When confronted with absolute evil or the depths of human depravity, some of us experience a very particular kind of depression. It’s as if we just can’t cope with such a repudiation of humanity.
Some experience it when exposed to the details of child sexual abuse. And some feel it over the libelous falsehoods hurled at Israel whenever it’s forced to defend itself against genocidal fanatics, as happened this week in the Hamas onslaught on the Gaza border fence.
There is actually a strong thematic connection between these twin evils.
Two awful features are associated with child sexual abuse over and above the assaults themselves.
The first is the way the perpetrator projects all blame onto his victim. She led him on, he tells himself, she dressed like a tart, she was asking for it and so on. In his mind, he must rob his victim of her innocence in order to deny that she is a victim and thus justify himself.
There’s something very similar about the West’s systematic abuse of Israel. There’s a refusal to acknowledge that Israel is the victim of Arab and Muslim exterminatory violence.
Instead, Israel-abusers project that violence onto Israel. It is Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian Arabs that is said to have driven them in despair to act as they do. So Israel deserves its punishment.
We’ve been watching this sickening spectacle again this week from the usual suspects: the United Nations and European Union, NGOs, politicians, and above all, the media.
With the riots in Gaza, they fell over themselves to mouth the murderous script Hamas had given them—that these were spontaneous, peaceful protests against the hellish conditions imposed upon Gaza by Israel, whose soldiers proceeded to kill around 60 unarmed Arabs out of sheer trigger-happy brutality.
These were all incendiary lies. The riots that reached a crescendo this week weren’t a protest but, in the words of Hamas itself, an attempted invasion intended to slaughter Jews and destroy Israel.
A report published this week by the High Level Military Group of distinguished military figures around the world describes these onslaughts over the past six weeks as “carefully planned and orchestrated military operations intended to break through the border of a sovereign state and commit mass murder in the communities beyond, using their own civilians as cover. The purpose: to criminalise and isolate the State of Israel.”
The BBC and other journalists in the United States, Canada and elsewhere howled down those who said this was organized by Hamas and accused Israel instead of using live fire against unarmed demonstrators.
Israel said it had so far identified 24 of the dead as Hamas terrorists. On Wednesday, however, a senior Hamas official declared that no fewer than 50 of the 62 said to have been killed were its own operatives.
In other words, the Israel Defense Forces had been remarkably careful not to kill the civilians whom Hamas had pushed to the front as cannon fodder. No other army in the world would have been so scrupulous in the face of a murderous mob 40,000-strong trying to storm its border. Yet the media has vilified the IDF instead.
The rioters were armed with IEDs, petrol bombs and guns. They dispatched burning kites to set fire to Israeli farmland. On Facebook they were urged to “bring a knife, dagger or handgun” in order to kidnap Israeli civilians and murder Israeli soldiers. The Western media ignored all this.
The IDF leafletted Gazans, warning them not to assemble at the fence; then they used tear gas and foul-smelling “Skunk” sprays; then they fired warning shots; then they shot at legs. They only used lethal force when facing a direct threat posed through weapons or explosives. The Western media ignored all this.
Hamas blew up its own fuel terminals three times; it wrecked conveyor belts used to bring in construction materials and animal feed; when Israel opened the border crossing for humanitarian relief, Hamas sent back trucks of medical aid, food and other supplies.
The Western media ignored all this, blaming Israel for Gaza’s “hellish” conditions. Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned Israel’s “slaughter” of “dozens of unarmed protesters.” British Prime Minister Theresa May called for an inquiry into the “deeply troubling” loss of life and Israel’s use of live fire.
Grotesquely singling out Israel as an endemic abuser of human rights is now the default position in the West. Israel is therefore in effect the abused child of the world.
Its abusers aren’t just the Arabs and Muslims who continuously try to murder Jews and steal their country; they are also the BBC, Britain’s Channel Four News, America’s NBC, Canada’s CBC and numerous newspapers throughout the West.
But there’s a second awful feature that these two forms of abuse share. Tragically, the sexually abused child believes the reason she was abused must be something really bad she herself has done. Otherwise, why else would she have been attacked?
In exactly the same way, Jews over the centuries have asked why the world hates them with such unique ferocity—and the answer reached by a distressing number is that it must be because of something uniquely hateful in them.
Today, such Jews turn against Israel, swallowing and regurgitating the disgusting falsehoods and distortions perpetrated by the enemies of the Jewish people. And some of those Jews, in both the Diaspora and Israel, shamefully took part in this week’s anti-Israel verbal auto-da-fé.
The unanswerable question, though, is why Israel is abused like this. Plausible factors such as anti-colonialist ideology or plain ignorance don’t begin to explain the unique virulence of this hatred, and its obsessional and paranoid nature.
The essence of it is the refusal to view Israel as victimized. And the essence of that is the unhinged belief that the Jews are all-powerful. So if Israel exercises its undoubted military power—even though it only ever does so to defend its citizens’ lives—this gives traction to the ancient anti-Semitic trope.
Hence the obscene outrage voiced by some that no Israelis were killed at the Gaza border—imbecilically offered as proof of Israeli aggression. The fact that the Jews can now defend themselves is considered unacceptable.
So these Israel-abusers champion instead those who send flaming kites decorated with swastikas to incinerate Israel and its people, while describing the Jews defending their country as latter-day Nazis.
It isn’t just the Hamas who are evil. There’s a profound moral and spiritual sickness in the West, too.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a column for JNS every two weeks. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which has also published her first novel, “The Legacy,” released in April. Her work can be found at her website, www.melaniephillips.com.