Showing the realities of Hamas’s horror to the world

Showing the realities of Hamas's horror to the world

In late 1944 and early 1945, as the Allied troops moved across Europe and into Germany, they began entering and liberating the concentration camps.

The first Nazi camp liberated by the US was Ohrdruf near Buchenwald on April 4, 1945. US General Dwight D.

Eisenhower was among those who witnessed firsthand the atrocities in the camps.

This is what he cabled back to Washington after the visit: “The things I saw beggar description…. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty, and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick…. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give firsthand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’”

In cables to Washington and London, Eisenhower urged the government to send journalists and lawmakers to visit the camps so that “evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British public in a fashion to leave no room for cynical doubt.”

What Eisenhower did was remarkably prescient: document the barbarity to refute Holocaust deniers who – as he foresaw – would sprout up.

The destruction caused by Hamas Militants in Kibbutz Be’eri, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 14, 2023. (credit: ERIK MARMOR/FLASH90)

Jordan’s Queen Rania took to CNN to demand to see the evidence. The British rapper Lowkey said in an interview with Piers Morgan that “we do not have a clear picture of what happened on October 7 because unfortunately too much of the media has relied on the Israeli military talking points given directly to them. Until neutral observers are able to establish the facts of October 7, I will not allow the talking points of the Israeli military to become dominant in what happened that day.”

Nothing is the same as the Holocaust

What happened on October 7, as vile and vicious as it was, is not the Holocaust. Nothing is the Holocaust. Jews today are not defenseless. The IDF is pounding Hamas and will decimate it.

Yet Israel is taking a page out of Eisenhower’s playbook and is inviting journalists and lawmakers to see the utter evil and brutality that Hamas committed, to ensure that the world sees and understands.

Rania and Lowkey would not be convinced by any evidence – they are beyond the pale, and millions of people are like them, predominantly in the Muslim world. But there are also millions of people who will not hide their eyes when faced with hard facts and truth.

There is a battle going on, as there is every time there is a war or a round of fighting with Gaza, outside the battlefield.This is the battle for public opinion, and this time Israel is doing something it has always been reluctant to do in the past, because of a respect for the dead and for human dignity: it is sharing with world leaders, parliamentarians, and journalists raw, gut-wrenching evidence and footage of what happened, so they can see the face of evil and draw their conclusions.

On Sunday, evidence of the carnage was shown to a group of bipartisan US senators led by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

“I saw things today that I didn’t think were possible in 2023,” Graham said afterward. “I’ve seen grown men who have been fighting wars their whole lives stunned by what they saw. The level of barbaric behavior here is beyond my ability to explain it. What does Hamas mean in English – [it means] ISIS. I’ve seen a lot traveling the world with my late friend John McCain; I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime.”

The next day, the Government Press Office invited journalists to the Glilot military base to view 44 minutes of footage of the massacres culled from home CCTV cameras, dashcams, traffic control cameras, and GoPro cameras used by the terrorists. They were invited to watch the footage, but not to film it, because of its gruesome nature.It made an impact.

In the Daily Telegraph, Danielle Sheridan wrote that the footage was “appalling beyond measure. Within minutes, some of the audience had left the auditorium in tears. There are images in it that I will never be able to forget. I felt sick throughout. And at points, my own tears blurred my vision.”

The screening of the footage marks a change in Israeli policy. Even during the worst days of the Second Intifada and bus bombings, there was a hesitance to show gruesome images. The sheer magnitude of the October 7 massacre, however, has forced a change and an understanding of the importance of the world seeing the sadistic cruelty of the terrorists so it understands what Israel is dealing with and why it must wage this war.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari explained the rationale in one of his daily briefings this week.

“The IDF and those responsible for public diplomacy have a responsibility to show and remind the entire world of Hamas’s crimes against humanity. The murderous massacre carried out on October 7, the rape, the kidnapping of babies, women, the elderly, and children – that is proof that Hamas is ISIS…. We will continue to remind the world that we are talking about a criminal, murderous organization that is holding babies, women, and Holocaust survivors.

“We are fighting for the future of our children and the future of the world,” he continued. “The world is liable to make a mistake and forget, but we promise to remind them and remember.”

On Wednesday, another group of 70 journalists was taken to the Shura army base near Ramle, the site of a makeshift morgue, where efforts continued to identify and prepare for burial burned and mangled bodies.

“The sights are horrible, but it is important that the world sees,” said Police Ch.-Supt. Gilad Bahat, who briefed the journalists. “It is important for the world to know who our enemy is, and that they know that today it is us, tomorrow it is them.”

BUT IS it working? Is making these images public and bringing journalists and world leaders to sites where they come face-to-face with the savagery having an impact?

Some people might point to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s outrageous justification this week of the October 7 attacks, even though he said they could not be justified, as evidence that it is not working. This opinion will be supported by others who are exposed to the international media and see that the horrors of October 7 have been eclipsed on CNN, BBC, and Sky News by images of bombed-out neighborhoods in Gaza.

And it is true; those voices, those images, that reasoning are out there. But they are not the only voices, images, and reasoning out there. As infuriating as anti-Israel protests worldwide are, chillingly accompanied by chants such as “No Jew state” and “Gas the Jews,” they do not represent public opinion, even though they draw much attention.

Three weeks into the war, a war in which Israel has hit Hamas hard, the support of Western governments remains strong, as evidenced by the veritable airlift of Western leaders who have come to Israel to show support. These include the leaders of Romania, Germany, the US, Britain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Austria.

Even as the heads of these countries call for Israeli caution in not harming civilians inside Gaza, they unequivocally condemn Hamas. Their visits during wartime show solidarity with Israel, and that undoubtedly affects public opinion back home. And nowhere is public opinion more important than in the US, where, despite the endless pictures of destruction in Gaza on the television screens, support for Israel, according to the polls, is the highest it has been in decades.

An ABC News story this week found that Americans were closely following the war and that, according to five polls taken from October 7 to October 19, a vast majority of Americans side with Israel in the conflict.

According to the report, “The exact numbers vary widely, but across five recent polls, between three and five times as many Americans said they sympathized with Israelis than said they sympathized with Palestinians.”

An even more recent poll, an Al-Monitor/Premise survey of US opinion released Wednesday, found that among 1,052 respondents, 24% said their support for Palestinians has decreased since October 7, while 27% said their support for Israel has increased.

For those glued to social media, where pro-Hamas content is prevalent, or to those who see the images of anti-Israel protests all over the world alongside pictures of destruction from Gaza, those figures seem counterintuitive. But they are part of a definite pattern: Hamas’s atrocities have created a degree of sympathy for Israel not seen in years, and all the anti-Israel and antisemitic chants have not drowned that out.

Hagari, in one of his press briefings on Sunday, said that Hamas was putting its missiles and rockets in the vicinity of children and hospitals. “We will continue to distribute this proof to the world and reveal the face of this murderous terrorist organization.”

Israel will never forget Hamas’s atrocities, Hagari said at almost every one of his briefings, “and we will not stop reminding the world.”

Judging by at least some metrics, so far this is proving somewhat effective.•

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