OpinionIsrael at War

The surreal echo chamber of lies

As Israel braces for yet more horrors, the world has turned against it.

U.S. President Joe Biden, joined by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is briefed on the terrorist assault on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, in the Oval Office of the White House.  Credit: Cameron Smith/White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden, joined by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is briefed on the terrorist assault on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, in the Oval Office of the White House. Credit: Cameron Smith/White House.
Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for The Times of London, her personal and political memoir, Guardian Angel, has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, The Legacy, in 2018. To access her work, go to: melaniephillips.substack.com.

Deeply traumatized by the Oct. 7 massacre, the unthinkable plight of the hostages and the relentless uptick of dead and wounded soldiers in this seemingly endless war, Israelis are bracing themselves for even worse.

There are warnings from Israeli and American sources that Iran, whose proxies are already fighting Israel on six fronts, is about to attack Israel directly with ballistic missiles, drones and cruise missiles.

This would be Iran’s revenge for the Israeli missile strike in Damascus last week that killed the key Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, along with other senior Iranian military figures.

No one knows whether Iran will directly strike Israel or use deniable proxies to attack targets such as Israeli embassies or synagogues abroad.

But Israelis are apprehensively hunkering down for an attack that would take the war to a vastly more devastating level.

U.S. President Joe Biden has suggested that, in the event of an Iranian attack, America would come to Israel’s aid. “America’s commitment to Israel’s security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad,” he said. “We’re going to do all we can to protect Israel’s security.”

Many Israelis are wondering bleakly whether that will really be so. For the Biden administration has been giving every impression that it is working to ensure Israel loses the war in Gaza to Iran’s proxy Hamas.

The White House has repeatedly ordered Israel not to attack Hamas’s last battalions in its Rafah stronghold, which Israel has to defeat if it is to destroy Hamas’s military capability.

It has forced Israel to allow more and more aid into Gaza, even though most of it has been stolen by Hamas to bolster its own military survival.

In a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden reportedly demanded that Israel agree to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire—which would spell victory for Hamas and the abandonment of the hostages. Biden also reportedly threatened Israel with cutting arms supplies unless it admitted yet more aid into Gaza.

With Israel fighting a desperate war of survival against forces bent upon its destruction and the genocide of the Jews, the feeling of betrayal by America is acute. But it’s not just America.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, also threatened to cut off arms sales—although he subsequently backtracked—and has malevolently and unjustly blamed Israel for Gaza’s humanitarian catastrophe.

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné has suggested imposing sanctions on Israel. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez channeled an ancient antisemitic trope by claiming that Israel’s “disproportionate” response to Oct. 7 poses a threat to world peace.

It seems that the entire Western world has gone through the looking-glass to portray the target of genocidal attack as the aggressor and war criminal, and accordingly apply pressure on Israel to ensure that it loses its war of survival.

The predictable outcome is that a jubilant Hamas is digging in its heels and upping its preposterous demands. The demonization of Israel by Western leaders has further swelled the tsunami of antisemitism to near-pogrom conditions.

Staggeringly, Western government ministers and officials have been parroting Hamas propaganda claims in loud outrage, even though these claims have been steadily revealed as lies.

The Hamas claim of more than 32,000 civilian deaths, of which 70% were women and children, has been demolished by statisticians, so much so that Hamas itself has started to fudge its numbers. Yet the West is still using them to beat up Israel.

A video has been circulating showing captured Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Abu Shlouf telling his Israeli interrogators how the terrorist forces in Gaza manipulate the media through false narratives and lies.

He admitted that the explosion at the Al-Ahli Hospital at the beginning of the war—reported by the media as the result of an Israeli strike—was caused by a rocket fired by Islamic Jihad, which chose to lie and blame Israel. Asked which hospitals in Gaza were used by terrorist forces for military purposes, Abu Shlouf replied: “All of the hospitals.”

Yet after having incited murderous hatred of Israel by transmitting false claims of willful slaughter of patients and other civilians, the media have refused to correct the record.

This verbal Western pogrom is the outcome of decades of anti-Israel demonization and lies. This poison has entered the Western bloodstream. An ideological onslaught that was previously confined to universities, cranks and the far-left has become the dominant narrative.

The West thinks the creation of Israel was a mistake and wants it gone. It wants the Jews out of its head, out of its life and out of its world.

In some ways, this is worse than 1939. Back then, the free world fought the enemy of civilization. Now the free world is supporting the enemy of civilization and demonizing its victims.

Set to one side the malice that has erupted against Israel and the Jews. Set aside the unthinking support for a Palestinian state that would be used as a final solution to the existence of the Jewish homeland. Set aside the obsessive desire of Netanyahu’s enemies to project onto him all the evils of the world. Beyond all that, America and the West have made two major errors.

The first is their failure to grasp that the vast majority of Israelis, including those who detest Netanyahu, are rock solid in support of the IDF going into Rafah.

It is the people of Israel, not just Netanyahu, who are demanding that the IDF defeat Hamas. It is the people of Israel, not just Netanyahu, to whom the American proposal for the Palestinian Authority to run post-war Gaza is unthinkable. Because it’s the people of Israel who have now seen, in the most horrific way possible, that there is no Palestinian Arab entity that can be trusted not to slaughter them again and again.  

The West’s second major error is failing to realize that this is not just Israel against Hamas or Iran. Israel is on the front line of the war being waged by the Islamic world against the West.

The West doesn’t get this because it doesn’t understand Islam. Nor, astonishing as this may seem, do the Israelis. Their failure to grasp Hamas’s true intentions lies in their failure to understand the implacable nature of Islamic Jew-hatred.

In a notable interview in Israel Hayom, Professor Moshe Sharon, an adviser on Arab affairs to several Israeli governments, observed that Islam has abhorred the Jews from the time of Islam’s creation, an animosity that is “a continuing sentiment stretching across time from that period until the ‘end of days.’” Islam’s overall objective, he said, is to take over the world. It is enjoying a considerable degree of success in pursuing this goal—in Europe, Canada and America.

None of these countries, however, is prepared even to admit this, let alone do anything about it.

With the IDF pulling most of its troops out of Gaza, commentators both inside and outside Israel are claiming that the Rafah offensive has been abandoned, the war is effectively over and Israel has lost. Netanyahu and top military brass insist that, on the contrary, Rafah will indeed be taken and the war will be won.

Israelis are braced for whatever is to come. Despite the Greek chorus of doom from the Israeli media and despite the despicable manipulation of some of the desperate families of hostages by activists determined to bring Netanyahu down at the expense of Israel losing the war, the spirit of the vast majority of Israelis remains heroically unbowed.

Israel will survive. At its current rate, the West will not.

But in these terrible times, what is very hard indeed for Jews to take is the devastating feeling of being so mercilessly abandoned by a world that has become a surreal echo chamber of murderous lies.

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