OpinionIsrael at War

‘Love wins’

An appeal to the well-intentioned idealists who support the Palestinian cause.

Graffiti in Bethlehem depicting Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, May 27, 2012. Credit: Bluewind via Wikimedia Commons.
Graffiti in Bethlehem depicting Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, May 27, 2012. Credit: Bluewind via Wikimedia Commons.
Marc Erlbaum
Marc Erlbaum is a filmmaker and the co-founder of Philadelphia's Jewish Relief Agency.

I saw a photo this evening of graffiti on a portion of the separation wall between Israel, and Judea and Samaria. It was painted “Love Wins.” It was a poignant statement in a place where love is all too scarce.

The photo was posted online by someone I know who is a staunch proponent of human rights in general and Palestinian rights in particular. He is a true warrior for social justice, and he genuinely cares for the disenfranchised and downtrodden. He has been to “Palestine” and believes with all his heart that Israel is a colonial oppressor that has no rights to the territory “from the river to the sea.” He is Jewish and insists that it is his duty to stand up for the truth in this conflict, just as he stood up for Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights, the #MeToo movement and a host of other causes.

He is a good person. And on the morning of Oct. 7, Hamas would have slaughtered him. Because he is a Jew.

I recount this because Jews are currently asking how so many progressives around the world can ignore Hamas’s barbarism—or worse, defend it and call for more.

Antisemitism is the reason for some, of course. But there is something else that is more subtle and, in some ways, even more troubling: A large number of well-meaning idealists have convinced themselves that, by defending the most barbaric forms of violence, they are on the side of justice and love.

I would like to ask them a few questions.

First, what are you fighting for? What is the cause about which you are so impassioned? I imagine your answer will be “freedom,” along with equality, justice and love. In abstract terms, these are all things worth fighting for. No doubt you support the Palestinians because you believe they too are fighting for those things.

But what if that’s not true? What if it is only the way the Palestinians have marketed their cause to Westerners? What if the reality is very different?

I imagine a progressive’s response would be, “Do you think I’m an idiot? Do you think I haven’t studied this conflict as much as you have? Do you think I don’t personally know Palestinians who are good and honest people who were displaced from their ancestral land and simply want the return of that which is historically, morally and legally theirs?”

This may be the crux of the issue: The Palestinian cause is different things to different people. There are Palestinians who simply want to live in peace. They are willing to accept a two-state solution and coexist with others who are different from them.

But there are also Palestinians who will never tolerate a single Jew in the entirety of the territory between “the river and the sea.” They have been raised from birth to despise not just Jews, but Christians and any other “infidel” who does not accept the superiority of Islam and Muslims. Their goal is the establishment of a global caliphate in which all non-Muslims either bend the knee or die.

The idealists who support the Palestinians are fighting for the former type of Palestinian. Israel and its supporters are fighting an existential battle against the latter.

The latter, however, constantly pretend that they are the former. They insist that they want nothing more than freedom and justice. Their true objective is domination and ethnic cleansing. This is not love, but virulent hatred, religious supremacism, racism and bigotry.

This truth was laid bare on Oct. 7. Hamas let the veil drop and showed itself for what it truly is. For a moment, the world stood aghast.

But then the deception began again. Fully cognizant that Israel would have no choice but to retaliate, Hamas waited for the innocent civilians that they were hiding behind to die. The world looked on in horror and the monsters laughed, knowing that every civilian death would bolster their cause and retroactively justify their depravity.

It is working, just as it has been working for generations. In a matter of days, the conversation has turned from the Oct. 7 massacre to Israel’s response to it. The perpetrators have once again buried their crimes under cries of victimization.

Well-intentioned defenders of freedom and justice might want to consider whether they are aiding and abetting in this Big Lie.

You should understand, idealists: Hamas does not want what you want. They don’t think like you think. They don’t care like you care.

They don’t care about love, freedom, equity or justice. They don’t even care about their own people. Hamas leads them to the slaughter and then, weeping crocodile tears, displays the dead bodies before you in hopes of Pavlovian sympathy. And you give it to them.

You stand for love, but objectively, you are aiding and abetting hate—along with terrorism, racism, mass murder and religious supremacism.

This is not how “love wins.” This is how love loses. When masses of decent and well-meaning people consent to obvious lies, ideologies of hate and violence spread like a virus. We have seen this before. We saw it in Nazi Germany. For generations, we wondered how that could have happened. Now we know.

If you stand for the Palestinian people, you must distinguish between those who share your values and those who exploit them. If you stand for love, you must stand against Hamas, against the Muslim Brotherhood from which they were spawned and against the Iranian mullahs who sponsor their terrorism.

As Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas’s co-founder, has repeatedly warned, Hamas and its ilk will not stop with Israel. If they accomplish their aims in the Middle East, they will march onward to Europe, America and around the world until they have either murdered or subjugated every person who does not convert to Islam.

Love wins when people tolerate differences, respect diversity and cultivate empathy. Love wins when those who promote violent, supremacist ideologies are clearly identified, forcefully combated and soundly defeated.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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