Hamas is beheading Israeli soldiers.
Hamas is beheading Israeli babies.
That should end the debate right there.
These mass murders are so barbaric, so medieval, so fueled by hatred, that the media are calling them out for what they are: human savagery.
It is hard to watch, hard to listen to, hard to think about during the wall-to-wall coverage. Even veteran war correspondents have been choking up, breaking down, in reporting on these atrocities. Mothers have tearfully described watching their kids seized from inside their homes. Many women have been raped.
If you want to say Israel is to blame for its treatment of Gaza – despite the fact that its forces voluntarily withdrew 18 years ago – that’s your privilege. The Jewish state has in the past used excessive force, and its retaliatory bombing will undoubtedly claim some civilian lives (though before decimating an apartment building, officials warned residents to evacuate).
But the Hamas regime has long treated its own citizens as human shields, mixing military production and organizations with ordinary people, with the added benefit that Israel can be blamed if civilians are killed.
By contrast, Hamas began its weekend assault by butchering 200 people at a music festival. By contrast, Israeli reports say the terrorist group killed 40 babies. By contrast, Hamas has kidnapped 150 people, many of them families with children.
By contrast, Hamas circulates video footage of innocent Israelis being slaughtered as a cause for celebration.
These are not militants, as the New York Times and some at MSNBC insist on calling them. These are terrorists. Hamas is the new ISIS.
This is not a time for both-siderism. The bloody killings by Hamas are war crimes, and most of the world is truly sickened.
President Biden, after two days of radio silence, yesterday delivered a strong, emotional, empathetic denunciation of “sheer evil” and “bloodthirstiness” by Hamas. Viewers could see the pain etched in his face as he spoke of the casualties (including 14 Americans) and those taken hostage (which also includes Americans). But this followed two days of radio silence. Biden should be on TV every day talking about Israel and driving the news cycle.
I am not, as a journalist, pro-Israel or anti-Palestinian. Bibi Netanyahu’s government has overreached in so many ways, including the attempt to neutralize the Supreme Court that utterly divided the country and caused waves of mass demonstrations. And the intelligence failure to detect an assault that overran small border towns that were always described as safe will go down in history.
I have hoped for decades there could be a two-state solution. But it always seems out of reach. What we have, instead, is Israel’s 9/11.
War is ugly, as we all know. But this is not the traditional war pitting one military against another. The deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians unfortunately carries echoes of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the mass kidnapping of children. But even the Kremlin doesn’t boast about its horrific methods.
With Netanyahu vowing to topple Hamas, the war could go on for many months with mounting casualties on both sides. The constant Israeli bombing of Gaza will soon lead to calls for a cease-fire, as the revolting tactics that triggered the retaliation become background noise.
But it is the media’s responsibility to remind people how this terrible war got started, while fairly reporting on the unfolding tactics of both sides.