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Proportional And Other Dirty Words

You can help Israel fight propaganda

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Failed rocket launches since the beginning of the war (Credit: IDF)

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Nothing would please me more than if all the casualties in Israel’s war against Hamas were confined to Hamas’s 20 or 25 thousand armed terrorists. Unfortunately, tragically, horrifically, many of the dead will be civilians – that’s what happens in war; it’s one of the reasons starting a war is such an evil act.

Because Hamas controls Gaza, we will have no idea how many are dying there, or how many terrorists versus civilians, how many killed by Israel versus how many killed by errant rockets fired by Hamas.

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We do know that on October 17, the parking lot of the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza was hit by a misfired Palestinian rocket. Hamas claims 500 were killed. Hamas also claims they were killed by Israel, but American, French, Canadian, and many independent experts have confirmed Hamas is lying.

Hamas is also lying about the number of casualties. How many Palestinians were actually murdered by that rocket? We don’t know. Their claim of 500 deaths is as fantastical as all the numbers coming from Hamas.

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But we also know that, as of October 21, Israel Defence Forces had tracked 550 errant rockets launched by Hamas or Islamic Jihad that hit within Gaza. Israel strikes at military targets. These terrorist rockets fall randomly on Gaza, which as the media continually reminds us, is one of the most densely populated areas on earth.

How many Gazans are these terror rockets killing? We have no idea. Is the media covering this story? Not at all. The media simply continues to repeat Hamas’s casualty figures. Apparently, media outlets think: Sure, Hamas murders infants, burns people alive, and hacks up the bodies of victims so savagely that it’s difficult to sort out the remains, but surely, they wouldn’t lie!

We can’t rely on numbers coming from UNICEF or other agencies active in Gaza, either. These are just Hamas’s numbers at second hand.  These organizations have no ability to independently confirm how many children – or anyone else – has died in Gaza.

By repeating these casualty figures coming out of Gaza, the CBC and the rest of the media are fighting on behalf of Hamas. They’re bringing Hamas’s propaganda war to TVs and radios, computers and cell phones, newspapers and magazines everywhere. Even when the media notes Hamas has supplied the casualty figures, the act of repeating them in supposedly reputable outlets gives these fantasy numbers credibility.

Some media do even worse. On Oct 26, Global TV’s Daniele Hamamdjian told viewers that Israel is killing civilians “by the thousands” (see here), as if the IDF is going house-to-house in Gaza murdering people, as Hamas did in southern Israel.

You can help Israel fight propaganda.

Honest Reporting Canada catches outrages like this every day. Many of us are asking, how can we help Israel? Here’s one thing we can all do: join in the media war. Start at Honest Reporting Canada’s web page here.

Hamas has two purposes in its propaganda war:

First, Hamas wants to demonize Israel. Hamas wants the world to believe Israelis deserve to be massacred, for the world to cheer as Hamas murders babies. Hence the slander we hear at every pro-terrorist rally in Canada: that Israel is committing “genocide.” It’s no coincidence we hear the same slander from the Ayatollahs in Iran.

We also hear this same slander in parliament from Jagmeet Singh leader of the NDP and from Heather McPherson his Foreign Affairs critic. (But this outrage deserves its own column). Indeed, efforts to convince the world that Israelis deserve slaughter have been shockingly successful.

Second, Hamas wants the world to call for a ceasefire and to save them from the IDF. And because any ceasefire will apply only to Israel; Hamas will feel free to attack whenever it pleases.  

But the more civilians who die in Gaza, the more the world will be horrified and the louder the calls for a ceasefire will grow. But Israel cannot – and must not – leave Hamas intact to murder more Israelis another day. Hamas must be destroyed. In this process, it’s unavoidable that many civilians in Gaza will die, but guilt for those deaths is on Hamas. (For more on this, see my column here.)

Along with the calls for a ceasefire, we’ll hear the accusation that Israel’s response is “disproportionate.”

In war, “proportionality” has a technical meaning; namely that any civilian casualties a military attack is likely to cause must be proportional to the expected military benefit. So it’s illegal to bomb a whole village to kill a single terrorist. Beyond such obvious examples, though, cases become muddy.

Also, the rule of proportionality is limited; states must be able to conduct lawful warfare. Thus, a terrorist group cannot render an attack on them illegal just by getting enough human shields to hide behind.

As Article 28 of the Geneva Convention states: “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.” If it were otherwise, only terrorists and war criminals could wage war; states such as Israel which follow the law would be unable to legally defend themselves.

Of course, organizations that scream about Israel supposedly breaking international law want Israel to be defenceless. And when Israel does defend itself, they demonize its defence.

“Proportionality” also has a popular meaning – the notion that any military response to a terrorist attack must be equivalent to the attack. Or if Hamas murders 1,400 Israelis, it’s not fair for Israel to kill more than 1,400 Palestinians. This is nonsense. It’s wrong to deliberately target any civilians.

A truly proportionate response to an attack is to make the attacker unwilling or unable to repeat their attack.

Making an enemy unwilling to attack is the concept of deterrence. Until October 7, that was Israel’s strategy. When Hamas attacked, Israel restrained its response, but tried to hit Hamas hard enough to discourage further attacks, to keep Hamas contained.

October 7 proved that strategy an utter failure.

Now, though, Israel’s purpose is to make Hamas unable to repeat its atrocities.

Israel is fighting a just war, but it promises to be long and ugly. As it stretches on, we need to remember that by far the ugliest day of this war was October 7 when Hamas went through southern Israel killing, raping, kidnapping – and posting it all to social media so that the world could see their glee.  The tragedy is that it took such a monstrous attack to force Israel’s hand.

Am Yisrael chai.

Brian Henry is a writer, editor, creative writing instructor, and publisher of the Quick Brown Fox blog. He’s written opinion pieces for the National Post and the Toronto Star. He was also a regular contributor to the (now defunct) Jewish Tribune and the Engage and Harry’s Place websites in the UK.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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