I came to a disturbing realization several days ago. From high school to the present day, I have wondered how a nation could murder and attempt genocide with the approval of many, perhaps even most, of its citizens.
The Turks of the Ottoman Empire, in 1915, began the expulsion and murder of Armenians. Before it was over, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were dead and many more removed.
In 1994, during a period of about 100 days, armed Hutu militia killed between 500,000 and 800,000 members of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda.
By the close of what became known as “the Indian Wars,” in the late 19th century, fewer than 238,000 indigenous people remained of the estimated 5,000,000-plus living in North America prior to European contact.
The most notorious example of genocide in the modern era is the extermination of 6 million Jews by Adolph Hitler and his subordinates during World War II.
Today we congratulate ourselves that our society has grown, has come out of that brutal mindset, has become more civilized. And yet, we, if we believe that, have deceived ourselves. Even in America, there are those who support those who commit despicable acts against humanity.
On October 7, 2023, members of the terrorist group, Hamas, based in Gaza, launched a brutal attack against Israeli civilians. A large number of young people were attending a music festival and became targets as would other people in neighborhoods simply going about their business at home.
The attack left more than 1,300 people dead, including women, children, babies, and elderly people dead and another number, perhaps in excess of 200, kidnapped and held in Gaza as hostages. It was the largest number of Jews killed in a single day since Hitler’s holocaust.
News reports from various sources state that among the atrocities committed were murder, mutilation, rape, beheadings, and more. Unsurprisingly. Israel hit back — hard.
As of this writing, known Hamas strongholds in Gaza have been hit with thousands of bombs, missiles, mortars, and artillery shells. Hundreds of thousands of Israel Defense Forces soldiers have massed along the border for an expected assault against Hamas. Israel, for two weeks, has warned civilians in Gaza to flee to the south near the border with Egypt.
Across the globe there have been protests. The protests, however, have not been against the terrorist group Hamas who committed these unspeakable acts. No, the protests have been against Israel.
Some of the protesters are aligning themselves with the Palestinians in Gaza. But not all. Many have displayed posters, banners, and have offered chants and speeches supporting Hamas.
It is one thing to support a group one perceives as oppressed. It is quite another to support terrorists who murder and maim non-combatant citizens. The stated goal of Hamas in its original charter is the destruction of Israel and the killing of every Jew. One protester in Australia held up a poster that read, “Gas the Jews,” echoing what the Nazis did to the Jews in Europe.
A new round of virulent antisemitic speech has gained a foothold in nations around the world. In America, much of this is on display in the protests on university campuses. Even some in Congress are joining with the protesters, which includes Hamas sympathizers.
There is a backlash. Deep pocket donors are encouraging other wealthy donors to withhold gifts to universities who do not condemn the anti-Jewish rhetoric of students supporting Hamas. Maurice Isserman, a founding member of the Democratic Socialists of America, has resigned from DSA due to that group’s failure to condemn the actions of Hamas, calling them “morally bankrupt.”
To support Hamas, especially in the aftermath of October 7, is to support the terror and bloodshed they unleashed on innocent civilians. It is to support the rape, murder, and mutilation of women, children, babies, and old people. To support Hamas’ original charter is to support murder and genocide of Jewish people.
Jason Greenblatt, writing for cnn.com said, “Unless and until Palestinians of good will and their leaders fully and unequivocally condemn and repudiate this hatred and the glorification of the slaughter of Jews, Palestinians will not achieve any of their aspirations because Israel cannot, and should not, compromise on the security of its citizens. No country should.”
I understand much better now how populations support the genocide of people in their own countries. Hatred and bigotry make room for the unthinkable to occur.
I have said in the past that we need to be cautious about believing we hold the moral high ground when it comes to hatred, bigotry, and genocide. After all, to the American Indians, WE were the Nazis.
To the people who experienced the hatred, bigotry, and violence of October 7, Hamas was the Nazis. To support Palestinians is understandable and perhaps even noble. To support Hamas is neither.
[David Epps has been writing articles for The Citizen since 1996. He may be contacted at email@example.com.]