so, because it is a righteous and just democracy, and because it believes that one holocaust was quite enough. When it comes to genocide, “never again” must finally mean just that. Never again!