columnOctober 7

Hamas barbarism in living color

Even impeccable Israeli "hasbara" can’t compete with Pallywood productions and comparable fake news, regardless of how blatantly mendacious.

A screenshot from video of Hamas terrorists capturing female IDF field observers during the Oct. 7 massacre. Source: Hostages and Missing Families Forum/X.
A screenshot from video of Hamas terrorists capturing female IDF field observers during the Oct. 7 massacre. Source: Hostages and Missing Families Forum/X.
Ruthie Blum. Photo by Ariel Jerozolomski.
Ruthie Blum
Ruthie Blum, former adviser at the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is an award-winning columnist and senior contributing editor at JNS, as well as co-host, with Amb. Mark Regev, of "Israel Undiplomatic" on JNS-TV. She writes and lectures on Israeli politics and culture, and on U.S.-Israel relations. Originally from New York City, she moved to Israel in 1977 and is based in Tel Aviv.

The footage screened on a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square on Friday isn’t for the faint-hearted. Still, viewing it is a must for anyone who doesn’t believe, or has forgotten, the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7.

The clip was released on Wednesday by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum. It was filmed by a group of Palestinian terrorists armed with deadly weapons and body cameras—the latter to document their genocidal attack.

In the video, the men are seen tying up and sexually abusing five female Israel Defense Forces spotters at the Nahal Oz army base, before abducting them to Gaza.

The parents of 19-year-olds Liri Albag, Karina Ariev, Agam Berger, Daniela Gilboa and Naama Levy decided to allow the three-minute horror show—edited to exclude images of the many corpses of the girls’ compatriots—to be broadcast locally and abroad.

“You dogs, we will step on you!” shouts one of the perpetrators in Arabic.

“Take pictures of them,” instructs another.

“Here are the women who can get pregnant,” yet another barbarian announces. “These are the Zionists.”

Staring at the bloodied and bound victims dressed in pajamas, a sleazy predator says in English, “You are so beautiful.”

Though a mere slice of what happened on that Black Sabbath—the massacre of 1,200 innocent people enjoying the Simchat Torah holiday in their homes and at the Nova music festival, as well as the kidnapping of 250 men, women and children—it promptly went viral. It even made the cover of the New York Post.

Two interrogation videos that the IDF revealed on Thursday, after they’d been obtained and reported by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, served as an apt companion to the above. They show father-and-son terrorists—both captured in March by Israeli troops in Gaza—confessing to the rape, murder and abduction of Kibbutz Nir Oz residents on Oct. 7.

Questioned separately, Jamal Hussein Ahmad Radi, 47, and his 18-year-old son, Abdallah, recounted their deeds with no remorse.

“In each house where we found someone, we either killed or kidnapped them,” Jamal Radi told an Israel Security Agency officer, going on to describe a woman he assaulted. “She was screaming, she was crying. I did what I did. I raped her. I threatened her with my gun to take her clothes off. I remember she was wearing jeans shorts; that’s about it. I don’t know what happened to her. I was there for 15 minutes and then I left.”

Abdallah Radi’s version was slightly different, but equally chilling.

“My father raped her, then I did and then my cousin did and then we left. But my father killed the woman after we finished raping her. Before this woman, we had raped another girl, as well. I killed two people. I raped two people. And I broke into five houses.”

We Israelis have been faced with every aspect of Hamas’s literal and figurative rape of the Jewish state nearly eight months ago. Every person in the country is affected, either directly or indirectly, by the massacre and ensuing battle in Gaza to rescue the hostages and destroy the terrorist group.

It’s aways a bit startling, then, when people elsewhere are suddenly shocked by this or that brief glimpse into the evil we’ve been confronting. The release of the latest videos is a perfect case in point, which reawakens the debate about whether we should have been widely distributing the many hours of gruesome evidence right from the start.

Early on in the war, the IDF produced a 47-minute reel of raw footage gathered on Oct. 7. Rather than blitzing it everywhere, it was shown to select audiences of journalists and dignitaries.

The decision not to spread it freely was based on a number of factors. Chief among these was the need to respect the privacy and dignity of the victims, whose families weren’t keen on having their loved ones’ body parts on display for all the world to see.

There was also a reasonable assumption that pro-Hamas trolls would doctor and distort the film. This was in addition to fear that it would be exploited as snuff by sickos on the internet.

Meanwhile, however, antisemitic propaganda—including denial of Hamas’s deeds on one hand and justification for them on the other—was and continues to stream unabated on social media. As a result, the Hebrew press and pro-Israel voices in the Diaspora have been regurgitating the age-old claim that the Jewish state is terrible at hasbara.

This concocted concept that applies solely to Israel is translated as “public diplomacy.” As though Jews and the Jewish state have a P.R. problem, not a desire on the part of our enemies to delegitimize and wipe us off the map.

The truth is that even impeccable Israeli hasbara can’t compete with Pallywood productions and comparable fake news, regardless of how blatantly mendacious. Nor has exposing lies done any good with hostile international bodies.   

Still, providing our defenders with tools to counter the onslaught is important. Indeed, Israel-supporters shouldn’t be left alone in the rhetorical arena without an ongoing supply of material to boost their public efforts and personal morale. Sadly, graphic records of Hamas’s sadistic actions apply here.

Now that the Albag, Ariev, Berger, Gilboa and Levy families have reached this very conclusion—in their case, to pressure the government to secure a deal for the release of their daughters—maybe more will follow suit. But let’s not harbor unrealistic hopes. The facts are already out there, and the only movies that interest Israel’s detractors are those of the IDF leveling buildings in Gaza.

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