Netanyahu versus Hamas
Terrorists and Tyrants versus the world
Bryan Zepp Jamieson
November 4th, 2023
I was one of the first voices expressing concern for the welfare of the civilians in Gaza in the face of a reaction by Benjamin Netanyahu that I knew, based on the man’s record, would be vicious and murderous and disproportionate, yes, even disproportionate to the hideous crimes Hamas committed.
We’ve been to this rodeo before, of course. After the attacks on the Twin Towers which killed some three thousand innocent people, America overreacted with two wars against countries that played no role in the 9/11 attacks, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and setting America back, politically and diplomatically, by decades.
Mind you, America wasn’t ruled by a vicious authoritarian tyrant. It was run by a soulless and opportunistic capitalist, Dick Cheney, and his feckless puppet president, George W. Bush.
They had some of the same motives for their response that Netanyahu has now. They wanted to show they were responding in order to deflect from misjudgments and incompetence that a) gave rise to a determined foe intent on asymmetric warfare and b) provided an opportunity for said foes to attack. They, like Netanyahu, wanted to ride a huge wave of rage and revulsion against the attacks. They might have shared that wave of outrage, but mostly they needed to spackle over their unpopular and corrupt regimes.
But where the two governments parted was that where Cheney and Bush were sniffing after money and economic power, Netanyahu is motivated by hatred and a willingness to use fear to punish his enemies and frighten the rest into submission. He is cut from the same mold as every tyrant in history, like Orbán or Jong-Il or Stalin or—yes—Hitler. I got my measure of the man 30 years ago, when he went out of his way to desecrate a Mosque as a part of this campaign. He views Palestinians – and it’s safe to say all Moslems – exactly the way Hitler viewed Jews; both as objects of personal hate, and as scapegoats to try to ride public hatred to power, a tidal wave of vomit and vile.
So the immediacy of his response is no surprise. Given his way, he would cheerfully slaughter every Palestinian on the face of the Earth. And he’s doing it in the name of a nation founded on the premise that monsters like him must never again be allowed to wreak havoc on entire populations out of hatred.
Which brings us to a second great branching. Most Israelis, in overwhelming numbers, have NOT forgotten the lessons of history. They see what Netanyahu is doing and are appalled. When 9/11 happened, Bush’s popularity ratings went from 35% approval to the mid 90s literally overnight. Netanyahu’s approval ratings were around 35% and have actually DROPPED since the attack on Gaza began.
Hamas are terrorists and must be stopped. Netanyahu is a tyrant, and he, too, must be stopped. In a just world, he and his main supporters would be locked up for life in a cell with the leaders of Hamas. Let them sort it out for themselves.
The people of Gaza are not responsible for the actions of Hamas, just as the people of Israel are not responsible for Netanyahu. Yes, both were elected, both by a relatively small percentage of the population. Are you responsible for Trump? Two-thirds of Americans despise the man, don’t want him anywhere near power ever again. If he were to reobtain power, his death toll would easily exceed Netanyahu’s, since he is a vengeful, petty, vicious little man who has far more enemies and needs far more scapegoats than does Netanyahu. Nonetheless, there’s a very real risk he could end up in the Oval Office again. Are you responsible? Would it be right to bomb you or launch terrorist attacks against you because you have a despicable leader?
The conflict has given rise to all sorts of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Both, I note, are phrases so common I didn’t need to teach them to my spell checker, and isn’t that a depressing indication of human fallibility? We all heard about the insane bastard that killed the six year old boy here in the States for “being Palestinian,” but the grim reality is that all people who look Semitic or even dress differently are at risk from people filled with ersatz moral rage over the conflict. Swastikas are getting painted on Synagogues and other places associated with Jews. Anyone with brown skin and a beard is at risk, or any woman with a head coverings. (It was only three generations ago that most London women wore scarves over their heads when they went out. Would they dare do so in today’s “free” America?) Sikhs are being targeted, even though they are neither Jewish or Islamic. But they look different. That’s enough for the “Haters against Hate” crowd.
I don’t know many Jews who support what Netanyahu is doing (and their numbers are dwindling) and I don’t know any Moslems who support Hamas. The vast majority are simply appalled at the killing and want it to stop—just like most of the rest of us.
Only a fool or a hater supports Netanyahu or Hamas. If you want to spray paint swastikas on images of Netanyahu, or send Hamas messages that they are najis and a disgrace in the eyes of Allah, go right ahead. It isn’t very nice, but at least you aren’t attacking innocents.
But what’s happening in Gaza isn’t a Jewish thing. It isn’t an Islamic thing. It isn’t an Israeli thing, not really. And it isn’t a Palestinian thing.
The people of Gaza, and the people of Israel, and their respective faiths are just innocents caught in the grindstone between terrorists and tyrants.
Too many innocents—on both sides and on all sides—have died already.