Hate Crimes and the Attack on Gaza

Alastair Mullholland
December 15, 2023

Image: Israeli and Palestinian Flags with Salam (Peace in Arabic, above) and Shalom (Peace in Hebrew, below)

Hate Crimes and the Attack on Gaza

For a long time, many Zionist groups have insisted that Judaism and the state of Israel are inextricable, meaning being anti-Israel is antisemitic. Allegedly, this connection is causing antisemitic backlash on social media and beyond as people are outraged by the Israeli siege in Gaza. During this time, it has been reported that antisemitic hate crimes have increased over 166% in New York City in comparison to the same month last year, according to the New York Police Department. But groups like Jewish Voice for Peace are declaring that not all Jewish people are supportive of Zionism.

The Hamas attack on Israel was gruesome, killing children in their beds where they rested. Not to diminish in any way this horror, but to keep all accountable, let us remember that this kind of violence was also perpetuated by the United States military during its invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, since the horrendous attack by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7, which claimed 1,200lives, Gaza has been under siege. Access to food, water, sanitation, and electricity has been severed. Israel has killed an estimated 11,000 Palestinians (67% of whom are women and children) in Gaza so far, and Israeli aggressions have not been limited to Gaza.

Israel has defended its recent killing of 6,000 children in the Gaza strip as unfortunate casualties of war, blaming Hamas for hiding amid them. Ben Shapiro, in a recent debate at Oxford University, argued that civilians are sadly necessary casualties of war and cited the bombing of Dresden Germany during World War II, where estimates range from 25,000 to 250,000 civilians being killed in a matter of days. Unwittingly, Shapiro made a very accurate comparison. Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of the bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed.” And in today’s case, in Gaza, the other pretext is to kill Hamas. But the reality is that they are killing unprecedented scores of women and children.

But what is Zionism? It is defined as the movement for the self-determination and statehood for the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel. To this end, many atrocities have been committed. Under this pretext, it is permissible for Native Americans to occupy their former ancestral homelands all throughout the United States of America and wage war on American civilians.

While it is stated that the goal of Israel is to be a sanctuary for all Jewish people, there are some inconsistencies in the application of this sanctuary along racial and ethnic lines. For example, the following excerpt from an article by Efrat Yerday of Tel Aviv University titled “Jewish Illegality: The case of Ethiopian Jews between 1955-1975” highlights this point:

“A particularly striking dynamic characterizes nationalism in Israel considering the State of Israel’s desire to secure a Jewish majority and at the same time to prefer the European component of the immigrant identity over the Jewish component. It is evident from the 1970 amendment of the Law of Return, which allows non-Jews by the earlier definition of the law to naturalize under the new law of return, mostly from the USSR.

“...This claim fits in opposite ways to USSR immigrants and Ethiopian immigrants. In the case of immigrants from the USSR, the country made legal and international efforts to enable their arrival. In contrast, in the case of Ethiopian Jews, despite a continuous presence in Israel, the state prevented and hardened their ability to integrate ...”

Source: Yerday, Erfat, "Racial Formations in Africa and the Middle East: a transregional approach...," page 150, pomps.org, February 2020.