Last Friday morning, during yet another so-called humanitarian ceasefire, we heard that Lt. Hadar Goldin was missing-in-action. Before this too was revealed as a ghoulish body-snatching attempt, it looked like the Palestinians had finally grabbed the mega-ransom-generating and game-changing live hostage they craved.
Mind-bogglingly, the truth is that by the Hamas devil’s arithmetic, it was worth sacrificing over 1500 Gazan casualties to just maybe seize one Israeli.
In crude propaganda terms, it was a vicious variation on the theme of the Oron Shaul episode. When Israel suspects an abduction (as in the Goldin case), Hamas torments us with silence. When we discount its claims (as in the Shaul case), Hamas crows about its macabre “successes.”
Anyone who switched to Al-Jazeera early on in the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge heard piercing shrieks of what sounded like “Shaul Aron.” Then followed a screenshot of the Facebook page of a handsome blue-eyed fellow. His name was plainly spelled out: Oron Shaul. His Bar Mitzvah photos too went on Al-Jazeera’s spine-chilling display.
Nevertheless, the hysterical narrator-cum-screamer evidently couldn’t pronounce the uncomplicated syllables and couldn’t even figure out which was the surname and which the given name (likewise wrongly transcribed in the banner caption).
A sickening graphic kept getting flashed every few seconds, punctuating the exultant screeches. It featured a huge fist gripping a thin helpless stick-like mini-figure in IDF olive greens. Its legs were degradingly spread sideways and its hands were thrust straight upwards and stretched out, with each finger extended grotesquely in the air.
This was Hamas’s way of announcing the capture of “another Gilad Schalit.” More likely Hamas snatched a body, or body-part, blown out of the personnel carrier hit in the initial Shejaia confrontations.
The number on Oron’s dog-tag became a weapon in Hamas’s psychological warfare. In the midst of what was billed as a humanitarian crisis of epic propositions, Hamas honchos found nothing better to occupy themselves with than to scour the social media and discover Oron’s Facebook uploads.
Inflicting pain on one Israeli family – be it the Shauls, Goldins or any of us – obviously satisfies deep-seated sadistic zeal. It trumps doing something for numerous Gazan families. But helping ordinary families contradicts Hamas’s underlying strategy of using Gaza’s own civilians as human shields.
Any type of misery serves the agenda of Hamas’s masterminds – be it toying with the emotions of individual Israelis or increasing the death-count among Gazans. The more Hamas manipulators appall self-satisfied Europe and America with close-ups of bloodied corpses, the greater the advantage they accrue.
The glad tidings that Hamas has nabbed Oron triggered mad scenes of jubilation in Gaza, just when it was supposed to be in the direst throes of heartrending agony. Al-Jazeera’s obliging cameras panned across central city streets, surrealistically unaffected by the distress in the Strip’s outlying eastern flanks.
The crowds, including children and women in head-to-toe Muslim garb, pranced and danced, jumping ecstatically up and down in what looked like a frenzied tribal trance. The requisite sweets and pastries dripping with sticky syrup were distributed to exuberant revelers.
It was a scary scene. The frenetic euphoria looked hellish. The fact that all the merrymaking was occasioned merely by the boast that one IDF solider was in their clutches added fiendishness to the barbarity of the mass-delirium.
It takes no great analytic insight to realize that such feverish collective lunacy is impossible in a Jewish setting anywhere. We just aren’t like that. We are poles apart – inherently and abidingly so, the context and the provocation notwithstanding.
This truth, however, is as politically incorrect as it gets.
This truth flies hard in the face of the moral relativism that has been imposed on supposed thinkers in the postmodern realm – parading as pluralism, multiculturalism and under other manipulative monikers. This deceptive equivalence holds the western mindset a prisoner-of-war in the great clash of civilizations between democratic tolerance and Islamic tyranny.
Those who obstinately spurn this truth, invariably hate Jews and/or Jewish national sovereignty more than they love themselves or cherish their own freedoms.
Woe betide anyone who accuses Arabs of bloodlust, of savagery, of primitive bestiality. Yet these are eminently justified accusations.
How otherwise can we characterize the images of Fatah loyalists elatedly glorying in the blood dripping from their hands after they had butchered two Israeli reservists – Vadim Norzhitz and Yossi Avrahami - on October 12, 2000.
The victims’ sole sin was getting lost, taking the wrong turn and blundering into Ramallah. By the jungle rules of Palestinian society that sufficed to mandate a gruesome death sentence.
Although taken into custody by PA policemen, Norzhitz and Avrahami were beaten to a pulp inside the station and then tossed out the window to the eager cannibalistic mob, which proceeded to rip the two to shreds, mutilate the corpses and burn them.
Entrails and bloodied organs were hoisted triumphantly in feral brutality. The unrecognizable remains were dragged, with the avid help of the cops, to al-Manara Square where a maniacal impromptu celebration broke out.
None of this would have been acknowledged had an Italian film crew (later identified as working for Mediaset) not filmed isolated segments of the slaughter surreptitiously.
British photographer Mark Seager was assaulted when he attempted to snap shots. He afterwards testified that the lynching “was the most horrible thing that I have ever seen and I have reported from Congo, Kosovo, many bad places... I'm a very forgiving person but I'll never forget this. It was murder of the most barbaric kind. When I think about it, I see that man's head, all smashed. I know that I'll have nightmares for the rest of my life.”
An ABC crew that also sought to do its job was intimidated with knives, clubs and actual beatings.
It got way worse. There were outright threats against outlets who dared broadcast Mediaset’s footage. Four days after the murders, Ricardo Cristiano, deputy head of the Jerusalem bureau of Italy's state television channel RAI, publically dissociated himself and his organization from any connection to the visual chronicling of Ramallah’s horror.
In a letter published in the PA’s official daily al-Hayat al-Jadida, Cristiano unhesitatingly threw Mediaset’s team to the dogs and forced it to pull out of all Palestinian areas for fear of deadly revenge attacks. Long live freedom of the press.
The craven capitulation to Arab diktats didn’t end there. Obsequiously, Cristiano pledged that he and all RAI personnel “always respect (and will continue to respect) the journalistic procedures with the Palestinian Authority for journalistic work in Palestine and we are credible in our precise work... We thank you [the Palestinian Authority] for your trust, and you can be sure that this is not our way of acting. We do not (will not) do such a thing" [expose an atrocity].
After this, pardon us headstrong Israelis for our jaundiced view of the impartiality of the foreign media. Nothing that may cast the Arabs in a negative light is likely to be resonated. Yet news purveyors overseas do love bodies and blood – as long as they aren’t Jewish. Arab bodies and suffering that can be blamed on Jews sell newspapers and raise ratings. Nothing must, heaven forefend, impart a smidgen of skepticism about the updated gospel of Jewish villainy.
The cowardice and bias so shamefully laid bare on October 2000 hadn’t diminished. If anything, they mushroomed. They earned acceptance and respectability which rule out casting any doubt on what’s dished out to uninitiated news-consumers in other lands.
Nothing must be shown of Hamas’s exploitation of civilians in Gaza while everything must be done to disseminate what Arabs propagandists want shown. The resultant impression is irredeemably skewed and not unintentionally so.
It’s from this ill-will that contentions of “disproportionality” spring forth. For the Jewish state and for it alone a new standard has been set up: there need be as many dead Jews as there are Arab dead. Not enough dead Jews upset the equanimity of judgmental world opinion.
This proportionality might be achieved in one of two ways:
1. The Jews might ditch their tie-breaking Iron Dome anti-rocket defenses and lock all Israelis out of shelters. This would render Israeli civilians every bit as vulnerable as the Gazan human shields. Thus Hamas rocketers would win a fighting chance to cause fitting carnage throughout Israel’s heartland (which is what UN High Commissioner for Human Right Navi Pillay essentially suggested).
2. Alternatively, Israel should keep its hands off Gazan rocket crews and tunnel-infiltrators. If Israel lets them do their worst, and slay Israelis without any constraints, then proportionality might thereby too be assured (which Pillay also essentially suggested).
Plainly put, Israel is required to cease safeguarding its civilians – either by purely defensive means or by offensive deterrence. Only so, by giving Hamas the upper hand, can we relieve the acute anxiety of pompous pontificators in the White House and State Department, in the EU and UN.
The truth is that the world’s self-professed objective observers and self-promoted seekers of justice aren’t anti-violence. They stood calmly aside for fourteen years during which Gaza rocketed Israeli civilians. It’s only when Israel finally defends its people, that global peace is inconsiderately disrupted.
The truth is that the world favors a one-sided war in which Arabs inflict punishment on Israelis but expect none back. Somehow, those who lob rockets at Israel with the aim of causing massive civilian casualties, shouldn’t expect civilian casualties on their side. Those who tunnel under Israel’s border with the aim of causing massive civilian casualties, shouldn’t expect civilian casualties on their side.
The truth is that Israel’s cardinal sin is not allowing its genocidal enemies a deluxe war. This has earned us wrath in censorious capitals and yet another preposterous summons from the UNHRC’s kangaroo court.
The truth is that none of the moral relativists out there will admit that the only imbalance in our equation is between the morality of an ultra-liberal democracy and the immorality of the primeval fanatics who beleaguer it.
The truth is that Gaza’s piteous plaintiveness must be juxtaposed with the riotous rejoicing over a single Israeli’s “capture.”
But these unvarnished truths are unwanted in the smug societies that turn up their sneering noses at us. As George Orwell is reputed to have warned mankind, "the further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it."
Please add my website link and book reference to the end of my column – www.sarahhonig.com
Debunking the Bull, Sarah Honig’s book, was recently published by Gefen.