On Oct. 7, the Palestinian terror group Hamas committed the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. Two of the most prominent and deplorable reactions to the slaughter have been the antisemitic denial of this crime and widespread media bias against Israel.
A careful analysis of both phenomena exposes the absurdity of two antisemitic myths: That “all Jews are liars and are not to be trusted” and that “Jews control the world media.”
Denial of the crimes seems to stem from the antisemites’ need to disbelieve anything Jews say. They see Jews as “liars” or “dishonest people” who constantly plot to manipulate the world. To believe in the Oct. 7 atrocities would require accepting the humanity and vulnerability of Jews. This, antisemites refuse to do.
Such antisemitic views are frequently expressed in Islamic scriptures, which makes Jew-hatred widespread in Muslim communities. For example, some hadith—statements by Islam’s prophet Muhammad—refer to Jews as “liars.” Muhammad’s anger at Jews was mainly caused by the fact that Jews refused to convert to Islam. Once this became clear, Muhammad resorted to violence. In the seventh century, two Jewish tribes from Medina (the Banu Qaynuqa and the Banu Nadir) were expelled and all male members of a third Jewish tribe (the Banu Qurayzah) were murdered. The Jewish women and children of that tribe were sold into slavery.
The hateful statements regarding Jews that appear in the Quran, hadith and sira (Muhammad’s biography) have stoked Islamic antisemitism for centuries.
Muslim leaders often repeat these antisemitic Islamic references to Jews. Palestinian Authority Shariah Judge Abdallah Harb, for example, claimed in 2022 that Israelis and Jews are “liars” and “the people of falsification and untruth.”
Dr. Andrew Bostom, the author of the book The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism told JNS:
“Denial of mainstream, authoritative institutional Sunni and Shiite Islam’s continued embrace and fomenting of jihad and ‘sacralized’ Jew-hatred underpins the denial of Hamas’ jihad, including the commission of most, if not all of its atrocities. Islam’s prophet Muhammad, who declared ‘I have been made victorious with terror,’ and referred to Jews (per Quran 5:60) as ‘brothers of apes and pigs,’ led and sanctioned jihadist attacks targeting Jews with mass killings, torture, rapine, enslavement and deportation of the Jewish victims. Muhammad also personally beheaded some 600-900 post-pubescent male Jews of the tribe Banu Qurayza who had surrendered to the Muslims after a siege. Islam’s prophet and his prototype jihadism are the idealized role model for jihadists till today, including Hamas jihadists.”
Since Oct. 7, many people on social media—particularly Islamists—have either completely denied or tried to minimize the crimes committed by Hamas. Some have mocked the atrocities and their victims. This is in line with the antisemitic myth that Jews are dishonest by nature and lie to pursue a hidden agenda.
The widespread denial of Hamas’s crimes against humanity prompted the Israeli government to screen for 200 representatives of the foreign press some 43 minutes of harrowing scenes of murder, torture and decapitation from Hamas’s Oct. 7 onslaught, including raw video from the terrorists’ bodycams.
The Israeli government said it had decided to show journalists part of its collected documentation in order to dispel what a spokesperson characterized as “a Holocaust-denial-like phenomenon happening in real time.”
This denial goes hand-in-hand with the Western media’s bias against Israel, even in the face of the Oct. 7 massacre.
Antisemitic propaganda spreads the myth that mass media is controlled by Jews. Yet Western media coverage of Israel-related issues has for years been overwhelmingly biased against Israel and complicit with Palestinian-Arab terror groups. This was most obvious in their recent coverage of the bombing of a parking lot next to a hospital in Gaza.
On Oct. 16, Gaza’s Health Ministry, controlled by Hamas, blamed Israel for an explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital and said hundreds died. That claim led to violent protests across the region and the cancellation of U.S. President Joe Biden’s scheduled summit in Jordan.
Much of the Western mainstream media rushed to “report” on Israel’s alleged bombing of a hospital in Gaza and supposed killing of 500 people.
It was quickly proven that everything in these reports was false. The explosion was caused by a misfired rocket launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Apparently, the jihadists were trying to bomb Israel but ended up striking the parking lot of the hospital and killing civilians. AFP, citing senior European intelligence officials, reported on Oct. 19 that between 10-50 people died as a result of the explosion. As the French newspaper Le Point reported a week later:
“Satellite imagery of the hospital complex before and after the shooting, published Wednesday by the company Maxar Technologies, reveals a probable impact zone on the main parking lot, but without any significant structural damage to the adjacent buildings. Images circulating on social networks verified by AFP show rubble on fire outside the hospital.”
The media should have remembered that such incidents are not uncommon. During the Aug. 2022 flareup between Israel and PIJ, more than one-fifth of the 1,000 rockets fired towards Israel fell in Gaza, where they caused one-third of the conflict’s 44 deaths.
Clearly, instead of doing independent research, carefully verifying information and being cautious about claims made by terrorists, media outlets took Hamas’s word on the matter and spread disinformation about a crime that jihadists in Gaza committed.
This isn’t surprising given that these outlets can’t or won’t even refer to Hamas as terrorists. The Voice of America, BBC and CBC all engage in this open deception, with the BBC only changing this policy under intense and justified criticism.
When much of the mainstream media is not doing its work properly, antisemites mockingly demand Israelis “prove” they’ve been massacred, raped, burnt, mutilated, beheaded or kidnapped. They then ignore all the evidence at hand in order to hold on to their beliefs. The media quickly becomes complicit in these lies.
Honestly facing and accepting Hamas’s crimes and condemning the perpetrators would contradict the antisemitic belief that Jews secretly rule the world. The antisemites would be forced to ask: How can an omnipotent people like the Jews be invaded, slaughtered and victimized? If Jews control the international media, why does much of the media try to minimize Hamas’s evil butchery?
The Jew-haters demand that we reject the evidence of our eyes and ears. Much of the mainstream media serves the same agenda.
This constitutes the total dehumanization of the Jewish people. It is irrational, illogical and inhumane. Worst of all, it puts both Jews’ and non-Jews’ lives at risk.
Dr. David Patterson, the Hillel A. Feinberg Distinguished Chair in Holocaust Studies at the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies of the University of Texas at Dallas, and author of the book A Genealogy of Evil: Anti-Semitism from Nazism to Islamic Jihad, told JNS:
“As in the case of Holocaust denial, the denial of the mind-numbing, monstrous, horrific atrocities systematically perpetrated by Hamas comes despite all evidence. Neither is about evidence or argument. Both are driven by an exterminationist Jew-hatred that eats away the soul of the antisemite. It is a hatred of the very sanctity of the other human being, for what begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews.”
Unfortunately, he is right, and such hatred is much in evidence today.