The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Jewish Observer

Hamas’ Strategy is Working, So Far

On November 8, the New York Times published an informative article by Ben Hubbard and Maria Abi-Habib who interviewed some of Hamas’s top leaders in Qatar, after October 7. The article provides a clear statement of their motives and immediate goal from it:  provoke Israel to undertake a massive attack on Gaza, create a state of permanent war and put the Palestinian issue back on the table. The authors do not seek for Hamas to explain how that goal serves the people of Gaza in any possible way, given that the Palestinian issue has been perpetually on the table for over 75 years. Nor do they inquire about Iran’s role in all of this.  

Instead, we learn only this: the purpose of Hamas’ well-planned October 7 attack was to generate more sympathy for Gazans by creating tens of thousands of Gazan martyrs assuming the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would be indiscriminate. Or if the IDF is not, then lie and continually portray the IDF as such.  

In this way Hamas fully expected to obtain even greater support in the West for their one and only long-term goal, best summarized as “From the River to the Sea.” That phrase is now widely understood as: the complete destruction of Israel, with the death or forcible removal of all Jews from Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Interestingly both Gaza and its non-combatants are of little importance to Hamas, except as an underground fortress protected by human shields composed mostly of women and young children.  

Ordinarily, given the commonly held ethical beliefs of most Americans and Europeans, Hamas’s October 7 bloody tactics, together with their even bloodier goal, would be loudly rejected across all segments of the West, regardless of political perspective, age, or ethnic background. Or so we ordinary Americans might have thought in those days after October 7.  

But now it is clear that we, the ordinary, were wrong, while Hamas’ forecast was far more accurate. Hamas knew, with great confidence, the immediate and highly visible support they would receive in both street and campus protests, Internet social media, plus traditional TV, radio, and publications. As a result, a sizeable fraction of our current and former highly educated students holds firmly to a vague or convoluted set of negative ideals such as Anti-Capitalism and Anti-Colonialism, and of course the widely embraced Anti-racism.  

Sadly, all this happens without students learning any of the tools necessary to assess what kind of real, functioning country and economic system would work and one they might support – or at least not oppose. And it is worse in mostly upper/middle class households, including some Jewish ones. Nor do they learn much about Israel and its impressive diversity including about 20% Muslims and 2% Christians, with about a million of Israel’s Jews having escaped oppression elsewhere in the Middle East.  

Students need to know about Hamas, with its well-known virulent anti-Feminist, anti-Abortion, and anti-LGBTQ policies (e.g., execution), plus their intolerance for any religious stance except their own jihadist-version of radical Islam. Hamas would seem to be the least likely governing body, terrorist or otherwise, to get the kind of massive support from the West’s so-called Progressive Movement in both money and street-screaming encouragement to continue with their tactics and goals for an authoritarian radical Islamic Palestine, replacing Israel. 

Few parts, if any, of the New Left would admit explicit support for the gruesome tactics and mass murder that Hamas intends to employ to achieve “River to the Sea,” while saving their harshest condemnation for Israel. But given that Palestinians are the most favored of all oppressed peoples on earth, Hamas will continue to get a pass in pursuit of the Palestinian’s long struggle. 

Yet, at the same time, it seems many students wish to remain blissfully unaware of the gruesome tactics and gruesome goals of Hamas, and likewise appear to ignore the ruthless authoritarian nature Hamas employs towards the Palestinians, which bears no resemblance to New Left ideals. But now, approaching months after this seminal attack, we see that a larger fraction of our Western civilization is now more pro-Hamas than ever before. Or perhaps, it is only now that they are being incredibly open about their Anti-Jewish and/or Anti-Israel sentiments and politics. 

It is deeply disturbing for us to understand why, how and under what logic would an unprovoked attack by Hamas fighters ultimately generate more support for Hamas, especially after their murderous face-to-face rage to kill, maim and kidnap anyone they encounter in Israel: from babies to seniors; to teenagers from nearly all parts of the world dancing at music festival. Under what strange logic did Hamas and its leadership come to believe that the U.S., and Europe would become passive, more sympathetic, or even supportive of Hamas’ one and only goal: “From the River to the Sea.” This means as we all now know a complete destruction of the Israel’s government, its highly diverse culture, and removal or death of all Jews there. 

It is not clear Hamas expected the balance of the protesters as well as opinion to tip to their favor. Indeed, they were correct:  Israel clearly wants to neutralize Hamas -- and in doing this hit key parts of the dense cities of Gaza very hard to in trying to destroy Hamas’ underground military command & control infrastructure, weapons, ammunitions caches, plus the safe havens for their skilled fighters and leaders – all located under hospitals and dense apartment complexes. Likewise, they were correct that international pressure would soon build-up to try to stop Israel from going too far in that direction.  

But rarely do we hear from the media that Hamas planned for exactly this to happen – including all the large swaths of devastation within nearly every Gazan city. Hamas leaders are praying for Israel to kill sufficiently many presumably innocent Gazans such that – when put all together -- the shouts of war crimes thunder through the U.N., the streets in NYC, the halls of Congress in Washington DC and all our campuses. 

So, it is now left only to us in the West who are not so badly contaminated by the myriad of bigotry and ignorance, to take a strong stance against both the tactics and perverse belief systems of Hamas. And the same time we can and must also try shake our U.S campuses out of their fever dreams of wokeness -- into a more productive and friendlier kind of awareness to reality. 

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