The decade's most triggering comedy
In 1859, a human rights activist named Henry Dunant — who would later co-found the Red Cross — observed the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino, between the French-Piedmontese and Austrian armies in Northern Italy. He was shocked by the treatment of wounded soldiers on the battlefield; he worked diligently to bring together a variety of governments to sign onto a series of rules governing the treatment of captured and wounded soldiers, signed in Geneva in 1864. These would become known as the First Geneva Conventions.
It took another 85 years, however, before the world began to think about the treatment of civilians in wartime. In horror at the German treatment of civilians during World War II, the Geneva Conventions were expanded in 1949 to protect non-combatant civilians. This was accomplished in the Fourth Geneva Convention, designed to protect civilians by encouraging military actors to separate themselves from civilians. The 1977 additional protocols made clear that the use of human shields was absolutely forbidden by the rules of war:
The purpose of outlawing human shields is obvious: No country can be expected to forego its military aims in order to protect civilians deliberately placed in danger by the enemy. To immunize those who use human shields would incentivize everyone to take human shields — which would necessitate the death of more civilians in order to achieve military goals.
And yet the legacy media and the political Left have been doing just that. They know Hamas has been using human shields. Hamas brags about it.
Over the weekend, Israeli Defense Forces discovered rocket launchers planted directly next to children’s pools and playgrounds. Currently, Hamas is preventing the evacuation of Gazan civilians to the south of the Gaza Strip. This weekend, Israeli forces struck an ambulance. Hamas immediately claimed Israel had been targeting the wounded. The media then began to parrot this lie.
As it turns out, Israel says the ambulance was being used to transport terrorists. That would be in line with Hamas practice; they did the same thing in 2014.
Meanwhile, over at the Al-Shifa Hospital — the home base for Hamas’ military headquarters, and below which is likely stored hundreds of thousands of gallons fuel for use by terrorists — the electricity is still on, despite claims the fuel has run out. Not only that: Large crowds of Gazans have congregated around the hospital to cheer footage of Hamas members firing on Israelis.
To cap it all off, Hamas spent the weekend attacking Israeli troops as they attempted to open a civilian corridor from north to south. As troops worked to open the roads to civilian traffic, Hamas began firing mortars and anti-tank missiles at them.
The story here is actually quite simple: Israel wishes, for reasons both moral and political, to minimize civilian casualties among Gazan civilians. Hamas wishes to maximize them. That is why the IDF has made 20,000 calls, dropped 1.5 million leaflets, and sent 4.4 million SMS and 6 million voice messages urging civilians in Northern Gaza to evacuate temporarily for their safety.
Hamas claims that some 6,500 female and child civilians have been killed thus far — numbers that have yet to be verified by any independent source, given Hamas routinely lies about such statistics. And Hamas’ advocates point to those numbers to suggest Israel is killing a disproportionate number of civilians, despite the fact that Hamas is the one hiding behind civilians.
In reality, despite the insane situation in which Israel finds itself, Israel is being as meticulous in its use of force as any military in history. At least two million German civilians died during World War II — and at least 350,000 were killed by strategic Allied bombing. Up to 800,000 Japanese civilians died during World War II. In the Korean War, estimates place civilian casualty numbers at 1.2 million. During the Vietnam War, some 365,000 civilians died.
During the Gulf War, somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 civilians died at the hands of Allied forces; during NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, at least 1,200 civilians were killed; during the Afghanistan War, at least 46,000 civilians died; during the Iraq War, those numbers were at least 200,000; Barack Obama’s drone war killed at least 400 civilians; his Libya war killed at least 600; the war on ISIS may have killed several thousand civilians.
Those are just the wars involving the United States. When it comes to military action in the Middle East more generally, the numbers are astounding: Saudis have killed at least 20,000 civilians in their bombing campaign in Yemen; in Syria, at least 300,000 civilians have died, and at least 12 million people have been displaced; Pakistan is currently, at this moment, deporting some 1.7 million Afghan civilians.
Nobody cares about any of that.
They do seem to care about the Jews, even though the Jews are overtly attempting to avoid civilian casualties while Hamas seeks as many dead Palestinian Arab civilians as possible.
And yet the media pretend that Hamas isn’t to blame for civilians being killed — that Israel somehow has the magical, undisclosed ability to kill terrorists without killing the civilians terrorists use as their shields. Bernie Sanders said Israel was using “indiscriminate bombing.”
This lie — that Israel is somehow being indiscriminate in its use of military force — justifies everything up to and including the genocidal October 7 attacks. That’s the point: to create a retroactive justification for those attacks in the public mind. If the Jews are the kinds of people who drop bombs on Gazan babies just for fun, then what’s the big deal Hamas shot babies in the face and raped their mothers before murdering them?
That’s the case made by the congresswoman from Hamas, Rashida Tlaib, who spent the weekend defending Hamas’ genocidal slogan, saying it was “an aspirational call for freedom.”
This, of course, is a lie. “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free” is a slogan about freedom in the same way the Nazi slogan “Arbeit macht frei” — the sign over Auschwitz — was about an encouragement to work ethic. The only side currently advocating genocide is the Palestinian side. It doesn’t take much to get Palestinians’ advocates to admit as much. The Palestinian ambassador to the UK said he wouldn’t condemn Hamas’ atrocities.
The only way to justify such evil is to accuse Israel of similar evil. Which is precisely what Rashida Tlaib is doing.
The goal for those who support Hamas is not, in the end, to truly convince everyone that Israel is inferior to its opponents. It’s to convince everyone that Hamas and Israel are morally equivalent — that Israel is on Hamas’ level, so as to justify Hamas’ atrocities.
In that game, Hamas’ most ardent advocates are joined by politically savvy but morally despicable figures like Barack Obama, who spent the weekend pretending that responsibility for Hamas’ evil lies with everyone.
Everyone is guilty, says Obama. So everyone is innocent. The only solution, of course, is to pretend away the evil and pressure Israel, the only moral side in this conflict, into concessions to those who would destroy it.
This is the pseudo-sophisticate take, the radical chic take.
And all of this moral equivalence leads to violence. Hamas knows all it has to do is get Gazans killed to preserve itself. The Palestinian Authority knows the same thing. Terrorists know they have allies to do their dirty work. That’s why they’re so brazen on the streets of our major cities. They know the pseudo-sophisticates will parrot them, will downplay their sins, and will treat them as brave emissaries of the revolutionary caste.
They are free to pursue whatever evil they want.
And so they do.