On October 17, as Israel waged a counter-offensive against Hamas in the wake of the Palestinian terror organization’s grotesque terror spree against Israeli innocents earlier in the month, a rocket struck the Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City. Initial reports were that hundreds had been killed. Before any investigation or conclusive evidence had been presented, Hamas and Palestinian supporters in the media seized the propaganda opportunity to blame Israel for a shocking war crime.
The far-Left activists at The New York Times ran a photo of a semi-demolished building which the headline suggested was the Gaza Hospital. It was an entirely different scene from the one in photos reported by other establishment outlets. That’s because the demolished building was in another location in the south of the Gaza Strip, not the northern area where the hospital was located. Some decried this as irresponsible and journalistic malpractice, but it was more than that: it was intentional disinformation and propaganda. New York Times Pentagon Correspondent Helene Cooper stated on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House – another left-wing propaganda outlet – that the early Times headline, “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say” “wasn’t perfect.” Indeed not. It was so far from perfect that even some Democrat politicos decried the “irresponsibility” of it.
But the New York Times was far from the only establishment media organ to spread the ugly accusation. The notoriously antisemitic and far-Left BBC chimed in as well, in addition to many others. World leaders like Canada’s totalitarian pretty boy Justin Trudeau threw fuel on the fire by running with the assumption that Israel was to blame for the hospital blast. A former British member of Parliament said that Israel had “forfeited any right to exist.”
Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who declares herself “Palestinian American” and flies a Palestinian flag outside of her congressional office of equal size as her American flag, leapt at the opportunity to ramp up outrage about the purported air strike on the hospital. She tearfully told a crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters outside the Capitol, “We cannot continue to watch people think it’s okay to bomb a hospital with children… We are literally watching people commit genocide and killing a vast majority just like this, and we still stand by and say nothing. We will remember this.”
Genocide is being attempted, all right: a Muslim genocide of the Jews in Israel. As for children being butchered, when a Fox News reporter tailed Tlaib down the halls of Congress asking if she had any comment on the Israeli children butchered by Hamas on October 7th, Tlaib refused to answer.
Worldwide outrage directed at Israel about the Gaza hospital was instantaneous, because when it comes to Israel, no smear is too grotesque or mendacious, and no evidence exonerating Israel could possibly suffice. Evidence was pointless, because Israel’s haters had no intention of letting the facts get in the way of the emotional truth.
The accusations against Israel swiftly spurred thousands of raging Muslims to take to the streets in major cities throughout Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Tunisia, Jordan, Iran, Yemen, and other Muslim-majority countries – not to mention throughout the Western world. A hundred thousand demonstrators, some waving ISIS flags, packed the streets of London chanting their full-throated support for Hamas and the Palestinian people. Similar scenes of massive and occasionally violent anti-Israel demonstrations played out in New York City, Sydney, and elsewhere.
By the time the IDF provided undeniable evidence that the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group was responsible for the hospital explosion, due to a misfired rocket intended to kill Israeli civilians, the media damage had already been done.
The IDF reported (in translation):
From the analysis of the IDF’s operational systems, an enemy rocket barrage was carried out towards Israel, which passed in the vicinity of the hospital, at the time of the hit. According to intelligence information, from a number of sources we have, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization is responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital.
Later reporting from the AFP (via Times of Israel) revealed that even the initial figure of 500 dead was wildly off. One senior European intelligence source said he believes a maximum of 50 people were killed in the blast. An IDF spokesman wondered, “Where are all the bodies?” U.S. intelligence assessments put the possible number of casualties higher – between 100 and 300 – but in any case, there were not 500 deaths and Israel was not at fault.
Anyone who isn’t blinded by anti-Israel bloodlust knows that Israel does not target hospitals, and is arguably more conscientious about avoiding civilian deaths than any military in the world. But the enemies of Israel and of the Jews will not be pacified by facts, evidence, fairness, and truth. They have left the realm of reason far behind; they operate instead out of a frenzy of self-righteousness, cultural Marxist brainwashing, and a collectivist hatred for Jews and Israel. In their eyes, Israel is an evil agent of settler colonialism, and thus no Israeli – no elderly person, woman, or child – is innocent. All are oppressors of the so-called Palestinian people, and oppressors can be overthrown only through violent resistance, such as sadistic raids targeting unarmed civilians, which is then blamed on Israeli intransigence.
In the court of world opinion, Israel is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. Either way, she always plays the role of villain in the media narrative. MSNBC network host Lawrence O’Donnell stated on his show The Last Word that Israel has to be even more restrained and careful about civilian casualties in the wake of the hospital explosion even if the Jewish state had nothing to do with it, because “it is a matter of perception that they have to be very much concerned about.” If only someone in the media would lecture jihadist groups about the negative perception their terrorism is creating.
It’s long past time for Israel and her allies to stop giving a damn about the media narrative and world opinion. It’s time for the Jewish state to turn a deaf ear to her critics and do whatever she must to subdue her enemies and ensure not merely her survival, but her thriving.
The IDF is one of the most courageous and efficient fighting forces in the world. The Jewish people have an epic history of courage, faith, and perseverance. The overmatched little Middle East democracy has defeated its Arab enemies before and will again. But fighting the media narrative about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a war Israel cannot win, because to paraphrase the well-known maxim about war, the first casualty of media reporting on Israel is the truth.
The truth is inconvenient to the agenda of what David Horowitz calls the unholy alliance of the Marxist left and Islamic fundamentalists. It is a Jew-hating partnership of radicals who have very different worldviews (such as on gender ideology) and yet they stand shoulder-to-shoulder when it comes to shouting the genocidal chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” That alliance is an existential threat to our very civilization, because Israel’s enemies are the enemies of the West itself. Victory for them against Israel is also a mortal blow to the West. Their agenda must be crushed.
Follow Mark Tapson at Culture Warrior.