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#################### Geoff Seidner
Monday, 11 August 2014
11/8 Rise of anti-semitism from this war is no accident
Rise of anti-semitism from this war is no accident
WHILE no civilian casualties are good, reports are emerging that strongly question the number of civilian casualties in Gaza.
The BBC’s head of statistics has highlighted that the figures presented are highly improbable. He says “some of the conclusions being drawn from them may be premature”. With that, Hamas’s illusion begins to crack. The reality behind it is far uglier, and more dangerous, than many have realised.
Far away from the Middle East there are two additional sets of victims, neither Israeli not Palestinian. The first are Jews, facing rising anti-semitism. The second group of victims includes many of those spewing out anti-semitism. They too are victims as they act against their values in aid of a greater purpose. Those who have fallen into this trap will explain the uniqueness of the current conflict, and reflect on the reported number of civilian casualties. Their call to arms, however, rests on a carefully manufactured illusion.
It seems that, statistically speaking, the high civilian casualty rate in Gaza is very likely to conceal many Hamas combatants. This is no surprise as a similar situation occurred in Operation Cast Lead (2008-09) when Hamas, at the time, claimed only 50 fighters were killed but later admitted to a figure of 600 to 700 fighters, a figure almost identical to Israeli reports during the conflict.
The supposedly disproportionate civilian casualty rate has been used not only to justify and mobilise hostility to Israel, but also to defend outright anti-semitism including comparisons to the Holocaust. How dare you raise the issue of anti-semitism when so many people are being killed, a former Facebook friend wrote to me. If the number of civilian casualties is in fact similar to other conflicts, or proportionally less than other conflicts, when comparing the rate of civilian to combatant casualties, then a lot of people have been working off a false premise.
The reliance on a false premise led many to the conclusion that Israel deserved unique condemnation, and the issue deserved priority above all else on the international agenda. If the conflict was not exceptional, there was no basis for this special treatment.
As I write this, rockets have resumed and the IDF just announced they were about to take action to eliminate the threat. One Twitter user, with a free Palestine image, responded saying that another Nuremberg was waiting for Israel.
This Gaza Holocaust analogy is spectacularly bad, and deliberately anti-semitic. It has been repeated so many times that it is becoming a Big Lie. And therein lies the second crack in the Hamas illusion.
The anti-semitic imagery used in this conflict is beyond anything we have seen before. It looks like a deliberate social media strategy of Hamas, and one that follows perfectly from the anti-semitism in their mainstream media channels, including on children’s TV shows like Tomorrow’s Pioneers.
The treatment of all casualties as civilians, the overt anti-semitism and the comparison of Gaza to the Holocaust are part of a coherent Hamas social media strategy. The strategy has been openly promoted to activists via official Hamas channels, in Arabic of course. MEMRI translated this guide in mid-July, but it didn’t get enough attention.
Consider two points taken from the guide: Avoid entering into a political argument with a Westerner aimed at convincing him that the Holocaust is a lie and deceit; instead, equate it with Israel’s crimes against Palestinian civilians”; “Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add ‘innocent civilian’ or ‘innocent citizen’ in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.”
Our cracks suddenly open into fissures, and ground on which Hamas’s illusion rests starts to fall way. Both these points from the guide are repeated constantly in social media. Only some comes from hard core Hamas supporters who may have seen the guide. Much comes from people who have no idea about the ideology of Hamas, or its social media war strategy.
The technical term for people who have been suckered in to supporting the Hamas social media strategy, and therefore Hamas more broadly, is “useful idiots”. Rich Lowry has written a great piece about the impact of these useful idiots, but missed the Hamas strategy to deliberately create more of them. I previously noted that Facebook was caught in a social media war, but I missed how anti-semitism and the creation of useful idiots was part of this strategy.
I’ve created a resource page to explain the problem with the Holocaust analogy it. Some, including Muslim friends, quickly saw the problem. Others, anti-racism activists with no specific connection to the conflict, refused to see it. For them raising anti-semitism was trying to dodge the issue of the casualties and the criticality of stopping Israel. I felt I was staring down a rabbit hole. Comparisons between Israel and the Nazis are given explicitly as an example in the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism. It’s not a matter of interpretation or debate.
The way people around the world have been misled as part of a deliberate Hamas propaganda strategy is outrageous. The real civilian deaths, inevitable in armed conflict, are still a tragedy, but to use support for human rights as part of a war strategy is morally reprehensible. We knew they were doing it with the living, now we see they are doing it with the dead as well. To promote Holocaust trivialisation as part of a war strategy is also utterly reprehensible. Hamas advocates genocide of Jews in its charter, but how did anti-racists come to adopt this vile poison and promote the agenda of genocide?
Many who have fallen for the Hamas propaganda strategy have reacted angrily when told their comments are anti-semitic and defended their position with reference to the “unique nature” of the current conflict. With that premise exposed as a deliberate illusion, they have a bitter pill to swallow. Many seek other ways to validate their actions. In doing so many may fall further into the racist arguments flooding across social media.
Unless people stop and take stock, Hamas may well achieve its real purpose, to harm Jewish people around the globe. The rise in anti-semitism is a key outcome of this war, and it seems it is far from an accident.
Andre Oboler is CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI). OHPI’s guide on reporting anti-semitism on Facebook was released on Friday.
Isn't it ironic and irrational that Hamas wishes "to harm Jewish people around the globe". You would think, from the Palestinian point of view, that Jews living in Europe or America or Australia would be "good" Jews because, after all, they are not occupying lands taken from the Palestinians. If all Jews dispersed elsewhere then the Palestinians could get their land back. So why build up world wide anti-Semitism?
Creating hatred against Jews in countries other than Israel can only be useful in terms of propaganda and the enlistment of "useful idiots". There are far too many "useful idiots" wandering around in the West. It is not at all hard to see that the whole Hamas strategy of firing rockets from locations close to civilians and forcing Israel to respond is cleverly designed for propaganda purposes.
We can blame SBS and Auntie for a good deal of that. I don't think they've yet reported even once the UN's admission that Hamas rockets have been stored in so-called 'safe havens' and launched from schools. I've often wondered who's tallying the body count in Gaza, and at this point it's clear that it's Hamas producing the numbers: our 'impartial observers' on the ground have apparently learned to keep their mouths shut. The UN has been worse than useless: Ban Ki Moon is weak, and a good deal less than honest about what's really happening in Gaza. Even Egypt is unhappy with Hamas ... they're certainly not giving aid and comfort to the radicals. The Middle East is descending into the worst sort of barbarism, and we're just watching it happen. As Edmund Burke famously said, 'All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.' And that's exactly what Auntie, SBS and Fairfax are doing.
@Rob - agree with most of that except the inference in you final sentence that Auntie, the SBS and Fairfax are "good men" doing nothing. Their actions are entirely calculated and there is nothing "good" about it.
Israel is hated because it believes, in building settlements on civilian lands captured by force, that "might is right". This ideology simply doesn't gel with 21st century Western youth, who do not believe that taking something from someone else by force is ever justifiable.
Race has absolutely nothing to do with it. Today's youth dislike power and those who hold it, believing in a more egalitarian way of life in which no one person can force another to do something.
@Jake Some perspective on the civilian lands "captured by force". It was as a result of the Arabs not accepting the UN resolution in 1947, their invasion of the mandate of Palestine, which led to the 1948 civil war. The 1949 Armistace Agreements allotted a further 26% of land to Israel, the Golan Heights to Syria, the West Bank to Jordan and the Gaza strip to Egypt. The 1967 six day war instigated by the Arabs on Israel, resulted in their defeat and loss of the Sinai, West Bank and Golan Heights. The Sinai was returned to Egypt as part of the peace accord in 1979.
@James You don't understand at all. Hamas is all about ideology - the destruction of Israel - and doesn't care how many of its people it sacrifices in the process. The Israeli (secular) government is doing what you'd expect any responsible government to do: defend its people from attack and try to ensure their safety and security.
In their threat to boycott the SMH over the departure of Mike Carlton Muslim groups are confirming their support for terrorist group Hamas and its declared intent to eradicate the state of Israel. If the Palestinians want peace there is simple straight forward solution for those living in Gaza – rid the strip of Hamas and accept the fact that the Israeli PM’s have earlier made 3 attempts to establish a 2 state solution - in 2000, in 2005 and in 2008.These offers would have guaranteed Palestinian autonomy and, eventually, statehood. In the long run these offers provide a template for a solution to this protracted conflict and Australian Muslim groups need to recognise that in their support of Hamas they are undermining any hope of peace for the Palestinian people. Andre Oboler forgot to mention that the immediate end game for Hamas is for the Israelis to kill as many Palestinians as possible so that the world’s media will condemn Israel for overreaction to the rockets being fired into the Jewish state; remembering that Israeli governments have built shelters for their people whereas Hamas is telling its people to return to their homes even after the IDF has pre-warned the Gaza inhabitants of an attack on Hamas rocket sites.
Thank you Andre for this rare piece of reality on the propaganda of the current hamas offensive against Israel. The West is so gullible and easily manipulated and muslim terrorist know exactly how to play us. They know we care about the death and suffering of others especially children even though they don't. Instead hamas cowards use civilians as a tactical advantage and human shields, and where is the condemnation from the ABC and SMH. The reality is that all hamas has to do is stop firing rockets and building tunnels into Israel and the fighting ends.
& yet again, I note the "Compass special" which deals with child abuse in a Jewish school (?) where was the "Compass Special" when little girls are forced into muslim marraiges, or when little girls are subject to genital mutilation? That's right, the ABC only feels that it has to go after Jews & Christians.
There have been countless ABC programs on child sex abuse in the church. This is the first I can recall about a Jewish context so it has hardly been covered excessively. It is also a subject of legitimate public interest when a community group has a veto on reporting crimes in its precinct to the police.
Thank Heavens we have The Australian, otherwise we wouldn't have any logical debate about what is really happening. The ABC should hang their heads in shame with their distortion of the facts and their support of Hamas and lack of acknowledgement of the worrying rise of anti semetism
@RoseThe Communication’s Minister is sitting on his hands allowing the ABC’S green/left bias open slather all funded by taxpayers including coalition voters; free entertainment is the ultimate ‘entitlement’ that needs to go along with all the biased reporting. A better idea to get the ABC’s $1.3bn budget off the backs of taxpayers along with its overpaid MD who gets $273,787 more per year than the Prime Minister would be to cut the broadcaster’s funding completely and re-introduce the licensing system abolished by Mr Whitlam; this would force the broadcaster to frame programs, news and current affairs that some in the public are prepared to pay for and if that means only the Labor and Greens voters are prepared to purchase a license so well and good. At least conservative voters would not be forced to subsidise Labor’s left/green front office. The BBC has relied on managing a licensing system for years and there is no reason the ABC can’t do the same.
456 children have been killed in Gaza according to the UN.
This is the part that sickens me the most.
By killing children, I consider that Israel is not acting like a liberal parliamentary democracy, it is not acting in accordance with high moral standards, rather it is stooping to the morality of the terrorists that we all oppose.
That is the reason I condemn Israel's actions, not because of a terrorist groups manual on spin.
@Daniel "456 children have been killed in Gaza according to the UN" - please be aware that the UN simply quotes statistics supplied by the Hamas controlled Palestinian Ministry of Health. The UN has no independent sources. How many of those 456 were actually teenage Hamas fighters? We don't know. How many are pure inventions by Hamas? We don't know. Certainly some children have been killed, some as an inevitable result of the conflict (since Hamas fires its missiles from close proximity to Palestinian schools and hospitals meaning that returning fire risks causing civilian casualties) and some through 'mishaps' when Hamas missiles have gone astray and killed Palestinian children rather than the Israelis (including Israeli children) that they intended to kill.
@Daniel Unless you are a child or teenager your argument is culpably naive. Do you think we were villainous for bombing Germany and Japan during WW2? We killed millions of civilians. We even killed hundreds of thousands of civilians who were on our own side in occupied countries such as France, and so did French troops. There is simply no other way to win when you are up against an enemy who is committed by word and deed to your destruction as HAMAS is to Israel and ISIS is to us. The only alternative is to submit and see our own children enslaved or to die.
Did you even read the article? SMH some people are completely oblivious to the fact that they are pawns in a much wider conflict than Israel v Palestine. Useful idiots that get information directly from terrorists to trumpet their self righteousness will be among the first up against the wall when their usefulness is up and a caliphate is achieved. Read your history books because that's where we are headed.
@Daniel How many children have been killed in Syria? I read about 6,000 in the paper and some said as high as 15,000. How many by our own forces in Iraq and Afghanistan? I find it curious that there is never a demonstartion about these, but there is ALWAYS a demonstration about Israelis. Why the double-standard if not racism or anti-Semitism?
@Daniel Daniel, there is an image distributed by Hamas which has the photos of a dead child on the floor and a deead man lying on a blood covered bed. The caption says: "This is what the Gaza Medics found when they entered a home visited by the IDF."
The piece is horrendous and any normal person would be revolted by it.
More nauseating though is that this is the photo of two members of the Fogel family, a Jewish family of 6 slaughtered by Palestinians some 2 years ago. Those who created that fraudulent piece were not even smart enough to realize that a Mezuzah (a parchment inscribed with religious texts and attached in a case to the doorposts of a Jewish house) can be clearly seen in the photo. How low could one stoop in disseminating lies?
Daniel, take out your calculator:. Hamas declared that 1,900 civilians had been killed, including the 486 children you mention, plus about 400 women (revised upwards from the 250 a few days before). Add the two and you arrive at "886 innocents". This leaves 1.014 innocent dead men. Now we know that the male/female distribution in Gaza is about equal, so unless Israeli bombs are able to distinguish between a man and a woman, a laughable concept, has it not occurred to anyone that the figures provided by Hamas to the UN are false and that it is more likely that the figures should include at least another 600 fighters and that the UN has taken the bail hook line and sinker??
That some cannot see the dishonesty, just like the dishonesty mentioned in this article is mind-boggling.