By the fourth year of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was being pressured to make a peace deal with the Confederacy. Many of Lincoln’s fellow Republicans, to say nothing of the Democrats’ “Copperhead faction”—which supported both slavery and white supremacy—were upset with the length and carnage of the war. These forces called themselves the “peace camp.” Despite their demands, Lincoln refused calls for an armistice and insisted that ending the institution of slavery was “an issue which can only be tried by war and decided by victory.”
Lincoln insisted on the Confederacy’s unconditional surrender because he knew there could be no compromise with slavery. He also knew that an armistice that allowed slavery to survive would only lead to further war and the likely destruction of the U.S.
Today, we hear many members of the modern-day “Copperhead faction” of the Democratic Party and other sympathizers with Hamas demanding an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s war against the barbaric terror group. Some may genuinely wish to save lives, but many—given their open praise for Hamas and “exhilarated” response to the Oct. 7 massacre—clearly want to rescue Hamas and allow it to pursue its stated goal of destroying Israel.
The parallels between Hamas and the old Confederacy are considerable. Like the Confederates, Hamas embraces a supremacist ideology in which only one ethnic and religious group is permitted to rule and all others must be subjugated or annihilated. It rejects democracy completely and engages in barbaric acts just as horrific as those committed by the slavers of the old south. The Confederacy was determined to hold on to slavery and could only be brought down by war. The same is true of Hamas and its own vile ideology.
The price paid in blood by combatants and non-combatants in the Civil War was steep. Had social media and 24-hour news coverage existed during Sherman’s “march to the sea,” Sherman would likely have been vilified and the “Copperhead faction” greatly strengthened. Thankfully, this didn’t happen. Lincoln was not dissuaded and, as a result, slavery was ended forever in the U.S. with the Confederacy’s unconditional surrender in 1865.
Lincoln understood that the institution of slavery and the regime that fought for slavery and the white supremacy that undergirded it were evils that could not be appeased. As the descendent of a grandmother who lost every single member of her family in the Holocaust, I know all too well the price of appeasement and temporary “peace” with unrelenting evil.
Hamas is just such an evil. As the Confederacy had to be destroyed in order to free millions from bondage, the same must happen to Hamas to free millions from the threat of mass murder. Israel’s mission to end Hamas’s control of Gaza is not just pure self-defense, it is also justice itself.
Almost no Israelis enjoy seeing innocents suffer. Personally, my heart aches every time I see a Palestinian child harmed. But I also know that if there is a ceasefire and Hamas is allowed to stay in power, an evil perhaps as horrific as slavery will survive. We will have only deferred the violence and suffering, not ended it. Eventually, Hamas will try to slaughter even more Jews that it did on Oct. 7, just as the Confederates would have enslaved millions yet unborn. Hamas’s leaders have already promised to repeat the butchery of Oct. 7 over and over again until they achieve their Islamic supremacist goal of obliterating Israel. This is something no Israeli should be asked to accept—ever.
I ask those of you who are sincerely calling for a ceasefire out of a genuine concern for saving lives—rather than simply to support or rescue Hamas—to provide us Israelis with a specific and detailed way to eliminate Hamas without violence and without civilian casualties. If you have such a method in mind, I promise you, we are all ears.
Do not burden us, however, with clichés about using special forces or vaguely defined “technology,” which is all one hears on social media and from pundits who fancy themselves military experts while remaining wholly unqualified for the job. Sadly, there is no magical technology or special forces operations that will get rid of Hamas. Hamas is a highly radicalized organization with tens of thousands of fighters embedded within the civilian population. If there were a magic wand we could wave, we would do so. But there is none. To defend its citizens from Hamas’s own admitted evil and its promise of many more days like Oct. 7, Israel’s “Sherman” has no choice but to march to the sea while making a better attempt to avoid civilian casualties than Sherman did.
However, if you are joining populist calls for a ceasefire without offering any concrete and realistic ways for Israel to rid Gaza of Hamas without further violence and the potential for civilian casualties, which sadly always exists in war—particularly against an enemy as embedded within Gaza’s civilian infrastructure as Hamas—then you are (at best) demanding that we Israelis stop defending ourselves from pure evil while you sit in a proverbial ivory tower.
You have no realistic suggestion for how to put an end to the threat Hamas poses. Yet you still ask Israelis to allow an openly genocidal tyranny that has clearly proven that it knows no limits to its murderous depravity and barbarism to remain on our border.
Israelis have no time for such privileged and arrogant prattling. As we still try to identify those of our dead who were burned alive beyond recognition by Hamas while their hands were tied behind their backs, we do not enjoy the privilege of fixing our hopes on the good graces of an organization whose evil even Lincoln himself could never have imagined.