By Jim Towey
As President Biden made clear in Tuesday’s televised address to the nation, it is not possible to describe the massacre of the innocents in Israel that took place on the sabbath, and the kidnapping of hostages that is playing out today, without use of the word “evil.”
The graphic accounts of the savageness of Hamas terrorists in their premeditated assault on civilians shock the senses. The rage and hatred toward Jews, the indiscriminate killing of at least 1,200 Israelis, the snuffing out of the lives of elderly and infants alike, the machine-gunning of youths at a festival, the defiling of women as a prelude to the murder of them, the filming of these atrocities and their broadcast on social media, the hostage taking and threats of execution – all of these manifestations of evil astound the civilized world. Hamas and their enablers will be remembered for this colossal infamy.
History provides ample precedent for the cruel persecution of Jews. Antisemitism seems to find new proponents in every age and country. Our prayers are with the people of Israel as they dig out of the rubble, recover their dead, mourn the immense losses they have suffered, and gird themselves for war with Hamas. America stands in solidarity with Jews everywhere. The specter that Iran and Hezbollah, who collaborated in the planning of Saturday’s bloodshed, may join the battle, and intentionally roil the Middle East in a new wave of sectarian violence, adds to the woe.
The diabolical attack the world witnessed in Israel will lead to changes in the Middle East no one can predict. The fact that an unknown number of American citizens has been taken hostage by Hamas adds to the uncertainty.
Much has been written on all of these subjects, with the best reporting and commentary, not surprisingly, coming from Substack outlets and the Wall Street Journal. These links offer both chilling and thoughtful coverage.
Some observations for now:
- Evil kills and then lies. In the weeks and months ahead, expect Hamas and its enablers to resort to as coordinated and vicious an attack on the truth as they did on innocent Israelis. Remember that as Hamas puts Palestinian families in harm’s way.
- It is inevitable that civilians will die in the days ahead, and hard to believe that hostages in the hands of Hamas are not already the walking dead. This terrorist organization has no interest in distinguishing between combatants and civilians. The hostages were taken for propaganda purposes, and it seems highly unlikely that they will survive. Palestinian families who have no allegiance to Hamas and do not want a war will also suffer as cowardly terrorists cynically use them as human shields.
- The failure of America’s leading higher ed institutions to unequivocally denounce Hamas’ attack and empathize with the Jewish people is a disgrace, not a surprise. The woke Ivies and other leading academic institutions are too often seduced or silenced by the loud voices of antisemitism that often masquerade as pro-Palestinian.
- To maintain our own humanity, we must renounce the viewing of all graphic footage of killings and executions. It is one thing to rubberneck on a highway out of curiosity while passing a car accident. It is another to watch video of beheadings, brutality, and the like. The deadening of sensitivity to the degradation of human life that comes from such viewing can lead to the mainstreaming of evil. Don’t click. Don’t view. Expect an even higher volume of such video.
- Not all of Gaza is Hamas. For example, Mother Teresa’s order of nuns, the Missionaries of Charity, have a home for about 55 disabled Palestinians, ages 13-84, but mostly children. They live on the compound of the only Catholic church in Gaza City, Holy Family Church, co-located with five nuns from two other religious orders and two priests. The MCs have homes in Israel (Jerusalem) and the West Bank (Bethlehem and Nablus in Samaria). Just as the MCs in Ukraine didn’t leave, the sisters in Gaza City are staying with their poor. Their lives demand protection, as do other civilians.
Finally, the seriousness of this moment in history requires an immediate reconsideration of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. These unsettling times require confidence in the White House. It seems to me that neither Biden nor Trump are up to the demands of unifying the country as we deal with the gathering challenges abroad and at home. I watched Biden’s address and while his words worked, his ability to deliver them effectively didn’t. He does not instill confidence anymore, and Trump never did and never will. A clear majority of the American people wants something better on the ballot than the current frontrunners of the two parties. The stakes now have become much higher. The time to change the menu is running out. Will America get serious now?