Don’t be fooled by Hamas’ propaganda

by Diane B. Gensler

Hamas seems to be winning the war — the war in the court of public opinion. I see too large a number of people in the news praising Hamas, and celebrating the brutal killing of Israelis and the taking and hiding of hostages. I see college kids on campuses who are anti-Israel without even truly understanding the history of the country or what it stands for. I hear of swastikas and other antisemitic insults spray painted on Jewish institutions and buildings.

This is what these terrorists want. As the president of the United States said from the White House on Oct. 20, “The terrorist group Hamas unleashed pure, unadulterated evil in the world.”

Hamas has people fooled. They have fooled people into believing that it is their right to commit atrocious crimes against humanity because they have been oppressed. They have fooled people into believing it is the Israelis who are barbaric. They have fooled people into believing that Israel deserves to be annihilated. They have fooled people into believing that they have a worthy cause, when their only cause is to commit genocide and exterminate an entire race of people.

I see image after image plastered in the news of the people of Gaza digging out from bombed buildings to rescue people trapped beneath the rubble. I see images of adults in Gaza carrying the bodies of children. Our hearts bleed for them. It’s more unnecessary, tragic loss of life. But the fanatical ideology of Hamas is furthered with the printing of these photographs. Why? Because this is what Hamas wants you to see, and they have designed it this way.

Hamas places and discharges their weapons from civilian areas near hospitals, schools and other community buildings. They use humans as shields, as NATO has documented. Hamas knows you’ll view these photos and sympathize. Hamas knows you will be appalled by the images. Hamas makes sure the world sees these heart-wrenching images. Hamas knows you’ll be sickened by the number of casualties they report (which cannot be verified).

And where exactly is Hamas? They are entrenched in the tunnels they have spent years building beneath the land. They are walking among the civilians of Gaza. They are forbidding the citizens of Gaza to flee in order to avoid the catastrophes. As terrorists do, they put their innocents in front of them and let them bear the brunt of war. They use them to influence the opinions of people half a world away. They manipulate by spreading this propaganda.

Are the members of Hamas good to their own people? According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “Hamas also represses the Gazan media, civilian activism on social media, the political opposition, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), leaving it without mechanisms for accountability.” I also feel for the citizens of Gaza who are repressed by Hamas and used as victims.

All these strategies are part of the terrorist manifesto. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Learn your history. This is nothing new. Perhaps the new part is that images spread faster around the world with the use of social media. People make snap judgments without understanding the context of the picture. People are too quick to judge.

I beg you, dear reader, to open up your mind and educate yourself. While nobody is saying that the Israelis are perfect or always do the right thing, the fierce antizionism and antisemitism appearing all over the world has got to stop. Stand up for what is right.

Diane B. Gensler is the author of “Forgive Us Our Trespasses: A Memoir of a Jewish Teacher in a Catholic School.”