The racism of never blaming Hamas for anything

Following the rescue of four Israeli hostages, it is time the Western left gave Hamas some credit for its evil.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics World

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So rescuing hostages is a war crime now. A ‘grave, grave war crime’, in fact. That’s according to the Guardian’s Owen Jones who is outraged that IDF troops used a humanitarian truck to sneak into the town of Nuseirat where they rescued four of their hostages from the clutches of Hamas and its local heavies. Kenneth Roth, formerly of Human Rights Watch, is also fuming over the IDF’s Trojan Horse antics, reminding Israel that it has a legal duty ‘not to disguise soldiers as civilians’. These people are nuts. What do they expect the IDF to do? Knock on the doors of the fascists holding their compatriots and say: ‘Can we have our Jews back, please?’

There is frothing anger online over Israel’s rescue operation in Nuseirat. It is bloody proof of Israeli deceit, people are saying. From the ‘war crime’ of troops wearing civilian disguise to the subsequent streetfighting and airstrikes that caused many civilian deaths, this was a wicked massacre, says the anti-Israel set. They’re in agreement with Hamas, which has accused Israel of carrying out a ‘complex war crime’ in Nuseirat. Just one thing is missing from all this boiling commentary: any acknowledgement whatsoever of Hamas’s responsibility for bringing this hellish situation about. When is Hamas going to get some credit for its evil?

From what we know, the raid of Nuseirat seems to have been a difficult, daring strike. It was given the name ‘Seeds of Summer’. It had been planned in great detail, with the IDF even building mock-ups of the two apartment buildings they believed the four hostages were being held in, in order that they might train for all eventualities. It is reported that the special forces were disguised as displaced Gazans. They told locals they were moving into the apartment buildings. But once inside they started their op, taking out the men who were guarding the hostages and taking the hostages to freedom.

When Hamas clocked what was happening it fired on the IDF troops, reportedly with AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades, explosive devices and mortar rounds. A battle ensued. Israeli airstrikes were called in. And many died. Fewer than a hundred, according to Israel; more than 250 according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.

All the fingers are being pointed at Israel. Not only by the usual suspects of the Israelophobic ‘left’ but by the mainstream media, too. ‘An Israeli operation rescues four hostages and kills scores of Palestinians’, said CNN’s headline. The BBC all but made itself an outpost of Hamas propaganda with its early headline on the raid. ‘Gaza health ministry says Israeli hostage rescue killed 274 Palestinians’, it announced to the millions who peruse the BBC for their news. Here was the public broadcaster splashing not with the liberation of four Jews from the captivity of a racist terror group, but with Hamas’s self-serving claim that Israel, and Israel alone, caused the civilian deaths in Nuseirat.

The political class stooped even lower. There is ‘outrage’ in European political circles over this latest ‘massacre’ in Gaza, reports the Guardian. The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, called it ‘another massacre of civilians’. Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, said the Nuseirat raid is proof of Israel’s ‘genocidal intent’. She accused Israel of killing ‘at least 200 Palestinians, including children’, all while ‘perfidiously hiding in an aid truck’. This was ‘humanitarian camouflage’ for genocide, she thundered.

We really are living in an era of moral inversion. Every day there is a sinister twisting of the truth to suit the ideological prejudices of those who loathe Israel. Hamas hides the hostages it seized from the Nova music festival in a densely populated civilian area, and yet it’s Israel that is accused of being ‘perfidious’. Hamas purposely puts its Jewish victims among the women and children of a crowded refugee camp, and yet it’s Israel that is accused of wearing a ‘humanitarian camouflage’. Hamas was founded with the express intention of murdering Jews, an intention it gave brute force to on 7 October with its slaughter of a thousand Israelis, and yet it’s Israel that is damned as ‘genocidal’. The racist hostage-takers are reimagined as victims, the liberators of the hostages as criminals. It is one Kafkaesque lie after another.

Where is Hamas in all the political rage over what happened in Nuseirat? It has been invisibilised, scrubbed from the narrative so that the blame might be heaped on Israel alone. Hamas merits not one mention in Francesca Albanese’s angry doggerel. Does she not know that Hamas started the Battle of Nuseirat, by firing its lethal weaponry at the IDF from amid the civilian hordes? Or perhaps she doesn’t care? You have to go beyond the headlines about Israel ‘killing 274 Palestinians’ to discover that the IDF came ‘under heavy fire’ and ‘fought intense gun battles’ with Hamas militants. To describe an army’s response to the bullets and missiles of terrorists as ‘genocidal’ is an unconscionable manipulation of language for cynical political ends.

The truth is this: Hamas is responsible for every death in Nuseirat. It will be literally responsible for some of them, unless we are expected to believe that you can fire grenades and mortar rounds in an area teeming with civilians without one of the deadly loads going anywhere near an innocent. And it is morally responsible for all of it, for all the suffering we saw on Saturday amid the joy of the four Israelis being liberated from the confinement of the anti-Semites. For the simple reason that it is the author of this hellish war, the instigator of it. Hamas and Hamas alone brought war to Nuseirat.

What the Battle of Nuseirat really exposes is not Israel’s ‘genocidal intent’ but Hamas’s evil. That Hamas placed the four hostages in a crowded civilian area confirms its callous disregard for Palestinians as well as Israelis. That it started a bloody battle with the IDF even as women were shopping and children were playing confirms its terroristic indifference to the injury and loss of innocent life. That it prioritised trying to hurt the IDF and keep a hold of the hostages over and above keeping the civilians of Nuseirat safe from harm confirms how zealous, how unhinged, its anti-Israel, anti-Jewish doctrine has become. This is a movement that prizes killing a Jew more highly than saving a Palestinian. Its cruelty is unparalleled in the modern era.

And yet, all of this is whitewashed. Hamas’s ‘intent’ is rarely mentioned, its ruthlessness rarely commented on, its moral responsibility never even broached. Instead the anti-Israel set infantilises Hamas and holds up Israel as the only true, conscious actor in this conflict. There is bigotry here, even something like racism. There’s the racism of blaming the Jews for everything but also the racism of blaming Palestinians for nothing, as if they are children, not truly answerable for their wrongs.

But Hamas are not children. They are anti-Semitic warmongers. They started this war that has been a calamity for Israelis and Palestinians alike, and they refuse to end it by returning all the hostages. It will be a good day for the Jewish State, the Palestinian people and the world when this barbarous movement is brought to an end.

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. His new book – A Heretic’s Manifesto: Essays on the Unsayable – is available to order on Amazon UK and Amazon US now. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

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