Charlotte's Web Thoughts
Charlotte's Web Thoughts
Nothing Justifies the Targeted Slaughter of Civilians

Nothing Justifies the Targeted Slaughter of Civilians

This shouldn't need to be said.
(Families of kidnapped Israelis on Sunday; credit: Hadas Parush, Haaretz)

It shouldn’t need to be said, but here we are.

In the past 72 hours, it’s been incredibly disturbing to watch the attempted justification or rationalization for the terrorist group Hamas brutally murdering more than 900 people in Israel and taking 150 hostage in a coordinated attack that targeted civilians.

At best, it’s not that they so much condone the murder of civilians, such apologists claim, but that it’s understandable that Hamas resorted to violence out of desperation for the plight of the Palestinian people.

Their clownish argument, essentially, is that the Palestinian people have been backed into a corner, and there was no other choice: slaughtering and raping and kidnapping innocent people is a necessary evil in service to Palestinian liberation.

For example, on Saturday, three dozen student groups at Harvard University released a joint statement with this summation: “We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”

This is an unserious position. It is concerned far more with public performance and a desperate need for approval from peers than it is about Palestinian liberation. It is self-serving, disgusting, and wholly counterproductive to achieving freedom for those suffering in Gaza.

It has been truly depressing this weekend to watch grown adults gloss over mass murder by terrorists because they view the victims as necessary collateral against an oppressive government. In what reality is slaughtering innocent people aligned with a human rights framework?

It is impossible to reconcile support for Palestinian liberation as an obvious human rights imperative with excusing terrorists who massacre innocents, use rape as a weapon of war, and take children hostage.

I have long criticized the Israeli government’s history of atrocities against the Palestinian people. I believe Prime Minister Netanyahu is a horrible leader. It is abundantly clear—and it has been for quite some time—that Gaza is a human rights catastrophe.

And yet, none of this justifies the targeted murder of civilians. It is no more rational to intentionally kill innocent Israelis over the actions of their government than it is to kill innocent Palestinians over the actions of Hamas.

Rationalizing the actions of Hamas is entirely unhelpful to the Palestinian people. It accomplishes nothing beyond a temporary sense of self-satisfaction. It directly enables bad faith actors to point and say: “See? They support the killing of innocent people. They want to destroy Israel. They hate Jewish folks.”

It plays right into the hands of terrible people who care neither about Palestinians nor Israelis and take advantage of our consistently inept mass media environment to hide the truth and promote a narrative through which all innocent civilians continue to suffer.

This needs to be understood: the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t know how to locate Israel and Palestine on a map, much less explain why they’ve been in conflict for decades.

Right now, the average American is seeing that a terrorist group murdered, raped, and kidnapped innocent civilians and that some campus groups at Harvard believe the terrorists are justified. And that is accurate.

It doesn’t matter if the crisis is far more complicated. It doesn’t matter if that’s unfair framing on this broad issue. What’s going to dominate tens of millions of conversations this week in the United States is that a bunch of elitist students at Harvard sided with terrorists over innocent civilians.

That will be the story in much of America tonight at the dinner table.

Furthermore, it has become impossible to push back against claims of antisemitism when supposed supporters of Palestinian liberation fail to rightly condemn all violence against civilians except when those innocents happen to be Jewish.

I am completely heartbroken for Jewish people around the world who are watching violent antisemitism be excused as a strategy of liberation when it is nothing more than an act of cowardice being used by terrorists who are exploiting the suffering of innocent Palestinian people to justify their hatred.

Hamas has made it clear that they want to destroy Israel. They have made it clear they want to eradicate Jewish people. They have flagrantly violated human rights for women, for LGBTQ people, and for anyone who falls outside their violently extremist worldview.

It is profoundly foolish to conflate the plight of the Palestinian people with a terrorist group who are using those innocents as shields.

And every reasonable adult should be pushing back against such nonsense.

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Charlotte's Web Thoughts
Charlotte's Web Thoughts
Charlotte Clymer is a writer and LGBTQ advocate. You've probably seen her on Twitter (@cmclymer). This is the podcast version of her blog "Charlotte's Web Thoughts", which you can subscribe to here: