As an example of what the insightful commentator Melanie Phillips referred to as a “dialogue of the demented” in her book The World Turned Upside Down, once Israel launched Operation Protective Edge last month, the streets of American and European cities were crammed with activists intent on expressing their collective indignation for Israel’s perceived crime of defending its citizens against the genocidal “thugocracy” of Hamas.
Rowdy and sometimes violent demonstrations have taken place in Berlin, Paris, Toronto, London, and Madrid, where blatantly anti-Semitic chants could be heard, with similar events taking place in such U.S. cities as Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
Joining with Muslim supporters of those wishing to destroy Israel and murder Jews were the usual suspects: “peace activists,” Israel-haters, social justice advocates, and labor unionists who decried Israel’s “genocide” against Gaza as well as the alleged militarism, oppression, imperialism, and brutality imbued in Zionism itself.
What was particularly revealing, and chilling, about the hate-filled rallies was the virulence of the chants and messages on the placards, much of it seeming to suggest that more sinister hatreds and feelings – over and above concern for the current military operations – were simmering slightly below the surface. Several of the morally self-righteous protestors, for instance, shrieked out, to the accompaniment of drumbeats, “Long live Intifada,” a grotesque and murderous reference to the Second Intifada, during which Arab terrorists murdered some 1,000 Israelis and wounded more than 14,000 others.
That pro-Palestinian student activists, those who purport to be motivated by a desire to bring “justice” to the Middle East, could publicly call for the renewed slaughter of Jews in the name of Palestinian self-determination demonstrates quite clearly how ideologically debased the human rights movement has become. Activists on and off U.S. campuses, who never have to face a physical threat more serious than getting jostled while waiting in line for a latte at Starbucks, are quick to deny the very real existential threats facing Israel and denounce Israeli counter-measures to thwart terrorism.
Another deadly chorus emanated from protestors during the rally: “When people are occupied, resistance is justified.” That is an oft-repeated but disingenuous and false notion that stateless terrorists have some recognized human right to murder civilians whose government has purportedly occupied their territory. That is clearly not any longer the case in Gaza, where every Jew was removed in 2005 – and while there is a blockade in effect to prevent the influx of weapons, there clearly is no occupation or, as commonly referred to, a “siege.”
It may be comforting for Israel’s ideological foes to rationalize the murder of Jews by claiming some international right to do it with impunity and a sense of righteousness. Unfortunately, however, as legal experts have pointed out, the rally participants and their terror-appeasing apologists elsewhere are completely wrong about the legitimacy of murder as part of “resistance” to an occupying force. Article IV of the Third Geneva Convention, the statute which defines combatants and legitimate targets in warfare, is very specific about who may kill and who may be killed, and it does not allow for the murder of either Israeli civilians or soldiers by Palestinian suicide bombers who wear no identifying military uniforms and do not follow the accepted rules of war.
So when pro-Palestinian activists and critics of Israel repeat the claim that Palestinians somehow have an internationally recognized legal “right” to resist occupation through violent means, they are both legitimizing that terror and helping to insure that its lethal use by Israel’s enemies will continue unabated.
These fatuous, morally self-righteous activists, many of whom are from the hard left or the pro-Islamic right, are, without any expertise in military affairs, eager to advise Israeli officials on the rules of war and denounce the lack of “proportionality” in Israel’s attempts to defend its population from jihadist murderers. And so eager are they to publicly assert their righteousness as defenders of the Palestinian cause, they embrace terroristic violence and willingly align themselves with Israel’s deadly foes who seek its annihilation.