The Context of Hamas Apologists’ Call for Context

November 05, 2023 1 min read

Peter Berkowitz
RealClear Politics

Strategists close to the front seek to understand the constellation of circumstances and ideas that give rise to war. So too must responsible commentators far from danger assess the adversaries’ rival claims. The need to grasp a war’s wider frame goes for Hamas’ 10/7 massacres and Israel’s exercise of its right of self-defense.

No shortage of Hamas apologists insist that the jihadists’ mass atrocities perpetrated against civilians in southern Israel and their indiscriminate rocket attacks extending to much of central Israel must be placed in context. But the apologists don’t provide a reliable account of Hamas’ motives, ideas, goals, and conduct; a reasonable summary of Israel’s response; or a scrupulous overview of the Israeli-Arab conflict, not least Islamist enmity toward the Jewish state. Instead, Hamas apologists suppress facts, invent narratives, and repackage outlandish neo-Marxist talking points.

On Oct. 22, 69 professors and 595 students and alumni published in The Daily Princetonian an open letter “in solidarity with Gaza” addressed to university president Christopher Eisgruber. The professors, students, and alumni wrote “to express our unequivocal outrage over the tragic loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives during the past week” but suggested that Israel acting in self-defense was worse than Hamas jihadists butchering civilians. While declining to describe Hamas’ documented atrocities, they accused Israel of engaging in “the targeting of civilians by the relentless bombing of hospitals, homes, roads, schools, universities, and infrastructures of survival in the Gaza Strip” while imposing “unchecked collective punishment.”

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