*By Andrzej Koraszewski, 29 November 2023
Facebook offers a hodge-podge, my eyes land on a picture of a giant dam with dry land behind it, the caption in Ukrainian states that Ukraine is protecting Europe from the Russian flood. I have already finished my morning review of information from around the world, which for many weeks I have invariably started with Israeli sources. Russia's war with Ukraine has turned into a war of attrition. We stopped being excited about it, while still sympathising with Ukrainians and still condemning Putin's Russia. The symbolic picture doesn't lie, but Russia is not our only threat. Israel's defensive war evokes different emotions. There is growing eagerness to accuse the attacked nation, to talk about alleged genocide, though the accusations are often accompanied by decorative arabesques about the brutal attack that preceded the war with Hamas.
On October 29 the new Deputy Speaker of the Polish Senate, Magdalena Biejat, wrote on her Facebook page:
Three weeks have passed since Hamas carried out terrorist attacks, killing over 1,400 Israeli citizens, including children and the elderly. In an act of retaliation, Israel is taking revenge on the defenceless Palestinian civilian population living in the Gaza Strip. The escalation of violence brings more civilian casualties every day.
The post had hundreds of likes and dozens of shares, comments were closed, and for me the most important thing is the middle sentence: “Israel, in an act of retaliation, is taking revenge on the defenceless Palestinian civilian population living in the Gaza Strip.”
Ms Biejat is a translator of Spanish literature, but she studied sociology, and is also the co-chair of the New Left Party. I first noticed her when in July 2022 she went with a Polish parliamentary group for a pilgrimage to the grave of Yasser Arafat.
That pilgrimage seems to perfectly explain this sentence. I wonder if this well-educated 40-year-old woman ever asked herself whether the social activities of her idol caused more deaths of Muslims or Jews?
Truth be told, no one knows. Arafat started two civil wars, destroyed Lebanon, is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and not only Palestinians, but his absolute priority was always the murder of Jews. Ms Biejat could have heard about the massacre of Israeli athletes in Munich he organised, about terrorist attacks first from Jordan and then from Lebanon, about plane hijackings, about the first and second intifadas, about thousands of attacks organised until the last days of his life. Does our parliamentarian associate him more with the Soviet Union or with Nazism?
Idealising his mentor, Amin al-Husseini, from an early age, he never said a bad word about either Hitler or Nazism, but since he mainly benefited from the support of the USSR, many preferred to perceive him as a man of the left rather than as one who was continuing Nazism; few people realised that there was no contradiction here, that the two could be perfectly combined. Arafat once renounced terror, but only in English, and immediately explained to his people in Arabic that he had acted like Muhammad to deceive the enemy.
Magdalena Biejat calls the Israeli war against Hamas “revenge against the defenceless population”. She does not suggest that Hamas immediately release the kidnapped Jewish children, elderly, and women, she does not propose that it stop shelling Israeli towns and villages, it does not occur to her that Hamas might surrender or at least recognise the Jews' right to life. She knows nothing about the IDF’s efforts to spare the Palestinian civilian population (often risking the lives of its own soldiers). The new vice-leader of our Senate chooses to falsely accuse the victims of a genocidal attack of revenge against a civilian population.
In this short entry, not only does the immeasurable brutality of this particular attack on October 7 disappear, not only does the enemy, armed to the teeth, who organised this attack, who has declared from the moment of its inception his intention to finally solve the Jewish question, disappear, but also the fact disappears that this enemy has chosen to murder Jews at the expense of its own society and that it raises Palestinian children to be sadistic murderers.
This post can only be interpreted in one way: the intention to destroy Hamas should be immediately abandoned, the terrorist organisation's authority over the Palestinians in Gaza should be restored, and the crimes of Israel should be recognised, all of whose victims in Gaza are defenceless civilians.
In Poland, in the last elections we managed to defeat the United Right; how many Hamas and Fatah sympathisers (Fatah supported the brutalities of Hamas) did we introduce to the upper and lower Legislative Chamber, how many such sympathisers will join the government?
Many people claim that Israel today is the main front in the fight for Enlightenment values, for democracy, for individual freedom, freedom of religion, women's rights and children's rights. There are Arabs (and not only Arabs) who claim that Israel also fights for the rights of Palestinians. These people note that Western feminists do not condemn the mass rape, torture, and killing of Israeli women and girls. For them, they were only Jewish women. These people note that children's rights organisations do not condemn the sadistic murder of infants. To them, they were just Jewish babies. These organisations also do not condemn raising Palestinian children to be sadistic murderers because they believe that they will only murder Jews. These people note that organisations such as Doctors Without Borders had information about the use of hospitals by genocidal terrorists but chose to remain silent. Politicians who more or less openly support Hamas do not demand international pressure for the immediate release of all kidnapped Jewish children, women, and elderly people, or an end to the shelling of Israeli towns and villages; they immediately supplement their perfunctory condemnations of the brutal attack on October 7 with thunderous accusations of attacking defenceless civilians and even of the genocide of the Palestinians.
An interesting example on the Polish scene is the well-known columnist Konstanty Gebert, who writes about his disappointment because Ghazi Hamad previously seemed to him to be a moderate representative of the Palestinians. The columnist does not explain to readers why he changed his mind. Perhaps he assumes that readers know that this criminal was one of the main organisers of the genocidal attack on October 7. He probably thinks that everyone knows his statement on October 24, when he assured television viewers that Hamas would continue to carry out such massacres of Jews and that no one must condemn Hamas for what it did on October 7. Gebert only writes that Hamad seemed so nice to him before. He does not explain why he was so willing to be deceived, or whether he knew the politician's previous statements made in Arabic.
The Polish political scene and Polish media are secondary in all this (but important for us and our humanity). The world's reactions are important. These don't look promising. Recent surveys have shown that 70 percent of young Americans (18-30 years old) support Hamas. We don't have such studies showing what it looks like in Western European countries, but nothing indicates that it is much better. Politicians, even from centrist political parties, are aware of this support and either sincerely or for tactical reasons adapt their statements to voters' expectations. They do not criticise colleagues such as Magdalena Biejat. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators demanding the murder of Jews cannot be ignored.
What role do the media, the academic world, and human rights organisations play here?
The mainstream media systematically distorts the image of this conflict. They systematically try to blur the hostility of the Muslim world towards the Jewish state and present it as a conflict between powerful Israel and the poor and oppressed Palestinians. The sources of finance for Palestinian terrorism, the supply of weapons, and, above all, the entire Islamic ideology are disappearing.
Western journalists never question the information of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas authorities (often presenting it as facts, even without citing the source), and treat the testimony of “eyewitnesses” seriously. Information from the Israeli authorities is invariably accompanied by the ritual phrase: “we could not verify it.”
Will the world media’s reactions to Hamas’ claim that Israel destroyed Al Ahli hospital and killed 500 people go down in the history of journalism and be shown to students as an example of both the worst forms of violation of journalistic ethics and the willing cooperation of journalists with terrorists? Virtually all mainstream media picked up this “news” so hastily and so greedily that they did not even have time to even briefly check the condition of this “bombed” hospital. Also the next day, when Hamas organised a press conference with the participation of doctors and decoratively laid out corpses, information from Israel - that it had nothing to do with it, that a faulty Palestinian rocket fell in the parking lot of this hospital, killing several to several dozen people - was still treated with skepticism.
This was neither the first nor the last example of close cooperation between the Western media and a genocidal organisation. When it could no longer be denied that the media had misled the public, they withdrew quietly, mumblingly, and without any sense of shame. Have we heard the voice of condemnation from journalist associations, ethicists, and other defenders of morality? Nothing like that happened; it was simply considered a minor mistake not worth mentioning, and journalists practicing genocidal journalism did not face even the slightest condemnation from their superiors or from their peers.
Misled politicians were as hasty as these journalists in condemning Israel, only to then decide that there was no reason to apologise to Israel, much less condemn the journalists for misleading everyone.
The perversity of accusing Israel of vindictiveness and retaliatory genocide in the mainstream media receives virtually no criticism.
The fact that some Israelis are among those accusing Israel of genocide should not be surprising. For two thousand years, Christian anti-Judaism has been happy to use Jewish helpers, Muslim anti-Judaism did so later, and Soviet antisemitism and its crowd of Judeo-Marxists perfected this practice.
Among the most recent examples, we see two Israeli historians working in the US. These gentlemen are Raz Segal and Omer Bartov.
A week after October 7, Raz Segal published an article in the American magazine Jewish Currents (originally affiliated with the American Communist Party and still rabidly Israel-hating), which immediately made him famous in antisemitic circles throughout the West. Segal calls Israel's war in Gaza a “textbook case of genocide.” He claims that Israelis are waging a campaign to expel Palestinians from Gaza and to Egypt.
As two other American historians, Norman Goda and Jeffrey Herf, write, these allegations are absurd. While Hamas openly proclaims its intention to exterminate the Jewish population, Israel makes every effort to minimise civilian casualties. Not only does it warn the civilian population of which objects will be military targets, it drops leaflets, warns by phone, and calls on the civilian population to leave combat areas, but it also has the lowest number of civilian casualties in relation to terrorists killed during urban fighting of any army in the world. Moreover, not only has Israel not proposed any expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza to Egypt, but Egypt has firmly announced that it will not accept any refugees from the war zone (which is a serious violation of international law). The facts do nothing to prevent the sudden avalanche of media interest in this particular historian.
Omer Bartov published his revelations on November 10 in the The New York Times, claiming that Israeli operations have created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which could constitute a war crime, and then suggesting that it could be a harbinger of ethnic cleansing or even genocide. Bartov deduces this genocide from Israeli public statements, suggesting that words may turn into deeds in the coming weeks or months.
These words, which are supposedly foreshadowing actions, include calling Hamas terrorists human beasts (as if murders, torture, rape, burning people alive, killing infants, and kidnappings did not justify such a term at all). The scholar fears this may dehumanise Hamas members. Bartov, like Segal, distracts public opinion from both the brutal actions of Hamas on October 7 and the genocidal Charter of Hamas written in 1988 in accordance with the Nazi rhetoric of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as its version amended in 2017 and adapted to the rhetoric of the woke left (without changing in any way the solution of the Jewish question in Palestine and the rest of the world enshrined in this Charter). Bartov is eager to blame the Israeli government for the crimes of Hamas, not noticing that these crimes were a reinforced version of previous actions, and the brutal attack on October 7 itself was prepared for at least two years, i.e. before the appearance of the current government in Israel.
The Israeli campaign, Norman Goda and Jeffrey Herf remind us, is aimed at destroying the military infrastructure, weapons and ammunition resources, and the possibility of continuing the war against the Jews of this territory. Yes, this is a humanitarian catastrophe both for that part of Gazans who support Hamas’ goals (until recently it was the majority, and we don’t know how it has changed now) and for those who would prefer to live under a different government.
The arguments of such scholars as Segal and Bartov are warming the cockles of the hearts of overly woken atheists, as well as the heart of the Holy Father, who on November 22 deigned to announce that:
The violence unleashed by the State of Israel and Hamas militants has exceeded the boundaries of war and has become terrorism.
This Holy Father, like his predecessors, likes to change the order of things. Israel has not started a single war in its entire history, but the Vatican tradition requires it to be presented to the faithful differently. The wars started by Hamas were terrorism that Israel must put an end to by liberating Palestine from Hamas.
The humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza was created primarily by Iran, which armed terrorists and incited them to murder Jews, using the civilian population as a human shield and hoping for numerous civilian victims as an asset in international propaganda.
The Iranian leader announced in 2014 that he would arm the West Bank just as he armed Gaza. He kept his word, stepped up the rearmament of Gaza, and armed the West Bank. Not for the sake of the well-being of the Palestinians, but in the hope of murdering Jews, which has led to brutality and, yes, a humanitarian catastrophe.
The Pope has never protested against these genocidal practices, he is protesting today the fact that Jews are defending their lives. Nothing new.
Pope Francis is contributing to both a humanitarian catastrophe and to strengthening Palestinian plans for genocide. Slightly more decent people choose only silence, probably not realising that silence not only can be, but is a form of support.
Hamas is only the vanguard of jihad against all the values of the civilised world. Tiny Israel is today a dam holding back the flood. On our side, many are making efforts to weaken this dam.
Written during the hours of waiting for the return to Israel of the first group of those kidnapped by the beasts.
Translation: Małgorzata Koraszewska and Sarah Lawson
Palestinian members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade during a military parade in the Balata “refugee camp” in the West Bank on September 21, 2022. Photo source Magazine +972. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)